The Bone Broth That Cured My Acne
It’s been almost four years since I discovered the miracle benefits of drinking bone broth. Before you count me as a crazy lady, know that, as a person with a professional and educational background in integrative health and wellness, I do not throw the word “miracle” around lightly. I don’t blow with the wind, believing every new diet trend or the latest snake oil sales pitch. On the contrary, I’ve been known to be specifically skeptical of such things until I’ve seen some science. I use the word “miracle” to put as concisely as possible the shock and glee that overcame me when, after 20+ years of dealing with facial acne, I stumbled across a cure in the form of a warm mug of homemade bone broth.
Acne Prone from the Start
Let me back up and give you some context. I come from a long line of acne-plagued women. My grandmother suffered cystic acne in early adulthood that left her face pocked and scarred, and at the age of 87, she still gets an occasional zit. My mother also endured post-pubescent acne and has had several large cysts surgically removed from her face. My sister and I went through our woes together as teenagers and young (and not-so-young) adults, visiting a dermatologist as early as age 12 and attempting every acne remedy under the sun to no avail. All four of us have some version of hormonal, metabolic, and/or digestive dysfunction, although the issues between us differ. As we matured, my sister’s skin problems all but disappeared, but I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) in my late teens—a hormonal condition that sometimes manifests as skin problems, male-pattern hair growth, irregular or painful periods, middle body weight, trouble conceiving, or some combination of these—and my skin issues only worsened with age.
When I say I tried everything, I can’t emphasize enough what I mean by everything. I used to joke with my friends that if a doctor told me that rubbing rat poison on my face would do the trick, I’d do it. There were many, many desperate years and many, many dollars thrown at this problem, which, if I’m being totally honest, hijacked my self confidence for most of my young adult life.
Fast forward to my integrative health education, which launched in 2009 with an alternative nutrition class that would eventually seed my life-changing discovery. In my graduate studies, I was exposed to all manner of nutritional and dietary theories. We discussed the merits and faults of each, and I brought each theory into my own kitchen (my personal science lab), hoping to address my hormonal acne issues naturally. I went gluten-free and dairy-free. I tried a full-blown elimination diet. I cut sugar and alcohol. I tried paleo. Under the supervision of a naturopath, I did a liver cleanse, tried all manner of supplements and homeopathics, and took a food allergy test to see if there was still something I was missing. I saw minor improvements in the color and tone of my skin, but the problem never totally resolved. Colorless, hard bumps that were impossible to extract still lined my cheeks and jaw, no matter what I tried.
When Bone Broth Entered the Picture
When we covered the work of Weston A. Price in my nutrition class and learned the merits of a traditional diet, which includes bone broth, I began making it for soups, sauces, and stews, always having a few quarts on hand in the freezer. But it wasn’t until years later, long after I’d earned my Master’s in Integrative Health Studies that I decided to drink a daily mug of bone broth as a tool to restore my gut health after a holiday season of excessive sweets and treats.
The idea that this small move would affect my skin as it did was not at all on my radar at the time. But two weeks into drinking daily mugs of bone broth, I noticed something as I leaned over my bathroom sink to wash my face. My hands glided across my cheeks as they would have my arms and legs in the shower. I felt not a single bump as I lathered face wash between my fingertips and cheeks. I pressed harder into my skin to try to find the familiar bumps I’d come to call “braille” on my face. They were gone. I called my husband into the bathroom and made him run his hand across my cheek to confirm I wasn’t crazy.
I wasn’t crazy. My face was clear. We celebrated in a partnered victory dance in our tiny bathroom that night.
As a blogger, I wanted to share my news with the world right away, but as a health professional with a skeptical mind, I waited. I didn’t want to make false claims or give any of my readers false hope. I waited for two solid months to be sure that this surprising shift wasn’t temporary or a fluke in my cycle that would fade away, leaving me with the same colorless bumps all over again. After two months of amazing skin, I shared my story in great detail, which brought more readers to my little blog than anything I’d ever written.
Not All Bone Broths are Made Equally
As bone broth and traditional diets (such as whole and fermented foods, bone broth, and properly prepared grains) gained traction in healthy living circles over the last few years, I began seeing prepared bone broth offered in stores and online for order. Always curious, I decided to buy a few to test them out. The first thing I noticed was that the boxed products in the stores were watery and bland—and they certainly didn’t gel in the refrigerator. (When broth thickens to a gel in the refrigerator, it’s an indication that the collagen was successfully extracted from the bones during cooking.) They felt to me like the same old chicken broth with a new label.
The second thing I noticed when I reached out to a few online vendors was that frozen bone broth requires major shipping waste to keep it fresh. Some of these were delicious, but the cost and waste to ship meant that they couldn’t be my go-to broth. Then I discovered Kettle & Fire. Skeptical of the box but impressed with the quality of ingredients, I ordered a few to test. And I honestly couldn’t believe what I found. It was closer in flavor and consistency to my own homemade bone broth than any of the other brands I’d tried. I simply poured it into a mug, added a pinch of salt, and warmed it before enjoying. And it gelled in the refrigerator—not true for any of the other brands I tried, including the stuff that came to me frozen!
I became an instant fan for life.
I do still keep my own stockpile of homemade bone broth in my freezer, but it’s kind of a process to make. So having Kettle & Fire on my pantry shelf ready to go at any moment has been a game changer. It’s always ready when I need it, and now that they’ve expanded their flavors, I have a few choices to work with! I love the recipes I’ve come up with using their amazing product, but as a regular bone broth sipper, I have to say, this stuff is second to none.
About the Author
Toni Sicola is a writer, entrepreneur, holistic nutrition expert, and food enthusiast. She shares her insights at cultivatedwellbeing.com in addition to running two other businesses. Her passion for wellness started with a quest to heal herself and expanded into a five year career in corporate wellness, managing programs for as many as five thousand employees at a time. She holds a Master’s in Integrative Health from California Institute of Integral Studies, which helped shape her holistic approach to personal healing. Toni’s view of health moves beyond food and fitness into the realm of personal fulfillment and finding joy in life every single day.