Bone broth offers many benefits to someone following a gluten-free diet. In fact, I think many experts agree that bone broth is a healing tonic for digestive distress and inflammation. This is why I wanted to feature not only the benefits of bone broth on the blog this month, but also a wonderful bone broth recipe!
Let me first cover a few benefits of bone broth – then I’ll tell you why I made bone broth a regular part of my gluten-free diet and share my delicious bone broth recipe with you.
(Ed. Note: If you’re looking for in-depth information on the benefits of bone broth, I high recommend reading Dr. Axe’s article on the benefits of bone broth. I’ve tried to summarize some of the key points below.)
The Benefits of Bone Broth:
(1) Mineral & Protein Rich
Bone broth is rich in minerals that your body can easily absorb such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Bone broth also is a great source for protein. It offers 19 easily absorbed essential and nonessential amino acids.
(2) Heals gut and reduces intestinal inflammation
Bone broth offers many benefits to your gut. The collagen in bone broth works to restore and strengthen your gut lining, helping prevent leaky gut and combat food intolerances and allergies. Second, bone broth soothes the digestive system unlike other foods that inflame your digestive tract. And third, the gelatin-rich bone broth promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is essential for good health. Simply put, bone broth is the perfect natural healing tonic for those of us suffering from any sort of digestive distress like celiac disease, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
(3) Gives Immune System a Boost
Bone broths are also known to boost your immune system. When you heal and strengthen your gut, you naturally feel better. Studies show that bone broths successfully reduce inflammation in the respiratory system, thereby enabling you to heal from the common cold more quickly. Grandma was right, homemade chicken soup does have healing powers!
(4) Restores Cartilage & Bone Density
Another bone broth benefit is that it contains collagen, which is needed to help keep our joints healthy. As we age, the collagen in our joints crumple so much so that we begin to experience pain and inflammation in the joints. Bone broth restores collagen to your joints. Furthermore, bone broth is a great source of glucosamine, which reduces inflammation and joint pain. Many people take pricey glucosamine supplements to relieve joint pain and inflammation, but you can get it naturally by sipping on bone broth! Bone broth also contains gelatin. Think of gelatin as the cushion between bones that helps your joints move without painful friction – it is perfect for anyone suffering from any sort of joint pain (arthritis, gout, etc.).
(5) Maintains Healthy Skin
The collagen in bone broth helps your skin maintain its youthful tone, texture and appearance by decreasing wrinkles and other signs of aging. Some research suggests the collagen in bone broth can also decrease cellulite.
(6) Gives You Energy
Amino acids found in bone broth help us maintain our muscle tissue, protect us from skeletal muscle loss and help us maintain energy by sending nutrients to our cells. Bone broth also contributes to your overall health, which will naturally give you the energy boost you need to get through the day.
We are exposed to a variety of environmental toxins through the air we breathe and the food we consume. When our bodies are flooded with toxic exposure, it has a hard time keeping up. That’s where bone broth can help. The glycine in bone broth detoxifies your cells, working as antioxidant to repair oxidative stress in your body. Bone broth is a powerful detoxifying agent because it helps to expel waste and remove toxins from your body.
Wow, as you can see, bone broth offers so many benefits that promise to vastly improve your overall health!
Why I Turned to Bone Broth
This last year, I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt. My digestive distress is finally under control and I rarely feel bloated and gassy. But despite feeling my best, I’ve still had my fair share of health challenges that started when I decided to go off birth control. It struck me that I had been on synthetic hormones for 20 years (minus the few years I was pregnant or nursing). 20 years!!! It was definitely time to go off of birth control and work towards regulating and healing my body.
So last year, on January 1, 2016, I stopped my birth control cold turkey. Over the year I felt great! I had great energy, and even felt less bloated and crampy. I couldn’t help but wonder if my birth control contributed to some of the inflammation in gut – I don’t know for sure, but I do know I feel better without it!
However, I didn’t foresee some of the other issues that would follow when I messed with my hormone levels. I started getting hormonal acne and my once-thick hair began thinning. I started to investigate what was happening to me and that’s when I realized that these things – acne and hair loss – are normal side effects to sudden hormonal changes.
Feeling defeated by my acne and thinning hair, I decided to go to my doctor to make sure nothing else was awry. She ran all sorts of tests on me – she checked my thyroid, hormone levels and vitamin levels to ensure I wasn’t missing anything that might be contributing to the acne or hair loss.
When my tests came back, I learned that I’m perfectly healthy. Everything she tested came back in the normal range – even my hormone levels! There was nothing wrong with me. My doctor said the acne and hair loss were easily explained by the changes in my hormone. She said my body was still adjusting, and that I should be patient and allow my body time to adjust to its new normal. That’s when I realized that 20 years of hormone dependency would take more than a year for my body to normalize. I know that our bodies know how to heal themselves… and I also know they need time and space to heal.
Chinese Face Mapping Reveals Hormones Too!
During my holistic nutrition studies at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I learned about Chinese Face Mapping. Chinese Face Mapping is an ancient practice that reveals how our skin (our external organ) is deeply connected to our internal organs. When something shows up on our skin, our bodies are trying to tell us that something is going awry inside. (You can read more about Chinese Face Mapping in this article on David Wolfe’s site.)
The first site of my acne was the chin and jawline. According to Chinese Face Mapping, this is a sign of a hormonal imbalance. OK, that makes perfect sense that my hormones are out of whack since I discontinued birth control. Even though my doctor told me my hormone levels are normal, they are still different and working towards achieving balance.
The second site of my acne was my forehead. I learned that this part of the body is connected to the small intestine. This makes perfect sense because I have celiac disease, and celiac disease is very much connected to the small intestine. In fact, a biopsy of my small intestine confirmed my celiac diagnosis. Perhaps I had ingested gluten at some point unknowingly, and the acne on my forehead was a sign of that? Who knows!
Did Bone Broth Help Me?
Regardless of the cause of my acne, I was not set on figuring out how to heal myself. I knew about the benefits of bone broths and wanted to see if bone broth could help me with my skin inflammation and hair loss. My doctor didn’t have any suggestions for me, so I was feeling pretty much on my own to figure this out!
So over the last few months, I’ve made several batches of homemade bone broth using organic chicken parts. I’ve been sipping on a cup of my bone broth daily in hopes of detoxifying my body.
My skin really cleared up and I was doing so well for awhile – and then I traveled for a few days and didn’t have my bone broth with me… sure enough, I got a huge pimple on my jawline during my trip. Lovely!
I’m not home and back on the bone broth.
One unforeseen benefit of sipping on bone broth is that I lost a few pounds. It filled me up so much that I was skipping lunch. Perhaps the weight loss also reduced inflammation in my body… I know that a lot of people lose weight, even a little weight, and their ailments quickly clear up.
So while I can’t say for sure if bone broth is helping me with my hormonal imbalance, I do feel good drinking it. It warms me from the inside out, gives me all sorts of important nutrients that I can’t find in other foods, and is helping me maintain a healthy weight. I’m also hoping it boost my immune system enough to get me through the winter months without catching a cold or the flu.
How to Make Bone Broth – a Recipe!
Ok, so if you want to make some bone broth for yourself – perhaps to help you detoxify or maybe to give you an instant immunity boost (there’s nothing like good old fashioned chicken soup to help you kick that cold) – try the bone broth recipe below from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon*. It’s fairly easy to make once you get the hang of it. (BTW, Nourishing Traditions is one of the most important books you’ll ever read if you’re looking to clean up your diet for good!)
In addition to the bone broth recipe below, here are a few other tips to making your bone broth adventure go well:
- Use every part of the animal you can get your hands on including the bones, marrow, skin, feet, organs, neck, head, etc. Ask your butcher to help you cut up the chicken into 8 parts (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 legs) plus the neck, giblets (organs) and feet (optional, if possible). Put all of the chicken parts in your bone broth.
- Use only organic chicken (or beef) when making my healing bone broth recipe. Don’t use a “sick” animal to help you achieve good health.
- Always cook the bone broth recipe in a large stockpot for 8-24 hours (the longer the better) to ensure the bones and ligaments release all the healing compounds needed to transform your health. My husband bought me a 16-quart All Clad stockpot* to help me make big batches of bone broth at once. I love my stockpot and highly recommend getting a good quality, sturdy stock pot if you’re going to be making bone broth often.
- Store the finished bone broth product in pre-measured containers or zip top storage bags. You may want to use your bone broth in a soup or rice recipe that calls for 2 cups of broth, so pre measuring the broth before freezer storage is very helpful. I store bone broth in both zip top storage bags and these plastic soup containers* that you can purchase on Amazon. These are AWESOME! (You can also reuse soup containers from Chinese take out.)
While I can’t say for sure bone broth is the cure all for acne or hair loss, I can say that it makes you feel good. And regardless of the benefits of bone broth, I firmly believe putting good stuff in your body ups your chances of feeling your best and living a long, healthy life. So drink up and cheers! I hope you enjoy this delicious and nutritious bone broth recipe!
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