Good Bones and Bad
It has long been debated if bone broth does provide the benefits proponents claim. Like most food sold, there is good and bad bone broth. Bone broth contains vitamins, minerals and collagen and gelatine, 2 proteins often sold as expensive supplements in health shops. Collagen is thought to support joint health and gelatine aids digestion and gut health. Both are thought to aid immune function, improve hair, skin and nails and help promote sleep.
Tinderbox Farm Bone Broth is made by first roasting, then boiling bones from veld grazed cattle. These are cattle roaming the mountain slopes of Mpumalanga’s Highlands Meander, where they graze on grasses and other naturally occurring vegetation. The animals are not fed commercial feeds, nor are they routinely fed antibiotics, steroids or other growth stimulants.
Some may find Tinderbox Farm Bone Broth quite bland. We simmer the bones with whole onions and carrots grown on the farm, a little salt and peppercorns. This results in a basic stock, which can either be served hot and seasoned in a mug or used as stock, as we do, when cooking soups, casseroles, bolognese, curries, etc. There are many trendily named, flavoured and beautifully packaged bone broths on offer in supermarkets and elsewhere. Ours is simple and pure, and a steadily increasing number of repeat buyers tells us that our customers like it that way.
If your hope is to improve your overall health, drinking or cooking with bone broth made from feedlot cattle bones might do you more harm than good. Even if fed some grass, allowing the meat to be labelled grass fed, most feedlot cattle are routinely fed antibiotics, steroids and other growth stimulants. Humans absorb traces of those substances when consuming the meat. One known consequence of this is the reduction in antibiotic efficacy, or increasing antibiotic resistance, a phenomenon of great concern globally. Steroids can cause long term damage, such as osteoporosis, cataracts, hypertension, ulcers, ADHD, immune suppression, kidney failure and liver failure.
Some bone broths may contain heavy metals and harsh chemicals that can cause harm. One such metal is lead. Cattle grazing on grassland alongside motorways or fed grass and other feed grown in areas where soil is contaminated by lead and other industrial and mining pollutants, absorb some of those metals, again passing those along the food chain to humans when we eat meat.
So, whether you believe in its much vaunted health benefits or only use it as stock, look out for bone broth made from healthy animals like ours.