The Significance of Bone Broth

Bone broth not only supports a healthy body weight, it packs a nutritional punch unlike any other food when cooked.  The first year of making my own bone broth I made a less than superior broth.  While I drank it and used it in all of my recipes, I absolutely did not enjoy it. I felt like a kid, holding my nose.

Since then, I’ve learned that consistency and a slow simmer is key to unlocking its nutritional potential.  How do you know you have gotten all of the good stuff out of any bone? Most bones will crumble, and a simple test is the jelly-like consistency after it has been sitting in the refrigerator.  It will look like a jiggling blob. Or, it will be a very thick syrup consistency like a Greek yogurt.  When I see it, I think of the Stephen King horror story, The Raft, where they are hunted and eaten by a dark blob coming out of the lake.  My first year of making and consuming bone broth haunts me like this Stephen King story.

With bone broth, you no longer need to spend any money on nutritional supplements (but yes, check with your doctor).  It all comes out of the bone, transferred to you via “the Blob.”  The slow simmer releases a plethora of essential nutrients:

  • Anti-inflammatory proteins
  • Gut-healing proteins
  • Healthy fats
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids
“But I can tell you right now, you’ll get the most bang for your buck, and the fastest return on investment, if you learn to enjoy something that many kids in many countries aside from this one will fight each other for—the organ meats. These were the original vitamin supplements”

Shanahan MD, Catherine (2011-04-22). Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food (p. 72). Big Box Books. Kindle Edition.

Basic Broth is like a one-stop shop for eating.  I almost feel like saying that you could eat/drink almost nothing else and not starve.  My experience does back this up; I can have soup only twice a day and be completely satiated, emotionally and physically.  “Man cannot live on bread alone,” but they probably could on broth!  Using a mixture of bones and joints in the soup pot will even help strengthen your own skeletal system as well as your resolve to Reset.  Add veggies in the broth and you really do have a complete meal.  Spice it up with some fermented garlic, peppers, or sauerkraut after it cools.

It is common knowledge now in weight loss circles that proteins are important to effective weight loss.  However, I have known many people that adopt a high protein diet plan to lose the weight but then spiral back up in weight after they complete that diet.  Fortunately, even with the edible meats scraped off, bones still have protein.  By volume, the bone is close to 50% protein[i], more if you account for the connective tissue soaking in the soup pot.  The blob consistency is actually another protein called gelatin.  Gelatin is better than Botox, cheaper too, because it contains collagen.  A great side effect of bone broth is healthier skin, nails, and hair!

These connective tissues are the basis for the anti-inflammatory benefits of bone broth.  As long as I am consuming bone broth, my arthritis disappears.  I haven’t always suffered the pain of arthritis; it was a “gift that keeps giving” from Lyme’s Disease. When I am over a certain weight, which for me is 170 pounds, my hips constantly ache as well.  While I don’t notice not having arthritis, I do feel when I haven’t had enough broth because the pain comes back.   Dr. Shahanan’s research found that the nutritional content in the bone broth is actually targeting places like my hip and repairing the damage![ii]  Not only does bone broth help me lose weight, it repairs me from the inside so that I can enjoy a healthier, non-arthritic body!

My experiences are backed by statistical studies on how these proteins help stop the autoimmune response to inflammation.  Chicken collagen improved symptoms in 60 patients who participated in one study, with four people having a complete remission.  The study “demonstrate(d) clinical efficacy of an oral tolerization approach for rheumatoid arthritis.”[iii]  The carbohydrates in bones also provide relief from joint pain because it contains glucosamine, an expensive over the counter supplement taken by many people.  The plain collagen released from the bone has been found to be the most effective derived from the natural food source.

The weight loss that results from bone broth is also due to the nutrients that support digestion.  These are typically labeled as “gut-healing.”  Combined with nutrient-dense foods, bone broth has a natural antacid that suppresses bile while at the same time correcting acid reflux and low acid issues.  The key nutrient at work here is glycine, keeping the digestive system flowing nicely.  This component of bile acid also is necessary for fat digestion in the small intestine.  If bone broth is a constant part of your Reset, chances are that the visceral fat (tummy bulge) will disappear!

Bone broth tends to have a calming effect on the stomach, especially when combined with probiotics, which is another component of the Basic 3.  Glycine is a key factor in the detox benefit of this Reset, which is the trigger for many stomach and blood-brain issues.  Another amino acid in bone broth is glutamine.  These two nutrients will work together to stabilize the gut lining, decreasing many autoimmune reactions.   Read more details about this inner working in the GAPS book, if interested.

Dr. Shahanan also explains the gut’s connection to disease.  A diet rich in carbohydrates (more than 100-150 grams of carbs per day) will create inflammation throughout the body, which leads to weight gain in addition to other medical conditions.  In contrast, diets high in natural fat are anti-inflammatory and help the body burn stored fat.[iv]  Therefore, cooking even the animal skin in the broth is extremely beneficial.

Bone broth made with several different cuts of bone meat, such as leg bones and joints, will have a boost from bone marrow in the soup pot.    Bone marrow is like a super food, and many NYC culinary restaurants now serve marrow butter and other delicatessen dishes with this organ meat.  It contains all the good stuff that your body needs for a stellar immune system and bone growth, speeding recovery from injuries.

Bone broth is high in minerals.  Left in the soup pot long enough, smaller bones like chicken or fish will literally crumble and dissolve into the liquids. Chicken feet (eek) are excellent for bone broth as well and they virtually disappear after a few days so you don’t have to find them!  My husband is not a fan of this, as he can taste the fine “bone grit” that I leave in the broth.  I like to mix my animal bones in my soup pot for a better flavor variety as well as the different minerals and nutrients from each bone source.   Minerals tend to have a calming effect on the body, playing a vital role in nerve impulse transmission, while other minerals are the building blocks of cell growth.

Like Swimming with Dory, “Just Keep Brothing”

I cannot stress enough the importance of making, incorporating, and actually drinking or using bone broth for weight loss.  Yes, there have been times where bone broth cubes have chilled for way too long in my freezer or a bone broth soup jar became part of the landscape until it was thrown away when more fridge room was needed (bone broth will go rancid after a few weeks due to the protein content).  Honestly, the success of stable, long-term weight loss requires bone broth at points along the way.  I’ve incorporated soups with bone broth into our family meal plan twice weekly.

While I prefer drinking chicken bone broth over beef bone, I have thrown out all store bought, even organic, bouillons in order to make myself use it!  I throw a bone broth cube in almost everything dinner recipe that I cook: taco meat, soups, stews, crockpot meals and casseroles.  When a recipe calls for water, most often I will throw in some bone broth; this is especially true for pasta, grains, and ground beef.  I found that tomatoes and beans mask much of its flavors best for my enjoyment.

If my stomach is upset from something I just ate and I’m really bloated, I’ll make a quick “cup o’broth” to settle it quickly.  If my arthritis is rearing its ugly head again, making stairs unbearable, I’ve found that a good two weeks of daily broth assuages it.  If I need to lose a few more pounds, I’ll incorporate bone broth foods.  ‘Them bones reward any flattery you throw their way!

If you are stuck at a weight loss plateau or feel food cravings or moodiness creeping back in, brothing is the Basic I highly recommend adding immediately in to your life, at least until you achieve your desired result.  “Good broth resurrects the dead,” the saying goes in many Latin American kitchens, and it has been a staple in the Asian culture for centuries as well [i].

Consuming-if not at least enjoying, bone broth is key to quick weight loss because it helps the body detox, working in conjunction with the replenishing of gut bacteria from probiotic sources.  You should see good, steady weight loss results if you aim for bone broth as a “cup o’broth” or a main meal more than twice a week.  Fortunately, it’s easy to include broth in any meal, without it being a broth base for soups or stews.  Given time, you will more than likely find your individual body’s balance for shedding weight or maintaining weight.  Personally, I only need two bone broth soups per week once my weight has been Reset. Yay!

What To Do, What To Do…

So hunt down a local butcher, buy the weird looking bones for sale in the meat department that you’ve always avoided, and start buying and saving bones from your purchased meats.  Throw it all in a bag in the freezer until you have about 5-7 pounds of bones.  Save all your veggie scraps, too, for your broth.  Fill the pot up with bones and scraps and simmer away!  Crock pots are great for smaller batches, like 1-2 whole chickens.

 

Sources:

[i] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/01/22/how-bone-broth-became-kobe-bryants-secret-stone-age-weapon/

[ii] http://gapsdiet.com/INTRODUCTION_DIET.html

[i] (Paleo Leap n.d.)

[ii] Shanahan, Catherine, Food Rules, 2010

[iii] (Department of Medicine n.d.)

[iv] Shanahan, Catherine, Food Rules, 2010

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