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The Value of Broth and Stocks

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 Using traditional food knowledge to solve contemporary health problems is one of the best skills you can incorporate into daily life.  Part I on bone broth is a three-part series to guide you towards an ancestral way of eating that is delicious, healing, and satisfying. You have probably heard about Bone Broth yet don’t know where to start?

Google the soup du jour “bone broth”; once humble food made by traditional cultures for centuries, it is now all the craze.  From coast to coast, bone broth is taking over our palates.  And that’s a good thing!  It is hip to sip, and vegans are joining in with a vegetable broth.  A true bone broth is slowly simmered over 24-48 hours to maximize the nutrient content by releasing the gelatin from collagen-rich joints and extracting minerals from the bones.  Grandma’s knew all along stocks are an inexpensive way to nourish their families in a warming, easy-to-digest, comforting bowl, and many health advocates and foodies alike are realizing there is merit to their wisdom!

If I leave one lasting impression on you, I hope that it is the health benefits and ease of making broth from scratch. Granted, I have always loved to cook, but the missing ingredient before I became a Nutritional Therapist was an awareness of the nutritional deficiencies we face today.  Providing delicious broth that is easy to prepare and to digest is the antidote for my family and clients. Learning how to make broth at home is a gateway habit that will lead you back to your kitchen and better health.  Once you get into the habit of preparing broths and stocks, it will become the foundation for enhancing the flavor and nutrition in many other recipes.

“Bone” Broths are also called “Meat” Stocks.  The difference is in the methodology and cooking times.  In the culinary world, the terms are used interchangeably by trained chefs.  For the Weston A. Price followers, health practitioners, and for the purpose of the GAPS Diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell – McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or anyone enjoying bone broth in order to eat more healthfully- there is a significant difference between the two.

  • Think of meat stocks as Grandma’s old remedy of chicken soup when you weren’t feeling well. “Meat” stock is made from meat that has some bones.
  • Meat stock, rather than bone broth is used in the beginning stages of the GAPS protocol to heal the gut.
  • The simmer is for a relatively short time. 3 to 12 hours.
  • There are some advantages to meat stock in time-saving meal prep for home cooks: Meat stock gives you meat to use for salads, tacos, etc. while providing you with a gelatinous broth to drink. It also gives you bones to make bone broth to make in the future. Nice!
  • Is just that – a broth that is made with bony bones like marrow and knuckle; with a combination of meaty bones such as chuck ribs or neck bones. Bony bones yield gelatin and minerals, while the meaty bones will ensure a rich color and a tasty umami flavor.
  • Bone broth is cooked for a very long time, 12 to 24 hours, and sometimes for up to 72 hours!
  • This longer cooking time is advantageous for its superior mineral extraction while retaining the same amazing benefits from amino acids that are found in meat stock.
  • Bone broth, for the purpose of the GAPS diet, is only introduced after the gut is healed and sealed. Some individuals with longstanding gut issues find that consuming bone broth too early before sealing the gut leads to reactions (ex. migraines) to the concentration of free glutamates or histamine allergies that result from the longer cooked gelatin.  Making the transition from “meat stock” to ‘bone broth” is an important step towards awareness in your healing.

See PDF flyer to print at home for beginner recipes and tips.  Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions is a wonderful reference guide and cookbook to have on your bookshelf for additional recipes and support.

A lot!  When you are sipping on something as delicious as bone broth it’s not only soothing for the soul, but you are also getting the nutrition that’s hard to come by in the typical American diet.  The low, slow cooking method draws out the minerals, collagen, and gelatin that have been shown to heal the gut and fight inflammation.

The magic of broth is in the elusive nutrients it renders.

A ton of minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium) are in ionized form in bone broth; this means they are easy to assimilate into our bodies – a true electrolyte solution.  Better yet, add in all your dark green leafy veggies, or kombu for superior mineral content. Bone broth can outrun any Gatorade, making it the best choice for weekend warriors and athletes.

It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of our immune system resides in our gut. This makes bone broth the ideal food when healing the body.  Bone broth contains gut healing amino acids proline and glycine that are beneficial to improving our immunity.   Glycine supports detoxification in the body and helps the body assimilate collagen, collagen being the most abundant protein in our body; it makes up our bones, joints, connective tissues, veins, arteries, and gut cellsProline is essential to cell structures by strengthening their walls.   This is beneficial for people looking to heal the gut from digestive disorders, or those seeking skin and cardiovascular support.  It is also why many believe it is the “fountain of youth” with the more superficial ailments like reducing cellulite or improving lackluster skin.

The superhero nutrient gelatin acts as a hydrocolloid, (attracts and holds liquid) improving gut health by increasing gastric acid secretion.  According to Jonathon Wright, Md., author of Why Stomach Acid is Good for You,  about 90% of Americans produce too little stomach acid.  Low stomach acid impairs digestion and leads to a wide variety of health problems from heartburn to various nutrient deficiencies that impact overall health.  From a holistic health perspective, bringing the body back into balance often starts with addressing the foundation of digestion.  The best intentions of eating well are ineffectual unless you are able to digest and absorb your food; correcting low stomach acid production is key to better health.   Sipping on bone broth is the ideal starter pre-meal practice for the purpose of better digestion.

Healthy, enjoyable, quality tasting broth and stocks must come from healthy, happy, quality animals.  Sourcing your raw ingredients is key to the healing qualities of your broth and stocks.  Don’t worry, finding quality bones and meats is easier than ever thanks in part to the “better meat, but less” movement.  An organization called, is leading the way by highlighting the support of ethically sound and sustainable farming practices while reducing our environmental impact. Please read at your leisure to learn more about the meaning and best practices of grass-fed and quality pastured poultry.

It is easier than ever to find pastured chickens in your local supermarkets and health food stores like Whole Foods.  Chicken stock is perfect for the beginner in all of us, with some of the most inexpensive parts such as the feet and necks, wings, and thighs. Making broth from scratch is easy peasy when it comes to chicken.  With its mild umami flavor, perfect food for babies and toddlers, make it a staple in your kitchen.  Check your local farmer’s markets, health food stores, or the online resources below.   It is always best to support your local farmers.  Please remember: the best skill to have when choosing your ingredients is to read labels and ask questions; make sure you are getting what you paid for.

Bone broths are best when using a mix of different nutrient-rich bones, beef or pork bone, and marrow with smaller meaty cuts. Using bones from your roasts and grass-fed steaks is the best example of “letting nothing go to waste”.  Lately, Whole Foods carry marrow bones in the freezer section.  Two excellent online resources and can also help you in your hunt for quality ingredients and best practices.

Fish broth happens to be delicious, and the most nutritious soup out there.    Sally Fallon’s cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, celebrates fish stock for many reasons.  Fish Broth made from carcasses and heads of fish include not only the important mineral iodine for the thyroid gland, but it also replenishes many of the nutrients that are depleted in our Western eating habits.

Whole fish is easy to prepare for a weekday dinner. Simply stuff the cavity with fresh herbs, butter, and seasoning of choice and bake in the oven for as little as 20 minutes.  Enjoy the sweet taste of the fillet then assemble the fish carcass into pure filtered water with some veggies and herbs. Cook time is even less (1 to 1/2 hours) for a healthy broth, saving you time and money.

Landlocked? Visit for your resource for healthy sustainable fish.

Once you’ve got the 101 on bone broth, the internet is your playground for recipes and inspiration.  A reminder to print your free Hello Palate PDF flyer to get you started!  Enjoy.

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