2014-03-19 16.03.01A recent post on meat stock posed a lot of questions from readers. The meat stock/bone broth debacle is probably the most misunderstood and confused aspect for foodies today. These are the top ranked questions regarding meat stock and bone broth.

Click here for a detailed description of making meat stock.

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Isn’t cooking meat stock longer better for you?

2014-03-18 08.06.12– No. Meat stock is cooked for a short amount of time, keeping essential elements for healing in tact while bone broth is cooked for a long time, often days. There is a lot of confusion around the difference between meat stock and bone broth. Meat stock is for healing gut damage evident through illness, bone broth is for health maintenance. There are two specific enzymes, essential to healing a damaged gut, that are cooked out of the stock if cooked too long. If you are cooking beef bones it is recommended to bring the water to a rolling boil, scoop off the scoobage (the foam which rises to the top of the pot, the bones cleaning themselves), cover and simmer on a low boil for 3-3.5 hours. For chicken cover and simmer for 2-2.5 hours.

What do I do if I get a histamine response?

– If you are experiencing histamine responses it is a sign that you have great intestinal imbalance in your microflora. This is good news as there is a specific protocol for healing this issue laid out in the GAPS book, click here to read more. Those with histamine issues are the easiest to heal because their bodies speak to you throughout the healing process telling you what to and what not to do. It often takes longer for healing to occur especially with age.



Most histamine responses come from bones and meats from animals fed GMO feed, have injected preservatives or flavorings or have been sprayed with bleach for sanitation. If you experience this situation source cleaner animals. The easiest way to do this is contact friends who are hunters and ask them for the bones from their kill. The best option in this case is to bake cookies for the man in your area who processes deer and other in-season animals. He is most likely throwing the valuable bones away.

The greatest benefit to the person who suffers from histamine responses is the old dog on a nail scenario. Imagine you see an old dog, moaning while curled into a pile on the floor. He moans and moans and moans, yet does nothing else. You ask, why is he moaning? He’s laying on a nail. Why doesn’t he move? It doesn’t hurt him bad enough.

Folks who respond to bone broth or meat stock with a histamine response are hurt bad enough to do something about it. This is an advantage. Those who aren’t hurting enough have no real motivation to change their ways, so they often do not. Then they slowly but surely get more and more ill over the course of time, while the histamine person gets better because they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

DSC04303If you feel a cold coming on should you do meat stock or bone broth?

– Meat stock, however we have found that it’s even easier to thwart a cold with simple kraut juice.

Why isn’t my stock sticky?

– Sticky stock is best achieved through connective tissues like hoof bones AKA ox feet. If you can choose bones that include a joint in the package this makes good sticky stock but hooves are optimal. Sticky stock stays with you, is more satisfying and heals a leaky gut faster.

Why isn’t my stock gelatinous?

– Gelatinous stock comes from the meat next to the bones. When choosing a bag of bones look for marrow bones, joint bones and bones with meat around them. Gelatin is also achieved from leaching nutrients out of the bones over a long period of time as in cooking with bone broth. Meat stock that gels contains different healing nutrients than bone broth that gels. Be sure to cook your stock with a few tablespoons of mineral salt and one tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar, with the mother, right from the beginning of the cook.

Isn’t bone broth healing?

– Meat stock is for healing any gut issues evident through illnesses from allergies to autoimmune disease. Meat stock is for healing illness, bone broth is for health maintenance. Meat stock is what is recommended in the GAPS nutritional healing protocol.

Can I reheat my meat stock after the initial cooking?

– Yes. Be sure to heat it on the stove top, not in the microwave. Microwave cooking kills the nutrients essential to healing. The easiest way to do meat stock is to prepare the stock and pour it into quart mason jars while it’s still hot. Wipe the lips with a clean towel and immediately put on the lids finger tip tight. Allow the jars to cool a bit further while on the counter top, refrigerate. Then 30 minutes before it’s IMAG1003time to eat take out a quart jar, pour the contents in a pot, add a chopped onion, a few chopped carrots, some grass fed ground meat and some peas. Cook it for roughly 25 minutes with a low boil, five minutes before it’s ready add chopped garlic. Pour soup into individual bowls and add one to two pastured yolks into each bowl of soup. This is what we call, “Becky’s Favorite Soup.”

How long does meat stock last?

It is best to use meat stock within the first week of preparation. Two weeks is the maximum time, unless it has been frozen.

Is it OK to heat up rice noodles in meat stock for my ASD child?

– It’s OK but it’s not beneficial for ASD children to be eating rice noodles as the starches in rice noodles feed the pathogens in the gut. Rice, corn, wheat, grains, arrowroot powder, baking powder, garbanzo bean flour, tapioca flour, soy flour, corn starch and tapioca starch and all starches and/or complex sugars which feed bad bacteria in the gut. This is why my son, and most other autistics, are/were addicted to them – they are feeding the pathogens. In fact for us, my son only ate those foods which were the most damaging to his body, the ones that fed his pathogens. To be honest, when we started on the food-to-healing path he only ate three foods, total.

Foods that feed pathogens cause no stomach or gut pain as the pathogen pleasure overrides the inflammation. We do veggie noodles with a slicer like this one or a mandolin like this one. After you have been eating clean, non-pathogen feeding foods, for a few months if you happen to eat something which feeds pathogens you will feel it in your stomach or gut immediately. This happens because the masking response is gone.

DSC04385Why am I not getting better on my stock?

– Sometimes it’s because the stock is being improperly made. Other times certain people need a very specific laid out protocol of healing, following a specific step by step plan. Be sure they are knowledgeable and fit your situation. Click here for a list of Certified GAPS practitioners. Phone or Skype consultations are often available.

Why doesn’t my stock taste good?

– Properly made stock is so rich and yummy that even the pickiest eaters love it. That said, my son hated stock for years. Then I found out I was making it wrong, changed my ways and ever since he begs for stock. Even his normal food eating friends love it and often say things like, “You guys eat the BEST food!” Yes, I’m referring to public schooled teenage boys who eat the traditional American diet as well as picky eaters.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.









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18 Responses to The Most Common Meat Stock & Bone Broth Questions

  1. Amy says:

    Hi there, thank you for this article….I’m a little confused still…so to make a meat stock, would you still use a whole chicken, or parts with bones? Or would you use boneless pieces? Then how would you do the beef stock if u just have bones and have it not be a bone broth? I am on gaps and have severe ulcerative colitis, and I’m worried that I could be making things worse??? Any help would be great?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      My ulcerative colitis healed right up on GAPS once I got the meat stock correct. It was slow healing and took a year on stage 2 with progression to full GAPS from there but there was no pain, no issues just slow healing. I do recommend working with a GAPS proficient practitioner – it doesn’t have to be me, it just should be someone. Yes, you can make meat stock from a whole chicken. The easiest way to do this is read this post and follow it step by step. Don’t do what you know to do, do exactly what it says each line, each step. Then once you’ve made it a few times your body will absolutely tell you what is going on and tell you the difference: http://nourishingplot.com/2014/06/03/meat-stock/

  2. Martina says:

    I must say, I too am a little confused; especially regarding the cooking time. If I was to gently simmer raw chicken for a maximum of 2.5hrs, none of the cartilage would of had a chance to dissolve. I usually gently simmer raw chicken wings and chicken thigh bones for at least 6hrs and even then the cartilage hasn’t really dissolved.
    Would really appreciate some advice as this has been made weekly for the last 12 months for my 2.5yr son with a plethora of severe food allergies; the thought that what I have been preparing hasn’t actually been utilised for his gut healing is quite frustrating to be honest.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      You’ve answered your own question. If you’ve been making the stock as broth cooking for long periods of time and the allergies are not gone you’re not cooking him the healing stock he needs. We were in the same situation, allergies kept growing in number until we changed our cook time. Since then I’ve walked away from over 50 food intolerance and allergies, environmental and food related. Don’t worry about the details just follow the instructions. The enzymes that remain do the work for you. If you are not walking away from allergies feel free to contact the office for an appointment.

      • Anthony says:

        Can you please answer the question about the cartilage? Are you supposed to eat the still semi-hard cartilage in chicken meat stock? Or will the white cartilage next to the bones hurt and irritate your gut if you eat it when it’s not completely soft and disolved. I mean it seems ok to eat if I chew it well just wondering if it will hurt to eat it or if it will do me a lot of good.

        I also have been on GAPS for 4-5 months with cooking the meat stock for FAR too long because I wanted the cartilage to be soft and thus I was probably destroying essential nutrients required for healing and probably denaturing proteins to the point where they would get harmful!(I was NOT getting better at all).

        I also tried the long cooking time broth from beef bones (simmer for 48hours) but got TERRIBLY sick (flue like symtoms,increased itching,lots of gas,worse constipation) from it and I believe it is because of the enormous levels of histamine in the bone broth or it might have been an incredible detox reaction. Either way I can’t handle that at the moment since recently I have come to realize I will have to avoid the heavy reactions in order to soothe my chronically inflamed body and gut or I will simply never heal…

        There is really so much contradicting misinformation regarding GAPS on the internet. Even my local GAPS practitioner told me long simmered bone broth and NOT meat stock should be the staple of my diet in order to heal. I guess she was wrong and you are right. Meat stock simmered for just long enough is supposed to heal my leaky gut and contains a lot of gelatine as well if you choose the right cuts. Since I can’t handle the bone broth at all at the moment.

        I am so tired of being sick. I need to get better. I’m only 23 years old and have constant environmental allergies ,some food allergies but according to tests not many, atopic eczema, HORRIBLE chronic untracable constipation, mucous constantly coming from nose ,throat,eyes ,anxiety problems and basically constantly feeling run down and sick.

        So I will do the short cooked chicken and beef/lamb stock now and see how it goes. Your answer about whether to eat or not eat the cartilage in (chicken) meat stock would be much appreciated.


        • Becky Plotner says:

          If the cartilage comes off the bones readily it is fine to put back in the stock. If it is hard it will be hard in the tract and do you no benefit. You can reuse those joints in your next pot of meat stock if you have other fresh uncooked bones and bones with raw meat on them.

  3. Cher B says:

    Okay, this is probably going to seem a really dumb question, but what proportion of water to bones is there? I have very different sized “meat broth bones”, and I’m confused if I should just fill the same sized pot for these different sized bones, and it would just be a different concentration, or if I should adhere to a “rule of thumb” ratio, or something. I really don’t want to make it wrong! I know there typically tends to be “over-thought” to these things….it’s a shame we have to even re-learn it because these valuable, staple “used-to-be-common-knowledge” things fell by the wayside once the convenience movement stepped in and everyone started shopping at the grocery store, as it were. :-/

    • Lusille says:

      I have the same question. Water above the meat of the thickeness of a thumb seems like too little water. I uasually added my chicken legs, wings, necks, feet to cover a bottom of 10L pot and added 5 L of water. This amount of stock would last me for a week, making soups. Amount suggested seems too little…

      • Becky Plotner says:

        This is the recipe to seal the holes in the gut that are Intestinal Permeability. Your stock for a soup recipe. This recipe here follows Dr. Natasha’s findings clinically on sealing the holes.

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  5. Debbie says:

    Can I start the meat broth slowly since it does seem to make me itch??

  6. Nicky says:

    HI Becky, Is it an absolute necessity to scoop the scum off the top? I ask this because I have an Instapot and I could cook a beef shank in it for 15 min and that would be equivalent to a 3hour cook time on my gas range. It saves me a lot of energy and keeps me from having to turn the A/C on.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      I often cook meat stock in the Instant Pot without scooping the scoobage.

      • abigail says:

        can you please elaborate on how to make it in the instant pot- (settings and timing) i would greatly appreciate this information!!! is it more ideal to do it on the stove more slowly? it would be helpful for practical reasons to use the instant pot. also if you have a small chicken can you just put it in whole? or is it better to cut it up so that the bones are more exposed to the water.? thank you so much.

  7. susan barry says:

    How do I get past sensitivities to everything that is recommended? I know if I am sensitive, I will have inflammation. I also know I need the probiotics to heal. I’m sensitive to all veggies but okra and rhubarb currently. Do I just use the juices anyway? Can I just do high amounts of store brought probiotics to start?

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