Did you know that REAL bone broth is a powerful digestive aid as well as a traditional fertility food? Unfortunately a lot of nutrition knowledge has been lost in our modern day, fast paced, convenience food society. My intention with Fertility Food Friday is twofold, I’d like to share with you the foods I’m choosing to eat through preconception and pregnancy as well as highlight the lesser known fertility foods. The internet is flooded with mainstream ‘fertility foods’ so I want to bring some attention to the sacred foods that have nourished our ancestors for years and that were traditionally given to couples in preparation for pregnancy. This is the type of nutrition that resonates deeply with me as I prepare my body for pregnancy and I’m excited to share my journey with you.
Homemade bone broth is very different from the stocks and broths that you find in the grocery store. The long, slow simmering of the bones infuses the broth with easy to absorb minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals as well as chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine from the cartilage and tendons (now packaged into expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain). When the broth is made from fish heads and carcasses it provides iodine and thyroid strengthening components. To keep things on topic… according to traditional lore, fish stock makes childbirth easy and cures fatigue 🙂
I highly recommend that you read the article Broth is Beautiful by Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions. She covers this topic very thoroughly and provides a very valuable resource. She writes that bone broth is “a cure-all in traditional households and the magic ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from bones of chicken, fish and beef builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life–so say grandmothers, midwives and healers.”
In addition to its mineral content, gelatin-rich broth aids digestion and is highly beneficial for people with allergies or food sensitivities who are likely suffering from impaired digestion and a “leaky gut.” I’ve had my own share of digestive difficulties over the years and I believe that homemade broth really helped me heal my intestines.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation all traditional cultures made use of bones to make broth. In contrast, processed broth contains artificial flavours and lacks the minerals and gelatin that traditional broth contains. A South American proverb states that “Good broth resurrects the dead.”
photo credit: jasleen_kaur
In addition to homemade soups and stews a cup of bone broth can be sipped with meals which is a great digestive aid and cooking your rice and grains in bone broth improves their nutritional content and digestibility. It’s also a great source of calcium for people who can’t tolerate dairy!
There are 3 key ingredients to making a nourishing bone broth…
- Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Lamb or Fish bones (preferably from organic, pasture-raised animals)
- Filtered Water
- Vinegar (preferably, raw unpasteurized vinegar – I use apple cider)
… and 3 essential steps:
- Cover the bones with cold water. Slow heating helps bring out the flavours.
- Add approximately 2 tbsp of vinegar to the pot of water and bones and let stand for 30-60 minutes. The vinegar will help extract the calcium from the bones.
- Heat the broth slowly and once it comes to a boil remove the scum that rises to the top. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover and continue simmering for 6-8 hours minimum or continue to simmer for 24+ hours if you want a more concentrated stock. (I’ve recently started simmering my broth for 24 hours in a slow cooker and it’s delicious!)
The full recipe with a breakdown of the steps can be found here.
- To save money we buy organic chicken with bone in and skin on. We collect all the bones (and excess skin) in a bag in the freezer and when it’s full we make our broth!
- When prepping our vegetables, instead of throwing out the scraps (ends of carrots, onion skins etc.) we put them in our ‘broth’ bag so we have a mix of bones and vegetables to use that we didn’t have to specifically buy for broth. This makes it very affordable and cuts down on waste!
- To save time we always simmer our bone broths in a crock pot. We turn it up to high until it reaches a boil, skim the foam from the top and then simmer it on low overnight or all day while we work. It’s REALLY EASY! 🙂
- When the broth is ready, we strain it and let it cool in the fridge. We do not remove the nutrient dense fat and gelatin from the top! I pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it which makes it really easy to add to sauces and to replace half the water when we cook grains. I also freeze 1 cup portions to enjoy like a warm cup of tea!
This blog post is a part of Food Renegade’s Real Food Revolution and Real Food Whole Health’s Fresh Bites Friday.