Mar 6, 2013


Here it is – the Bone Broth post. Most of you know I had followed a vegetarian-vegan-raw vegan diet collectively for over 15yrs up until last year when I made some changes due to my health. Most recently the addition of bone broth has been thrown in the mix. I wanted to try this as I felt it was what my body needed, and rationally it made sense being good for gut health, loaded with minerals and easy on digestion. I had read and heard of other people’s amazing experiences with it and wanted to try it for myself.

So real quickly what is bone broth? It’s the clear liquid leftover from boiling up bones (with added veggies and such) which is used for making gravies, sauces, soups and the like. The home-made version of those stock-poppers you buy at the supermarket. But I don't use it for sauces and gravy; I use it medicinally I suppose. I drink mine straight up, in my mug, just like a cup o’ tea. And as much as I can.

Let's go back a little here…

Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Fish stock, according to traditional lore, helps boys grow up into strong men, makes childbirth easy and cures fatigue. "Fish broth will cure anything," is another South American proverb.

But it’s just broth. How can it be so good for me?

You’ve heard that health starts in the gut. Well one of the most vital nutrients for healing the gut is gelatine - yep, the stuff that makes the jelly jiggle. And bone broth is full of it. Now when I followed a vegan diet I wouldn’t go near gelatine, but as my rules around food have loosened for my health’s sake, and I’m now eating eggs and seafood, I was willing to give this a go.
There was a time when gelatin was the most studied nutrient under the sun for all of its healing virtues. Times have certainly changed. To make a long story short, the intestinal lining is supposed to be permeable in order for nutrients to pass through. However, this lining can become too permeable due to lifestyle factors such as poor diet, stress, long-term contraceptive use, as well as bacterial and fungal overgrowths.
This is how leaky gut — or gut hyperpermeability — works. Undigested food particles can slip through the gut lining and pass directly into the bloodstream. When this happens, the immune system freaks out and starts attacking the very foods you eat (hello food sensitivities).
Over time, this can turn into an autoimmune issue by which your immune system thinks your thyroid — or any other tissue, for that matter — looks like the piece of steak molecule it’s been fighting off for the past few years. In other words, your body starts to attack itself. This doesn't always happen tho so don't go freaking yourself out.

What does bone broth have to do with any of this? Well, the gelatine in bone broth patches up the excess holes in the gut lining, so to speak. It’s quite the handyman, and should be part of any gut-healing protocol.

Other magnificent reasons I choose to drink bone broth:

+ Bone Broth Helps Get the Toxins Out
The liver is the master organ of detoxification. Unfortunately, it was never intended to withstand the very toxic, chemical nature of today’s world. The liver is certainly under assault on a daily basis, and its capacity to detoxify is limited by the availability of the amino acid glycine. And guess where you can get tons of glycine from? Bone broth, baby!

+ Super awesome source of minerals
Clearly long-cooked broth made from bones will be rich in a dynamic array of minerals. Bone is, after all, highly mineralised. A well-made broth will give your body calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfate and fluoride. All delivered in a form that your body understands and can absorb easily.

+ Improve digestion issues
Remember that gelatine? Broth is also super easy and calming for the digestive system; giving it a break to settle things down.

+ Immune support
A happy healthy gut is integral to a happy healthy immune system. Gut flora needs to be optimal (probiotics) and certain vitamins (all your B's) are also necessary to ensure digestive function is at its best.

+ Bone and tooth help
All them minerals!

+ Amazing real food source of collagen; supporting your joints, hair, skin, nails AND your gut
Collagen is a protein that makes up bones, marrow, skin, tendons, ligaments, and the cartilage, and contains two very special amino acids: proline and glycine. These are what help the gut as mentioned above. Collagen has been found to help heal the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. This means that heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and many of the conditions associated with intestinal inflammation can be helped with bone broth.
 Besides collagen, the cartilage contains something called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Studies have found an underlying deficiency of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in patients with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. One of these GAGs is glucosamine. Yep, those supplements that seemingly everyone is taking for joint health contain one of the GAGs we get from consuming bone broth. Notice I said that glucosamine is just one of the GAGs contained in bone broth. When you consume broth you also get chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and likely a bunch of other equally important GAGs that have yet to be discovered. What’s more, the GAGs we get from bone broth are resistant to digestion and are absorbed in their intact form.
I love this stuff; did I mention that collagen declines as we age? Keep your collagen up and you’ll be looking and feeling fab for much longer.

+ Reduce cellulite by improving smooth connective tissue Ok sure I choose to believe this and I'll let you know how it works out for me :)

+ According to TCM, bone broth nourish’s the kidneys, and therefore our adrenals Which is what I am currently healing as well

+ The fats in bone broths help restore greater gut health and therefore increase the absorption rate of the minerals present in broths Yes please

+ Broth and soup made with fishheads and bones provide iodine and thyroid-strengthening substances Hmmm.... maybe one to try a little later on

Where do I get bones from?

- Save leftovers when you make a roast chook
- Visit your local butcher and ask for grass fed organic animal bones
- Local farmers markets and ask the guys selling meats there

Which bones should I use?

Look for high quality grass fed bones from cattle, pastured poultry or wild caught fish. Since you’ll be extracting the minerals and drinking them in concentrated form, you want to make sure that the animal was as healthy as possible.

Marrow bones or soup bones are what I see them labeled as up here in Cairns. Marrow found in bones is either yellow marrow or red marrow. Yellow marrow is found in the central portion of long bones; it is where fats are stored. Red marrow, on the other hand, is found in flat bones. Red marrow is so valuable because it is where blood stem cells are found. When you drink a broth made with a good source of red marrow, you are drinking all those stem cell factors that ultimately build your body’s strength and support your own immune function.
The bones from mammals need to be sawed open, but most butchers will or have already cut them into pieces for you; fowl and fish bones don’t need to be cut. 

If you get grossed out by all this, but still want to try it, ask someone for help. I know my first bone broth attempt wasn't too bad, but my second time I was crying and had to leave the kitchen and get my partner to make it for me. We both bless our food and thank the sources it has all come from before our meals and I believe this is something we should all do and respect.

How do I make bone broth?

Here is the recipe I use from my Naturopath Holly in Sydney:

1kg bones
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 onion  - chopped
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp himalayan salt (contains 84 minerals and trace elements)
12 cups filtered water (minimum)
*Optional: added veggies, or the pulp left over from making veggie juice

1. Place all of the ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil (make sure the bones are covered; if not, add more water)
2. Once it reaches boiling point, cover the pot, turn the heat down and simmer for anywhere between 12-48 hours. The longer it is cooked for the more nutrients you will draw out of the bones. I usually keep topping my broth up with more water if it slowly boils off.
3. Turn the heat off, let the stock slightly cool. Take out the bones then strain the broth through a sieve and discard the leftover matter.
4. Pour the strained stock into single portion containers and allow to cool before freezing *
Ready for the stove top
If you’re using fish bones, two hours simmering is enough to extract flavors and gelatin from fish broth. Larger animals take longer--all day for broth made from chicken, turkey or duck and overnight for beef broth.

* I’ve never frozen my broth as I’ve always tried to drink a fair whack of it and so either keep it on the stove or in the fridge. If I make a smashingly tasteful batch, the whole lot has been known to disappear in less than 48hrs. However one time it was not so delicious, and after a week I had to pour out what I knew wasn’t going to drink.

So off you go. Get some bones and drink that goodness. I'd love to hear if anyone already drinks bone broth and what your experience has been with it. Or have I convinced anyone to give it a go? Let's continue this discussion in the comments below :)

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Are you on my Newsletter list? Get weekly nutrition, lifestyle and health suggestions, recipes, and more delivered to your inbox every Friday so you can take the time to put your feet up with a cup of tea on the weekend, and read it :) Sign up here


  1. This was an excellent post! Very easy to follow the whats and whys. Thank you! I'm sharing your link to help others understand why adding bone broth is beneficial--and how easy it is to do.

  2. Yes great post. I, too, was vegan and raw vegan and destroyed my intestines with too many grains and had a chronic inflammation problem which began when I was 12 and diagnosed witth chron's. I went vegan in attempt to heal my gut but turned out i did it incorrectly and ate too many grains, bra, seeds etc which are all no good for a weak gut. Anyway, now i eat fish because of omega 3s and also drink bone broth. i prefer to use marrow bones because I like drinking the bone marrow that slips out from the center of the bones. i made it with a whole chicken once and it kinda grossed me out but I drank it anyway. I know this is helping as most of my food sensitivities are gone now and i am losing weight and feel overall more balanced. i do wish there was some way to heal my gut in a totally vegan way though, i really do. perhaps a mixture of coconut oil and raw aloe Vera? don't know, until I find out, I'll be drinking bone broth.

  3. I've been reading articles today specifically about bone broth and about halfway through your article - I noticed something weird. That I had just read this EXACT same article from 2012 from a different author!! I am shocked and appalled that your completely plagiarized this article from the original author - shame on you!!

    Original content:

    1. If you actually read both articles (and not just the title) you'd quickly realize there is no plagiarism going on here. The two articles are NOT the same (and btw, I have no affiliation with either author).

  4. I became interested in bone broth after my daughter, who has recently switched to following a paleo diet, mentioned it to me. I have cooked up my first batch using Beef Brisket bones and shin soup bones. Added various vegies such as chopped onion, a whole garlic bulb, celery carrot. I left it to stand in a fridge to solidify the fat and lifted it off doe to the fact that I have had a triple coronary bypass. I found your post very interesting, In particular I noticed and found it very interesting to read what you said about following a began/vegetarian diet but made changes due to your health. Here are your quotes which really struck me: “Most of you know I had followed a vegetarian-vegan-raw vegan diet collectively for over 15yrs up until last year when I made some changes due to my health.”
    “Now when I followed a vegan diet I wouldn’t go near gelatine, but as my rules around food have loosened for my health’s sake, and I’m now eating eggs and seafood, I was willing to give this a go”.