Wednesday, 15 May 2013

If you haven’t heard about bone broth before, you are about to now.  It is another great food that I discovered since I started the Paleo lifestyle.  Besides being incredibly healthy, it is almost like drinking gravy (but you aren’t!) without the fat and carbs.  Besides bacon, what could be easier to add to your diet?

Broth (or stock) is a highly nutrient dense food – it is an excellent source of minerals and is known to boost the immune system and improve digestion. It’s high in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and supports your joints, hair, skin and nails due to its high collagen content. I’ve read that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports smooth connective tissue – bonus!

I think the Paleo Mom explains it well:  “Glycine and proline are two key components of connective tissue, the biological “glue” that holds our bodies together. There are many types of connective tissue and these two amino acids feature prominently in most of them, from the cartilage that forms our joints to the extracellular matrix that acts as a scaffold for the cells in our individual organs, muscles, arteries etc. Without these two amino acids, we would literally fall apart. So, it is no surprise that we need these two amino acids to heal, not only gaping wounds, but also the microscopic damage done to blood vessels and other tissues in our body caused by inflammation and infection. In fact, glycine is known to inhibit the immune system and reduce activation of inflammatory cells in your body.

In addition, glycine is required for synthesis of DNA, RNA and many proteins in the body. As such, it plays extensive roles in digestive health, proper functioning of the nervous system and in wound healing. Glycine aids digestion by helping to regulate the synthesis and of bile salts and secretion of gastric acid. It is involved in detoxification and is required for production of glutathione, an important antioxidant. Glycine helps regulate blood sugar levels by controlling gluconeogenesis (the manufacture of glucose from proteins in the liver). Glycine also enhances muscle repair/growth by increasing levels of creatine and regulating Human Growth Hormone secretion from the pituitary gland. This wonderful amino acid is also critical for healthy functioning of the central nervous system. In the brain, it inhibits excitatory neurotransmitters, thus producing a calming effect. Glycine is also converted into the neurotransmitter serine, which promotes mental alertness, improves memory, boosts mood, and reduces stress.

Proline has an additional role in reversing atherosclerotic deposits. It enables the blood vessel walls to release cholesterol buildups into your blood stream, decreasing the size of potential blockages in your heart and the surrounding blood vessels. Proline also helps your body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells.

Now, let’s be clear: proline and glycine are not technically essential amino acids. Your body can actually make them if it needs more than is supplied by your diet. But building our own amino acids is much less efficient than consuming them from foods, and scientists believe that we probably can’t make proline or glycine efficiently enough to keep up with our body’s demand in the absence of dietary sources. And while meat of all kinds does supply both of these amino acids, you just can’t beat the quantity or absorbability of proline and glycine in bone broth, hence bone broth’s superfood status.”

Bone broth can be made from any kind of bones – chicken, turkey, beef, veal, duck or bison even.  My favourite is made from chicken to turkey bones.  I cut the backbone out of whole chickens before I roast them flat, and freeze the backbones until I have half a dozen or so.  I also save the carcasses from roast chicken (free range) or turkey and freeze those too.

When I have enough bones to fill a large slow-cooker, I dump them (frozen) into the crockpot, cover them with water and add two (2) tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and put the lid on. 
The vinegar helps leach all the minerals out of the bones.  My crockpot allows me to set the timer for a maximum of 20 hours, so I put it on at night and leave it on overnight – the whole house smells like really good gravy.

Paleo Grandad is home so, the next day around noon when the timer on the crockpot goes off, he resets the crockpot for another four hours.  By that time I am home from work and I strain the broth into a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until the fat has hardened on the top.  Remove the fat but don’t throw it away – chicken fat is a good Paleo fat and can be used for cooking other good Paleo food.

Paleo Grandad wants it to make bird suet blocks, but I think there is something really weird about birds eating birds – like little cannibals – yuck.

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