One of my older friends once told me “peasant food is good food”. This saying certainly applies to bone broth. It’s dirt cheap and yet it’s super healthy. One of the things I love about bone broth is that it emphasises the attitude of “waste not, want not”. It seems nowadays people only want to eat lean cuts of muscle meats for their protein. Don’t you ever wonder what happens to the rest of the animal after all the prime cuts have been cut out? I think it’s really interesting that the bones, organs and fat that are discarded or ground up into pet food are some of the most nutritious parts of the animal.
Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses, packed with things like CoQ10, vitamin A, all the b vitamins, DHA, stem cells and and many other things, depending on which organ you’re eating. In fact, one can buy expensive supplements that are nothing more than extracts from animal organs. According to Chinese Medicine like cure’s like and you should eat the organs corresponding to your own problem organs. One of the health care practitioners I’ve worked with said that the best supplement he’s ever used is an extract from bovine adrenal glands.
Whenever I visit my grandparents I always love questioning them about their eating habits while they were growing up on the farm approximately 75 years ago. Things like bone broth, rendered animal fat, sheep brains and various animal livers were standard fare. It’s not surprising they all grew up healthy and lived reasonably long, healthy lives.
Believe it or not bone broth is a good source of protein. It consists mainly of the non-essential amino acids glyine, alanine and proline. These amino acids may not be essential, but supplying the body with these “non-essential” amino acids helps to spare the other essential amino acids. Sally Fallon’s says the following in her great article Broth is Beautiful (go read it!)
During the siege of Paris, when vegetables and meat were scarce, a doctor named Guerard put his patients on gelatin bouillon with some added fat and they survived in good health.
Apart from being protein sparing, each of the amino acids abundant in bone broth has it’s own unique actions. As I said yesterday, glycine is a great promoter of good quality sleep, which I experience myself on a nightly basis. Ray Peat also says that:
It has a wide range of antitumor actions, including the inhibition of new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis), and it has shown protective activity in liver cancer and melanoma.
Used as a supplement, it (glycine) has helped to promote recovery from strokes and seizures, and to improve learning and memory.
Apparently alanine and proline act in a similar fashion to glycine. There are many more benefits to the amino acids in bone broth individually, but I’d suggest you check out the Ray Peat and Mark’s Daily Apple links to see for yourself.
The calcium from the bones in bone broth leeches out into the water, making bone broth a good source of calcium and other minerals, such as magnesium, needed for healthy bones. This is especially important for those of us who are dairy intolerant or who don’t eat much of other good sources of calcium such as dark green leafy vegetables. Calcium and magnesium are also both calming minerals which help a lot with anxiety and panic attacks.
Now for my bone broth recipe. Firstly, I have to warn you that I’m a pretty lazy cook. I spend too much time in the kitchen as it is, so I treat bone broth more like a supplement than a food that I eat for pleasure. There are some great tasting bone broth recipes out there, using all sorts of special ingredients. The recipe on the Broth is Beautiful article is pretty good, and a good broth is the cornerstone of great tasting french cuisine, but I prefer something simpler.
I take about 2kg of marrow bones, along with a joint bone or two.
I put the bones in my slow cooker and cover them with fresh spring water.
I add a bit of salt to taste and then I put the slow cooker on the lowest setting possible. On my particular slow cooker this is “keep warm”, which keeps it at a temperature of a slow simmer.
After 24 hours I strain the bones out of the broth. Usually I bury them in the garden. They make a fantastic fertiliser for soil. I feed the marrow to my cats, as I really don’t like the taste. It’s a super food though, so eat it if you can.
Next I put all the liquid in the fridge once the broth has cooled down. After a few hours, all the fat from the marrow bones will have risen to the top and become hard.
I scoop all this fat out, and keep it in a separate container in the fridge to use as cooking oil or healthy fat for my other meals.
I then reheat the gelatinous broth until it becomes liquid and strain it through a sieve, storing it in glass jars in the fridge.
I go through it pretty quick, so I don’t usually need to freeze it. If you want to freeze it then you can portion the liquid in small freezer bags for later use.
Not everyone is mad about the taste of this very plain bone broth, but I like it just fine. If you aren’t the biggest fan, then cooking your white rice in it and eating that, is a good way to get it in. You can also use it as a great base to make delicious soups and stews.
For anyone wanting to try bone broth, give it a proper trial. Drink 1 cup a day for 30 days and then stop taking it for a week, so that you can feel the difference. I promise you now, your digestion and sleep will be much improved and you might just find you have an improved ability to withstand stress. Let me know how it goes!