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?