So it seems like after summers final bonus hoorah we have now settled properly into Autumn. I don’t know about you but I’ve started to feel a little bit chilly, so here is a nice warming pot of broth! Stay with me…not only will this warm and sooth but this could be one of the most beneficial drinks/foods that you bring into your diet.
You may be surprised to see some meat on my blog (as generally I don’t eat meat during the week) as I don’t believe its very good for me. I do occationally eat meat at the weekends though and after researching this a lot, the health benefits of broth, for me, just make too much sense. So the meat is still out but the broth is in!
Leaky gut (or gut hyperpermiability) is a condition that has been steadily getting more and more coverage in the media lately with research pointing towards its link to a range of deseases. I am currently researching the subject and I have the say it’s quite compelling (full article to come later). Here is how it works, your gut wall is semi permeable which allows the absorbtion of nutrients through the gut wall as part of normal digestion.
In leaky gut, the gut lining gets damaged and those little holes become much larger holes which then start letting through undigested food and bacteria. It is thought that this damage is caused by the increasing chemicals we come into contact with such as pesticides, pollution along with things like gluten, cows milk and refined sugar which we find hard to digest.
This then leads to your body attacking the food particles that have been let through which causes inflammation in the body. This inflamation can cause milder symptoms such as bloating, food sensitivities and mild IBS but if your’e unlucky and the process keeps happening this can lead to an autoimmune response. This is where the body mistakenly identifies its own cells as foreign and attacks them. This is then being linked to more serious health issues such as hypoththyroidism, Rheumatoid arthritis, depression and diabetes.
Most of the diseases however, are believed to be reversible with changes to diet and lifestyle. One of these changes is the introduction of bone broth to heal and seal the gut. When the bones are boiled down they release healing compounds like glutamine, collagen, hyaluronic acid, proline and glycine. All in all it releases 19 amino acids which are used throughout the body with some amazing health benefits. There are too many to list them all but these compounds perform such services as protecting and restoring the lining of the intestinal tract, aiding probiotic growth of good bacteria, helping to regenerate damaged liver cells and lubricating joints to reduce pain.
Another handy bonus according to Donna Gates, author of “Body Ecology”, is that the collagen in bone broth can actually reduce cellulite due to its ability to help restore the skins connective tissue. All sounds far too good to not give it a try!
You can make bone broth from a variety of bones like left over chicken carcass from a roast or bones from the butcher like beef, lamb or pork (these are usually free). The important thing to remember is to get your bones and meat from healthy animals. This means going for ones that are grass fed and free from antibiotics and hormones.
I bought the bones for this recipe at borough market from The Ginger Pig, a butchers I became aware of after reading about them from the Hemsley sisters. So I felt very assured of the quality of the meat, especially when they could answer all the questions I had. I tried this at my local butchers…me: “Where do you get your lamb from?” butcher: “Erm, I think its from a farm in wales, or it might be one in Shropshire.” that was really all he could tell me, alarm bells…needless to say I didn’t get my meat from there!
You can boil the meat on its own but I’ve read at least one study that reported a synergistic effect from the compounds released when they were cooked with vegetables, so I always bung some in, even just off cuts and left overs are good and add a nice bit of flavour to it. Broth does take a bit of time to make and the smell can fill your kitchen, which is a good or bad thing depending on your point of view! (this might be different in slow cooker or pressure cooker). If you want an easy convenient option, I have to mention this fantastic farm I found which makes and delivers broth straight to your door! Coombe farm offer beef and chicken stock along with beef, lamb, pork and chicken stock bones prepared for you to cook at home. They deliver it all to your door in eco freezer boxes. I have also bombarded them over email with questions about their animals so rest assured these animals are as clean and free from as it gets! ( This is not a paid endorsement, I was just really impressed with them!)
let me know if you try out my broth recipe or order from Coombe farm, i’d love to know!
- roughly 2 kg of bones (or what fits in your pot!)
- filtered water to cover
- 2tbs apple cider vinegar
- a handful of carrots, onion, and celery that fit around the meat with a little room
- 1tbs black pepper corns
- 4 medium bay leaves
- Place the bones in a pot and cover with filtered water so they are submerged with enough room to boil without revealing the bones.
- Add the apple cider vinegar along with the veg and herbs.
- Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a slow simmer for 12 hours (24 hours is best if you have time)
- Skim off any scum from the top when you check it. DON'T LET THE WATER BOIL DOWN, top up when necessary to avoid a fire hazard.
- Use the broth immediately or allow to cool and strain into freezable glass Tupperware pots.
- The broth will keep for several days in the fridge or up to a week if you leave it undisturbed to form a fat layer. You can also freeze the broth for up to 3 months. Cooking the bones slowly for longer is the best way to extract all the nutrients. For chicken you cook it for 6 hours but 12 is best, and beef, lamb and pork for 12 but 24 hours is best. I haven't tried fish yet so I'm not sure of cooking times but this is another great one for getting some great nutrients.