About a year ago national news carried the story of a Bone Broth drive through opening in New York City (move over espresso).  Yes bone broth, you have probably heard it is good for you?  Here at DS Family Farm, the most requests for additional product information is for BONES!

Warm and drink beef bone broth.

Warm and drink beef bone broth.

So here are some basics on bone broth with an emphasis toward beef bones.

There are three kinds of bones:

  1. Meaty, for flavor = oxtail, short ribs and shank/soup bones
  2. Collagen, for body, think gelatin = knuckle bones
  3. Marrow bones, for “essence” a delicacy

Flavor, actually all bones will impart some flavor and all broth recipes will call on other ingredients for more flavor (vegetables, spices, herbs).

So lets talk about collagen or the gelatin, think Jell-O, like consistency of broth.  Note here that broth from your local store will most likely be in liquid form, lacking the gelatin results of home-made bone broth.

Collagen, it is needed every where in our body and actually makes up about 30% of our body’s protein.  These proteins contain thousands of amino acids.  Collagen production in our body slows with age.  Think of sagging skin, stiff joints and increasingly prone to injuries as we age.

Marrow, think fat and brain food from this bone source.  Actually there isn’t a lot of data on marrow.  This soft white tissue (marrow) is actually one of the largest organs in our bodies and we don’t know much about it!

What about minerals in the broth?

Actually broth does not contain high levels of minerals.  When you drink bone broth, the minerals you consume will be in the correct ratio, making it easy for our body to absorb.  Broth is “real food” unlike a pill you take from a jar labeled “multi-mineral”.  Bone strength comes from the collagen and not from the minerals we consume.  Our friend Danna recently shared this interesting blog post from a person who did their own research on bone broth mineral content.


Compared to minerals, broth has higher levels of protein but is an “incomplete protein” (we cannot live on broth alone).  So always plan to compliment bone broth with other high-quality animal proteins such as eggs, milk, fish, poultry or meat.  Bone broth will lower the amount of protein needed from these other sources.  In turn, this will relieve stress from your digestive system.

The big 3 Amino Acids found in broth:

The following amino acids are not actually considered “essential”, but supplementing your diet with the amino acids found in bone broth will aid in your search for better health:

  • Proline
    • Looking for healthy pain-free joints, healthy cartilage, this amino acid does the work.
  • Glycine
    • For healthy blood, digestion and detoxification!
    • Prevents acid reflux, supports wound healing and used by our bodies to remove toxins.
    • A building block for glutathione = cancer curbing, age slowing, an antioxidant.
  • Glutamine
    • For cell regeneration such as the lining of cells in the small intestine (Gut-Healing).
    • Enhance injury recovery from wounds, stress or surgery.
    • Cuts cravings for sugar/carbs.
    • Prevents muscle wasting, stimulates muscle-building and repair.
    • Helps with depression, anxiety and mood swings.

So how much broth should you drink?  One cup per day should be fine for health maintenance and disease prevention.  If dealing with a medical condition try a cup in the AM, at Noon and again in the PM.

warm bone broth

Homemade bone broth from DS Family Farm beef bones will be a thick gelatin. To drink, warm the broth first or add some broth to your hot coffee or tea.

Looking for more information?

  1. Broth Is Beautiful – WAPF
  2. Why Broth Is Beautiful – WAPF
  3. Book – “Nourishing Broth” (information used in this post)

Want to try making your own broth?  All you need:

  1. WE HAVE BONES at DS Family Farm, drop us an email!
  2. Dr. Axe Beef Bone Broth Recipe (try it in your crock pot)

AHHHHH, pour me some bone broth please…

We briefly touched on the Paleo topic in a few earlier blog posts but we are excited to share this Guest Post from someone local with real world Paleo experience.  We met Beth when she and her family visited the farm earlier this year to buy some of our pasture grazed beef.

By Beth Kohl

I had read about the paleo diet. I thought if you give up dairy, legumes, grains, sugar, and alcohol, what is left? Starvation?  I quickly dismissed it as anything more than a gimmick. I kept looking for the “Easy Button” for my health. I’d always been told any diet that eliminates entire food groups would lack nutrients and could not last, the “goal”, is always balance.  I had tried several diets, but I could not get away from strong cravings for sugar. I felt like a drug addict. When it came to candy and sweets, I would have a little and end up binging like crazy.

I needed to lose weight.  I had high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low energy, acne, depression, anxiety, restless legs, border line pre-diabetes, GERD, and an autoimmune disorder. My doctor was ready to put me on medications for several of these issues. I woke up 20 plus times a night and I had the sleep study to prove it.  Every morning I woke feeling like a truck hit me and I had a headache 80% of the time. A good day was no migraine. My normally good to low blood pressure had been creeping up to questionable level. I power napped every single day.  On the plus side, I exercised. I worked out for over 2 years with the guidance of a trainer; I had added a lot of muscle but had not lost weight.paleo

A few years after first hearing about Paleo, in desperation, I gave in and tried a popular diet “Whole 30”. This is an elimination diet that you stop eating dairy, legumes, grains, sugar, and alcohol. Giving up those items is the bulk of paleo rules. The first few weeks were not great, I felt tired as my body adjusted to all the changes. When I reintroduced dairy and wheat, I found (to my shock) that my body had a bad reaction. I was sick to my stomach, could not think clearly, I felt awful.  I decided to follow paleo but I had no guidance and Thanksgiving and Christmas completely derailed me.

Earlier this year, I talked with my doctor and decided to restart paleo, then return to the doctor in 12 weeks and get blood work again. Curious to see what, if anything, changed. I floundered the first 4 weeks with no diet change. With 8 weeks left, I added a dietician who specializes in paleo, to give me guidance.  Amy, really helped me to figure out what works and does not work for me. She has given me accountability, encouragement, and resources.

There are misconceptions and a few controversies regarding what paleo is, is not, and should be.   I only know how I eat and that it is considered paleo. My breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks consist of a variety of vegetables and fruits, quality protein, and quality fat.

I say “quality” before each food group because I’ve found that what happens to my food before I eat it is very important.  “You are what you eat” resonates with every paleo I’ve met, talked to, and every book I’ve read.  Whenever possible, I look for vegetables that are organically grown and non-GMO. I buy grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken, lambs, and pigs, because they produce better quality meats, fats, and eggs. Fats include animal fats from pasture raised animals, ghee (clarified, grass-fed, butter), extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, tree nuts, and avocados. I get to have a variety of meats, fats, fruits and veggies, but always REAL, minimally processed food.

It is not as hard as it sounds. Now, a few months in, I can prepare a meal ultra-fast or something if I am having guests over. The best part is, no one knows that they are eating paleo, because it is just real food.  I can also go out and enjoy a meal in a restaurant. I have planned times where I eat items outside of the plan, but always avoid wheat and store-bought dairy, because they bother me, although I know many who use raw dairy with no problems.  I do not prepare separate meals for my family, and I have an extremely picky son. This is a way that I believe I can live for the rest of my life.

I tried many versions of low-fat and low carb diets all have been miserable failures. Now, I am eating a diet much like my grandmother did when she was young: real, nutritious food. I am eating a nutrient rich variety and not paying attention to calories.  I am not feeling deprived either.paleo

So, after 8 weeks of eating saturated fats, beef, eggs almost daily, bacon, and other “taboo” foods, watching portions, but without counting calories, what was the outcome?  These results are documented by my doctor: 16 lbs. lost, Blood pressure is low/normal, cholesterol is 30 points lower , and triglycerides cut in half, glucose and A1C (blood sugar) completely normal. I have found relief for depression and anxiety.  I no longer have cystic acne, restless legs are nominal, and I sleep soundly and rarely wake up during sleeping hours. I wake up each morning before my alarm goes off and I feel prepared to start the day. Headaches are rare for me now. The daily cravings for sweets are gone. I have energy for the whole day without my daily naps.

I know if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  This is not without price. The tradeoff of not eating certain foods may seem huge to some, but it is worth it to me. I’m convinced that the “gimmick” has been the best thing that ever happened to my health. I am not alone. My doctor had diabetic patients try this way of eating. Less than 2 months, the diabetics following the plan had normal glucose levels, that is HUGE. Guess who else started to eat this way? My doctor and his wife.

My scale is still moving in the right direction, but I’m not nearly as concerned by my weight as I one was, because I feel good. I might be paying a bit more for food these days, but I am paying WAY less in medical and pharmacy bills. I feel better than I have in years.  I do not know if it is for everyone, but I would urge anyone who has questions to investigate it for themselves.

I’d be happy to answer questions where I can, but I’m still a novice. If you want expert advice, I’d recommend you follow the links below.  Here is a link to my dietitian’s blog.  [http://robbwolf.com/author/amy-kubal/].

[www.robbwolf.com/]  [www.meljoulwan.com/]  [www.whole30.com/]  [www.chriskresser.com]

Wow, that is a powerful testimony!   Our thanks to Beth for sharing her experience.  If you would like to connect with Beth please drop us an email.  In addition to the links listed above, we would note that the Weston A Price Foundation recently aired a podcast with Chris Kresser, author of “The Paleo Cure”.  In the podcast Chris points out that there are people groups that have adapted to raw dairy very well through the years.  I (Doug) credits raw milk as one of the foods that helped cure my chronic Acid Reflux condition.  Probably the most important things we can do to achieve health is eliminate processed foods, start shopping the “edges” of grocery stores and then begin your journey to source local food from your neighborhood farmers.  Thanks again Beth for sharing!

Photo Credits: http://morguefile.com/creative/CTrillo/1/all & http://morguefile.com/creative/maxkopi

I am always interested in learning about any touted healthy eating options. Most have probably heard of the “Paleo Diet” (Paleo).  Recently a co-worker filled me in on his personal research and experience with this diet. There appears to be different versions of the Paleo depending on the website/book and author.

ground beef

How do you like your ground beef?
Paleo says “where’s the protein?”
WAPF says “where’s the fat?

Two main points my friend makes about the Paleo:

  1. Lean meat for protein (sourced from pasture raised animals)
  2. Cod Liver Oil provides many health benefits.

Of course I agree with the health benefits of consuming protein from healthy animals raised on a grass & forage only diet. In past posts I have discussed the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) that also promotes meat from pasture raised animals.  Where WAPF prizes the “fat” from grassed based animals, Paleo appears to prize the “lean meat”.

Where WAPF and Paleo come together is with the use of cod liver oil.  WAPF considers cod liver oil a superfood.  A recognized source of high quality cod liver oil is right here in Nebraska.  Greenpasture.org actually blends butter from their pastured cows with fermented cod liver oil to create what they call a “nutrient rich sacred food”.

If you follow either the WAPF or Paleo crowd, we here at DS Family Farm are on your side, raising animals that will give the meat (protein or fat) that you are looking for.

If I have misrepresented the Paleo Diet, please comment below.

Photo credit: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/MaxStraeten

Earlier this year we had a number of posts about health topics and the importance of animal fats as part of a healthy diet.  Feel free to browse back to our JanuaryFebruary March April & May blog posts.  Fat Is Back in the news (good animal fats as part of your diet) in many places.  We came across a blog post from the Farm Progress – Beef Producer site from December 4, 2014, that sums up much of what we see in the news and  what we wrote about earlier this year.  Here is the link to a great blog post by R. P. Cooke on the Farm Progress – Beef Producer site titled “Lean May Be Queen But Fat Is Where It’s At“:

Here at D S Family Farm we specialize in growing the type of beef animal Cooke describes towards the end of his blog post:

“The answer to the dilemma is fairly simple if you are interested in being sharp, having energy, being healthy and losing your spare-tire waist line. On a daily basis eat at least six to 10 ounces of fatty beef from an animal that spent months and months on well mineralized fresh grass that was mostly tall and green. This animal needs to have received only a trace of seeds (grain).

The highest quality will normally come from a somewhat early maturing, easy fattening 24- to 40-month-old steer or heifer that has never failed to gain weight daily and had only a little wrinkle of hide over its brisket when it is harvested in the late summer or early fall.

Use this beef fat in most everything you cook.”

In this July 2014 blog post we announced the one year count down to having our first animals ready, to ship our first beef.  Maybe we were a little on the anxious side, 24 months might be a little early.  None the less we should be close to having some grass fed fat beef late summer 2015!

Feel free to share your thoughts about “DOC”s post or contact us to stop by and see how the steers are progressing.

In earlier posts we have mentioned cattle grazing stockpiled grass.  To explain, “stockpiled” grass is portions of pasture lands that were left un-grazed during the growing season for the specific purpose of grazing those areas during the non-growing season.  We are now well into the non-growing season, no new grass growing around here this time of the year.  During the growing season, we have more grass growing than what the herd can consume.  This is a good thing, because we need that extra grass this time of the year when nothing is growing.  It is a balancing act.  If we had enough cattle to graze all the grass grown during the growing season, we would not have any stockpiled grass to graze during the non-growing season.  The proper way to decide the number of cattle to run on a pasture in our part of the world is to determine how many cows you can graze during the non-growing season.  That is, if you don’t want to feed hay.

In another earlier post we explained that we do make hay and we do feed some hay.  The hay continues to act as insurance for when a natural event prevents our cattle from being able to graze (very deep snow & ice, fire, hail etc.).  The main purpose of hay in our operation is to feed a small amount of quality hay as a diet supplement.  Just a little quality hay (2 pounds per day) can keep a cows digestive system functioning properly while she consumes large amounts of low quality stockpiled grass (20+ pounds per day).  It is a lot less work to let the cows harvest the stockpiled grass than to cut it for hay and feed it back to cows.  In addition, cows rather graze than eat hay.

Note cattle in tall brown stockpiled grass.  Area not grazed during the growing season saved for this time of year.

Note cattle in tall brown stockpiled grass. Area not grazed during the growing season saved for this time of year.

stockpiled grass

Cattle love to graze year around. Notice the mouth full of stockpiled grass.

green grass in non-growing season

Cattle are finding some green grass in our “stockpile” during the non-growing season.

The tall brown grass that is taller than the back of our cows in the photos above is native grasses such as big bluestem and indian grass.  Some of our pasture will have this tallgrass through next spring.  It provides excellent cover for wildlife and will catch any blowing snow we get this winter.  If the tall grass is still standing next growing season it will shade out new grass trying to grow.  Our goal over the non-growing season is to graze and stomp the tall stuff down.  Cattle are not able to digest the hardest tall stems and we don’t want to force them to eat it.  By keeping their paddocks small, they are able to graze the good to medium quality stockpiled grass and stomp the bad stuff to the ground.  Once the tough stuff is on the ground, our soil livestock (microbes, worms etc) will grind up the carbon into new soil organic matter.  New soil organic matter will help grow more and hopefully better grass next year.  It is a wonderful cycle to watch but hard to see at a glance.

After grazing through and area we want most of the ungrazed stuff stomped to the ground.  Soil livestock will consume what the cattle do not eat.  Soil microbes will turn this brown carbon into soil organic matter.

After grazing through and area we want most of the ungrazed stuff stomped to the ground. Soil livestock will consume what the cattle do not eat. Soil microbes will turn this brown carbon into soil organic matter.


mkaing soil organic matter

Left side of photo, cattle in fresh stockpiled grass. Right side of photo grazed, stomped and manured stockpiled grass ready for soil livestock (microbes, earthworms etc) to graze and create new soil organic matter.

With this type of year around grazing the overall quality of our pasture grass is improving. The next step is to build a herd of cattle that is adapted to our climate and pasture. At some point in the future we may be able to eliminate feeding hay as a diet supplement (our long-term goal).