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Beautiful Bone Broth Benefits

April 10, 2013

(I despise alliterations.  But the title really does fit.)

More than a year ago I decided to make bone broth a regular part of my family’s diet.  The more I learned about its restorative properties the more I just couldn’t resist!  So, for the past year I’ve been making bone broths of many kinds–beef, chicken, turkey, fish.  You name it.  If I had bones and “parts” (knuckles, joints, feet, innards) I was making broth.  Sometimes I incorporate it into soups, beans, gravies, etc.  Sometimes we all just drink a cup of broth for lunch along with some toast and pate or a cheese plate.

It made me feel good to feed this “miracle food” to my family.  When you drink a cup of homemade bone broth you feel genuinely nourished, not just fed.  Plus, for a dietary/lifestyle change it was EASY on the pocketbook!  I mean, sometimes bones are practically free.  You make a roast or cook a bird, you have the bones left!  If you buy a whole fish, you have all the most nutritious parts (head, tail, and bones) as leftovers!  May as well use them up rather than waste them!  When I went to buy bones, however, I noticed the butcher is practically giving them away!  I can get fish heads and tails, chicken feet, pig hooves, etc. and never pay more than 1.99 per pound.  That’s a LOT of nutritional bang for your buck!


So, it’s been an easy, cheap, and “green” thing to do.  I recently realized a blissful side-effect of our daily bone broth consumption.  Let me give you a brief history so that you understand why I feel this is not just pleasant, but BLISSFUL!  I am six months into my eighth pregnancy.  I’ve felt that all my pregnancies were “healthy.”  And by that I mean I haven’t required any medical help and all the children have been born naturally at home.  However, looking back I can definitely see where my diet could have used some improvement from time-to-time.  We can all do a little better, right?  The pregnancy discomforts I did experience (swelling, muscle cramps, fatigue, digestive upset, etc.) I just chalked up to normal pregnancy woes.  Didn’t feel there was much I could do about any of it.

In the last two pregnancies I’ve experienced muscles cramps that hurt like H.E.Doule-Hockeysticks.  Expecting mommies often complain of these at night, especially in their legs.  The cramps I had were in my belly!  It was not like a contraction.  It was a round ligament cramp that would wake me up like a flash and have me in tears.  I’d have to elbow my husband who would run to the kitchen, grab the liquid calcium/magnesium and give me several spoonfuls.  And the pain would gradually start to ease.  This little episode was repeated with increasing frequency in the last pregnancy especially.  I was not looking forward to a repeat performance in this pregnancy.

Like I said, I’m six months into this pregnancy.  And guess what? No cramps.  It occurred to me just the other day.  My muscles feel great.  I don’t feel fatigued and there is no cramping.

Thinking through the changes we made in the last year, I’m convinced that it has been the bone broth!!!!  I ran my hypothesis by The Food Renegade.  She said, “It’s definitely the calcium. You would have had a similar response if you had increased your dairy consumption, too! It also goes to show the difference between supplemented calcium and calcium from FOOD.”  Although increasing our dairy intake would have been great, the bone broth has been a much cheaper endeavor than grass-fed, raw dairy.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  –Hippocrates

Bone broth is a treasure!  It provides:

calcium ~ magnesium ~ phosphorus ~ silicon ~ sulfur ~ chondroitin ~  glucosamine ~ gelatin ~ collagen ~ protein ~  hyaluronic acid ~ and a host of other trace minerals

It’s very easy to make.  Here’s how to do it:

Place bones on a baking sheet, along with some vegetables (onion, celery, and carrots are good).  Roast in the oven at 400F until they are all toasty and brown.

Place the bones and vegetables in a pot and cover with water.  Add several tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice.  (The added acid will draw out more minerals from the bones.)

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer on the back burner.  Back burner, because you are going to let it simmer for a day or two.  Alternately you can simmer it in the crockpot.  

Watch it for the first hour or so and skim off any icky-looking foam that rises to the surface.  This foam won’t hurt you, but broth is tastier if you skim it off. As it simmers you may need to add more water from time-to-time.

When your broth is a beautiful rich color strain out the bones!  If the bones are not yet brittle (meaning you can break or crush them in your fingers) it means there are still some valuable minerals locked inside!  Feel free to add some water and fresh vegetable and process again!  The beautiful broth you are left with can be further flavored with salt, pepper, herbs, etc.  Drink it as is, use it as a base for soup or beans, or freeze it for future recipes.

We’ve been keeping a perpetual broth going most of the time.  Meaning, I start the week with fresh bones and vegetables and I simmer it in the crockpot.  I ladle it straight from there into cups for drinking or other recipes.  And I keep replacing the water.  We drink from that all week long until the bones are completely brittle.

What a miracle tonic!  If you suffer from muscle cramps, arthritis, gout, digestive upset, fatigue, compromised immune system–or if you just want another way to get vital nutrition in a food form, give it a try!  You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot of health to gain!

“Soup has always been a mainstay of peasant fare, the perfect way to combine the cheapest ingredients or even scraps (bones, knuckles, some chicken feet) to make a delicious and nourishing broth. A good pot of soup should restore and nourish. In France, the word restoratif described soups and stews sold at roadside taverns to weary travellers. They were a source of sustenance for those who were unwell and an antidote to physical exhaustion. The concept of a restoratif bowl of soup eventually expanded to describe any place people could stop for a sustaining meal – that is, a restaurant.

Stock is the basis of all good soup-making. Stock can be made from almost anything – bones heads, tails, vegetable scraps and cooking water. Making stock out of odds and ends reduces the cost of home cooking and also decreases kitchen waste. Bone stocks made using the gelatinous parts of the animal are the most nutritious. Many traditional groups placed enormous value on bone stock. It was inexpensive and easy to make, was an important meansof keeping well nourished, and ensured that no part of the animal went to waste. Gelatin-rich stock has many powerful properties. It can strengthen the skin, cartilage, bones, heart, muscles and immune system. Animal feet, marrow and shank are particularly rich in gelatin, so don’t throw those chicken feet out – use them!” (Arabella Forge, Frugavore: How to Grow Your Own, Buy Local, Waste Nothing and Eat Well)

Disclaimer – The nutrition information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the writers to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have.  Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

(Linked to Wildcrafting WednesdayEncourage One Another Link-Up!, Allergy Free WednesdayTasty Traditions, Wise Woman Link-Up, Mostly Homemade MondaysFight Back Fridays! and My Pregnancy Journal Link-Up)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2013 3:39 am

    Thank you for shaing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Bone broth is great, I just have to remember to let it cook longer. 🙂

  2. Isabelle permalink
    April 25, 2013 5:10 am

    I bought some grass fed beef bones and knuckles and they were thick bones, I cooked them in the crockpot for 24hrs, us that long enough even though the bones where still hard?

    • April 25, 2013 5:24 am

      You can certainly start drinking it, Isabelle! It will have plenty of minerals and goodness in it already. But, don’t throw out the bones! Keep cooking them! Probably for about a week. Keep drinking it as it cooks as well.

      I keep my bones going and just ladle out what I want, replacing the water and a splash of vinegar as needed.



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