Unlocking the Healing Potential of Bone Broth
The world has shrunk! Globalisation has reduced the distance that food needs to take to get to our plates. That means we can have strawberries in Winter, beans from Kenya out of season and exotic supplements like the Camu Camu berry from the Amazon Jungle, all year round.
Well, in the face of all this overwhelming choice, seasonal became a little bit boring.
There are a few things wrong with all this exotic choice though. Firstly, is the impact on the environment… why supplement collagen made from grass fed cows which is processed and packaged in the US, flown or shipped over and then distributed across the country you live in to reach your kitchen cupboards, if there is a way to have that unpackaged, unprocessed and local?
Why have vitamins and minerals that are synthesised in a lab, pressed with fillers into a tablet, packed in plastic tubs and distributed using finite fuels around the globe when you can create your own nutrition cheaply and easily at home and these are natural, not synthetic vitamins… not to mention – no fillers.
What if there was a wonder food that cost almost nothing, used up waste, contained all the building blocks your body needs to make protein, bone and other connective tissues and gave you a formidable range of vitamins and minerals for great health!
Broth and stock are some of the most nutrient dense foods we can produce at home. We can either use left over bones and joints from roasts or cooked meat or we can go and ask our butcher for bones and slow cooking meats (which often cost less too). One of the most nutritious foods to make bone broth from is chicken wings leftovers.
When we cook joints slowly, the cartilage softens. This breaks down the proteins into highly digestible forms which means that when you consume the broth, you are able to absorb much more of the goodness for much less work than if you were just eating it prior to slow cooking. Contained in a broth will be collagen which is used in tissue repair including healthy skin; glucosamine and chondroitin which are often bought as a supplement and are excellent for joints, arthritis and aches and pains. Also, minerals from bones will leach out into the broth if you add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the broth when cooking, phosphorous, calcium and magnesium are used to make healthy bones and these will be present in the broth and in a bioavailable form.
Many people spend a fortune on expensive supplements like Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis when this is simply present in the deeply nutritive broths that we can make easily at home.
Every different plant you eat in a week contributes towards a healthy microbiome, you should aim for a minimum of 30 different kinds of fruits and vegetables as the variety is the key to great health. Remember that a portion is a handful for that person.
If you do suffer with arthritis or need to repair a damaged joint, then including broth in your diet every day will put you on track for excellent health.
Broth also contains compounds that heal a leaky gut. This is where the tight junctions of the gut lining become damaged due to a poor diet, medications and stress. Eating regular broths will help to patch up the gut lining ‘gaps’ (Dr N Campbell-McBride) and over time can help to lower food intolerances, allergies and strengthen the immune system.
Slow Cooker Chicken Broth
- 1 slow cooker
- 2 kg leftover chicken bones (or 1 whole stewing chicken)
- 2-6 chicken feet (not compulsory)
- 1-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3.5 litres filtered water (approximately)
- 2-3 celery sticks
- 1 large yellow or red onion (root end taken off and skin left on, quartered)
- pinch sea salt (to taste)
- Place the bones and feet if you use them, into the slow cooker, add the vinegar and water to cover and leave to stand for 30/60 minutes.
- Add celery and onions, cover and cook on low for a day, you can add more water if needed.
- Remove the bones and feet with tongs and if this was just bones, strain through a sieve and use as a base for soups, curries, bolognaise sauce, gravies, casseroles or even as a tasty savoury drink.
- If you cooked with a whole chicken. Remove the feet and any hard onion skins and leaving the meat into the broth, boil any other vegetables you would like to add and eat as a casserole/stew.