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The longer I practice, the more I find that eating more traditional foods are really an integral part of keeping good health. Like many other traditional healers, I truly believe that the best health starts with optimal digestion and a healthy GI tract.
Your GI tract is literally the meeting ground of outside (food) to inside (you), which is why it is so critical to keep this meeting ground healthy and stable.There are so many factors that influence the health of this key organ system – such as the quantity and quality of gut flora, hydrochloric acid production by the stomach to breakdown protein, enzyme production to break down carbs and fats, stress and inflammation.
As part of my own health quest, I have recently taken to making and consuming bone broth on a regular basis, and I wanted to share with you the benefits of this health elixir.
Bone broth is also known as stock. It seems like the days of simmering bones on the stovetop belong to stories of the pioneers – evidence indicates we have actually been making broth since Paleolithic times! Clearly our ancestors were aware of its healing benefits and as a source of incredible nutrition. It is also an efficient use of what has always been the most valued part of the human diet: animal foods.
This is what bone broth offers:
1) It is a mineral dense food.
Calcium is probably the number one mineral people are conscious of intake, when in reality it is just one of the main minerals we need. Bone broth not only is a good source of calcium and magnesium (both needed as macrominerals 0r in larger quantity) but also many trace minerals we need for optimal health.
2) It is good for your joints.
Broth is an excellent and easily digestible source of glycoaminoglycans – a fancy word for bone building proteins.
3) It is easy to digest.
Broth is essentially predigested! That makes it super easy for your system to benefit from all of it’s healthful ingredients.
4) It helps to heal the digestive tract.
Broth is rich in gelatin – which acts like an soother of the intestinal tract, easing inflammation and doing repair as it slides on through.
5) It reduces your need for protein.
As an excellent source of the amino acids arginine and glycine – it is what we call “protein-sparing,” which means your body can make better use of the protein you do eat, allowing you to reduce your overall meat/protein consumption.
6) It nourishes your hair, skin & nails.
See points 1 & 2 above, enough said.
7) It is extremely affordable.
People will often complain about the costs of real food compared to processed food, but when it comes to broth, it just doesn’t get easier. It utilizes the part of the animal that often will end up getting trashed! If you don’t save your own bones, you can get them from the butcher at very economical prices.
8) It adds flavour to other foods.
Broth simply makes other foods taste better, hands down. I add it to soups, stew, rice, curry. Anywhere where you want a savoury liquid.
So how do you go about getting this incredible nutrient rich food into your diet? You can use a standard stock pot and simmer overnight, but I prefer to use a large crockpot which makes it even easier.
- A large stock pot/crockpot
- Several pounds of bones – kitchen scraps, chicken carcasses, or from the local butcher (hormone and antibiotic free). Include the joints and ligaments – these are important.
- Veggie scraps like onion peels, garlic peels, carrots, celery, peppers, or veggies that are past their prime (but not to the point of being moldy)
- 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to help to leach the minerals out of the bones.
- Optional: fresh herbs and spices. Use what you like…after a few tries, you will get a better sense of which flavours appeal to you most.
- Put the bones, veggie scraps, vinegar, and herbs into the stock/crockpot or Instant Pot. Cover with filtered water.
- If using a stock pot, bring to a boil and skim any foam off the top. Reduce the heat on your stove to the lowest possible and gently simmer your broth for at least 8 hours, up to 48 hours. I find simmering overnight to be highly convenient, so that it doesn’t occupy your stove during cooking times.
- For a crockpot, put on low for a minimum of 24 hours. I let mine stay for up to one week! I take out what I drink daily and replace with water…towards the end of the week (days 5 to 7), I’ll harvest 1 L for the freezer in addition to my daily dose. To drink/store it – strain out the bones and veggies, and either use immediately, or store in glass container in the fridge. It keeps up to a week, whatever I don’t use/dring, I freeze for later.
- If using an Instant Pot, fill water to the max line. Set the manual timer to 120 minutes on high pressure. At the end, your result should be quite gelatinous and the remaining bones quite soft. Strain and enjoy.
You can drink it like tea in the mornings or the evenings, sometimes throughout the day. Makes for a great light lunch or coffee substitute on a winter afternoon!