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Getting Marrow in Your Bones
But, we’re still missing one important factor as to why bone health is so vital to overall health. It’s marrow, which takes us back to the beginning of this article. Marrow is the soft spongy tissue in the center of our bones. Bones are semi-hollow because a hollow structure is stronger than a solid structure of the same mass. However, the body doesn’t ignore this space, it makes good use of it because marrow is the source of red and white blood cells. In other words, marrow helps build the blood. If one doesn’t have healthy marrow, they can’t have good health because they will be anemic and lack immune function.
So, here’s another important way in which “marrow in the bones” is a symbol of good health. Recall that Dr. Price observed that people with strong bones and teeth were also resistant to infectious diseases.
Marrow is good food. Part of the reason dogs chew on bones is to crush them to get the marrow. We can get the benefits of marrow into the diet (and all the other nutrients needed for healthy bones and joints) by making broth. One of the most valuable pieces of information I acquired from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions books was the information about making broth. It’s something few people do anymore, but after reading about the benefits of broth, I began making it myself.
Traditionally, people didn’t waste parts of the animals they killed for food. They ate internal organs (the brain, heart, liver and glands). They also threw pieces of bone and meat scraps into a pot with vegetables and made broth. Simmering the bones, joints, connective tissues, meat scraps and vegetables for several hours extracts all the minerals and nutrients needed to create healthy bones, joints and teeth. Broth also contains gelatin, glucosamine and other nutrients found in expensive supplements for arthritis.
Perhaps you’ve heard of using chicken soup for colds? Well, the chicken soup that works is one made with real chicken broth, which is made by simmering the whole chicken, bones and all, which extracts all that goodness from the bones, marrow and joints. This nutrient-rich liquid is not only good for your immune system, it’s good for your bones, teeth, hair, skin, nails, muscles, nerves, digestion and liver, too.
Broth isn’t hard to make. Put your bones and meat scraps in a large pot of cold water with some vegetables like onions, celery and carrots, cut into large pieces. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar and let it soak for about one hour. Then bring the whole mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer the mixture for 8-12 hours. Strain off the broth, pick out the meat and throw everything else away. For more precise directions, get a copy of Nourishing Traditions or go online to http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/broth.html.
I start making my broth in the evening and let it simmer overnight, then pick out the meat and strain the broth in the morning. It’s really interesting to examine the bones of a chicken you’ve cooked in this way. You can actually crush the small bones and the ends of the large bones because they are so soft. This is because the minerals have been leeched out of the bones and are now suspended in this lovely liquid that makes an excellent base for soups. If you want the best supplement you can get for your bones and joints, make broth once a week and use it throughout the week.
I hope you have a new appreciation for the importance of healthy bones to a healthy life and a better understanding of what you need to do to keep your bones strong. May you have health in your navel and marrow in your bones, so you can live a long, healthy and happy life.