As a nutritionist, the most challenging part of my job is simplifying nutrition to my clients. Clients expect me to present them with a mathematical equation to follow, a restrictive unpalatable meal plan removing eggs, grains and meat and costing them a fortune. Instead, what they find is a breakdown of the basics of health, food and cooking in a way that makes, not so common, sense.
Take one of my favorite recommendations: make your own soup stock. This simple, un-glitzy and cheap as chips suggestion may seem small and insignificant, but is one of the most incredible things you could do for you and your family’s health. The effects it will have will rival ANY over-priced packaged nutrition product, past, present or future. I’m serious! This is the best of the best, the cream of the crop.
Stock contains the most life nourishing minerals in a form the body can absorb effortlessly, including:
- Calcium (for our bones of course)
- Magnesium (for our muscles and heart)
- Phosphorus (for bones, teeth and energy production)
- Silicon (to make elastin and collagen for hair, bones and skin)
- Sulphur (for collagen, skin and blood vessel formation)
A good homemade stock contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons such as:
- Chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine (found in expensive joint repair and inflammation supplements)
- Glycine (supports liver detoxifying process)
- Proline (amino acid that makes up bones, tendons, ligaments, skin and brain)
- Hyaluronic acid (improves tissue healing, promotes collagen building)
Consider homemade broth an inexpensive and ridiculously absorbable protein and mineral supplement for your skin, hair, bones, cartilage, joints and gut.
Top 10 reasons for making your own bone stock:
#1. Fights bacteria. Homemade soup really does fight the common cold. Stock has been shown to decrease the severity of infectious diseases, providing continuous protection from various health disorders.
#2. Good for the Gut. Chicken stock contains a natural component that repairs and calms the mucus lining in the small intestine (who’s inner lining is the beginning and ending of the nervous system). In addition, gelatin, present in a well prepared stock aids digestion and treats intestinal disorders such as crohn’s, colitis, and infant diarrhea.
#3. Great for your bones and joints. Homemade stock is the best remedy for arthritis. Cartilage and collagen have been used to treat bone disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. What better way to inject this medicine than in the form of an easily absorbable electrolyte in your own delicious meat stock?
#4. It’s cheap. In fact it’s practically free. Ask your butcher for bones or use leftover bones from tonight’s or last night’s dinner.
#5. Promotes good karma. For those of us that are conscious about the meat we eat, we can feel better knowing we are not just using parts of the animal and wasting the rest, and that all parts of the animal can be used to nourish us.
#6. Can reduce allergies and food intolerances. The Gelatin in a well prepared homemade broth forms a protective barrier, lining the stomach and intestinal tract. This helps seal and calm an inflamed or ‘leaky gut’ – one of the main culprits in food allergies and reactions.
#7. Supports your liver. Supplying a healthy dose of the amino acid glycine, gelatin helps support the detoxifying processes of the liver.
#8. Keeps your skin youthful. Why pay big bucks for creams and lotions to help form collagen and elastin when you can drink a cheap and delicious magical potion that will do that for you for?
#9. Improves tissue healing. Speeds recovery from an injury, childbirth, surgery, work-outs, colds and flu’s.
#10. It tastes delicious. Using stock to cook your grains, season your vegetables or make sauces with adds great flavour to your food! Plus it will fill your house with an aroma of good food, love and nourishment!
Here’s how to make your own homemade, high gelatin nourishing bone stock.
What you need:
- 1 whole naturally raised/organic chicken carcass, chicken backs or whole chicken cut up in several pieces
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery sticks, coarsely chapped
- 1 bunch parsley
- Cold water to cover bones/chicken
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (helps bring out minerals from bones)
- Place chicken pieces/chicken bones, vegetables (not parsley) and vinegar in a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover
- Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour
- Bring to a boil and remove the scum that rises to the top
- Reduce heat, cover and slowly simmer for 6-24 hours
- 10 minutes before finishing stock, add fresh parsley (stems and all) to add additional minerals to stock
- Remove chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon
- If you are using a whole chicken reserve meat for soup or other uses
- Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals
- Skim off the fat and transfer stock to smaller glass containers for storing in the refrigerator or freezer or add to a homemade soup of your choice
- Fresh stock can be stored for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or 2-3 months in the freezer
- The longer you cook the stock, the more flavourful and nourishing it will be
- The thicker your stock gets when it cools, the more medicinal gelatin present
- During cooking, occasionally skim off fat and scum rising to surface for a clearer stock
- You can substitute turkey or duck for a stronger tasting stock, but if you do this I recommend adding a bunch of fresh thyme during the last hour of cooking
- If you use duck be sure to save the fat!
- If you are freezing stock in a glass container, always leave 1 ½ inches at top of jar and make sure the stock is cooled
- Never pour hot stock in plastic containers for risk of chemicals leaching in your stock and destroying the integrity and nutritional value