collagen in smoothies

We’ve stuffed just about everything we can think of into a blender at one point or another. We’ve whipped up smoothies with greens, bee pollen, chia seeds, pea protein, clay, salt – you name it, we’ve probably slurped it down. But until recently, beef products really never made it onto that list.

Recently, however, while trolling our favorite holistic food blogs, we came across a wellness ingredient we just had to have and it’s ideal for smoothies. The idea of using this so-old-it’s-new-again ingredient might be tough to swallow, but the product itself is not. It sure isn’t vegan and it’s not all that photogenic, but we are completely sold on this brand-new-to-us staple: beef gelatin.

You might initially ask yourself why anyone would want both meat and Jell-O at the same time. But if you think beyond the rainbow of gelatin flavors you might have loved as a kid (or naughty Greek pledge), gelatin is first and foremost an animal product. It’s only decades of Auntie So-And-So’s lovely, gelled fruit salads that have made us forget about this ingredient in its purest form.

Beef gelatin, when sourced from responsibly-raised animals, is what we like to call one of the ‘missing link’ foods that disappeared from our modern food culture a few decades ago: foods like organ meat, bone broths and gelatin that generations have eaten for millennia, but somewhere along the way we deemed unfashionable. The truth is that as some of these deeply nourishing ‘ancient foods’ went out of style, many of the physical troubles that may arise from deficiencies related to these foods actually became more prevalent.

An important note: we’re not here to talk historical medical trends or dive deep into the meaning of the industrial food revolution because…well, we’re The Chalkboard. And we hope that’s why you love us. Rather than drag you through these subjects cover to medical journal cover, we rather share our thoughts on a few of those accessible, health-giving ideas we’re trying and to find out – would you or wouldn’t you give this kind of thing a try? More so, we know some of you are already trying this stuff; you’re that faithful cross-section of readers with their fingers on the pulse of all things cool in wellness -the ones who already make their own dehydrated raw crackers and, quite possibly, give yourself at-home colonics (you know who you are).

To get back to the subject, beef gelatin is a dry, easy-to-use powder. It consists of the naturally occurring protein collagen in animals. Think skin, bones, joints – the kinds of animal parts that some of us who don’t raise our own meat would rather not think about, the parts some of us modern eaters have come to consider simply the scraps left over from actual “food” like filet mignon or a juicy burger. As it turns out, these animal parts are extremely beneficial to our health. Gelatin is essentially derived from collagen,  a word that may be more familiar to you from the beauty counter than the meat counter. Collagen is essential to creating and maintaining healthy, supple joints, skin and other connective tissue. Collagen declines as we age, but can be supplemented and yield fantastic results.

Think of Jell-O: it bounces, bends and glows. Wherever you’d like to see those qualities improved in your body, gelatin will do that. Bouncier hair, stronger joints, more elastic and dewy skin. Gelatin can also help heal the digestive track, which is itself quite gelatinous (worst word ever?). Some folks tout gelatin for its anti-aging benefits, some for joint care and others for digestive repair. Whatever folks are using it for, one thing is clear: this food, once a natural part of the carnivorous diet, is now largely missing from our modern diet…and it shows. We love the idea of reintroducing some of these ‘missing links’ back into our food supply.

Gelatin should only be purchased from companies who go to great lengths to supply clean products. We love Great Lakes’ Beef Gelatin who have created one of the most widely trusted gelatin products around. Add dry gelatin powder to smoothies, soups, or simply dissolve a little into a glass of water. Stir vigorously and throw it down the hatch! We’ve even seen tips for adding gelatin to your beauty regimen: a teaspoon of gelatin in your shampoo can both strengthen the follicle and a little extra oomph.

What do you say, readers? Have you tried gelatin? Do you love it, have you formed an opinion, or is there something we’ve left out? We want to hear from you! Would you of wouldn’t you add beef gelatin to tomorrow morning’s smoothie?

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From our friends


  1. I put beef gelatin in my smoothies! I’m trying to heal my gut.

  2. I love me some Great Lakes! I put it in my green smoothies.

    Krista | 01.22.2014 | Reply
  3. I am a huge fan of Great Lakes as well, I use it to make jellies, marshmallows, and more!

    Gina | 01.23.2014 | Reply
    • Great Lakes marshmallows? Pinch us. Can we come over for s’mores and cocoa tonight, Gina?!

      The Chalkboard | 01.24.2014 | Reply
  4. I always put beef gelatin in my smoothies/shakes and I also sneak in a little bit of dessicated liver powder from Argentinian grass-fed cows. Liver truly is a superfood- one of the most nutrient foods on the planet! It gives a wonderful energy boost. I’m not fond of cooking it, so hiding it in a smoothie is perfect.

    Erin | 01.24.2014 | Reply
    • Wow, we’re impressed Erin! Such a great idea.

      The Chalkboard | 01.24.2014 | Reply
  5. I put great lakes in my tea every morning, along with some coconut. After about a month, my skin totally changes, glowing and clear. Love.

    Bethany | 01.30.2014 | Reply
  6. I’ve been using Gelatin for years, but stick to my own rendering rather than a powder base, (nothing against those who use store bought). I started making my own poultry bases when I was in my teens after a wanting to do something with that leftover turkey carcass. Wondering why I felt so amazing after a bowl of that soup, I started experimenting with chicken and other bones only to fall in love with that RICH Broth. Fast forward into the future, and a senior citizen cat with health issues and a want for a less sodium filled broth, I started buying marrow bones from my butcher, and Beef Tendons and ox-tail from a local Asian store. 20-30hrs later in a 22qt roaster oven, I’ve got 2-3gal of thick-rich gelatin base for soups, stews, morning pick-me-up and a high collagen-nutrient rich aid for me and my furry friend.

    I have no scientific evidence to support my claims; however, you could probably find it with little trouble. But the bone rendering for broth leaches out the nutrition that we frequently lose with pre-packaged foods and boneless cuts of meat. It allows for the connective tissues, collagens, marrows and trace minerals to be extracted and more readily available for absorption. Perhaps the reason Mom’s chicken soup when your sick seems so much more magical than that can chicken soup. I’m not anti-pre-pak foods, unless you’re talking about broth/stock/gelatin. Super secret to amazing poultry gelatin: chicken feet. Wash well, blanch and scrub. Cook then toss, don’t look unless your brave. Pseudo-equivalent of beef tendon.

    Lost point of a too long post, yes I do beef or poultry (occasionally lamb and rabbit) gelatin. Preferred is in a bloody-mary-type mix sans alcohol (or with if you don’t have to work) in the vita-prep. Sometimes I’ll even bump it up with a healthy dose of Kimchi (house made of course).

    David | 01.26.2015 | Reply
  7. I just made some jello yesterday using great lakes brand. Turned out great and so easy to make. Forgot how tasty it was. A favorite snack of mine during my childhood years! Most definitely will put in my smoothies.

    Jamie | 12.06.2020 | Reply

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