I spent most of last week sneezing, coughing and in general, feeling icky. Colds: They never come at a convenient time.
When I’m sick, I think of a big bowl of chicken soup. It’s supposed to be good for us, right? But, why? For most people, including myself, having a bowl of soup only involved opening a can and dumping the contents into a pot to heat up. So what’s healthy about that? Well… nothing really. That idea of chicken soup helping you recover from the common cold, came from a time when soup didn’t come in a can, but was made from scratch in the kitchen.
Bone broth is really what makes that soup so healthy. Making broth, using traditional methods, provides us with minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, and other trace minerals, as well as gelatin. We’re not talking about that little blue box of flavored powder, people. We’re talking about that substance made from the connective tissue of animal meats. Sorry, that didn’t sound super appealing.
Gelatin contains half of the 18 essential amino acids that are needed for survival. The amino acid glycine, found in gelatin, supports the liver in removing toxins from our system. It also improves digestion by boosting gastric juices and acids which are necessary for many digestive functions, including digesting protein. Lysine, which is also found in gelatin, aids in the absorption of calcium and helps build muscle.
Here are a few more awesome benefits of gelatin:
- Improves digestion
- Can help heal your gut
- Promotes relaxation and a good night’s sleep
- Helps joint recovery (this was a big selling point for me!)
- Can help improve cellulite and tighten loose skin
- Supports skin, hair and nail growth
You can get these benefits from your home-made bone broth (I follow this recipe) or gelatin from grass-fed cows.
I use Great Lakes Kosher Unflavored Gelatin, from grass-fed cows. If you want to make gummy snacks, you’ll want to use the red canister (here). If you prefer to add your gelatin to smoothies, teas, or other beverages, you’ll want to use the green canister (here). This one will not gel when it mixes with liquid.
Instead of reaching for that blue box on the shelf in the grocery store, consider changing it out for a healthier option.
- 1 cup whole cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 4 Tbsp gelatin
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, orange juice, water, and maple syrup, and heat until the berries open and start to release their juices. Stir occasionally. Do not let the mixture boil.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the orange zest.
- Pour the contents of the saucepan into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a medium bowl or large Pyrex measuring glass.
- Whisk in the gelatin, one tablespoon at a time, until dissolved. (Note: you could add the gelatin in the blender and mix that way, but I've found that the gummies come out frothier that way.)
- Pour the gummy mixture into an 8x8 baking dish or silicon forms and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. If you’re having a bad day, just bite off their heads. Heal your gut while you get out a little aggression. That's multitasking.