gut health

Better-Than-Botox Sour Mango Collagen Gummies - Rebelle Nutrition

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YOU GUYS.

If you’ve been following along on my instagram stories, you know that living inside a 120 sq ft. “hut” has it’s culinary challenges. 

Don’t get my wrong, I love the minimalist maui life, but sometimes a girl just wants to bake something, ya know?

Well, don’t get too excited, since baking anything is completely off the table for now (#nooven). And I have to get pretty creative if I do want to make anything from scratch, other than throwing a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and calling it a meal. 

But I did it!!!! I crafted these incredibly simple-yet-delicious, all-you-need-is-a-blender-and-a-microwave, sour mango gelatin gummies. 

Anything too complicated would be TOATS off brand, am I right? 😉

Not to mention, these sour mango gelatin gummies are chock full of vitamin C and pasture-raised, 100% grass fed gelatin; two of the most important nutrients to help rebuild and repair collagen production in our skin (hence the name, better than botox). PLUS - this version is free of added sugar (another culprit for skin related issues like acne, and collagen breakdown).

As you are probably well aware, collagen production starts to decrease after the age of 25, which is why eating collagen-boosting foods containing things like gelatin and vitamin C are so important if we want to keep our skin looking youthful and acne-free

Grab my free e-book about healing acne naturally here!

Bone broth is another great option for a collagen-building superfood, but if you’re like me and limited on kitchen appliances (and semi-lazy), this might not be an option for you. 

This is why I recommend vital proteins collagen peptides and use them on a daily basis myself, as part of my skin-healing, gut-healing and beautiful hair - growing regimen (ok so i'm a little vain).  

Learn more about the benefits of collagen protein here!

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Here’s the recipe:

Better-Than-Botox Sour Mango Collagen Gummies

  • 1 cup water (could also sub 100% fruit juice or kombucha)
  • 1 cup organic frozen mango
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 scoops vital proteins gelatin
  • 1 dropper full of stevia (only use 100% pure stevia extract)

Directions:

Place water and mango chunks in a microwave safe dish, microwave until mango is thawed and water is hot but not boiling. 

Pour mixture into Vitamix or food processor. Add stevia. Blend until completely mixed.

Add 4 scoops of vital proteins gelatin and re-blend on low until completely mixed in. 

Quickly pour mixture into a glass dish or baking mold.

Refrigerate for 3 hours - enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know on Instagram! Tag me @rebellenutrition and use the hashtag #betterthanbotoxgummies !

XO,

Amie

What Are Collagen Peptides? An Intro To My Favorite Supplement

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*This post contains affiliate links*

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably know that I am not a huge fan of marketing gimmicks like ‘miracle’ protein shakes and ‘skinny’ teas.

I’ll also be the first to admit that the reason these products don’t sit well with me now is because i’ve been allured by them in the past and wasted a SHIT TON of money on them.

I am very careful to only recommend supplements and products to my clients that I have personally had great success with, and in my opinion are worth the price tag.

Since healing my gut, there are only a few supplements that I take religiously: a daily probiotic, HCL with protein-heavy meals, and my favorite: collagen peptides.


What are collagen peptides?


from the vital proteins website:

"Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids naturally derived from pasture-raised, grass-fed collagen protein. Unlike gelatin, these peptides are soluble in cold liquids as well as hot. Collagen peptides contain the same amino acids as gelatin which are identical to the protein found in skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, and joints. Gluten Free, rBGH Free, Non GMO.”

I decided to start using collagen peptides during a time when I was suffering from horrible acne, digestive problems, and hair loss. Needless to say, I became intrigued for vanity reasons but continue to use this product on a daily basis because I have noticed SO many improvements in my health.


What are collagen peptides useful for?


Hair/skin/nail health - Collagen supplementation has been proven to improve skin elasticity and rejuvenation. I believe that supplementing with collagen was one of the most important factors in healing my cystic acne. I have also personally noticed an improvement in how fast my hair and nails grow since starting to use it.

 

Bones/ joints - Did you know that 90% of our bone mass is collagen? Research has shown that in addition to vitamins and minerals(calcium, vitamin D, k2), collagen supplementation has been shown to stimulate bone formation. Collagen has also been proven as an effective treatment of osteoarthritis and joint pain. (source)

Gut health - the amino acid profile of collagen is similar to that of bone broth, and provides a healing and soothing effect on the digestive tract. It also contains glycine, an amino acid that improves nutrient assimilation and stomach acid production.

Metabolic function - High levels of tryptophan occur from primarily eating the ‘muscle meats’ of animals which is a common practice in our diets today. This can be problematic by causing the amino acid profile of our blood to contain increased cortisol - a stress hormone that interferes with healthy thyroid, hormone, and metabolic function. Collagen contains the amino acids cysteine, methionine and histidine which help to balance out the high levels of tryptophan - ultimately leading to improved metabolic function.

Protein - if you are someone who has a hard time digesting whole-food sources of protein, collagen peptides are an excellent source of bioavailable protein (18 grams per 2 scoop serving). I often recommend collagen as a replacement for other processed, sweetened protein powders.

Added bonus: collagen peptides are completely flavorless, so you can add them to any smoothie, cold/hot beverage, or soup! I personally love using them in my nightly banana soft serve - they give it an extra creamy texture :)

Recipe:

- 1/2 cup almond/ coconut milk (more if consistency is too thick)
- 1-2 frozen bananas
- 1-2 tbsp nut butter (optional)
- dash of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanila
- 1 cup ice
- Stevia/honey to taste (optional)

Blend in Vitamix or other high powered blender until “soft-serve” consistency

- add toppings: chocolate chips, fruit, nuts, whip cream

This is the brand of collagen peptides that I use and recommend:

Vital proteins - I love that they are transparent about their sourcing, and all of their products are from pasture-raised animals.

Want to turn your passion for nutrition into a business (you can run from anywhere?)

Collagen Peptides vs. Gelatin

Both options are great, in my opinion! Collagen peptides (blue container) dissolve easily into hot or cold drinks, making them a great option for smoothies, soups, baking, you name it!

Gelatin (green container) has all of the same properties as the peptides, but will gel if mixed into cold liquids - so this one is better for hot uses or making gummies :)

Do you use collagen? What improvements have you noticed?


Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I get a small amount of commission (at no additional cost to you!) if you use them to make a purchase. I appreciate your support!

How Your Digestion is Causing: Hormonal Imbalance

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Hormonal problems are often viewed as a part of getting older, or a burden that women must accept a few days every month. In this blog post, I will discuss how maintaining proper digestion, choosing nutrient dense foods, and managing stress (real or perceived) is the best way to avoid and remedy a host of hormonal symptoms you may be experiencing.

How many people do you know that either suffer from digestive problems or are extremely stressed out?

Exactly. It is no wonder then, why hormonal problems are rampant in today’s society.
The most common hormonal symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • PMS
  • Infertility
  • Night sweats/ hot flashes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased libido
  • Cravings
  • Post-partum depression
  • Morning sickness
  • Endometriosis
  • Insomnia/ poor sleep patters
  • Loss of muscle mass/ belly fat gain
  • Cystic acne

It is my opinion that symptoms like the ones listed above are indicators that the hormones in the body are out of balance - and not something that you must accept as part of being a woman. If hormonal balance is restored, a significant decrease or complete elimination of these symptoms will often occur.

How is hormonal balance achieved?

The answer to this question is very specific to each individual. However, addressing diet, stress management, mineral deficiencies, essential fatty acid deficiency and digestion are the keys to making sure your hormones are being produced regularly, in the proper amounts for your age, sex, activity level, etc.

Since this series is focused on digestion, lets first look at some of the ways that the digestive organs are paramount in healthy hormone production.

The stomach must have the proper level of acidity (HCl) to digest the amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates that are essential to healthy hormone production. For example, thyroid hormones are derived from amino acids; amino acids are produced when protein molecules are sufficiently broken down by HCl, pepsin and digestive enzymes. Leaky gut also causes a host of hormonal problems by raising cortisol (the stress-regulating hormone produced by the adrenal glands). High cortisol triggers the suppression of the immune system in the gut, decreasing gut immunity, leading to more leaky gut. We’ll get into why this stress response is so important in a second.

Essential fatty acids must be properly digested to not only form cholesterol (precursor to hormones) but to produce anti-inflammatory properties before menstruation (without this key component, think extreme menstrual cramps, PMS).

The liver is one of the most important digestive organs, specifically in terms of hormonal regulation. This is because the liver deactivates hormones that are in excess and no longer functional in the body. When cortisol is elevated (either from leaky gut, a poor diet, or a stress response) the liver's ability to effectively remove excess hormones is highly decreased.

The small intestine is where a majority of the nutrients you eat are absorbed and utilized by the body to create and sustain healthy hormone levels. This includes proteins, fats and carbs as I mentioned before, but also vitamins and minerals that are essential to hormonal health like iodine, zinc, manganese chromium, selenium and copper. All hormones run on nutrients, which is why the digestion of these nutrients is vital.

STRESS
The discussion of healthy hormones cannot be complete without talking about stress. Stressors not only include things that you perceive as stressful (running from a predator, traffic, deadlines) but also things that your body perceives as stress:

Sugar
Alcohol
Emotional stress
Nutritional deficiencies
Allergies
Food sensitivities

The combination of impaired digestion and stress results in chronic output of cortisol by the body, which can lead to a host of hormonal problems:

Estrogen dominance
Decreased liver function
Low progesterone
Abnormal progesterone/estrogen ratio
Adrenal Exhaustion
Thyroid problems
…and more

So what can I eat to ensure proper hormone balance?

Make sure you are getting a sufficient amount of essential fatty acids (coconut oil, cold water fish, grass fed meats, poultry, avocado, egg yolk, etc). EFA’s and cholesterol are the substrate that hormones are made from, therefore a lack of EFA’s (or insufficient digestion of them) will easily lead to hormonal imbalance


Intake of green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables which help the liver detoxify extra estrogen out of the body


Be aware of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are a group of plant- derived compounds that are similar in structure and function to the estrogens made in the body. Most people (men included) have more than enough estrogen in the body as it is. If you are someone with a diagnosed hormonal imbalance or suffer from things like breast tenderness/cysts, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis, it is even more important that you limit phytoestrogens.

Here is a list of foods with highest phytoestrogen content:
- Soy (tofu, edamame, tempeh,soy protein isolate)
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Oats, barley, rice
- Beans and lentils

Also, focus on gut healing! I give lots of tips here, here and here.

Finally,

Relax! Here are a few of my favorite ways to relax:
Deep breathing
Yoga
Massage
Baths
Reading
Talk to a friend
Remove any unnecessary stressors from your life (social media, watching the news, allergens, caffeine, alcohol, etc)

 

You DON'T have to continue to suffer from allergies, digestive problems, anxiety, hormone imbalance, or any other chronic symptoms that seem to get worse with age.

xoxo, Amie

How Your Digestion Is Causing: Depression & Anxiety (Rebelle Nutrition)

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In part 1 of this 3 part series, I talked about how digestion and poor food choices can contribute to autoimmune diseases and allergies. Part 2 will discuss the connection between digestion and mental health.

The connection between digestion/ poor food choices and mental health is very near and dear to my heart. Throughout my life I have struggled with both depression/anxiety as well as digestive issues, and only through improving my diet and optimizing my digestion was I able to realize how closely the two are connected.

First let’s look at the 5 neurotransmitters that are responsible for the emotions we feel including depression, anger, energy levels and problem resolution:

- GABA
- Serotonin
- Norepinephrine
- Endorphin
- Dopamine

Research shows that there is a direct correlation between the stores of these neurotransmitters in the body and our personal brain chemistry. Lack or imbalance can contribute to emotions like anger, depression, hyperactivity, memory loss, drug/alcohol cravings and bad moods.

How is digestion involved?

The levels of these neurotransmitters are directly effected by our nutritional choices; including intake of amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. This is where intake and absorption of high quality protein is essential. Sources like pasture raised eggs, grass-fed beef and wild caught fish are all great options.

If our diet is lacking in these things, OR we are not digesting the nutrients in our food properly, we are unable to produce the neurotransmitters and amino acids necessary for optimal mental health.

What about poor food choices?

In terms of nutritional choices, regularly consuming foods that you may have a sensitivity to can damage gut lining (as mentioned in Part 1). The difference here is that instead of an autoimmune reaction, ‘leaky gut’ will inhibit the production of the 5 neurotransmitters responsible for optimal mental health. It is important to note that sub-optimal digestion, or 'leaky gut' can manifest in a number of ways that will vary from person to person, whether this is a physical stomach ache (the most obvious), autoimmune conditions, mental health problems, or hormonal imbalances (all of which were my inspiration for writing this series of posts :) ).

For example, lets say you’re like me and sensitive to gluten. 2 years ago I traveled to Europe and you better believe I was going to eat some bread. Continuous exposures to gluten containing foods that you aren’t used to eating (hello baguettes) can cause the intestinal lining to become permeable (leaky gut). Although for me this didn’t result in any digestive discomfort, within a few days of traveling I began to feel waves of sadness and depression that I hadn’t experienced in years since changing my diet. This was a huge reminder for me that choosing more nutrient dense foods (meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, eggs, etc.) play a vital role in the management of my moods. I also find that when eating more gluten-containing foods I tend to lose weight, which (for me) is a big red flag that I am not absorbing proper amounts of amino acids from the foods I am eating.
***Sidenote: many people also find the opposite to be true, and will experience weight loss when food sensitivities are removed, and digestion is improved.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues and are interested in seeing whether changing your diet makes an improvement, an elimination diet that removes gluten, dairy and added sugar (real or artificial) for at least 1 month is a good place to start. During this time it is also extremely important to ‘heal and seal’ the gut lining with things like bone broth, L- glutamine, aloe vera, slippery elm, and licorice. Make sure to include as many nutrient dense foods as possible including a wide variety of protein (amino acids!). Always focus on eating lots of organic produce, and be sure to increase essential fatty acids like avocado, coconut, olive oil and ghee. Finally, prioritize chewing extremely well so that a heavy burden is not placed on your digestive system.

Want more on how to eat real food?

It is important to note that i’m NOT saying that changing your diet will completely eliminate any mental health symptoms you may have. Eliminating gluten and increasing sources of nutrient dense foods was something that made huge changes for me personally, but everyone is different. Mental health problems are very complex and multi-faceted; contact your Doctor if you have questions concerning your mental health.

Stay tuned for Part 3 on hormones!