Lemon roasted whole chicken, spicy BBQ beef ribs, bone-in honey-glazed pork chops…so tasty!
If you’re a carnivore, you may have experienced the mouthwatering excellence of well-prepared, high-quality meats. In my family, those dishes don’t last long; even my 9 month old loves her balsamic roast beef! I’m so proud of my goofy little kid. 🙂
But, once the delight of a great meal ends, we often have odd leftovers: bones, cartilage, fat, or whatever else wasn’t consumed as part of the main dish. In the past, I’ve simply chucked it all in the garbage. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what a waste that was.
What on earth would I do with those leftovers nowadays? Well, if I’m up for getting some good nutrition (I’m always up for that!), I’ll make bone broth out of it. My mom has made me aware that the name “bone broth” isn’t very cute; so, in order to do the broth a little justice, I’d describe it as a rich version of regular broth/stock that has been slow-cooked and infused with all the nutrients that were left behind from your last animal-based meal. If you don’t have any odd leftovers, getting “soup bones” from the butcher can also do the trick. Though bone broth is obviously based on the nutrients left in bones, herbs and vegetables are often added to it to increase its nutrients and add to the taste. It’s a great way to get all those missed nutrients back into your diet and not be wasteful.
Because there is so much to discuss about bone broth, this first post of the “Bone Broth Series” will highlight one of its best features: gelatin. What’s the big deal about gelatin?
- Gelatin improves digestion: by stimulating increased gastric acid secretion during digestion, it decreases the all-too-common occurrence of poor nutrient absorption and poor protein breakdown . Dr. Robert Atkins and studies provided to him by his chief research officer consider protein breakdown as a pretty big deal: “the inability to properly digest protein contributes to asthma, diabetes, food allergies, osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, pernicious anemia, candida, rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal infections, psoriasis, vitiligo, hives, eczema, dermatitis, herpetiformis and acne”  . Additionally, because of gelatin’s ability to absorb water, it allows for smooth intestinal transit and healthier bowel movements . That’s a triple thumbs up in my book!
- Gelatin heals gut disorders and supports immune health: it strengthens the mucosal lining of the stomach, decreases leaky gut syndrome symptoms, and improves other inflammatory bowel diseases  . As many of us know, an impressively large portion of our immune system is directly related to gut health  . Therefore, it’s necessary to consider the state of your gut when you’re sick: there is probably room for improvement. Great information about healing your gut can be found in Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.
- Gelatin supports liver detoxification by providing enough glycine (an amino acid) for the liver to perform its glycine-dependent protective functions . We live in a world full of toxins: the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even the food we eat can be absolutely saturated with chemicals that build up in our bodies, impairing normal healthy functions and inducing states of disease. Therefore, maintaining our primary “detox” organ is of utmost importance.
- Gelatin supports joint, bone, and skin health  . Who doesn’t want to feel good AND look good? By providing the body with the amino acids necessary to support collagen production, it helps keep skin supple and strong . Amazingly, it can even improve painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases, as well as inhibit bone collagen breakdown and stimulate increased bone mineral density    . Though the body can form the amino acids necessary for collagen production by itself, the Weston A. Price Foundation explains that “the millions of Americans suffering from stiff joints, skin diseases and other collagen, connective tissue and cartilage disorders [still] might be suffering serious shortfalls of proline, glycine and other needed nutrients [found in gelatin/bone broth],” despite the body’s natural ability to produce them .
As I’ve described, bone broth has many benefits, especially relative to its gelatin content. However, I’ve found that sometimes it gets used up much faster than I can make it. My husband and I take this gelatin (in the form of collagen hydrolysate) in case we don’t have any bone broth at hand. Actually, I’ve discovered that I sleep like a rock after taking it before bed…and every mama knows how precious sleep is! I can thank glycine, an amino acid that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, for that benefit !
There you have it: gelatin is something everyone might need more of. Though it’s regularly part of traditional diets, it has sadly fallen out of the modern-day diet. Good thing gelatin is making a trendy comeback! More information on the many benefits and details about bone broth is yet to come.
For further reading, the Weston A. Price Foundation has a great article:
- Making bone broth prevents wastefulness.
- Bone broth provides the body with nutrients that commonly lack from the modern day diet.
- Gelatin, a key component of bone broth, improves digestion.
- Gelatin heals gut disorders and supports immune health.
- Gelatin supports liver detoxification.
- Gelatin supports joint, bone, skin, hair, and nail health.
Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.
 Ottenberg, R, Painless jaundice, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1935, 104, 9, 1681-1687
 Atkins, Robert, Dr.Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution (Simon & Schuster, 1998), pp. 234.235.