Tag: collagen

How To Effortlessly Boost Collagen Levels For Beautiful Skin


You’ve heard of collagen and know that it’s good for your skin. But let’s take a deeper dive with Veronica Wheat, the “V” in Chef V and find out exactly what collagen is and how to boost levels of it in your body so that your skin looks more youthful. And let’s improve our skin in healthy ways.

Have you ever seen a skyscraper under construction? Ever wonder how they build these monstrosities? With scaffolding just like this:

scaffolding

What does scaffolding and skyscrapers have to do with your skin?

Well, in order to understand collagen, you first have to imagine that your skin and bones also have a matrix (obviously on a much smaller scale, like invisible small).

Collagen Basics For Skin

The stretchy connective tissue that makes up your skin requires a strong, structural framework, just like skyscraper scaffolding. The framework that prevents your skin from completely sagging to the floor is called the extracellular matrix.

And there’s something that needs to provide structural integrity to this extracellular matrix. And that something is collagen—the most important protein in connective tissue (skin), not to mention your bones.

Out of thousands of proteins in the human body, collagen is by far the most abundant. Roughly 30% of all protein in the human body is one type of collagen or another.

There are 28 different collagen types, but when it comes to youthful-looking skin, we’re only concerned with collagen type I & III.

How Aging Affects Collagen

The aging process can be cruel to the skin. And what’s going on under the hood of our skin, so to speak, is that by the time you’re 25, your collagen levels in your body are already on the decline.

In fact, starting around age 30, 2% of our collagen stores will be depleted. By age 40, we have lost roughly 15% of the collagen we had when we were born. (But don’t let that depress you if you’re celebrating your 40th soon!). Then, once we turn 60, say goodbye to roughly 50% of your original collagen.

Going through menopause is especially a collagen killer. That’s because when you go through menopause, your estrogen levels plummet. Estrogen is vital for collagen production.

“Estrogen appears to aid in the prevention of skin aging in several ways. [It] prevents a decrease in skin collagen in postmenopausal women; topical and systemic estrogen therapy can increase the skin collagen content and therefore maintain skin thickness.” —The American Journal of Dermatology


How To Defy The Aging Process & Support Collagen Through Food

So there’s good news and bad news with collagen. I’ll start with the bad. While our bodies can make new collagen, as we age, we lose more of it than our body can rebuild and repair. And not only that, the collagen protein fibers that we do have start getting weaker. That’s why wrinkles develop.

The good news is that there are simple nutritional interventions that can help our collagen build back better.

Chicken Bone Broth



I’m not a strict vegetarian but I rarely promote meat. One rare exception is bone broth because it contains collagen. Bone broth contains collagen protein because the process of slow cooking bones for many hours releases collagen from the bones. So by consuming the collagen from animal bones, you’re helping revitalize your own body’s collagen.
In addition, bone broth contains other nutrients that help with collagen growth and repair such as:

Hyaluronic acid



According to the Cleveland Clinic, it helps skin stretch and flex and reduces skin wrinkles and lines; also reduces visible scars.

Chondroitin



This compound plays a major role in connective tissue and is essential for normal skin health and regeneration.

Glycosaminoglycans

Known as GAGs, these complex sugars—not the unhealthy kind you might think of in junk food—hold nearly 1,000 times their own weight. Translation: a moisturizing weapon for your skin you’ve never heard of. GAGs also support collagen and elastin, another important skin structural protein.

In addition, bone broth contains a great balance of minerals that support collagen production. But what if you’re a vegetarian? Thankfully, there are non-meat, collagen-building foods…

Green Leafy Veggies

Nearly everybody knows that green leafy veggies are among the healthiest foods on Earth. (Can’t stand eating them? Then drink them!)

But what you may not know is that green leafy veggies are a great source of a vitamin that hardly gets any attention: vitamin K. And it turns out that vitamin K is really effective at building that skin-and-bone scaffolding matrix I was talking about earlier, research shows.

Citrus Fruits & Berries

Citrus and berries contain good amounts of vitamin C. And vitamin C is a precursor (building block) of collagen. So make sure you’re getting both citrus and berries in your diet everyday.

Collagen Powder

Very few people like sipping on a piping hot mug of bone broth in the summer. And many people don’t like the meaty, savory taste of bone broth everyday. But you can get the benefits of collagen without broth simply by adding a scoop of collagen powder to a smoothie (or even your Green Drink!).

More and more non-meat-sourced collagen powders have become available, including marine collagen powder (derived from fish) and even plant-based collagen powders.

Botox For Collagen

And finally, no article about more youthful skin would be complete without mentioning botox. OK, so you can’t eat botox. That would be bad, and it’s the reason why babies can’t eat honey for the first year of life. (Both botox and honey have a toxin called botulinum.)

Obviously, people can go overboard with the botox treatments. But if you’re in need of major wrinkle reduction, there’s no doubt that Botox helps the skin build collagen. But don’t think that by getting a Botox injection, it gives you a free pass to eat like crap! You need to eat a high antioxidant diet every day otherwise the effects of Botox may be short-lived.

Bottom line, there aren’t enough long term studies on the effects of botox injections. We recommend getting as much collagen as you can in your diet, limiting your exposure to botox and trying a more natural route.

Green Drink Skin Benefits: Way Beyond Skin Deep

green drink skin benefits

The benefits of Green Drink for skin can have much more of an impact than a cosmetic procedure like a facial. After all, facials and other beauty care methods are only, well, skin deep. But green drinks can benefit your skin from the inside out. Chef V explains….

Take a look at my picture. If you’ve never seen a picture of me, that’s me. Oh, if only I looked as stunning as Coconut, my beloved pooch.

But in truth I do get compliments on my skin from time to time. Now, I might be comfortable in my skin, so to speak. However, I consider myself a modest person and not vain in the slightest bit. Therefore, I’m not one to usually talk about my appearance. I’m going to make an exception here. You see, sure, genetics might have to do with how youthful your skin looks.

kale

Benefits of Green Drink for Skin: Collagen

Let’s talk about protein. Not the protein you get from food, but the protein that makes up who you are. Your body has hundreds of thousands of different proteins. And the most abundant human protein is collagen. Roughly one-third of your body’s protein is collagen. Collagen is the foundation of your connective tissue.

Collagen is a matrix-like structure formed by amino acids. It’s the most common protein in the skin along with keratin. The reason why we look older as we age is that our collagen denatures, weakens and shrinks. It gets weaker and weaker every year. In fact, after age 30 or so, you lose at least one percent of your collagen’s strength every year. That means by age 60, you’re collagen will be 30% weaker than when you are 30 years old.

But here’s one of the key benefits of green drink for skin: the vitamins and minerals help prevent or even re-generate your own body’s collagen. How cool is that? Do you see why I consider having a Green Drink every day the healthiest thing you can do for your health and beauty?

The dark green veggies in Organic Green Drink encourage collagen production. The older you get, the more important this is. That’s because collagen production slows down as you age. However, veggies rich in vitamin C inhibit the breakdown of collagen.

Benefits of Green Drink for Skin: Better Digestion

Here’s another reason why it’s great to have green juice for glowing skin. Because of poor diet, many people have insufficient stomach acid. Adult acne and other skin problems is a direct indication that not only does the gut not have enough good bacteria, the stomach doesn’t have enough gastric juice to break down the nutrients. This results in inflammation. And acne and other skin disorders are a symptom of inflammation.

And if you don’t have enough stomach acid, you can’t efficiently digest protein. Moreover, just like probiotics, gastric juices help fight bad bacteria. Consequently, if you can’t fully digest your food, microbial overgrowth occurs, leading to inflammation and potential skin problems.

But one of the main benefits of green drink for skin is that the veggies help stimulate the release of stomach acid. Moreover, the veggies in our Organic Green Drink alkalize the body and reduce inflammation.

green drink and digestion

Benefits of Green Drink for Skin: Enzymes

Now, not all green drinks are great for your skin. That’s because most green drinks are pasteurized. However, our Green Drinks are raw. And what this means is that when you chug some Green Drink, you get a ton of naturally-occurring enzymes. Enzymes are critical in absorption of nutrients. One major factor why many people have chronic disease is that they don’t eat enough enzyme-rich foods like raw green veggies. Cooked food destroys enzymes. That’s why one of the healthiest and easiest things you can do to ensure you’re getting some enzyme-rich raw veggies in your diet is to have a daily serving of Certified Organic Green Drink.

Chef V and kale

Chef V’s Favorite Supplements For Improving Gut Health

Did you know there’s a non-stop party in your gut? It’s true. In your microbiome—the home of your trillions of bacteria, both the friendly and unfriendly kind—your gut bacteria are constantly eating our leftovers. If only we could claim them as tax dependents! So how can you make sure you’re feeding the good guys in your gut and not the bad? Chef V has one simple solution and offers her 3 favorite gut-supporting supplements…

It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie and it’s kind of creepy if you think about it…

In your gut, there’s a constant war going on. It’s a 365/24/7 battle between your good gut bacteria and your harmful bacteria. Your good bacteria craves things like green leafy veggies to your diet—whether you eat or drink them. That’s how they grow and multiply and crowd out the unfriendly bacteria. 

When we eat and drink unhealthy food, it’s the potentially-harmful bacteria that thrives in the gut. But never ever blame yourself for indulging. You see, it’s not you, it’s your unfriendly microbes—they have a huge impact on what you decide to eat. 

Besides sipping on Organic Green Drinks every morning instead of eating a big, typical breakfast, I have a few other ways for you to support your gut microbiome. I’m not usually one to be a big promoter of supplements. But having a healthy gut microbiome is so important. Because after all, health starts in the gut! 

So here are my top 3 gut health supporting supplements.

collagen

Collagen Protein

Who hasn’t heard of collagen by now? But I’m not talking about collagen implants for your gut. Nope, your lips are beautiful enough. And I’m not talking about collagen cream for wrinkles. The collagen I’m talking about for gut health comes in powder form that you can add to smoothies or even your morning Green Drink. 

But there’s something all collagen products have in common. They are formulated to help your own body make more collagen. And what is collagen? It’s the most abundant type of human protein in the body. What makes you, you is tens of thousands of proteins. There are different types of collagen but just know that collagen is king when it comes to your body. 

And here’s what collagen does. It’s basically the glue that holds all of your skin, muscles, organs and tissues together. Gut lining included. 

The problem is that after age 40, your levels of collagen start declining. And the collagen you do have gets weaker. So by taking collagen powder, we can support our gut health by strengthening the protective barrier of the gut so nothing leaks out of it that’s not supposed to. 

leafy greens

L-Glutamine

If you have frequent bloating, constipation or other digestive issues, L-glutamine is another powder that can help support your gut. While collagen is a protein, glutamine is a building block of protein (an amino acid). 

So you already know that collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Well, glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the protective barrier of your gut. Roughly one-third of your body’s glutamine goes to your gut. 

And if you have a lot of stress going on, that stress could gobble up a good amount of glutamine. In light of this, it might help to take an L-glutamine supplement. (L-glutamine is just glutamine in supplement form.)

Marshmallow Root

Another supplement that can be great for your gut microbiome is not the same kind of marshmallows you roast by a campfire. Back in the day, before modern food processing methods were invented, marshmallows were actually made with the root from the plant. 

Marshmallow root has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for all kinds of things. And the cool thing is research studies support it for gut health. And here’s how it works. 

Marshmallow root soothes inflammation in the gut lining. Beyond that, it might help to build back up the sticky layer of mucus that surrounds the gut barrier. 

So if you want to improve your gut and, by extension, your overall health, try marshmallow—just not the candied kind. 

These are by no means all the supplements that may help support your gut microbiome. And you don’t have to take all three at once. I just love giving you a few options so you can achieve your health goals. 

Love, 

Chef V

Fuller Lips: Simple Tips and Tricks for Luscious Puckers (Lip Yoga?)

SIBO - snacking

Fuller lips … we can’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty of thick, erotic, sexy-looking lips. But no doubt you’ve seen the after-effects of plastic surgery for fuller lips look not so attractive. Chef V’s here to fill you in on how to fill your lips without undergoing the knife or getting expensive collagen injections.

I travel a lot for work, traveling from coast to coast. And one of my guilty pleasures is catching up on celebrity gossip on those long flights. Go ahead and judge me if you want. But I can’t always be reading research studies on nutrition and health. My mind would explode.

In my mission to help educate Chef V customers about health and beauty tips, I got one idea for an article. And, guilty as charged, I got the idea from a celebrity gossip magazine (which will remain nameless). The article featured the celebrities–both living and deceased–with the best lips.

Who was on the list, you’re dying to know? Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame. And of course Marilyn Monroe and Angelina Jolie. Other celebrities with top puckers include Rihanna, Scarlett Johansson, and Jessica Alba, to name a few.

But these celebs’ lips are rarely natural. Typically, they’re surgically-enhanced. Sure, you can get collagen injection shots for several hundred bucks or more, every six months. And, you can also spend lots of money on skincare products. But the ingredients in most skin care products are toxic. (How can you tell if the brand you use contains safe ingredients? Check out the Environmental Working Group website.) Furthermore, you can buy lip volumizers and lip plumping devices.

However, if you don’t have more money than God like these celebs do and don’t want to get surgery (which always has a risk of complications), is there anything you can do to get fuller lips? Is there anything for fuller lips that isn’t just a gimmick?

fuller lips with collagen

Fuller Lips: Trick #1 – Lip Yoga

When I heard about the following facial exercises I’ll share with you, I was very skeptical. But let me just say it works. After doing these exercises for fuller lips, my lips were tingling for a long time. It actually feels like your lips are getting plumper after doing them. The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re hydrated. Even if you’re not sure if you are, go ahead right now and chug a glass of water.

Next, pretend you’re about to blow up a balloon. But don’t blow out. Keep about half your breath. In other words, blow your cheeks up halfway. Then, you’ll transfer the air inside your mouth from one cheek to another. Supposedly, the article I read that describes this exercise for fuller lips says this helps reduce fine lines around the mouth. Does research prove it works? Probably not. All I can say is I really felt the effects of these exercises for fuller lips. And for this first one, repeat it five times. That’s all it takes for your face to feel all tingly.

fuller lips

Fuller Lips: Trick #2 – Go Kiss Yourself

Another trick for fuller lips is by practicing blowing kisses to yourself. What better way to get fuller lips than by practicing some self love? It’s not necessary to kiss your hand and point your fingers, blowing the kiss away. All you need to do is pucker your lips and pretend kiss. Do this for a minute or more. Your lips will get hot and tingly again. Whether or not your lips will get bigger over time is uncertain. But what’s equally important is that your lips appear fuller.

Fuller Lips: Trick #3: Be Like Nemo

Another trick I learned that I want to share with you will make you look like a funny fish. Simply suck in the sides of your mouth and make a fish face. Now here’s where the lip yoga really comes in. The next step you can say is the equivalent of a downward dog/upward dog routine for your lips. While your lips are inverted puckered like a fish, lift your lips up. Hold this lip yoga posture for up to 10 seconds. Then do the reverse, bringing your lips down. Same thing, hold for up to 10 seconds. Try for 20 reps both up and down.

A couple other lip yoga tips and tricks that I got from the article (on Livestrong.com): open your mouth super wide. No, wider! Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat several times. And here’s another one: press your lips together super tight. Make a popping sound. Then, relax your lips. If you want fuller lips, repeat several times.

lip yoga

Fuller Lips: Trick #4: Take Collagen

Collagen is the structural protein in your lips that makes them sexy and pouty and plump. Imagine collagen like the skeleton of a skyscraper. Super strong, erect steel. In fact, the fibers in collagen are as strong as steel cables. The problem is that your collagen loses strength with the aging process and lifestyle factors. Taking an oral collagen supplement such as collagen peptide powder can help strengthen your own collagen. Thus, your lips will look luscious and fuller.

Diet, of course, is critical in keeping your skin looking healthy. Did you know that sugar connects itself to the collagen in your skin. And consequently, it causes your skin to stiffen. So try to cut down on added sugars. Also, besides collagen peptide powder, eat lots of veggies that help build your own collagen. The seven green veggies in Chef V Organic Green Drink are rich in vitamins and minerals that provide the essential building blocks for your collagen fibers to stay (or get) strong.

Here’s to your health and better, fuller lips!

Chef V and kale

4 Tools for a Summer Slimdown (without hardcore exercise)

summer weight loss

Oh my what months of social distancing has done. Summer clothes show all – especially the Covid-10 pound weight gain. The beaches are open (with precautions) and feeling and looking good means taking off the flab.

The good news is you don’t have to do high-intensity, American Ninja Warrior-type exercise to have a hot summer bod. All you need is a reboot of your digestive system. Here are my 4 top tips for improving digestion and getting lean for summer….

#1: Apple Cider Vinegar

Can your “mother” help you achieve a summer slim down?

And by “mother” I mean the cloudy film that rests on top of a bottle of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV)….

Raw ACV bottles such as those sold by the brand, Bragg (the same company that sells liquid amino acids, a soy sauce alternative) prominently advertise “with the mother” on the product label. As well they should. That’s because the mother is tiny bits and pieces of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria.

ACV helps increase stomach acid production. And because of the friendly bacteria it contains, it also acts like a probiotic.

Honestly, I tried to find some research on humans that shows ACV can help with weight loss. I hit a brick wall, but I did find some research on animals (rats and mice) that support using it for the following: reducing fat storage; lowering blood sugar; improves metabolism and suppressing appetite.

The only downside to ACV is it tastes really harsh. But you can add it to a Green Drink to mask the taste.

ACV is also good for skin. In fact, many people use ACV to treat skin conditions. Drinking a little bit every day can help clear your skin from the inside-out. And because of its beneficial bacteria and enzymes, it can help cleanse your body.

apple cider vinegar

#2: Bone Broth/Collagen Powder

Pretty soon, it’ll be too hot to sip bone broth.

But collagen protein powders have become very popular. And you can easily add a scoop of it in your blender with almond milk and my Organic Protein Shake if you’re doing a Chef V Cleanse.

If you don’t know the difference between the two: Bone broth is animal bones with herbs and spices cooked in water for 24 hours in a slow cooker. The long-simmering process of bone broth releases collagen protein from the bones.

I admit that there’s a lot of hype surrounding bone broth and collagen protein. There are claims that it can cure just about everything.

There is research, however, that shows supplementing with collagen protein can help repair your gut. Gut health is crucial for burning fat. It’s not easy to get ready for a summer slimdown if you don’t have a healthy gut.

In fact, some people have a condition that’s known in the alternative medicine field as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut is when the tiny junctions of your gut lining tear, allowing undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. When this happens, your detoxification system  slows down. Not only that, leaky gut can also cause an autoimmune disease.

Sipping on some fresh bone broth every day can help repair your gut and improve your body’s detox system. I do not believe in store bought bone broth, it is like trying to get your vitamins from Hi-C. Store bought bone broth is not real bone broth and does not have the same benefits. The only way to get the full benefits of bone broth is fresh made or fresh bought. It should expire in a week.  An alternative to bone broth is to take a collagen protein powder supplement.

probiotic flora

#3: Probiotics

I’ve mentioned probiotics at least a couple times recently, including the best one to bring with you if you’re travelling.

I’ll just quickly rehash here why probiotics are so important for getting or staying lean. The healthier your gut microbiome (the trillions of bacteria, etc.), that is the more friendly bacteria you have in your gut, the easier it will be to digest your food. And the easier it is to digest your food, the less likely it will be that you’ll have difficulty getting rid of unwanted body fat.

There are a few problems with probiotics….

First is that many people forget to take them everyday. Set yourself a daily reminder on your smartphone to take them in the morning or before bed.

Second, some people don’t buy a strong enough probiotic. Look for a supplement that has several different strains of bacteria and has a minimum count of 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) per capsule. The reason you need a high count is that a lot of the bacteria won’t survive the harsh trip through the digestive system.

And third, not all brands of probiotics are of good quality. Do your research before you buy. My favorite is Bio-K – they have a dairy or non-dairy version and it is fresh.

#4:  A Chef V Detox with my Green Drink, Detox Soups, and Protein Shakes

So this last tip for a summer slimdown isn’t exactly a supplement. But it’s a great way to to make sure you’re looking and feeling great when you’re ready to take your first dip in the ocean or pool….

If you do my 21 Day Detox, you’ll be amazed by the transformation your body will undergo, (not to mention your skin, mood and energy levels).

Here’s how it works: you alternate between following my Healthy Routine and doing a 3 day cleanse. During the 3 day cleanse, you get 4 servings of my Green Drink plus 2- 16 oz. Protein Shakes and 1 detox soup for dinner. And during the Healthy Routine phase, you’ll get a 16-ounce Green Drink and 1- 16 oz. Protein Shake for breakfast. Then for lunch and dinner, you’ll use my healthy eating and meal planner guides, which contains delicious recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, and entrees.

The best part is I deliver the Green Drinks, Protein Shakes and Detox Soups to your front door (Well not personally, but my company does.)

Doing a 21-Day Detox is the easiest, most affordable, and safest way to lose 30 pounds or more.

You can also try a 3, 5 or 7-day Cleanse if you just want to dip your pinky toe in the shallow end.

Good luck with your summer slimdown. Even if you don’t want to spend any money on supplements, rebooting your digestive system by doing a Chef V Cleanse or Detox will get you bikini ready!

Love,

Veronica (Chef V)

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.