Q Bone broth caused seizures

Dear Kaayla, Cherishing your work since years now. One question you might know an answer to?

Wife has been epileptic since she was twenty years old (life has been a hell of a ride).
Past years we tried to heal the gut with diet (there certainly is a connection gut and epileptic seizures in her).

When giving her home made broth, she experienced some of the worst seizures in a history of thousands of seizures. What might be the problem with the broth – glutamate, calcium?

An answer would be very much appreciated.

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Very sorry to hear of the seizures your wife experienced after eating bone broth.  I’m a nutritionist and not a medical doctor so I can’t diagnose, prescribe or make recommendations.  But I can say that if I were personally having seizures that I’d be on a ketogenic diet and avoid the bone broth until quite a lot of healing has taken place.  At that point, I might — preferably under supervision of a physician — try a small amount of the short cooked bone broth.  The idea over the long run is to heal the cause of the gut/brain problems and not just avoid things like broth that cause symptoms.

Many people on healing diets — such as GAPS or Body Ecology that recommend broth as part of their healing protocol — need to start with a short-cooked meat broth as opposed to the long-cooked bone broth.  The idea is to slowly but steadily heal to the point where the more nutrient rich long-cooked broth can achieve needed healing.
The issue isn’t glutamine, per se, as glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid that we all need for good health.  The problem for people who experience seizures and other unwanted symptoms is the brain’s ability to send the glutamine in a balanced way down the glutamate/GABA pathway.  I wrote about that in blog here:  http://nourishingbroth.com/articles/confused-about-broth-glutamine-and-msg-heres-the-facts/



Q Vegetarian Broth

I am a 4 H leader and we are starting a cooking group. Stock was going to be one of the first lessons. I just found out one of the children is vegetarian. Can one make a stock with just vegetables? I was looking for the index for your book to see if it had any ‘all vegetable’ recipes in it, but could not find a table of contents or index on your page or on the amazon page for your book. Thank you,


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What a wonderful project for your 4H group!  Unfortunately, the key healing ingredient in bone broth is collagen, and that comes only in animal products.   That’s not saying your vegetarian member won’t get some nutrition in a broth made with veggies, but there won’t be the same bone building, joint healing and skin and nail improving benefits.   I wish there was a veggie broth that did that.  Although there are no vegetarian broth recipes in our book Nourishing Broth, you can easily find vegetable broth recipes online.

QCan’t Tolerate Fat

I would like to try your recipes but I have many difficulties, in that I can’t tolerate a lot of fat.  Do you have any suggestions on how I could wean myself into the bone broths?

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Let your broth cool to room temperature, then put it in the frig.  The fat will form a layer on the surface.   You can easily remove it.  Most brothmakers choose to do this because it improves the flavor and appearance of the broth.  If you do this, your broth won’t have much fat.

Q Broth for Cooking Rice

Do you get the full effects of bone broth if used when cooking brown rice?

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Yes.  Substituting broth for all or part of the water is a great way to increase broth consumption.   It increases the nutritional value of rice and improves the digestibility too.  Plus, it tastes great!

Q Broth Smells “Off”

Sometimes I forget about my broth and leave it out on the counter.  If it smells “off,” I boil it.  Will this make it safe?

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Paul Jaminet, author of Perfect Health, addressed this very question on his Facebook page.  He wrote, “Boiling it will kill bacteria and prevent it from giving you an infection. But you’ll still get the dead bacteria, which are immunogenic, and any toxins they produced, plus any amines/toxins they produced from the broth proteins.”


Q  Rabbit and Pig Bones

I was wondering if rabbit bones or pig bones can  be used? I purchased bones from my pig farmer before I read your book and they tasted good.  Thank you

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Sure, use any bones you have available and decide what flavors you prefer.  Martha Stewart and others offer rabbit stock and soup recipes online.  Many people don’t eat pork, but if you do, it can make a flavorful, gelatinous broth.   With winter on its way, it’s the perfect time to make tasty bean soups  with a ham hock.

Q How long does it take for broth to gel?

It seems that sometimes my broth gels right away, and sometimes it takes forever.   What should I expect?  And should I wait until it gels before I eat it?

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It depends.   Usually around 8 hours or so in the frig.  But it can take a couple days.    If you eat it before that happens, be assured, you will still get the benefits!


Q Dog Bone Broth

I bought bones from my butcher out of his bone chest which is for dogs primarily. To say they didn’t gel is a understatement.  Help!

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I bet you didn’t get much flavor either.  If you are making beef broth, try ox tails for a rich gelatinous broth with plenty of meat for soup or stew too.  Whatever type of animal bones you are using, choose knuckle and other joint bones to increase the likelihood of gelling.  Shank bones have more marrow, which provides great nutrition, but are less ideal for gelling.   To make just about any broth gel, add a pig’s foot or chicken feet.

Finally, many people use way too much water compared to the bones.  Fill your pot with bones and use water to cover.

Q Making Portable Broth

I have listened to the audiobook Nourishing Broth. At the end of the PDF there are recipes for chicken broth cubes and encapsulated broth. Can you direct me to any more detailed instructions on how to make portable broth?

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Jenny McGruther has a great article on her Nourished Kitchen website.   Here’s the link:  http://nourishedkitchen.com/homemade-bouillon-portable-soup/                                 Let us know how that works out for you!


Q  On Reusing Bones

I saw a segment on Dr. Oz. And a woman was making bone broth. She said you could use the bones for a second batch of broth.  Do you agree?  Also, my butcher says to slow cook the broth for 72 hours. However your book says 12-48 hours. What is best?  Thank you!

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Sally Fallon Morell replies:  I have had good luck using bones twice, and if you are making pig’s foot or calf’s foot broth, you can use the foot several times.  I think the shorter times are better.  Here’s how I do it.  I make a first batch of stock by filling a slow cooker with leftover bones (usually chicken bones) and include either chicken feet or a pigs foot (plus a little vinegar and 1 chopped onion).  I cook this overnight and then ladle out the broth (through a strainer) into a large glass pyrex pitcher.  Then I fill the slow cooker with water again and cook about 12 hours, then remove that broth and discard the bones (good to give to your dog).  The second batch will only partially gel, but it will still be good broth.   Hope this helps!

Q Do I need to defrost frozen bones?

I’ve just made a batch broth using chicken backs, necks, and wings, but got two full packages of these from the farmer. I used one package and froze the other. Is it necessary to defrost the second pack of bones before using them for broth? I’m wondering whether I can proceed as for broth according to the recipe, but using the frozen bones instead of defrosted ones. Any thoughts?

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Sally Fallon Morell replies:    I use frozen bones all the time, and I don’t defrost them. I just dump them in the slow cooker and proceed  They will defrost soon enough!

Q  How long can I keep my broth in the refrigerator before it goes bad?

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Lots of people say five days though that’s going to vary according to the temperature of your frig and your placement inside the frig.    Broth keeps longest if you retain the layer of fat on the top and may even go a couple weeks that way.    If it goes bad you will probably know it, but if you are unsure boil it before eating.   Active bacteria are killed by holding the stock for a minute at 150 degrees or above, and botulism toxin is inactivated by boiling for ten minutes.  Reheating contaminated broth just up to serving temperature won’t destroy its active bacteria and toxins, and could make you sick.

QHow much gelatin should I add to make my broth gel?

I am starting on chicken broth, and since I am only using backs to make this, it is not very gelatinous. How much grassfed beef gelatin should I add to make it fit up a bit to a jelly like consistency. Thanks!

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Two teaspoons per cup of liquid will result in a firm gel.  Two teaspoons to two cups of liquid will result in a softer gel.  You might wish to experiment to find the amount that’s right for you.   Add gelatin as per directions on the container, put  your broth in the frig to set and find out what amount works best for you.    Alternatively  you might want to stir some collagen hydrolysate into your soup before serving.   You won’t get the gel, but you will get the benefits and it’s a simple way to add the benefits of gelatin to any food hot or cold.     My favorite gelatin product is Vital Protein’s Collagen Protein.   My favorite collagen hydrolysate is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.    If you add chicken feet to the backbones, you will make a good gelatinous broth and maybe not need any added product.     Any way you do it, enjoy your broth!


Q Is there nutrient loss from using a pressure cooker?

I have been using a pressure cooker recently to make bone broth. I usually cook it 5 hrs. Am I losing nutrients because of the heat? I will go back to regular 8-24 hr cooking if I am. Thank you

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Neither Sally nor I use a pressure cooker, but we know many people who love them.   Pressure cookers seem to help achieve the gelatin we value so much.   In terms of nutritional value,  we have not done comparison testing of pressure cooker broth vs stockpot vs slow cooker.   We’d love to do lab testing for a long lists of nutrients, but that gets very expensive very fast.    If you know anyone who’d like to give us about $20,000 for a small study, we’d like to move forward with that testing.     In the meantime, I see no reason for you to stop using your pressure cooker.     However, we do question pressure cooking  for 5 hours.   I think most recipes say 1 hour though I’ve seen some recipes that recommend up to 3 hours.     However you make it, enjoy your broth and be souper!

Q Bones don’t dissolve

I make my own bone broth from organic grass-fed beef and lamb.  The problem that I have is that the bones never dissolve.  I have tried increasing the temperature and the cooking duration.   Still no dice.  If I give up and discard the bones would I be losing valuable nutrients?

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The actual bones don’t need to dissolve, and beef and lamb bones are highly unlikely to do so; however the cartilage will dissolve into the broth. For example, if you cook ox tail, the cartilage will dissolve into the water but the hard bones will be left.  Chicken bones may soften but they don’t dissolve either. Some people like to crush the softened chicken bones and put the crushed bones back into the broth or soup.   Enjoy your broth!


Broth of many colors

My broth never seems to come out the same.  Sometimes it’s golden.  Sometimes dirty brown.  Today I poured my latest batch into Mason jars and I had four jars that were brown but the last one was yellow.   Did I mess up?

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Relax.   If you’d stirred up your last batch, all the jars would have probably looked about the same.   Homemade  broth comes in many colors and will vary from batch to batch.  No reason to worry.



Can I make broth without chicken feet?

I find the very idea of chicken feet disgusting, yukky and gross.   The thought of handling them makes me want to puke.   Are there any parts I can use that will work as well and get me some good gel?


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Sally suggests using  oxtails.   Brown the pieces first in the oven, then put in the slow cooker with water, an onion, a little vinegar and some peppercorns.    That should get you a good tasting broth with some gel.   Because the meat comes right off the bones with no mess and no fuss, most people aren’t grossed out.   If you can stand it, a pig’s foot would guarantee a really gelatinous broth.    Given that chicken feet purchased in stores come cleaned and trimmed, they might not gross you out as much as you think.


Why No Salt?  Why Sometimes Pepper?

I am making the chicken stock recipe on your site. I notice there is not sea salt in the recipe.  Is there a reason for it to not be in the stock or is it okay to add it?  Also, the beef stock has peppercorn added but the chicken stock does not have it as an ingredient. Is there a reason for that?

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Sally Fallon Morell replies:   As explained in our book Nourishing Broth, we never add salt while the broth or stock is cooking because you might use the stock for a reduction sauce and in boiling it down it would become too salty.   So we always add salt to the sauce, stew, soup or gravy at the end.   As for peppercorns, they might overpower a chicken stock, but are fine for the stronger flavored beef stock.


Can’t Get Bones from Pastured Chickens and Beef

I can’t easily get —  and usually can’t afford — bones from pastured chickens and beef.   The best I can do is make broth from the “natural” products at my health food store.   When I’m broke though I have to go to the supermarket.    Am I harming my health that way?   Is what I make worse than no broth at all?”


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Sally Fallon Morell replies:  “We can’t always get bones from pastured beef or chicken.  But when it comes to broth making, it’s not necessary to be a perfectionist.   What you will find is that they produce a lot more scum than bones from pastured animals, so it is really important to skim off as much of that as possible.  A lot of the impurities will be in that scum.  Remember that broth helps us detoxify, and there is likely to be a lot more benefit than downside from broth made from conventional bones. One of the things that makes great broth–pigs foot–is often hard to obtain from farmers doing pasture production, so don’t feel you have to leave that out if the only place to get those gelatin-rich feet is the grocery store.

Kaayla adds:  “I agree with Sally completely.   In fact, I am only rarely able to get chicken feet from pastured chickens.   So I get mine from a local market that has “natural” products.   These are less than ideal but still qualitatively better than anything I could ever find at regular supermarkets.    An inexpensive chest freezer is great for stocking up on feet, bones etc, and helps a lot of people save money by buying ¼ cow, a whole lamb or other products at a lower price.


Risk of Lead

 I have a question; if buying non organic or pasture raised chickens do I risk exposure to lead?  Thanks!


a graphic   I discuss the lead issue in depth here in this blog here:  http://nourishingbroth.com/articles/lead-in-bone-broth-no-worry/

Factory-framed supermarket chickens are very likely to be exposed to a wide variety of toxins, including lead and other heavy metals.   There are filth and contamination issues as well.   Indeed chickens are probably the filthiest meat one can find in a supermarket or restaurant.    Chickens labeled “organic,”  “grass-fed” or “pastured” are far more likely to be cleaner.    That said, not all producers use those labels ethically so it’s always best to know your farmer, what he or she has been feeding the chickens and the location of the farm.   Next to a highway or old chemical plant would not be so good!       Urban farming has led to some people growing vegetables and “organic chickens” on city lots where there’s lead build up and other contamination.    Want to put in your own garden or grow your own backyard chickens?   Backyards that once were exposed to pesticides, lead paint flaking and other issues can also be problematic.   In short, it’s best to research your source.


Case Discounts for the Book 

I belong to a group of women who meet monthly to discuss Weston Price type diet and make bulk purchases together.   We are looking at pricing for your new book Nourishing Broth.
With Christmas coming up some of us want to buy the book for our friends and family too.     I’m having trouble connecting with Grand Central Publishing.  Do you have any information on purchasing your book in bulk?

a graphic   We would LOVE for you to buy lots of copies of our book!    Here’s your link for info about quantity purchases:      http://nourishingbroth.com/buy-nourishing-broth-book/     If you scroll down a bit, you’ll find a link to your contact at Grand Central Publishing.   THANKS!


Canning Broth

I am a farmer with many bones at a time, and I like to make big vats of broth each time. Our house has only solar power so our freezers are elsewhere, which makes freezing and accessing the broth inconvenient.  I’d prefer to can the broth with my pressure canner. Will that degrade the quality of the broth?

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Sally Fallon Morell prefers this alternative to canning:   “Boil down until the broth is jelly-like, then chill and store the concentrated stock in the fridge or your refrigerator freezer.”

Dr. Kaayla Daniel replies,  “Since you have chosen to can, I  am glad you say you do ‘pressure canning.’  ‘Water-bath canning’ is unsafe for low-acid foods such as broth.   The danger is not just spoilage, but botulism.    The only safe way to can broth or soup is with a pressure canner, which reaches temperatures high enough to kill bacteria and spores.    Beyond the safety issue, I would not worry about canning adversely affecting the quality of your broth.   For those new to pressure canning, this book may help and this canner gets consistently high marks from users.  That canner is aluminum though so I would use it only for canning and not also use it as a stockpot or for other cooking.




My question is about this “rancid” business.   This word is mentioned often in the Nourishing Traditions. I have experienced the smell when I have overcooked the chicken broth or over exposed beef tallow that I melted myself to oxygen. Is rancid bad for us? I can’t find any information about the implications not related to vegetable oils   This is just home made stuff.   What’s the chemical reaction?

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Sally replies:  Rancid always refers to oils that have lost hydrogen and developed free radicals.  They have a definite off taste and objectionable smell.  I think you could get rancidity in the fat in chicken broth that has cooked too long, although I have never experienced this.  As for beef broth, the fat is so highly saturated I think it would be difficult for it to become rancid with just boiling.  However, beef broth can develop an off smell, which I have always attributed to the chemicals, etc in industrial beef.    I have not experienced this using pastured beef.

Kaayla replies:  I’ve not had this experience though I’ve often “forgotten” broth I’ve started and cooked it longer than needed.




 Perpetual Bone Broth

I have a questions about perpetual broth/stock. I like the idea of reusing the bones a few times as it appeals to my frugal nature.   I also think it’s the best way to get all the minerals out of the bones.  I do change out the veggies and herbs along the way.  How does this method compare with starting fresh each time with new bones and ingredients?

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Kaayla  replies:  The idea of perpetual broth is certainly appealing.  No mess, no fuss, and frugal too.   Who wouldn’t want to just ladle out some soup, add more water and keep the pot simmering?    But there comes a point when you are going to have to stop and clean that pot!   I’d say after seven days, ten days tops.  It can’t be truly perpetual.   And unless you also add new meat and vegetables along with the water, the broth will get weaker and weaker, meaning less flavor and lower nutrition.   As Sandrine Love of Nourishing Our Children puts it,  “Have you made a second cup of tea with the same tea bag?  That illustrates what happens with bone broth when you reuse bones.  It is weak.”  My feeling is if you have to keep adding ingredients, why not just start a new pot?    I make a couple pots of broth per week.    The broth is consistently good and I’m sure I save on fuel costs too.


Needs to Limit her Arginine

Can taking gelatin be a good alternative to having bone broth? I have to avoid broth because of the high arginine.

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Kaayla replies: Gelatin and bone broth show comparable percentages of all the amino acids. I say “percentages” and not “levels” because the levels in the broth will go up with long-term cooking. I wouldn’t advise eliminating either broth or gelatin from your diet because of the arginine, and here’s why:

The top three amino acids in gelatin and broth are proline, glycine and glutamine. Arginine levels are not high, but they are adequate. That’s a plus for most people because arginine is considered a “conditionally essential” amino acid. It’s critical for running the important nitric acid pathway, for muscle building and it is well known to be an “essential” amino acid  for infants and children. People who suffer from herpes outbreaks though do need to watch their arginine intake. What’s important to keep in mind though is that the level of arginine is far less important than the ratio of lysine to arginine. In broth and gelatin, the ratio of lysine to arginine in broth is low.

A low lysine to arginine ratio can be problem for people suffering from herpes type 1 (HSV-1, or oral herpes) or herpes type 2 (HSV-2, or genital herpes). Most commonly, herpes type 1 cause the sores around the mouth and lips known as “fever blisters” or “cold sores”. Arginine is required for the Herpes Simplex Virus to reproduce and multiply. The amino acid lysine  inhibits this same replication by competing with arginine.

Before you drop broth and/or gelatin from your diet though consider this:

Most people do not eat broth or gelatin alone, but along with chicken, fish, meats, organ meats and other foods rich in lysine.  Milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir and butter are also rich in lysine. So rather than cut back on broth, I would focus on tilting the scale towards lysine-containing foods. Arginine-rich foods to avoid are tree nuts, peanuts, seeds, wheat and oranges. Chocolate and any products high in sugar also fuel the herpes virus.

Finally, consider that broth and gelatin contain other components that can support immunity.  In Nourishing Broth, I report research showing that broth and gelatin can help people recover from infectious diseases caused by bacteria, virus and various pleomorphic bacteria. In terms of herpes, Dr. John Prudden, the Father of Cartilage Therapy, discovered that cartilage supplements stopped herpes outbreaks. Cartilage is found in homemade broth.


Fear of Lead Toxicity

My son is recovering from surgery for a hip and groin joint injury. I heard broth’s helpful and want to make it for him. But I then learned there’s a lead toxicity problem with broth and so I am now very nervous about it. Do you know of any foods that don’t have the lead problem that are equally powerful in healing that can help him recover?

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Kaayla  replies:  I addressed the lead toxicity issue at length in my article here. In brief, it was a poorly designed and reported study. What’s more, the researchers who reported finding lead have since admitted the chickens used were not organic at all! Even so Sally and I continue to get many questions about lead toxicity. To settle the matter once and for all, we decided to test high-quality broth from pastured chickens. We found no lead at 10 parts per billion and then decided to test again and found no lead even at 5 parts per billion. I have researched broth for more than 15 years now and my opinion is no food will help heal bone and joint injuries as well as bone broth. Do discuss with your own licensed health care practitioner. I’m a nutritionist, not a medical doctor, but if my own son were injured, I’d give him three cups a day. Good luck.




Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by broth, gelatin or any other foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The book Nourishing Broth and the website nourishingbroth.com should not substitute for the medical advice of physicians or other licensed health care practitioners. Readers should regularly consult a physician in all matters relating to their health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.