Bone Broth and Detox Diets

admin November 6, 2009

Image by Novaop

How much do you know about bone broth? There’s an old belief that chicken soup can cure all, and it’s been frequently fed to people who are ill. However, research shows there’s a pretty good reason for this belief! We’ve been using bone broth (and other things) to help ourselves heal and detox recently, and I’d like to share our progress with you, as well as how to make this broth for yourself.

What Is It, Really?

Broth is a “magical food” according to some. Real broth (not the stuff from the store, which is mostly water and MSG) is made from the bones of animals, boiled to release the gelatin. Larger bones (like beef) will release marrow too. Gelatin, when ingested, pulls toxins out of the body and helps to clear illnesses. It also helps to heal the body and can reduce allergies. It is a major food used in the GAPS diet.

The best way to make this broth is to obtain bones from organic, properly fed animals (Whole Foods and local farms have this) first. Use as many bones as you can — some like to use 10 – 15 lbs. in a 16-qt. stock pot. 5 – 8 lbs. will work too though. Whole chickens also work if you want to make soup from the chicken after making the broth.

Make Your Own

Put the bones in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Some like to add 1 – 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar or other acid at this point (my father used to add a little wine). You can add an onion (cut in half), chunks of carrots or celery, kitchen scraps (ends of onions, carrot peelings, celery leaves), a couple bay leaves, some sea salt, etc. Other herbs can work too (best to wrap in cheesecloth or a spice ball) if you desire. Let the pot sit for a couple hours. Then, turn on low-medium heat and leave it for up to 24 hours (you can do this in your crockpot too). When the broth is a rich golden color, it’s finished.

When you put the finished broth in the refrigerator, it will get thick and jelly-like. This is the best broth. Don’t ruin it by heating it in the microwave! This can be used to make soups, gravies, or even just to drink. For a cold, add some freshly grated garlic to the broth just before serving. It will help to clear the sinuses and is also anti-viral. Yes — chicken soup with garlic can cure a cold!


There are other ways to detox, like juice feasting. But, that’s a different sort of cleansing. There are various commercial detox products on the market, and also water fasting, enemas, etc. However, the broth is probably the gentlest way to detox, and easiest because you can still eat while you are detoxing, even if your diet is more limited.

We’ve been working on detox with broth for a few weeks now. It seems to help us some. Bekah was doing better until we discovered we hadn’t cleared all her allergens. She is officially allergic to all nuts now. We are hoping by clearing all nuts, all dairy, gluten, and the various fruits/vegetables she reacts to, we will be able to finally fully clear her system. She still has eczema at this time.

I felt very tired and sometimes sick during the first few weeks, and I craved bread. After about a month I didn’t crave bread or sugar, and after maybe two months I finally wasn’t so tired. I do feel better now.

Have you ever done a detox diet? How did it go? Do you make broth at home?

If you’re new here — or not but have never left a comment — leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by!

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  1. So Whole Foods has bones for stock? I’ve been wanting to start making my own, but didn’t know where to get the bones.


  2. Marie,

    Yes, Whole Foods has bones for stock. They have them in the freezer section near the other meat. You can also use whole chickens, of course, from anywhere. 🙂


  3. Using a while chicken or even chicken parts works great for bone broth, I do it all the time. Just make sure its an organic and properly raised chicken.


  4. If I have cooked the chicken (or meat) already (and eaten it), can I then use the bones for a broth, or do the bones need to be uncooked? Can/should I add the giblets to the broth?


    • Laura, reiterating what Roxanne said about organic and properly raised chicken, yes you can use just the bones. The method my family uses is to take the whole chicken, cook in a bone broth, strip the usable meat, break down whatever bones allow it (you’ll notice organically raised chickens have stronger bones that resist breaking, a LOT more than conventionally raised, if you do ever do both types- this is due at least in part to all the hormones and chemicals conventionally raised chickens are exposed to, and a large part of why organic is recommended) keeping any giblets, skin, and fat in the ‘to be brothed’ pile, refill the crockpot with cool water and ACV, let sit for 30 minutes+ before starting the 8+ cook time again. The first batch (the one made with the meat) will definitely have a stronger concentration, but there is still enough in the bones that you will benefit from them. Apple Cider Vinegar sounds nasty to add, and I see variations on what the recommended dose would be, but I added 2 Tbsp to my last batch and I can’t taste it. I was super wary about it to begin with, but the acidity helps leach the nutrients from the bones more effectively, so it was something I felt like I needed to do.
      Hope this helps!


  5. I’m going to be doing a 21 day juice detox in January with enzymes and herbal cleansing supplements. I’m worried about the lack of protein, but didn’t want to interfere with the detoxing affects of the juice cleanse. Homemade broth might be a good addition : ) Any thoughts on mixing the two? Will they interfere with each other?


    • You might want to start the cleanse just on the supplements and juice. Protein is harder on the body to digest (as is fiber) which is why they’re left out. When you are getting towards the end of the cleanse, bone broth may be a really good way to “ease” off it.


  6. hi, I was wondering how long do you stay on a bone broth detox for and can you add heaps of vegetables to it and make it like a beef and vege soup. also I am diabetic on insulin, does anyone know how this will affect me.


    • That is all really hard to say. Different people have different needs, so one might be on a detox for a week, others for months. Also, if you are diabetic, I encourage you to find a naturopath or other holistic practitioner to help you determine what is the best course for you and monitor you through it so that you don’t mess up your blood sugar balance.


  7. I have an 8 week old and was recently advised to do bone broth for three days to help with her colic.

    1. I was planning on roasting a natural chicken from Trader joes and then taking the bones and doing the broth, will this work?

    2. What foods can compliment this mini detox? I don’t want to jeopardize my milk supply, so I need to keep calories high. Was thinking about doing fruit, veggies, and maybe brown rice?

    Thanks for your help. 🙂


    • Hi Mercedes,

      Yes, that method will work fine. That is what I do all the time, in making stock (I have a post on it too). Try adding ginger tea (great for baby tummies and you too), coconut oil, butter (unless you suspect dairy sensitivity), non-cruciferous veggies (try greens, carrots). Be aware a detox like this can cause a temporary worsening of symptoms. You might also benefit from a quality probiotic. I like Garden of Life Raw for Women.


  8. Just curious, with the bone broth detox, are you only using the broth, no other foods?


  9. Hello, Do you have to clean the bones completely? I assume you drain the broth and throw out the rest? How long will the broth stay good in the fridge stored in a mason jar? Thanks


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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