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Have you jumped on the bone broth bandwagon yet?
If you live in NYC, you’ve likely heard of/been to Brodo, my absolute favorite one-stop shop for fresh and frozen bone broth.
If you live elsewhere, you may have your own broth shop. Or, maybe you’ve seen it popping up on menus. The stuff is definitely having a moment!
I’ve read multiple articles and listened to numerous podcasts about bone broth (this post was inspired by one of them, which I’ll share in a bit!). Through my research, I realized that some of the brands I thought were high-quality are actually not the real deal! I also discovered ways in which bone broth may act as an elixir of life. It’s that healthy!
Now, I’m ready to simplify and synthesize everything you need to know about bone broth into one concise post. By the end, you’ll be ready to spout facts about bone broth’s benefits, shop for the healthiest brands, and even make your own!
Get ready to become a BON(E)afide broth expert 😉
What, exactly, is bone broth?
It’s important to note that there are many imposters in the market! Not all boxes and jars of “bone broth” are the good stuff.
As previously noted, this post was inspired by a podcast episode: “Keto: Sharon Brown — Benefits of Bone Broth” from the Primal Blueprint Podcast. If you have the time, definitely give the full ep a listen!
In the episode, host Brad Kearns interviews Sharon Brown, certified clinical nutritionist and founder/CEO of Bonafide Provisions, the number one selling frozen bone broth company in America. Given her experience prescribing bone broth to clients and making/selling it herself, Brown is a true expert on the topic.
According to Brown, you can only make real bone broth when you simmer the bones of an animal for 18-48 hours in filtered water with a chelating agent like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. (The chelating agent is important because it acts like a magnet, pulling alllll of the juicy nutrients from the bones into the water.) The end result = nutrient-dense bone broth!
Note: The aforementioned process is veeeery different from just throwing a whole chicken into a pot and allowing it to cook for just a few hours.
When you cook bones for a long period of time, the broth becomes extremely gelatinous; the presence of gelatin is a true sign of correctly made broth, meaning there was a proper bone to water ratio and long enough slow-simmer period.
The best, most authentic bone broths (like those made by Bonafide Provisions and Brodo) are usually made with only water, a chelating agent, onions, garlic, and/or sea salt. All of the fancy flavors can come later…after the broth has been fully cooked.
Once refrigerated, true bone broth should turn almost Jell-O-like. (Again, the presence of gelatin is essential!) Once heated, the gelatin will melt and the broth will liquify completely.
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Is bone broth just the latest health fad?
As mentioned, bone broth is definitely hot in the streets right now, which may lead you to think it’s just a “fad.”
Even though health/wellness/Paleo/CrossFit fanatics have only been singing its praises for a short time, bone broth has been around for years.
If you’ve eaten soup, you’ve consumed some type of broth, possibly from bones. (However, it may have been made with vegetable stock, which is different ’cause…no bones!)
If your parents or grandparents are from Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, or even parts of Europe, bone broth is probably not news to you. The stuff has been a staple of traditional soups, dishes, and diets for centuries!
In fact, our hunter/gatherer ancestors invented it. (See what I mean when I say it’s not a “fad”?) Here’s a concise history from Kettle & Fire’s blog:
Some animal parts (bones, hooves, knuckles, etc.) were too tough to chew but didn’t work well for shelter or clothing.
So, what did our ancestors do to them?
They quickly discovered that heat would break down tough animal bones and draw out nutrients. Things started out pretty basic – our ancestors likely dropped hot rocks into the carcasses of animals to heat up the bones and break them down. And without oven mitts, we expect there were hundreds of cases of burned caveman fingers.
It might not sound exciting, but the invention of the pot was a game changer. Instead of dropping hot rocks into an animal carcass (ugh, my fingers feel like they’re on fire just thinking about that), people could toss bones into pot, hang it over a fire, and leave it for a few hours (fire safety standards were far more lax then).
Our ancestors could then add other, more easily available foods – vegetables, tubers, you name it – to this primitive broth to create a full meal! This is about the time when modern bone broth (a combination of bones, water, vegetables, something acidic, and herbs and spices) started to take shape.
Starting around the 1950s, we (Americans especially) began cooking less and eating convenience foods (like TV dinners) more.
Because of that shift from cooking to convenience, the stock pots used to make legit homemade bone broth were set aside, and canned/boxed, crappy versions of “broth” (that were really just MSG!) became ubiquitous.
The Benefits of Bone Broth:
Bone broth’s main nutritional benefits come from its unique amino acid profile.
Legitimate broth contains high levels of the following health-promoting amino acids:
- Aids with digestion
- Helps body absorb/utilize the essential proteins found in whole foods
- Conjugates with bile acid to help with lipid absorption/digestion and enhance gallbladder function
- The longer you simmer bones in water, the higher the broth’s glycine content will be
- The primary fuel used by cells that line the gut
- When glutamine comes in contact with any cell, the cell absorbs it immediately
- After absorption of glutamine, gut cells can then create mucus that coats the mucosal lining of the gut
- Gut mucus acts as sewing needle for little tears in the gut (known as “leaky gut” syndrome)
- Most of us have a leaky gut from consumption of coffee, sugar, and refined grains; elevated stress levels; pesticide/toxin exposure; etc.
- The essential compound of collagen
- Helps with tissue repair, cellular regeneration, and boosting collagen levels (think: healthier skin, hair, and joints!)
Thus, bone broth is excellent for gut health and joint repair.
In fact, the most readily available source of collagen for human bodies comes from bone broth since animal collagen is very similar to our own. Because of this, our bodies absorb the collagen from bone broth extremely efficiently!
You may be thinking, “Can’t I just take a collagen supplement?” It’s always best to get your nutrients from real food (like bone broth), not supplements. So, while collagen supplements may not be harmful, they’re not as useful as the collagen obtained from bone broth.
If you want to learn even more about the joint healing and anti-inflammatory properties of bone broth, check out this video (especially minutes 4:46-7:30 that I’ve set up for you if you click “play” below) in which Fat Burning Man podcast host Abel James interviews Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food and creator of the LA Lakers’ nutrition plan:
Real vs. Fake Bone Broth
If you don’t take away anything else from this post, please remember this: Not all bone broth is created equal!
Currently, the FDA does not regulate what constitutes as “bone broth.” So, a company can just throw water and beef flavoring into a pot, box it up, and sell it on grocery store shelves as bone broth…even though it wasn’t made from any bones at all!
Unfortunately, this is what a lot of companies are doing since it’s so popular and the above is the quickest, cheapest shortcut for making “bone broth.” Always be an informed consumer and beware of false promises on labels!
Further, aforementioned Bonafide Provisions’ founder Sharon Brown explains that some big-name brands are playing into the *moment* bone broth is having right now by simply changing the name of products they once called “stock” to “bone broth.” Blasphemy!
She elaborates on the importance of not only reading labels, but scrutinizing them. If a company is making true bone broth, it’ll be proud of its product and completely transparent when listing its preparation and ingredients.
If you don’t see “bone broth” or “bones” as one of the first ingredients, the product is not authentic.
If the item’s first two ingredients are “bone broth” and “broth,” this is also not good because the product likely only contains a tiny bit of bone broth + a less-nutritious filler broth.
Aside from “bone broth” and “bones,” the other ingredients should simply be water, garlic, salt, onions, and possibly apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
Also, make sure that the product is/was:
- Certified organic
- Made from 100% grass-fed beef bones and/or pastured chicken bones
- Slow simmered for 18-48 hours
Buy the Best Brands of Bone Broth
Well there’s some alliteration for ya!
To save you time, I’ve researched the best brands for you! Below, I’ve ranked my favorites:
#1 = Kettle & Fire
#2 = Bonafide Provisions
Click here to buy Bonafide Provisions broth directly from their site.
Or, find it in a store near you.
#3 = Osso Good
Click here to buy Osso Good broth on Amazon.
Click here to buy it directly from their site (subscription option available!).
Or, find it in a store near you.
#4 = Brodo
If you live in or visit NYC, be sure to check it out!
How To Make Your Own Broth
Up for the challenge of making your own broth? Go for it!
Ways To Eat/Use Bone Broth Daily
Other ways to enjoy bone broth:
- Freeze it in ice cube trays; toss a cube into a green smoothie.
- Add a couple tablespoons to a skillet (or drop in a frozen cube!) before you sauté eggs or veggies.
- Use it in homemade soup. (Click here for the easiest, healthiest soup recipe everrrr!)
- Make a “Bulletproof” broth latte by blending warm bone broth with a tablespoon of ghee and/or MCT oil. (If you’re trying to heal your gut, consider drinking this instead of coffee!)
Bottom line: Bone broth is in the spotlight now, but its healing benefits have been touted for centuries. If gut and joint health/repair is your goal, bone broth may be an excellent addition to your diet! Just be sure to buy the good stuff 😉
Thoughts? Questions? Share ’em in the comments! I love hearing from you!
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