In my last article, I showed you ten ways bone broth can improve your health (and your looks).
Today, I’ll show how you can make gelatin-rich bone broth at home (in less than an hour)… and how a bone broth diet can promote fat loss, slow aging, regenerate cells and tissues, and repair the gut.
In addition to adding bone broth to your diet to infuse your body with more nutrients, a short-term bone broth “fast” can provide even more health benefits. Let’s take a look at how a bone broth fast works…
Benefits of the Bone Broth Diet Fast
Fasting is an ancient ritual that has received significant attention in the scientific community. And for good reason: intermittent fasting can provide your body with proven anti-aging and regenerative benefits.
Unlike a food-free fast (which typically lasts 14-36 hours), a bone broth fast can be done for three to four days, thanks to the macro and micro- nutrients this modified form of fasting provides.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of fasting:
Promote Fat Loss
Fasting – even alternate day fasting – can be an excellent tool for weight loss.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese participants consumed only 25% of their daily caloric needs on “fasting days.” Every other day, they ate normally. Over an eight-week period, this yielded an average 5.5 pound weight loss. In addition, the participants reduced body fat by an average of 3 percent (along with a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol levels).[i]
Boost Human Growth Hormone (HGH) & Slow Aging
Fasting is also known to boost human growth hormone (HGH) – the “holy grail” of anti-aging. When the body produces less HGH, we age faster. Conversely, producing more HGH can slow the process of aging.
What’s more, fasting helps reduce insulin levels – another key factor for healthy aging.
Normalize Insulin Sensitivity & Balance Hunger Hormones
Maintaining your sensitivity to insulin is essential for a healthy body composition and to prevent chronic disease. Fasting – whether traditional, intermittent or bone-broth based – is an effective way to improve insulin sensitivity.
Fasting can also help to normalize ghrelin – the “hunger hormone” that tells your body that it is time to eat. In other words, fasting can help to reset your body’s biological signal for hunger.[ii]
Ease Digestive Burden & Promote Cellular Repair
When your body doesn’t have to work to process solid food, it provides a break for the digestive system. And because bone broth (like fresh-pressed raw juice) is so easily absorbed, your body is able to assimilate nutrients… without the taxing digestive processes that typically accompanies eating.
One key nutrient in bone broth – l-glutamine – is the primary amino acid that is used to repair the intestinal lining, repel digestive irritants and reduce inflammation. And bone broth is also one of the best natural sources of collagen – a protein required to build the tissue comprising the lining of the GI tract. Not only does collagen protect and sooth the delicate gut lining, it can help to heal a “leaky” gut and ease symptoms of IBS, acid reflux and other digestive issues.
Because the lining of your intestines is replaced every three days, a bone broth fast provides an excellent combination of digestive “rest” and nutrient infusion to help heal and seal the gut.
Guidelines for Bone Broth Fasting
A bone broth fast is easy and inexpensive. Best of all, you can customize it to meet your needs. Here are a few tips:
- How Long? Plan to fast for a period of three to four days. This is optimal for helping to repair and regenerate the lining of the gut and balance the microbiome. A longer fast can raise the risk of fatigue and deficiencies in certain groups of high-risk people (see below).
- How Much? Ideally consume three to four quarts of bone broth daily (12 ounces per serving). Space your servings to every three hours, so you are consuming bone broth about five times a day — 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., for example.
- Solid Foods? If you choose to add some solid food during your bone broth fast, be sure to eliminate problematic and inflammatory foods. Focus on healthy fats, clean proteins, and above-ground veggies.
- After the Fast: Once you’ve completed a bone broth fast, you’ve laid the foundation for a stronger digestive and immune system. But don’t stop there! After the fast is done, continue to consume at least one to two cups of bone broth daily, while boosting your microbiome with lacto-fermented foods and probiotic supplements.
Preparing for Your Bone Broth Diet Fast
The key to a successful bone broth diet fast is planning ahead. Consuming four quarts of bone broth for three days will require a total of three gallons (48 cups) of bone broth.
Plan to make your bone broth in two or more large batches (depending on the size of your cookware). Then refrigerate or freeze small portions in zip top bags or mason jars to keep them fresh throughout the fast.
Here is a quick shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need to make all of the broth for your fast:
- 48 cups water
- 15 pounds grass-fed/free-range bones (a mix including oxtails, marrow bones, knuckles, chicken feet, pork soup bones)
- 6 carrots
- 12 leeks or 6 sweet onions
- 4 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. mineral-rich salt or Red Boast Fish Sauce (to taste)
Making the Most Gelatin-Rich Bone Broth (In a Snap!)
Many people think they don’t have the time to make bone broth at home. While the traditional stovetop method can be quite time-consuming, there is a better and faster way to make gelatin-rich bone broth: the pressure cooker.
If you are using the Instant Pot Duo, you can make a batch-size of 8 cups with each pressure cooking cycle. (NOTE: To make an 8-cup batch, simply divide the ingredients listed above by 6).
Before making your bone broth, you may want to roast the bones. This enhances the flavor of the bone broth, though it is not necessary. If you choose to do this step, simply place bones in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350 F.
Add all of the ingredients to the vessel of your pressure cooker, and cook on high heat for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally and then strain the broth into a glass container and refrigerate. Once cooled, you’ll find that the broth has gelled – this is the telltale sign of the presence of gelatin. For easy use and storing, pour cooled, strained bone broth into silicone ice cube molds or mason jars.
For the most gelatin-rich broth, be sure to add some free-range chicken feet. A recent study published in the Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering found that gelatin from chicken feet was nutritionally superior and yielded more collagen than other bones tested.[vi]
Precautions of the Bone Broth Fast
While a fast can have many advantages, certain people are not good candidates for fasting. People who should avoid doing a bone broth fast include:
- Those who suffer with hypoglycemia or diabetes (talk with your doctor first)
- Those who are underweight, malnourished (from eating disorder or digestive disorders) or recovering from a serious illness
- Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding
- Those taking medications daily that require solid food (talk with your doctor)
- Those with sensitivity to glutamates or MSG
- Those on the autism spectrum or with severely damaged guts. (A lightly cooked broth may be a better choice as glutamine content increases with long-cooked or pressure-cooked bone broth)
Keep in mind – fasting is unique for every individual. Use common sense, and follow these tips to be safe:
- Eat if you feel weak or very hungry.
- Get enough sleep.
- Don’t overexert yourself – this is a good time to take it easy!
Do you include bone broth in your daily diet… or have you tried a Bone Broth Diet? We’d love to hear your results!
[i] Varady, K. Bhutani, S., et al. Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr November 2009
vol. 90 no. 5 1138-1143
[ii] Jeannette M. Beasley, Brett A. Ange, Cheryl A.M. Anderson, Edgar R. Miller, III, Janet T. Holbrook, and Lawrence J. Appel,Characteristics associated with fasting appetite hormones (obestatin, ghrelin, and leptin). Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Feb; 17(2): 349-354
[iii] Yadav SK, Sehgal S. Effect of home processing on ascorbic acid and beta-carotene content of spinach (Spinacia oleracia) and amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) leaves. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1995 Feb;47(2):125-31.
[iv] Sasipriya G, Maria CL, Siddhuraju P. Influence of pressure cooking on antioxidant activity of wild (Ensete superbum) and commercial banana (Musa paradisiaca var. Monthan) unripe fruit and flower. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Oct;51(10):2517-25. doi: 10.1007/s13197-012-0791-z. Epub 2012 Aug 12.
[v] Galgano, F. Favati, M. Caruso, A. Pietrafesa and S. Natella. The Influence of Processing and Preservation on the Retention of Health-Promoting Compounds in Broccoli. Journal of Food Science Volume 72, Issue 2, pages S130–S135, March 2007
[vi] de Almeida P, da Silva Lannes S, Calarge F, et al. FTIR Characterization of Gelatin from Chicken Feet. J Chem Chem Eng. 6 (2012) 1029-103