The Benefits of Gelatin

I’ve been trying to include more gelatin in my diet after reading so much about the benefits of both bone broth and gelatin. When I was a the Ancestral Health Symposium at Berkeley this year, there was an interesting presentation by Kaayla Daniel Ph.D. called Bone Broth and Health: A Look at the Science. The main takeaway was that we evolved to eat meat in a more head-to-tail manner. In fact, in paleolithic times, we were often last on the scene and played more the role of scavenger eating brains, organs, etc. Over time, meat consumption evolved into more stews and soups (both very high in gelatin). 

There’s also a great presentation called Meet Your Meat by Denise Minger from AHS in 2012. She talks about some of the real health risks associated with eating a diet high in animal protein. One of the takeaways here is that we need things like gelatin and bone broth to balance out meat. 

There’a also a great article by Laura Schoenfeld on Chris Kresser’s site about the benefits of gelatin (and he also talks about this in his book).  According to her article, what can gelatin do for you? 

  • Heal your gut
  • Improve your skin
  • Provides you with glycine that can balance out the methionine from meat (which can raise homocysteine)
  • Improve your joint health
  • Improves your sleep

So how can I get more gelatin in my diet? Any easy way is bone broths and sauces made with bones, skin and connective tissue. I’ve tried several bone broth recipes and I like the one Chris Kresser’s book the best (it’s the least gamey). Another way is through yummy gelatin treats. Here’s a good bog post with a bunch of different uses for gelatin – homemade marshmallows, jello, gummies, etc.

Here’s my favorite jello recipe from Erin Livers, ICNT.  She is a nutritionist here in Boulder with great advice and lots of great recipes.  

Fruit Gelatin Snacks

In a small saucepan, bring cherry juice to a boil. While this is warming, place the apple juice in a heat stable bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over entire surface of juice (do not stir in). Allow gelatin to bloom for 3-5 minutes (you will understand when you see it). Once cherry juice is boiling, slowly pour into bowl of apple juice, whisking until incorporated and no lumps remain. Let this sit for 3-5 minutes to absorb gelatin, then immediately pour into a glass or ceramic casserole dish. Cover pan and place in refrigerator for at least one hour, until gelatin is firm. You can also add fruit. You can use cookie cutters to make fun shapes or pour into individual ramekins for individual servings. Store, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

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There was a new gelatin company passing out samples at AHS this year and their products are great. In fact, we are thinking of possibly carrying them here because they are difficult to get. We have several small samples at the front desk (that I shlepped back from CA) if you’re interested in trying to add gelatin to your diet. The green container is for making jello and the blue one is for adding to smoothies or drinks. They were serving it in water with fresh fruit and mint at AHS and it tasted great.  

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Oh, and I almost forgot to mention – The Ancestral Health Symposium will be at CU next August thanks to our very own Matt McQueen, Sc.D.!!!! Get ready to learn a lot about exercise and health. Harvard, Berkeley and now CU…can’t wait!