November 26, 2016
[0:00] Introduction/ Organifi
[1:37] Four Sigmatic
[3:25] Introduction to this Episode
[5:00] Bone Broth and Justin Mares
[8:00] What Got Justin Started In The Bone Broth Business
[13:04] Why Take Bone Broth
[18:13] On The Evidence That Backs Up Bone Broth's Effect
[22:05] Which Bone Broth Is The Best Kind
[26:24] Quick Commercial Break/ ZipRecruiter
[29:45] The Importance of the Kind of Bone Used
[31:57] Bone Marrow
[33:57] Justin's Bone Broth Recipe
[36:54] The Ideal Temperature For Bone Broth
[38:37] The Packaging Used For The Bone Broth
[44:23] Ways People Can Use Bone Broth Beyond Drinking It
[46:50] Using It In Relation To Ketogenic Diets
[48:19] Giving Kids Bone Broth
[57:53.8] End of Podcast
Ben: Hello. Ben Greenfield here, and I hope you're hungry because you are about to learn how to nourish your body with some of the tastiest stuff on the face of the planet in today's interview with Justin from Kettle & Fire bone broth. And if you think you know everything there is to know about broth, blah, blah, blah, the new super food, you're actually going to pick up all out of stuff I didn't even know about when it comes to bone broth in today's show.
So before we get to today's show though, there's something else that is chock full of nutrients that is not bone broth and that probably wouldn't even taste very good if you put it into bone broth, but tastes fantastic in a smoothie. Especially when all you have for your smoothie are plants that might not be super-duper green, like maybe all you have is iceberg lettuce, and some cucumbers, and you want to add a shotgun of nutrients to something like a morning smoothie. Well, this stuff has an alkaline greens blend that's like wheat grass, and spirulina, and chlorella, and matcha green tea, and horseradish tree, and then also a super food blend of ashwagandha, and beet, and turmeric, and coconut water powder. They put all this together and it shipped to your house in this tiny little bottle that allows you to get all the benefits of juicing without the mess, the annoying mess of juicing. This stuff's called Organifi Green Juice. Organifi Green Juice. And you get 20% off on it when you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife, and use discount code Ben to get 20% off this tasty, tasty green juice.
This podcast is also brought to you by something that saved my butt for the past 12 days. Because I've been on the road, I flew down to speak at the Weston A. Price Conference in Montgomery, Alabama and then I jetted over to Helsinki, Finland. And frankly, half the places I'm staying have really crappy coffee. Either the hotel rooms have the mold and fungi-ridden coffee that's just low quality, and burnt, and tasteless. And then people I'm staying with right now while I'm over in Helsinki, they don't drink coffee. They do tea. And frankly, I like the taste of coffee in the morning, I like the antioxidants, I like the fact that it makes me go poo in the morning. But they don't have coffee, and the hotels have bad coffee.
So in this case, what I use are these little packets. They save my butt every time. They're packets of coffee and they're infused with these special super foods, like chaga and cordyceps. It's rich, it's smooth. All you do is you just dump the packet into a mug or a paper cup, and you add hot water, and you get 500 milligrams of dual extracted mushrooms, but you also get coffee that doesn't have any acidity to it. You don't get any stomach burn, and it doesn't cause a jitter, or a crash, because the caffeine content is not even that high in this coffee. But you get whole the flavor of coffee, just 100% Arabica coffee that's very, very low in things like the microtoxins, and the mold, and the fungi. Anyways, this stuff is called Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. And you get 15% off of this stuff when you go to foursigmatic.com/greenfield. That's FourSigmatic.com/greenfield and you use coupon code Ben Greenfield to get 15% off. So foursigmatic.com/greenfield, use coupon code Ben Greenfield to get 15%.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“We'll use it as part of a weight loss regimen that also incorporates fasting, and then we also see it for a lot of people. It helped them with digestion, and so they're getting more nutrients from the food that they're actually eating, which means that over the long run they've seen the reduction, the dampening of their appetite.” “We have a ton of customers that feed it to their kids. I mean, this is one of the oldest things. You see it in many traditional cultures, hunter gatherer cultures that we have today, is they'll make a bone broth from bones of animals that they've killed and feed it to their kids.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield, and as you might suspect, there's a little bit more to this thing called bone broth than first meets the eye, and bone broth is incredibly trendy these days. There's like bone broth restaurants popping up in New York City, and bone broth flying this way and that way around the country, and all sorts of different bone broths on the shelf on the grocery store. But honestly, it's not all created equal. You can look at the bones, for example, like what kind of bones you use. Knuckle, or patella, or femur, or feet, as nasty as that might be to think about. Yes, your feet have bones and they can be used to make bone broth. Hopefully, not your feet, but the feet of the correct animal. But there are some bones that have really high levels of collagen and some bones that, frankly, don't.
And what you add into bone broth matters as well. There are things like bay leaves, and parsley, and alkalinic compounds like apple cider vinegar, and the bioperine from peppercorn, and things that can make bone broth actually pack way more of a punch than a normal, plain Jane bone broth with just like bones and water would. And the packaging matters too. I mean there's a lot of companies shipping bone broth all over the place, and it's got everything from pathogens and germs in the packaging, to BPA, to additives, to sodium, to our dear friend MSG, and a whole lot more.
So I thought that on today's show we'd tackle the subject of bone broth and tackle it kind of from a different perspective of teaching you how to, say, like hunch over a crock pot in your kitchen with a chicken carcass, making your own bone broth, and instead kind of delve into a lot of these like done-for-you, packaged bone broth options out there, and what would allow you to actually make the best choice. My guest on today's show is a guy who's kind of a bone broth ninja. He basically spends his entire day making bone broth, and shipping bone broth, and packaging bone broth, and teaching people about bone brought.
His name is Justin Mares, and Justin is actually the founder of bone broth company which I think probably has the coolest name of just any bone broth company on the face of the planet. It's called “Kettle & Fire”. Kettle & Fire bone broth. I've had it. It's pretty tasty. It's fresh. It's not like a frozen organic bone broth, but like a good, fresh organic bone broth that you can get shipped to your house. And I figure Justin would be the perfect guy to really fill us in and what goes into actually making a bone broth that you could actually package, and ship, and drink straight from your refrigerator or wherever else you happen to be. So, Justin, welcome to the show, man.
Justin: Awesome, man. Thanks so much for having me.
Ben: There are not a lot of people who actually work as intensively in the bone broths sector as you do. And so I'm curious, what got you so freaking obsessed with bone broth enough to actually start a business in bone broth?
Justin: Yeah. That's a good question. So I was traveling a lot. I used to work in tech. And basically I wanted to incorporate bone broth into my diet, but I was traveling too much. And as you know, it takes a really long time to make, and like when I'm in and out all the time like I was then, it just wasn't really convenient, and as a result, I wasn't incorporating it into my diet.
And so this was a problem I had, and then my co-founder, who's also my brother, he suffered a really bad knee injury playing soccer. He tore up his ACL and was basically bedridden after surgery for six weeks. And so we were looking for foods that could help him with recovery. He lived on the other side of the country. And I was like, “Man, you should try some bone broth.” Went online to buy him some, and like none existed. And so that was the point where I just decided I want this in a more convenient format, I want this for my brother, and it just didn't exist. So that's…
Ben: Really? ‘Cause I've been to the grocery store. Seems like for a few years now, there's been bone broths, like I know Pacific Foods, for example, is one that I see a lot of times at different grocery stores. But none of that was available back then?
Justin: Yeah. So this was about two years ago. And then as I looked into it, I saw the Pacific stuff. And truthfully, it's not, I mean it's just not a real bone broth. Like they basically take their chicken stock, they add apple cider vinegar, then they call it bone broth. If you take it home, you open it up, it won't gel in the fridge, it won't solidify at all, doesn't taste good, and like the micronutrients and stuff just aren't there.
Ben: Well what does that mean? And by the way, we just lost any of our listeners who work for or are affiliated with Pacific bone broth. Apologies. But what does that mean? Like when you say it doesn't gel in the refrigerator, why would that matter? Like what would make a bone broth gel and why would a bone broth that doesn't actually gel when you put in the refrigerator are not be a good bone broth?
Justin: Sure! So when you make bone broth at home, like what's happening is the bones are basically breaking down, and so you get a lot of collagen, gelatin, glycine among other amino acids and proteins in the actual bone broth. And so when you put that in the fridge, just like when you toss a Jell-O in the fridge, which is like high concentrations of gelatin, bone broth does the same thing. Like when cold, the gelatin will actually bind to one another. And so, you have like a pseudo-gelatinous substance that allows you to see like, “Okay, this is actually a bone broth made the real way.” And you can literally see there's a lot of gelatin, glycine, collagen in this broth because of how it's firming up, how it's gelling, how it's coming together.
Ben: Okay. So that firm stuff, that's necessarily like fat globules. It's actual gelatin?
Justin: Yeah. Exactly. So I mean, you could skim the broth and skim the fat off the top of the broth as you're making it, and then you take what's left, throw it in the fridge, it should still firm up, it should still gel, or at least become more gelatinous because of the high level, high concentrations of gelatin and other amino acids.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Alright. So your brother, his name is Nick, right?
Ben: Okay. So Nick tore his ACL while he was playing soccer, and he was looking for things that could help with healing and help with recovery. You went online to buy a bone broth, and you just basically couldn't find anything.
Justin: Yeah. Exactly. He was living at home at the time 'cause it was the senior year of high school, and he basically, we're the oldest of seven kids. So my mom had no time to make bone broth for him. And so we went online and couldn't find it anywhere.
Ben: Okay. So in terms of bone broth, what about like the frozen stuff that you can get shipped to your house frozen?
Justin: Yeah. So that didn't exist at the time. But now that it's out there, there are a couple companies that have a frozen bone broth, truthfully, I think it still doesn't solve the problem that I wanted to solve, which is it's not convenient. You buy it, you have to put it in your fridge, or freezer, you have to thaw it for multiple days in order to be able to use it. And then the shipping is incredibly expensive and it comes in kind of harmful styrofoam containers that I'm just personally not a big fan of.
Ben: Okay. I want to ask you a little more about like the packaging and stuff like that in a little bit, but I think that before we get too far ahead of ourselves and talk about like the packaging, and the ingredients, and things like that, in terms of bone broth itself, I mean, there might be some people listening in who haven't really tapped into using bone broth, or aren't aware of its benefits. So why would somebody, 'cause I have about a cup of bone broth every day for my recovery. I'd put it up there with things like colostrum, and aloe vera, and chlorella, and a lot of these stem cell precursors that help an athlete's body, or anybody's body to recover and repair more quickly. But for people listening in, what would be some other reasons that you'd even want to do something like drink a cup of bone broth a day, or cook with bone broth, or make it a staple in your diet?
Justin: Sure. Yeah. It's a great question. So the biggest reason for me is, I think if you look at the average person's diet, maybe not yours, but even someone that's relatively health conscious, maybe they'll lead a paleo lifestyle, eat pretty well, whatever. What people are often missing is they're missing a lot of the key proteins and amino acids that you just don't get from eating cuts of lean muscle meat, and organic vegetables, fruits, nuts. Like if you're just eating organic vegetables and then cuts of meat, chicken breast, grass-fed beef, whatever it is, oftentimes you're not getting a lot of the amino acids and proteins that exist in high concentrations in organ meats, in bone marrow, and in the bones themselves.
Ben: I was going to ask you, when you actually are looking at a lot of these things that bone broth has that maybe you're not getting from other nutrients, one of the things that comes to mind for me is something I've mentioned on a podcast before and that I should probably mention again. That's this whole like red meat causes cancer type of idea. And the concept here, and I don't know if you're too familiar with this, Justin, do you know where I'm going with us?
Justin: I am. Yeah.
Ben: Okay. So, yeah. Red meat has a ton of methionine in it. It's an amino acid that, when unopposed, when consumed in high amounts, and unopposed, and not balanced out with other amino acids, is actually the part of red meat that makes red meat carcinogenic, like when you see all these headlines that red meat causes cancer. And so when I started to the delve into that research, 'cause I eat, I have probably have red meat like two or three times a week, which is not a ton compared to some egg and bacon chugging paleo enthusiast, but I still eat a decent amount of red meat. And so one of the things that got flushed out from that research, pun intended, kind of, is that you have to balance out the red meat, the methionine in the red meat, with this other amino acid called glycine. And apparently, from what I understand, bone broth, so for me to do like a cup of bone broth on the same day that I have like a rib-eye steak, or some ground beef, or something like that, that's actually providing me with a pretty concentrated source of glycine. Is that correct?
Justin: Yeah. Absolutely correct. And that certainly helps with digesting red meat, with regulating and clearing out excess methionine, and the stuff that you just mentioned. There's also interesting studies around how glycine can actually modulate, or I was going to attenuate, but you can cut that. That might be too much. But how it can effectively attenuate and dampen the metabolic response to sugar. So when you increase your consumption of glycine, or ingest glycine with sugar glucose, the glucose response is like severely dampened in terms of the insulin response. And so effectively…
Justin: Some studies are showing, yeah. I'm happy to send this to you too, if you want to include it in the show notes. Like there are some interesting studies around there. But they're basically showing that the insulin response after the ingestion of glycine is like pretty different in terms of like 50% dampened when you ingest glucose plus glycine, as opposed to just glucose alone.
Ben: Interesting. So similar to something like, 'cause I've mentioned before about the use of cinnamon, or apple cider vinegar, or even a supplement like better melon extract prior to consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal, you could also, for example, to stabilize blood sugar while consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal, you could have something like bone broth.
Justin: Yeah. Exactly.
Ben: With your chocolate cake.
Justin: Yep. Exactly.
Ben: Interesting. I actually was unaware of that. So it has a blood sugar lowering effect. We know that glycine is important, and I've seen all sorts of claims, I'll be honest with you, James, or Justin, about healing a leaky gut, or overcoming food intolerances, or improving joint health, or reducing cellulite, or boosting the immune system, and one of the things that I tend to see people complain about with bone broth is this idea that there's not really a lot of research on bone broth itself. Like when we look at a lot of these studies and these claims that people make about bone broth, they're referencing like the individual constituents of bone broth and no actual like lab studies that have been done on bone broth as a whole itself. What do you think about that? Can you take like all the individual components of bone broth like say glycine, or glucosamine, or collagen and say, “Well, hey. Lab search has said that collagen can help you joints heal. So therefore, bone broth is going to cause your joints to heal. Or same for glycine, or glutamine, or anything else”. Like how do you tackle that issue?
Justin: Yeah. It's a great question. So I think that, to some extent, you can say, “Studies show collagen is good for you. Bone broth is extraordinarily high in collagen, so therefore it's highly likely that the collagen bone broth, especially given how bioavailable it is, is likely to have similar or better effects than lab studies that have been done with collagen supplements”. So that's one point I totally understand where people are coming from and that some people are skeptical of that. But to me, given the responses I've seen from our customers, given some of the research done around these different constituent parts, I think it points to bone broth being a really, really powerful food in terms of healing and helping with some of the things that you mentioned.
Now that said, there's certainly not enough studies that can conclusively say bone broth is this miracle superfood that does X, Y, and Z. And to that, that's something obviously I want to fix, that's something that we care about. And to that, we're actually working with some academics right now to pull together a well-proposed, scientifically valid study that hopefully will give a better sense of what exactly are the hard numbers, what are the impacts of incorporating bone broth into your diet.
Ben: Gotcha. Just don't kill any laboratory animals in that study, by the way.
Justin: Yeah. None.
Ben: Be careful with the rodents. And by the way, send me that study on the blood sugar lowering effect of bone broth. I'd love to put that in the show notes. And for those of you listening in, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kettleandfire. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/kettleandfire to access the show notes for today's episode.
So we know a little bit about why bone broth is good for you. Good for your joints, good for your immune system, et cetera. And I personally, from my own anecdotes, and also I know a ton of people listening in, like they swear by this daily cup of bone broth. There's even that old proverb that, how's it go? “Bone broth can raise the dead.” Is that…
Justin: Yeah. “A good broth can raise the dead.” Exactly.
Ben: And I mean if you open our refrigerator here at the Greenfield house, you see Mason jars. And there's usually like, well there's four different things that you'll find in the mason jars in our strange fridge. Number one, anything my wife ferments. And she ferments freaking like lemon rinds, and tomatillos, and elderberries. Like our whole fridge is just a bunch of mason jars of things that have been fermented, and preserved, and pickled. And then there's also, and this is more for me, chia seed slurries, where I'll take chia seed, and I'll mix like one part chia seeds and nine parts water, and I use that chia seed as like a base for smoothies and stuff like that. And then I'll also use as like a natural sports drink where I'll add some stevia, or some lemon juice, or some sea salt, or things like that to it. And then the third thing that you'll find in glass mason jars in our fridge is this stuff called pau d'arco bark tea, which basically involves me ordering pau d’arco bark off of Amazon, and I let it sit in these jars, and then I blend it with something called sunflower lecithin. And that creates a very, very potent precursor for something called NAD, which all these like pharmaceutical companies are rallying to produce drugs that contain it. You can actually get the same thing by making bark tea. And then last thing that you find, as if there weren't enough jars in our fridge, is bone broth.
Like those are the four things, fermented foods, chia seed slurry, the bark tea, and bone broth are our staples here at the Greenfield house. We've got tons of bone broth around, and I'm certainly convinced for myself that it makes or breaks me in terms of like recovery, and joint health, et cetera. And also keeps me from having to buy a bunch of glucosamine chondroitin supplements. But I want to delve into some of the nitty gritty of bone broth 'cause I know it's not all created equal. The first question that I have for you, if I can just start throwing stuff at you, 'cause I want to take advantage of having you on the call, 'cause I know you study this stuff a lot more than I do. There's cow bone broth, there's chicken bone broth, there's fish bone broth. Like those are the three most common bone broths that I see out there. What's better? Or is there one that's better? If you were just going to choose like one bone broth, or basically focus on just one specific animal, would you choose one?
Justin: Yeah. I mean personally, I think that the beef is the best. And that's for a couple reasons. One, bigger bones and so you get a lot more marrow in them, which means that you get a lot more of the benefits of the bone marrow actually seeping into the broth itself. Chicken bones, just by virtue of being smaller, they're not going to have as much marrow in them. And fish will have even less. And so if I'm putting my money on one or two animals to use to make a bone broth for, I'm likely going to use cow bones.
Ben: Do you need to be concerned about the cow itself? Like let's say a cow got growth hormone or got antibiotics, is that the type of thing that can actually pass into the broth? Can those get concentrated in the bones? Or do you just have to worry about like the fat and the meat of a cow in a situation like that?
Justin: No. You absolutely have to worry about that stuff. And that's why grass-fed is incredibly important. That's why using organic practices in raising is incredibly important. And that's why, personally, we make sure that all of the bones we use in our stuff is 100% grass-fed certified, both grass-fed and grass finished because that's really important. It makes its way into the bone marrow, that changes the fatty acid composition in the bone marrow, which then means that you get a different broth. If you're using it from a factory-fed animal as opposed to one that has access to pasture, 100% grass-fed. All of that.
Ben: Now for your guys' cows, where are you getting the actual bones from the cows that you use?
Justin: Yeah. So we're getting the bones from small family ranchers certified, again like I said, 100% certified grass-fed. But ranchers all over the Midwest, and into California.
Justin: So we're sourcing a lot of bones. And so we're working with actually a grass-fed bone collective that helps us source from all of these ranchers that have agriculture and raising practices that we agree with.
Ben: Got it. Is there any kind of like a hypoallergenic benefit of choosing like a fish, or a chicken, over a cow? Or is it simply the convenience, that it's easier for the average, whatever, housewife, or house husband, to toss a chicken or a fish in a crock pot versus shoving an entire cow femur into a crock pot?
Justin: Yeah. Truthfully, I think it's convenience. I mean I haven't seen any studies that point to chicken being better than beef or anything like that. So I think it's mostly convenience just because to make bone broth the way that we're making it, you need to cut the bones in a very specific way to expose more marrow, you need to do a couple different things that assist with breaking down, and make sure that you get all the nutrients in the bone broth. And most people are just unlikely to have a bone saw or something like that in their kitchen.
Justin: Or even be willing to want to do that.
Ben: Right. Actually my wife has a giant bone saw in the garage because she actually does things like butcher entire pigs. And then I have it now that I can use on deer and some of the wild game that I get. But you are correct. Most people don't have bone saws just laying around.
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Ben: Okay. So another question for you related to bones and bone saws. The actual bones themselves. Does it matter what kind of bones you use? And if so, why?
Justin: Yes. It certainly matters. So we'd like to use a combination of bones 'cause we've found that different bones provide different benefits. Some bones will have more connective tissue. A lot of the knuckle, neck, bones that come from that part of the animal will be very, very rich in connective tissue. And that's where you get a lot of the collagen and some of the other proteins that make up the connective tissue, tendons, and the like. Other bones, like femur, neck back, they will be more marrow rich, and so that's where you get a lot of the benefits of the bone marrow. And so we use a combination of those to kind of get the best of both worlds. And so we don't prefer to use just toe, just knuckle, just neck. We try and get a combination so that we get all of the benefits that you can get from bone broth.
Ben: Okay. So the best bones would be bones that actually have the connective tissue on them. So we're talking knuckle, patella, femur, feet. Any others?
Justin: No. You pretty much nailed it.
Ben: Okay. Alright. Cool. And the main reason for that is that those are the ones that have the highest level of collagen and they also have the highest level of marrow?
Justin: Yeah. Exactly. So specifically the connective tissue ones, toe, knuckle, and the like, they'll be more high on the protein side, whereas the other ones are more marrow rich, like femur and all of that.
Ben: Okay. Now when you're using a word like marrow, obviously marrow tastes pretty good when you smear it on sourdough bread with a little bit of sea salt. At least that's the way that I like to eat it when I'm not getting it from bone broth. Or even as it grosses out my wife, but that I like to do, I'll even suck it out of the bones. But in terms of marrow, now I know there are some differences in marrow. You've got like white stem cell marrow and red stem cell marrow. What's the different types of marrow? What's actually going on in the body when you consume marrow?
Justin: Yeah. So there's some really interesting studies that show that the fat tissue and bone marrow is a really significant source of certain hormones, especially adiponectin, which help maintain insulin sensitivity and break down fat. And so you're getting those hormones as well as a lot of lipids, which are also called alkylglycerols which are involved in the production of white blood cells, which, again, is really, really good for you. That helps fight off infections, contributes to general health maintenance, and the like. And so by getting these different hormones, these different lipids from the bone marrow, it's just more nutrition, more tools to arm your body with in terms of improving your health.
Ben: Does the marrow automatically seep out of the bones or do you have to like break up the bones and cut them up in order for the marrow to come out when you're making the broth?
Justin: Yeah. So it will seep out on its own if you're making it at home. It's certainly better than not making it at all. However, if you break it up, cut it, kind of do the things that we do to treat it, you can maximize the amount of bone marrow that is actually seeping out from the bones and gets into the broth itself. And so you can see a really big difference too. I mean between treating bones, cutting them, splitting them, whatever it is, there's a really big difference between that and just bones that you toss into a pot and cook for a while.
Ben: Now when it comes to the actual ingredients that you put into the bone broth, so you got the bones, you got the marrow, you've got water I'm assuming, and I actually want to ask you like if there's a certain kind of water, like distilled, reverse osmosis, or carbon block, or whatever, what kind of water you actually use. But I'd like to hear more about why you choose the specific ingredients that you choose? ‘Cause your bone broth tastes really good. Don't tell my wife this, but I like it just as much as like a chicken broth that she makes on the kitchen counter here at home. Like the stuff that I've got in my refrigerator from you guys, like it tastes amazing. But I'm curious, ‘cause you've got this big list of ingredients, like your carrots, and your organic celery, and organic onions, and bay leaves, and apple cider vinegar. What's the secret sauce? Like why did you choose what you choose to add to the bone broth? I know that's kind of a loaded question, but I'd love for you to delve into your recipe.
Justin: For sure. Yeah. So we chose a couple of the ingredients just to maximize the nutritional benefits. So things like apple cider vinegar, we chose that not only because of the health benefits that are in apple cider vinegar, but also because they help the bones break down more. And thus, you get more of the goodness from the bones in the actual broth itself. On top of that, we use all organic vegetables. We try to use vegetables that add some taste as well as some nutritional value. And then lastly we added certain things like black peppercorn that just help with the body's absorption and making some of the nutrients in bone broth more bioavailable, kind of as you mentioned earlier. And so across that, we just try and source the best ingredients possible. So we use all organic vegetables. And effectively try and create the healthiest and best bone broth that money can buy.
Ben: What about the water? What kind of water do you use?
Justin: Yeah. So we use purified water. We use reverse osmosis to purify it all of the water that we have. And that's all that we use in our bone broth.
Ben: Okay. So in terms of the water, is there anything else that one should take into account when looking at bone broth? Does it matter if it's distilled or anything like that?
Justin: Yeah. I mean it certainly matters. Like you don't want to have a bone broth made with water that has potential impurities or whatever. Especially given that water makes up 90 plus percent of what's in a given bone broth like that. That's what it is, you know what I mean?
Ben: Okay. So you just want to make sure the water's actually purified. But it doesn't have to be electrolyte infused, or distilled, or like alkalinic, or anything like that. You just want to make sure there's no like birth control pills and chlorine in it?
Justin: Yeah, exactly. I mean we haven't seen any research that shows the efficacy of bone broth made with a certain type of water treated a certain way versus not. And so we personally don't spend, we haven't looked at like alkalinity versus not in terms of making our stuff.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Does it matter how hot the broth actually gets? Like if I boil the broth, for example, and the reason I ask this is like I'll do mushroom extracts sometimes, like cordyceps, and chaga, and different types of mushroom teas and mushroom coffees, but I'm careful not to heat it excessively, not to get to the point where it's constantly boiling so that I don't damage some of the proteins, and reduce absorption of some of the terpenes, et cetera from those coffees, those teas. When it comes to bone broth, is there any law of diminishing returns with temperature and stability?
Justin: Yeah. Absolutely. So we keep ours that a slow simmer for a long period of time to help the bones break down, while also not harming any of the nutrients that you mentioned.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Do you know the actual like temperature range, or anything like that, off the top your head? Or would that be more of a question for one of your bone broth engineers?
Justin: Yeah. So we keep it below roughly like 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ben: Okay. 140 degrees. Got it. Okay. Cool. So if you were going to make bone broth yourself in a crock pot, you wouldn't want to go much hotter than 140.
Justin: No. I would not. It requires the longer cook times when you keep it that low, obviously. And so again, like some of the other bone broths out there, Pacific being one of them, they do a kind of flash cook times where they'll cook for three to four hours at much higher temperature, which is also why it doesn't gel because the bones don't have enough time to actually break down.
Ben: So how long do you guys do yours for?
Justin: We do 24 hours.
Ben: Okay. So you're basically going on a full day at less than 140 degrees for the temperature.
Ben: Okay. Do you put everything in all at once? All the vegetables and everything in all at once? Or do you add those like in a certain sequence as you go?
Justin: Yeah. So we add the vegetables later on. We basically skim it at a certain point during the cook. We skim some of the fat off the top, just a little bit so that it doesn't clog the pipes of the kettles when we're actually pouring it out, which is a weird thing when you're making broth at production scale. That's something that we have to figure out. But we add the vegetables later in the cook when we're doing the skimming and stuff like that.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Next, I want to get to the packaging component. Because this is what really concerns me is whenever I'm doing something like, frankly, engineering food, like food that I'm ordering that's in a package that's coming to my house. ‘Cause I get everything from freaking camel milk, to protein powders, to different kinds of bars, to steaks, to fish, et cetera sent to my home. And I'm always cognizant of the type of packaging of that that comes in. I mean I even order vegetable powders, and I make sure, I did a podcast on this recently, that they come in these like special miron glass jars to keep excessive ultraviolet radiation from breaking down the vegetable powders. When it comes to packaging for bone broth, how do you actually get something like that, like a hot broth, packaged up and sent out without creating things like bacteria, without getting plastics from the packaging leached into the broth? Like how does the packaging actually work here?
Justin: Yeah. That's a great question. So we use a special carton and we're use a very, very specialized packaging process that took us about 10 months to figure out how we could do this. And so effectively our broth is shelf stable, meaning that it won't go bad for just about a year unrefrigerated and unopened. As long as don't open it, it'll be good. So how we do that is we effectively, we cook the broth for a long time, we let it cool, and then we package it in what's called aseptic environment. meaning that there's literally nothing that can get into the packaging. There's like no germs, no impurities, no dust in the air. There's not even air in the environment which we're packing the product. And so what happens then is when you're packaging it in a vacuum, there's no air that can actually react with the bone broth and cause it to oxidize and thus go bad. So that's why our broth is good for 12 months or so unopened because there's literally nothing in our carton that the broth can react with and thus cause it to spoil.
Ben: How'd you figure out how to do that? I mean is a technique that was being used previously in some other part of the food industry or something?
Justin: Yeah. It had been used a little bit in other parts of the food industry. It was definitely a lot of work. It had not been done with a product that was as high in proteins, as high in gelatin as our product was. And so figuring out how to do it while also maintaining the integrity of the product just took a long time. But we're really proud of it because what we have today is, thanks to our specialized packaging process, you can open a carton of our bone broth and it tastes and has the nutritional content of broth that was made just a couple days ago because it hasn't had the time to spoil, react, it hasn't been able to spoil, react, or go bad in any sense. And all of that was without any additives or any preservatives.
Ben: Well, that's what I was going to ask you. It's because it's a vacuum pack that allows it to be aseptic and actually, do you keep it on your shelf? I mean I always put mine in my refrigerator, but can you keep it on the shelf?
Justin: Yeah. You absolutely can, until you open it. In which case, it will spoil at the same rate as bone broth that you make at home.
Ben: Which is how fast?
Justin: 5 to 10 days, depending on how quality you keep your fridge.
Ben: But then if I put it on the shelf, like in my pantry, how long would it last?
Justin: So on the shelf, unopened in your pantry, it would be about a year.
Justin: Yeah. Then once you open it, you have to refrigerate it because then it's just like product that you would make at home.
Ben: Right. Okay. So it's different than, say, like a Big Mac from McDonald's, which there are horror stories out there about that you could put it on your pantry, it's going to the same within like a month as it did originally because of all the preservatives, and chemicals, and additives that are added to it. The only thing that's keeping yours from spoiling is the fact that you've somehow cracked the code on creating an extremely aseptic, vacuum packed environment prior to actually shipping out.
Justin: Exactly. I mean once you introduce air into the container, a.k.a open it, then the broth will go bad just as quickly as broth that you would make at home. And that is because, exactly because we don't add any preservatives, or don't have any harmful additives.
Ben: Now what about like phytoestrogens or other harmful chemical byproducts that you get in things like styrofoam, and plastic, and stuff like that? What's your actual packaging made out of and how are you keeping stuff from the leaching into the actual bone broth?
Justin: Yeah. That's a great question. So we use recycled wood fiber packaging. So the entire box is effectively wood, recycled wood pulp. And then we have a thin lining of, let's call it polypropylene, which is effectively, it's tested as the safest plastic that there is out there, and it's been tested to not leech up to like hundreds of degrees in terms of Fahrenheit. And since our product is not actually touching the very, very, very thin plastic lighting while it's at temperature, we have done tests, we've checked this out, and there is no leaching that we can detect in the product at all.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now in terms of the use of the actual broths, once you get it, I’m kind of lazy, like most of what I do is I drink a couple of it. Sometimes, I'll do like a like a risotto, or sometimes when I do my fry-up, which is basically me taking a cast iron skillet, and putting a bunch of vegetables in a cast iron skillet with some oils, and some seeds, and some nuts, and some bone broth, I don't do a lot of fancy things with bone broth. But for you as far as like recipes or ways that you would use this bone broth that's sitting in your pantry or in your fridge, are there specific things that you think kind of fly under the radar when it comes to cool uses of bone broth, or bone brother recipes that kind of fall into your category of favorites, or ways people can use bone broth beyond just like drinking it, or being like me and just like dumping it into a skillet?
Justin: Yeah. So how people can drink it besides dumping it into a skillet and how I like to prepare it?
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. Like how do you like your bone broth, besides just drinking it?
Justin: Yeah. So personally I drink it most of the time. Otherwise, it's amazing to cook with. I mean I like cooking vegetables in it, I like doing some qunioa on occasion, and it's really, really great to make any sort of soup broth, maybe even like a paleo ramen or something like that. It's amazing with all of those.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So you're pretty much like any time that you would use like a water, or maybe like a white wine, or any type of stock or broth, you're just basically using this instead.
Justin: Mhm. Exactly.
Ben: Okay. Got it. I will admit, I make smoothies with it too. Like when I do my morning green smoothie, if I want some extra electrolytes, I'll put it in there. And I also mention, I think this came up on a podcast that I did a few months ago that you can actually, when you look at the electrolyte composition of bone broth, and the amino acid composition of bone broth, and even some of the fatty acids that are in it, it actually is something that you can use for things like bike rides and long runs, like the type of fuel belts that marathoners will wear with the little flasks in them, or the sport drink bottles that cyclists of course will put on their bike down tube, or seat tube water bottles, you can actually fill that with bone broth. And you could even, a lot of people think this is nasty, but you can drink you cold. Like you could put it on ice and drink it on a hot day and still get a ton of electrolyte replenishment.
Justin: Oh, absolutely. I mean we have a lot of people that are ultra-marathoners or do a lot of different [crosstalk] and stuff like that, including Amelia Boone, who is one of the top female athletes in that kind of sports [0:46:35] ______. And she drinks it to refuel halfway through her marathons. We have ultra-marathoners that use it. It's hugely helpful for replenishing nutrients and basically helping you finish one of those intense races.
Ben: Got it. So what about people who are eating like a low carb diet, people doing like ketosis, et cetera? Have you ever had people experiment with like blood ketone levels or ketosis in general to see how bone broth kind of jives with that type of diet?
Justin: Yeah. So we have a lot of people that are on keto that use bone broth. And a lot of people are actually using it as part of what some people are calling mimic fasting, whereas effectively you use like a bone broth or something as a source of calories while not taking yourself out of ketosis. And so we're seeing a lot of those use cases. It's something that I'm actually starting to experiment with personally, but there's not a ton of good research around keto plus bone broth just because those two things are relatively new in terms of their rise to prominence.
Ben: What's the actual glucose or carbohydrate content of bone broth?
Justin: It's zero. I mean there's no sugar, no carbohydrates.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So it's pretty much all just like the glycine, the collagen, well I guess what would be some of the other constituents of it? Protein, obviously. Glucosamine. Like glutamine is one of the major amino acids in it, right?
Justin: Yep. Exactly.
Ben: Which is why so many freaking people use it for leaky gut. What about for kids? When you talk about leaky gut and you talk about like kids' gut health, things like that, can children do this? Can they drink it safely? I mean is there any contraindication as far as kids go when it comes to bone broth?
Justin: Yeah. We have a ton of customers that feed it to their kids. I mean, this is one of the oldest things. You see this in many traditional cultures, hunter-gatherer cultures that we have today, is they'll make a bone broth from bones of animals that they've killed and feed it to their kids because it's easily digestible, you don't have to have strong teeth or a lot of experience chewing to incorporate in your kids' diet, and it has a lot of the key nutrients that are really, really helpful for kids as they grow, develop, and build up their immune systems.
Ben: Got it. Are there any probiotics at all? Any like gut-friendly bacteria in bone broth? Or is that more something you'd want to take in conjunction with bone broth?
Justin: Yeah. You'd more want to take it in conjunction. I think that bone broth more helps with giving the nutrients that these bacteria can use to, or that your microbiota can use to build, and promote, and grow a healthy bacterial subculture. But there's not necessarily a lot of probiotics or healthy bacteria in the broth itself.
Ben: Okay. Got it. I mean what one thing that I'm worried is zonulin, which is the protein that regulates the size of the openings in the intestinal wall, and I know that you want tiny openings in the gut lining for nutrient transport, but really, really high levels of zonulin makes the openings very large, and that causes this thing called leaky gut. I know that some of the benefits of bone broth actually involved downregulating some of that zonulin, like basically decreasing intestinal permeability, right?
Justin: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. And a lot of that comes from, effectively, your body having the key amino acids and nutrients that it needs to help seal some of those holes that you mentioned.
Ben: Right. Like glutamine, which is also really good for the intestinal mucosa as well. I mean I know it rebuilds and repairs the gut lining, but it actually restores a lot of the mucosa, which is one of the huge benefits of glutamine, and obviously you can buy glutamine in like a powder form or a supplement form. But it's pretty dang dense when you look at it in something like bone broth.
Ben: I'm a huge fan of it for like gut health, for anybody who's coming down like with a flu, or a cold, or who needs the nutrients but needs something extremely nourishing and easy on the gut. I like it a lot for that. Now kind of a random question about bone broth. Do you know my buddy Abel James?
Justin: I do. Yeah.
Ben: So he was on this ABC TV show called “The Wild Diet” where like the guy that he was training just lost copious amounts of weight eating crazy foods like natural cheesecake, and bacon, and eggs, and stuff like that. But I believe the first week, they threw in bone broth. He lost something like 16 pounds. Like Abel said it was like their secret weapon in terms of weigh-ins was to use bone broth because of the nutrient density without extreme calorie density. So have you had a lot of people actually using this for something like fat loss, or you know basically getting lean while maintaining adequate nutrient and amino acid status?
Justin: Yeah. We absolutely have. I mean this is something I referenced earlier, but we see a lot of people using this as a compliment to fast. So they'll do an extended fast, but supplement with bone broth to make sure that they're getting a lot of the nutrients without necessarily the caloric density of a full meal. So a lot of people use it as part of a weight loss regimen that also incorporates fasting. And then we also see it, for a lot of people, it helps them with digestion. So they're getting more nutrients from the food that they're actually eating, which means that over the long run, they've seen a reduction and a dampening of their appetite, which obviously also helps with weight loss, especially when you're making the transition with a lot of people that go from kind of the carb heavy, whole grain, American religion, to more of like the high fat, low carb way of eating.
Ben: Right, right. The interesting about that, when you're talking about digestion is I know that a lot of those amino acids, the glycine, the arginine, the glutamine, the proline, a lot of these amino acids you'll find in bone broth in really dense amounts, they actually cause bile secretion, which I know is good for fat digestion. But then also when it comes to folks who are constipated, like I mentioned I'm a huge fan of like that chia seed slurry and having chia seed slurry as like a big part of your diet if constipation tends to be an issue with you, but bone broth also can help at ton with stuff like that just because of not only the gut healing effect, but the fact that low amounts of bile, or low bile acid secretion can actually be one of the things that causes constipation 'cause you can't actually break down the fats when you're not producing the bile.
Justin: Yeah, exactly. Also for a lot of people that are dealing with heart burn or something, and they take you know different meds that effectively reduce the amount of bile that your body creates, to me that's actually a bad thing and that’s a long-term harmful, and bone broth can help kind of correct a lot of people that have been taking those meds for a long period of time.
Ben: Right. So you could almost use it as a little bit of a digestif. I mean assuming that it has like some of the apple cider vinegar, or lemon, or some of the other vegetables that you guys have added to your stuff.
Justin: Yep. Exactly.
Ben: Alright. Cool, cool. I like it. Well obviously, we could go on and on and I don't want this to sound like some huge infomercial for bone broth, but I also want people to be aware that not all bone broth is created equal, right. You have to choose, like we mentioned, the right bones. You got to have the right packaging, it's got to come from the right animal, it needs to have the proper amounts of marrow added to it. Even the water, like you mentioned, it's got to be like purified, reverse osmosis type of water in order for you to not actually be getting chemicals, and fluoride, and chlorine, and pharmaceuticals along with your bone broth. So I'm a huge fan. Again, this new Kettle & Fire stuff holds a special place in my fridge. And by the way, you guys weren't always named Kettle & Fire, is that correct?
Justin: We were not. So we changed our name at the beginning of this year. We used to be Bone Broths Co., which is just about the worst name you could choose for a company.
Ben: Yeah. It's a little bit corporate-y. Bone Broth Co. So you switched to Kettle & Fire, and now you're pretty much shipping this, is it anywhere in the USA or anywhere in the world? Or how can people actually get this stuff?
Justin: Yeah. So you can pick it up on kettleandfire.com. We're also at Whole Foods in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions. So if you're near a Whole Foods in either of those regions, we're right there. Otherwise, kettleandfire.com. We'll ship for free if you order more than six. And it's really convenient. Just comes in like three, four days after you place your order.
Ben: Yeah. And I know that like you guys are knocking, I believe, another $10 off of that with a bunch of additional discounts on. And for that you have to go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kettleandfire, and that's where I'll put a link in the show notes to the stuff that we talked about, but then I'll also put our special link for listeners that gets you 10 bucks off of any order of bone broth. And then again, like if you order a few additional cartons, like just mentioning it, this stuff will last for like a year in your pantry, you can save even more. So it's cool stuff. And you can also, if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kettleandfire, if there's stuff you're wondering about bone broth, your own recipes to add, anything Justin and I didn't talk about that you're curious about, just go ahead and go over there. Leave your questions, leave your comments, leave your feedback, and either Justin or I will hop in and reply.
Ben: So, Justin, thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff about Kettle & Fire with us, and about bone broth in general. It's always nice to be able to talk shop about bone broth because there's so few people that I can actually talk to who really want to talk about bone broth, who are as geeky and nerdy as I am when it comes to stuff like this.
Justin: You got it. Yeah, thanks so much for having me on.
Ben: Alright. Well, cool. So again, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kettleandfire for the fat discounts on bone broth. Check out the Kettle & Fire stuff. And until next time, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Justin Mares from Kettle & Fire bone broth signing out. Have a healthy week.
There’s much more to bone broth than meets the eye.
Take the bones for example. Killer bones make killer bone broth, but not all bones are created equal. Knuckle, patella, femur, and feet bones actually make the best broth, because these bones have been proven to contain the highest concentration of white and red stem-cell marrow, as well as the highest levels of collagen – one of the major benefits of drinking bone broth.
The ingredients matter too. For example, you can achieve one of the most nourishing bone broths on the face of the planet when you combine marrow bones like those listed above (from pasture raised, grass-fed cows) with organic carrots, organic onions, organic celery, organic bay leaves, organic parsley, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of black peppercorn, sea salt, thyme and rosemary extract.
Bone broth packaging matters too. Most bone broth companies aren’t USDA approved and require their bone broth to be frozen. This makes shipping a hassle (not to mention expensive!) makes the bone broth hard to store, and requires the heavy addition of preservatives, nasty additives and extra sodium or worse yet, packaging that is chock full of pathogens and germs.
But this kind of information flies under the radar, so in today’s podcast, my guest Justin Mares and I pull back the curtain on all things bone broth. Justin is the founder of Kettle & Fire bone broth, the first ever fresh, never frozen organic bone brothcompany, and during our discussion, you’ll discover:
-Why bone broth is supposed to form a gelatin when it’s in your fridge, and why you shouldn’t eat it if it doesn’t “gel”…[9:52]
-Whether there’s any actual research on bone broth, or just on the individual components of it, like glycine or glucosamine or collagen…[14:50]
-Which is the best type of broth: cow, chicken or fish…[22:37]
–What the best kind of bones are for bone broth…[29:45]
-The difference between red-cell marrow and white-cell marrow, and which you should consume…[31:45]
-Why Kettle & Fire adds to their bone broth 100% grass-fed cows, organic carrots, organic celery, organic onions, organic bay leaves, organic apple cider vinegar, and reverse osmosis purified water…[34:10]
-The best temperature for bone broth to keep nutrients from degrading…[36:50]
-How can you actually get a packaged and shipped bone broth sent to your house without having a bunch of preservatives and artificial crap in it…[39:18]
-Why you should stay far away from any grocery store bone broths…[43:00]
-How bone broth can be used to lose weight, stay in ketosis, heal a leaky gut, fix constipation, and much more…[46:55]
Resources from this episode:
–Kettle & Fire Bone Broth (that link gets you $10 off any order, and additional discounts if you add more bone broth cartons to your cart).