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This last week my son, Silas, came down with a stomach virus. When I got a stomach virus as a kid, I always remember my mom breaking out the boxes of Jell-O with fruit, some Campbell's chicken noodle soup, and ginger ale. Those staples always helped me to feel better and I wanted to pass that tradition down, but in a much healthier manner. It's not my mom's fault, we just didn't know these things at that time.
After scouring the grocery isles and looking at the ingredients on the back of the Jell-O boxes, I decided I was going to have to make my own jello instead of purchasing the commercial jello at the grocery
Do you know what's in YOUR Jell-O?
Commercial gelatin has been a staple “sick food” in my home since I can remember. I don't think that my mom would have given us the Jell-O if she knew what the ingredients actually were. If you look at the back of a package of Jell-O, you will find:
INGREDIENTS: GELATIN, ADIPIC ACID (FOR TARTNESS), DISODIUM PHOSPHATE (CONTROLS ACIDITY), MALTODEXTRIN (FROM CORN), FUMARIC ACID (FOR TARTNESS), ASPARTAME (SWEETENER), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (SWEETENER), SALT, BLUE 1, RED 40
**PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE
Highlighted above you will see ingredients that are known to be carcinogens, exacerbate ADHD, and cause allergic reactions for some people. Not only does it contain corn syrup but also TWO forms of Aspartame (a known carcinogen that has been known to cause cancer, weight gain, migraines, ADHD, stomach ulcers, and more.) It is also worrisome not knowing the source of the gelatin. It is likely the gelatin is not from organic grass-fed beef, rather its source is from cows that have been given hormones and antibiotics.
Gelatin is jam packed with gut-healing nutrients
Gelatin, a great natural source of dietary collagen, is mostly made up of amino acids, glycine, and proline. Found in bones, fibrous tissues, and organs of animals, most people do not get enough of these amino acids. Gelatin consumption has been known to aid in
- skin, hair and nail growth
- tightens loose skin
- can help improve digestion by helping foods move more easily through the digestive tract
- gelatin can help improve gut integrity and digestive strength which in turn helps to heal your gut and helps those with food intolerance, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune diseases
- can help reduce cellulite
- Gelatin helps to protect your joints and reduce joint pain, including arthritis and other inflammatory joint or bone diseases
- Gelatin can help you sleep better. One study found that 3 grams of glycine (found in gelatin) eaten before bed, “produced measurable improvements in sleep quality."
Agar Agar, the healthy vegan alternative to gelatin
You do not need to eat gelatin to get all of the wonderful benefits. The seaweed vegan/vegetarian alternative to gelatin is Agar agar, also known as kanten. Jam packed with vitamins and nutrients, this fat-free gelatin alternative has been used for hundreds of years in Asian cooking. There are just as many healing benefits with Agar as there is with gelatin, making it a great substitution for healthy homemade jello.
- A great source of calcium, iron, and fiber, Agar is a known “fat blocking” weight loss supplement. It aids in weight loss because agar's indigestible fiber absorbs and retains water, giving a full feeling.
- Soothing to the digestive tract, Agar is very helpful with digestive disorders such as IBS, Crohn's disease, and other inflammatory conditions.
- Eating Agar has been known to aid in lowering cholesterol levels as well as helps to prevent dangerous rises in blood pressure.
- A natural laxative, Agar is helpful in relieving constipation
- Agar has been known to control blood sugar, helping aid those with Type 2 Diabetes manage their levels
Hippy Homemade Jello
I got the idea to make this recipe from Wellness Mama's Healthy Homemade Jello and added my own twist, PLUS I added a Vegan/Vegetarian alternative! Both jellos are really tasty! I have made both options and my kiddo ate both like they were the best snack I had given him!
- 1 ½ cups organic juice or fresh pressed juice
- ¼ cup cold filtered water
- ¼ cup hot filtered water
- 1 Tbsp. Grass fed gelatin (or 1 Tbsp. Agar agar flakes OR 1 tsp. Agar agar powder)
- 1-2 cups fresh fruit, sliced
- 1-2 Tbsp. Raw unfiltered honey (optional – I usually sweeten this when I use lemon juice or some other tart type of juice.)
Combine the ¼ cup cool water and gelatin in a bowl, whisking until dissolved.
Add to the gelatin mixture, ¼ cup hot water and whisk until combined.
Mix the juice and honey (if using) into the gelatin mixture.
In an 8x8 casserole dish, place your fruit slices accordingly. Pour the gelatin mixture over the fruit and put in the fridge until set, up to 2 hours.
AGAR AGAR DIRECTIONS
In a saucepan combine juice, ½ cup water (you don't need the hot/cold water with agar agar), and agar agar.
Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Be sure to mix agar agar in until completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and mix in the honey (if using)
In an 8x8 casserole dish, place your fruit slices accordingly. Pour agar agar mixture over fruit and put into the fridge until set up, up to 4 hours.
Note about fruit additions – Certain fruits contain enzymes that prevent both gelatin and Agar agar from gelling up. These fruits merely need to be heated or cooked first, before adding to gelatin mixture. If these fruits came canned, they were already heated and will not cause any issues with the gelatin process. Some of these fruits to avoid raw are: