If you’re on any social media sites, you’ve probably seen the hype surrounding collagen online, and a ton of your favorite accounts posting all about it and the companies’ that produce it. Since I’m getting older (terrible, I know) and my collagen production will begin to decrease each year, this information made me want to add extra collagen to my daily routine
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein containing 19 amino acids, which the body produces naturally, and makes up about 30% of the proteins in our bodies. It is structural, maintaining elasticity, regeneration, and cohesion of skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. It’s commonly referred to as the glue that keeps the body together.
There are three types of collagen in the body, I, II, and III:
Types I & III support skin, muscles, bones, hair, and nails. 90% of the collagen found in the body is comprised of these two types.
Type II collagen is a protein that make up the fluids and function in the cartilage and joints.
What are Collagen Peptides?
Peptides are compounds that are formed from two or more amino acids. Collagen peptides are broken down molecular bonds between collagen strands into peptides. This allows the body to easily absorb them.
What is Collagen Made From?
Collagen can be sourced from bovine, fish, chicken or egg shell membranes.
- Bovine collagen is a naturally occurring protein found in cartilage, bones, and hides of cows. It contains both types I and III collagen, supporting skin, hair, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, gums, teeth, eyes, and blood vessels.
- Fish collagen is easily absorbed and contains mostly type I collagen, with the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. It is beneficial for joints, skin, vital organs, blood vessels, digestion and bones.
- Chicken collagen contains mostly type II collagen and is beneficial for joint health as it, and also provides chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate — both contain anti-aging effects.
- Egg shell membrane collagen is found in the shells and whites of eggs, containing mostly type I collagen. It is beneficial for building connective tissue, healing wounds, building muscle mass, and reducing pain and stiffness.
Foods that Naturally Boost Collagen:
- vitamin C rich foods
- soy products
- avocado oil
- bone broth
- vegetables like dark leafy greens, orange and red veggies
- fish and lean grass-fed meat
- blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries
What does Collagen do for the Body?
- improves skin and hair health
- reduces joint pain and degeneration
- helps heal leaky gut
- boosts metabolism, muscle mass and energy output
- strengthens hair, nails, and teeth
- improves liver health
- protects cardiovascular health
- reduces cellulite and stretch marks
What Damages Collagen?
- high sugar consumption
- autoimmune disorders
- Made solely from fish scales, which is broken down without heat, acid, or chemicals to remove the calcium and leaves 100% ultra-pure marine collagen
- Screened for mercury
- virtually tasteless and odorless, and is in a pure powder form
- sourced from exclusive, sustainable, wild fish found in the South Pacific Ocean
- highest grade of collagen in North America
- Non-GMO Project Verified, reviewed and approved by Health Canada, and assigned an NPN (Natural Product Number)
- free from artificial colours, flavours, additives, preservatives, and stabilizers
- 100% Canadian owned and operated
- Gluten-free, dairy free, kosher
- one scoop = 5g
- 17 calories
- 5g collagen
This has been my go-to collagen powder for 3 months now. I purchased the stick packs, which made it easy to travel, work, or just be on the go in general. I keep a couple of packets in my purse, and some in my drawer in my office, and I can easily add it to my coffee. The first couple times I could mildly taste something fishy, but after a few uses I can no longer even tell it’s there. I prefer to mix this in coffee (either hot or cold) or tea. I have mixed this with lemon water, and it’s not my favorite, the fishy flavor comes out a little more when that happens. This is definitely my favorite of the three brands! WithinUS also makes a premium-grade organic matcha that is definitely on my “must-try” list.
The serving size is smaller, 5g, and this is due to the high bioavailability of the product, meaning a person needs less product for the best results. Other brands recommend 10-20 grams a day, where most of withinUs’ studies have concluded that 5 gram of withinUs TruMarine Collagen gives the same benefits since it is used by the body so efficiently.
- made from grass-fed, pasture-raised, bovine hides from Brazil
- unflavored, water-soluble and easy to mix
- available in canister and stick packs
- available in loose powder form, stick packs, and capsules
- gluten-free, dairy free, no sugar added, paleo friendly, kosher
- Vital Proteins has an extensive product line, ranging from collagen to beauty waters, bone broths, whey protein powders, and other supplements
- one scoop = 10g
- 35 calories
- 10g collagen
I only was able to try this brand once – I received a sample packet in my summer FabFitFun box, and being the brand that you see the most on social media, I was really excited to try it. Happy to say there was NO distinguishable taste, and it dissolved really well. I did however find the serving size really large – it was 10g and I felt it seemed like a lot. I am however really interested in trying more of their product line, like their bone broths (to help with the inflammation I experience with my endometriosis) and their collagen whey protein to enhance my muscle recoveries after working out. Plus I love that they now put collagen into capsule form for when you just can’t mix powder with something. Unfortunately, since they don’t ship to Canada, you have to use Amazon and not all the products the company offers are available there.
- made from grass-fed, pasture-raised, bovine hide collagen peptides
- Unflavored, water-soluble and easy to mix
- contains Type 1 & 3 Collagen
- clumps in cold water
- gluten-free, paleo friendly, keto
- one scoop = 11g
- 40 calories
- 11g collagen
This is a great, easily dissolvable powder in HOT liquids only. I have tried to mix it in smoothies or iced coffees, and it lumps almost instantly, without much hope of getting it to break down. Definitely recommend only using this with things like coffee or tea. When mixed this way, I find no distinguishable taste, it dissolves instantly, and it’s what I would typically use on the weekends when I am home to make my coffee. I usually only use a half scoop though, as I found a full 11g to be overwhelming in a regular sized coffee. Unfortunately, since they don’t ship to Canada, you have to use Amazon and is Prime eligible.
|Hot Water Soluble||Cold Water Soluble||
|Serving Size||Cost||Cost per Serving||
*these companies do not ship directly to Canada, purchases must be made through Amazon, the Canadian prices reflect this, and shipping costs do not reflect Amazon Prime shipping rates
Is Collagen Necessary?
No, it’s not. Your body does naturally produce collagen, and the majority of people do not need to be taking supplements. That said, if you ingest collagen, your body in turn will produce more of it, and that’s not a bad thing. Collagen provides a lot of benefits, and unless you’re vegetarian/vegan, there hasn’t been any reason given NOT to.
I personally love the effects it has had on my body – my sore knee is less agitated, my hair is strong, shiny and growing, my skin is clearer and I find I have less muscle soreness than I used to before taking the products.
My personal favorite is WithinUs – I love supporting Canadian companies, and knowing that they are ranked the top in North America and is approved by Health Canada make this brand a constant go-to for me.
Financial compensation was not received for this post. All products (other than the Vital Proteins sample) were purchased with my own funds. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.
I always struggle to eat a healthy breakfast on work days, and find I am a lot more successful when I can make something that I can just grab and take to work with me!
I’ve posted some overnight oat recipes before, but I decided to add a little spin on my basic go-to recipe by using Seabuckthorn’s new fruit powders! My favorite part about overnight oats is how versatile they can be, just by adding different spices and toppings! I used strawberries and raspberries this week, as that’s what I had in my fridge! I will often add some granola for a little crunch, or a scoop of protein powder to get some extra protein in my breakfast. I made 2 batches, which I split into 4 jars, which is the amount I need for breakfast to go this week.
Seabuckthorn’s new fruit and veggie powders work perfect in these oats, and I often top my plain yogurt with them for some extra flavor! These powders are made right in B.C. from fresh and local produce, and are fully organic, kosher, and full of nutrients and anti-oxidants! They’re the perfect addition for any baking and cooking!
You can use the code BEFIT at checkout to save yourself 15% on any regular priced products, these powders included, just head to their site! All orders over $100 include free shipping, and all product is priced in Canadian dollars.
Nutrition/serving (based on 4 servings):
- 1/2 medium banana, mashed
- 1/3 c. oats
- 1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 c. milk of choice (I usually use almond, but used regular milk since that’s what I had on hand)
- 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1-2 tsp. Seabuckthorn fruit powder of choice (I used blueberry in one batch, and raspberry in the other)
- fruit of choice for toppings
- Mash banana
- Measure out all dry ingredients in a bowl, or measuring cup
- Mix together thoroughly
- Put into jar or container (I split the mix into 2 small mason jars)
- Top with fruit of choice (or can add before eating)
- Let sit overnight in fridge
What the HECK is Floating!?
I first heard about floating at some point last year, and I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Lying in a tub with a lid, that is filled with salt water for an hour? Why? Seems like a waste of time because if I wanted to be in salt water, I’d take a vacation and go to the ocean.
However, the concept piqued enough of my interest that I decided to do a little more reading, and discovered Clear Float Spa which located in Mission right here in Calgary, and found out just why this would be beneficial for me, and many others.
Floating, put simply, is sensory deprivation. Inside a pod large enough to hold an adult, is usually no more than 10 inches of water, mixed with over 1,000 pounds of epsom salt to allow a person to float effortlessly at the surface. You become completely weightless as you float in water four times denser than the Dead Sea. The epsom salts contain minerals which your skin absorbs during your float, and help to increase blood flow and oxygen throughout the body.
The temperature of the water in the pod is 98F – exactly body temperature. The reason for this is so once you begin to float and relax your body and mind, you won’t be able to tell the difference between your body, the air, and the water. You can choose to have music play, turn the lights on/off within the pod, and for the claustrophobic, you can always leave the lid of the pod partially open. I had the calming meditative music they recommend for the first float play, but chose to turn the lights off, with the pod lid fully closed, to have a more in-depth first experience.
Since the pod itself is a space where stimuli is removed, the body’s parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which is responsible for the release of the happy chemicals in your brain; endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Without stimulus, your body is able to focus internally instead to heal, de-stress, and recover.
While I am sure I did not achieve this during my first float, continued floating will allow a person to fully relax and have their mind enter the theta brain wave state, which is the state your mind reaches one step before entering a deep sleep. This state is optimal for healing, reduced anxiety, zen meditation, and creativity.
Benefits of Floating
- anti-gravity effect on bones and joints
- stress relief
- endorphin production
- heightened senses
- muscle recovery
- increased immunity
- improved sleep
- magnesium absorption
- pain management
- chronic pain relief
I wish I had taken advantage of floating while I was experiencing my endometriosis issues earlier this year – I imagine it would have helped ease the pain! It definitely made a difference in the muscle soreness I had experienced all week long from going back to the gym.
Clear Float Spa Experience
I finally decided to give floating a try, and booked my appointment with Clear Float Spa for 10:00am using my MindBody app on my phone so that I would be able to go work out before my float. While there are other float studios in Calgary, Clear Float was the easy choice for me because they were incredibly helpful, supportive, and answered all my questions when I reached out to them on Twitter earlier this year.
I headed down to Mission after my work out, and in an area that usually costs a small fortune to park in, if you can even find parking, I was so grateful that Clear Float offers FREE parkade parking while you are there! This is a HUGE bonus factor in my books!
I walked in the door and immediately fell in love with the clean, crisp, spa-like atmosphere (they call it Clear Float SPA for a reason) and was warmly greeted. I signed my waiver, provided my license plate number for validation, and was given the option of hot tea or True Buch kombucha which they would have ready for me at the end of my float (I picked peppermint tea), and was given my tour of the studio.
There are 4 float rooms at Clear Float Spa, a zen room for post-float “back-to-reality” time, as well as an area with hair products and blow dryers to spruce yourself back up when you finish.
I was then shown to my float room, which contained a shower and the float pod I would be using for my float. Each room is individual, and locks, so you have complete privacy. Before each float, you need to have a lukewarm/cold shower where you wash your hair with shampoo, and soap off to remove any trace residues, oil, or dirt from your body. The reason to shower in colder water is because once you enter the pod and its body temperature water, your body will naturally cool down if you have a hot shower, which makes the pod feel cold. If you blast yourself quickly with cold water, it will be forced to heat itself, and find the perfect temperature while floating.
Clear Float Spa uses Rocky Mountain Soap Company shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for your pre and post float showers, which I love, because seeing local companies supporting other local companies is amazing! All Rocky Mountain Soap Co. products are all-natural.
You can choose to either float nude, or wear a swimsuit, but being a private room with a lock, I opted for the nudie method. If you have any cuts or scrapes, you just need to put Vaseline on top of them so that the salt doesn’t irritate them. Ear plugs are also available, but not mandatory, thought I opted to use some since I didn’t want to get that much salt into my ears. Once you’re showered off, you can get into the pod!
The instant you get in, you can already feel the buoyancy take effect – I could barely sit down to get positioned before I felt myself trying to float upwards! I put in my ear plugs, pulled the pod lid all the way closed (small spaces don’t bother me), and lay down. It took a few minutes before I really was able to stop tensing, as it truly feels as though you’re going to fall as your mind starts to understand what is going on. I decided to turn the light off, close my eyes, and just breathe.
It took a while – I am not the type of person who is able to shut their mind off and just be. Anytime I am in a yoga class, during savasanah I am typically planning out the rest of my day, the food I am going to eat, and what I am going to wear the next day, but being in complete darkness, with calming music, and not one single thing around to distract me, I eventually drifted off. I’m not sure how long I was asleep, if I was even actually asleep for, but before I knew it, the voice came on to tell me my float had ended, and the light turned back on. I sat up and exited the pod with a sense of calm, relaxed joints, and feeling peaceful.
I took a shower, got dressed, and went to collect my peppermint tea, which came with a handwritten note – the little touches they provide are so special.
I entered the zen room, and began to read the notes that are written all over the walls – you can write anything you’d like in there, sit and read something from the collective library that you are allowed to check out and take home with you, write in their journal, or just be. The room is small, quiet, and cozy, and the perfect spot to unwind as you come back to the sensation of gravity. You can stay in here for as little or as long as you would like!
I sat for 20 minutes, then headed out to the front desk where I was able to even fill up my True Buch bottles, as they have 2 flavors on tap!
I enjoyed it so much, I decided to sign up for the alpha intro membership. Instead of paying $59 for single floats, this means I get 1 float per month, for $49/month, and received 2 extra floats for free for signing up for this offer. I can cancel this membership at any time (not that I see that happening), and if I am unable to use my float in any given month, it carries forward! NO lost floats! You can only purchase the alpha intro membership on your first visit, and the difference between it and the alpha membership is the 2 bonus floats. If you like it, I highly recommend getting the intro offer to take advantage of free!
Booking is extremely simple – either use their website, or your MindBody app. The latter is my favorite way to book since it syncs directly to my calendar and I can easily look through time slots, this makes everything simple and in one spot! I always have my phone, so I always can keep track of my schedule this way.
I truly loved my float experience, and Clear Float Spa. If you’re looking to try something new to relax and rejuvenate, this is it.
Financial compensation was not received for this post, and the float and the following membership were purchased with my own money. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.
I wrote about PranamatEco last November, when I reviewed the Pranamat they generously sent me to try.
I loved (and still love) my Pranamat, and use it regularly to ease my muscles, relax, and increase blood flow. You can read the original post about why I can’t live without my Pranamat here.
When the PranamatEco team reached out to me to send me a PranaPillow to complete my set, I admit I was skeptical. Full disclosure, the exact words that went through my head were: “why do I need a pillow? I can just prop my mat up on a normal pillow and hit that spot in my neck, I sure wouldn’t be paying for a pillow…but I guess I’ll try it if they’re sending it anyways…I mean I do already love my mat.”
I take all those words back. The difference between using the PranaPillow instead of the mat with a pillow underneath it is astounding. For a product I never thought I would need, I am so grateful to have it now.
The PranaPillow is very similar to the Pranamat in the following ways:
- the PranaPillow is an acupressure pillow
- Acupressure is a traditional Chinese therapy that is used to relieve tension, stress, boost the immune system, increase circulation, reduce pain, break down fat deposits, and improve cellular function
- Made with natural, environmentally friendly materials that are hypoallergenic
- The lotus flower massagers are HIPS plastic, certified for use in surgical equipment
- 30 day money back guarantee
- 5 year warranty
- Worldwide shipping, and delivery is usually within 5 days
- Instead of being filled with coconut fiber and lying flat like the mat does, the PranaPillow is filled with 100% natural buckwheat hulls, which allow the pillow to be molded into any position and conform to your body.
- It is PERFECT for the back and sides of my neck, the curve in my lower back, and I also love to put it behind my thighs with my feet slightly elevated when I’m lying on the couch, especially after a run!
- It is smaller and more portable when you need relief for smaller, more specific areas of your body
I work in an office sitting at a desk staring at a computer all day, so I carry a lot of tension in my neck, shoulders, and upper back, especially since I have the worst seated posture ever. The PranaPillow works perfectly for these trouble spots, especially since it conforms to the curves in my back to really pinpoint the tight spots.
I had a surgery last week which involved having my abdomen filled with carbon dioxide gas, and a lot of it remains in my body after surgery. One of the ways to release it is to walk and move, but I’ve been struggling to remove the last of the lingering gas from my shoulders and neck. Using the pillow a couple times a day in those trouble spots has really made a difference and helped to relieve the pain!
The Complete Set
I adore my full set. I have both the Pramat, PranaPillow, and my sweet mom bought me the travel bag for Christmas, so I am prana-portable now! Both the mat and pillow are turquoise/turquoise (obviously), and I have the turquoise/natural bag.
My favorite part about having a complete set is that now I can focus on more of my body at one time! I will place the pillow on my neck and shoulders, and then lay on the mat from mid-back to bum. It took some getting used to having that many lotus flowers on my body at once (221 on the mat and 95 on the pillow, and each flower has 25 pressure points!), but as soon as I stop tensing, relax my body, and breathe normally, it feels amazing.
The combination of the Pranamat and the PranaPillow have done wonders for my body and mind:
- less muscle tension
- mild decrease in cellulite on my upper thighs/hamstrings
- better sleep, wtih less waking throughout the night
- fewer, and less severe, headaches
- less DOMS after a workout
- 20 minutes minimum of relaxation per day with no cell phone
The products are versatile and travel friendly! I can use either the pillow, the mat, or both, while lying on the floor, couch, or on my bed. I have even taken my mat to work with me when I am feeling especially tight.
I can also now travel with my Pranamat, which you can bet I will be doing when I go on my cruise to Greece, Italy, Montengro, and Spain in July! Those long haul flights and 18 hour travel days will definitely require some acupressure time and I can easily take my Pranamat as a carry-on now with the carrying bag!
A key update from my original post – you can now buy the bag separately by visiting Pranaline – this was my only complaint about the products, and it’s been rectified! I have nothing but pure love for these natural, high-quality, gorgeous, and amazing products.
Click HERE to check out the site and their amazing natural products.
Financial compensation was not received for this post. A sample product was gifted from PranamatEco. This post contains affiliate links meaning I receive compensation if an order is placed after using a link I provided. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.
As some of you may know, I am having a surgery at some point this year that could have me recovering on the couch for up to six weeks. Anticipating this, I decided to spend a weekend making some meals that could be frozen ahead of time to ensure that I (and the BF) could eat wholesome, healthy, and delicious food each night with leftovers for lunch the next day!
Using a mix of personal favorites, and a couple of new finds on Pinterest, I successfully made up 30 dishes, and each will feed the BF and I both dinner and lunch, with some even feeding an additional meal or two (the chicken pot pie and the pulled pork will feed at least 6). I tried to make sure I had a good variety of meals, with different proteins, and avoided duplicates so we wouldn’t get bored!
I planned out the meals I wanted, made a comprehensive grocery list, and spent $300 on groceries, not including the frozen chicken breasts I already had at home, as well as dried goods (like rice) and spices, and was able to complete the entire prep! This works out to $10/meal and $2.50/serving. While the BF had a mild heart attack at the total bill between Costco and Safeway before I began this prep, once I did this math, I felt much more relieved. For that entire month as we use these meals, the only groceries we will need to buy is fruit, vegetables, and milk! I generally spend around $125 per week on groceries, if not more, so this is much more economical. Each of the recipes below I split into two meal portions.
It’s also important to note that I own a FoodSaver vacuum sealer – this thing is the best gift my father has ever given me. Not only can I freeze any and everything from soups, to whole chickens, to burger patties, it also is a fantastic method to marinate food for a couple of hours before cooking and getting all that flavor that normally takes an overnight process. I used the sealer for most of my meals, with the exception of 10 square tins and 2 pie tins that I bought at the dollar store, for a whole $12. You can definitely still do this prep with freezer Ziploc bags, I just prefer the vacuum sealer because there is no chance of leaking or spoiling. I also lay these bags flat to freeze, and they now can stand up straight and use up minimal space in the deep freeze.
While I don’t follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, I am sure that any of these recipes could be adapted to suit your own needs! All links to recipes are provided. Full grocery list provided as well!
Items with a * can be cooked in the crockpot
Meat (I purchased all my meat in bulk at Costco, it was the most cost-efficient)
12 chicken breasts
6 lbs. lean ground beef/ground turkey (I did 5 beef and 1 turkey)
2 lbs. beef stewing cubes
4-6 pork chops
2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1/3 c. cooked crumbled bacon (I use the pre-cooked bacon bits from Costco)
1 pound Italian sausage (I omitted this)
1 ½ c. grated parmesan cheese (I use Kraft dried parmesan)
12 c. shredded cheese
⅓ c. + 2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 c. milk
½ c. heavy cream
1 c. light sour cream
1 c. ricotta cheese
4 cans tomato sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
3 c. chicken broth
6 c. diced tomatoes
2 cans corn niblets
1 can white navy beans
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 cans cream of chicken soup
3 jars pasta sauce (of choice)
1 – 14 oz. can pizza sauce
12 cups (cooked) rice
1 onion soup mix
1 pork gravy mix
1 package taco seasoning mix
1½ c. dry macaroni noodles
Beef bouillon powder
Chicken bouillon powder
1 bunch celery
5 red potatoes
6 heads of broccoli
7 large carrots
1 green pepper
1 bag frozen peas
1 package frozen ravioli of choice (I used fresh chicken and cheese ravioli)
1 package frozen meatballs
4 unbaked pie crusts (I used 2 packages of Pillsbury pie crusts, each comes with 2)
15 no-boil lasagna noodles