For those not familiar with either bone broth or gelatin, here’s a brief low down on both of these fantastic superfoods! Ok, I’m biased, but you’ll see why 🙂
Chicken broth has been said to have the “ability to resurrect the dead” because of its ability to repair the mucous lining in the small intestine, heals the nerves, gives strength, relaxes and improves digestion. This is surely where our grandmothers got the idea that chicken soup was a must during cold and flu season.
Bone broth is quite simply put, the broth made from the bones and cartilage of animals – what?! It may sound weird, but this stuff has been used by traditional societies throughout history. Without the modern convenience of refrigeration, waste was not an option and the whole animal was used, including the bones and carcass, to make this awesome nutrient dense staple.
Because of the inconvenience factor, we began to replace this nutritious broth with canned chicken and beef stock in our cooking– not even close to the same thing! Properly made bone broth is made by roasting animal bones and then placing the bones in a stock pot with some vegetables for flavor, along with an acid such as vinegar to draw out the minerals from the bones.
This concoction is then simmered for at least 12 hours, which results in an amazingly nutritious broth loaded with minerals, such as calcium and magnesium and potassium, provides electrolyte support, and is gelatin rich.
Gelatin is a huge reason to consume bone broth, which is generally very lacking in our modern diets. Gelatin has many health benefits such as bone, joint and skin health, as well as aiding better digestion and absorption of nutrients, but let’s delve a little more into gelatin below.
I will share a simple bone broth recipe at the end so that you can begin to start making this awesome stuff at home.
So where does gelatin come from? Gelatin is made of collagen, which is the basic structure of skin, hair, tendons, connective tissue, bone and membrane in our bodies.
Like I mentioned before, gelatin is readily found in bone broth, but if you can’t get around to making bone broth on a regular basis, supplementing with a good quality gelatin or collagen hydrolysate comes in quite handy.
Choosing between gelatin and collagen hydrolysate:
While gelatin and collagen hydrolysate are not exactly the same thing, they both contain the same amino acids. Collagen Hydrolysate is preferred by many people because it can be used without having to dissolve in a hot liquid and does not produce the “jello” like consistency produced by gelatin. It is processed more, to break down the proteins and allow for quicker assimilation and absorption, and will dissolve easily in cold or hot liquids
I will just refer to both of these as gelatin as they both offer the same great benefits.
Gelatin is not a complete protein – containing only 18 of the 21 amino acids, including glycine and proline. The two missing amino acids are tryptophan and cysteine, which can lead to inflammation when over consumed – think too much animal meat. It is because of these missing amino acids that gelatin produces an anti-inflammatory response in the body. Gelatin can also help with the assimilation of animal proteins, which our body may be having a hard time digesting.
Here are some of the many benefits of gelatin and why I add it to my smoothies or coffee daily:
- Gelatin provides hydrophilic colloids to the diet, meaning that it naturally binds to water, attracting digestive juices that help food move more easily through the digestive track and properly digest. Gelatin has been used successfully in treating Crohn’s Disease, Colitis and hyperacidity.
- Collagen helps support skin elasticity and moisture, which begins to decrease as we age and through sun exposure. While it’s not the miracle cure for wrinkles, it definitely makes skin healthier, and strengthens hair and nails.
- Collagen helps with elasticity and regeneration of tendons, cartilage, bones, joints and skin and may improve bone and joint health over time.
Beware of low quality gelatin! Most commercial gelatin don’t include cartilage or bones, and are made from pigskins or cowhide. If you want to get the benefits of gelatin, the source is key! Use collagen from pasture raised animals, as in Great Lakes Gelatin, or simply make your own gelatinous bone both using chicken or beef parts at home.
Broth is not hard to make, especially if you have a slow cooker. It’s just a long cooking process, which you are not involved in, and then straining and storing. Probably a 20 minute time investment, that is well worth the time.
So what do you use bone broth for? Soups, stews, sauces, or just sprinkle with salt and drink it on its own.
Here’s an easy recipe for you:
EASY SLOW COOKER BONE BROTH (chicken or beef)
2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source –head to a healthy butcher chop or farmers market
2 stalks of celery
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (needed to draw out the minerals from bones)
If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, roast them in the oven first for better flavor. Place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350° to give them a little color.
Then, place the bones in a slow cooker. Pour filtered water over the bones and add the vinegar, and chopped vegetables.
Set the slow cooker to low and set the timer to 2 hours. After 2 hours open the slow cooker and remove and discard any foamy debris that may be settling at the top.
Close slow cooker again and cook for at least another 10 hours and up to 24 hours.
Allow to cool a bit and then drain the bones and vegetables. Allow to cool, pour into mason jars and freeze whatever you are not using.
*You can also add additional spices such as star anise, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods for a pho style broth.
Some great articles to read:
GELATIN, STRESS, LONGEVITY, Ray Peat
WHY BROTH IS BEAUTIFUL: ESSENTIAL ROLES FOR PROLINE, GLYCINE & GELATIN, Weston A. Price Foundation