There’s a quip in the classic cookbook The Joy of Cooking about the tragedy of barbecued meat: the most flavorful parts of the meat fall into the coals. The most nutritionally-useful parts of the Thanksgiving turkey are the skin, gravy, and the soup made from the leftover carcass.
In the health readings, Edgar Cayce allowed for a full omnivore diet, with the caveat that meats should be balanced with plenty of vegetables with the alkaline minerals (Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium and Sodium). Consuming alkaline-reacting foods provides balance to the acid-reacting nature of proteins containing phosphorous and sulfur.
Something that I haven’t seen much coverage of are Cayce’s recommendations of foods rich in anti-stress amino acids, rather than the excitatory amino acids. Many of the more useful amino acids in a piece of meat are released in the juices, which is why Cayce recommended cooking in patapar paper and making beef juice. (From my email list archives: Edgar Cayce cooking: alternatives to ‘Patapar Paper’)
Amino acids are nitrogen-containing molecules that are folded together into proteins. Our bodies use proteins as structural materials in our muscles, nerves, bones, organs, as hormones and enzymes, and in a bunch of other roles. If there’s no carbohydrates or fats available to power our cellular machinery, protein can be burned for calories, to keep the body-machine running.
Glycine, while not ‘essential’, is the simplest amino acid, and has a variety of anti-stress properties. Glycine is the highest percentage of gelatin, which is the only protein powder that was recommended in the Cayce health readings. Second in Gelatin’s amino acid content is Proline, which also has anti-excitatory properties. Gelatin is released from the skin and cartilage of chicken, pork, beef, turkey and fish. Glycine supplements are manufactured in the lab with a relatively-simple chemical process. Both manufactured gelatin and synthetic glycine can have contaminates, so I try to get my glycine and gelatin from foods that are naturally rich in these substances.
There are 22 amino acids that are created by life on planet earth. Nine amino acids—histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine— are known as the essential amino acids, as the human body can’t make them for itself. But ‘essential’ amino acids are only especially important for growing bodies. Children need all the amino acids, but adults whose bodies have completed growing don’t need so much of all of the supposedly-essential amino acids. For example, Serotonin is a stress protein, which the body makes from tryptophan. After a body is fully grown, its need for tryptophan is minimal.
Edgar Cayce’s recommendations for chicken consumption advised eating less chicken meat and more of the collagen-containing cartilage. This was my earlier blog post about Cayce’s recommendation for chicken, and how today’s chicken is nothing like the chicken eaten before 1950:
Animal bodies protect themselves from heavy metals by sequestering them in their bones, so I’m not sure that Cayce’s recommendations to consume chicken bones is still good advice. It’s hard for anyone to know if the chicken they’re eating was exposed to lead/chromium/etc, so I don’t think it’s still good generic advice to eat chicken bones. Furthermore, bone marrow is rich in iron but our bodies don’t have a way to excrete excess iron.
I think chicken cartilage is still relatively safe, but I haven’t read much about this consideration. Tough cuts of meat have more collagen than “tender” steaks. Beef ribs, roasts, tendons, ground beef – all have better amino acid profiles than Filet Mignon and other tender cuts used as steak. Chicken and beef soups – made by boiling cartilage at the ends of bones – is a good traditional protein source. Good soups solidify in the refrigerator due to the gelatin content.
Last Thanksgiving I took the carcass home and boiled it in water for 12+ hours to make turkey stock. I used this to make a cream of mushroom soup, which was delicious. Turkey meat has slightly more of the excitatory tryptophan than chicken meat, but the cartilage and skin of both turkey and chicken has less tryptophan than the muscle meat.
Modern Protein Tragedies
While waiting on a flat tire repair, I noticed a container of “plant based” protein powder in the store’s return area. The reason for the return: “tasted like sand”. I thought whoever returned this container of pea and rice protein isolate had good self-preservation instincts:
As this customer found, there’s something not-quite-right about protein supplements that are extracted from seeds in a factory: the amino acid profile is not ideal for human health. While the amount of protein in a serving of peas is minimal, pea protein isolate has vastly more pea-protein than a serving of peas. Furthermore, there are much higher percentage of excitatory amino acids in pea protein than in better forms of protein.
Sometimes the best thing a person can do for themselves is to improve the quality of the protein they consume. Good sources of protein for humans are found in milk, cheese, potatoes, eggs, and gelatin (collagen). Egg yolks are much better foods than egg whites (egg whites are fine to consume when combined with the yolk).
INTERLUDE – Holiday Grounding Coin Sale
I’ve been making a version of Edgar Cayce’s “Coin that Prevents Colds” for the last 12+ years. This year I added the a new 1.5″ diameter version (0.5″ larger than the ‘classic’ coin). The 2023 holiday special is $2/coin off, when purchased 3 at a time.
3 Pack Large 1.5″ Grounding Coins WITH HOLE
Good Source for Gelatin
While gelatin is, theoretically, a good protein source, sometimes people react poorly to gelatin consumption. There is a wide variety of practices in the supply chain that results in the gelatin/collagen power in the container.
My impression is that Great Lakes Gelatin is a reliable source for gelatin and collagen products. I’ve noticed their containers at my local Trader Joe’s and Natural Grocers stores, for example. Costco has “collagen” powder, but their version has probiotics, which I’m not sure are beneficial to everyone.
I recently chatted with the Great Lakes Gelatin company’s representative, to ask where the amino acid profiles had gone on their website. This was their response:
Hello, The exclusion of the beef gelatin amino acid profile stems from the product’s transition from a dietary supplement to a “food” with a nutritional facts panel. We anticipate establishing a dedicated website page containing comprehensive amino acid profiles for our products in the near future. As certain details will be replaced with QR codes on the label to accommodate limited space, this approach aims to provide accessible information.
To further explain, as part of our ongoing label review process, we strive to provide our customers with accurate and reliable information about our products. The adjustment made to our amino acid profile is a result of our dedication to communicating the best available data.
Given the natural characteristics of our product, there may be slight variations between batches, and each amino acid falls within a defined range. To streamline communication with consumers, we present a ‘typical’ amino acid analysis. The recent label update reflects the outcomes of our most recent and accurate testing procedures, ensuring that our customers receive the latest and most reliable information.