(This post was originally published here.) I love to tell clients that one of my best beauty secrets is gelatin! For a lot of people, this is unthinkable. They don’t know that gelatin doesn’t have to be the junk food it was when my grandma (bless her cotton socks) was molding that day-glo stuff in a box into wiggly, jiggly shape for every holiday of the year.
(This reminds me- every year she made a delicious and no doubt highly traditional green St. Patrick’s Day cake out of boxed yellow cake, boxed pistachio pudding and green food coloring. It sure wasn’t anything approaching real food, but the memory of it makes me smile every time I prepare a delicious and healthy St. Paddy’s feast with my own family.)
Last year I read and loved Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan.
Known on her web site as Dr. Cate, Shanahan writes with her partner, a chef, about the healing benefits of real, traditional foods. I’m a real food research junkie so the information presented in the book wasn’t very new. In fact, I was put off by the otherwise very enjoyable text because the writers clearly drew so heavily from the work of the amazing Weston A. Price Foundation but they say that their inspiration came from reading Dr. Andrew Weil – a lovely person, I’m sure, but his nutritional advices are usually far too soy-heavy and low-fat to be truly healthy. In any case, I won’t be offended if the WAPF isn’t, and Deep Nutrition is engaging and easy to read so I recommend it to my skincare clients all the time.
What makes Deep Nutrition particularly interesting is its focus on beauty as a manifestation of health. Dr. Price did so too, in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. But Dr. Cate’s book is more of the how-to book to Dr. Price’s drier anthropological work. When I reread it recently, I was hot to go and rediscovered my love of making gelatin molds to add a sweetish and snacky alternative to my usual gallons of bone broth.
The incredible Cheeseslave has a terrific recipe here that includes freshly-juiced fruit to get a really nutritious gelatin. I’ll bet it tastes divine but I’m not that committed. To reduce the sugar content, I use one part water to three parts organic unsweetened fruit juice and I follow a tootsed-up recipe I devised yonks ago off the back of the Knox box. I don’t buy Knox, though. I boycott Kraft, its icky industrial food parent company, and I get Great Lakes brand gelatin online because it comes from healthy cows that are pasture-raised.
I like my gel-o really firm so my gelatin content is high. Here’s how I do it:
Put one cup of cold filtered water in a bowl and sprinkle with 5-6 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin.
Stir gelatin into juice until it is dissolved.
Boil 3 cups of juice.
Add boiling juice to the water-gelatin mixture.
Stir together and pour into a your mold or baking pan that has been laid with a shallow layer of the frozen organic fruit of your choice.
(I use a silicone bundt cake mold that I got as a wedding gift and it is perfect for this recipe. Next week- ask me about Punch Bowl Kombucha!)
Let it set in your refrigerator overnight and by morning you will have a very firm, very delicious treat that is relatively low in sugar, very high in protein, and full of the collagen we need for healthy hair, skin and nails – or, as we say in our house: healthy claws and a shiny coat.
Kirsten Quint Fairbanks is health coach and holistic lifestyle expert who lives happily, works gratefully, home-schools secularly, dances inexpertly, cooks traditionally, and nurses on demand in the San Francisco Bay Area. She offers real-world healthy lifestyle coaching for busy women who want vibrant health, beautiful babies, thriving families, and more fun in their lives. She also offers holistic skincare consultation for anyone who is tired of the beauty hype and is ready to have healthy, glowing skin. She works online and in-person. Read more about her here.