Kobe’s secret fountain of youth: Chicken bone broth soup

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If you’re a home cook at all you’ve probably made this — use the leftover bones from a roasted chicken (or maybe the turkey from Thanksgiving dinner) and boiled it down to make a broth for soup. Bone broth.

If so, you have partaken in Kobe Bryant’s pre-game meal of choice and dietary staple. What he sees as a healthy fountain of youth.

Bone broth is a favorite of the Paleo diet crowd and is the core of Kobe’s diet, something Baxter Holmes wrote about for ESPN.

Bone broth has quietly but steadily become a daily staple of Bryant’s diet over the past three years. It’s the foundation of his pregame meal at home and on the road, and the Lakers put in long hours to make sure it’s carefully prepared for him at all times.

“I’ve been doing the bone broth for a while now,” Bryant said. “It’s great — energy, inflammation. It’s great.”

The key is cooking down the bones to get the real vitamins and nutrients from them and the cartilage (this is different than the flavored broth you buy at the store). The Lakers chef buys free range chickens, debones them herself then cooks them down for eight hours (with some vegetables) to make the both every day.

The broth is a base for a wide variety of soups: minestrone, beef stew, chicken meatball, chili, a 15-bean soup with kale or what (Lakers team chef Sandra) Padilla said is Bryant’s favorite — chicken tortilla.

Kobe is like a lot of NBA athletes who as they get older become far more careful about what they eat and what goes into their body. Some, like Ray Allen, figure that out early but for most players it’s more like their late 20s where they figure out they can’t just have chicken and waffles, or a Big Mac, before a game and still perform the same way. As they get older players generally become more regimented about what they eat.

As with all things Kobe, he doesn’t just go halfway — once he became serious about his diet he became fanatical about it.

So now he eats more soup than your grandmother in Florida. Because he knows what’s good for him.