Are you cooking up a big pot of bone broth this weekend?? Probably not! When it’s 100+ degrees outside, the idea of simmering a pot of bones on the stove does not sound too appealing, does it? Although I love making my own bone broth in the winter when I crave soups, I have a hard time wrapping my head around making it in the summer when I am craving salads and ice cream. Herein lies my dilemma…how do I continue to get all the benefits of homemade bone broth without making it myself? Answering this question led me on my journey to find the best “homemade” bone broth and I think I found some winners!!
For those of you that may not be familiar with bone broth, it is a nutrient rich liquid that is made by simmering bones, mainly chicken, beef or lamb, in water for 8-24 hours. The amount of time will depend on the type of bones you are using. In order to extract the most nutrition from the bones, 24 hours seems to be the gold standard. You can add vegetables and spices for flavor or just simmer the bones by themselves. The end result is a delicious broth that is a rich source of protein, minerals and anti-inflammatory compounds. Collagen is the main source of protein found in bones. Bone broth is not the same as regular broth or stock. Regular broth is made with just the meat so there is no collagen in it.
The benefits of bone broth go way beyond just keeping you warm in the winter. For starters, bone broth is easy to digest and assimilate so it is ideal for anyone with digestive issues. One such issue that seems to be on the rise is “leaky gut syndrome.” This occurs when the intestinal lining becomes permeable and food particles pass through the lining and enter into the bloodstream. The body interprets this as a foreign invader and launches an immune response. Over time, this can lead to disease. In fact, leaky gut syndrome is often at the root of many autoimmune conditions. Bone broth is a great way to soothe and heal the intestinal lining if there is any gut permeability.
Bone broth is full of anti-inflammatory amino acids and compounds. The glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates found in bone broth can help to decrease pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that people taking collagen for 6 months had a 51.6% reduction in pain. Collagen is also key to building strong and flexible bones. As we age, increasing our bone density is something we can all benefit from.
Want to look younger??? Bone broth is rich in hyaluronic acid which helps to increase the elasticity of the skin thus decreasing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Hyaluronic acid also aids in lubricating the joints which keeps them healthy and pain free.
With all of these amazing benefits, bone broth has become quite the superfood. Because of its popularity, the demand for bone broth products that are accessible and convenient has loaded the store shelves with all sorts of goodies to choose from. There are powders, sipping broths, concentrates and frozen broths. The key to finding a quality product is checking the source of the ingredients and how they are processed.
When I was first introduced to bone broth a couple years ago, I started with the powder. Honestly, I was a little intimidated to make my own broth and the powders are so convenient. A scoop in my smoothie every morning and I was good to go. Most of the powders contain stevia, which I am not a fan of, so I was happy to find Ancient Nutrition Pure which has no sweetener at all. I also really like Bulletproof Collagen Protein powder. I met Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof, at a conference a couple years ago. He is the mastermind behind bulletproof coffee which is a favorite of those who practice intermittent fasting or a ketogenic diet. Although I don’t use the bone broth powder anymore, I have continued to use the collagen protein powder almost every day. Anything to help keep those wrinkles away, right???
The powders worked for a while, but I felt like I was missing out on some of the benefits of homemade broth. Eventually I got brave and started making my own. I bought the bones at the farmers market and used a combination of marrow and knuckle bones to extract the most nutrition. Initially, I cooked the bones on the stove, but quickly learned that using a crockpot is soooo much easier. I know that homemade is always best, but when it starts heating up outside, I lose my motivation to make my own broth. So, I started looking for other options.
The first liquid broths I tried were by Epic and Kettle and Fire. The broth is made from animal bones that are pastured or grass fed and finished. They also use apple cider vinegar to ensure that all of the collagen is broken down into the broth. Epic has a variety of flavors that taste so good I find myself drinking them straight from the bottle! Kettle and Fire is a bit more bland so I use it mostly for cooking. Epic comes in a glass jar which I love, however you can pay $6 for an 14 oz. jar and that can add up. I do love the taste and convenience of it so I always have a jar in my fridge at home and at my office.
Although the sipping broths are a great choice, I wanted a product that had the gelatinous quality of my homemade broth. My search led me to the freezer section of the grocery store and that is when I struck gold!! I stumbled upon Arizona Grass Raised Beef Co. (http://azgrassraisedbeef.com) and it was exactly what I was looking for. Once you thaw it, you see the thick layer of gelatin (the cooked form of collagen) on top. This is where all of the goodness lies! The quality of the ingredients is excellent and it is made locally in Camp Verde, Arizona. In fact, a couple weeks ago, I was in Sedona and the company had a booth at the farmers market. I am a total geek for buying local products so I was a happy girl! This product sells for about $15 for a 32 oz container.
Bonafide is another option for frozen broth. It does not have the gelatin layer on top, but the quality of the ingredients is great. This product sells for around $9 for a 24 oz. container. The container is BPA free which is a bonus.
Bone broth is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to infuse flavor and nutrition into any dish. You can add it to soups, cooked grains and vegetables, sauces, and even smoothies. I love to add a couple tablespoons to my morning smoothie. It makes the smoothie creamier and there is no weird taste. If you like to add ice to your smoothie, you can make bone broth ice cubes and toss those into the smoothie!
So, there you have it. These are my top picks for getting “homemade” bone broth when you just don’t feel like making it yourself. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Stay cool and have a safe 4th of July!