WARNING: I will not be advising you to pick up the nearest pack of Gummy Bears and munch away, unfortunately.
So, Gelatin is making a come back. When I think of gelatin, one I think of Gummy Bears and Percy Pigs, and two I think of my veggie friends not being able to eat it, and telling me how disgusting it is. Cue never thinking about Gelatin again… until now!
Gelatin is a form of collagen, that has been cooked. It comes from the super-nutritious bones, hides and connective tissues of animals. Gelatin is a great source of protein. It contains 18 amino acids, including essential and non-essential amino acids like glycine and proline, which are critical in our diet, and although can be made in our body, research suggests many people don’t have enough of them.
If you’re suffering from stiff joints, skin diseases and other collagen, connective tissue and cartilage disorders then you might be suffering serious shortfalls of proline, glycine and other needed nutrients.
Not only this, but gelatin has been suggested to soothe the gastrointestinal tract. “Gelatin lines the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract and guards against further injurious action on the part of the ingesta,” wrote Erich Cohn of the Medical Polyclinic of the University of Bonn back in 1905.
Many of us will be aware that eating a diet high in protein can cause slow digestion and trigger inflammatory. The recommended amount of protein is no more than 20% of your daily calories. However, collagen is low in cysteine and methionine – aminos found in whey that can trigger inflammation and digestive problems if you get too much of them. This means you can consume around 25g a day extra of protein from collagen without harming your body’s performance. David Asprey, of the BulletProof Diet shows us more on why collagen is so important here.
So how can you get more of this in your diet? It seems that Grandma always knew, and the Hemsley sisters are now advocating – that broth made from bones is a great remedy for all kinds of ailments: a tonic for the sick, a strengthener for athletes, a digestive aid, a healing elixir. And unlike bitter medicines that you take by the spoonful, broth can be incorporated into delicious soups, stews and sauces.
The basic method is simple. Don’t be so quick to throw away left over meat bones from your Sunday roast. Soak the meatless bones (chicken, duck, turkey, beef, lamb, fish, etc.) in water plus a little vinegar for an hour or two. Bring the water to a boil slowly and skim any scum that settles at the top. Throw in any vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery and herbs and allow to simmer several hours or overnight. Remove the bones and strain out the vegetables (you can use these in a separate meal!). You can use the stock as is, or chill to remove the fat that congeals on the top. (There is nothing wrong with the fat, and you can use it for roasting vegetables!).The stock may be kept in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several months.
Amino acids in Gelatin, like all amino acids, can only be properly utilized when the diet contains sufficient fat-soluble activators–vitamins A and D–found exclusively in animal fats. So don’t hesitate to put cream in your broth-based soups and sauces, and include other sources of vitamins A and D in your diet, such as butter, egg yolks and cod liver oil.
If you want to read more about Proline, Glycin and Gelatin, read here.