The difference between bone broth and meat broth or stock.
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One big confusion people have when starting GAPS is the difference between bone broth and meat broth and why and when to consume each. I’m going to share my understanding of those two things here.
First I have written posts about each kind and you can read them for the how to instructions
When you first start GAPS the instructions are to consume Meat Broth. Dr Campbell-McBride describes how to make meat broth/stock on page 179 of her Gut and Psychology Syndrome book. It says to cook read meat stock for 3 hours or longer and that the longer you cook it the more good stuff you will get out of the bones and meat and into the stock. It says to cook chicken stock for 1.5-2 hours. This is what is commonly referred to as meat broth or meat stock. It is rich in gelatin and free amino acids from the meat and connective tissues. It has a wonderful flavor and is very healing to the gut. It is ideal to consume this at the start of the GAPS diet because of it’s healing qualities.
As you progress on GAPS you may begin to incorporate bone broth. This basic recipe is taken from pages 122-125 of the revised second edition of Nourishing Traditions which is a sort of cooking bible for people following the Weston A Price Foundation’s guidance for how to eat. Bone broth has a lot of minerals and is a good replacement for milk in the diet for someone concerned about lack of calcium on a dairy free diet. The longer cooking times can break down some of the gelatin and so this broth can be less healing to the gut than the meat broth but the increased minerals from the longer cooking times are also very valuable.
Many come to GAPS already making and using bone broth. They see the instructions to consume lots of broth and so they just think bone broth and keep making it as they always have. One of the quandaries of healing on the GAPS diet that some find themselves reacting to foods that they have consumed without issues for some time. It seems that sensitivities can be hidden while the diet is detrimental to the body but once the diet is cleaned up and healing begins many sensitivities can be uncovered that were previously obscured. Bone broth is full of minerals and is healthy and an important part of the diet but it may not be ideal for when you first start out on GAPS. Bone broth also has free glutamates. Some people who are sensitive can react to these free glutamates like they do to MSG. Because of this it is prudent to start with meat broth (short cooking time) and progress to bone broth after the first wave of die off is over so that you can evaluate if this is going to be a problem for you. Some will need to stick with meat broth long term, some will be able to slowly transition to bone broth and some will have no problem jumping right into consuming lots of bone broth. The only way to really know which one you are however is to start out with meat broth. Cooking the bone broth at a very low simmer will minimize the free glutamates but will not prevent them completely. Many also find that bone broth brings on more die off than meat broth and so must be increased gradually as it is tolerated.
My family was in the group that could quickly and easily transition to consuming bone broth as well as meat broth. What I do is to make meat broth and bone broth from the same bones. This way we get the benefits of each kind of broth on a regular basis. First I make the short cooking meat broth. I remove that broth and the cooked meat. Then I put the bones back into the pot, with some apple cider vinegar and fresh water and cook them again, this time for a long time to make bone broth. I usually add to these bones the ones that I have saves from roasts, steaks and other meats that we cooked and eaten previously. I keep a bag of them in the freezer and add to it after each meal. Each kind of broth has it’s own benefits and flavor. We prefer the meat broth/stock for drinking and bone broth goes into dishes that will hide the flavor somewhat although we will drink it if that is all that is available. This way we also continue to get the benefits from both kinds of broth to heal our guts and replenish our mineral stores.
What has your experience been with these two kinds of broth? Did you have difficulty with one or the other? Do you prefer the flavor of one over the other? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.
You can learn more about broth with my ebook Broth: Elixir of Life