February 20, 2017

4 Reasons Why I'm Using Collagen Peptides {Vital Proteins Review & Giveaway}

Disclosure: I was 2 complimentary tubs of Vital Proteins for review. The giveaway is fulfilled by Vital Proteins. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Like me, you may have read or heard of people (particularly in the paleo crowd) taking gelatin for health benefits such as a drinking bone broth. However, you may be wondering what do gelatin or collagen peptides actually do? Gelatin, like that JELL-O stuff?  

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and collagen peptides have the same amino acids as gelatin, however they are just processed differently.
Collagen peptides are hydrolyzed a.k.a. broken down into smaller amino acid chains so they are more easily digestible (I will forever be a chemistry nerd so I LOVE learning about food science). 

I had heard of Vital Proteins from reading about them on various blogs, and then had the chance to talk to the lovely people at the Vital Proteins booth and snag some samples at Natural Products Expo East 2016. Vital Proteins was nice enough to send me a tub of their collagen peptides and collagen beauty greens to try out. 

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The Collagen Peptides powder in the blue container come from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides so they are not vegetarian. At first I thought it was a little weird that it was powder from cows, but after that initial moment of weirdness now I love how they are a natural and sustainable source of protein.

The green container of Collagen Beauty Greens contains marine collagen peptides along with greens, probiotics and skin healthy helpers like hyaluronic acid, all in a yummy coconut vanilla flavored powder. 

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Because collagen is a protein in our own hair, skin, nails, bones, cartilage, and joints, the powder will help all of these parts of our body. Besides containing protein, studies show that collagen peptides can improve gut health, skin health, bone and joint health, and hormonal balance. There is a lot of research out there on the use of collagen for hair and skin health, which I found from just doing a quick search of a research database.

I've been taking the collagen peptides about 4x a week (mostly because there are always a few crazy days where I am rushing out the door), and the collagen beauty greens more sporadically. It's hard to tell from only a month, but I think my hair and nails look healthier and less brittle. 

So now that you know a little bit about collagen peptides, why have I been using them? 

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1. They are easy to take every day.

The collagen peptides are dissolvable and unflavored (no, they do not at all taste beefy). I most often easily mix a scoop in with my coffee or tea in the morning-I can’t even taste that it was added. I have also mixed collage peptides into smoothies, juices, yogurt, and oatmeal. I’m not a huge protein powder person lately so I love that these can dissolve in both hot and cold beverages easily and add a nice protein boost to whatever I'm drinking. 

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2. Collagen peptides are great for my bone health.

After my stress fracture I was interested in focusing on my bone and joint health. While the DEXA scan I had showed normal bone density, I figured supplementing and ensuring strong bones and joints couldn’t hurt. Basically bones are made up of minerals and collagen fibers. Collagen makes up 90% of our bones so ingesting collagen peptides may help bone metabolism and help increase bone density. You can read more and find links to specific research studies here. This is one of the bigger reasons why I started using collagen peptides. 

3. Vital Protein products are natural and not full of junk. 

Literally the only ingredient in Vital Proteins collagen peptides is collagen peptides, so I know exactly what I am ingesting. You can read on their website about how they exclusively produce their collagen peptides in Brazil because their cows don’t have hormones too. 


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4. Skin health is important to me.

No matter how young I look or feel, I am getting older every year (and quickly approaching 30, eek). My body will continue to change and dreaded wrinkles (or what I will call my happy lines) will one day in the future start to appear. I have always been conscious of my skin health after having to go to a dermatologist and have some suspect moles removed starting at a young age, but making sure my skin looks great as I age is important too. If I can supplement with collagen and get the added bonus of helping out my skin, that is a win-win for me. 



So if you are interested in adding collagen or collagen peptides to your diet check out Vital Proteins. They offer all different sizes of products including travel-sized pouches and free shipping in the U.S. 


Vital Proteins was nice enough to offer (1) 10 oz. tub of their Collagen Peptides to giveaway to one reader. Enter the Rafflecopter below (U.S. residents only, sorry!) before the giveaway ends on March 6 at 12 AM EST.


Have you ever taken a collagen supplement? Have you read about gelatin or collagen supplements before? 

February 14, 2017

10 Ways to Show Yourself Self-Love

So today is Valentine's Day, and while many people are haters on the idea of the holiday with all its commercialization. I have always been a fan of the holiday as a day to tell the people you love how much you care about them, in case you haven't always been finding the time to do so lately.  That means my friends, my mom, my siblings, and my boyfriend. I am spending my Valentine's Day in school, doing homework, and maybe treating myself to a run and some dessert.  

It is also a nice reminder to practice self-love and show yourself that you care.  Here are 10 ideas of how to show yourself self-love today and any day!

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1. Take a bubble bath. Maybe you're like me and have a few Lush bath bombs sitting in a drawer, waiting to be used so break them out and treat yourself to a bath and some quiet time. If you don't like baths, maybe it is as simple as taking a nice, long, and relaxing shower.  

2. Have a 30-second (or longer) dance party. Turn up your favorite song or put on a Spotify playlist playlist and sing or dance. Music has been shown to boost your mood and dancing makes me really happy. 

3. Unwind with a hot beverage. Seems obvious, but it can do wonders for how I feel if I just spend 20 minutes in quiet room with a hot cup of tea or coffee reading one of my magazines, especially in a world where much of my day is spent with a computer or phone in my face. 

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4. Take Yourself on a Date. Spend an afternoon alone doing something you've been wanting to do. Go check out that exhibit at the art museum you have been wanting to see. Take yourself to the movies. I find sometimes it's less stressful to not have to make plans with anyone else and allowing myself to have an afternoon that is on my own time, at my pace.  

5. Unplug for an hour. Particularly at the end of a long day of work or school, turn your phone off (or at least the notifications). Allow yourself to spend an hour tech-free except possibly for playing some music.  I like to read magazines, do some adult coloring, or get into some arts and crafts. 

6. Move Your Body. If you have been meaning to find time for a solo run, to take a yoga class, or finally try out a new fitness class, schedule it and put it on your planner. Find time to make let yourself workout by doing something you enjoy with all the added benefits of exercise. 

7. Buy yourself flowers. I did this just yesterday when I grabbed an inexpensive bouquet at Trader Joe's. Having the smell and view of fresh flowers in my kitchen is a really nice pick-me-up, so I love grabbing some flowers for myself every so often. 

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I love getting flowers
8. Put on Red Lipstick. Or wear and do whatever makes you feel beautiful. Maybe that is a favorite dress, piece of jewelry, or pair of shoes. Maybe it is going makeup-free and letting your freckles show. I know sometime it is nice to actually blow-dry my hair and put on some makeup for me to feel pretty when during the week I am spending as little time as possible getting ready in the mornings.  

9. Spend some time outside. It can be going for a hike, afternoon walk, or even eating my lunch outside on a sunny day. Sometimes the simple act of spending some time outside because it makes me happy is all I need to brighten my day. 

10. Nourish Your Body. Some days the best thing I can do to show myself self-love is just to make myself go go to bed to ensure I get enough rest. That also may mean treating myself to a big salad out for lunch because I know my body wants a big bowl of vegetables. Maybe it is your morning or evening meditation session. Whatever nourishes your body that you may have been neglecting, spend time doing that today. 

What is your favorite way to show yourself self-love? Are you doing anything special for Valentine's Day? 

February 10, 2017

{5 Friday Favorites} Otters, Micellar Water, and Tea

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Yogi Tea through my partnership as a Women's Health Action Hero. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Happy Friday! My graduate school spring semester has started, and my schedule is the craziest yet because apparently that was possible. I'm slowly building up my running to hopefully 4 or 5 miles this weekend which is great. I've also been eating a lot of Trader Joe's mini frozen pizzas for dinner, which isn't the healthiest but is quite delicious. It's all about taking life one day at a time. Anyways, here are my 5 Friday favorites this week-have a fabulous weekend! 

Favorite Animal Video: Otter pup in the snow at Yellowstone Park


So it was really tough to pick just one video. I watch so many cute animal videos during the week because they make me happy (and give me hope that is world is wonderful). I loved this video of a little otter enjoying the snow in Yellowstone Park. I am dying to get out to some of the National Parks out west. 

Favorite Beauty Find: Trader Joe's Micellar Cleanser wipes

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So I was introduced to micellar water after first trying the Garnier micellar water because it had good reviews for cleaning skin and removing makeup. Micelles are pretty much surfactants or tiny clusters of micelle molecules that are suspended in water and actually in many other makeup removers and toners (I'm a science nerd so I researched it!). The micelles attract dirt, grime,and oil and remove them from your skin without drying out your skin so you can just wipe your face off with micellar water on a cotton ball. 

 I have been using it to remove my makeup at night, and like that it doesn't dry out my face or leave an oily residue. ANYWAYS, I impulsively picked these up at Trader Joe's this week and like the towelette form which would be a nice form for travel. So far I think they are great, however it's probably cheaper to just use the micellar water and cotton balls than the 20 packs of towelettes because I use it every day. 

Favorite Weather This Week: Short Sleeves Weather

February 2, 2017

ZOOMA Annapolis 2017 Is Coming!

Disclosure: As a 2017 ZOOMA Women's Race Series ambassador, I received complimentary registration for the events and a unique discount code. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I am back as a ZOOMA Women's Race Series Ambassador in 2017 for the third year in a row and am more excited than ever. I first got involved with ZOOMA because I was attracted to a female-centric race series that was really catered towards womens running. Now I also love all the people I've met behind ZOOMA including Brae who started the series. ZOOMA has taken lots of feedback from last year and is always trying to improve their race experiences. 

I have run the ZOOMA Annapolis half marathon race in 2015 and 2016 so I'll definitely be back this year.  This year is actually the 10th anniversary of ZOOMA Annapolis so it's going to be an extra special event.  

The half marathon and 10K start at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and then takes you through lovely downtown Annapolis then up and over the challenging Naval Academy Bridge before ending back at Navy Stadium. The race course is open for 3.5 hours for both races. 

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Same courses in 2017 as last year!
I always loved the open and relaxed After-Party Expo at the race with live music, wine, and recovery yoga. The weather and humidity in June always make this race a little challenging, but it's a great weekend with awesome perks such as a great swag and FREE race photos. It is a women's race series, but men are welcome to run! 

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My free race photo as I crossed the finish line at the half marathon in 2015 
This year for the 10th Anniversary celebration there will be a Virtual Half Marathon or 10K option which lets your participate virtually and still receive swag including a shirt and medal in the mail.

This year ZOOMA Annapolis falls on the June 3, 2017, the same day as the Baltimore 10 Miler again so I wanted to get the word out there to peeps in the area. I am just starting to feel more comfortable in my injury recovery with making future race plans so I marked it on my calendar officially. I'll also be coaching the ZOOMA 10K training group out of the Charm City Run Baltimore location in a few months which will be super fun as a race ambassador and someone familiar with the course too. 

Registration is open for the Annapolis race and prices increase May 21. 
Use my code LAUREN2017 to save 10% off your registration. 

ZOOMA also has a great podcast about all things health and fitness that you can access through their website here

I'm excited to have a fun summer race already on the books! 

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Do you have any big summer races planned yet?

 
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