Gelatin – Your New Best Friend

Gelatin - your new best friendAs a teenager I remember Jujubes being one of my favorite treats. I ‘may’ have even bought large sacks of them from 7/11 and chowed down while watching a movie on VHS (yes, I said VHS! Remember those?).

It all changed for me one day when one of my friends (who was flirting with vegetarianism) blurted out: “Did you know that the gelatin in those things actually comes from horse hooves?” My love affair with Jujubes and all things gummy came to a screeching halt right there and then, which in retrospect was definitely a blessing in disguise!

It wasn’t until a few years ago while I was beginning my transition to a traditional diet, that I came across gelatin again. In fact, Nourishing Traditions speaks of it as an integral part of a healthy diet as it was revered by many traditional cultures but…

 

What is Gelatin….Really?

Before delving into this post any further, I would like to address my vegetarian and vegan friends. I know this topic can be disturbing to you (I too was vegetarian once, I totally get it), however in saying that, I hope that despite our clear difference of certain opinions (*ah hem) we can remain friends cuz we have plenty of other things in common. :-) 

 

If you’ve ever made chicken stock from scratch, you’ve inadvertently (or intentionally) consumed gelatin. Gelatin is flavorless, and transluscent. It is a cooked/processed form of the structural protein called collagen. It is derived from the connective tissue, bones and hides of animals, thus making a bone broth (that you simmer for 12-48 hours) yields a nourishing liquid rich in gelatin.  

Of course, the quality of the meat you are using is paramount. If using beef, I always buy local, organic, grass fed, humanely treated soup bones. I source out a local, organic chicken supplier as well. Factory meat is so hormonally and otherwise unbalanced that I would not advise using those bones to make a gelatin rich stock.

If you’re not up for making your own gelatin or would like a quality powdered source, this is the one I use because I have verified that it comes from pastured, grass fed cattle. A bonus to using a powdered form is that it allows for many creative recipes to sneak gelatin into your kids and yourself!  

 

What Makes It So Great? 

These days we like to eat fat free, muscle meat (boneless chicken breasts, steak etc…), thus loading up not only on protein but also tryptophan. Tryptophan can cause inflammation in the body (like we need more of that!). By ignoring the value of the entire animal (bones, organs) we miss out on many benefits, namely gelatin.

Gelatin contains 9 of the 18 amino acids that we require. The main ones being Glycine (35%), Proline and Hydroxyproline (21%), and Alanine (11%). Glycine is anti-inflammatory and is required by the liver to help eliminate toxins. Gelatin also contains protein.

 

But What Can It Do For ME?

That’s a great question! I clearly remember asking this very question of my (much more well versed) friend, early in my transition to traditional eating. The list of benefits is really quite impressive and dare I say exhaustive?

Gelatin therapy has been found referenced in China as far back as the first century. An interesting tidbit from Nourishing Traditions explains that folk wisdom revered chicken broth as a valuable remedy for the flu. It was even prescribed as a treatment for colds and asthma in the 12th century. Modern research has deemed the reason as simple: gelatin

Our own bodies contain collagen but when it comes to arthritis and other conditions our own collagen stores can become depleted, hence the importance of including it into our diet daily.  

Are you ready for a rather impressive list of gelatin’s benefits? Here goes :

  • Gelatin improves digestion when consumed with cooked food. It naturally binds to water and allows food to move along easier.
  • Gelatin can help reduce inflammation in the body (ie. arthritis) by repairing cartillage and connective tissues.
  • Gelatin can help speed wound healing because glycine helps reduce inflammation.
  • Gelatin has an antistress and calming effect on the body.
  • Gelatin helps promote sleep (when taken before bed). source
  • Gelatin promotes recovery from strokes and seizures, and helps to improve learning and memory.
  • Gelatin can help with hairloss in men and women.
  • Gelatin can help slow down the signs of aging.
  • Gelatin can help with detoxification.
  • Gelatin has been used to treat diabetes for over 100 years. source
  • Gelatin can improve the quality of your skin, nails and hair.
  • Gelatin can help ward off infections and help balance hormones.
  • Gelatin can also help with colitis, dysentery, ulcers, celiac disease, weight loss etc…

 

Other Than Broth, How Can I Get More Gelatin Into My Diet?marshmallows1

A few of my favorite gelatin recipes are:

Homemade Vitamin C Gummies

Marshmallows  (as shown…yummers!)

Easy Peasy 2 Ingredient Jello

Paleo Coconut Chocolate Mousse

eatplaylovemore.com 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

Dr. Ray Peat

Princeton University

Weston A. Price

Natural Health 365

 

 

  • homesteadlady

    This was great info! We just barely discovered the joys of this stuff since we use it in baby girl’s formula. We made our first Jello and you’d think we made fire, we were so impressed. We shared your article with our FB readers at homesteadlady.com.

  • Lauren @ Oatmeal With A Fork

    Anything that gives me an excuse to eat marshmallows, I’m all over! :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Sabrina M

    Thanks for clearing that up. I was under the impression it was from horse hooves also lol. Those marshmellows look delish and cant wait to try making recipes with gelatin. Also did not realize all the healthy benefits.

    • eatplaylovemore

      Hi Sabrina!
      I wonder where this horse hooves thing came from. It seems like a lot of us have heard it!
      -Libby

  • http://gigieatscelebrities.com/ GiGi Eats Celebrities

    I have tried on numerous occasions to make marshmallows. Never worked. :(

    • eatplaylovemore

      Trust me GiGi, as long as you follow this recipe, they work. That drool worthy pic in the post is of the marshmallows I actually made. Super yummy!

  • Kerry

    Interesting! I would definitely try most except homemade jello. I just cannot do jello of any type. Ewww. :-)

    Thanks for sharing on A Humble Bumble’s Healthy Tuesday’s Blog Hop!
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

    • eatplaylovemore

      Hi Kerry,
      Is it a texture thing for you?
      -Libby

  • Pat

    I make fruit gelatin to get gelatin into our diet. I also make bone broth. Do you have a suggestion on how much gelatin should be consumed daily to be beneficial?

    • eatplaylovemore

      Hi Pat!
      As with anything, it depends who you ask. In our family, I make sure that we get at least 1 cup of bone broth daily. When it comes to the powdered variety, 1 tbsp is the recommended daily intake but it’s pretty difficult to monitor when you are consuming it in goodies like gummies, fruit gelatin etc…I think even including small amounts of gelatin daily is instrumental for good health and a step in the right direction.
      -Libby

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  • Bree

    The link for the type of powered gelatin you use does not work. Can you give me the name brand please? Thanks in advance!

    • eatplaylovemore

      Thanks for the heads up Bree! The link has been fixed.
      -Libby

  • Laura @ AUthentic Parenting

    We drink bone broth a couple of times a week, so we do get some gelatin in our diet :)

  • Elizabeth

    Is it possible to make your own powdered gelatin? Or at least find a way to make it flavorless to use in other things. I’m loving making bone stock, just getting curious about what else I could do with it?

  • Lydia

    Love this post! Will be sharing it with my ‘Heal Your Gut’ course participants! Thanks!

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  • Jennifer

    How exactly does it help you loss weight?

  • Olivia

    I just start taking gelatine 5 days ago..It is amazing,turkey neck,disappearing ,my biceps were getting bigger as in(fat) no definition,going away..tummy,slimming down..cellulite in my legs,vanishing..It will tighten up your skin as well..l take it 2-3 times a day..better results.. Throw away the junk food..2 cups of fluids at a time..then use coconut oil on your skin to protect it from the sun..Highly recommend it..Good Luck Everyone..

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