Nose to tail means to consume all of the beast with little to waste. Obviously there are some parts that are physically impossible to eat such as bones, but that doesn’t mean we should toss them in the bin. There’s plenty of anti-ageing goodness that we can wring out these parts too.
So, true nose to tail eating is taking all of the pieces that are left such as bones, feet, hooves, knuckles, beaks, gizzards and tail, throwing them in a pot and cooking them for a long time to squeeze out every last nutrient.
That’s not to say that bone broth is inferior, the sloppy remains only fit for peasants. Oh no, bone broth is the most nutritious liquid on the planet. It makes kale smoothies look frail in comparison.
What’s So Good About Bone Broth?
Not all bone broths are the same, it all depends on what’s being used. Generally speaking though, you’ll use bones (hopefully including bone marrow), connective tissue (found in joints) and perhaps skin.
All of which provides different nutrients and in different quantities such as…
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K2
All of this is obviously fantastic for our health and reason enough for us to be guzzling this stuff. But, the star of the show that I want to point the light at is collagen. This is where bone broth really shines.
The Magic of Collagen
Collagen is referred to as the scaffolding for your body. It’s a protein that binds your body together, without it you would literally fall apart. In fact, the name collagen comes from the Greek word ‘kólla’, meaning glue.
You will find collagen in bones, muscles, skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and blood vessels amongst others.
In your skin, it’s like a mesh that forms the base for your cells to sit on. As you age, wrinkles form as the collagen degrades, which is why many skin beauty products use and promote collagen as an ingredient for younger-looking skin. Although, it’s questionable whether it actually works… the collagen molecules are said to be too large to penetrate the skin.
Collagen makes up around 30% of all the protein in your body. There are said to be 28 different types of collagen with types I, II & III making up around 80-90%.
Collagen is a very complex subject that I won’t go into any great detail here, although if you’re interested, there is a great article here.
The important thing to know is that your body makes its own collagen in the epithelial cells from various amino acids.
The Joys of Getting Old
When you’re young you have plenty of collagen which is obvious by the wrinkle-free skin, strong fingernails, thick glossy hair of your younger self. You’ll have strong bones with no aching joints with tough tendons and ligaments, able to take a battering, recover quickly, ready to do it all again.
But, as we age, things start to go south. Laughter lines begin to appear, hair thins – or in my case disappears – the old knees start to ache and we start, well… falling apart. This is because as collagen gets broken down, the rate of making new collagen slows down and can’t keep up, resulting in the dreaded ageing.
But There’s Hope
Now knowing this, I’m sure you’ll want to know how to slow this process down and give your body every opportunity to make as much collagen as possible maintaining your youthful looks. That’s where the superhero that is bone broth comes in.
When collagen contained in animal bones, connective tissue and skin are broken down through slow cooking, it turns into gelatin. Gelatin is what gives bone broth its jellyness when cooled. You can gauge the quality of your bone broth by its jellyness, there should be a solid wobble going on.
This process makes collagen-rich animal parts edible whilst still containing all the raw ingredients that your body can use to make its own glorious collagen.
Unfortunately, our modern diets rarely include any slow-cooked meats with lots of connective tissue which would have been common many years ago. I only hope that with this knowledge you’ll consider making bone broth a regular in your diet.
What Are The Options?
The bones from any animal can be used, cow, lamb, pig, poultry and fish are the most common. You can mix them up if you really want.
The old fashion way – make you own
Really simple and cheap… get some bones from your butcher, throw them in a large pot or slow cooker cover with water and cook for anywhere between 12 to 48 hours. The longer you cook, the more of that goodness you’ll wring out. If you have a pressure cooker, the time will be cut down to 4 hours – it’s well worth the investment.
Adding vinegar will apparently help extract the minerals from the bones. Most suggest raw apple cider vinegar. I don’t know how true it is, I can’t find any science to back this up. I add a little splash to my broths.
Some suggest roasting the bones first. I’ve done this once and it definitely adds more flavour. But to be honest, I don’t bother now. I’m lazy and it’s too much hassle.
Buy pre-made bone broth
There are a good number of pre-made bone broths on the market, most are organic. This is an expensive but convenient option.
I personally use Ossa which I buy through Ocado. I like Ossa because I can just about get 2 cups out of one pack. The others that Ocado sell are Borough Broth Co. and Boosh which are sold in slightly smaller quantities. I’ve tried them all and they all taste pretty good.
There are plenty of other choices too…
Dried bone broth
In certain situations, it may be impossible to have proper bone broth such as at work – unless you carry a flask around with you – or travelling, whether for business or pleasure. That’s where this is option is perfect. Mix it in some hot water and you’re good to go.
Here are some options, I’ve not tried them so I can’t vouch for them…
Bone broth Concentrate
Another alternative is concentrated bone broth. Essentially a thick goo that you add to hot water and away you go. I’ve tried and tested this one and I recommend it. I find just one teaspoon is all I need. It tastes nice and meaty. I tried the ‘Original Beef’ version but they also do ‘Garlic Herb & Beef’ and ‘Turmeric and Beef’.
Not strictly bone broth, but an alternative option for getting your collagen fix. Being a supplement, there’s a load of studies suggesting a wealth of health benefits such as…
- Higher skin elasticity in elderly women seen in this study.
- Reduction in physical ageing signs in the human face in this study.
- This study concluded…”Preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin ageing. Oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.”
- In pressure ulcer healing, collagen supplementation showed around twice the rate of healing in this study.
For more info on Collagen Peptides and what to look for when trying to source one, I found this article helpful.
I bang on about this a lot, and for good reason… you’re designed to eat animals. Your body has been finely tuned by Mother Nature over millions of years to digest all parts of the animal, from nose to tail. And that means straining every last drop of goodness. We owe it to the life that’s been sacrificed for our own to live on.
Bone broth is an amazing option to help improve and maintain our health and youthfulness. Let’s face it, we’re all a little bit vain. When we look in the mirror, we want to be pleased with the reflection we see… well at least, I know I do.
By adding bone broth to your diet on a regular basis, you’re giving your body the best chance to repay you with healthy skin, strong nails and luscious locks, better than any manmade beauty products. And, give you strong bones and sturdy joints allowing you to enjoy a full and active life long into your later years.
It’s what our ancestors would’ve done, so that’s good enough for me. I’ll be guzzling plenty of bone broth in an attempt to cling on to any slithers of youthfulness I have left… I need all the help I can get!
As a final note, I suggest sourcing your bones from good quality 100% pastured animals. Butchers practically give bones away so don’t worry about the cost, the important thing is quality. Check out the Pasture For Life website for your local grass-fed and finished meat butcher. I use Deersbrook Farm just outside of Braintree in Essex, and cannot recommend them enough, fantastic meat and even better service.
Have a nutritious day!
There you have it! Just a reminder that I’m no doctor, dietitian or any other profession for that matter. I’m simply a bearer of information for you to do what you want with; question it, research it, erase it from your mind, you are in charge of you.