It was only a matter of time. Portland will soon be home to Broth Bar—located on NE Sixth and Couch next door to Ristretto Roasters—showcasing bone broth from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals.
Packed with easily digestible minerals and gut-healing gelatin, bone broth has been a nutritional darling for years, slowly working its way from the fringes to full-on trend status alongside green smoothies, hot yoga, and organic apothecaries. Popularized by proponents of the paleo diet, ancestral health movements, and food-as-medicine folks, it’s hard to open a magazine or scan a health blog without the buzzy broth popping up. Broth windows, food trucks, and cafés have been popping up in New York, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, BC. Several local restaurants have also jumped on the trend, including Noraneko, Lincoln, and JoLa Café—but Broth Bar will be the first Portland destination to focus first and foremost on the nutritional powerhouse.
What’s more, the idea may capture the healthy food zeitgeist, but the bar is the brainchild of Portland’s own bone broth pioneer, Tressa Yellig of Salt, Fire & Time, who brought retail bone broth to Portland in 2009. Long before broth became the “It Ingredient” of celebrity detoxes, Yellig was crafting healing, small-batch broths from pasture-raised, hormone-free bones sourced from local ranchers, and has earned a loyal following of fans who credit her products with restoring health during and after cancer treatments and other major health crises.
The small-but-mighty 800-square-foot Broth Bar will feature a rotating selection of bone broths—including chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, pork, and bison—with optional add-in “bundles” to turn a mug of broth into a meal, from seasonal kraut and kelp noodles to chickpea miso, grated turmeric, ginger, and soft boiled eggs. A self-serve condiment bar will take the customization even farther, with a dash of tamari, Hot Mama hot sauce, housemade seaweed gomasio, and a variety of salts.
In addition to the main event in a mug, the bright and cheery bar will offer four varieties of Salt, Fire & Time’s kombucha on tap, grab-and-go “picnic-style” fare, and a micro-market stocking hard-to-find supplements, high-quality butter, artisan ingredients, and seasonal produce from local farms.
Broth Bar is set to open in late June, and Yellig—along with sister and business partner Katie Yellig—hopes to host small classes, tastings, cookbook signings, healing food pop-ups, and weekly hamburger nights (featuring Salt, Fire & Time’s organ burgers and fermented condiments).
With the expansion, Yellig wants fans of the brand to have no doubt about the company’s continued dedication to impeccable sourcing of bones, add-ins, and market products. “We want people to never doubt the quality of the ingredients,” says Yellig. “We’re not compromising about how we source, and that will never change.” So grab a mug, get ready, and stay tuned for more details.
I am an avid supporter of the paleo approach; and I’ve seen amazing success with it, not only in myself but also my patients. Nutritional research is continuously proving the benefits of high protein, healthy fat diets with plentiful fruits and vegetables. What do you think of the paleo diet? What food plans have you tried to optimize health?
Most people think of the paleo diet as the meat lover’s way to lose weight. But some people with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are turning to a refined paleo version to improve life-disrupting symptoms such as pain and fatigue. While medical experts not affiliated with the plan offer mixed feedback, patients willing to make the effort say the autoimmune paleo diet improves their quality of life.
Cutting Food Groups
Many people who follow the autoimmune protocol, which encompasses lifestyle as well as dietary changes, learned of it through the work of Sarah Ballantyne, who has an extensive background in medical research and whose most recent book is “The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body.” She makes the connection between autoimmune disease and diet on The Paleo Mom website.
The standard paleo diet starts with a strict elimination phase. That means “no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no refined sugars, no modern vegetable oils, no processed food chemicals.” According to the plan, gluten should be “banned for life,” and at least initially, dairy of any kind should be avoided. For people with autoimmune disease, there’s more. They “should completely avoid” foods including eggs (especially whites), nuts, seeds (including cocoa, coffee and seed-based spices), nightshades, alcohol and artificial sweeteners. Because people with autoimmune conditions are at risk for vitamin, mineral and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies, there’s an added diet emphasis on nutrient-dense foods.
Meat – with a focus on incorporating more organ meat and offal – is a paleo mainstay. The plan also encourages shellfish; a large variety of vegetables; some fruit; fats including fatty fish and coconut oil; probiotic foods; and glycine-rich foods like bone broth.
Hillary Jenkins, 29, a personal assistant in El Cerrito, California, often starts the day with breakfast sausage patties, which she makes by mixing ground meat with ground kidney and heart. “I go to a local butcher that gets 100 percent grass-fed cows and sheep,” she says.
Not long ago, she would have bypassed the butcher. But at 27, she developed psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition. Until then she’d always had clear skin, but the condition, which started with a small patch of red spots, quickly spread across her body. A dermatologist prescribed lotions, and eventually, a short course of oral steroids. But as soon as Jenkins stopped taking them, the spots reappeared.
Jenkins wanted other options. Last June, she learned about the autoimmune paleo diet and read up on its potential benefits. “I just went full-on autoimmune protocol right away,” she says.
Nightshades and Carbs
When Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, sees patients with autoimmune conditions, she starts them on a standard (non-paleo) elimination diet. “When you look at foods that have the most likeliness of having some sort of inflammatory reaction, you’re looking at things like wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, processed food [and] sugar,” she says.
Nightshade vegetables, which include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and sweet and hot peppers, are taboo on the paleo autoimmune plan. Kirkpatrick says these, and some spices like paprika, contain alkaloids, which aggravate inflammation. Cutting nightshades may help “calm” inflammation for susceptible patients.
Cutting legumes and starches can help patients by reducing excessive blood sugar fluctuations. “Bad bacteria in your gut thrives and eats off of sugar,” Kirkpatrick says. Overgrowth of bacteria, especially yeast, can stimulate inflammation in susceptible people.
Tackling ‘Leaky Gut’
Kirkpatrick explains the principle of treating leaky gut syndrome – believed to be a factor in autoimmune disorders – through diet. While you won’t find the term in medical textbooks, she says, “the syndrome is being looked at as a cause to many chronic health conditions, and involves our intestinal permeability and ability to keep toxic and harmful bacteria from going outside our gut.”
Ideally, she says, “When you digest something, everything should be digested 100 percent. You should be able to absorb nutrients, but this may not happen when the permeability in your gut allows leakage,” she explains. So instead of absorbing all the protein, vitamins and minerals, “you can actually have some of those things leak into the bloodstream and out of the gut, leading to inflammation and malabsorption.” Of course, it’s not that simple. “It’s a whole, complex definition of things that could be going on in the digestive system,” she says, and it may be based on autoimmune factors, genetic components and diet.
Angeles Rios, 36, a Pilates, yoga and meditation coach in San Francisco, has ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis centered on the spine. She started on the Paleo autoimmune protocol last spring.
Early on, “making time for daily cooking and grocery shopping was the hardest part,” she says. Cooking in batches helps, and preparing dishes from scratch offsets the costs of eating organic foods and grass-fed meats. And she shares.
“Cooking with friends, especially if they know how to cook without something from a box, keeps the process social and interesting to me,” says Rios, who coordinates a variety of events featuring paleo-friendly food, from potlucks to support groups.
Jenkins agrees that supportive friends are important, as is being willing to cook for yourself. “I don’t trust restaurants,” she says. She’s wary of cross-contamination and of servers who don’t always know which ingredients dishes contain, like prohibited seed-based spices.
“I’d like to see the science behind this,” says Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “A lot of it doesn’t make much biological sense. But eating the foods on the OK list should be healthy, so the diet is unlikely to be harmful – other than being a pain to follow.”
Judith Volpe, a New York City physician, says “an anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates gluten and dairy is certainly good.” But, she adds, “I’m not so big on diets that are heavy in fat. My problem with the paleo diet, in spite of what they say about good fats … most people’s cholesterol shoots up 30 to 50 points when they’re on that diet.”
Working With Doctors – and Vice Versa
Jessica Flanigan is a clinical nutritionist who specializes in the autoimmune paleo diet. Her identical twin sister has Hashimoto’s disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, along with celiac disease. Flanigan and her sister both follow the diet. As clients go through diet phases, Flanigan monitors their symptoms, and working with their doctors, she tracks results of medical tests to detect inflammation. Of clients’ doctors, she says, about “25 percent are open and agreeable” to the diet, while the rest are resistant.
Kirkpatrick says among her own patients, eliminating some of the paleo-restricted foods can have “remarkable” results for some: They no longer have gas, bloating or arthritic joint pain, for example. “So there is power here that science needs to catch up with to figure out,” she says. “What do we know from a scientific perspective about these foods and overall health?”
The most important thing, Kirkpatrick says, whether people are trying the paleo method or some other type of elimination diet to calm their inflammation, is to work with their physician or dietitian.
When Persistence Pays Off
Flanigan says her sister, who has been on the diet for three years, is “totally symptom free.” Jenkins says while it’s not an easy diet, it’s worth the effort. “Whenever I felt a temptation, I would think, ‘OK, is this one or 10 bites of pleasure going to outweigh how I feel if I have a re-inflammation?” she recalls. “And the answer was always, ‘No, I would rather have clear skin than the doughnut or whatever the thing is.’”
For Rios, gradually tweaking her eating habits worked: “I no longer take a biologic drug,” she says. “I have developed a new community to support my new habits and have changed my view of using food for just serving my taste buds to a powerful medicine that can change my mind and body.”
Don’t forget to contact Dr. Katherine Walker or your local naturopath for assistance in exploring your options of achieve optimal health and energy.
LOVE this NYtimes article by JULIA MOSKIN. I raise my glass of bone broth to you; Cheers to a winter of good health and damn good broth!
When Michelle Tam was growing up in Menlo Park, Calif., in the 1980s, her family sipped broth with dinner every single night.
“We were full-on Cantonese,” Ms. Tam said, explaining that a light soup with herbs and perhaps a vegetable or two is an integral part of many traditional Chinese meals, acting as a digestive, a palate cleanser and a drink. “My mom used to make me go to the butcher and ask for the bones to make broth, which was totally embarrassing.”
Today, Ms. Tam writes and illustrates the popular Nom Nom Paleo blog, one of many sources devoted to Paleo eating, the diet du jour that is an exercise in eating “like our ancestors,” as adherents describe it, by which they mean the hunter-gatherers of the late Stone Age.
One of the cornerstones of the diet is “bone broth,” the clear, concentrated meaty elixir that home cooks and chefs have known more or less forever as stock. Those ancestors probably made theirs by dropping fire-heated rocks into the stomachs of whatever animals they managed to kill. The subsequent invention of the pot made soups, stocks and broths staples in virtually every corner of the culinary world.
Recently, this prehistoric food has improbably become a trend beverage, ranking with green juice and coconut water as the next magic potion in the eternal quest for perfect health. Like other health foods that have taken off in recent years — yogurt, quinoa — broth combines mystical connections to the ancient world and demonstrable nutrition benefits in the modern one.
“I would never have thought I’d be the person who makes homemade stock,” said Ms. Tam, who now saves bones from grass-fed beef and frequently produces batches of stock in her pressure cooker. She used to grab a box of shelf-stable stock when making soup or stew, figuring that organic was a good substitute for homemade. Now, she’s a convert to the real thing: the clear, bright, essential flavor that only fresh stock, made from high-quality ingredients, can provide.
“Just because something is organic doesn’t mean it has the nutrition we’re looking for,” Ms. Tam said. “Or that it’s delicious.”
The difference between stock and broth is elusive in the bowl but clearer in the kitchen. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but strictly speaking, both broth and stock include bones and meat, but stock has a higher proportion of bones to meat. And to those who have taken up “broth-ing,” it is the content of the bones — including collagen, amino acids and minerals — that is the source of its health benefits. Extracting the nutrients from bones is accomplished through long cooking and by adding some acid to the pot, like vinegar, wine or a bit of tomato paste, which loosens and dissolves the tough bits.
Nourishing bone broth has even begun to replace espresso and chai in the to-go cups of the millions of Americans who have at least attempted the Paleo diet. (Coffee and tea, along with dairy products, legumes and grains, are forbidden.)
“When you talk to chefs about this, everyone’s head is exploding,” said the chef Marco Canora, who has just opened Brodo, a storefront window in the East Village attached to his restaurant, Hearth, where three different flavorful broths are dispensed in paper cups. Like an espresso drink, the broths at Brodo can be customized, with add-ins like grated fresh turmeric, house-made chile oil and bone marrow from grass-fed cattle, which transforms plainly delicious broth into a richly satisfying snack.
“Every chef knows how to make stock, everyone uses it as an ingredient, but it would never occur to anyone that you could sell it,” he said.
But right now, it seems, you can. Belcampo, the year-old meat company that sells pasture-fed beef from cattle raised on its own ranch in Northern California, just started serving $3.50 cups of house-made bone broth as a side dish in its five butcher shop-restaurants. Online sources have sprung up to meet demand, selling frozen bone broth by the quart or by subscription.
Mr. Canora turned to broth after he adopted a modified Paleo diet about five years ago, when at age 40 he found himself depressed, prediabetic, overweight and showing early signs of gout. “For 20 years, I smoked, I drank my face off, and 80 percent of my diet was bread and butter,” he said. Like many chefs, he ate mostly standing up, late at night, and with an eye to consuming as many fatty pork products as possible.
“Twenty years ago, if you talked about health and wellness in chef circles, they would laugh you out of town,” he said. Now, chefs are beginning to understand that food has to be more than just delicious, he said.
After a bout of nutritional consultations, he emerged clutching a list of forbidden foods longer than he’d imagined possible.
In some ways, the Paleo guidelines echo the rules of culinary-simplicity gurus like Alice Waters, René Redzepi and Mr. Canora: use the best raw ingredients — grass-fed meats, wild plants and fish, natural sweeteners, pristinely fresh fruits and vegetables — and do as little to them as possible. In others, like the ban on bread, whole grains, rice, butter, pasta, dried beans, fresh beans, cheese and cream, Paleo would seem to be the enemy of good food. Broth is one of the places where the two strands meet.
The broths that were already simmering on the stoves at Hearth, Mr. Canora said, helped him adjust to an entirely new way of eating, described in his new cookbook, “A Good Food Day.”
“Broth was always my comfort food,” he said. Growing up with a Tuscan mother, he recalls that there was always fresh meat and poultry broth in the house. “Instead of sipping coffee all day and wine all night,” he said, “I started walking around with cups of broth, and that’s where the idea for Brodo came from.”
“It’s been known through history and across cultures that broth settles your stomach and also your nerves,” said Sally Fallon Morell, an author of the new book “Nourishing Broth.” “When a recipe has that much tradition behind it, I believe the science is there too.”
Ms. Fallon, whose first book, “Nourishing Traditions,” has sold more than half a million copies, is a farmer in Maryland and a leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a group dedicated to promoting the benefits of preindustrial food and cooking. Dr. Price was an early-20th-century dentist who became preoccupied by the effects of traditional diets and postindustrial diets on dental health, and later on health in general. With the advent of low-tech diets like raw food, whole food and Paleo, the foundation has become increasingly visible, providing a central resource on topics like raw milk, biodynamic agriculture and the health benefits of animal fats. (On the website, a photo of a glowingly healthy family at the beach is captioned, “They are happy because they eat butter!”)
Although there are few reliable studies on the medicinal effects of broth, the foundation has done analysis that shows it may provide benefits for inflammatory diseases, digestive problems and even dopamine levels.
Many Asian cuisines have a version of Long Life Broth, often a combination of whole birds and fresh or dried shellfish, with bones, feet and shells contributing their nutrients to the pot. In the 12th century, the “Jewish penicillin” cliché was born when the physician Maimonides wrote that chicken soup “is recommended as an excellent food as well as medication.” In the Caribbean, “cow foot soup,” rich with collagen, is eaten as a strengthening breakfast and for all sorts of ailments.
Korean seolleongtang and Japanese tonkotsu are broths that are thick and creamy with fats and myoglobin from bone marrow. In France, there are strict separations among stocks — light veal, dark veal, raw chicken, roasted chicken — but all of them are ideally of a perfect clarity, clear enough to read the date on a coin at the bottom of the pot, according to French tradition.
But there is no need to be that picky, or to be on the Paleo diet, to appreciate a good broth. Making one is as easy as getting your hands on fresh, meaty bones — preferably including some knuckles or necks or another cartilaginous part — then covering them with water and simmering them patiently until the broth tastes good to you. Meat and poultry can go in the same pot (delicious batches of the stuff arise from such combinations). Aromatics are optional.
Last month, a steady stream of customers lined up at the Brodo window on a raw, wet afternoon, sipping and tasting, and somewhat dumbfounded that such a basic food could taste so good.
“My grandmother used to drink a jelly glass of chicken broth every day, even when it was broiling hot outside,” said Carl Hoffman, who stopped in on his way home from work at Beth Israel Hospital nearby. Estelle Hoffman lived to be 106, he said: “She called it her fountain of youth.”