Breakfast, Desserts, Healthy Living, Recipes, Snacks

The Benefits of Gelatin + Homemade Grape Jello

May 22, 2013

Hey, come in close. I’ve got a secret to tell you.

  • Do you want rock hard nails and beautiful hair?
  • Do you want to increase the elasticity in your skin?
  • Do you want strong bones and joints?
  • Do you want a natural digestive aid?

Well, I’ve got something that will give you all that and more. All you have to do is eat more gelatin. That’s right, you read right – gelatin!

What is Gelatin?

The Benefits of a Gelatin-Rich Diet True

Gelatin is a natural protein collagen that is derived from the bones, skin, joints, and collagen (fibrous protein) of animals. It is usually found in a flavorless granulated, powder form and is used in desserts and to thicken various liquids.

Gelatin is utilized in many industries; most commonly in food, medicine, and beauty products. It is used to stabilize, clarify, emulsify, and thicken foods and other products. Gelatin is found in a multitude of items, such as: yogurt, gummy bears, jelly, marshmallows, soups, sausages, lozenges, creams, pills, photographic film, sand paper, and playing cards (just to name a few!).

Besides being able to buy gelatin at the store, it is also found in rich, homemade bone broth which is prepared by taking the bones (from animals like beef and chicken) and placing them in a large stock pot with water and apple cider vinegar. You can find a full tutorial here on how to make homemade bone broth.

Gelatin Quality Matters

Keep in mind, the gelatin I am talking about doesn’t come in a small box with many different “flavors” to choose from. Here is an example on how conventionally made gelatin is made:

“Collagen doesn’t dissolve in water in its natural form, so it must be modified to make gelatin. Manufacturers grind the body parts and treat them with either a strong acid or a strong base to dissolve the collagen. Then the pre-treated material is boiled. Controls at every step of the process ensure purity and safety. The materials are washed and filtered repeatedly. During this process, the large collagen protein ends up being partially broken down; the resulting product is a gelatin solution. That solution is chilled into a jelly-like material, cut and dried in a special chamber. At this point, the dried gelatin — about 10 percent water — is ground. If it’s going to make Jell-O, it will be ground into a fine powder.” (source)

This is why I buy 100% grass-fed gelatin (like this), so I know it’s coming to me in its purest, nutrient dense, minimally processed form; since most commercial gelatin can come from a mystery concoction of discarded animal parts.  Buying a high-quality gelatin also ensures you are getting gelatin from healthy animals who haven’t been treated with artificial hormones and antibiotics.

Why Gelatin is Great for You

There are many reasons gelatin is an amazing superfood! Here are just a few reasons why I make sure it’s a staple in my everyday diet:

  • Gelatin can strengthen the bones and joints, treating such conditions of the musculoskeletal system as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.
  • Gelatin can strengthen your nails and improve your hair quality (thicker, shinier hair? Yes, please!)
  • Gelatin can also speed up recover time after exercise and any sports-related injury. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can protect the muscles from being broken down for energy.
  • Gelatin can help the body fight off infections, regulate the hormones progesterone and estrogen, regulate insulin levels, improve liver health, and help the immune system run optimally.
  • Gelatin promotes relaxation and a good night’s sleep.
  • Gelatin can help replenish the collagen in your body (especially as you age, which means less wrinkles, stiff joints, and cellulite!). The protein found in the human body is made up of about 1/3 collagen. Collagen is what gives the body elasticity in the skin and in the connective tissue.
  • Gelatin has been shown to benefit the treatment of many chronic aliments such as diabetes, anemia, cancer, and muscular dystrophy.
  • Gelatin can heal the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, help the body assimilate nutrients easily, and help with the digestion of meat proteins, beans, milk, and certain grains.
  • Gelatin supports a healthy metabolism and promotes a healthy thyroid by aiding in the balance of tryptophan, cysteine, methionine, and histidine – amino acids that can hinder proper thyroid function. It also combats the common stress hormones cortisol, serotonin, and adrenaline which can put strain on the metabolism.

How to Get More Gelatin in Your Diet

1. Drink It!

You can drink gelatin by mixing it into hot liquids such as tea or coffee, you can also add the powder to smoothies. Since it is flavorless, I bet you won’t even know it’s there.

2. Make Gelatin-Rich Desserts & Snacks

You can make homemade jello (like the recipe below) and jigglers, mousse, no-bake cheesecake, marshmallows, popsicles – to just name a few!

3. Consume More Homemade Bone Broth

Eat lots of soups, stews, and sauces made from your own homemade bone broth; you can even cook your grains in broth to pack a gelatin-rich punch or just drink a nice, warm cup with each meal.

4. Make Pancakes!

Such as in this amazing coconut flour pancake recipe!

Easy Homemade Grape Jello

Easy Homemade Grape Jello

1 quart of 100% organic grape juice, fresh pressed if possible
2 1/2 tablespoons of grass-fed gelatin (like this)

1. Take half of the grape juice and place it in a mug with the gelatin, allow to sit for one minute.

2. In the mean time, gently heat the other half of the grape juice on the stove until steam rises from the top. Turn off the heat and add the cold grape juice/gelatin mixture. Stir well until the gelatin is dissolved.

3. Place in a glass dish (I went with an 8×8 dish) and allow to chill completely in the fridge for two hours.

4. Cut into squares, desired shapes, or just scoop into bowls – enjoy the gelatin goodness!

Sources: Gelatin: Facts, How Stuff Works: Gelatin, WebMD: Gelatin, How Stuff Works: Jell-o, WAPF: Why Broth is Beautiful, WAPF: Broth, Food Renegade: Gelatin Protein Powder, Empowered Sustenance: Gelatin Pancakes, Coconut Mama: Gelatin Challenge, Nutrition by Nature: Gelatin, Nourishing Traditions: Stocks, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday.
This post is a part of Thank Your Body Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Little House Friday DIY Linky, Party Wave Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Real Food Wednesdays, Little House Friday DIY Linky, Fight Back Friday, Sunday School.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Girl Meets Nourishment's ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statements here.

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23 Comments

  • Reply Heather May 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hey there!
    I just tried out this recipe today!! It’s been in fridge almost all day and isn’t setting! :( Any ideas why this may be?

    • Reply Katie May 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Hello Heather,

      I am sorry to hear that! Did you use 2 1/2 tablespoons of gelatin? I have found that not all gelatin is created equal – I use Great Lakes Gelatin (http://amzn.to/XQtU8r) which seems a bit more potent than other kinds I have used for making jello at home. If it still isn’t setting, you can reheat everything on the stove gently and then add an extra tablespoon (or two) of the gelatin you use. Pour back into the pan and then place back in the fridge (or freezer for 15 minutes to speed up the process, then transfer to the fridge).

      I hope that this helps and I am sorry to hear it isn’t gel-ing – keep my posted :)
      Katie

      • Reply Heather June 5, 2013 at 3:41 am

        Hey Katie,
        Yes, I use Great Lakes! I’ve always mixed into smoothies, but never thought about making jello! Genius! It did settle and was amazing. We were in our 5th wheel when I tried making it, maybe RV fridge wasn’t as quick to cool like my fridge at home! Thanks again, great post!

        • Reply Katie June 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

          So happy it came out for you! :)

  • Reply Laura June 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    How much would I use in a cup of tea or coffee?

    • Reply Katie June 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Laura,

      I usually use about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of gelatin and mix it in well. :)

      -K

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  • Reply Melissa July 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Can I ask what the difference is between the green container and the red container of gelatin is?? I was thinking about buying some but wasn’t sure which one was better. Why do you buy the red??

  • Reply sara July 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I tried this last night. I was worried it wouldn’t set also tasting the jello prior to it being set, it was gross. The flavor of the gelatin was stronger than the grape juice. But in the morning i had delicious grape jello the flavor of the gelatin didn’t come through. Next time i make this i plan on concentrating the grape flavor a little and making it a tad sweeter, and trying alternative sugars. Thanks for my first great recipe using Great Lakes Gelatin!

    • Reply Katie July 31, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Hi Sara!

      I am so happy that it didn’t turn out gross, I grew up with Jell-O packages myself so it definitely was so different making it from scratch. I have really grown to appreciate it, some times I make it with fresh orange juice and honey – so good! I hope all your gelatin adventures end with delicious dishes! :)

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Katie

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    […] collagen does not thicken or gel while the gelatin does. This makes it incredibly easy to get the benefits of gelatin while drinking a cup of coffee or tea or even your homemade ice creams and […]

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  • Reply Lisa Kronberg December 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I read that gelatin should always be consumed on an empty stomach without any other food or calories if not it will digest as calories and not as collagen. Is this true?

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  • Reply Bill in Durham June 9, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    The Great Lakes container recommends 1 tablespoon gelatin per pint of liquid, so it would seem 4 tablespoons of gelatin would be the manufacturer’s recommended amount of gelatin to use for 1 quart of liquid.

    • Reply Bill in Durham June 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      nevermind, I’ve got my conversion wrong.

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