By Esther Boateng
‘Dem bones dem bones dem, dry bones…’ Sing along. Okay. Fair enough. I understand if you’re not in a singing mood. Maybe you haven’t had your daily dose of collagen rich, protein rich, gut healing bone broth. Forget about the boom in the spice trade - actually, don’t do that, put that on the back burner - what about the boom in bone broth consumption, and the steaming hot benefits of this old-fashioned beverage? If you’re running out of ideas to sip your way to health, step this way.
Tune into the right channels, and you’ll hear health experts expound on the gut: ‘…health begins in the gut, the gut is the second brain, balance your gut microbiome, take probiotics, don’t take probiotics…’ It’s enough to make your head spin. If they sound like a broken record, it’s with good reason.
Our body is home to one hundred trillion bacteria and microbes that are mostly found in our gut, commonly known as the microbiome. The surface of our gut is roughly 300 square meters, which is about the size of a tennis court. The potential for glitches anywhere on that circuit is high. On the whole, we enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with the bacteria in our microbiome. They work hard to support our digestion, regulate our metabolism, and keep our detoxification pathways running properly. When all is well, we co-exist in harmony.
Exposing the body to environmental toxins, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, or antibiotics will almost certainly lead to illness and a lower quality of life. This is where gut healing foods like fermented foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics like, kefir, kimchi, cultured butter, sauerkraut and bone broth play their part.
Bone broth is a potent gut healer. It contains: Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), bone marrow, collagen, gelatin, amino acids, minerals, and cartilage. GAGS are essential molecules in the body. Their main role is to support collagen, elastin, and ‘bounce’ between cells. Bone marrow is found in the center of long bones and plays a vital role in maintaining health. Bone broth is rich in bone marrow when made with the long bones of the animal. The word ‘collagen’ comes from the Greek word kolla, which means glue. In bone broth, a gelatin-rich liquid will have a jello-like consistency. Bone broth is rich in amino acids such as proline and glycine, which aren’t available in lean cuts of meat. Proline, glycine and glutamine are great for improving digestion, maintaining a balanced nervous system, and supporting muscle growth and repair. You’ll also find a high concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium in bone broth. Every cell in our body requires magnesium, yet many people are magnesium deficient. It is estimated that less than 60% of adults in the US have adequate levels of magnesium. Low magnesium is linked with neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and metabolic dysfunction, including diabetes and hypertension. Cartilage is a flexible connective tissue found in our ears and our joints, among other places. It doesn’t have a blood supply or nerve endings, which makes regeneration of cartilage unique compared to other tissues in our body. Cartilage-rich bone broth can supply our body with the tools necessary for cartilage to remain in peak condition.
A healthy gut is critical to our well-being, our metabolism, body weight, detoxification processes, as well as our brain functions and mood. If our microbiome is well balanced, we enjoy better nutrient absorption, which results in stronger bones, hair, skin and nails, good energy levels throughout the day, better sleep at night, and an improvement in mood overall.
One of the good things about my Better Bone Broth recipe is that I get to consume a healthy dose of sea vegetables almost every day. I’m not a huge fan of the ‘oceanic’ flavor of seafood; the less of it I can taste, the better. I find the variety of dulse, wakame and kelp in Dr. Cowan’s Garden Sea Vegetable powder isn’t so noticeable when mixed into the broth. This is a big deal for me. I used to struggle to find ways to consume sea vegetables on a regular basis. Not anymore. This recipe is a simple and quick way to get a variety of nutrients into my body without the hassle of preparing a complicated, time-consuming meal. This makes me super happy. No wonder I feel like singing…’dem bones dem bones dem, dry bones…’
Better Bone Broth
1 packet of Osso Good bone broth
Pinch of Dr. Cowan’s Garden Pepper Salt
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp of unflavored collagen protein powder
1 tsp ghee
Pinch of Dr. Cowan’s Garden Three-Fold Blend Spicy (optional)
Pinch onion powder (optional)
Pinch garlic powder (optional)
When I make this with homemade bone broth, I use roughly one cup of broth and dilute it with water to suit my taste. Dr. Cowan’s Garden High Protein Leaf Powder also works well in this recipe if you don’t have Dr. Cowan’s Garden Summer Savory Powder. The ghee and collagen protein powder add a creamy quality to the broth.
Happy Spring, everyone! As I type this on an early Sunday morning, we are having a beautiful early spring here in the Northeast. Our new garden fence is up, the garden beds are slowly being made, the greenhouse is nearly finished, and seedlings are in the greenhouse planter boxes. For me, spring represents many things, but on a completely practical level it means the transition from “exercise” to doing actual work with my body. Shoveling, pushing a wheel barrow through mud, pitch forking hay — these are my favorite ways to work up a sweat and start the day.