Broth Force & Kobe Bryant
MANILA: The x-ray showed I had osteoporosis, which explained the pain coming from my lower back, and the curvature of that part of my spine. Osteoporosis means my bones have lost tissue. "Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle," Mayo Clinic says, "so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture" (Mayo Clinic Staff, mayoclinic.org). So at home I walked very carefully, or outside held on to the balustrade going up or down where there was a stairway... I couldn't make one little misstep. I had to be accompanied.
The pain was bad. I could no longer get from bed straight up, like before. I had to s.l.o.w.l.y. roll over to my side, left or right, prop myself with one arm and pull myself slowly with the other by holding on to an immovable object like the corner of a wooden table. If I had a nap in the morning and another in the afternoon, I got up from bed like that 3 times a day. About the pain, I was hardly telling anyone. When you suffer, you suffer alone.
No, I did not want to undergo medical treatment. I wanted alternative medicine.
I had to be admitted to the hospital anyway because of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Confined, I received so much medicine for pneumonia and COPD; I don't know if the doctor gave me medicine for osteoporosis, but 8 days after, I got out of the hospital, went to the Internet, about 3 weeks ago, and googled for
osteoporosis "alternative medicine"
And that’s how I found Kobe Bryant and bone broth. "Did you know that bone broth is Kobe Bryant’s secret for healing sprains?" (thepaleosecret.com). He is 36, and now one of the oldest players to earn 30 points plus in 1 game. He is the third all-time lead scorer, beating Michael Jordan. The secret? Bone broth, the "Stone Age soup." Bone broth is probably as old as the first animal killed by Stone Age men living in caves who also wanted to drink something hot.
In March 2013, Kobe ruptured his Achilles tendon in the left ankle after he landed on an opponent's foot; watching the game on TV at that time, the Lakers' team nutritionist Dr Cate Shanahan immediately called the hotel where the Lakers were staying, talked to the chef and ordered chicken bone broth delivered to Kobe's room (Baxter Holmes, espn.go.com). His ankle swelled to the size of a tennis ball. Kobe was out of basketball indefinitely? Definitely! An admirer of basketball superstars but not the game itself, even I thought Kobe Bryant was done, finished, kaput when I read that news.
He drank bone broth religiously and missed only 2 games. Good broth will resurrect the dead.
Bone broth has quietly but steadily become a daily staple of Bryant's diet over the past three years. It's the foundation of his pregame meal at home and on the road, and the Lakers put in long hours to make sure it's carefully prepared for him at all times.
"I've been doing the bone broth for a while now," Bryant said. "It's great – energy, inflammation. It's great."
Michelle Gupta reports Tim DiFrancesco, the Lakers' head strength and conditioning coach, explains that it's because from the bone broth, "you get the minerals and the exact building blocks of what makes up our joint surfaces" (thepaleosecret.com). Bone broth has chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, sugar moles that help our joints stay hydrated, healthy and function properly. Bone broth also has amino acids like proline, which helps regenerate cartilage and heal joints. And bone broth contains minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, all vital to bone health.
In the UK, it seems that the modern-day popularity of bone broth came from sisters & healthy-eating advocate writers Jasmine and Melissa Helmsley who grew up drinking bone broth prepared by their Filipino mother (Katy Salter, theguardian.com). The sisters use it as a base for soups, stews and gravies; their scrambled eggs get a dash of it. The Helmsley sisters say, “Nutritionally, it’s a champion all-rounder, packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin.”
Madlen Davies says, "Is bone broth the new coffee? Fans of the meaty soup claim it boosts energy more than caffeine – and reduces insomnia" (dailymail.co.uk).
I take beef broth now.
Why not chicken soup? No matter that the idea of chicken soup is so powerful that it has sold more than 200 Chicken Soup for the Soul book titles produced by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen in the last 20 years, I still prefer beef soup to chicken soup. Why? Because in the modern way of raising chickens for the table, as an agriculturist I know that the poultry raisers inject all sorts of chemicals into the veins of the birds, usually through the wings. When I was in high school, we had a poultry farm of 200 birds and I did the vaccinating myself. Did you know that there are now 6 different steroid hormones approved by the US FDA for use in food production? Estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, zeranol, trenbolone acetate, and melengestrol acetate? The last 2 are the ones that make animals grow faster (envirocancer.cornell.edu).
If the US does it, we will. We Filipinos follow the American way 100% when it comes to contract farming, especially poultry, where money multiplies faster than eggs. Today, I don't want to have to do anything with chicken that may have been grown with steroids, no matter how delicious they look or taste.
So I prefer beef soup. But I will mention chicken soup anyway because it's the romanticized health broth, the one of which a South American proverb says, "Good broth will resurrect the dead." It means: Good broth will restore your health.
What about you, why should you prepare bone broth? Sarah Wilson says (sarahwilson.com):
1. Our immune systems love it.
2. It's great for arthritis and joint pain.
3. It's a digestive aid.
4. It rebuilds the guts.
5. It combats stress and inflammation.
6. It's great for thyroid issues.
7. It's great for nails, hair and women generally.
Bone broth is called bulalo in the Philippines. So, if you can afford it, go to a bulalo restaurant every day, order a cup or two of the soup, and drink to your health. When I go out, I will do that too.
At home, I use a pressure cooker (see image above). I simmer for 4 hours the first time, ladle off all of the broth, fill the cooker with water again, and simmer again for 4 hours. I harvest the broth and repeat the process at least 4 times, which means I simmer the bones at least 16 hours total. Dr Mercola suggests 24 hours for chicken bones (articles.mercola.com).
I do not throw anything away, not even the "scum" – that's part of the deal. Since I go only after the broth, the only thing I add is water and rock salt (not iodized salt).
My wife buys the beef bones and, almost immediately, they go into the pressure cooker.
Bone broth contains: antioxidants, vitamins, minerals (calcium, silicon, sulfur, magnesium, glucosamine, phosphorus, trace minerals, and glucosamine chondroitin sulfates), amino acids (proline, arginine and glycine) (Kate, realfoodrn.com). Kate has a different list of bone broth health benefits:
(1) Heals leaky gut and lessens inflammation in the mucosal lining
(2) Aids in detoxification by supporting the liver
(3) Aids digestion by regulating the synthesis of bile salts and secretion of gastric acid
(4) Improves nervous system function and keeps our minds (and moods) in good working order
(5) Boosts antioxidant activity, thus decreasing oxidative damage
(6) Balances blood sugar, helps maintain muscle, and regulates human growth hormone
(7) Helps to reduce atherosclerotic plaque build-up
(8) Reduces cellulite, stretch marks, and wrinkles
(9) Improves hair and nails
(10) Re-mineralizes teeth
The 12th century Jewish physician Moses Maimonides may have started the chicken-soup-as-medicine trend when in his book On The Cause Of Symptoms, he recommended the broth of chicken or other fowls to "neutralize body constitution" – he pointed out that chicken soup cured leprosy and asthma (Leah Koenig, My Jewish Learning, myjewishlearning.com).
In the fall of 2014 came "a new trendy hot beverage filling mugs across America and experts (were) already singing its health praises" (Charlotte Hilton Andersen, shape.com). It's bone broth. Charlotte has another list of why you should try drinking bone broth:
1. Heal and seal your gut. According to Jill Grunewald, a holistic nutrition coach and founder of Healthful Elements, a cup a day works miracles for leaky and non-leaky guts. The gelatin helps seal up holes in intestines, good for chronic diarrhea, constipation, and even some food intolerances.
2. Protect your joints. Bone broth has glucosamine for joint pains. The broth includes other components to keep your joints healthy and pain-free. The chondroitin sulfate in the broth helps prevent osteoarthritis.
3. Look younger. Bone broth is a rich source of collagen. Drinking it can make your skin, hair, and nails look radiant.
4. Sleep better, and feel better. The glycine in the broth can help people sleep better and improve memory.
5. Immune support. Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, actually calls bone broth a “superfood” thanks to the high concentration of minerals. A Harvard study showed that some people with auto-immune disorders experienced a relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, with some achieving a complete remission.
6. Stronger bones. The phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium in the bones seep out into the broth leaving you with the essential building blocks for healthy bones.
7. More energy. Everyone swears by the energy boost.
8. It’s very economical!
And that's exactly what I can tell you right now, on my 3rd week of sipping beef broth throughout the day. About a week after I began my bone broth therapy, something like 90% of the pain in my lower back was gone, so I could get straight up from bed in one bounce.
By the way, I sleep soundly now.