I have danced in and out of a plant based (mostly vegetarian) lifestyle for 7 years. I feel intuitively called to follow a vegan lifestyle but due to my current chronic health crisis, I have to walk in grace and allow certain sacred and humane animal products to have a place in my life. One of those animal products is a homemade bone broth that nourishes me from the inside out. Each night I sip 8 ounces of this sacred broth and feel nurtured as it makes its way down my body and warms my whole being from the inside out.
While there are several bone broth products that you can purchase at the grocery store, I strongly reccomend making it from scratch. Not only is it significantly cheaper, but you have complete control of the taste, quality, and volume produced. When I make a batch of bone broth, I know exactly where the bones came from, exactly where the vegetables came from, and can add superfoods and herbs to increase the potency of the nutrients in the broth.
To give you an idea of the price difference -- 16 oz. of store bought organic bone broth is priced at $8.00 a carton compared to the $14.00 it costs me to make 96 ounces of homemade bone broth. It may take more time but the price and quality difference is profound.
Bone broth is considered a healing soup and is used as a traditional health tonic in many cultures around the world. People around the world make healing bone broths differently: some use the whole animal, some only specific parts of the animal, others mix and match depending on what is available. One thing, however, never changes and that is that bone broth has been consumed as a sacred form of nourishment throughout the ages. Historically, bone broth has been used to aid and cure ailments that affect connective tissues. It is deeply healing to drink if you have gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, skin or respiratory issues, or issues relating to large muscle groups.
While most people do not consume bone broth regularly in their homes any longer due to a quickened life pace or lack of exposure to this traditional healing remedy, my point is this: we were not meant to just toss a bouillon cube into some water and consider it an adequate broth. Bone broths are meant to be sacred and healing on every level. Homemade bone broth infused with intention and love is incredibly valuable and should not be thrown to the wayside in the midst of our busy and often chaotic lives.
I started drinking bone broth regularly about a year ago to try and heal my gut lining and aid digestion. I was hoping it would help decrease or eliminate any of my symptoms... I didn't even really care which. What I got in return was more than just pacified symptoms. When I drink my homemade bone broth consistently I notice easier digestion, consistent (and healthy) bowel movements, less joint pain, clearer skin, and an increased sense of overall wellbeing. The more I drink it the more I fall in love with it. I can feel the benefits immediately upon drinking and truly love the ritual aspect of making it in small batches and drinking daily. Drinking bone broth has healed my body in ways I could never have imagined. It is a ritual that I cherish and likely will for the rest of my life.
When making bone broth yourself, it is incredibly important to find organic grass-fed and grass-finished beef or chicken bones. The quality of the bones absolutely does matter. I suggest purchasing bones from local farmers that you trust and who abide by organic feeding practices as well as humane living standards. If you are purchasing from a local butcher make sure to ask questions: Were the animals forced to take hormones or antibiotics? Were the animals allowed to roam freely? Were the animals grass fed and grass finished? At the very least, make sure the bones are organic. To me this is non-negotiable. I like to add chicken feet to increase the collagen content in the broth. If you prefer the taste of beef broth, you can add beef knuckles to increase the collagen content. I simmer my broth for 72 hours, adding vegetables, herbs, and supplements in the last 5 hours to increase density of nutrients and add extra flavor.
“Broth contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”
– Sally Fallon
Here is a short list of benefits of this sacred broth, just so you have an idea of how potent and nourishing it is:
Reduces joint pain
Promotes healthy hair and skin
Heals the gut lining
Aids healthy digestion
Fights inflammation in the body
Enhances brain function and mood
You can make the broth in a crock pot or over the stove. (You will be simmering the bones for multiple days without turning it off so if you are away from home several hours a day you may feel more comfortable using a crock pot.) I use the stove and keep the heat on LOW and have no problem.
An important thing to keep in mind while making your broth is to never let the pot get above a SIMMER. This is not like an ordinary soup and therefor you should never allow it to get to a rolling boil. Keeping your broth on the lowest setting helps to slowly extract nutrients without killing off any of the "good stuff." Additionally, make sure you do not salt your broth until the very end. (I like to add a pinch of sea salt to each individual serving.)
Do not get deterred by the gelatin your broth will produce -- you WANT gelatin in your broth! Make sure that 1/3 of the bones in your broth are coming from joints. This ensures that our body is getting nutrients that it recognizes and can convert into collagen to aid joint pain and inflammation. You will know your broth has a good amount of gelatin if it gets clumpy after being chilled. The gelatin in bone broth can be considered for use in the following conditions: food allergies, dairy maldigestion, colic, bean maldigestion, meat maldigestion, grain maldigestion, hypochlorhydria, hyperacidity (gastroesophageal reflux, gastritis, ulcer, hiatal hernia) inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, malnutrition, weight loss, muscle wasting, cancer, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency and anemia.
While this sounds like a lot... please don't be intimidated by this the process of making broth. There is no "wrong" way to make it. At a minimum, all that is required is beef or chicken bones and filtered water. Two simple ingredients that come with a TON of benefits. If you're like me and are afraid to touch animal bones, get someone you love to help you with the process and make sure to make the broth in a spirit of gratitude. I always say a prayer for the animals lives who were sacrificed to heal my body and thank them for offering me their potent medicine.
This is such a beautiful process if you're open to connecting with the animal and the nutrients it provides for your body.
Below I am including two recipes: one is just a simple broth with nothing added and the other is how I make my broth so that it has extra nutrients and a bit more flavor. Both will offer you immense healing and I encourage you to try whichever feels best to you!
PLAIN BONE BROTH:
- 2 lbs. grass-fed, grass-finished beef or chicken bones
- 1 lb. grass-fed, grass-finished beef knuckles or chicken feet
- 1 tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
- Add all bones to pot or crock pot and then cover with clean, filtered water. Add the apple cider vinegar (this helps the bones release all their nutrients) and cover.
- Put on lowest setting and let simmer for 72 hours.
- Separate broth from bones (compost the bones and bits if you are able)
- Let broth cool completely before adding to air tight glass jars to store in fridge or in container of your choice to store in the freezer
- Sip 1 or 2 cups a day and enjoy!
VEGGIE INFUSED HEALING BONE BROTH:
- 5 quarts homemade bone broth (go through process above)
- 1 large bulb of organic fennel with fronds
- 1 bunch organic swiss chard stems
- 4 large organic carrots
- 4 large organic celery stalks
- 2 organic leeks
- 4 stalks organic lemon grass
- 6 cloves organic garlic
- 1 bunch organic flat leaf parsley
- 1 bunch organic cilantro
- 5 inch nob organic ginger
- 5 inch nob organic turmeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp. reishi powder (optional)
- fresh lemon juice
- Roughly chop all vegetables and herbs and add to bone broth. (If you want to eat the vegetables in the broth like a soup, chop finely instead).
- Cover and simmer on lowest setting for 1-5 hours.
- Separate vegetables from broth and add broth to air tight glass jars once completely cool. (Compost veggies if you are able -- or save to eat with broth, like a soup, later.)
- Serve with squeeze of fresh lemon, topped with fresh cilantro or parsley, curry powder, or salt and pepper.
Have you made bone broth before? If so, how has it supported your wellness? I want to hear!
For more information, or to read evidence about the power of bone broth, click here.