how to make bone broth & the many benefits

My 4 year old has been a super picky eater lately so I'm racking my brain for creative ways to get more nutrients in his diet.  Soup is one of his favorite foods and bone broth is a great natural, easy and affordable way to up the nutritional value of those soups.  And it's not just for 4 year olds...

The simplicity and health benefits of bone broth can't be beat and it's incredibly affordable and versatile.  Plus, it helps reduce waste...ever buy a rotisserie chicken and end up throwing what seems like half of it away?  Here's how you can use that chicken to make bone broth and some of the benefits of said broth:

1.  Nutrient Rich: Bone Broth contains many minerals and trace minerals that are lacking in our diet due to poor soil or an overly processed lifestyle.  Bone broth is rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium as well as other trace minerals and amino acids.  These nutrients are highly absorbable and bioavailable when consumed in bone broth.

2.  Immune boosting: The minerals, amino acids and gut healthy properties of bone broth make it great for your immune system.

3.  Heals the digestive tract (aka leaky gut): Many people who suffer from allergies, intolerances, eczema and other skin conditions, ADHD, anxiety/mood disorders, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases have what is known as leaky gut.  A leaky gut allows undigested food and bacteria into our blood stream causing inflammation, allergies and other issues.  The gelatin in bone broth helps to repair the gut leaving you with a healthier gastrointestinal tract and healthier immune system.  This is important for babies and children too and can help prevent them from developing allergies according to Kula Mama.

Women with fertility concerns are encouraged to repair leaky gut to ensure that they're properly digesting and absorbing vitamins and minerals necessary for pregnancy and to help reduce inflammation that can contribute to infertility.

4.  Balances pH: You've probably heard about the acid/base balance in our bodies and that many of us are 'too acidic' due to less than healthy diets high in processed foods and not enough vegetables etc.  Bodies in the acidic state tend to be more prone to illness and disease (including cancer).  Bone broth helps to restore the body to the alkaline state.

5.  Improves skin, hair and nails: So as we age, we produce less collagen which is part of the reason people get face lifts and injections.  Bone broth is rich in collagen and has been said to help slow the aging process.  It's also high in hyaluronic acid, a water attracting and retaining compound that helps reduce and prevent wrinkles.Think of it as natural and more affordable botox!  It's also a natural anti-inflammatory due to the cartilage and amino acids.  Inflammation is a main contributor to aging and disease.  There's also thought that the collagen in bone broth can reduce cellulite...

6.  Healthier Pregnancy: The highly bioavailable minerals, trace minerals, gelatin and amino acids in bone broth are important for the skeleton of the developing fetus.  The electrolytes and glucosamine and chondroitin in bone broth are great for keeping mom hydrated and relieving joint and muscle pain.

7.  Detoxifying:  The glycine rich gelatin in bone broth helps the liver do it's detox job more efficiently.  Who doesn't need a little detox help from time to time.

Here's how I make bone broth.  There are no required ingredients other than the bones, water and some acid to pull the nutrients from the bones (and a few veggies for flavor).

*1 organic chicken carcass including all joints, leftover meat and skin (other animal bones can also be used.  Pasture raised/grass fed are best and will yield the best results).  Make sure to include the cartilage as it contains beneficial nutrients as well as the bones.
* filtered water: just enough to cover the bones
*5-10 cloves garlic: smashed
*1T salt
*2 T apple cider vinegar
*1 onion: cut in half or roughly chopped with the first layer of skin removed

*1/2 scallion
*2 carrots: washed and roughly chopped
*4 celery stalks: washed and roughly chopped
*small bunch of parsley: washed or any herbs on hand (rosemary is also nice)
*Other misc. vegetables: I like to use up what I have in the fridge that might be going bad soon.  The broth is supposed to simmer for up to 24 hours and all you'll save is the liquid portion.  You don't eat the veggies.

*Allow the bones to sit in just enough water to cover the bones and the apple cider vinegar for 30 minutes or so.  Bring bones and parts to a boil then reduce to simmer.  You can keep it on simmer with just an occasional bubble coming to the top.  You don't want a rolling simmer or boil as it will reduce the formation of gelatin.  I usually transfer it to my slow cooker and cook on low for at least 12 and up to 24 hours but if your slow cooker is too hot, this won't work.  Some people also like a pressure cooker.
* 2-3 hours before it's done, add the vegetables and continue to cook.
*Strain while warm with a very fine strainer to remove all solid parts (I use a colander then fine mesh strainer as pictured).   Allow to cool.
*Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze.

Bone broth can be served on it's own or as the base for any homemade soup.

Here's a recipe for a simple and healthy immune boosting Hot and Sour Soup
adapted from Northern Denver Nutrition Therapy's blog 

4 cups bone broth
3 scallions (green and white parts)
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms (any variety you like)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 T tamari or soy sauce or coconut aminos
A few tsp sriracha or other chili hot sauce (to taste)
2-3 inches of peeled ginger
1T sesame oil
1 egg, scrambled (raw)
dash of rice wine vinegar to taste

Add all ingredients to bone broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer until mushrooms are cooked (15-20 minutes).  Discard ginger.  Add raw but scrambled egg to soup.  Serve and enjoy.

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