The Sassy Dietitian’s Guide to Real Food Living

Getting Down to the Bare Bones

By Laura Ligos / Photography By Brent Harrewyn | April 19, 2016
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Ever felt sick and craved your mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup? Some may think its healing properties are just an old wives’ tale, but there is more to it then just your mother’s love. Broth has been around for years in order to make use of the whole animal from snout to tail. Many cultures want to show respect to the animal that sacrificed its life for them and so they use every last bit as both a sign of appreciation and as a way to be resourceful. Nowadays, people try to buy everything off the bone and give the bones to their dogs, lucky dogs!

Why did we get away from eating snout to tail?

Well, as a culture, we prefer to eat the meaty and muscular parts of the animal. We want to leave out the awful, excuse me offal (aka the organ meats) parts as well as the bones. Many cultures do the complete opposite, as there is quite a lot of nutrients and taste in the organs, bones and beyond. We somehow lost the taste for bones, and it is about time we get back to it. Maybe it was the fact that we craved convenience and not health, but whatever it was, now is the time to take control of your health and add some bone broth into your life.

What is the difference between broth, stock and bone broth?

When looking for broth in the store, many people get confused as to what to buy. It is best to make your own broth at home as you then have more control over what goes into said broth, but alas, let’s learn what the difference is between the savory liquid so you can be well informed.

Broth: Broth is nothing more then water simmered with vegetables, meat and herbs and may include some bones. It is cooked for a short period of time (less than two hours). It is then strained and seasoned. It is meant to be a light yet flavorful liquid. Broth is meant to be consumed alone or mixed in soups and stews.

Stock: Stock is water that is simmered with vegetables and herbs and that -usually has the bones from animals, and possibly some meat that is still attached to the bones. It is cooked for a longer time than the broth, about four to six hours. Unlike broth, stock is not normally seasoned. The point of stock is to extract the gelatin to form a thicker end product; it can be more of a binder in place of cream or butter. It is great to use in gravies and sauces and is not usually consumed alone.

Bone Broth: This powerhouse is actually a mix between broth and stock, yet it ends up having a much longer cooking time than both. Bone broth is normally left on the stove or in a Crock-Pot for 12 to 24 hours or so. It is to be enjoyed on its own or used in a soup, stew, risotto, sauces and more. It is rich in gelatin and other vitamins and minerals that are pulled from the bones and is rich in flavor.

While there may be a difference in the culinary world, it just matters that you include it in your diet, not that you use the correct term. Sure you might confuse some people, but at the end of the day it is a water base that is used to pull flavors and nutrients from animal bones and leftover vegetables. It is as simple as that.

Why is it healthy?

Now that I’ve blabbed on about what bone broth is, let’s find out why it might be beneficial for you to consume. While I am not keen on recommending any one food as a “superfood,” bone broth might be as close as you can get. The broth is very soothing both inside and out and benefits your skin, joint and gut health greatly, let’s learn more.

You skin is made up of connective tissue that requires collagen to stay elastic, plump and glowing. When we eat foods rich in collagen (like bone broth), we can tell the difference in our skin because that collagen helps to enrich the connective tissue found in our skin. Want that cellulite to diminish? Collagen is the answer and not from some magic pill but from bone broth. Your skin is your largest organ, so treat it well. How does bone broth have collagen? It extracts it from the bones of the animal, voilà!

Next up is your joint health. Everyone I meet wants to be in better shape not just for a sport or exercise but because they want to be able to get up and down when they get older. Bone broth once again has the collagen as well as glucosamine that helps aid in the health of your joints. Mother nature knows best. On top of that, bone broth has other amino acids (proteins), vitamins and even minerals like calcium and magnesium that have been shown to aid in bone and joint health, slurp up my friends.

Finally, my favorite part about bone broth is that it helps aid in gut health. Your gut is the window to your health, I could go on forever but I’ll spare you all the details. Just know that your gut loves the amino acids (proteins) and the collagen found in bone broth and helps it to heal after damage (think sickness, food borne illness, etcetera) and prevent further invaders from attacking the immune system, which resides mostly in your gut. Love your guts and drink some bone broth already.

Now that you know it’s healthy for you, although you may have wished to just take my word for it, let’s find out how to make it and then read on to find out how to use the bone broth in more ways than one.

 

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