Slow Food, the Gut Membrane, and Elevenses House Bone Broth

Slow Food

One of my absolute favourite genres of childhood memories was the smell of food cooking when coming in from a long hard day at elementary, a big soccer game, or a particularly rowdy evening at the park.

The smell of baking was of course always a treat, but as the strange child I was who honestly preferred water over other beverages, and salty over sweet, I particularly delighted in the smells of meats, herbs, and spices emanating from the magical domain that was the kitchen. Truly, there was nothing that could make little Jacqui happier than dropping my backpack and smelling chillies, stews, or roasts and my Mom telling me dinner was in a half hour.

Fast forward to today, and the only thing that’s really changed is that Hunter and I are active in the creating of beautiful new smell-memories. Well, that and I’ve become interested in the chemical/nutritive side of what happens to food when you cook it for long spans of time, and how we can think of certain long-cook time foods as medicines.

Funnily enough, what comes to mind for me when I think about “slow food” is the gut.

State of the Gut

As anyone who is close to our family can tell you, we’re a bunch of sissies when it comes to our guts. I’ve personally had issues with digesting raw veggies and high casein dairy products for the last 4 or 5 years, and have only recently gotten some relief from adopting some principles from the Specific Carbohydrate or GAPS Diet. Mom and I have Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune thyroid disorder that is responsible for 80% of hypothyroidism in the developed world), which recent studies are showing is able to form only in those with permeable gut membranes. Hunter says he has to be careful with certain dairy products or his skin lets him know about it, and Nat mentions her intolerance for certain foods and how it affects her sleep, skin, and energy for the day.

The likely culprit for these issues are varying degrees of a “leaky gut”, now called “intestinal permeability” in the medical literature. In our family and in the wider population this condition is unfortunately very common and is only just starting to be understood.

Diagram of Permeable Gut Membrane
In a nutshell, a permeable gut is when the contents of our stomachs (shown as layer A in the above diagram), leak right through the protective gastric mucosal barrier (layer B) that protects our stomach lining or epithelial cells (D), and compromises the tight junctions that keep the tissue held together (C). When those tight junctions no longer modulate correctly, things that aren’t supposed to be let through, are – and right to your bloodstream (F). This leads to autoimmune issues, allergies, and many other things that we’re just starting to discover as related to our guts.

(I suspect how this happened for myself is related to the ketogenic diet I adopted for a couple years that yielded great mental benefits, but totally killed my body’s ability to keep up it’s mucosal barrier that protects my gut walls. Ugh. You live and learn though! Hint for those on low-carb diets: Throw in some evening carb refeeds from safe sources once a week for dudes, 2-3 for healthy women, and 4-5 for those of us with thyroid issues.)

Avoiding the foods that we note as problematic is always a great help for our family, but helping our guts rebuild is really key for setting ourselves up for a future of adventurous eating. One of the main ways we’ve done this, and the reason I’m rambling about my family’s questionable guts in a post that started with warm memories about being a kid, is bone broth.

What is Bone Broth?

“Good broth can resurrect the dead.” – South American Proverb

Bone broth is a staple in pretty much every traditional diet, and for good reason. In any given batch you can get a huge nutritional punch that includes the essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and fats that help keep keep the mucosal barrier of the gut well supported. What’s more – they taste delicious! Even Escoffier said, “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” Now, who’s about to argue with not just almost everyones Grandmother but also Chefs around the world? Not this elevenses blogger.

The magic of bone broth is often attributed to it’s glutamine content, and it’s true, glutamine is a massively nutritious food. For the gut-sensitive people like us, glutamine in bone broth is the central building block for healing your gut wall, and the other compounds in bone broth are easy to digest and don’t demand as much work to break down like meats or nuts do. When I’ve had particularly stressful times where it seems like I can’t digest much at all, bone broth has been my saving grace.

The key with bone broth is quality ingredients, and this applies most importantly to the animal bones being broth-ed. Ensure that you’re using grass fed, healthy animal bones, and that you’re keeping away from poultry bones in order to avoid overloading yourself with too much omega 6 fats (there’s too much of this in our food supply as is).

The Elevenses House Bone Broth

At our house we try to make sure we have a batch of bone broth kicking around at all times, and this fall and winter we’ve been particularly on the ball with it. We’ve tested a few different types of bones and veggie mixes, but our favourite is a basic one made from lovely beef bones from Tk Ranch, and a simple celery, onion, carrot, and salt and pepper accompaniment. It cooks overnight in the crock pot, and can be used in soups, stews, or as a snack in a mug on it’s own.

 

Elevenses House Bone Broth

Prep Time: 30 Mins Cooking Time: 18 Hours Total Time: 18 Hours 30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 340 grams of grassfed beef, lamb, or pork bones
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 litre filtered water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500ºF.
  2. Add diced onion, celery, and carrot to crock pot.
  3. Place salted bones on baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until bones are browned.
  4. Add browned bones to crock pot.
  5. Over the bones and vegetables, add pepper, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, and water.
  6. Cover, and cook on low for 18-24 hours.
  7. Once the bones have stewed for 18-24 hours, pour the contents of the crock pot through a colander and into a storage vessel (we keep ours in a large juice jug for easy pouring). Discard the used bones, veggies, and bay leaves.
  8. Skim off top layer of oxidized fats that comes to the top of your broth, and
  9. Store finished broth in the fridge, and enjoy within 5-7 days.

One of my absolute favourite genres of childhood memories was the smell of food cooking when coming in from a long hard day at elementary, a big soccer game, or a particularly rowdy evening at the park.

The smell of baking was of course always a treat, but as the strange child I was who honestly preferred water over other beverages, and salty over sweet, I particularly delighted in the smells of meats, herbs, and spices emanating from the magical domain that was the kitchen. Truly, there was nothing that could make little Jacqui happier than dropping my backpack and smelling chillies, stews, or roasts and my Mom telling me dinner was in a half hour.

Fast forward to today, and the only thing that’s really changed is that Hunter and I are active in the creating of beautiful new smell-memories. Well, that and I’ve become interested in the chemical/nutritive side of what happens to food when you cook it for long spans of time, and how we can think of certain long-cook time foods as medicines.

Funnily enough, what comes to mind for me when I think about “slow food” is the gut.

State of the Gut

As anyone who is close to our family can tell you, we’re a bunch of sissies when it comes to our guts. I’ve personally had issues with digesting raw veggies and high casein dairy products for the last 4 or 5 years, and have only recently gotten some relief from adopting some principles from the Specific Carbohydrate or GAPS Diet. Mom and I have Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune thyroid disorder that is responsible for 80% of hypothyroidism in the developed world), which recent studies are showing is able to form only in those with permeable gut membranes. Hunter says he has to be careful with certain dairy products or his skin lets him know about it, and Nat mentions her intolerance for certain foods and how it affects her sleep, skin, and energy for the day.

The likely culprit for these issues are varying degrees of a “leaky gut”, now called “intestinal permeability” in the medical literature. In our family and in the wider population this condition is unfortunately very common and is only just starting to be understood.

Diagram of Permeable Gut Membrane
In a nutshell, a permeable gut is when the contents of our stomachs (shown as layer A in the above diagram), leak right through the protective gastric mucosal barrier (layer B) that protects our stomach lining or epithelial cells (D), and compromises the tight junctions that keep the tissue held together (C). When those tight junctions no longer modulate correctly, things that aren’t supposed to be let through, are – and right to your bloodstream (F). This leads to autoimmune issues, allergies, and many other things that we’re just starting to discover as related to our guts.

(I suspect how this happened for myself is related to the ketogenic diet I adopted for a couple years that yielded great mental benefits, but totally killed my body’s ability to keep up it’s mucosal barrier that protects my gut walls. Ugh. You live and learn though! Hint for those on low-carb diets: Throw in some evening carb refeeds from safe sources once a week for dudes, 2-3 for healthy women, and 4-5 for those of us with thyroid issues.)

Avoiding the foods that we note as problematic is always a great help for our family, but helping our guts rebuild is really key for setting ourselves up for a future of adventurous eating. One of the main ways we’ve done this, and the reason I’m rambling about my family’s questionable guts in a post that started with warm memories about being a kid, is bone broth.

What is Bone Broth?

“Good broth can resurrect the dead.” – South American Proverb

Bone broth is a staple in pretty much every traditional diet, and for good reason. In any given batch you can get a huge nutritional punch that includes the essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and fats that help keep keep the mucosal barrier of the gut well supported. What’s more – they taste delicious! Even Escoffier said, “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” Now, who’s about to argue with not just almost everyones Grandmother but also Chefs around the world? Not this elevenses blogger.

The magic of bone broth is often attributed to it’s glutamine content, and it’s true, glutamine is a massively nutritious food. For the gut-sensitive people like us, glutamine in bone broth is the central building block for healing your gut wall, and the other compounds in bone broth are easy to digest and don’t demand as much work to break down like meats or nuts do. When I’ve had particularly stressful times where it seems like I can’t digest much at all, bone broth has been my saving grace.

The key with bone broth is quality ingredients, and this applies most importantly to the animal bones being broth-ed. Ensure that you’re using grass fed, healthy animal bones, and that you’re keeping away from poultry bones in order to avoid overloading yourself with too much omega 6 fats (there’s too much of this in our food supply as is).

The Elevenses House Bone Broth

At our house we try to make sure we have a batch of bone broth kicking around at all times, and this fall and winter we’ve been particularly on the ball with it. We’ve tested a few different types of bones and veggie mixes, but our favourite is a basic one made from lovely beef bones from Tk Ranch, and a simple celery, onion, carrot, and salt and pepper accompaniment. It cooks overnight in the crock pot, and can be used in soups, stews, or as a snack in a mug on it’s own.

 

Elevenses House Bone Broth

Prep Time: 30 Mins Cooking Time: 18 Hours Total Time: 18 Hours 30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 340 grams of grassfed beef, lamb, or pork bones
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 litre filtered water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500ºF.
  2. Add diced onion, celery, and carrot to crock pot.
  3. Place salted bones on baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until bones are browned.
  4. Add browned bones to crock pot.
  5. Over the bones and vegetables, add pepper, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, and water.
  6. Cover, and cook on low for 18-24 hours.
  7. Once the bones have stewed for 18-24 hours, pour the contents of the crock pot through a colander and into a storage vessel (we keep ours in a large juice jug for easy pouring). Discard the used bones, veggies, and bay leaves.
  8. Skim off top layer of oxidized fats that comes to the top of your broth, and
  9. Store finished broth in the fridge, and enjoy within 5-7 days.

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About the author

Jacqui

Jacqui Cardinal is a writer and eater at the elevenses blog with the rest of the Cardinal family. Her column is "Epistéme" and explores the relationships of biology, food, and culture. When she's not blogging and eating, she's finishing her Bio and Sociology degree at the University of Alberta, you can reach her on Google+.

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2 Comments on “Slow Food, the Gut Membrane, and Elevenses House Bone Broth

  1. Karen

    Super explanation of leaky gut syndrome. Thanks for sharing your bone broth recipe, there are so many variations, but really love yours.

    Reply
    1. Hi Karen! Thanks so much for your comment! Understanding leaky gut is so important, so I’m glad that my explanation could be helpful to others who are suffering from the same. If you have any other bone broth recipes that you’ve tried, loved, and want to share with us, we would absolutely love it!

      Thanks again 🙂

      Reply

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