If you’re anything like me, you have to be pretty picky when it comes to nutrition supplements. Not only do I read and scrutinize product labels a MILLION (+1) times, but I also research anything I am unsure of.
With that being said, you guys can always be confident in what I share with you – know that it’s always genuine.
So I have been an athlete my entire life, starting from age 4. I’ve played soccer, baseball (yes, BASEBALL, as a child, and I was the only girl on the team), gymnastics, floor hockey, dance, softball, cheerleading in middle school, basketball in highschool, and in college I took yoga and kickboxing classes.
Then as a young, working adult (living in Hawaii), my leisurely hobbies included surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and hiking. I also trained (cardio) 4-5 times a week, tracking 2-3 mile runs up the mountainside in which I lived.
During that time, my resting heart rate was around 55 bpm. I was in great physical shape. To further benefit my workouts and activities, I would use pretty much whatever protein supplement either “sounded good” or was on sale. However, little did I know, this was only exacerbating the damage to my body that was taking place internally (damage that would soon come to light in those coming years.)
Fast forward though, over 5 years later and you have the Heather that you guys “know” now.
Recently I gave birth to my second child, following yet another harrowing pregnancy (you can read that story – here).
I was basically pregnant for 14 months (because I had a miscarriage prior to the pregnancy with my son – read THAT story, here).
Regardless, during my son’s pregnancy, my resting heartbeat was regularly around 110 bpm. Now when you’re pregnant, you do have a larger volume of blood in your body, so it’s somewhat normal for your usual resting heart rate to increase. But for me, the drastic change was yet another indicator of the overall state of my body since my autoimmune condition reared its’ ugly head two years prior.
I started tackling my autoimmune conditions shortly after giving birth to my firstborn (why Balanced Life Aloha was created). However, between being a wife, a new mom, back in school (earned a Bachelors Degree in Health & Wellness), and knowing that our family plans included giving our daughter a sibling, I also knew that my body was not *YET* going to be able to heal to the potential I believed it could with the tools I was discovering and adopting.
…(& that’s because) I read somewhere once, that it takes a woman’s body about two years to recover from a pregnancy and birth (hormonally, physically, etc.). So, with my two rough pregnancies, a life-threatening complication (read about that – here), a traumatic vaginal birth, a miscarriage that resulted in an emergency surgery, and the most recent – a horrible c-section, I have a lot to heal from.
Now don’t get me wrong though, there have been great benefits from the opulence of my lifestyle (since I vowed to take back my health). For instance, I have healed ALL of my food allergies/leaky gut (read and see my video on how to do so – here).
But, there are still a substantial amount of issues that need to be addressed and healed.
AND THAT is what has lead me here, expressing my gratitude and excitement for Vital Proteins!
During the first few months of my postpartum journey, I was unceasingly planning my (even further) adapted lifestyle, and researching nutritional supplements that could best assist me in reaching my goals, without also doing any harm to my delicate state.
& I kid you not, when I found Vital Proteins, I could not curb my excitement.
First, let me share their Mission Statement with you:
“Vital Proteins helps people feel better and live fuller lives through sustainably-sourced nutrition products, promoting health, fitness and natural beauty. We do that by providing nourishing collagen and promoting our production of collagen – an essential nutrient stripped from our diets by modern food-processing.
We know that while our bodies’ collagen production slows as we age, our need for it only grows as our bodies become less efficient and we maintain a vibrant life. And Vital Proteins believes that if you want to, you can make the most out of every moment you’re given – that your body shouldn’t be a limitation, but a catalyst.
Our products are natural sources of essential proteins, sourced from pasture-raised cows in Brazil and New Zealand and wild-caught fish in Hawaii. Why go so many extra miles for these sources? Because there’s nothing more important than one’s health, and we believe the body needs and deserves high-quality building blocks for life’s adventures.
Whether we can help add a mile to your run, a glow to your complexion or just enrich your naturally vibrant life, there’s a protein for everyone, and more than one reason to love Vital Proteins.”
Are you now asking yourself, “But why collagen?”, well their answer to you is:
“Our ancestors utilized sustainable whole animal nutrition, which provided an abundant amount of collagen. Over the past century modern food processing has removed this natural and healthy protein from our diets. Collagen is vital for our body and is the basic building block of skin, hair, nails, bones and joints.”
Without making this article a short novel in length (oops), I will briefly share the issues that I personally have on my list of “needing to address” and HEALING (*Note: some have been on-going battles since before motherhood and some are directly related to motherhood):
- Thyroid Disfunction
- Skin Discoloration (from hormones)
- Overall Skin Elasticity
- Back Pain (muscular)
- Spine Pain (I was diagnosed with a T-spine compression/fracture)
- Joint Pain
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Loss of Muscle Tone
Now everyone’s reasons for seeking out nutritional supplements will vary, and these are just some of the ones on my list, but it’s imperative to remember that such products are not a simple *miracle fix*. (i.e.) Wanting clearer skin, consuming collagen, but still living a skin-destructing lifestyle (like smoking), is not going to provide you what you are looking for. Such supplements are optimally to accentuate and assist the OTHER lifestyle changes one incorporates when seeking healing and improved overall wellness.
These are the Vital Proteins supplements that I incorporate in to my DAILY life:
I listed the ‘Beauty Greens‘ first because it has been my favorite. The ingredient list includes Marine Collagen (NON-GMO, wild-caught red snapper), Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Coconut Water, Organic Spinach, Organic Alfalfa Leaf, Organic Kale, Hyaluronic Acid, Bacillus Coagulans, etc.
One of the reasons that this is my favorite, is because it contains a SOIL ORGANISM Probiotic, along with the overall FLAVOR of the supplement. In reading the ingredient list, one may conclude that the flavor would be hard to swallow. However, I was utterly shocked when I first opened the container because it smelled like sweet Matcha green tea!! Even better though, is that it tastes just as great as it smells. I literally can mix a scoop of this alone with just filtered water (or my favorite alkaline water “Waiakea“), and drink it with no problem + enjoyment ;) .
BUTTTTTTT, (No, I’m not done yet), the icing on the cake are the benefits that I believe this has provided me with. I am extremely fortunate to not have developed any stretch marks from my pregnancies… HOWEVERRRRR, since I started breastfeeding my son, the large fluctuation in breast size had created stretch marks on the underside of each breast. I never dealt with this type of thing before, so when I first started to notice them, I just thought to myself, “Well, I guess this is just another badge of motherhood I will sport proudly for the rest of my life” (But, honestly, deep-down, this did bother me).
See, I am a HUGE advocate of homemade bone broth (find my recipe – here). It’s something that I drink almost everyday, and the benefits of the gelatin and trace minerals have been crucial in my digestive healing and overall skin health. So, I thought that I never had to worry about stretch marks.
Have you ever read the quote, “You have been assigned this mountain in order to show others it can be moved”?? Well, I think this is a perfect situation to apply it to. See, five months ago when these deep red, almost purple streaks showed up on my skin, I thought they were something I had to learn to love. But, just one month of incorporating Vital Proteins’ Collagen Beauty Greens in to my diet, and those stretchmarks have nearly VANISHED. *No, I’m not fibbing nor exaggerating, and NO, I am not being paid to share this with you. I share my successes (as well as failures) in order to fulfill my divine purpose here, I promise.
I also like to add this in to my homemade “green juices” which consists of spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, lime, parsley, mint, and cilantro.
As well as my homemade kiwi + spirulina nicecream:
Since I began my AIP/Paleo journey, I have wanted to venture out in to the world of cooking (and liking) offal – in particular, liver. That’s because I learned just how gigantic of a nutritional powerhouse it is!
It is one of THE most nutrient-dense foods that exists. It contains nutrients that are difficult to get elsewhere. It’s high in Retinol (Vitamin A), B12, Folate, Riboflavin, Zinc, Copper, and Choline. However, the taste is what turns most people off about eating liver. BUT THAT, my friend, is the reason why I jumped for joy when I found Vital Proteins had a CLEAN beef liver capsule supplement option. I take these every other day (because I am still breastfeeding, I caution getting TOO much Vitamin A).
Virtually odorless and tasteless, Beef Gelatin is super versatile. However, it will “gel” in cold liquids, thus, its’ optimal use is in soups, broths, sauces, gravy, and as a natural protein booster and thickener, many also utilize it within their baking.
My personal favorite ways to use gelatin though, is in making homemade fruit gummies or ‘leathers’, you can find my recipe for those – here , and in my homemade acai bowls (pictured below). This particular formulation easily mixes without leaving clumps and has a WAY LESS apparent (almost completely nonexistent) “weird” smell compared to other brands I have used in the past.
Health wise, gelatin has the advantage of taking slightly longer to digest and coating the small intestine, which is beneficial in gut healing diets like GAPS, AIP, or SCD.
The gelatin I have been consuming from my previously-mentioned bone broth, is the greater part of HOW I healed my digestive tract and rid myself of food allergies. But, to also have this option of wielding Vital Proteins‘ 100% Pure/Pasture-Raised & Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin, (especially when I am very busy) I am very grateful!
This would probably be my second favorite Vital Proteins product. And that is because of my specific health needs. Whether it’s because of having an autoimmune condition, or if it’s because of the physical stress of pregnancy and having children to carry, my joints get weary. Even more so, I have “joint hyper mobility syndrome”, which basically means that my joints stretch further than ‘normal’. This has caused me pain throughout my life, but now as an adult having the knowledge of CARTILAGE COLLAGEN, there is a sense of relief physically and emotionally. This is because the natural chondroitin sulfate promotes healthy cartilage, tendons, & ligaments.
The emotional aspect of it is because my daughter has inherited this hyper mobility; and I don’t want her to suffer during physical activities like I did growing up. Therefore, these super convenient capsules will probably be a staple in our household, forever!
These specific Vital Protein brand ones are Pasture-Raised and Grass-Fed Bovine Tracheal Cartilage. Meaning, the hides in which the cartilage collagen is from, are basically hormone-free as well. That being because the cattle industry in Brazil is still based on grass systems, where the cattle are pasture raised. This constitutes an important advantage for Brazilian cattle. Since the cattle were pasture-raised and grass fed, this eliminates the risk of rBGH in their feed. Brazil also has a law (Decree No 57 824 Article 4(4)) which prohibits the addition of hormones to feed. The hormone rBGH is typically injected into dairy cows to make them produce more milk. The Nelore breed is not a dairy producing cow and is strictly used as a beef breed. Based on these factors, the collagen is derived from bovine hide without the use of hormones like rBGH.
*Even more benefits include:
- Promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails.
- Helps regulate immune system.
- Assists with post-exercise recovery.
Collagen Peptides and Beef Gelatin (explained-previously above) have similar amino acid profiles, offer similar nutritional benefits, and are both virtually odorless and tasteless. However, they are quite different in application.
And that is because, as Vital Proteins states, “…peptides are gelatin proteins broken down into their constituent peptide chains through an enzymatic process. This allows our collagen peptides to not ‘gel’ in cold liquids. Heating them will not alter their nutritional value. The peptides have the advantage of mixing well into both cold and hot liquids without them ‘gelling.’ However, you cannot use them in recipes that call for gelatin. You may add our peptides to cold and hot beverages alike, such as a smoothie, juice, water, tea or coffee, as well as a variety of foods like pancakes or oatmeal to boost the protein content.“
My personal favorite way to utilize the collagen peptides, is as an added benefit to smoothies. And like my testimony in regards to the gelatin, this too is flavor-less.
All in all, whether you’re seeking healthier – more vibrant skin, optimal joint health, an overall boost in healing, or whatever those wellness goals may be, I have confidence that Vital Proteins has a bottled-up powerhouse that can help. I started noticing benefits within a few days of incorporating these clean supplements in to my lifestyle.
Most importantly though, I hope my genuine keenness for this collection excites you to seek your own unique healing aids for not only building, but maintaining a secure and healthy body.
Cheers to Good Health!