My Thoughts on Collagen

vital proteins alexI was always curious about collagen and decided to start experimenting with it in October of last year. I was most interested in taking collagen for skin benefits. I started off by using Vital Proteins Unflavored Collagen Peptides. What are collagen peptides? Collagen peptides are made from the bovine hide of grass-fed and pasture-raised animals. The peptides are a powdery consistency which makes them easy to add to hot or cold beverages (or even food!) I started adding the unflavored collagen peptides to my smoothies and/or coffee drinks daily. I couldn’t taste it at all! I immediately loved the froth it added to my coffee when I mixed it up in my high speed blender.

The first change I noticed after incorporating collagen into my daily routine was an improvement in digestion. I definitely noticed within the first few days of taking it that my digestion was more regular and I felt less inflammation/bloating around my stomach. I also noticed after a few weeks of taking collagen that my skin was clearer and after a few months my nails and hair seemed to be growing faster than ever! I think diet plays a big role in hair, skin and nail health for me but collagen definitely gave me an extra boost!

My favorite way to incorporate collagen is with my morning beverage (Most days it’s mushroom coffee!) I personally love adding collagen in my coffee elixir in the morning for a couple of reasons. First, my favorite way to start the day is to take a moment for a little self-care before the craziness. I totally savor every drop of my warm morning beverage and take a few moments to practice gratitude. Having the collagen in my drink helps set the tone of prioritizing my health and self-care for the day. Another reason I love having collagen in my coffee elixir is because the protein helps me feel more balanced in the morning and satiates me enough to where I could wait an hour or two if I want to before eating breakfast. I definitely don’t think collagen can be used as a meal replacement but it is helpful in-between meals or incorporated during meals for an extra protein boost!

My favorite way to incorporate collagen is with coffee (recipe below) but if matcha is more your speed, Vital Proteins Matcha is individually packaged with collagen so it makes it super easy! I’ve been loving switching up my normal coffee routine with a matcha elixir instead! Matcha is full of antioxidants so I love incorporating it!

I also want to mention another one of my favorites from Vital Proteins which is their Beef Liver Supplements. I’ve learned that liver is SO rich in nutrients especially vitamin A and B12. As someone who is working to raise nutrient deficiencies, I try to incorporate liver in my diet from time to time because I definitely can feel the benefits of how nutrient dense and nourishing it is. Let’s be real though – grass-fed liver isn’t always accessible and in a lot of cases, not the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Vital Proteins makes it so easy with their amazing Beef Liver supplement in capsule form. Definitely a great option if you are someone like me who wants the benefits of liver. I also notice more energy when I take these.

I hope this helps explain the reasons why Collagen has become such an integral part of my daily routine and why I love it!

coffee

 

Collagen Coffee Elixir

2 cups boiling water

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 serving instant coffee

1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

1 tbsp cacao powder

¼ tsp ghee

A few dashes of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender (equipped for hot beverages), mix with a frother or simply stir well in a mug and enjoy!

 

Thank you Vital Proteins for sponsoring this blog post!

Roasted Carrot Fries & Tahini Sauce

7518850288_IMG_3784These fries are definitely my new favorite way to eat carrots! They are the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy! I was so happy to find so many quality organic ingredients at the new Whole Foods Market 365 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn! The new Whole Foods Market 365 still has the same quality standards as Whole Foods Market BUT it’s a more simple and streamlined process. What’s awesome about Whole Foods Market 365 is the trusted high quality and NON-GMO ingredients of Whole Foods Market are all included but since everything is simpler and more streamlined they are able to offer more affordable prices. WIN WIN. Hope you guys love these! Let me know on Instagram or in the comments below! 7518850288_IMG_3804

ROASTED CARROT FRIES & TAHINI SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (16 oz) bag of Whole Foods Market 365 organic carrots

2 Tbsp Whole Foods Market 365 extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Whole Foods Market 365 organic garlic powder

1/4 tsp Whole Foods Market 365 organic paprika

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

TAHINI SAUCE

1 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 Tbsp water

1/2 Tbsp apple cidar vinegar

1/8 tsp Whole Foods Market 365 chili powder

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Wash carrots well. Trim off ends and cut in half. Cut in either quarters or half lengthwise to create “fry” shape sticks.
  3. Add cut carrots to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt and black pepper until evenly coated.
  4. Place carrots on lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 minutes turning once about half way.
  5. In a small dish, combine tahini, lemon juice, water, apple cidar vinegar and chili powder. Stir well with a fork. If necessary, slowly add more water until desired consistency is reached.
  6. You can drizzle the tahini sauce on top or use on the side for dipping! Enjoy!

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Thank you Whole Foods Market 365 for sponsoring this post!

 

 

 

 

Dairy Free Mac and “Cheese” with Broccoli

As the temperature drops, I’m craving ALL the comfort food. I’m especially dreaming of mac and cheese lately. I used Ripple pea milk and sweet potato to create a thick and creamy “cheese” sauce. This recipe is totally gluten-free and dairy-free! It’s perfect comfort food for those cold winter nights. Enjoy!

mac and cheese 2

DAIRY FREE MAC AND “CHEESE” WITH BROCCOLI

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

1 cup boiled sweet potato (mashed)

1 cup Ripple unsweetened pea milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 box gluten-free pasta (I use chickpea pasta)

4 cups broccoli

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. After boiled sweet potato has cooled, add sweet potato, pea milk, nutritional yeast, olive oil and spices to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend approximately 1 minute or until sauce is created.
  2. Follow package instructions to cook pasta. Add chopped broccoli to the boiling water for the last 5 minutes of cooking. After pasta is cooked, drain pasta and broccoli.
  3. Add pasta and broccoli back to the same pot over low heat and add sauce. Gently stir for 5-7 minutes. Serve as is or with extra black pepper, sriracha, or paprika.

 

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Tahini Cookies

I’ve been working on creating a healthier chocolate chip cookie recipe to make for the holidays. This dark chocolate sea salt tahini cookie is perfect! The tahini is so rich and creamy and is amazing paired with dark chocolate chips. I definitely will be making these for all of the holiday parties I have coming up. They are seriously addicting! Hope you love them as much as I do!

dark chocolate sea salt tahini cookies 2

DARK CHOCOLATE SEA SALT TAHINI COOKIES

Approx. 22 cookies

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 egg

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except dark chocolate chips). Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together egg, maple syrup, almond milk, tahini, coconut oil, tahini and vanilla,
  4. Gradually add dry mixture into wet mixture. Once dough is formed, fold in dark chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon dough into 1-inch rounds, place on parchment-lined baking sheet and gently press down.
  6. Bake cookies for approximately 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown
  7. Let cool, top with a sprinkle of extra sea salt and enjoy! (store in refrigerator or freezer)

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Cauliflower Rice with Kale

This cauliflower rice has become a weeknight regular! I love the combination of olive oil and garlic. It creates such a creamy texture! This rice is also so easy to make and so satisfying! I add in kale for extra greens but spinach would be great in this dish as well. Garlic Cauliflower Rice is also the perfect healthy side dish for Thanksgiving! Hope you guys love it as much as I do!

GARLIC CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH KALE

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

4 cups cauliflower rice (16 oz)*

3 cups kale (washed and roughly chopped)

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cauliflower and kale to lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and add seasonings.
  3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Gently mix after roasting to ensure that the rice is evenly coated with olive oil and spices.
  5. Serve as is or as a side dish with protein of your choice!

*I buy cauliflower rice prepared from Trader Joe’s (HUGE time saver) or you can easily prepare it at home by washing a large head of cauliflower, chopping into medium sized pieces and pulsing in a food processor until rice-like consistency is reached.

cauliflower rice