Gelatin and broth seem to be making resurgence in nutritional health circles but the use of stock goes back thousands of years for helping to heal many ailments and is fondly termed Jewish penicillin. Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions highlights some of the many uses of stock in successful treatment of Crohn’s disease and colitis. Fish head soups have been used for over 4000 years in Chinese culture, more often than not due to the use of thyroid substances gleaned from the thyroid gland which is a major player in energy regulation.
Gelatin is a jelly like substance which is created when simmering bones and soft tissue such as ligaments and skin. Dr Francis Pottenger highlighted that gelatin contains hydrophilic colloids which means liquid attracting substances or in this case digestive juices. When food is cooked it loses these qualities and therefore eating cooked food is harder on the digestive process. Gelatin is composed of the following amino acids
Glycine 21%, Proline 12%, Hydroxyproline 12%, Glutamic acid 10%, Alanine 9%, Arginine 8%, Aspartic acid6%, Lysine 4%, Serine 4%, Leucine 4%, Valine 2%, Phenylaline 2%, Threonine 2%, Isoleucine 1%, Hydroxyline 1%, Methionine <1%, Histidine <1%, Tyrosine <0.5%
Ray Peat’s work (http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml has suggested that when the consumption of muscle meat alone is consumed, high levels of tryptophan are consumed which can increase serotonin levels, inflammation, thyroid inhibition and a depressed immune system. The consumption of gelatin through the consumption of the whole animal helped to lower the stress caused by increased levels of tryptophan. Peat suggests the use of gelatin to enhance sleep, as glycine is a inhibitory neurotransmitter which helps to calm the nervous system and also quench free radical damage and subsequent oxidative stress. Its use should be considered an integral part of each meal to aid in digestion and help to reduce many conditions from digestive conditions and inflammation to help lowering stress and improving sleep. The consumption of gelatin also helps to replenish the mucosal barrier of the gut which houses a large proportion of the bodies immune system in the form of secretory IgA.
You can get many commercial forms of gelatin (www.greatlakesgelatin.com) but if you have access to a good organic butcher, purchasing animal carcasses and in particular feet which have a high amount of collagen which is a pre-form of gelatin are particularly useful for getting good quality stock or broth. Follow these points for getting a kick ass stock.
- Place a large amount of rinsed bones in a pan
- Cover with cold water and add a drop or two of cider vinegar to help draw more nutrients from the bone.
- Slowly bring to boil temperature (you can add a carrot, garlic and celery to add some flavour) Remove any scum from the top of the liquid
- Simmer for a minimum of two hours up until as long as you like
- Drain bones
- Let cool and then place in the fridgeYou can skim the layer of fat from the top and if your stock is thick enough you should have achieved a nice thick jelly like substance
You can add this too food that you eat as a digestive aid, I often encourage clients to have a broth or ramen like dish with a boiled egg in it with a slice or two of vegetables, seaweed or Nori contains a good amount of iodine to support thyroid function and cooked broccoli (can help to lower inflammation levels caused by excess estrogen) and a handful of meat as a filling start to the day instead of reaching for toast or the cereal box. You can also add gluten free rice noodles and use gluten free soy sauce or miso. Soy and miso like broccoli also help to lower estrogen levels as it contains isoflavones which contain indole-3 carbinol and DIM. There’s no end to the soups and sauces that you can make with your gelatin and the health benefits are phenomenal so get cooking now
Maple Syrup Jelly.
This dessert can also be used for after training sessions as a protein shake replacement, without the gas! I use www.greatlakesgelatin.com for the ease but you can still get the same results from boiling your own bones if not a little meaty tasting.
Add gelatin to cold water, leave to soak for a minute, then add some hot water.
Add your flavouring such as organic maple syrup (you can also use a fruit juice too)
Give it a good stir then leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
Serve when ready