Can you cook and eat healthy on an RV? Absolutely! Here is one of my favorite options for making sure that we maintain healthy guts, eat natural gelatin and collagen to support our joints, get the nutrients our bodies need and support our overall wellness – and it is even easy to do in an RV! It is bone broth and meat broth, and it has come back in to fashion so to speak, thanks to the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and her GAPS diet (she cured her son’s autism). Let’s learn more about the benefits of bone broth and how to make an easy version in an RV, and then what to do with that bone broth to actually add it to our meals.
Meat Broth vs. Bone Broth
Now, let’s just get this straight first, because there is some confusion about this. While both meat broth and bone broth are very beneficial, they do have different highlights for nutrition. This is just a quick look at their main differences, so that you can understand them.
Meat broth is made by cooking bones with more meat for less of a period of time (3-6 hours). This type of broth is very high in gelatin, but will not have as many minerals.
Bone broth is made by cooking bones with less meat for a much longer period of time (24-72 hours). This type of broth will be much higher in minerals, but will not gel like meat broth.
The Health Benefits of Bone Broth & Meat Broth
As so often happens, there is something that backs up traditional medicine passed down through generations. Haven’t we all had chicken soup when we were sick? It is what our mothers and grandmothers relied on to help sick children.
I fully admit that I do not need the science to back it up – that is not how I roll. I have much more of a faith-based perspective, and I have seen science change its story enough to know that just because it is science, does not mean it is truth. But, I understand that a lot of people have trouble making the switch to healthier choices, because they just need more proof. So, I always like to give some science too. Because, well reader, I will do whatever it takes to motivate you to make healthier decisions.
In the case of broth, a study proved that in vitro (meaning in a petri dish), traditional chicken soup may contain multiple substances with “beneficial medicinal activity” (Source). In the study, the chicken soup was put to the test for mitigating inflammation, and the study showed that it does indeed mitigate neutrophil (white blood cell) migration.
Additionally, according to Dr. Mercola, bone broth contains the following…
- Gelatin to promote proper digestion.
- Chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine that reduces joint pain and inflammation.
- Glycine, proline and arganine which are anti-inflammatory amino acids.
- Calcium, magnesium and other nutrients. (Source)
How to make my version of Chicken Bone Broth
I want to walk you through all of the steps I use, so that you too get the most out of your bird.
First, I take an organic, pastured whole bird, remove any bagged parts in the cavity, rinse and pat dry, sprinkle with sea salt and roast that baby for dinner.
After dinner, I pick most of the meat off of the bones to be used in other meals. No need to be too precise at this point, the rest of the meat will fall right off the bones after cooking. I then take the remaining carcass, juice from roasting, skin and anything else from that bird and put it in my crockpot.
I cover the entire carcass with purified water from my Berkey. Then, I add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water and allow the bird to “marinate” for about an hour. The vinegar works on the bones to draw out more minerals.
Next, I turn my crockpot on low and set it for 18 hours. I roughly chop a carrot, some celery (this is a great way to use celery leaves) and an onion and add them to the broth at this time. I didn’t have any celery this time.
The next day, I first skim any scum that has risen to the top of the broth. Always skim the scum when making broth, soup or even boiling potatoes – that is one of my mother’s rules.
I ladle out some of the broth to drink with my breakfast and lunch. At breakfast, the broth will gel if left to cool. By drinking the bone broth before it is finished, I feel that I am getting some meat broth benefits too! Just my theory.
Around dinnertime, I will then turn the crock pot off. At that time, I remove any remaining meat from the bones to save for other recipes, I discard the bones and other pieces, and I pour the broth through a strainer in to containers. I allow the broth to cool before refrigerating. By this time, the broth will no longer gel, and it will be more golden in color. Some prefer to remove any fat that forms on the top once cooled, but I keep the fat in tact. If you want to freeze the broth, allow it to cool first over night in the refrigerator before moving to the freezer in a freeze-proof container.
Try our other healthy recipes easy to make in an RV!
How to use Broth
As I mentioned, I like to just drink it with meals. I add fresh squeezed juice from a lemon slice, some fresh parsley (to impart mineral ions to the broth), a little sea salt, and a spoonful of coconut oil.
I also use it in soups, like this southwestern chicken and black bean soup.
And I use it as a substitute for water when making rice or quinoa.
There you have it! A great way to add nourishing food to your diet that can easily be done in an RV kitchen. Healthy things can come from a small kitchen!
For further reading…
“Broth is Beautiful” by the Weston A. Price Foundation
“Update on Broth” from Nourishing Traditions