Tag Archives | hormones

Make your own gummy candy

Sour Gummy Candies

In the last few weeks I’ve become obsessed.

Obsessed with gelatin.

Yes, it might seem weird. Ok, it IS weird. But, I’m completely fascinated by the stuff.

Gelatin is magical. It’s liquid when warm, solid and gelatinous when cool. Amazing!

Think about it. Cooking bones for a length of time gives us the the most deeply nourishing food – broth.

When done correctly the broth will thicken and become gelatinous when it cools.

Like I said…it’s magical!

If you’ve never made stock I’m sure you’re familiar with gelatin in the form of the shivering colored dessert you enjoyed as a kid. I will never forget the green and pink desserts I had to scoop into plastic containers while working at a grocery store deli in college. Ick!

Today, I’m going to introduce you to a different kind of gelatin. One that has been used in traditional cooking for centuries contains critical nutrients for our health AND can be made into your favorite childhood dessert – a clean food version that is.

What is gelatin?

Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, flavorless solid substance derived from the collagen found in animal bones. It is a great source of amino acids, which support healthy skin, strong bones, proper muscle synthesis and balanced mood.

What are the benefits of gelatin?

Slowly cooked bone broth is also an excellent source of gelatin, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. However, you may not have the time or inclination to simmer bones on your stovetop all day. This is where a gelatin powder can be an great substitute – if it is a variety that has been produced from healthy animals. I like this brand.

At 6 grams per tablespoon, gelatin is a great source of easily absorbable protein. This helps promote growth and wound healing in the body. It also contains collagen and amino acids. Of particular interest is the amino acid lysine since it is utilized in muscle building and calcium absorption – two essential components of building strength in and around our bones.

Gelatin can be especially supportive for people suffering from inflammatory joint or bone diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis can potentially help manage inflammation and pain in the joints.

A compromised gut and digestive system can exacerbate inflammation and autoimmune conditions, many of which are connected to joint health such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Gelatin has been shown to enhance gut integrity and digestive strength by improving digestion and restoring the mucosal lining in the stomach.

How do I incorporate gelatin?

Gelatin can be stirred into warm water and taken as a drink on an empty stomach.

However, it can also be used in a variety of different recipes (a much yummier way of consuming it). To steer clear of food colorings, processed sugar and other additives gelatin can be heated with a juice or other liquid, sweetener and flavorings to create homemade jello or gummy candies. You can even make your own marshmallows!

Gelatin is an all-around nourishing food that supports joint and digestive health as well as liver health, hormone balance, hair, teeth nails and many other body systems. Certainly a food to start stocking in your pantry today!

A quick Google search for “homemade gelatin gummies” or “homemade chewable vitamins” will yield a long list of recipes to choose from.

The recipe below is the simplest one I’ve found and a great way to get started. You can use different types of juices (think blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate etc), add your favorite essential oils (make sure they’re safe for consumption), and even experiment with some spices. I used ground turmeric and a few drops of ginger essential oil to create an anti-inflammatory version. You can leave these out for your first go around if you want.

The possibilities are endless! I literally spent several hours on Saturday making a variety of different concoctions, using different sweeteners, juices and spices. My fridge is stocked and we’re enjoying gummy candies after dinner….just like 1989 🙂

Gummy CandiesHomemade Sour Gummy Candies with Turmeric and Ginger

Ingredients

2 tablespoons gelatin (I used this brand)
1/3 lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or xylitol
2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2-3 drops ginger essential oil

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan whisk together the gelatin into the lemon or lime juice and add your sweetener of choice. The juice should be cool. Warm liquid will cause the gelatin to get lumpy. It will be a thick consistency when you first start to add the gelatin.
  2. Heat the juice and gelatin over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the gelatin melts and everything is nice and liquidy (yes, that’s a technical term). Stir in the turmeric and ginger essential oil, if using.
  3. Taste your gelatin liquid and add more sweetener if needed.
  4. Carefully pour your gelatin liquid into small silicone molds, ice cube trays, or a glass baking dish. If you use the glass baking dish you can cut your gummy’s into whatever size you want.
  5. Place your liquid gummy candies in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once they become firm in the freezer they will keep their form.
  6. Remove the gummy’s from the freezer and remove from their mold. Store your gummy’s in a jar or other glass container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for about 7 days….if they last that long!

Recipe adapted from MommyPotamus

Note: In the above pictures I played around with different mixes of juices and sweeteners. Get an organic juice that is NOT from concentrate to ensure you’re getting the best quality. Read the ingredients so you can steer clear of juice with added sugars and other weird ingredients.

Tell me, what is your favorite gummy candy or flavor as a kid? How can we recreate that into a healthy, nourishing treat?

Comments { 6 } · Posted on April 7, 2015 in General, Healthy Recipes

Want strong bones? Don’t drink milk.

For as long as we can remember we’ve been brainwashed to believe that milk is essential to strong bones. Kids must have a glass of milk with dinner to grow strong bones and women should eat plenty of yogurt to prevent osteoporosis (often the fruit on the bottom variety with loads of sugar of course….I’ll get back to that in a moment). It’s time to re-think this approach.

Calcium is certainly important to bone health. It is also important for muscle contractions, nerve function, hormone production and blood clotting. Just as a soccer team has 11 players on the field to help each other score a goal – calcium needs other minerals on its team to help it function properly. Some of its team mates are vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and phosphorous to name a few. Without them we can experience calcium imbalances, deficiencies and excess – it’s all about balance baby!

During my cleanse program we remove dairy for 14 days and it is something I sometimes suggest to my 1:1 clients as well for various health reasons. The first question that comes up is “where am I going to get my calcium???”

Instead, ask yourself this…..where do large animals like deer, cows and elephants get their calcium?

That’s right! From eating the foods they are naturally meant to eat like leaves, grass and other vegetable sources. They aren’t drinking the milk from another animal like humans do. We are the only mammal that does this.

As babies we produce an enzyme called lactase in order to process lactose (the milk protein) in breast milk. As we get older lactase production decreases because we can start eating real food and no longer need breast milk to provide all of our vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. When you experience gas, bloating, diarrhea and other icky tummy troubles after eating dairy, chances are you are low in lactase. To get your calcium in a natural form that is easy to assimilate, focus on some of these non-dairy sources.

  • Beans and nuts
  • Greens, especially broccoli, collards, kale, mustard, turnip tops, parsley, watercress and dandelion
  • Sea vegetables
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Canned salmon and sardines with bones (I recommend Wild Planet brand)
  • Soup stock made with bones (fish, chicken or beef) and one tablespoon of vinegar (this helps draw the calcium and makes it available in the broth)

Here’s an interesting little factoid….3 1/2 ounces of kale (boiled and drained) contains calcium 187 milligrams of calcium compared to 118 milligrams than the same amount of milk.

3/12 ounces of sesame seeds contain 1,160 milligrams of calcium. Wowza! Not only do these foods have loads of calcium but that also have calciums teammates – magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and phosphorous all in one nice little package. It’s like a huge buy one, get one sale!

Let’s talk about osteoporosis for a second, since that is the HOT topic that arises when we talk about milk and calcium. AnneMarie Colbin, author of Food and Healing says this:

Instead of seeing osteoporosis as a condition of lack, let’s consider it as a condition of drain. In other words, the question will be not “What is the way to add more calcium to the system?” but rather, “What is draining or keeping calcium away?”

Remember the fruit on the bottom yogurt I mentioned in the beginning? If you have one of those in your fridge get it out right now and look that sugar content. I’m going to guess it has anywhere from 25-30 grams of sugar and one of the ingredients is cane sugar or something similar (plain yogurt usually contains somewhere around 12 grams – this is the lactose, i.e. milk sugar). Sugar increases the rate at which calcium is excreted from your bones. So, while you’re eating your strawberry yogurt in the morning in the hopes of giving our bones some calcium, the sugar is cruising on in there and sucking the calcium from your bones before the calcium can get in there. Pretty counterproductive, don’t you think?

Some other foods that can compromise calcium are nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers), wine, coffee, vinegar and citrus. This is not to say you should take all of these foods out of your diet – but perhaps you should address that coffee addiction or wine with dinner habit?

Still doing dairy? Here’s what to do.

-hormones

So we can all agree that there are loads of other places to get calcium, like nuts, seeds and leafy greens (I see a kale salad in your future!) and you need to ditch that fruity yogurt. But, what if you still want to eat dairy? Great question!

First, if you are having any GI troubles, skin irritations (acne, rashes etc) or have icky plegm in your throat (clearing your throat or blowing your nose) then I highly recommend taking all dairy out. Try it for a week and see what happens.

If dairy is still on your grocery list, follow these four steps:

  • Organic: Toxins like to hang out in fat tissue. When cows eat grasses that have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, those toxins gather in their body fat and the fat in the dairy they produce. We end up eating those toxins when we eat a steak or drink a glass of milk. Ick!
  • No Hormones: This often falls under the organic label but read carefully and research the company you’re buying from. Cows now produce nearly twice as much milk than they did 50 years ago. How is this possible? They are being loaded up on growth hormones (rBST) which we end up consuming. This has been linked to early puberty in girls and increase prostate cancer in men. Double ick!
  • Fermented: Fermented dairy is more easily digestible. Look for plain yogurts without the added sugar and sweeten them with honey, maple syrup and fresh berries. Kefir is also a fermented dairy beverage available at some farmers markets and natural food stores.
  • Raw: If you have access to raw dairy products that can be an excellent choice. Raw, unpasteurized dairy still has many important vitamins and minerals that are depleted during the pasteurization process, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. Be sure you are getting raw milk from a clean source you trust.

The Environmental Working Group has a nice guide on eating and choosing dairy. Check it out HERE.

Sources:
Food and Healing by AnneMarie Colbin
The Whole Foods Guide to Strong Bones, AnneMarie Colbin
Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, Meghan Telpner

Comments { 0 } · Posted on April 22, 2014 in General