Homemade broth is rich in the amino acid glycine, which is conditionally essential during pregnancy. Usually our bodies are able to make enough glycine to meet our basic survival needs; during pregnancy, however, additional glycine must be obtained from food. Glycine is the limiting factor for protein synthesis in the fetus, and thus almost certainly a limiting factor for fetal growth. Glycine is also needed for the synthesis of the placenta and protection of both mother and baby from toxins and stress.
—Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan, The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care, page 25
Making a strong comeback these days is homemade bone broth, an ancient superfood fairly ubiquitous in traditional cultures the world over. While it provides foundational nutrition for every well-planned preconception and pregnancy, broth equally nourishes all members of the family. Purchase fresh or frozen broth, or prepare your own using this simple recipe.
Chicken Bone Broth
Homemade bone broth can be powerful medicinal food throughout the human life cycle; it is helpful during times of fasting and detoxification as well as growth and rejuvenation, from preconception and pregnancy through postpartum and into infancy and childhood. In providing easily assimilated essential nutrients, broth supports digestive, joint, skeletal, immune, and mental health.
It can be prepared in large batches and used to replace water in cooking soups, stews, sauces, vegetables, legumes, grains, and other dishes. It can be sipped as a tonic while nursing an illness, taken as a sports drink to replenish electrolytes lost from exertion, pressed into action for nutritive hydration during labor, or blended into baby food purees. The possibilities are endless, making a daily dose second nature as long as you keep a supply on hand.
For other bone broth recipes, see The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan.
If you don’t have the time or resources to make bone broth from scratch, this is a trustworthy, shelf-stable brand.
And if making or purchasing homemade bone broth is not realistic, then consider powdered collagen to get a similar amino acid profile in a convenient form.
- 1 whole organic, pastured chicken (about 3 pounds) or bony chicken parts (2 to 3 pounds)
- 2 chicken feet (optional)
- 4 quarts (or more) cold filtered water
- ¼ cup organic raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 organic onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 organic carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 organic celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- Place the chicken or chicken parts in a large stainless steel stockpot with water and vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes or more.
- Add the vegetables to the pot and let stand another 30 minutes or more.
- Move the pot to the stovetop, preferably a back burner so it does not interfere with other cooking, and turn the heat to high.
- As the water approaches a boil, use a large metal spoon to scrape the scum that rises to the top and discard.
- After a few minutes of boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.
- Simmer for 12 to 24 hours (or more). The longer the bones cook, the richer the broth will be.
- If you used a whole chicken, pull out the carcass after a few hours (once the meat has reached your desired degree of doneness), let it cool, remove the meat, and reserve it for other uses. Then break up the bones and add them back to the pot. This will give the bones more surface area to impart their nutrients into the liquid.
- Turn off the stove several hours before straining the broth, to allow it to cool.
- Strain the broth into a large bowl. Squeeze the remaining solid matter to release additional liquid.
- Pour the broth into glass jars or other storage containers. Refrigerate and skim the congealed fat off the top if desired; the fat, if skimmed, can be reserved for sautéing spices or vegetables or adding to other dishes.
- Store the broth in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer (labeled and dated) for later use.