Collagen 101: All of Your Whats, Whys and Hows Answered

collagen

collagen

This post is long overdue. I’ve been talking about the Vital Proteins collagen peptides on my Instagram posts and stories for months now (and a ton of my recipes include it – my creamy coconut turmeric latte, my pumpkin pudding and my paleo coconut pumpkin pie smoothie to name a few), but haven’t gotten around to telling you all WHY I love them so much. And no. This post is not sponsored. Ya girl just really can’t get enough.

I first got hooked on them when Jordan from the Balanced Blonde sent me the original packets for a giveaway like a year and a half ago (that’s how long overdue this is LOL). I had barely begun hearing about Vital Proteins (maybe I was just really out of the loop…) and wasn’t even really sure what they were, but being the nutrition junkie I am, I was stoked. It was all I needed to kick-start a new research obsession (I’m always researching something wellness-related… Kundalini yoga, health benefits of reishi, different meditation techniques… you name it and it’s probably in my search history).

First off, let me clarify what collagen peptides are. Collagen is what makes up our hair, nails, skin and bones. So yeah, it’s pretty dang important. And sadly, the over-processing of foods today typically removes a lot of this naturally-occurring collagen from our diets.

So what are the health benefits?

Healthier hair, nails and skin: My hair and nails grow so fast now it’s insane. I seriously can’t get my nails done because it’s a waste of money when they grow out so quickly. My nails used to always peel and my hair was super thin my sophomore year of college, but now my nails are strong as heck and my hair is fuller and shinier! Collagen can also help your skin become smoother because it aids your skin cells in repairing.

Gut health: This is obviously a big reason why I have collagen pretty much on daily basis. Collagen can help aid in digestion by breaking down proteins and healing the walls of your GI tract. For individuals with leaky gut syndrome or inflammatory diseases, this can be a huge game changer. When there are issues with the lining of your GI tract being permeable, toxins and other particles can get into your bloodstream (aka where they’re definitely not supposed to go). It’s been shown to help individuals with leaky gut, IBS, Crohn’s Disease (hey that’s me!), etc.

collagen

collagen

Bone health: As we get older our joints lose the natural collagen that helps our joints and limbs move freely. Keeping that collagen intact can help you be less stiff and move as easily as ever.

Reducing exercise-induced injury and soreness: Collagen helps your muscles recover and rebuild, which can help you build lean muscle mass and also recover more quickly from your workouts. This article by Mind Body Green shares more ways that collagen can elevate your fitness game.

There are of course other health benefits, but those are the main reasons I try to incorporate collagen into my diet every day. But, with that being said, I always tell people – do your research (I kind of mentioned this in last weekend’s recipe for my paleo coffee oatmeal). It’s so easy to get caught up in following the trends that every other wellness influencer and blogger is following without actually knowing why you’re eating what you’re eating, drinking what you’re drinking or doing what you’re doing. When I first started blogging it was easy to fall into that trap, because I just wanted to be like the cool kids, but I’ve learned that this is my body and I want to know why I’m putting what I’m putting into it. Every body is unique and requires different things. So, celebrate that uniqueness and do your own research before deciding a product, supplement or trend is right for you!

But, if you do feel like taking collagen may help you in some way, here are some tips to ease your way into it:

Find a collagen brand you like: I personally only use Vital Proteins because I trust their sourcing and they are very open about that (I’ve had contact with other collagen companies that didn’t even seem to know where the livestock was raised that is used for their products which is a HUGE no-no for me). BUT, I obviously know collagen is expensive. I would suggest starting with the smaller 10oz bin that’s only $25 to make sure you like it. Of course it’s important to try something for a little longer, so this ensures you have enough to try out for a few months without breaking the bank. VP also has a cute little sampler bag that is a great choice if you’re hesitant. I’ve also heard great things about Further Foods collagen. You can get an 8oz tub for only $19.95.

How to use: The best part about collagen? It’s typically unflavored and odorless (unless you buy the fun VP flavors) and dissolves in whatever you’re drinking (iced or hot!). I love stirring it into my black coffee, tea and soups, but it also blends up nicely in smoothies! This makes it super easy to incorporate. I love keeping a couple on-the-go packets in my backpack so, if I’m feeling like I need a protein boost or I didn’t get my collagen in in the AM, I can easily pour some into my mid-day peppermint tea or Americano.

I’ve gotten some questions too about the sourcing of it, and, like I mentioned above, that’s why I love Vital Proteins. They’re super open about their sourcing from grass-fed cattle on their FAQs page.

If you have any further questions about why I love collagen please feel free to reach to me via Instagram or the contact form on my menu!

XO nat

Related: Paleo Coconutty Collagen Bites, Apple Pie Smoothie Bowl, Classic Chocolate Banana Smoothie Bowl