Drinking bone broth has major health benefits. Like, crazy, amazing how-have-I-never-tried-this-before health benefits. But I gotta tell you, in the beginning, I really didn't want to hop on the broth bandwagon.
I try very hard to make paleo approachable for myself, and for you, my readers. Because if something is too hard or out of reach, I'm not going to keep doing it, you're not going to keep doing it, and we all lose. My guess is that when you hear bone broth, you think laborious, extreme, and a little odd, right?
Here were my initial thoughts: SIMMER BONES?! WHA? WHY? THAT WILL TAKE LIKE A MILLION YEARS.
But I'm also one of these people that will try anything. And sometimes, when I try it, I can't get enough of it. Can you guess what happened next?
Well, I'm sitting here writing a blog post about my fantastic experience with it, so you can imagine, it went well.
As always, let’s start with the why.
Why are we drinking bones?
There are a ton of nutrients in bones, marrow, skin, feet, tendons and ligaments that we can’t get by eating the meat. But you CAN simmer the bones and bits in a crock pot for a couple of days to get these babies to release their healing compounds.
What are their healing compounds?
Minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb, i.e. Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Silicon, Sulphur
Okay, okay. WHAT CAN IT DO FOR ME?
Reduce Joint Pain and Inflammation
It almost makes TOO much sense. Drinking broth from healthy bones will help strengthen your own bones. Duh! All of that cartilage that you’ve lost over the years – either through general wear and tear or from hard-core soccer/basketball/volleyball/insert high-impact-sport-here injuries, can benefit greatly from readily absorbable collagen and gelatin. (Kari Ferguson, you soccer stud – if you are reading this, I am talking to you 🙂 )
Make Your Stomach Happy
Eating “healthy food” can only help you if your body can absorb it properly. Otherwise, you’re not getting near the amount of nutrients from that kale salad or salmon and asparagus dinner that you should be getting. Bone broth is very easy for your body to digest and absorb. Why? Because it has collagen in it. Which plays really nice with your GI tract and your colon. So the more you drink bone broth, the more it heals the digestive tract, and the better it can take in nutrients from other food.
Prettier Skin, Hair and Nails
You’ve heard of collagen before. You know. The stuff that helps reduce wrinkles, decrease puffiness, and helps grow nails and hair. You can buy it in little fancy jars for a lot of money or you can go to a plastic surgeon to get it injected in your face. OR you can drink it in bone broth.
Immune System Booster
Remember up there when I said it was good for your digestion? For that same reason, it’s an awesome supporter of the immune system. When your food isn’t digested properly (happens more often than you think), undigested particles from food leak into the bloodstream where the immune system detects them. It freaks out and starts attacking healthy tissue and inflames the body. Good gut health = good immune system = less colds, flu and overall sicknesses.
That's not it. There is more. Lots more. Because everything listed above affects other areas of the body. Your stomach is connected to your brain is connected to your emotions. You fix one thing, you fix another. But I thought I'd stop there for today so we can get on to the good stuff.
My Experience with Bone Broth
The first time I made it, it was really a result of just cooking a whole chicken and the bones were already in my Crock Pot. So I Googled the heck out of it, obsessed over whether I was doing it right, over-thought it, as usual, but eventually ended up with 4 jars of gelatin-like broth for my freezer. I didn't really know what to do with it yet, so I do what I always do when I'm overwhelmed, I put it in my freezer.
Well, a rainy day came. A dull, hungover, stomach-ache, swollen gland, kind of day. Ya. Ugh. I remembered the broth in the freezer and decided to go for it. Every symptom that it has been shown to help, I had. So down the hatch it went, and the results were pretty amazing.
- My throat immediately felt soothed for the first time that day.
- My sinuses finally gave it a rest from their inflamed state.
- I slept like a baby that night.
- After day two of broth-drinking, my digestion was finally back to normal and that cold that I thought was coming, never arrived.
*Note: I drank about 5 cups over the two days because I wasn't feeling well. This is more than you'd need on a regular basis.
From that moment on, I used it as my emergency medicine. Only if I was sick was it worth making it.
Low and behold, a few weeks later, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. This time, not because I was sick, but because my muscles were uber sore from a particularly hard workout that included lots of hand stand push ups and pull ups. Broth is supposed to be good for joint pain and muscle aches, right? YUP.
- It was like I had put muscle relaxer on all the sore parts, but better.
- I was better the next day, when usually after a workout like that, my muscles are sore for at least two days.
Now, I've crossed over. I am officially a regular morning broth drinker. I figure, why not be preventive? This stuff is AWESOME. Attack the cold, stomach ache or joint ache before they've even really started. A totally in-tact digestive system. Stronger nails and longer hair. Plus, it's also shown to be one of the foods that are ideal for fertility. And you all know how I love my Fertility Food :). What's not to like? And the best part is, it's not nearly as difficult as everybody makes it out to be.
I've spelled it out for you in 9 steps below and given you my tips and notes along the way. But please do one thing for me? If you decide to make it, do it the simplest way possible just to try it. If you want to get more complicated after that, go for it. But all you really need is bones + water + 24-48 hours. Set it on low on your Crock Pot and walk away. Seriously. It's NOT THAT COMPLICATED.
Things I’ve Learned After My 17th Try of Making Broth
- Most people will tell you to skim the stuff off as you go. You can do this if you want to, but why skim as I go if I’m just going to strain it all out at the end anyway? Seems like unnecessary work to me.
- I made making the broth part of my bi-weekly routine. Every other week, I make a big batch (using the recipe below), so I never have to scramble to make it when I really need it. I keep most of it in the freezer so I don't feel forced to use it immediately, and keep one jar in the refrigerator so it's defrosted and ready to drink.
- You DON’T have to cook an animal to get the bones. Just go to the freezer section near produce or your local butcher and ask for leftover bones. They always have bones. And they will always sell them to you for cheap. I do recommend sticking to places like Whole Foods or a butcher you can trust to have healthy, grass-fed, GMO-free animals. Remember, the animal you eat matters. If it was healthy, it’s bones will be healthy.
- That said, as you cook, make sure to save your bones as you go! I keep them in a freezer bag and just add to it every time we cook chicken drumsticks or steak.
- In order to keep the jars from exploding in the freezer (this happened to me multiple times until my husband kindly explained to me the concept of physics), you don’t want to fill the jars all the way to the top. You also don’t want to close the jar top all the way when you first put it in there (you can go back later and screw it tighter). Because liquid expands as it freezes, it WILL expand the glass until it can’t hold it anymore. Eesh.
Alrighty boys and girls. Now it's time to actually show you how to make this golden tonic. But I'm not just going to leave you with a broth how-to. I'm going to leave you with a recipe for how you can actually enjoy it as your morning drink (AFTER coffee, of course).
You ready for the recipe? Let’s do it.
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