Bone broth soup and the GAPS program


If you’re familiar with GAPS (Gut and psychology Syndrome), you’ll recognise the importance of bone broth for its gut healing properties.  The difference between bone broth and meat broth is that bone broth is simmered for 6-24 hours whereas meat broth is simmered for 2-3 hours at a higher heat. 

Bone broth is the main component of the GAPS 6 stage introductory diet.  The broth is said to help remineralise your body  and heal/seal the gut as its rich in collagen and gelatin.

The GAPS diet is said to help with a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, depression, bi-polar.  As well as the obvious gut issues like leaky gut, crohns, IBS and immune system dysfunction (auto immune disease) and skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoraisis.  The common maladies like brain fog, chronic fatigue, headaches and sleep issues will naturally rectify by resolving any gut imbalances.

Without going into the theory too much – there is a firm link between gut and brain health.  In previous posts I’ve talked about the gut being the producer of 90% of seratonin.  Its also the site for the production of  our immune system.  Thats why I harp on about the gut being the seat for so many chronic and degenerative diseases. Hippocrates – the father of modern medicine states this many times in many different ways:

All disease begins in the gut

Everything in excess is opposed to nature

Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes a matter of opportunity

The GAPS process is based off the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) which excludes all grains, legumes, soy and refined sugar.  It works off a process of elimation – taking out and then reintroducing foods very slowly in order to discover the foods that produce an inflammatory response in the gut.

So far I’ve discovered dairy does it for me..but I’m very impatient and haven’t spent the time to  do one food at a time – this is important! 

The GAPS introductory diet is a 6 stage process before going onto the full GAPS diet.

Due to the detoxification process that takes place on GAPS, the advice is to start with the meat stock (only takes 3 hours as opposed to 6-24 hours cooking) as the detox symptoms are more mild.  You can read more about GAPS by asking Uncle google.  Its fascinating reading.

A friend of mine who did GAPS for 8 weeks based at the Koanga institute had her teeth turn temporarily black as her liver detoxed.  This is a common side effect but easily solved by brushing your teeth!  This maybe TMI but she also mentioned the huge eliminations she was having – biggest EVER!  (I can vouch for this just from a week of having just the meat stock!)

Her colleague who teaches the GAPS principals is a huge advocate  as he manages his type 1 diabetes using the GAPS diet alone.  He doesn’t take insulin.  Amazing stories!

This recipe courtesy of Sally Fallons Nourishing Traditions

Bone broth

2-3 kgs bones (beef marrow, knuckle, meaty ribs, neck bones)
3-4 litres cold water
1/2  cup vinegar
2-3 onions coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
Several sprigs fresh thyme, tied together
1 tsp green peppercorns, crushed or tsp black peppercorns

Place the bonier bones (not much meat) in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water.  Let stand for 1 hour.

Meanwhile place the meatier bones in a roasting pan and brown at 180C.  When well browned, add to the pot along with vegetables.

Add additional water if necessary but water should come no higher than an inch from rim of pot.  Bring to the boil.  Add thyme and crushed peppercorns.

Simmer 12-72 hours.

You’ll now have a pot of repulsive looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material.  Strain the lot.  Let cool in fridge.  Then remove congealed fat from the top.  Divide and freeze what you don’t need to use.  The broth will keep for several days in the fridge.

How I did it!

I made a meat stock rather than a broth which doesn’t contain so many of the nutrients or concentration of gelatin.

I roasted the bones for 30 minutes, simmered them in water for 3 hours, then added in chopped vegetables – whatever I had in the fridge – brocolli, cauliflower, swede, leek, onion, carrot.  I also added in a further concentrated liquid stock to taste, fresh parsley and garlic and 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1 tsp coriander powder.

I’ve been eating this all week and its gotten even tastier as the weeks progressed!

You could make this in the slow cooker which is what I’m going to try next for a 24 hour cook.


GAPS website
Natures food (gut supplements and to buy the book)