One of the best ways to get a super nutritious meal full of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and joint-nourishing collagen is to cook with bones. Whether making homemade bone broths full of silky goodness or slow cooking meat on the bone, incorporating the essential goodness present in marrow and the bones that house it will have a positive effect on your overall health.
How do I know? Sure, I’ve read lots of books touting the health wonders of broths and on-the-bone meat, but until I took the culinary leap myself I didn’t realize what a genuine difference they truly make.
For four years I’ve struggled with joint pain in my hips and knees. I noticed it one summer after I did my best to become a jogger… Bad idea. I thought perhaps I wasn’t flexible enough but even careful, extensive stretching didn’t help. Slowly things worsened until I began researching how the foods I ate might be directly affecting my joints.
Pouring through traditional eating books like “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” by Dr. Catherine Shanahan, “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes and “Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats” by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon (among many others), I discovered that my diet high in sugar (like the fructose in my daily morning fruit smoothie) was possibly acting as a direct abrasive on my joints. While I primarily cooked with olive oil, tried to eat oily fish and took salmon oil supplements for Omega 3s, I was depriving my body of other healthy, natural fats like pastured butter, cream and various animal fats. And I rarely made bone broths.
I wrongly assumed that heat and chemically derived vegetable oils like canola, corn and soy were healthy and I had no idea the insidious way they had sneaked into nearly every packaged food available — from boxed cereals to condiments to dried fruit! Toss a little (sweeter than sugar) high fructose corn syrup into the mix and you’ve got two prolific ingredients for 80%-90% of the shelf-stable foods in your local grocery store. I’m not kidding. Have a look for yourself.
As I started incorporating hearty bone broths into my weekly meals I noticed an incredible improvement in my joints. Consuming lubricating natural fats, cushioning collagen and the natural spectrum of amino acids found in bone broths (not just the ubiquitous glucosamine chondroitin) have made my joints more supple and my pain has significantly decreased.
Full disclosure: I practice yoga which I consider to be extremely helpful, but I’ve practiced it for many years. It was not until I consciously sought to provide myself the nutrients found in bone broths and natural animal fats that I experienced a noticeable difference in my pain, movement and sleep.
Please read the above books if you’re interested in the positive effect traditional eating could have on your health. I will profile other traditional eating books and websites I enjoy from time to time, so stay tuned.
With that in mind, this Oxtail Ragù ticks all the boxes when it comes to delicious, whole nutrition. Cook your rice in homemade bone broth and you’ll discover an easy, satisfying way to incorporate broth into your evening meals without over dosing on soups and stews.
2 lbs Oxtail sections
1-2 cups red wine
1 quart passata (tomato purée)
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh oregano or 2 Tbsp dried oregano, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh basil or 2 Tbsp dried basil, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil over a high heat and lightly brown the oxtail all over to activate that delicious beef flavor. Sprinkle a little salt (1/2 Tsp or less) and pepper over, then pour in the wine and lower the heat to medium low. Pour in the passata and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the garlic and herbs, then cover for at least an hour.
The ragù can cook all day for optimal flavor as long as you occasionally add a little more passata and wine as it reduces to keep it moist. If you don’t have all day, cook it as long as possible. More than an hour is optimal. Like broth, the longer you cook the oxtail the more nutrition it will release. Season it with more salt if needed before serving.
Cook 1 cup of wild rice in 2 cups of bone broth (or water) until the liquid is completely absorbed and the rice is soft, then serve the ragù over the rice for a flavorful, nourishing, comforting dinner.