Collagen...it's the most abundant protein in our body, found in our bones, tendons, muscles, and skin. It is what literally (I hate that word, but in this case it's truth) keeps us together. As we've talked about before, science girl I am not. So no apologies for completely breaking this down in layman's terms because that's how I understand it and that's how I like to keep this--relatable. As babies we are born with a crazy amount of collagen. Think of the way babies are so plump and smooth and just delicious--that's collagen!! Guess what, if you've hit your mid to late 20's you've stopped producing collagen. Once you're in your early 30's you're just using up collagen and not creating any. Basically, think back to those first few lines and wrinkles on your face. That's when you were starting to kiss your collagen goodbye. Have I totally freaked you out yet?
All is not lost though. My answer for you (unless you're a vegetarian, which I was for quite some time so no shade but this one's not for you) is Bone Broth. Bone broth is filled with nutrients (protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, amino acids, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and the B vitamins) that boost immunity, fight inflammation, help build muscle, help with gut bacteria (*we'll get to this in a second), and of course, aid in healthier nails, skin, and hair.
*Your diet influences your gut bacteria and your gut speaks directly to your brain. When the gut is healthy, it sends happy signals to the brain...when it's unhealthy it sends something totally different which can contribute to anxiety and depression. It is believed that by managing your gut bacteria you can help treat mood and stress-related disorders. This is also where the majority of our immune system resides, which ties directly back to that whole 'boost immunity' thing.
Now, on to how to do this because lots of you asked when you saw my stories on Instagram.
People shy away from making bone broth because it's a long process, like two days. Which is why I love Bonafide Provisions Bone Broth. I prefer the beef over the chicken. For those of you who saw my Instagram Story a few weeks ago when I made bone broth for my Grandma, this is what I used because I didn't have time to make my own for her. Just let it thaw and throw on the stove. I like to add fresh rosemary, lemon, a little apple cider vinegar, pink Himalayan salt, and lots of crushed red pepper because I like this stuff spicy. I'll leave that up to you. Let simmer for however long you want and drink up! It's so delicious!!
Tune in here though if you want the real deal. While visiting my parents in South Carolina I got Strep and was sick as a dog. So my mom decided she was going to make the real thing, cuz she's just that kinda mom. Broth just works when you're sick, ya know? She went to the grocery store, asked the butcher if they had some bones, and she trotted home with 4 pounds of them. She sliced up a couple carrots, 1 leek, an onion, and cut a head of garlic in half, layed everything on a baking sheet with the bones and cooked for 40 minutes on 450F, shaking everything around at 20 minutes. She filled the crockpot with 12 cups of water, a couple bay leaves, celery, and a little apple cider vinegar, added the cooked bones and vegetables. She then let this cook on low for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, let cool slightly, strain the broth, let it cool more, and then refrigerate. As the broth get cold the fat will float to the top. Once solidified, remove the fat.
It sounds way more intricate than it actually is. I swear!
This yielded us 3 containers of broth, two of which we froze. The other can be refrigerated up to 5 days (I drank mine in 3). Like I said, it's a long process. Don't get me wrong...it's delicious and worth it if you have the time, especially because you know exactly what is going in your food and I'm a big fan of knowing what's in my food. However, not everyone has this kind of time and the Bonafide Provisions is an excellent alternative. Regardless of the way I get my broth I prepare it the same using lemon (or lime) rosemary, ACV, salt, and crushed red pepper.
I am also a huge fan of Collagen Peptides. They provide the same benefits and I mix it in with my coffee in the morning! Linked Below.
Update: March 15, 2018
This recipe has spoilt me and I've never been able to go back to the bag form...I'm not even kidding. A few months ago I didn't have an\y homemade bone broth ready to go so figured I'd just use a remaining of the store bought. I couldn't do it!!! What used to be so good didn't hit the spot at all...I'm not kidding!! There is such a delicious difference!