It turns out your great grandma was right. Chicken soup can do amazing things. Meat stock is powerful support to the digestive and immune systems, but most people overlook its abilities. See how easily this slow-simmered goodness can be made, and why it’s worth adding to your daily routine.Jump to Recipe
I believe that just about every illness starts in your gut. Junk food, chemicals, stress, poor sleep and other factors make a perfect storm of imbalances to the healthy intestinal flora that make up your microbiome.
You have five pounds of bacteria in your digestive system and they are powerful. Driving cravings, mood, energy and health all from one place.
Let them get out of balance with more bad guys than good, and you have the start of inflammation and breakdown of the intestinal lining which leads to leaking of food particles, toxins and proteins out into the blood stream where they shouldn’t be.
Over time your body struggles to manage these invaders it doesn’t recognize and illness develops depending on where in your body they deposit themselves.
I believe everything from asthma to eczema…Hashimoto’s to depression and my own paralyzing autoimmune disease holds its root in the gut.
So let’s give the lining of the intestines some good food that can help build strength and nourishment while supporting the rebuilding of the gut walls. Let’s patch some holes.
I noticed a difference in how I felt after a couple of weeks of drinking chicken meat stock every day.
How is chicken meat stock different from chicken broth?
Stock and broth are terms that are often used interchangeably. Meat stock is made from raw bones with meat and connective tissue on them, and broth just means that meat and vegetables were used. Bones may not be part of broth.
How meat stock supports health
- It’s anti-inflammatory. Meat stock is high in gelatin and the amino acids proline and glycine. This combination is beneficial to calming and healing the gut lining.
- It strengthens cells from the inside out. The gelatin in meat stock supports collagen use in the body which helps soothe gut inflammation and gives “flexibility” and strength to the cells of the gut. Collagen is also great for joint strength, flexibility and better skin, hair and nails.
- It’s a source of minerals. Iron, copper, calcium, magnesium and much more can be found in your daily cup of meat stock.
- It builds strong teeth and bones. Going back to those minerals–meat stock is bio-available to the body and is great to give children as they develop and grow. For some people, meat stock can be a healthier option than milk–especially if you’re lactose intolerant.
- It breaks down anti-nutrients. Legumes and grains contain anti-nutrients or natural compounds that make it difficult for the body to unlock their nutrition. These anti-nutrients are also really good at robbing your body of minerals as they pass through. Cooking legumes and grains in meat stock helps neutralize anti-nutrients so your body can properly digest your meal, and your minerals stay with you.
Read more about the benefits of meat stock in this article.
Meat stock vs. bone broth. Why choose one over the other?
Bone broth is everywhere isn’t it? And you’ve probably already fallen for the stories that it’s the only way to go. But the truth is that bone broths–the kind that are cooked for days, not hours–aren’t the right food for everyone.
Bone broths contain higher levels of glutamates which occur and develop naturally during cooking. These aren’t a problem for everyone, but for many people with an impaired gut and probably some breakdown of the protective layer that keeps certain harmful compounds out of your brain (we call this the blood brain barrier), bone broth’s glutamates can cause negative health reactions.
Specifically they can mess with your neurologic system. Bone broth can trigger bouts of OCD, anxiety, depression, or make existing neurologic disease worse.
How much meat stock should you drink?
There’s not a set amount really. I have seen some medical professionals recommend up to 5 cups a day for severe illness or autoimmune diseases. I drink 1 to 2 cups a day and would gladly drink more if I was acutely ill.
Should you strain the fat?
I don’t. The fat that will be on your stock is an added benefit because it can help you feel fuller longer and helps keep blood sugar stable. Once your stock is heated, that fat isn’t noticeable and your body will love it.
Make this stock with any meat you like: The formula
You can make meat stock with any meat that has bones and connective tissue. Your goal is to have about 4 pounds of meat to one gallon of water. Try:
- 2 whole, non-oily fish like sole or snapper with the heads
- Beef or lamb marrow or knuckle bones
- Chicken feet, backs, and necks
Other ingredients you can add for extra flavor
You can keep your meat stock as simple as you choose with my base recipe (listed below) or add items like whole peppercorns, 2 or 3 inches of sliced fresh ginger, celery, carrots, or fresh herbs.
How to cook in bulk and store meat stock
I don’t have time to cook a constant supply of meat stock every week so I make mine in bulk and freeze it so it’s on hand for drinking or using in recipes. I like to do 2 whole chickens to 2 gallons of water for bulk cooking.
When your stock is made and cool, strain the solids and measure your stock in to zip lock bags. I do 1 cup bags but you can do any measurement you think you’ll drink in a day.
Lay them flat on a rimmed cookie sheet and freeze the whole cookie sheet until the bags are solid. You can then stack the bags in your freezer and take out one at a time and heat it on the stove. I throw the whole frozen chunk in a pot and warm it.
Alternately, you can store your stock in the refrigerator for up to a week, rewarming as you need it. Don’t be surprised if your stock turns to “jell-o” when it’s cold. This is a great sign! It means that coveted gelatin your body needs is present and ready to work when you warm it.
Recipes you can use meat stock in
It’s great to sneak meat stock in to picky eaters or anywhere you can. I often make recipes with it for friends who are sick when I take them a meal. They are none the wiser and all the health benefits are still there. Some recipes to try:
- Oven chicken risotto
- Kao Soi noodle soup (we LOVE this one)
- Cook rice in meat stock instead of water
- Mexican Quinoa with chicken
My personal experience with meat stock
I’ve been drinking meat stock consistently for almost a year. At my sickest, my kids would make it for me and heat a cup every day. It took about two weeks of drinking it when I noticed that my energy levels were slowly improving.
A week or two more and my numb legs began to regain just a bit of sensation. I’m not really a person to fall for placebos and I’m a true believer in meat stock’s benefit. It’s also something I turn to if I feel a flare coming or we’re under the weather.
Meat stock is part of our toolkit for better wellness.
How to Make Meat Stock
- Cheese cloth or a strainer
- 1 gallon purified water
- 1 yellow onion unpeeled is fine
- 1 head garlic skins on, cut in half
- 1 tablespoons celtic sea salt or pink himalayan salt (you can adjust the salt after cooking if you want more)
- 1 3-4 pound organic whole chicken pastured preferred, or free range you can also use equivalent amounts of beef bones, fish bones with the head, or pork bones
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar raw and unfiltered is best
- Add everything in to a large pot. The chicken should be mostly covered with water.
- Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes at room temperature, then bring to a very low simmer. It should barely bubble. Skim any foam that rises to the top of the pot and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer 3 hours then let cool. Strain the broth and use the meat in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken. Pour stock in to mason jars, use within a week.
- Cool broth completely, strain and measure 1 cup in to your choice of container. I use Zip top bags for now. Lay them flat on a rimmed cookie sheet to freeze. Stack the frozen bags in the freezer.
- To heat, I bang the bag on the counter to break it up then transfer it to a small pot to simmer. Don't use a microwave to reheat your stock.