A Natural Source of Collagen...Bone Broth

Good evening! I have been asked by many clients which supplement or product I recommend for the growing interest in collagen supplements. I don't take a collagen supplement, I make it. For the last two years I have been drinking bone broth regularly. I try to drink 3 cups a day. I try to drink 2 cups in the morning in place of coffee and 1 cup in the evening when I get home from work. There are so many wonderful health benefits to bone broth not limited to collagen.

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SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS BONE BROTH?

Bone broth is basically just a "soup" using the most nutrient dense parts of beef or chicken bones. All the healthy parts of the animal that you necessarily wouldn't want to eat like the bones, marrow, feet, ligaments and tendons are boiled in water with vegetables and herbs between 12 and 24 hours. When this blend of ingredients is cooked over an extended period of time the bones and ligaments release collagen and glutamine which are amazing for your overall health, especially gut health. Bone broth is full of nutrients and easy to digest which makes the nutrients easy to absorb.

WHAT IS COLLAGEN, GLUTAMINE AND GLUCOSAMINE?

Collagen provides structure and fullness to the skin and works with elastin to allow skin the flexibility it needs to stretch. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. When you think collagen, think "plump." Glutamine is a type of amino acid and glucosamine is a type of amino sugar. Think of them as the building blocks of protein. They both work to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. Glutamine is great for the stomach, especially small intestine, because it fights against disease-causing microorganisms and minimizes the absorption of allergenic molecules. Glucosamine helps to build cartilage which is excellent for joints. As many of you know my little pup Oliver has some joint and arthritis issues and I mix some bone broth in his food to help.

WHAT TYPE OF BONES SHOULD YOU USE?

You can use beef, pork or chicken bones. Short ribs, ox tails, knuckle, neck bones, chicken wings or chicken feet. The butcher will always have some type of bone for a bone broth. I prefer using a chicken bone as the base of my broth because it tastes lighter than beef bones. It tastes like chicken noodle soup frankly. But, I personally use chicken feet. Ewwwwww! Not really. Yes, it looks creepy to see all those little feet with the nails in a package BUT wait...don't stop reading yet. Chicken feet are amazing as the base for the bone broth because there is little to no fat so you don't have to refrigerate your broth and then skim the fat. My butcher at Pike Place Market suggested I try it once and said I would be hooked on the taste alone and he was right. My butcher moved locations so I get my chicken feet from Uwajimaya Market. I get the chicken feet and rinse them in water (even though they have already been cleaned) and clip the nails off. Deep breath, it's ok. I cut them in the sink and use my kitchen scissors. 

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THE RECIPE

If you want the benefits of bone broth just make it yourself. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare. I don't like cooking, making a big mess and doing dishes so I use a crockpot. This is my personal recipe and what I carry in my coffee mug almost every day. 

Fill the crockpot with water but leave an inch from the top to account for the other ingredients. 

8-10 chicken feet

1 large white onion, chopped

1 bushel of parsley, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

5 celery stalks, chopped

1 ginger root, cut in 4 pieces

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar ( I use Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar)

*Salt and pepper optional* (I don't use salt when I'm making the broth because I'm cutting back on sodium so I will add a little salt or seasoning to each cup I drink).

The broth will cook in the crockpot for a total of 24 hours. 24 hours for chicken bones, 12 for beef bones. Turn your crockpot on low for 12 hours. After the timer goes off, stir and pull apart the feet with tongs (optional). Let it cook on low for another 12 hours and when done separate the broth from the chicken feet and vegetables. I try to drink it within 3 days but if I can't I put it in big silicone ice trays and freeze it. In the morning, I melt a few cubes of the bone broth and add a little more salt and seasoning if I'm in the mood and then I'm done! This is a much better alternative to buying the boxed broth that has high sodium and preservatives. Enjoy!

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erika kennedy