I have a confession. I quit coffee. Not on purpose, but because I found something even better. You may not agree with me, and you may decide that this new hot drink is absolutely no replacement for the dark brown, roasted, wake-you-up-with-a-burst-of-caffeine beverage that you habitually drink, but let me share this amazing, old, time-tested, and treasured secret with you. You might decide, like I did, that it's worth including as part of your daily routine.
I had heard a short blurb on a talk radio station about a little place in NYC called Brodo. It's Italian for broth. A little walk-up window in an old brick building on 1st Avenue at 12th Street serving coffee-style to-go cups brimming with steaming hot bone broth that offers immense nutritional value... protein, minerals, and collagen... enriching your body, mind and spirit. MMMMMMMM mmmm, I was intrigued... and then a bunch of time went by. And I didn't think about it again until one of our very wise patients told me that she had started drinking... bone broth! And I was re-intrigued!
I knew that I needed to at least explore this a little bit more. Living in Fairborn, Ohio did not give me access to Brodo, and the wonders of their bone broth, but I love to cook, and bake, and experiment in the kitchen, so I was up for the challenge. I'm Italian, and my Nonna did things the right way when it came to preparing food for her family. No shortcuts, no wasted food, and so I began drawing from my heritage (and comparing googled recipes) and went to work.
For the first couple of months, I was discouraged because I couldn't find organic, whole chickens in stock anywhere. And I couldn't special order them from local grocery stores either. Since it is "bone" broth, I needed bones. Healthy, clean bones, with collagen-rich joints. And then just when I was about to give up my quest, Fresh Thyme opened their gleaming new doors! And inside were rows of gorgeous, organic whole chickens! Raising my hands high in the air, I exclaimed, "Hallelujah"! (I'm an introvert, so that part only happened in my head, but I was very happy!) I purchased the largest one available, which was around 5 1/2 pounds, and headed home.
I experimented with several ways of preparing this magical elixir, and after many attempts, and lots of taste-testing, the best resulting broth came from roasting the chicken, cooling enough to remove the meat. and then adding the carcass, skin, and gizzards to an 8 quart stock pot filled with room temperature reverse osmosis water. The simmering causes the bones and ligaments to release the healing compounds of collagen, proline, silicone, and glutamine that have the power to transform your health. I will attach the complete recipe below, but I want to tell you about all of the incredible benefits that I've noticed over the last several months and also share some of the research that I uncovered about the "side effects" of bone broth, so that you may be more inclined to add this to your to-do list. I prefer to get adjusted on a regular basis, receive nutrition from the foods that I eat and then supplement if necessary, so here you go:
- Over-all feeling of well-being. Better memory, better sleep due to the glycine, a neurotransmitter, in the bone broth, and high energy maintained throughout the day, no dips or drags in the afternoon.
- Satiated hunger, improved metabolism, and no more food cravings... for sugar, or salt.
- Pain in my legs reduced significantly... joints no longer stiff or sounding "crunchy". There are many experts touting the benefits of glucosamine to help with joint pain, but guess what? Bone broth has glucosamine, and the chondroitin sulfate in bone broth has been shown to prevent osteoarthritis. Proline is also a player here since it helps to regenerate cartilage and heal joints.
- I feel physically stronger. The essential building blocks for healthy bones are phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. These nutrients seep into the broth as it simmers and infuse it with these healing components. And the glutamine-rich broth also helps build muscle.
- Improved immune support. Well, I just got over a little cold, but it was just a little one, that lasted a very short amount of time, and it's the only discomfort that I've had since my bone broth journey began 4 months ago. There are many experts that are calling bone broth a superfood because of it's high concentration of minerals such as arginine, necessary for immune function and wound healing. And a Harvard study showed that some people with auto-immune disorders experienced a relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, with some achieving complete remission. What did your grandmother do for her family when they were sick?? Big ole pot of chicken soup, maybe?? We are all related to some genius women!
- My digestive system is working better than ever with less discomfort. The proline-rich gelatin in bone broth helps repair a leaky gut, and helps seal up the intestinal lining. This has also been shown to help with food intolerances and sensitivities including cows milk and gluten.
- Hormonally, my body feels like a 25 year old! Happy me! And happy husband! I won't get into the details, but if you want more information about this, you can email me. :)
- The mirror is making me look younger. Not to be vain, but this was a benefit that I was not expecting at all because the calendar tells me a different story, but bone broth is a rich source of collagen. Anybody that has purchased a skin care product or has listened to an advertisement knows that it's all about collagen's plumping properties. Your body metabolizes and then uses it to your best advantage when you consume the bone broth internally rather than slathering creams on externally. And my hair and nails are benefitting as well. Stronger, longer, and healthier than they have every been.
A powerful potion, right?!? Is it enough to convince you to try it for a month???
Here is the recipe that I have been preparing faithfully every 7 days. You not only have the resulting delicious, nutritious broth, but you have fresh roasted, organic chicken that you can keep in the refrigerator, and use as protein snacks, or on salads, or in entrees. Plus I like always having it available for when my grand puppies come to visit. And my youngest grandson, Noble! He likes this chicken as much as the dogs do!
Therapeutic Bone Broth
1 whole organic chicken, approximately 5-5 1/2 pounds (for those of you in the Dayton area, these are available from Fresh Thyme)
Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning grinder, I love how this enhances the broth's flavor
4 carrots, cut into 3" pieces
1 large onion, or 2 medium, quartered
3 stalks of celery, cut into 3" pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Reverse Osmosis water, or other purified water, to fill stock pot
Preparation: Prepare chicken for roasting by removing gizzards and placing them in a small bowl. Set aside in refrigerator until chicken is roasted. Place the chicken in a parchment paper lined (this will keep the natural cooking juices from splattering in the oven) roasting pan, secure wings with twine and tie up legs. Sprinkle liberally using Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning grinder or with salt and ground pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for approximately 2-2 1/2 hours, until temperature reaches 170 degrees. Remove from oven. Let cool. Remove meat from carcass and save and refrigerate the meat for another use. Slowly add the carcass, pan juices and any additional bones, or skin from the chicken to an 8 quart stock pot. Add the gizzards and neck from the refrigerator. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and peppercorn to the stockpot. Add 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar which you will not taste, but will help to break down the bones and allow the nutrients to be drawn out. Fill stock pot with room temperature water. Simmer on the lowest temperature for approximately 24 hours. Broth will become golden in color the longer it cooks. Remove bones, and vegetables from broth. Pour and press through a strainer to get smaller pieces. Discard the remaining bones, and cooked vegetables. Let the broth cool. Then store in 2- 2 quart glass containers in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze until later use. To use, bring 12-16 ounces of the broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Do not microwave. For additional therapeutic support, you can add 1 tablespoon of organic bovine gelatin to 1/4 cup of water in a mug. Let proof while heating chicken broth to a simmer. Immediately pour broth over gelatin, stir to incorporate, and drink while hot.
Some additional information:
- The difference between chicken stock and bone broth is simply the amount of time that it simmers. The longer that it is over very low heat, the deeper and richer the flavor becomes, and more nutrient dense as well.
- I do not add salt to the broth. The flavor is enhanced by the peppercorns, and vegetables, and the seasoning that was used on the chicken when it was roasted.
- You can substitute beef bones for the chicken bones. Just make sure they are from clean sourced, grass-fed animals.
- If you can not get organic bones, do not make bone broth.
- Absolutely NO microwaving. We haven't used a microwave oven for so long that I forget that most people still have them in their homes. Microwaving will reverse the lovely organic process of infusing the broth with all those quality nutrients! It will break it down and change it on a molecular level! And therefore would NOT provide all of the benefits listed in this post! Using a small saucepan to heat it to a simmer is simple and easy!
- This recipe can also be prepared in a slow cooker. I've never used one, so I am not sure about the amount of water that they can hold, but my friend, B.G., uses one to make her broth.
- I've used this as part of my daily consumption, and I've used it in conjunction with juice fasting. Both have provided amazing health benefits with advanced detoxing and cellular cleansing.
- My girls teased me mercilessly about my new habit and my obsession over it until some of their video bloggers, and IG buddies began talking about swinging into their local broth hot spots for a to-go cup as they headed off to start the day! Soooo, maybe their mom isn't nutty after all... maybe she's even a bit of a trend-setter, now that's going a little too far, since bone broth has been prepared and consumed by generations upon generations before her. It's just kinda nice to feel validated to your children... by social media.
- If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you a year of Living Well in 2016!