Bone Broth – a rich source of protein and essential amino acids

This recipe is posted as a courtesy to those following a variety of low-carb and ketogenic diets (not necessarily Meal Plans designed by me). This recipe may or may not be appropriate for you.

To those who are new to a Low Carb High Fat or Ketogenic lifestyle, “bone broth” may be something new.  At first glance it may seem like a stock, but it is very different. A stock is made with meat and is cooked for ~ 2 hours, whereas bone broth is made with animal bones (beef or chicken, usually) and only whatever meat clings to it and is simmered for 18 hours or more. 

Bone broth is the beverage of choice for many when they are intermittent fasting (also called ‘time restricted eating’) – more on that hereIntermittent fasting is really a misnomer as a “fast” involves a period of time without nutrition, a temporary form of starvation.  During therapeutic intermittent fasting, bone broth is often taken as it provides a good rich of protein and electrolytes, so the body is not put in starvation mode (which slows metabolism). Drinking bone broth while intermittent fasting would be similar to following a ‘protein-sparing modified fast’.

Below is the nutrient comparison done by a professional food lab, showing the difference between an ‘18 hour bone broth‘ and a ‘2 hour meat stock‘.

Here is a 2 hour meat stock;

2 hr meat stock nutrition
Nutrient Analysis – 2 hr Meat Stock – Anresco Laboratories, San Francisco CA, Jan 22 2015

Here is an 18 hour bone broth;

18 hr bone broth nutrition
Nutrient Analysis – 18 Hour Bone Broth – Anresco Laboratories, San Francisco CA, Jan 22 2015

As you can see, the 18-hour bone broth has more than 3 times the amount of protein – almost 10 g of protein per 1 cup (244 g) serving.  The 2 hour meat stock pales in comparison.

Here are the nutrition labels written the way they would be if you purchased these in a store;

18 hr bone broth nutrients
Nutrient Analysis – 18 hour Bone Broth – Anresco Laboratories, San Francisco CA, Jan 22 2015
2 hr soup stock nutrition
Nutrient Analysis – 2 hr Meat Stock – Anresco Laboratories, San Francisco CA, Jan 22 2015

Stock versus Bone Broth

In addition to the significant difference in nutrients, there is a fundamental difference in a meat stock compared to bone broth and that is gelatin. I’m not talking about the flavoured, coloured stuff that our mothers or grandmothers  fed us for dessert, but the protein that is extracted by simmering animal bones, cartilage and other connective tissue to extract the collagen, the protein that connects muscle and cartilage to bone in animals. When bone broth is simmered for 18 hours or more, collagen breaks down and is transformed to the flavourless, colorless substance called gelatin. That is why after bone broth cools, it has a jelly-like texture.

gelatin texture of chilled beef bone broth
natural gelatin from the chicken bones and feet results in this texture, when chilled

Gelatin also contains the amino acids glycine, proline, lysine, alanine, arginine and valine which is an essential amino acid that cannot be produced by the human body, which means it must come from the diet.

In addition to giving bone broth it’s characteristic body, there are some clinical studies that seem to indicate that gelatin may reduce pain and improve joint mobility in those with osteoarthritis.

Beef Bone Broth Recipe

Making bone broth is less about a recipe and more about a method.  It takes the right ingredients and lots and lots of time.

beef marrow and beef foot bones

1 – When I make beef bone broth, I used both beef marrow and beef foot bones.  The marrow bones are round with the marrow in the centre and the beef foot bones have lots of cartilage, which helps form the gelatin.


bones and herbs
beef marrow and foot bones with onion, peppercorns and sea salt

2 – I brown the marrow and foot bones on both sides in a little coconut oil and add a small onion for flavour, some fresh or dry peppercorns and sea salt, then cover with cold, filtered water.  The reason I use cold water, is to enable me to skim off the “foam” which is produced as the bone broth begins to simmer.

[Note: Be careful not to put in too much water, otherwise the bone broth won’t ‘gel’.]

add time - beef
the most important ingredient is time

3 – The most important “ingredient” in making bone broth is time; at least 18 hours at a low, slow heat.  It shouldn’t boil, but be held just below the boiling point the entire time.  A slow-cooker works well for those who work or study outside of home.

beef bone broth cup
A cup of 18-hour beef bone broth

4. Enjoy!

Chicken Bone Broth Recipe

Like a beef bone broth, a chicken bone broth is about a few essential ingredients and lots and lots of time. A stewing hen is essential for making chicken bone broth because it is mostly bone and connective tissue with almost no “meat” on it.  On a whole hen, there is maybe 1 cup of meat. These fowl are usually birds that have outlived their usefulness for laying eggs and it’s the age of the chicken and all it’s connective tissue that makes it perfect for making bone broth (or soup).

The other essential ingredient is the addition of chicken feet.  Yes, chicken feet.  Like the beef feet in beef bone broth, the chicken feet have lots of connective tissue which results in the production of gelatin. I chop the nails off of them before making bone broth but many butchers that sell them will do this for you, if you ask.

Stewing Chickens

1 – Put two or three stewing hens at the bottom of a large stock pot.




ingredients for magic soup
Stewing chickens, chicken feet and herbs

2- Place the chicken feet on top, and any herbs or small amount of vegetables used only for flavour.  Cover with cold, filtered water and add sea salt. [Note: Be careful not to put in too much water, otherwise the bone broth won’t ‘gel’.]


skimming mesh

3 – Skim off the foam with a small mesh designed for this purpose until it stops producing foam.






magic soup
Chicken bone broth

4 -Lower the heat to medium low and simmer soup for at least 8-10 hours, overnight if possible. Be careful not to boil.

magic soup
Chicken bone broth

5 – Enjoy!




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