Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Benefits of Gelatin

Today I would like to talk about gelatin and its health giving properties in the body. Gelatin is often overlooked as part of the modern diet which is a pity given that it would have been included quite a lot in the diets of our early ancestors. 

What is Gelatin?

Gelatin is a colourless and tasteless substance derived from the collagen of animal bones. It is commonly used a thickening agent in sauces, for making gummy sweets and capsules of supplements and pharmaceuticals. Gelatin itself is basically just dried and ground up collagen from animal sources. It can be got very easily from making your own bone broth which is something I reguarly do and it is a very nourishing and healing food to make for your whole family to enjoy. Not everyone has the time to make bone broth so adding in gelatin is another great way to boost your intake of collagen. 

Many people worry about the source of this collagen, and rightly so. We must ensure the meat the collagen is derived from is good quality and from ethically reared sources. We must remember also that while gelatin is found in commercial jelly and other products this is not the type of collagen we are after. These products are usually from cheap sources of meat collagen and have added sugars and synthetic colourings etc so are not ideal for health. 

Gelatin must be from healthy animals who have been reared outside in their ideal environment to avoid pesticides and hormones. This is the brand I use - Great Lakes  I have yet to find it in a health foods store here in Ireland yet but if you have found it please let me know. I get mine from Amazon and while it is pricey it will last you a long time.  

Health Benefits

  • Supports hair and nail growth - Collagen is a vital component of skin and tissue and promotes plumped up youthful looking skin. Collagen is often added to anti-aging skin formulations but it is actually too large to make its way in though the skin. It is therefore important we get it internally for it to really work. Collagen begins to deplete from your 20s on which means wrinkles! So throw away those pricey skin creams and try eating collagen instead! It is also rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorous which are important for healthy nail and hair growth. 
  • Prevents stretch marks - improves skins firmness and prevents the development of stretch marks
  • Liver Detox - Rich in amino acid glycine which is important for detoxification. Inadequate dietary glycine leads to diminished glutathione which is very important for Phase II detoxification. 
  • Cellulite Removal - Often known as the dreaded "orange peel" this unsightly dimpling of the bum and thighs has been the bane of women's lives for a long time! Expensive creams are marketed and reducing this but rarely work, It is caused by the breakdown of collagen which can be as a result of a dietary deficiency of collagen. Ditch the creams and consume a collagen rich diet instead. 
  • Joint Support - Contains joint supporting nutrients such as minerals magnesium, calcium and phosphorous) as well as chondroitin which has known benefits in treatment of arthritis. 
  • Amino Acids - Rich in amino acids which are important for cell repair and build up of lean muscle. I have recently started Crossfit and want to ensure I support both my joints during lifting and boost my protein intake to help me build muscle. Upping my gelatin intake will help me achieve this as it is an easily digestible protein source. 
  • Gut Healing - Collagen is very important for allowing the gut to "heal and seal". Many people today have a hyper-permeable gut or "leaky gut" which means that the lining of the intestine has become too permeable to proteins entering the blood stream. This leads to food sensitivities, inflammation and possible development of autoimmune disorders. Introducing bone broths and gelatin rich meals can help to prevent and treat this improving the immune system in the process. 
Aim to consume bone broth most days and add gelatin to soups, stews and smoothies daily. 

Check out my recipe for making bone broth easily at home - here. 

Recipe for my collagen rich "Gelatin Coconut Smoothie" below. 

1tbsp Great Lakes Unflavoured Collagen 
Handful of blueberries
Cup of coconut milk
1tbsp almond butter

Blend until smooth. Drink immediately as the collagen will cause the drink to thicken. Add more coconut milk if necessary. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

"Mediterranean Paleo Cooking" Book Review, Giveaway and Bonus Recipe!

Lets be honest here. There are so many new books out there on healthy eating that it can be tough to navigate through the amazon lists to figure out which books are actually work buying and which are just going to become dust collectors on your ever growing bookshelf. Sometimes the recipes just don't cut it and fail to excite the inner cook in you. If you are someone pretty familiar with the ins and out of your gas hob and are already capable of preparing some cauli rice to go alongside your curry, some Paleo cookbooks can fail to excite. 

Written by husband and wife team Caitlin Weeks (of and her Algerian husband and chef Nabil Boumar the book clearly illustrates the couple's passion for food which is both healthy AND delicious. With stunning illustrations and enticing recipes such as some delicious tagine recipes, a full section on paleo pasta and pizza recipes and paleo falafels (which I will share the recipe for below as they are awesome!) 

Those of you who know we well know that I am a big fan of Diane Sanfilippo, author of Balanced Bites. Diane actually collaborated on this book too, being a college friend of Caitlin's. You can note her attention to detail in the beautiful photos she has helped to photograph adding her amazing stamp to it. 

This book is DEFINITELY one you should purchase. The recipes are amazing and actually entice you to want to get back in the kitchen and try something new. The photographs are beautiful and make you want to try to recreate the food. 

Recipe: Paleo Falafels with tahini dip

1 medium head cauliflower
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of ground almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups coconut oil

Core the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Grate using a food processor
Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes until cooked but not mushy
Place in a towel and squeeze over the sink until all water is removed
Add to a bowl with the almond flour, eggs and seasonings and mix well. 
Melt the oil in a skillet
Form the cauliflower mixture into a 2 inch ball. Add to pan and fry in the oil for 2/3 minutes on first side until golden brown
Turn and cook on other side until golden brown. 
Drain on kitchen paper and serve. 

Mediterranean Paleo Cooking is available to buy right now on Amazon. Buy it here

The great news is I have a copy of this excellent book to giveaway! 

To enter, simply like and share the post on facebook!