That’s a pretty strong statement and hopefully after reading this post you will understand the importance of good quality gelatin in your diet.
What is Gelatin?
I am sure you have noticed that your homemade bone broth thickens and resembles jelly after being refrigerated. That gelatinous goo is wonderful and nutritious gelatin. Gelatin is essentially cooked down collagen from animals such as cows, pigs, fish, and chickens. This may sound unappetizing, but it’s SO good for you! Gelatin is a protein that makes up about 50% of the protein in our bodies. (Source) Throughout history, traditional diets have included large amounts of bone broth, much more than that of today’s Western diet. Recorded history reveals bone broth was used to treat asthma, help with symptoms of the cold and flu, and was used to support one’s digestive system. (Source) Our current generation considers the bones, ears, or feet of an animal to be unclean or undesirable, but the truth be known, these parts of an animal contain an abundance of nutrients, minerals and nourishment. Contrary to popular belief, hoofs, horns, hair, feathers or any other keratin material are not a source of gelatin. The ideal source of gelatin comes from making your own bone broth, or from a high quality gelatin powder obtained from pastured animals. Don’t be tempted or compelled by the TV commercials to purchase collagen creams for your skin. Did you know that collagen is too large to be absorbed through the skin and it must be ingested? If you want youthful skin, healthy hair, and strong nails, you must add gelatin to your diet.
My personal experience with gelatin…
For the past year, I have used it almost daily. I started taking it as a supplement while I was pregnant with my second son, Connor. Gelatin is the ONLY thing, besides my daily coconut oil, that could have caused the varicose veins on my legs to shrink in size by the end of my pregnancy. Also during this time, a large ganglion cyst that had been on the top of my foot for over a year just…went way. Coincidence, or was it something in my diet?!? I am most certain it was from the gelatin I had added to my diet. The more and more I learn about gelatin, the more amazed I am and believe that EVERYONE should be supplementing their diet with gelatin.
Here is a running list of possible health benefits from adding gelatin obtained from grass-fed animals to your diet:
- Because gelatin is essentially collagen, it helps build connective tissue and is great for skin, nails and hair.
- It encourages your body to make more collagen.
- It is great for bone and joint health and can improve arthritis.
- It aids in digestion and helps to breakdown nutrients. (Source)
- If ingested with other animal proteins, it helps the body better assimilate the animal protein. (Source)
- Contains bio-available calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and other trace minerals. (Source)
- It has been shown to heal the digestive tract and improve disorders such as Crohns, IBS, and leaky gut. (Source)
- It’s a great way to add good quality amino acids to your diet that the body can actually use.
- Gelatin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent when consumed along with other foods.
- Gelatin can help detox the liver. (Source)
- It can help you sleep.
- The amino acids in gelatin are easily absorbed and are great for when you are sick.
Although gelatin is a protein, it is not a complete protein. It lacks an essential amino acid, tryptophan, and contains only small amounts of cysteine. According to Ray Peat, this may not be a bad thing. I HIGHLY recommend you read his work HERE on gelatin . He goes into great depth about the different amino acids that our bodies need, and how important gelatin is to balance our modern diet. (Other sources: Weston A. Price Foundation) All of the above reasons are why REAL chicken soup, made with REAL, pastured chickens (and even chicken feet), is great for those who are sick. Campbell’s chicken soup just won’t cut it!
How do I get Gelatin into my diet?
The great thing about gelatin is that it can be added to your diet in many ways. It should be consumed on a daily basis. This is easy to do through the consumption of bone broths and high quality gelatin powders.
- 1 whole chicken (or any chicken parts such as necks, gizzards, etc. and preferably organic or free range)
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 tbsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder (or fresh garlic)
- 1 tbsp. onion Powder (or 1 onion chopped)
- 1/2 tbsp. pepper
- 1 tbsp. vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 1 tbsp. poultry seasoning (optional)
- Carrot (Optional. This will make the broth slightly sweet)
Place all ingredients in Slow Cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (or longer). Strain and freeze stock for future use.
Remove meat from bones and use in a recipe. Put bones back into the Crock Pot and duplicate seasonings and water Bone Broth. Cook on low for 12-24 hours.
Purchase Gelatin Powder
Seek out gelatin powder from grass-fed animals. I highly recommend Great Lakes brand. You can check out their website and find out more about the process they use to produce their gelatin. Unlike the process used by most gelatin producers, which produces free glutamate (that turns into MSG in body), the Great Lakes process does not. Read more about their manufacturing process. Serving Size: On Great Lakes’ website, they recommend consuming 1 tablespoon in the morning and 1 tablespoon at night. There are 3 types of Great Lakes Gelatin. Here is a rundown of their differences:
1. Hydrolysate Gelatin Powder (The Green Can)
This gelatin easily dissolves in cold, warm or hot liquids and will not congeal. This makes it more versatile to add to many foods or drinks. Hydrolyzed Collagen is more easily digested because of its low molecular weight. There is no flavor and little to no smell. This gelatin is a certified Kosher product.
- Dissolves in coffee
- Dissolves in cold drinks
- Great in shakes or smoothies
- Add to most any recipe, but it won’t gel
I primarily use the hydrolysate gelatin along with virgin coconut oil in my World’s Healthiest Shake, Melissa’s Mocha Frappuccino, and even my Chocolate Frosty. Cost: When purchasing a single can, it cost about $0.35 per tablespoon. It’s even cheaper if you purchase in bulk.
2. Unflavored Gelatin, Kosher (orange can)
- This gelatin must be dissolved in warm to hot water and results in a thick or jellied consistency. This gelatin is certified Kosher and made from beef sources.
Cost: About $0.32 per tablespoon if purchasing 1 can from Amazon.
3. Unflavored Gelatin, Regular Porcine Gelatin (Red can)
This gelatin has the same properties as the Kosher Unflavored gelatin above, except that it is not Kosher and is made of pork.
Which gelatin should you buy??
I personally have both types of gelatin, the type that gels and the type that does not (hydrolysate gelatin powder and the unflavored gelatin).
- If you can only purchase one of the powders, plan on putting it in your shakes or coffee, and don’t plan on using it in recipes, I would purchase the Hydrolysate Gelatin since it dissolves very easily.
- If you can only purchase one of the powders and want to use it to create recipes, pudding, etc., I would purchase the unflavored gelatin, either Kosher or the regular unflavored gelatin. You can still add it to your shakes, you just want to sprinkle it over your liquid to let it dissolve and then swirl it around before blending and blend well. Some people still report clumping, so this is the reason why the hydrolysate powder is still best in shakes. However, the regular kind will work. The regular gelatin is the first type I purchased, since I could use it in all of my recipes and shakes.
- If you get both types, I would add the hydrolysate to your shakes and the regular unflavored to your recipes that require thickening. This is what I currently do.
NOTE: All 3 of the gelatin powders through Great Lakes are unflavored.
Why is it so expensive?
Truth be known, the price is very reasonable when you do the math per serving. First of all, consider saving money (and gaining extra nutrients) by making your own bone broth for recipes instead of buying the stuff in the can. Second, Great Lakes Gelatin Powder costs anywhere from $0.30-0.35 per tablespoon. If you purchase a box of Knox gelatin in bulk, you will pay the same amount for a less than superior product. Also, because this is truly a superfood, I consider it an investment in my health. I don’t spend money going to doctors or buying OTC medication. My goal is to take care of my body from the inside out. You can also buy bulk directly from Great Lakes website HERE. Here are the prices:
- Collagen Hydrolysate – 6 Pack $92.10 ($15.35 per can) which equals $.24 per tablespoon.
- Beef Gelatin – 6 Pack $79.50 ($13.25 each per can) which equals $.21 per tablespoon.
Consider going in with friend to get a better deal!
I have just touched the TIP of the iceberg when it comes to gelatin. The take-home from this post is to get gelatin in your diet…your body will thank you!
Do you consume gelatin on a regular basis? What improvements if any have you noticed? Leave a comment and let me know!
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