Can Broth Heal Runner’s Knee?

Years ago Kimberly Hartke was diagnosed with chondromalacia patella, popularly known as runner’s knee.   It’s a painful condition caused by degeneration of the knee cartilage and similar to osteoarthritis.   At age 49, doctors considered her too young for knee replacement surgery because man-made knees last only about fifteen years.

What to do?   Determined not to lose the use of her knee and her mobility, she added a cup of homemade bone broth to her diet every day as per the advice of Dr. Tom Cowan in The Fourfold Path to Healing and as per the instructions of Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions.    

Hartke,  the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation, recently shared the story of  how broth helped heal her knee and restore her overall health in the Kindle magazine Self-Reliance.   She also reports broth became “a budget stretcher” in her kitchen.   “Oftentimes, the useful bones from a roast chicken are unwittingly thrown in the trash, but with a new habit of making broth, now they can be repurposed and the home cook can get more mileage from such a meal. By making a basic broth as a base for soups, stews, gravies and sauces, the home cook can make palatable meals out of the tougher and less expensive cuts of meat.”

It’s been six years since Hartke embarked upon this approach to restoring her  joint health.  She plans to continue because  “the severe knee pain is gone and I can easily live with the occasional soreness and stiffness.”  What’s more, she says, “this classical cooking method enchants my husband and guests with tantalizing aromas and tastes.  Whether or not you have a health reason to add bone broth to your routine, this easy dietary change will renew your interest in both cooking and eating. And, could easily make you the most popular cook in your circle of friends!”

The Self Reliance article not only tells Hartke’s healing story but includes a group of her favorite soup recipes from Nourishing Broth and Nourishing Traditions   We’re posting them here so those in our broth-making community can enjoy them as well!

Curry Soup  Photo:  Hartke Communications

Curry Soup Photo: Hartke Communications

Curry Soup Recipe — Adapted from Nourishing Broth, page 209

¼ cup coconut oil

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 TBL peeled and grated fresh ginger

5 cloves garlic, minced

1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground allspice

3 quarts homemade chicken or turkey stock

1 medium butternut squash, baked, seeds removed and flesh scooped out

2 bunches beet greens, stem removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces

4 cups chopped chicken meat (2 breasts, 2 leg quarters)

Poach chicken breasts and leg quarters in pan large enough to cover them with water for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from hot water and set aside. Once cooled, remove the skin and discard. Remove the meat from the bones and chop into ½ inch pieces. Chill until ready to use.

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and ginger and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and allspice and saute for one minute. Add the stock and butternut squash, increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and blend well with a whisk or handheld blender. Add the greens, return to a simmer, and simmer for about 20 minutes until the beet greens are thoroughly cooked. Add the chicken and cook to heat it through. Season with salt, ladle into bowls and serve.


Crockpot with Spaghetti Sauce.

Spaghetti Squash with Chunky Tomato Sauce –Adapted from Nourishing Traditions, page 154

1 Organic Spaghetti Squash, baked

For Tomato Sauce:

6 cups chopped tomatoes including liquid (fresh or canned)

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, minced

2 celery stocks, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ orange or green pepper, chopped fine

½ jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)

1 cooked sausage, chopped

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 strips seaweed (optional)

4 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 cup homemade turkey, beef, or chicken stock

To make Chunky Tomato Sauce:

Add all of the above ingredients to a crockpot and cook on Low setting all day. Before serving, remove bay leaf and seaweed strips and discard them.

To cook Spaghetti Squash:

One hour before dinner is to be served, pierce squash with a knife all over to allow steam to vent. Place on a baking pan and bake Spaghetti Squash in 350 degree oven for one hour. When done, squash will be very hot, so handle with care. Move to cutting board. Hold the squash with an oven mitt and slice in half, lengthwise. Allow to cool down a bit, then scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp in the center of each side and discard.  Shred the flesh of the squash into “spaghetti” and put a cup or so on dinner plate, serve with generous helping of the tomato sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, as you like.



Pea and Ham Hock Soup, Adapted from Nourishing Broth, page 220

1 ham hock (I used a smoked ham hock for more flavor)

3 quarts of cold, filtered water

4 cups green split peas, soaked overnight in water and  ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 onions, peeled and diced

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

(I added ½ a cup of chopped ham because I love lots of ham chunks in my pea soup)

Place the ham hock in a large saucepan and add cold filtered water to cover. Place over medium heat, uncovered, bring to a bare simmer, and carefully spoon off any scum that rises to the top. Add the split peas, carrots, and onions.  Lower the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer with the lid off or slightly askew for about six hours, until the meat comes off the bone easily, adding more water if needed.

Remove the ham hock from the soup and strip the meat from it, making sure to remove the layer of fat from the underside of the skin. Cut the meat and fat into bite-size pieces and place them back in the pan (at this point add the extra chopped ham, if desired). Discard the bone and removed fat. If soup is too thick, thin with some water. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls, and serve.

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Recipes excerpted from the book Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN.  © 2014 by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.  All rights reserved.    Recipes excerpted from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally fallon   ©1999.  Reprinted by permission of New Trends Publishing  All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy of Hartke Communications 





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  1. please! Por favor pongan la opción de ver todo este material traducido al español!
    Gracias. Todo muy interesante, pero no entiendo ingles! Gracias!

    • A lot of us have this problem. Do continue your search both locally and online. At the point you finally find a source, buy in quantity and freeze. Your local Weston A. Price chapter leaders may be able to help.

  2. Chondromalacia patellae is damage to the cartilage at the back of the kneecap (patella). The usual treatment advised is to avoid overuse of the knee and to have physiotherapy, which is effective in most cases. This is not a joint problem!! Bad attempt to promote bone broth,, you negate your message!!

    • Bone broth is rich in cartilage, which in many cases can heal damaged cartilage. This can make it helpful in the healing of chondromalacia patellae. Kim Hartke believes it was the key to healing. Avoiding overuse and physiotherapy may also prove useful.

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