For anyone who knows me all, he/she is aware of the fact that I am on a fervent quest to heal my gut and sort out my digestion issues. I consider myself a pretty ardent person, so when I want something fixed, I use every tool in my toolbox to make it happen. I have been on this journey for quite some time now. Many stones have been unturned over the years, but I still can’t say with conviction that I have fully solved the mystery of my gastrointestinal tract. Having read many books, engaged in countless hours of personal research, consulted with conventional and alternative medicine doctors and practitioners, and spoken to anyone and everyone who happens upon my war path, I certainly have made some progress and am fairly confident with my theories. A deleterious combination of years on antibiotics and BC pills plus a high sugar / alcohol diet left me with an overgrowth of candida. Candida is actually a fungus (lovely!) which is a form of yeast. Everyone (even those steel gut lucky bastards!) is supposed to have a very small amount of the candida yeast in his/her mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and absorption but, when overproduced, candida breaks down the wall of the intestine causing Leaky Gut Syndrome (how delicious does that sound?). In Leaky Gut Sydrome, the “glue” between the cells that line the intestines is destroyed and spaces open up between the cells. With holes in the protective barrier, pieces of undigested food, microbes and toxins are able to slip through and into the body. The immune system responds and attacks these ‘foreign’ invaders causing food sensitivities to develop.
As you can see, one terrible thing leads to the next, which is why it is so, so important to be on top of your gut health. For those of us unlucky folks with unfortunate digestive symptoms, we have to make a provident effort to restore healthy intestinal flora, support digestion and heal our intestinal lining. This is where bone broth comes in!
There are so many reasons why bone broth is something to add to your culinary repertoire. Here are ten:
1. Heals Leaky Gut - The gelatin in bone broth restores the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and the glycine supports digestion of nutrients by stimulating secretion of gastric acids.
2. Fights infections - Bone broth has been shown to reduce the number of white blood cells which are the cells that cause colds and flus.
3. Combats inflammation - Bone broth is high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline.
4. Supports healthy bones and teeth - Bone broth is rich in calcium and phosphorous which are the two main minerals that compose our bones.
5. Reduces arthritis and join pain - Glucosamine and chondroitin reduce pain and inflammation in damaged joints and can prevent or slow the breakdown of cartilage.
6. Produces strong hair and fingernails - Gelatin supports connective tissue in the body.
7. Helps with sleep quality - Magnesium and glycine have a relaxing effect on the body.
8. Cheap! - A bag of bones at the Farmer’s Market will cost you about five bucks.
9. Relatively simple / low maintenance - Once you’ve got it prepped, you can walk away for 12-72 hours while it works its magic.
10. Has a richer, deeper, heartier flavour than store-bought stocks
How do you use it?
In addition to using as a base for soups and stews, it’s a perfect cooking medium for grains and veggies. You can use it baste roasting meats. I’m not a big gravy or sauce fan, but you can use it to make these as well. My favourite way to have my bone broth is to put it in a mug and drink it! If you want to up the immunity ante, add some crushed garlic. Boom!
What do you need?
- Stock pot or 5-6 quart slow cooker
- Fine mesh sieve for straining
- How do you make it?
- Grass-fed bones – lamb, beef, etc – 2-3 kg or 5-8 lbs
- Veggies or veggie scraps – carrots, onions, celery, garlic and any washed peelings, tops, leaves
- 3-4 litres of cold filtered water
- 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2-3 Bay leaves or some sprigs of thyme
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
Roast the bones at 350 degrees for about an hour until the bones are well browned. This is optional - for flavor. Add bones to slow cooker along with veggies and scraps. Add filtered water to cover and bring to a boil, or place on slow cooker high setting. Reduce heat and add the vinegar and bay leaves/thyme and peppercorns. Let simmer for between 12-72 hours. I usually simmer mine about 24 hours. Take off the heat and pull the bigger bones out (with tongs) and strain the rest through a mesh sieve into a large bowl.
Cover and put in the fridge to cool. The congealed fat will rise to the top so that you can scrape it off. You can either dump it or reserve it for cooking.
How do you store it?
In the fridge for up to a week. Freeze in ice cube trays for easy additions to sautéed veggies. Otherwise, portion out into freezer bags and keep in freezer for up to 6 months.