What is gelatin?
Gelatin or gelatine (from Latin: gelatus meaning "stiff", "frozen") is a translucent, colourless, brittle (when dry), flavourless foodstuff, derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolyzed form of collagen. (source: Wikipedia)
According to WebMD:
Gelatin is used for weight loss and for treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Some people also use it for strengthening bones, joints, and fingernails. Gelatin is also used for improving hair quality and to shorten recovery after exercise and sports-related injury.
"My" main reasons for consuming gelatin daily for this challenge:
Digestion: Gelatin absorbs water so it keeps things moving through the gut and helps with digestion and constipation. Reduces inflammation and helps repair the intestinal lining. Can also help with leaky gut.
Healthy joints: You read that part about gelatin being derived from collagen, right? We know joints need collagen to be healthy and this is a great source of it! Athletes have used it for joint pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory.
Skin & Hair: Speaking of collagen....those anti aging creams they sell aren't as effective as a daily serving of gelatin, and it's cheaper. Gelatin also contains keratin which is essential for healthy nails, hair, teeth and skin.
Sleep: Gelatin contains glycine and consuming it before bed helps induce sleep.
Nutrition: 6 grams of protein per tablespoon. 1/2 of your essential amino acids. Glycine, which helps your liver release toxins.
Now this is by no means a complete list on benefits. I'd be writing for the next 2 days if I compiled one of those! That is the list of why I decided to challenge myself to eat more gelatin. Now for my results: My nails are longer and stronger. Finally! My joints quit hurting all the time and when they do bother me, it seems to be a much shorter episode. My hair is growing in much healthier, even with dying it last week. My skin looks a bit less dry and aged & I've been sleeping much better. My digestion issues have cleared up a lot and it continues to improve. I'm very happy with these results!
How did I do it? I bought plain gelatin and mixed my own "jello style" every 2 days. I have an extreme sweet tooth so this worked great for me. Especially for those after dinner cravings!
1 large 'table' spoon full of unflavored gelatin. I added 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stirred gently till absorbed. Then I add 1 packet sugar free jello style dessert mix. Mix thoroughly then chill and cut into squares. I ate 1/2 of this mixture each day consuming most of it after dinner. Yes, I used commercial flavored, chemical crap. Yes...it was good! I did find that Walmart brand 'Jello' is the cheapest and it tastes the same. I experimented with adding my own juices and flavorings but have yet to settle on a fail-proof recipe, so I'll work on that! I made homemade marshmallows a few times. They were so good and even the kids loved them. I'll post that recipe soon.
Also a few days a month I made a bone broth which is rich in gelatin. Here is an excellent post on using a turkey to make Bone Broth by Back To Our Roots. Bone broth is awesome because you can eat it alone or use it to flavor rices, vegetable dishes or as a soup/stew base. It's easy to set & forget in the crock pot, so very little work. It can also be canned so a big batch can last a long time!
I started by buying bulk gelatin from the Amish store by me, however I have found a grass fed beef gelatin that I really like. This one by Great Lakes is very similar to Knox or the stuff I bought. (the first gelatin I bought tended to smell a little like wet dog when I mixed it up, the Great Lakes was much better in that department!) Speaking of which you could buy Knox at your local store, but it's more expensive then a bulk version. Great Lakes also has this one with the green label and it is cold water soluble! That one is great for smoothies and adding to other drinks and recipes. It doesn't thicken the same so it's practically unnoticeable once mixed in.
I have a lot more experimenting that I want to do with recipes and different ways to add gelatin to my diet. These last few months have convinced me that adding gelatin to my diet daily has made a huge improvement and now I'm just searching for ways to simplify it for the long run!
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