Recently, I have been asked to share some recipes for those on a liquid diet. What immediately came to mind was the food served that is served in the hospital, when the doctor insist on nothing but Ensure, juice and wiggly, bright colored jello. What often surprises me is, though suffering from a serious disorder of the digestive system, in times of crisis we are often given "foods" that aren't even real and could possibly worsen symptoms. The main ingredients found in jello are: gelatin, water, sugar, artificial flavors and food coloring. Is that really what someone in serious need of nourishment should be consuming? Hmmm...that is a topic that could be debated for hours so lets move on to the good stuff.
Last week my dear friend brought over a container of Great Lakes Gelatin, a great source of high quality, unflavored gelatin. This led me to experimenting with a recipe from a book many of my friends use, Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo. While it mainly has dishes that are higher in protein and fat (though very fascinating information about the digestive system), I did recall seeing a herbal tea-infused recipe using gelatin. If you are familiar with some of my posts, I'm a big fan of homemade mineral-rich bone broth. If prepared over many hours, once cooled it often leaves a jello-like stock. There is a reason chicken soup is often used for illness, though over the years it has become a more convenient food store-bought food without all of the healing properties a long simmer can provide.
Gelatin has been long known for it's many, many benefits, especially when it comes to joints and digestive health. There is a lot of information out there on specific details and uses. The two links below I found both interesting and informative.
Benefits and 12 unusual (but fantastic!) uses
Research and scientific background
Here is a simple and nourishing recipe for homemade jello. Feel free to get creative with some of the ideas below!
1 3/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons or 2 bags of your favorite tea (i.e. ginger, chamomile, chai, fruity teas)
1/4 cup cold water
1-2 tablespoons gelatin (Great Lakes or 1 package of Knox)
1 tablespoon of honey or other natural sweetener (optional)
Steep tea in boiling water as directed. Mix gelatin with cold water in a large jar until dissolved and allow to set for a minute. Strain tea, add honey if desired. Pour over gelatin mixture then into an 8 x 8 glass dish. Allow to set in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Cut into cubes and enjoy!
For a sweet treat with more calories:
- Use 1 cup boiling water mixed and add 3/4 cup lite coconut milk, tasty with ginger and chai teas.
- Replace tea water with your favorite juice such as apple (unless avoiding FODMAPs), pineapple or white grape.
- If you own a juicer, your use your own fresh pressed juice!
- Substitute water with coconut water blended with 1/2 banana*
*Note - some fresh fruits blended have enzymes that actually destroys the jello consistency. I figured this out the hard way when using papaya and getting a gritty texture, so don't try that at home! Others include pineapple, kiwi, figs, mango, guava, and ginger root.
Have fun and be creative. If you come up with a recipe of your own share with us by leaving a comment below.