All About Plant-Based Collagen

I recently began researching taking collagen supplements made from plants to keep my body strong and flexible and my skin looking smooth and healthy as I get older. Collagen is the body’s most plentiful structural protein and a main building
block of connective tissue, bones, muscles, tendons and skin. About 75% of the skin is made of collagen and that collagen is made of amino acids bound together
with vitamin C. This is called a collagen helix. The body gets the building blocks for
collagen from animal and plant sources. While animal-based collagen supplements is more common, plant-based collagen is also very good for the body.

Collagen In The Body

The collagen in the body acts like glue holding the internal structures together and is
essential for strong bones, flexible joints and healthy skin. There are three common types of collagen in the body, each playing a different role. The most abundant is Type I collagen. It creates the structure of the bones, tendons, ligaments,
organs and skin. Type II collagen builds the cartilage in the joints. Type III and Type
I collagen combine to provide the blood vessels and skin with structure and elasticity.
Some say collagen is ‘the fountain of youth’ because as people age, the body makes less
collagen, the joints stiffen, bones break more easily, the skin sags and wrinkles form.

What Is Plant-Based Collagen?

Technically speaking, collagen only comes from animal sources. Most collagen supplements are made using bovine or fish by-products. However, you can help enhance the body’s natural production of collagen using plants. Plant-based elements like the amino acids arginine, glycine, lysine and proline, zinc, vitamin C, sulfur and copper are collagen building blocks. They provide the nutrients the body needs to support its natural production of the protein collagen. So while plant-based products don’t contain collagen, they help the body produce it.

Getting Collagen From Plants

Tremella Mushrooms

Many companies sell collagen supplements made from plants. Some add Biotin, Hyaluronic Acid, Spirulina, ceramides, tea antioxidants, tremella mushrooms, vitamins A and C, silica and bamboo to their collagen-building protein peptide powders. This helps to enhance the body’s natural collagen production. The ingredients provide the amino acids needed to produce collagen. The natural boosters aid with cell regeneration that builds healthy hair, strong bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and nails and helps improve the skin’s elasticity and overall health. Many collagen supplements I saw are vegan, non-GMO, sugar and gluten-free and can help to produce, maintain and hydrate collagen.

What Are The Benefits Of Collagen From Plants?

Acai berry, Acerola cherry, sea buckthorn and other plant extracts add many
valuable nutrients to the body’s production of molecules that combine to make collagen. Plant-based antioxidants, anthocyanins, flavonoids, polyphenols and vitamins provide the right building blocks to support the skin’s production of collagen. They also boost the body’s natural collagen production and help the body make collagen as people age. Plants also provide nutrients that promote healing through collagen production.

Boosts Collagen Receptors

My research revealed collagen builders from plants don’t work the same way as animal-based collagen supplements. The nutrient and alkaloidal composition of collagen from plants help boost collagen receptors as people age and the body doesn’t produce enough of the receptors on its own. Collagen from plant sources also help to provide the skin with protection from being forced to absorb toxins and pathogens. Collagen made from the elements found in fruits, vegetables and plants provide excellent protection when used in topical skin applications.

Is Collagen From Plants Good For You?

I learned that collagen derived from plants is very good for you. It contains all the elements needed to stimulate and support collagen production in the ligaments, bones, joints, cartilage, skin and connective tissue. As the body’s collagen production wanes,
the collagen derived from plant sources can be ingested or used topically to help give the body with the collagen precursors it needs to increase the amount of this important
protein needed to make people’s bodies look, feel and function better. I also learned that marine collagen made from seaweed makes excellent skincare products.

Safe, Inexpensive And Nutrient-Rich

Plant-sourced collagen made from seaweed, algae and Irish Sea Moss can work wonders for the body, my research showed. Sea Moss and other sea plants are often called nature’s collagen factories. Plus, collagen from plants is easy to produce, inexpensive to buy and can be a nutritious substitute for gelatin in sauces, cheeses and deserts. Plus, collagen from plant sources has a lower risk of allergic reactions and can be used in a variety of collagen supplements. It’s easily digested and integrated into the body and is very effective in stimulating collagen production.

Do Vegans Lack Collagen?

Studies show vegans aren’t especially in danger of lacking collagen in their bodies.
A vegan diet generally contains a wide variety of plant-based foods that provide the body with all the nutrients it needs to produce enough collagen to keep all parts of the body strong and healthy. Many vegan foods have a wealth of elements that promote collagen production. Cruciferous vegetables, low-starch foods, avocados, beans, olive oil, almonds, cashews, peanuts and other types of nuts vegans commonly eat create the healthy levels of proteins in their bodies necessary for adequate collagen production.

A Recent Study Confirms It

Vegan diets are generally rich in anti-inflammatory foods. The Journal of the American
Dietetic Association published the results of a 2010 study where participants spent three and a half months following a vegan diet. The results showed they experienced more significant improvement in swollen, tender, painful and stiff joints and improved grip strength than members of a control group that ate an omnivorous diet. Research shows long-time vegans generally have good collagen levels, strong bones, ligaments and cartilage, excellent joint flexibility, along with smooth, healthy, supple skin.

How To Get Plant-Based Collagen?

Getting plant-sourced collagen has been easy. Many good supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores have several collagen supplements made from plants. Plus, there are many plant-based foods people can ingest that will give their bodies the nutrients they need to stimulate and support collagen production. Plant-based foods that are high in the three amino acids essential for collagen production in the body include:

  1. Tempeh, soy protein, tofu and other soy products.
  2. Kidney beans, black beans and many other legumes.
  3. Pumpkin, squash, chia and sunflower seeds.
  4. Pistachio nuts, cashew and peanuts.

Check Online

The internet has been a great source for information on stores in my city, state and region offering an array of vegan collagen products, collagen stimulating products, vegan collagen supplements and other products that contain collagen from plant sources. With a little research I’ve been able to find many types of collagen-rich products that are plant-based, affordable and easily accessible. Usually I can have the products shipped directly to my door. It’s even possible to find companies online that will send me bulk orders of vegan collagen products.

Vegan Collagen Growing In Popularity

I am among a growing number of people who have become aware of the many benefits one can enjoy if they include vegan collagen in their diet. That has led to a dramatic
rise in its popularity, accessibility and affordability. I want to help prevent osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, joint, ligament and cartilage issues, keep my skin soft and supple and prevent premature wrinkle and sagging skin. So I’ve added plant-based vegan collagen products to my diet.

7 Simple Steps to Improve Your Health and Wellness

health and wellness

What does health and wellness mean to you?

Being in control of your health does not need to be difficult. Actually, a lot of research shows that the key to a lifetime of good health is through “lifestyle medicine.” This means taking small, simple steps in improving your overall health and incorporating these habits into your everyday life.

This being said, you do not have to take a giant leap to totally change your lifestyle. It begins with small changes, that eventually turn into habits. There is nothing wrong with having big goals, but there is also a benefit in working on the little ones.

Just by adding a few of the following practices into my lifestyle I’ve been able to see a dramatic increase in my overall health and wellness. I wanted to share these simple steps with you so that you too could see a positive change in your lifestyle.

Eat Smarter

One of the smallest life changes we can make is eating smarter. This doesn’t mean revolutionizing the way you eat, just implementing some different changes where you can.

There can be a lot of healthier alternatives for our usual meals, including the following.

  • If you regularly eat foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates such as rice and pasta, you may opt to choose their whole-grain versions.
  • Say no to sugary drinks. As always, water is the best option. You can also infuse your water with lemon and cucumber for that refreshing taste. I love doing this with lemons and strawberries.
  • Eat your veggies. Incorporating more leafy greens to your meals will do so much good for your body.
  • Avoid adding salt to your meals because it may contribute to bloating and high blood pressure.

Find a New Hobby

One thing to help improve your health and wellness is experimenting with hobbies. Hobbies make you explore your hidden talents and improve them at the same time. They also relieve stress and help you take a little break from your fast-paced lifestyle. Simple hobbies like doing a crossword puzzle or sudoku will have a productive and positive effect on your brain. While it’s a fun activity in the short-term, it will help lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the long-term.

Personally, I love finding new hobbies to explore. My favorite hobby to do is gardening. It’s a super relaxing addition to my day, and also provides my family with fresh produce. 

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Studies show that most adults do not get at least seven hours of sleep, and at this point in time, we all know how important it is to get enough sleep. Making sleep a priority is a great habit to introduce to your schedule if you don’t already do so.

Try to develop a ritual that will train your brain to relax and make you fall asleep more quickly and soundly. For me, I love enjoying a cup of tea before bed, and a dimly lit bedroom to help me sleep better and longer.

Train your Posture and Work those Muscles

Ever wonder why you are suffering from back pain at your age? Well, your posture may be bad, so always make sure you have proper posture.

If you are working at the office or pretty much sitting in a computer the whole day, make sure you are sitting in an ergonomic chair. Another small activity that will benefit you, both in the short term and in the long run, is stretching. It will only take a few minutes of your day and will do so much good for your body!

‘Me’ Time is the Best Time

One thing that is oftentimes overlooked in regards to health and wellness is what I like to call “me time.”

An effective way to improve your overall health and wellness is by taking some minutes each day to do something for yourself. This will promote inner growth and renewal. It will help you think better and breathe for a while. One way to enjoy ‘me time’ is by having a glass of wine or a smoothie and a bubble bath.

I also love to enjoy a smoothie while relaxing with a book, but it looks different for every person. Find what makes you happy and fulfilled and do it.

De-Stress and Meditate

Even the simplest things like going for a walk, listening to music, and cleaning can decrease your stress levels. One way that I work to destress is through meditation. Meditating will improve your focus and lessen your cortisol levels which, in turn, will improve your immune system.

Count your Blessings

This is one of the most important things we should do every single day. It is proven that people who know how to appreciate things in their life are happier than those who don’t.

When you start to count your blessings, you’ll be surprised about how lucky you are and how beautiful life is. Doing this before anything else in the morning, or every time you feel stressed or anxious will surely help you go through the day with a smile on your face.

Have you thought about incorporating these steps into your daily routine? Let me know how if you add any of these into your life, and how they impact your health and wellness. I love hearing from you in the comments!

4 Plant-Based Family Blogs Helping Us Raise our Kids

plant-based family blogs to raise plant-based kids

I underestimated the challenges of raising plant-based kids. When you’re living on your own, switching to a plant-based diet is a breeze.  We’ve put together a short list of plant-based family blogs to help.

Think about it, you used to do all of your own shopping, plan your own meals, and choose the restaurants you’re going to. 

What happens when you add a husband and sprinkle a couple of kids on top? Raising plant-based kids is not such a breeze. It’s actually a different ballgame. 

When you’re the head of a household and you are trying to navigate around allergies and picky eaters, planning family-friendly plant-based meals can feel impossible.

We’re here to rescue you!

A few other families have made it their mission to share their experiences and what works for them so that you don’t have to go through the same mistakes. 

Read on to find the 4 best plant-based family blogs to help keep your family on track! 

1. Nora Cooks

If you haven’t discovered the site Nora Cooks just yet, you are in for a treat! 

On her site, you are going to find delicious recipes that are both kid and meat-eater approved. Nora has three kids and has shared her tried and true family-friendly plant-based meals!

This plant-based family blog also shares her tips and tricks for raising vegan kids. While there is a difference with vegan diets vs plant-based diets, I still really do like these recipes for a helping raise our kids plant-based.

She has a section dedicated to 30-minute meals which makes cooking at home a breeze! Her vegan mac and cheese is sure to win over kid’s hearts in a minute! 

2. Shane and Simple

Shane and Simple’s tag is “practical, not pretentious, plant-based meals.” 

This approach to a plant-based lifestyle is perfect for families! 

No nonsense, just delicious food. 

Shane first went plant-based for health reasons, and it was not in the original plan for the whole family to transition. However, his whole family did slowly transition to a plant-based diet. He has created a plant-based family blog to help others ease through this transition!

This blog post about becoming a plant-based family should give you some pointers! 

3. My Plant-Based Family

With a name like that, how can it not be a great resource? My Plant-Based Family is a blog created by Holly!

The plant-based family blog is comprehensive and includes posts specific to transitioning kids to a plant-based diet

Not only is this site packed with helpful blogs, it contains a plant-based e-course that will give you the confidence you need to take care of your plant-based family! 

4. Vegan Family Kitchen

The site Vegan Family Kitchen is a great resource for anyone looking to streamline the cooking process!

This mom, Brigitte, has gone through the wringer creating meal plans that will give your kids the nourishment they need. 

What’s great about meal plans is that they give you back the most important thing- time with your plant-based family! 

Plant-based Family Blogs to Help Your Family

Raising vegan kids has never been easier than with the help of plant-based family blogs!

These blogs will help you navigate allergies, picky-eaters, meal-prep, budgeting for meals, and more. 

Providing your family with healthy and delicious foods is one of the most amazing things you can do as a parent! 

Want to learn more about healthy living? Make sure to check out our other posts for more! 

Incase you are still looking for some recommendations here are a couple of additional lists:

Pre-workout Snacks That Will Fuel You For Any Workout

Do you eat pre-workout snacks? Is working out part of your normal routine? Do you make it to the gym only to feel depleted of energy after a few minutes?

I used to experience this a lot myself. I would motivate myself and drive to the gym, only to feel sluggard a few exercises in. A few years back I started reading more about nutrition and what fueled our bodies. I quickly realized that I needed to add a pre-workout snack to my diet, and much to my surprise it made a huge difference in my energy levels.

Even if you understand the importance of a pre-workout snack, it can be confusing to know what you should eat. Generally, you should want something light on the stomach, but something that will still fuel your body. Eating the right food will keep your blood sugar steady and in turn, give you the energy you need to have a good workout. It will make you perform better and recover faster, which is something I’ve seen happen in my own life.

When and How Much Should You Eat?

Depending on how much time you have before working out, the choices of pre-workout snacks range. Generally, the recommended time frame to eat before a workout is anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes before. I suggest planning ahead of time when it comes to pre-workout foods, that way you can just grab it and go when you’re in a rush.

Below, I compiled a list of pre-workout snacks that will give you just the energy you need for your workout.

Banana

Bananas contain the perfect amount of calories to fill you up and enough carbs to keep you energized until the end of your workout. You can opt to eat a whole banana, which is not only energizing but also filling! If you find that a banana doesn’t do the trick, add some peanut butter to the mix.

This combination is yummy and packed with both protein and carbs to fuel you through whatever workout you are doing.

Oatmeal

spring peas

Oatmeal is a great pre-workout snack because it is rich in carbs and it fills you up quickly. Not only that, but it’s also so satisfying to eat. 

You don’t have to eat oatmeal plain either. Try adding some nut butter on top, or some fruits, to spruce up the taste. It is also great to incorporate low-fat milk into the recipe as well.

I love eating oatmeal with peanut butter, bananas, and chia seeds before my workouts. Since this is quite a heavy snack, give yourself time to digest it before your workout.

Greek Yogurt

This is the ultimate pre-workout snack! Plain Greek yogurt has twice the protein you can find from regular yogurt. They are very filling but at the same time, not too heavy to digest before a workout.

They are the perfect snack to bring with you if you are in a rush and they are easy and quick to eat too! If you have some almonds at home, feel free to mix it with your yogurt for some added fat. You can easily find a 100-calorie pack of yogurt in your local grocery store, and keep them in your fridge for when you need them.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are the perfect on the go snacks. They are packed full of protein and are very easy to eat! Find a good brand with less than 300 calories per pack and stack them up in your pantry or your gym bag.

Bagels

spring peas

If you find yourself extra hungry before a workout and want something delicious and filling, a bagel (preferably made from whole wheat flour) is a perfect choice for you. I love to add some cream cheese on top but I also know people that love adding peanut butter. Adding a topping like peanut butter adds a solid source of protein, which is always good before a workout.

Toast/Cereals

I love eating a slice of toast pre-workout because it only takes a minute or two to put together, and is easy to digest! Cereal is also another good pre-workout snack, mainly because it is easy to make as well. Add some dried fruit into your bowl for added nutrients and flavor.

Smoothies

Making your own smoothie ensures that you know what’s in it, which means no unnecessary added sugars.  Unfortunately, many smoothie shops add so much sugar to their smoothies, taking from being a healthy snack to a dessert.

It’s better to make your own with some almond milk, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies than buy it at a shop. Add some Greek yogurt and peanut butter for some protein, and you’re good to go!

Apple

spring peas

Nothing beats a slice of a nutritious apple. If you’re running late, you can eat it while walking to your gym. Apples are a good source of calories and carbs which are essential for your workout.

100% Fruit Juice

If you don’t feel like eating something, you should try to at least drink some fruit juice instead. Try to reach for an orange juice for some carbs and pre-workout natural sugar.

With all these options, I bet you’ll never work out again without filling in your stomach beforehand. I know that adding a pre-workout snack into my routine has helped me a lot with energy during my workouts, and I bet it will help you as well. Which is your favorite among these? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

While you’re here, make sure to check out another one of my blog posts, “20 Post Workout Foods That Are The Most Beneficial (And Easy!).”

3 Healthy Activities for the Whole Family to do During Self-Quarantine

3 Healthy Activities for the Whole Family to Do During Self-Quarantine

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are in search for some healthy activities during our self-quarantine. I believe as many do that it’s an unprecedented time at which many families are recommended to stay-in in order to avoid spreading the virus. 

In many States, including my own, self-quarantine is required to all individuals and families, regardless if you have been exposed to the virus. These people should avoid all interaction with other people for 14 days and keep a close eye on the CDC guidelines

Self-quarantine is taking the term “family time” to the next level. We as parents are finding out that keeping a child entertained 24 hours a day is no easy task. 

It is tempting to hand your child an iPad or a phone and just wait it out. While it’s the easiest approach, this is not the most healthy activity during self-quarantine.

However-

Staying active and healthy is essential during this time. That’s why I’ve put together a list of three activities you can try to get your family up and moving! 

1. Go on a Family Walk

Go on a Family Walk

Bring it back to the basics and go on a family walk! As long as you are not interacting with other people, going on a walk is a great activity to try. 

There are lots of ways to make simple walks an engaging activity for the whole family. Here are some of our ideas:

  • Play eye-spy on your walk
  • Go on a “nature walk” and let your child collect new plants and leaves to learn about
  • Gather treasures and then make an art project when you get home
  • Let your child take pictures of things they enjoyed on their walk

Our children are used to running on playgrounds and playing with friends all day. Keep up their physical activity and their curious nature by taking a walk around your neighborhood! A perfect healthy activity during a self-quarantine.

2. Take a Wiggle Break

Teachers in schools have been using this strategy for years, and the time has come to share this with all parents! 

If you type in “brain break” or “wiggle break” into Youtube, hundreds of helpful videos will come up that guide your child through some movement activities. 

These short breaks will get your child up and moving, and it will give you a couple of moments to clean up a quick mess or put the finishing touches on dinner. 

With self-quarantine, it is so important to not get sucked into a video game or show for hours on end. 

Standing up and dancing, wiggling, and stretching is going to help prevent any meltdowns that might be bubbling up under the surface. 

3. Create a New Routine with Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Create a New Routine with Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Breathe in- 

Breathe out. 

Yoga is a healthy activity best during self-quarantine :). It has been found to help kids (and adults) control their emotions, have more stable energy throughout the day, improve mobility and core strength, and relax. 

When my big family is cooped up in a house all day together during self-quarantine, all of these skills come in handy! 

Creating routines helps kids feel safe. 

With that in mind- 

What better time to introduce this healthy activity into their routine than during the Covid-19 pandemic? 

To try this out, you have a few different options. You can try using kid yoga poses posters. Just type in “kid’s yoga” into Youtube, or check out a couple of highly rated yoga kids books on Amazon!

Try These Healthy Activities to Stay Active During Self-Quarantine

Incorporating these three healthy activities into your routine during self-quarantine are going to help you stay calm. But more importantly stay healthy and bond with your family! 

Hundreds of thousands of families are avoiding contact by self-quarantining during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are all trying to navigate this “new-normal” as best as we can. 

Focusing on the things you can control, like your physical activity, will help you navigate this experience with much easier!

From our family at planted.org to yours, please say safe, healthy and positive!

Like what you’re reading? Check out our other healthy living blogs for more!