Healing Diets

Published on March 24th, 2014 | by Matthew Lovitt


Collagen Protein Supplements: Support Joint, Skin, Hair, and Gut Health Naturally

I’m an endurance athlete that loves to compete in long distance events. Unfortunately, such events that may last up to 5 or 6 hours can place a tremendous strain on the body and can contribute to the destruction of vital tissue. I am also a student of holistic nutrition passionate about experimenting with a wide variety of foods and dietary philosophies. There is a lot of contradictory information out there and I believe that there is no better way for me to sift through all the noise than by exploring everything we do to get healthy, lose weight, or perform at a higher level. Finally, I have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, found multiple food sensitivities, and suspect a damaged gut beyond conventional methods of repair. Together these conditions can cause a great deal of physical and psychological discomfort when I fail to maintain complete vigilance in my diet and lifestyle.

Suffice it to say, I have tried many things to support my health and wellbeing throughout my athletic, academic and spiritual pursuits. If it can be eaten, avoided, or supplemented, it has most likely been a part of my routine and personal education at some point in time. Unfortunately, most of these practices have come and gone without any lasting improvement in how I felt or performed. However, there are a few practices that have persevered and continue to play an integral part in my healthy eating and living routine.

One of the most profoundly beneficial practices I have developed is the consistent integration of joint, skin, hair, gut and sleep supporting collagen proteins, which are commonly referred to as gelatin.

Gelatin is a protein derived the connective tissue found in animals that contribute to the health of ligaments and tendons that form the joints in our knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles. Collagen is also associated with improved skin strength and elasticity and makes hair and nails strong. Many also assert that gelatin helps heal the gut and improves digestion by enhancing gastric acid secretion and restoring a healthy mucosal lining.

Pretty incredible, right? So why are millions of people worldwide – athletes and non-athletes, old and young, nutrition enthusiasts and all-you-can-eat buffeters – hobbling into doctor’s offices with brittle hair and nails and a wide variety of gastric disorders? Traditional cultures received the multiple benefits of collagen consumption through the frequent consumption of bone stocks, a practice that has fallen out of the majority of our modern dietary routines.

Here is one of my favorite bone broth and stock resources, Traditional Foods 101: Broth and Stock, published at NourishedKitchen.com.

Making bone broth can be quite intimidating for the uninitiated. There’s the purchasing of fresh bones, breaking out the slow cooker, and waiting 8 to 10 hours for the magical brew to finish – all of which don’t feed into our quick, easy, instant gratification lifestyles. However, there are a few quick and easy ways in which we can incorporate more gelatins into our diet and fully receive all of its amazing health benefits.

If you find yourself lacking in initiative or time, you can choose high quality collagen protein supplements to avoid the somewhat toilsome process of preparing homemade bone broth. Vibrant Wellness Journal was recently sent some Vital Proteins Collagen Protein or Collagen Peptides for review, and we were happy with what they have to offer. Collagen supplements such as these typically come in powdered form that is produced from the cooked, it is important to find an ethically sourced protein that is derived from pastured cows that aren’t subjected to hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. This practice ensures quality and nutrient value of their products and provides a holistic approach to joint, bone, skin and hair health. Vital Proteins Collagen Proteins meet these criteria and are also purified, not hydrolyzed, which allows it to readily absorb water so that it forms a gel-like consistency when properly prepared.

Incorporating more collagen proteins can take shape in many ways. It may be as simple as throwing a tablespoon or two into soups or stews, smoothies, or big, steaming bowl of soaked oatmeal. Another avenue for integrating collagen is through a few “sweet” treats such as the Chocolate Gelatin Pudding or Cherry Juice Gellies below. For the time sensitive healthy eaters, a tablespoon of collagen can also be mixed in with your morning cup of coffee or tea. I have tried all of these and my favorite is the puddin’, but I suggest you try various ways to see which works best for you and your dietary philosophy.

Gelatin, derived from collagen proteins, is a nutritional powerhouse and is a quick and easy alternative to more traditional foods that have nurtured humans for thousands of years. It may be a valuable addition to the diets of both casual and professional athletes, leaky gut-ers and those with autoimmune disease, herbivores and omnivores, or all those who consider themselves modern-day nutrition pioneers. Gelatin can and should be consumed by all those that wish to take their ancestral dietary wisdom to the next level so that they can better explore the true limits of their physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing.

Chocolate Gelatin PuddingChocolate Gelatin Pudding

Serves 2

  • 1 cup coconut milk (full fat, canned)
  • 2 tbsp cacoa powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp collagen protein
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. Warm medium sized saucepan over medium heat then stir in coconut milk, cocoa powder and honey until well combined.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the gelatin powder in water until dissolved.
  3. Add the gelatin mixture to the pan and stir until well combined.
  4. When mixture is warm, transfer to two small ramekins, chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes and enjoy!

Cherry Juice GelliesCherry Juice Gellies

Serves 8

  • 4 cups dark cherry juice, divided
  • 2 ½ tbsp. collagen protein
  1. Place 2 cups juice in medium sized mixing bowl and sprinkle collagen on top.
  2. Heat remaining 2 cups of juice in saucepan over medium heat, removing prior to boil.
  3. Add hot juice to cold juice and collagen, stirring until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture into a glass dish and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  5. Slice, cube, or cut in the desired fashion and serve.

Images courtesy of Matthew Lovitt

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About the Author

A holistic nutritionist in the making, Matthew spends the majority of his time trying to unravel the beautifully complex relationship between food, health and spiritual well-being. While this may sound like a somewhat glamorous pursuit, his daily journey towards enlightenment often begins and ends in front of a computer or textbook with the occasional retreat to the kitchen to rejuvenate his mind and body. When not enthralled in his quest to greater understanding, Matthew can be found attempting some insane test of physical endurance on the highways of Arizona, eating peanut butter and banana bagel sandwiches in his pajamas, or watching cartoons with his amazing fiance and puppy. If you're interested in joining Matthew on his journey to health and wellness, please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@veggiematthew), Facebook or at his blog.

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