WTF Is UP with Juicing and Bone Broth?!

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective…

Maybe you have noticed the occasional pic of the hottest celeb jet-setting around town with a neon green drink in their hand. Or maybe you just read a Facebook post that someone is cooking up ANIMAL BONES and drinking the broth, all in the name of health! What gives? It seems like every day there is a new wellness trend. Supplements, collagen powders, Bulletproof coffee, jade eggs up your hoo-ha... (Thanks for that one, Gwyneth.)

Sold out, you say? (via Vox)

The wellness-sphere can be hard to navigate these days. What really works? Are these products just a ploy to try to grab your well-earned cash? Are all those 5-star reviews really legit?! Well, let’s just dial it back a bit. I’m here to talk about two misunderstood trends in the health & wellness industry today: juice fasting and drinking bone broth. Let’s look at both from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective.

Juicing It’s no secret that we Americans do not get enough fresh fruits & vegetables in our diet. So, it makes sense that a lot of people would think that juicing would be a great way to shock the system with a whole bunch of concentrated nutrients. What’s the problem, right? The problem is, that’s exactly what it is -- a shock. For instance, here is the nutrition label from a juice in a very popular “cleanse” (that shall remain nameless):

Hi, would you like some juice with your sugar?

45 grams of sugar! That’s one hell of a straight shot right into your bloodstream. Traditional Chinese Medicine is all about balance. Yin and Yang. When you juice, you are extracting the fiber from the fruit or vegetable. That fiber is needed to balance out the natural sugars in the plant. When you consume only the juice, you’re creating a yang qi deficiency in your spleen, which causes dampness in your system. Too many raw and cold foods gives you an excess of yin qi energy and throws your whole body out of whack! This can show up in your body with fun symptoms like chronic fatigue, bloating and loose bowels. (Yeah, no thanks.)

Fedora and jaunty scarf not included… (via Perez)

Now, a lot of people throw the word DETOX around. But the truth is, your body is the best detox agent there is! The kidneys, colon and liver are already working around-the-clock to rid your body of any toxins you may encounter. Does this mean you can’t enjoy the occasional green juice for health? No! My recommendation is to stick with low sugar juices (heavy on greens, light on fruit) and use them as a supplement to your diet alongside fresh, seasonal whole foods.

Bone Broth Bone broth is the newest kid on the wellness block. But in reality, it’s been around for thousands of years.

From: “Is Bone Broth the New Coffee?” WELL, IS IT?!

While consuming cold juice is known to weaken the qi in TCM, bone broth is considered to strengthen and nourish it. Basically the opposite of juicing, the nutrient-filled broth warms the yang and brings balance to the system. The slow simmer of a well-made broth releases the healing properties contained within the bones and ligaments of the animal, such as collagen, amino acids, and essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. These are known to:

  • Restore skin, smooth wrinkles & cellulite (Fun fact: collagen depletes as we age!)
  • Strengthen hair & nails
  • Help with leaky gut
  • Repair joints & relieve arthritis
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Boost immune system
  • Calm respiratory symptoms, such as asthma and allergies
Note that I said WELL-MADE. Please do not drink cans or cartons of stock from the grocery store. Or start sucking on bullion cubes. No, no. For you to get the full benefits of broth in your diet, you must take in fresh, quality ingredients.

Don’t drink this. (via Target)

Drink COLLAGEN not COLLEGE INN. One of my favorite stops for fresh, organic, grass-fed broth is Brodo in NYC. They even have a cute little to-go window!

So New York. So chic. (via Yelp)

And if you want to reap the benefits of fresh bone broth at home, here’s my favorite recipe!

Beef Bone Broth Ingredients: 4-5 lbs grass-fed beef bones (choose bones high in collagen and marrow, including knuckles and feet) 1 garlic head 1 medium size onion Carrots (optional) Celery (optional) Black pepper (optional) Directions: Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. To blanch the bones, cover the bones with cold water, bring to a boil, and let them cook at an aggressive simmer for 20 minutes before draining and roasting. Place meat and bones in a roasting pan or on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, turning to coat. Roast until browned, 30 to 35 minutes. (They don’t need to cook all the way through, but just develop some color.) Put roasted meat and bones in a 12-quart stockpot and add vinegar and enough cold water to cover by 3 inches (about 6 quarts). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours. While simmering, occasionally skim fat and foam from the top using a ladle. Add onions, garlic and black pepper (celery and carrots are optional). Continue to simmer, uncovered, for a minimum of 3 hours. If using knucklebones, simmer overnight, 12 to 15 hours, so the knucklebones have sufficient time to break down. Remove meat and bones with a slotted spoon or tongs; reserve meat for another use (such as soup). Pour broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl. Once broth has cooled, store in the refrigerator or freezer in airtight containers. If you’d like to set up an appointment with Gabriel, please call (212) 473-3750 or email