I’ve been sipping bone broth regularly for over a year now and see that it has become trendy now in lots of health circles. I know this is controversial for those of us wanting to turn away from animal products but still feel like the benefits are significant enough to at least report my experience and research results of bone broth. I am sorry to say that I have been unable to find a vegan alternative that compares in benefits to bone broth. I welcome any information to the contrary, especially in regards to healing the gut.
Here are some of the purported benefits of bone broth:
- Relieves aching joints
- Improves the look and feel of your skin and hair
- Takes years off your appearance
- Heals your gut
- Helps you lose weight
- Strengthens blood and thus helps with Insomnia (Chinese Medicine)
- Assists Immune system due to high mineral content of broth
If bone broth did even one of these things, it would be well worth taking it. There is compelling evidence that it has a positve influence on all the above mentioned things. Pretty amazing, don’t you agree? In general, I find I feel better since I have been using it. Specifically, it has helped heal problems I have had with digestion and gut issues. I would often not feel very well after eating, suffering a plethora of symptoms as varied as bloating and gas, indigestion and intestinal discomfort, and things such as lethargy and tiredness. This doesn’t happen very much anymore and I attribute it to my taking bone broth. There is science behind this claim….basically, key components in the bone broth like gelatin and cartilage mend the lining in your intestines that has been damaged by gluten, drugs, (both prescribed and over-the-counter), smoking, and alcohol consumption, and stress. If you have any issues with leaky gut, IBS, gas or bloating, or indigestion you owe it to yourself to implement this ancient but effective treatment for these gut related issues.
I now have almost no problems with aches and pains in my joints, where I used to feel twinges somewhat regularly. In particular, I have a RSI in my neck and shoulder caused by 20+ years of being a Sports Therapist. It does flair up from time to time after a busy week, but not nearly as often as before and not nearly as severe. I also used to have a niggle in my right hip and knee that is absolutely, 100% gone. I am not sure if I “look younger” or not – that is not why I started taking bone broth – but think my facial skin is clearer and brighter.
Here’s the thing: Bone broth is so inexpensive, and it is natural and risk free. So it will be so easy for you to try it yourself and let your body be your laboratory to test it out. You have nothing to lose and much to gain by this experiment.
How to make it:You can use either a stock pot on top of the stove, or a crock pot. Cover chicken bones or beef marrow bones with cold water. In theory, you can use any type of bones, but these are the kinds I have used.(They can be raw, but I like the taste of the broth better if I roast them first) Add whatever you want in the way of seasoning. I quarter a small onion, cut a celery stalk in 4 pieces, and halve and then quarter a carrot to put in with the bones. I generally put in a small amount of natural sea salt and pepper, and a sprig of thyme or rosemary if I have it. Bring the water and bones to a boil, then turn it down to a very low setting so the bones can simmer for between 12 and 18 hours. (12 for chicken; 18 for heavy beef marrow bones.)
I know that sounds like a long time, but it is necessary in order to leach all the goodness out of the bones. You want all the minerals, gelatin, and cartilage to end up in the broth you will be eating. Most people new to bone broth do not simmer the bones long enough, and it can make one nervous to leave the bones simmering for that long. Just be sure that the broth is on a very low setting and the water covers the bones. You’ll just have to do it once to see that it will be ok!
Let the broth and bones cool a bit when they are done, then strain the broth into containers with a colander or sieve. Important step: Let the broth chill in the fridge for a few hours before you plan to use it, so you can easily lift off all the fat which will come to the top when cold. You will notice that the broth is no longer a liquid, but is very gelatinous. This is a very good sign.
It is not necessary to sip the broth plain, but I do exactly that because I think it is better for my gut. This is not necessarily true, but again it makes sense to me to do it this way. You can use your broth for soup stock, to cook rice, couscous, or quinoa, or to cook other foods with. Feel free to try this and let me know about your results.
As mentioned above, if anyone knows of a vegan alternative that has all the benefits of bone broth (including mending tiny openings between intestinal cells) please let me know.
Yours in health, Cathy