Gelatin Helps Calm Inflammation

Last week I woke up with pain in my right foot. On a scale from 0-10 it was a 9 and I had difficulty walking without crutches. What’s so odd is that I did not do anything  I could recall that would have caused it…I simply woke up with horrendous pain. By the next day I had pain running up my shin and knee. Clearly I had some inflammation going on…I diagnosed it as an inflamed nerve.

But deep down I know it was what I call a “mini autoimmune attack.”  Hashimoto’s, celiac, and pernicious anemia have ways of throwing curve balls at you especially when all else is going okay.

Inflammation is a natural response to injury, pain, illness, or stress. The truth is the pain, swelling, redness and warmth we feel at the site of an injury or illness is there to help us heal.
Basically, this is how it works. Blood flow increases at the injury which warms the site, making it red and swollen. This is a good thing because blood carries plasma and white blood cells to the site. The blood vessels become more permeable (leaky) which allows plasma and white blood cells to flow through the vessel walls and into the injured tissue to facilitate the healing process. Specialized white blood cells work to clean up the injury site, mopping up pathogens and overseeing the inflammatory response. This process is fantastic for acute inflammation due to an accidental cut or bruise, etc. It’s not so pleasant, however, when inflammation becomes chronic (long term).

Back to my mystery foot pain. Although I have systemic inflammation throughout my body due to autoimmune disease (which is very well managed), I also have a structural issue known as “sway-back.” The medical term is Lordosis. It’s a sway of the lower lumbar spine. For people like me who have this, sitting at a desk for long periods of time can aggravate nerves in the lower extremities and feet. Ooops…I’m guilty of spending way too many hours at my desk lately. This is my body’s way of saying “we’re not happy with what you’re doing so to get your attention, we’ll generate some inflammation in your foot.” Maybe this is not exactly the case…but you get the picture.

So, when I realized what was really going on, I modified my diet and opted to eat only smoothies and soups. I also wanted to bring in some high-powered healing agents, e.g. gelatin, so I used bone broth bone broth in my soups and added gelatin to my teas and smoothies. With this particular batch of bone broth I also added lots of fresh ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties (This idea I got from a chef in San Diego who owns Good Eggs). Gelatin contains the concentrated healing power of bone broth, which reduces inflammation in our gut and throughout our body.

After approximately three days, while not completely healed, my foot was much better and I was able to walk around with a lot less discomfort. I stayed on the limited diet for 3 more days until I was completely healed. Since I was getting a little bored I made a delicious Dark Chocolate Gelatin Pudding.

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