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Meat Stock vs. Bone Broth: Is there a difference?

Meat stock and bone broth are nutrient-dense superfoods that people have consumed around the world for thousands of years. By consuming every part of the animal, we honor the animal that we procure. Practically, there's also a high concentration of nutrients in both meat and bones that can be extracted through cooking. In traditional Chinese medicine, beef, chicken, or pork meat is simmered on the bone with herbs to produce a nourishing and healing soup. As tradition goes, most people (who could afford to) don't even eat the meat; in traditional Chinese medicine it's perfectly acceptable to remove it. The resulting broth, packed with nutrients and minerals extracted from the base ingredients, is quite literally liquid gold.

traditional Chinese postpartum chicken soup

Perhaps consuming only the meat around the bone has been one of the misdirections of modern food culture for so many decades. In our industrialized food system, we've gotten used to eating certain parts of the animal and have forgotten about the bones and organs that retain key nutrients. Yet, in the last several years, there has been an increasing trend in consuming bone broths in particular. You can order bone broth on tap from 350-square foot shops in New York, or even purchase directly in drinkable servings from your local grocery story.

Today we're diving into the difference between meat stock and bone broth. We'll review the beneficial properties of each and how to make them. While we draw a distinction between meat stock and bone broth, the nomenclature is not something that's officially written in any lexicon or dictionary. It's the cultures and practices behind these names that help to get the word out about the differences and benefits of each.


  • Meat stock is short-cooked bones with meat on it. It's typically simmered for two hours or less for chicken, or three to four hours for heartier meat like lamb, bison, beef or pork.
meat stock cooked with grass-pastured chicken


  • Bone broth is much longer cooked and has a much lower concentration of meat on the bones. It is cooked with primarily bone, marrow, and more connective tissue. Traditionally bone broth is cooked at least 24 hours, at times 48 to 72 hours to break down the minerals and nutrients from the bones and flavor the broth.
bone broth of grass-fed beef


    While ancient cultures around the world have known about the benefits of meal stock over bone broth for thousands of years, modern Western cultures are just now bringing scientific information to light about long-cooked bone broth:


    Meat stock vs. bone broth

    Short-cooked meat stock, which is the base for all of our postpartum soups and stews, supplies important amino acids and other nutrients and minerals in balanced concentrations that your body needs to function and heal properly. Meat stock is less digestively complex than pure bone broth and actually contains higher levels of collagen. Collagen is known for two very important amino acids glycine and proline, which are like the glue that holds our bodies together. For the general digestion by supporting connective tissues like intestinal walls. In postpartum nutrition, collagen is essential for strengthening and healing our connective tissues including pelvic floor, abdominal muscles and uterus.


    Short vs. long-cooked methods

    The short-cooked method is our preferred method for extracting balanced nutrients and minerals. Most of these nutrients are pulled out of the bones and connective tissues during the first several hours of cooking. Since meat on the bones supplies a higher concentration of collagen (and flavor), it requires a shorter cook time to extract the optimal concentration of nutrients.

    The long-cook method typically used to prepare pure bone broths extracts both more flavor and more nutrients overall. However, it also extracts much higher concentrations of glutamic acid (an amino acid) and histamine (a neurotransmitter) in the final product. Both are very important chemicals that act as cell messengers (neurotransmitters) to help our bodies perform essential functions in the brain, immune, digestive, and nervous systems. However, consuming an overabundance of each can lead to sensitivities like headaches and inflammation that don't serve your body.

    We use only short-cooked meat stock, made of grass-fed beef or grass-pastured chicken, as the base for all of our postpartum soups and stews. Even our soups that are packed with colorful, in-season vegetables and dreamy soft lentils are built on the nutritional foundation of short-cooked meat stock. We love meat stock not only for its nutritional value for postpartum healing but also for helping you stay hydrated.

    It's simple to make delicious and nourishing meat stock, so we are sharing one of our favorite recipes with you so you can continue to experience benefits during postpartum and beyond. Get our Recipe for Beef or Chicken Stock


    Have more questions about Ritual Meals? View our frequently asked questions below.

    • What is Ritual Meals?

      Ritual Meals is a postpartum meal delivery service. Our signature postpartum meal delivery product is The Postpartum Program, which includes meals, snacks, and teas shipped weekly to your doorstep. Customers receive orders with all the fresh meals, snacks, and teas you need to enjoy nourishing postpartum food prepared by our chefs. We save you the time and energy of going to the grocery store, finding new recipes, meal planning, and portioning.

      Our talented chefs work with our Wellness Team to create new menus each week for you, based on what’s seasonally available from our community of local farms and ranches. We use the highest quality ingredients which are organic or pesticide free produce and grass-fed or pasture-raised animals.

    • What are the benefits of postpartum food and Ritual Meals?

      We understand that, as a new mom, you've got one of the hardest jobs in the world—so we created The Postpartum Program to help you heal and feel your best after giving birth. Our postpartum meals are nutritionally designed to support your physical recovery, energy levels, hormonal balance, milk supply and quality, and mood. At Ritual Meals, we are serious about supporting your postpartum nourishment and postpartum wellness journey. Everything we cook is made with the highest quality, whole food ingredients, good for you and your baby, whether or not you are breastfeeding.

      Our postpartum nutrition philosophy is focused on food as medicine.

      Our postpartum meals include both plated food and soups and stews which are more easily digestible and improve absorption of essential minerals and vitamins that the body needs to repair, restore, and fortify after birth or surgery. Grass-fed and pasture-raised animal stock are the base of all of our soups and stews, supplying essential nutrients, lean protein, and collagen to boost energy, support and heal connective tissues, and support healthy metabolism.

      If you are breastfeeding, our postpartum meals can provide measurable benefits for your milk supply and quality. Our postpartum meals often include galactagogues (ingredients which support milk supply and quality), including flax seeds, oats, tahini, brewer’s yeast, and more. We also avoid ingredients that could be associated with colic or sensitivities for breastfed babies, including cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and hot peppers.

      * This program is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We recommend that you consult with your doctor prior to starting this program if you have a medical condition or are taking any prescription medication or nutritional supplements.

    • How much does Ritual Meals Cost?

      The Postpartum Program at Ritual Meals is priced starting at $176 per week. Meal frequency per week can be customized, which changes the cost of the program. As well, if you opted into our Subscription option, you can save up to 10% each week and receive free delivery with promo code FREESHIPPING.  Customize your postpartum plan to view prices.

    • What kinds of ingredients does Ritual Meals use?

      All meals are made to order and made from scratch with the highest quality ingredients. We prioritize local and organic produce and use only meat sourced from local farms that sustainably and humanely raise their animals. Our animals are always grass-fed or pasture-raised. Our produce is plant rich, organic or pesticide-free, low gluten, no refined sugars, and non-GMO.

      Organic or pesticide-free, whole, unprocessed foods are both more nutritive and more flavorful. We thoughtfully pair ingredients based on complementary benefits. For example, these pairings—lentils and red bell pepper, sesame and salmon, pasture-raised eggs and leafy greens, and chicken and quinoa—allow you to absorb more nutrients and experience their healing benefits.

    • What if I have allergy or dietary needs?

      Due to the small size of our culinary team, we are currently unable to offer substitutions in our menus, which are set weekly. To receive weekly email notifications about our upcoming menus which lists our full ingredients, please subscribe to our newsletter below.

      Please note: our Postpartum Program is not intended for severe allergies. If you have any questions about how we can support your dietary needs, please reach out to our Wellness Team at

    • How do you keep food fresh in transit? What if I am not home?

      We pack the postpartum meals fresh with care using 100% recyclable, insulated boxes and drain safe gel packs designed to keep your food refrigerated on the way to your doorstep.

      We understand that when it comes to birth, timing may not always happen according to plan. We highly recommend recruiting the help of a friend, neighbor, or family member so that if you aren’t able to get to your food when it arrives at your doorstep, they can help you store it in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy them.

      The delivery driver should leave the package for you at your door with no signature required. We package our postpartum meals in 100% recyclable insulated liners with drain-safe gel packs, so that your food stays refrigerated in transit. If you have any concerns with the temperature or condition of your meals once delivered, please contact our Wellness Team at

    • Where does Ritual Meals deliver?

      We ship across the continental US to your doorstep! If you have any additional questions, you can contact our Wellness Team at

    • How do I get started with Ritual Meals?

      You can get started by selecting your program options on the Postpartum Program page

      If you would like any help choosing a program that works best for you, please email our Wellness Team at and we’d be happy to help!

    Nourish your body. Thrive postpartum

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    Women-owned Business

    Founded and created by two women of color, our goal is to create more opportunities to other women.

    Locally Sourced
    Locally Sourced

    We source as locally as possible from our community of local farms and ranches.

    Whole Foods
    Whole Foods

    We commit to using organic or pesticide-free, 100% whole food ingredients in all our products.

    Sustainably Made
    Sustainably Made

    We commit to environmental responsibilty through our low waste practices both inside and outside of the kitchen.

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    Gives Back

    We donate 2% of our sales to organizations that support and empower women or work to reduce food insecurity.