Soup season is here people!! If you’re like me then once the cold weather hits you find yourself craving a warm bowl daily. I actually have some homemade fish soup keeping me company right now while I write. Well it was keeping me company, buuuutttt now it’s gone!!
Unfortunately not all soup is created equal. Besides quality ingredients, a traditional preparation separates many of today’s commercial soups from the nourishing ones our ancestors slurped down. Sure, you can go to Panera or a local café and get a somewhat healthy soup, but it’s most likely lacking in one very important traditional component. HOMEMADE BONE BROTH!
Bone broth, or stock, has a deep history in many cultures and used to be a staple in most American kitchens. The local butcher would sell whole chickens, various bone-in meats and families wouldn’t let anything go to waste. They saved the bones, cartilage, tendons and other scraps that were left behind after a meal and simmered them for hours over the stove, creating a highly nutritious and flavorful base for soups, gravies and sauces. This was common!
Sadly, most people today see broth or stock in a recipe and they head off to the grocery store for a cheap, preservative filled cardboard box that serves only to imitate the real thing. Blame it on the industrial revolution and our on-the-go lifestyles I suppose?? Maybe if you were aware of the benefits of homemade bone broth then you’d choose the ancestral path instead!!
Joint Food: The body needs specific nutrition to function optimally. Our joints, tendons, and ligaments are no different. They require unique nutrients to develop, rebuild and stay strong. Problem is most people don’t eat a joint supporting diet like our ancestors did, resulting in pain, stiffness, weakness and the need for expensive supplements to get them through the day. Think of bone broth as a cheaper, yet much more effective homemade supplement. Slow simmering the bones, tendons and ligaments pulls apart their connective tissue to release glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and a complex of many other minerals in a form the body can recognize and assimilate.
Good For Your Gut: Properly prepared bone broth, especially one using cartilage rich animal parts like beef knuckles, chicken feet and ribs will be collagen rich. Two amino acids present in collagen-proline and glycine, play a huge role in the gut, improving digestion, easing inflammation and helping to heal the mucosal lining of the entire gastrointestinal tract. If you’re dealing with GERD, colitis, Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis/osis, address the root cause with bone broth!
Real Flavor: Today’s grocery stores are full of
foods products loaded with additives and preservatives. Once our society started making things shelf stable we lost touch with what real food is. Real food doesn’t contain scientific ingredients and doesn’t sit on a shelf for months! Those cartons of broth and stock that I mentioned earlier are trying to be real and healthy but they aren’t and never will be! Any nutrients they may have had were destroyed during processing and packing. Also, MSG-a flavor enhancer that has been linked to headaches, nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat and other side effects, is a common ingredient in store bought stocks and broths. Companies are claiming no MSG on their labels but DON’T BE FOOLED! It’s hiding under terms like chicken flavor, natural flavor, hydrolyzed protein or yeast extract. Make you’re own broth and you’ll be getting real flavor and real nutrition!
Skin Saver: As we age, our skin begins to loose its elasticity, giving way to wrinkles, thinning, sagginess and cellulite. What if you’re starting to see these signs much earlier than you expected? Instead of heading to the doctor for some Botox injections or dousing your face with the latest skin cream, try an inside-out approach. Our bodies are very intelligent and the gelatin composition of bone broth will be used to maintain strong collagen, helping to keep your skin looking youthful.
If these benefits haven’t persuaded you to make the switch to real, homemade bone broth, have a go at one batch and I’m positive the warm aroma that fills your kitchen will have you stocking up for years to come!
*Other Tips and Suggestions*
-It’s not necessary to have a broth that gels when cooled, however, I believe that a gelatin consistency is the hallmark of a joint strengthening broth. This is what I strive for! If you’re having trouble getting it to gel, try including 10-12 chicken feet.
-Use a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to help break down the bones.
-Roast the bones to impart more flavor to the stock.
-A cup of warm bone broth with a sprinkle of sea salt is a great alternative for you coffee drinkers.
-Try cooking quinoa or rice in chicken or beef bone broth rather than water for added nutrition and taste.
-Add some homemade bone broth to that Panera Bread soup you brought home.
-Always use bones from pastured, organic and grass-fed animals.
-If you’re short on time, ask your local co-op or butcher if they make homemade stock. These will always be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. Another great option is ordering from U.S Wellness Meats. This is the best online source of soup bones and broth that I’ve found. Check out their FAQ page to learn about their farming practices.