Not willing to try brothing? What is your favorite meal of the day?
I am not good at not eating. I have been known to regress into a pouty, ill-tempered two-year-old if I miss a snack. Recently, though, I drank a bone broth from Chef Marco Canora’s Brodo for lunch and didn’t even think about food until 8PM that same night. This is noteworthy because I tried juicing for the sake of experimentation last spring and it was torture — it made me feel like the walking dead. I stared blankly at walls, couldn’t make out what people were saying when they spoke to me and my brain felt so achey that I had trouble following an episode of The Real Housewives. I quit after 10 hours, ordered Indian food, and never looked back.
Because of my success with the broth, though, I set out on a three-day challenge wherein I would substitute lunch for a broth for three consecutive days without sacrificing…everything else. The idea of “brodo-ing” 24/7 for 3 days didn’t feel realistic to me (nor do I believe that liquid diets are good for you), but substituting one meal a day felt like a decent experiment that wouldn’t damage to my health.
Canora’s Brodo is not a restaurant or a café, but a small window on East 12th street. He serves only three kinds of (organic and grass fed) bone broths and two kinds of soup out of to-go coffee cups. Marco also offers optional “toppings” for your brodo like fresh grated turmeric, beet kvass, organic garlic, ginger juice, or Calabrian Chili Oil.
The brodos are excellent; savory, satisfying, and hugely comforting. And because they are broths and not stocks, they are more concentrated, complex, and rich in flavor.
I went into this challenge with trepidation because I expected to encounter the feelings I endured when I attempted juicing (see: lethargic, unfocused, cranky), but none of that happened. In fact, I felt really good. Of course, there were sparing, late afternoon moments when I felt like chewing something, but I never wanted to eat my own hand and I never had a precipitous energy drop that made me feel like crying in a corner. My mind felt sharp and my mood was steady.
Consuming the broths and experimenting with toppings was fun but that presented the question of why? What was so different about juicing vs. brothing? To find out precisely, I called nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot of F-Factor.
Firstly, she confirmed my suspicion that the purported benefits of juicing (like detoxing and weight loss) are largely falsified. She also explained to me that bone broths are different from juicing “because you have all the benefits of the veggies, plus the collagen, gelatin, and amino acids.” The “healing compounds” in the broths (collagen, gelatin, glutamine, glycine, and arginine) do incredible things for the human body such as:
Fill out wrinkles and cellulite (say whaaa?!)
Help sooth lining of the digestive tract
Promote probiotic growth
Help regenerate cartilage and heal joints
Improve metabolism and muscle building
Are great for immune system
Help regenerate damaged liver cells
They might even help your fella generate sperm
Additionally, bone broths are — wait for it — lower in calories than juices. When I asked her why I was able to maintain mental focus and energy with brothing and not juicing, she explained that juices usually are high in sugar from the fruit and I was likely becoming hypoglycemic. Bone broths, on the other hand, are low in sugar and carbohydratess and that is why I did not experience that same drop in energy despite the lower calorie count. Zuckerbrot also made clear that, while bone broths are really good for you, they should not be substituted for regular meals. Think of brodo as your winter elixir, not your new diet plan and let us know: would you try it?