Bone damage is really common with SIRVA, along with damage to tendons in the shoulder from a badly mis-administered shot. In the spirit of trying anything that might possibly help with healing and can’t hurt, I decided to make bone broth, which is a somewhat trendy way to get the collagen- and nutrient-rich substances from animal bones into our bodies, and hopefully help the bone damage heal even faster. The following post is not going to be useful or appealing to vegetarians; sorry!
I got the idea recently from a short Outside Magazine article about gelatin for athletes to help with injuries, which I haven’t found online yet so instead of linking to that, you can get the idea here. The concept is based on some research showing that the blood contains molecules thought to stimulate collagen growth about an hour after consuming the gelatin.
I bought a box of gelatin powder and, being too impatient to even make (generic) Jell-O with it, I followed the advice to pour some in a glass, mix with juice, and drink, and try to exercise about an hour later. What a mistake! It was disgusting. I do plan to use it to make “Jell-O” cubes following recipes for athletic gelatin snacks, or you can also just buy a gelatin supplement.
Next I remembered hearing about bone broth, which also naturally contains gelatin. I decided–why not? It’s worth a try. I won’t post a bone broth recipe here because there are lots online, like this one. Or you could join my nutritionist friend’s group, Fresh Things First, and use her recipe and tips.
You can get your bones at any butcher and they can be beef, chicken, pork, whatever they have that’s appealing to you. This “natural” butcher sent me home with a massive cow femur and knuckle. He said his band saw was broken so he didn’t even cut it for me–suggested I cut it at home with a hack saw. I should have gone somewhere else, but oh well.
The funny thing (sort of) is that my husband is a more-or-less vegetarian so he wasn’t too psyched when I asked him to please cut up my cow femur. But being supportive of my drive for nourishing this injured shoulder, he did.
I cooked down the bones for 24 hours along with some vegetables and the contents of our “broth bag”, or scraps we save in the freezer for veggie stock. Now, my nutritionist friend recommends leaving the fat in the broth as it is nutritious for some purposes, but another friend and I agreed that the “feel” of the extra fatty broth wasn’t appealing, so I let it cool overnight in the fridge and removed the fat from the top. However, since we don’t bring meat very often into our mostly-vegetarian household, I wasn’t going to let any part of this go to waste. So I looked up how to render the fat (basically driving off the moisture and sterilizing a bit to preserve freshness) and did that.
I’m not totally sure what I’ll use the fat for, since my husband won’t want to cook with it, but he hates wasting food even more than he hates eating animals so I’m sure it’ll get consumed.
How did it turn out?
I have to be honest, I’m not in love with it, but I’ll be drinking and making soups with this bone broth for the few months while trying to nourish my shoulder tendons and bone back to full health. I think the bones being from grass-fed cattle gave it a strange and rangy flavor. My broth didn’t “gel” much so I suspect I did something wrong. Any bone broth advice is welcomed. I think this will be good in soups with other strong flavors to overpower some of the essential beefiness of it.
Any other notes on bone and tendon health?
I’m also trying calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin C supplementation along with this extra gelatin and collagen. When I remember to take it I also pop a glucosamine/chondritin supplement. I have no idea if any of these help, and scientists aren’t real sure either, with some looking more possibly helpful than others. Probably best to consult a doctor or nutritionist for help here, and try to find someone who takes a science-based approach. If you have any advice or suggestions for nourishing tendon and bone, please let us know!