Gelatin: My New Favorite Superfood

greatlakesPregnancy has been a catalyst for many new things in my life, one of those being the discovery of nutritional powerhouses, like Mr. grass-fed gelatin.  And it didn’t take me long to uncover all of it’s amazing healing qualities, for pregnant women and for non-pregnant people alike.

WHAT:

  • Gelatin is the collagen found in the skin, bones and connective tissue of animals (the powder form I use comes from cows).  Think of roasting a chicken.  You know all those glorious juices that fall to the bottom of the roasting tray?  A lot of that is the collagen/gelatin.  Stick it in the fridge and you’ll see it turn to jelly.
  • Like everything we put into our bodies, it’s important to consider the source!  We want the gelatin that we’re ingesting to be sourced from animals that have eaten naturally and lived good lives, like the humanely treated, grass-fed cows from Great Lakes.  It’s just common sense really.  If the cows are living stressful lives and eating rubbish food, we will take in that nutrition and energy as well.

WHY:

  • amino acidSkin health:  Improves elasticity and smoothes those wrinkles.  Gelatin is basically collagen and that’s what your skin needs more of to stay healthy.  It’s also packed full of amino acids, the one in greatest amount being glycine.  Just check out the profile from Great Lakes by clicking on the picture to the right.  These amino acids are the building blocks of your body, including the health and wholeness of your skin.
  • Joint health:  Helps with arthritis because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties. And again, those amazing amino acids, help to strengthen and repair the body, specifically in this case, the bones and cartilage.
  • Digestive health:  When I was battling with my own digestive distress, I started to consume homemade chicken broth on a daily basis, which was full of gelatin, and I have no doubt it was fundamental in aiding my digestive tract to heal and come back into balance.  It was so so soothing to the lining … I could literally feel it healing me.  Aside from my personal experience, you will not be hard-pressed to find many well-known, highly respected doctors, authors, etc singing the praises of the wonderful benefits that bone broths have on digestive health.  One of my favorites is Dr. Natasha Campbell, author of GAPS.
  • Better sleep:  Ingestion of glycine before bed has been shown to improve the quality of night time sleep.

HOW:

  • Roasting bone-in meat such as chicken, lamb, or one of my new personal favorites, oxtail.
  • Bone broths.  After roasting, you can chose to throw the bones and gelatin into your slow cooker with some water, and simmer on low for up to 12 hours.  This will help to extract even more of the vitamins and minerals within the bones and give you a tasty way to ingest the gelatin.
  • Powder form.  Add a grass-fed powdered gelatin to an array of foods to get your daily dose.  My favorite way of the moment is to make these super easy gummies, or by simply adding it to a warm water at night or a smoothie in the morning. But there are loads of other ways to eat it, just google ’til your heart’s content!  ***If adding to a hot drink, you first need to dissolve it in a bit of cold water, and then once dissolved you can add the hot water.  ***Also, 1 Tbsp of powder is good for about 1 pint of liquid.
  • *** There is an opinion that it is best to ingest gelatin on an empty stomach, either 30 minutes before consumption of food or 2 hours after.  Dr. David G Young, a naturopath from Oregon, believes that if it’s taken with food, it will only be used for energy/calories, but if it’s taken on an empty stomach it will actually be reversed back into collagen, giving us the benefits we are looking for.  This is something worth considering.

Some of the Best 17 Minutes on YouTube: Healed From MS Through Diet

This video is so so inspiring to me.

Dr Terry Wahls was at one time bound to a wheelchair because of her long battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  After years of no success or improvement with some of the best medical treatments around, she took her health into her own hands, educated herself on nutrition, made radical diet changes, and in 3 months was walking.

Please watch this video and share it with your friends!

Crustless Cupcake Quiche by Bobsy

photoFood really is the way to a man’s heart (or maybe it was just the bacon).  I think my husband fell in love with me all over again after eating these.

Thanks to my great friend Bobsy for the recipe.  Super simple with many possible variations and a sure hit for guests.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 Tbsp butter or ghee
3 rashers of farm-raised bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 cup of: milk or yogurt or cream and yogurt mixed together (I chose 1 cup of yogurt and was really pleased)
3 eggs
1/2 cup of your favorite cheese

WHAT YOU’LL DO:

  • Pan fry bacon and onion (or any two foods of your choice) in the butter or ghee until onion is soft
  • Remove from heat and let cool
  • Add dairy, mix
  • Beat eggs in separate bowl, add and mix
  • Add cheese, mix
  • You can add some salt and pepper if you’d like, but I didn’t because of the bacon.  It would have been too much.
  • Preheat oven to 200 C
  • Pour mixture into silicone muffin tray
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until quiche is golden brown
  • Makes 8-10 quiche cupcakes, depending on the size of tray mold

Pasteurized vs. Raw Milk: Some interesting things to consider

cowPasteurization.  What is it and why do we do it?  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) describes pasteurization as “a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time”.  More specifically, the milk is heated to a temperature between 145 and 150 degrees F for no less than half an hour and then is reduced to nothing lower than 55 degrees F.  Of course the FDA sees this as a positive and necessary process, one that must be carried out in order to ensure the safety of the consumer and that, without it, milk would be a very dangerous product.  The FDA and other proponents of pasteurization argue that its more important to consider the possible harmful pathogens that could make us sick than to consider the milk.  The risk of disease, like tuberculosis, diphtheria, e-coli and salmonella is far too great, while keeping the milk houses and udders of the cows clean enough to avoid contamination is far too impossible.  The FDA also claims that there are absolutely no nutritional differences between raw and pasteurized milk, and that this has been scientifically proven.  But instead of backing up their statements with examples or studies, they only shared the opinions of other organizations that agree with them, like the AMA or CDC.  So the FDA and most of the other government-run agencies, in America and abroad, are the main proponents of pasteurization.  They believe it’s necessary in order to protect consumers, does not cause any harmful side effects like allergies or lactose intolerance, does not reduce it’s nutritional value, and that it actually saves lives.

What I believe the proponents of pasteurization are missing in their argument is the full picture.  Maybe they’re telling some truth, but they’re not telling the whole truth.  And the ignorant consumer could be suffering because of it.

I think one of the biggest pieces of misinformation from their story is the discussion about big-business dairy farms versus privately-owned, locally-produced dairy farms.  The argument is that unpasteurized milk is too dangerous to drink … well of course it is if you’re confining the animals in awful conditions and forcing them to eat foods unnatural to their diet.  How can you produce a healthy product from an unhealthy environment?  Sally Fallon-Morell, a highly respected proponent of raw milk, participated in a raw milk debate last year at Harvard Food Law Society and said that she also does not believe raw milk is a good idea when sourcing it from the big-business dairies.  There is no way to successfully produce it in these conditions, especially from cows that are confined and not eating the green grass that nature intended.  It’s this green grass that gives raw milk such high vitamin and mineral content.  Instead, though their unnatural soybean diet produces more milk and costs less for the farmer, it also contributes to the degradation of the animal, creating problems like mastitis, sterility, liver problems, and ultimately compromising the quality of the milk.

Another half truth told by the FDA is that pasteurized milk doesn’t cause allergies or intolerances.  They make this claim by concluding that the allergy-stimulating proteins are found in both pasteurized and raw milk, and therefore, if you’re allergic or intolerant to one, you’ll be allergic or intolerant to the other.  But it’s what happens to the proteins, essential amino acids and enzymes during pasteurization that makes the difference.  The proteins actually get warped, making them look like invaders to our immune system, causing our bodies to mount an attack in the form of an allergic reaction.  So even though the protein is still present like the FDA tells us, it’s been damaged and can create harmful reactions.  And all of the enzymes, such as lipase and lactase, are also destroyed during this process.  It’s these live enzymes that enable our bodies to assimilate the nutrients and digest it properly and with ease.  Without the lactase enzyme, many people are unable to digest lactose, the sugar molecules in milk.  And if one can’t digest it, an intolerance develops.

The FDA’s entire reason for pasteurizing milk is to protect the consumer from harmful pathogens.  However, those on the other side of the fence believe that unadulterated milk is capable of accomplishing this all on it’s own.  They contend that the naturally occurring, beneficial bacteria keep the bad ones (if they occur) in check.  This good bacteria proliferates in our guts and keeps the pathogens at bay.  Amazing how smart nature can be!  In addition, the enzyme called lactoferrin has been approved by the FDA as an effective pathogen-killer in beef slaughter houses.  This exact same enzyme is found in raw milk, along with other pathogen killers like xanthine oxidase, lactoperoxidase and lysozyme.  But you guessed it, pasteurization completely destroys these elements.  I found a compelling example that could support this claim.  Mark McAfee, the CEO and founder of Organic Pastures and Dairy Company, reported that during the span of four years (2000-2004) “there were several listeria-related food recalls in California associated with pasteurized milk products and ice cream”.  Interestingly enough, during this same time period, over 12 million servings of dairy products were produced by his company and not one case of any pathogenic problem was reported.  Nor did any inspection carried out by the FDA or his company find any contamination (McAfee, 2004).  Why is this?  Maybe, just maybe, it was the available enzymes and good bacteria that kept his customers healthy and safe.

The FDA also claims that the nutritional value of raw milk is not degraded in any way once it’s been pasteurized.  Just in a quick google search, I was able to find countless accounts and studies to support the superiority of raw milk.  And here are just a few:

  • One rat was given pasteurized milk and one raw.  Though there were the same amounts of B6 in both milks, the one who drank the pasteurized kind developed hairless patches due to a Vitamin B6 deficiency, meaning only the rat who drank the raw kind could utilize it properly.  Also the unpasteurized milk rats had shorter, less dense bones showing a calcium deficiency.  And they were more irritable and biting.

  • 4 studies done in Germany showed that raw milk protected against asthma and allergies, which coincides with the many parents that have contacted The Weston Price Foundation over the years to say the same thing regarding their children.

  • Though the FDA likes to proclaim that pasteurization saves lives, not a single death has occurred because of raw milk since the 1980’s.  Simultaneously, the CDC reported a total of over 3,000 foodborne deaths in 2011.  So if raw milk isn’t contributing to these numbers, I would have to ask: What is causing these food-related deaths and are these foods being as tightly controlled as raw milk is?

I completely understand that the production of quality milk can be a tricky business, especially when our populations are continuing to grow and we’re needing more and more of it.  Even still, I think the answer lies in the local farmer.  We must ask ourselves: How were we managing milk production before pasteurization and big-business farming?  We’ve been living life a lot longer with raw milk rather than without it, and I think quite successfully to boot.  Let’s get back to that time.  Let’s get back to pastured, happy cows and small-scale, local-producing farms.

References

1.  Center For Disease Control. (June 21, 2013). CDC estimates of foodborne illnesses in the United States. Retrieved (July 8, 2013) from www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimate.

2.  Fallon, Sally & Enig, Mary Ph. D. (2001). Nourishing traditions: The cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Washington D.C.: New Trends Publishing, Inc.

3.  Gumpert, David, Kassenborg, Heidi, Fallon-Morell, Sally & Pritzker, Fred. (February 16, 2012). Harvard Food Law Society raw milk debate. Retrieved (June 8, 2013) from www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLRdihFi6gw.

4.  McAfee, Mark. (2004, modified 2013). The safety of raw milk. Retrieved (July 13, 2013) from http://www.realmilk.com/safety/safety-of-raw-milk/.

5.  Shanahan, Catherine MD & Shanahan, Luke. (2009). Deep nutrition: Why your genes need traditional food. Lawai, HI: Big Box Books.

6. US Food & Drug Administration. (June 17, 2013). The dangers of raw milk: Unpasteurized milk can pose a serious health risk. Retrieved (July 10, 2013) from www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/consumers/ucm079516.

Glorious Ghee: What, Why & How

purity-farmsHealth and wellness is a never-ending evolution.  A continual blossoming effect.  I am just having so much fun learning all this newness.

My latest discovery?  GHEE!  My attention was brought to this ancient product because it can withstand high heat without breaking down or degrading as other oils do.  Although coconut oil has been a great option to cook with (because it too can withstand high heat), sometimes you just don’t want that coconut taste.  But ghee ticks all the boxes.

An important thing to remember when looking for a good ghee product:  Make sure the cows are “pastured”, meaning that they eat GRASS and not grain.  One of the main reasons ghee is so good for us is because of all the green grass the cows have grazed on.  Don’t think this can be sidestepped or ignored.  It is the natural way and a very important detail.

WHAT

  • Boiled butter that turns into pure fat after the milk solids have been skimmed off the top.
  • Also known as clarified butter.
  • Casein-free.
  • Lactose-free.

WHY

  • Tastes so good.
  • Anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties.
  • A great source of saturated fat/cholesterol/MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides).  We need this stuff!  Saturated fat is very important for our nervous system and cholesterol is the base for all hormone production.  We will seriously break down without healthy fat in our diet.
  • A great source of fat-soluable vitamins: A, D, E, K.
  • One of the best sources of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).  See here for CLA benefits.
  • Support brain function/memory.
  • Digestive aid.
  • Lubricates our joints and connective tissue.
  • First aid ointment.
  • A great lotion.
  • Has a really long shelf life; will not go rancid easily.

HOW

  • Check out the below video of my great friend Monica Yearwood explaining the process of making ghee at home.  She is an ayurvedic practitioner and owner of Hamsa Ayurveda and Yoga in Chicago IL!

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