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There’s a lot of brothing going around this winter. Cafe Brodo in NYC has everyone replacing their sugar laden pumpkin spice lattes with a nourishing drink instead. It’s the wheatgrass shot of winter.

Broth is basically what your grandma called chicken soup. Real chicken soup. In fact every culture has their version – ‘Jewish penicillin’ is chicken soup used to treat inflammation and cold symptoms; Chinese medicine uses bone broth to strengthen kidneys digestion and blood building. And the English have been sipping beef tea since the Victorian era.

Bone broth is simply homemade stock made by boiling animal bones like fish chicken beef as well as connective tissues (for their proteins minerals and fats) to heal the body in various ways:

Apart from the immediate feel good factors of drinking a warm nourishing drink, that’s actually good for you, and leaves you nostalgic for your grandma’s kitchen, bone broth has many physical benefits for our body: according to the principle of “like feeds like,” broth can give our bones strength and flexibility, our joints cushion and resilience, and skin a youthful plumpness. As for the marrow, it’s a creamy substance valued by people around the world for energy-giving, libido-enhancing and brain-building. As Henry David Thoreau famously said, “Live deep and suck the marrow out of life”. My three favorite benefits are:

  • Digestion – as far back as the 1859 book Notes on Nursing, Florence Nightingale emphasized the importance of bone broth for easy digestibility: “Remember that sick cookery should do half the work of your poor patient’s weak digestion.”
  • Perfect detox and strengthener – bone broth is naturally high in the amino acid glycine, needed for the production of glutathione, a powerful age-slowing antioxidant, that we also need glutathione for liver detoxification and the safe removal of toxic metals, pesticides and industrial chemicals.
  • Bone building – calcium is the first thing most people think of for bone building, and vitamin D and trace minerals too. But none of them work well — or well enough — without collagen. Its fibers build a scaffold for the bone’s minerals like reinforced concrete.

In winter, we crave more comfort, warm, richer and higher fat foods. We also skimp more on the greens which many of us rely on salads (and thus warmer weather) for. The cold also costs more energy-wise as we try to keep ourselves warm, vegetables just don’t have the same minerals or range of minerals that spring crop brings, there’s less sunlight which also effect the plants we’re eating as well as our own levels of vitamins and minerals), and with shorter days and longer nights and subsequent workload stress and rush, broth may well be all our vacation in a mug!

Here’s some ideas of how to get bone broth into your mid western winter (or summer autumn or spring!):

  • Replace one cup of tea coffee per day with a nice cup of broth, season with pepper and salt.
  • Quick choc puds
  • Coconut pannacotta
  • Beet soup
  • Why not try adding them cold to dressings and sauces – chicken broth in Asian dressings, even gravy, the original broth sauce!


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