Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting some of my favorite, low-impact, high-nutrient density, go-to foods. First up, homemade meaty broth. These directions are so simple I don’t even think it qualifies as an actual recipe.
Homemade broth in particular is a very cost effective way to get easily assimilated minerals like calcium, especially if you’re keeping to a dairy free diet. Dr Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition, calls it Miracle-Gro for kids. I can attest to that! My middle son went on a food jag of eating noodles and broth (brown rice noodles and homemade broth) every day for breakfast for about three months and he grew over an 1.5″ in that time, all while being on a medication that’s supposed to stunt growth. My 14 year old grew just over 0.5″ in 2 months when we incorporated broth into his meals. Yes, they are growing boys, but in both cases, the rate of growth increased exactly when we introduced the broth. (Wonder if I can hit 5’8″??)
The acid in the vinegar or lemon juice pulls out nutrients like minerals, plus collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which we need for strong ligaments and cartilage, smooth skin, and dense bones. These nutrients also stimulate the growth plates and other cells primed for growth to maximize bone development. Read: better formed skulls, longer and stronger bones = tall and good looking kids!
The collagen family of molecules, including molecules called glucosaminoglycans — heard of glucosamine? — help keep joints healthy. Because you are extracting the “entire complex of cartilage components” under low heat, you are maximizing the bone-builidng and joint-protecting benefits. Glucosamines also have anti-inflammatory properties and the form N-acetyl glucosamine can help soothe inflamed digestive tracts and is used to treat IBS and Crohn’s.
My spectrum kiddo had horrible gut problems, from reflux and IBS-like alternating diarrhea and constipation, to poor food digestion and bowel impaction. I learned about the gut healing qualities of broth AFTER we tried a standard pediatric GI treatment plan. Eventually, we ended up going the route of acupuncture, homeopathy, plus enzymes, probiotics, anti-fungals and anti-biotics to knock out entrenched dysbiosis.
Today I sneak the broth in wherever I can–a bit blended into spaghetti or pizza sauce, rice, noodles–and keep up with the supplements. He gets at least 1/4-1/2 cup of broth daily this way. If he ate soup…ah well. A mom can dream.
I usually use chicken backs or oxtails to make my broth because they both have a wide range of tissue types in each piece–meat, bone, cartilage, other connective tissue–to maximize the nutrient value of the broth. However, any kind of meat on the bone will work.
I use it when I make rice, braise veggies, and make soup. And I drink it by the mugful with a dash of sea salt. It’s the secret sauce that makes homemade soup sooooo good.
Bone broth follows the same directions, but cooks for a longer time. Use leftover bones from roast chicken or turkey, or get pastured beef bones from your butcher. My local Whole Foods sells frozen soup bones from pastured animals–beef, pork, and lamb. I’ve even seen pig’s feet. I’m allergic to pork, so I stick with chicken, turkey, and beef. And I’ve heard tell chicken feet are the BOMB when it comes to making stock. Can’t say I’m ready for that, though.
See this article for more explanation on the difference between the two kinds of broth.
*I always use as many organic ingredients as possible, especially organic chicken and grass-fed beef.*
Meaty Broth How To:
2 lbs chicken backs or ox tails. Yeah, oxtails.
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 large onion
3 carrots or parsnips
fresh black pepper
1/2 a bunch of fresh or 2 T dried parsley
Filtered water to cover (depends on the size of your pot!)
Throw everything in the crock pot for at least 8 hours on low. OR Throw everything in a large pot and simmer on your stove top for anywhere from 1.5-6 hours. People following a GAPS diet will want to go for the shorter cooking time to maximize the gut-healing gelatin. Strain the broth, store in fridge for use within 3 days, otherwise portion off and freeze the broth. You can use the rendered fat that forms on the top of the chilled broth for cooking. The chicken fat is called schmaltz and the beef fat is tallow. #knowyourfats