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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Answer to Unemployment, Global Warming and Dull Hair

Protein shakes are a staple in my diet. I really tire of actually eating protein so being able to gulp down a small shake loaded with protein goodness is my alternative. And when you are looking at getting 100 or more grams of protein per day in your diet, you might need a little smoothie help.
I’ve gone from just grabbing the cheapest shake mix, to grabbing the more “natural” mix with less sugar and crazy ingredients. But still, have you recently looked at the ingredient list on a container of protein mix? It’s crazy long. Why is that? And is it the best thing to consume all those altered ingredients on a very regular basis? I don’t like it for myself. I try to keep things as whole and natural as I can without moving to crunchy town but I keep inching closer and closer to that zip code. 

Recently I ran across a recipe for a home-made protein shake from Primally Inspired. It sounded very interesting so I thought I would give it a try. It basically took the bulk of its protein from gelatin. Yeah, like “see it jiggle, watch it wiggle…” kind of stuff. Except this gelatin was the unsweetened unflavored version. There were around 5 or 6 ingredients in this shake and I could pronounce every ingredient and I even had them all in my kitchen with the exception of the gelatin. You can get the recipe here

So gelatin it turns out cures everything(insert mild sarcasm)! From bad hair and nails, to insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. One source even cited improved stroke recovery from the glycine found in gelatin.
Gelatin is packed with amino acids, such as Arginine and Glycine. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition refers to Arginine “as one of the most metabolically versatile amino acids. “ Another study showed Glycine as a vital actor in wound healing.  If you want more detailed scientific information, a very thorough article can be found here on the Weston A. Price Foundation site. One article referred to hospitals back 100 years ago feeding gelatin to patients as a medical supplement to ease digestion. It’s my guess that is why we still see lots of jello and broth served in hospitals today, part tradition, part ease of digestion.

You know I don’t want to get too technical with all of this because that is not my forte. But when you think about a protein source that can give you 6 grams of protein per tablespoon with zero carbs and 25 calories versus popular protein powders with many more calories and ten plus ingredients of chemically manipulated stuff, well my decision gets pretty easy. I like to keep my food as whole as possible and well Gelatin is now my protein drink of choice. 

Here is a little recipe I put together. Primally Inspired’s recipe was good, but not a flavor I want to drink every day.  And if you wanted to get real crazy, which I do, add a handful of spinach leaves to the recipe below.

Choco-Berry Protein Smoothie
Handful of frozen blackberries
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup water
2 TBLS. Gelatin
1 tsp. raw Honey
1 TBLS. Cocoa Powder
Little pinch of salt
I dump everything in a large cup and use a stick blender to thoroughly blend smooth. You may need to add a little more water or honey depending on your tastes.
This comes out to around 250 calories, 18 g. of protein. Lots of carbs from the honey but that is at least a good healthy source of sweetness, not to mention the benefits of raw honey. You could omit the honey or half it and use stevia to sweeten it further.

The gelatin I used I ordered off of Amazon. It was Great Lakes Gelatin. It is a grass fed hormone free source. The container has 62 servings and was $20. That is cheaper than the last container of protein mix I bought. 
I am not saying I will never consume store bought mix again because I would be lying. If I’m traveling or out and about, you better believe I will pack the store bought stuff. But when I’m at home and have access to a kitchen, I will make my shakes.
Will gelatin solve all our problems and make you popular? Doubtful. However the price isn’t bad and its versatility of use is a bonus. As with anything, I like to keep an open mind and try the natural approach as much as possible and if I benefit in the process, well then goody for me!

Ray PEAT, Gelatin, stress, longevity -
Arginine: beyond protein 1–4 by Sidney M Morris Jr.  Am J Clin Nutr February 2006 vol. 83 no. 2 508S-512S
Minuskin,M et al. 1981, Nitrogen retention, muscle creatine and orotic acid excretion in traumatized rats fed arginine and glycine enriched diets, Journal of Nutrition, 1981, III, 7, 1265-1274.

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