Mango Banana Protein Smoothie

Serves 2

Looking for a bit of protein and carbohydrates to go with your workout? Look no further than our Mango Banana Protein Smoothie! It’s light, easy to make, and super tasty. Think of all the vitamin C from the fruits 🤤! The vitamin D and calcium from the added milk 😯! And most of all: the flavour! I’d be lying if I said I don’t make this even on my non-workout days 🙊. So have at this luscious drink and let us know what you think in the comments!

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped mango
1 cup cut banana
1 scoop protein powder
3/4 cup cow’s milk OR unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup ice cubes

Instructions
1. You know what to do! Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until extra smooth.
2. Happily serve ☺.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
190 kcal / 13g protein / 30g carbs / 3g healthy fats

Photo credit: Taste of Home

Spicy Ginger and Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

After a cold and windy weekend, I for one need a BREAK 😂. I saw the weather forecast for the rest of the week and knew that I’d need something spicy and full of protein to get me through until Friday. Hence, the Spicy Ginger and Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry was born! It’s a simply beautiful and filling recipe that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. With the right balance of grains, protein, and colourful veggies, why not secretly prepare this in your kitchen at night when everyone is asleep and share it with no one other than your future self? Some things just aren’t meant to be shared!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 2 tbsp peanut or canola oil
  • 14 ounces very firm tofu
  • 2 large green onions, chopped
  • 1 coloured bell pepper (e.g., orange pepper), sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 inches (5 cm) of ginger, grated
  • 7 thai chilli peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups of baby spinach
  • ½ small red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • ½ cup of sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Prepare tofu by placing on a plate and drying with a paper towel. Leave one paper towel and a heavy pan on top to flatten the tofu out and make it easier to cut into smaller pieces.
  2. Take this time to prepare your rice according to package instructions.
  3. Cut your flattened tofu into small pieces
  4. Get ready to sauté your ingredients by placing a large pan or wok on your stovetop. Set to medium-high heat.
  5. Add oil to pan and wait until it has heated up. Slowly add garlic and ginger and wait 2 minutes before adding all other ingredients except tofu and spinach. Stir.
  6. After 3 minutes has passed, carefully add cut tofu into your pan. Continue to stir and ensure that the tofu pieces are turned over frequently for an even bake.
  7. Remove pan from heat and top with spinach and sesame seeds. Serve with brown rice and enjoy ☺

Nutritional Information (per serving): 

380 kcal / 20g protein / 40g carbs / 15g healthy fats


What’s the Scoop on Collagen Powder?

Your skin covers your whole body and is a protective barrier from all sorts of environmental dangers [1]. Part of what makes your skin is a type of protein called collagen.

Collagen is a protein found in our skin, bones, joints, and other tissues to help maintain strength, structure, or elasticity [1]. There are different types of collagen:

  • Type I is found mostly in skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Type II found in cartilage and skin as well [2]. When our skin ages, it’s because the collagen in it is deteriorating. Type I is found mostly in skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Type III is typically found with Type I and is also a component of connective tissue [2].

I keep hearing about different types of collagen supplements. How are they different?  

The collagen supplements you may see in health food stores come from three major sources – chicken, bovine (from cows), and marine (from fish). Since cow and marine collagen are usually Type I, it is often recommended by professionals for healthier skin. Chicken collagen, which is usually Type II, has gotten attention in recent years for its rumoured role in joint health. 

Is it true that collagen levels decrease naturally over time?

Yes! As we age, your body breaks down collagen at a faster rate in your skin, bones, and joints. Here are a few signs you can begin to notice with time [3][4]:

  • Wrinkles on your skin
  • Aching muscles
  • Issues with your gut
  • Poor wound healing

I’ve noticed some of these things! Will collagen powder help me?

So you’ve noticed some wrinkles and are considering collagen supplements. The thing is, though, that consuming collagen supplements does not necessarily mean it will go straight to your skin (or joints) and make them healthier or stronger.

Let’s look at what happens in our body when we consume collagen supplements [5]:

As shown above, your body will decide where and how to use the amino acids broken down from your collagen powder supplement.

But what does the research say?

Good, unbiased research articles that show clear benefits to taking collagen supplements are few and far between. While waiting for more conclusive evidence to come through, it is important to remember that our bodies are amazing and actually make collagen naturally anyways! By consuming a balanced diet with enough protein and making sure you aren’t missing out on important vitamins and minerals, you will be able to give your body the tools to make the collagen you need.

So what’s needed to make collagen? 

Your body needs protein, vitamin C, and trace minerals like zinc, sulfur, and copper to make collagen. Let’s explore each one:

  • Vitamin C and other antioxidants not only help with making collagen but also protect it [5] [6]. It can be found in fruits and vegetables like oranges, bell peppers, strawberries, and broccoli. 
  • Zinc assists in the process of making collagen and also comes in handy with wound healing [6]. It is mostly found in meat, whole grains, pulses, and seafood, so consider foods like bran cereal, pumpkin seeds, baked beans, organ meats, and even oysters for some natural sources of this important mineral.
  • Sulfur as part of glutathione prevents the breakdown of collagen in your body [7]. It can mostly be found in protein foods and things like onion and garlic. If you’ve ever wondered what makes these foods taste and smell the way they do, sulfur is your answer!
  • Copper is a major player in building collagen. It can be found in organ meats and seafood such as lobster and oysters [8]. For those hoping to avoid animal products, sesame seeds contain some copper as well. Vitamin C and other antioxidants not only help with making collagen but also protect it. It can be found in fruits and vegetables like oranges, bell peppers, strawberries, and broccoli. 
In conclusion…

Collagen production is actually quite simple: by eating a well balanced diet and a variety of healthy foods, you can ensure that you’ll get all the nutrients your body needs naturally. And most of all, you won’t have to spend money on supplements 😉

Until next time,

Huda Amareh, MAHN, RD & Almas-Sadaf Shaikh, PMDip, RD

*Please be aware that these are general guidelines. Nutrition and intake varies by age, sex, height, activity, being pregnant or breastfeeding, and medical conditions. For more information or to sit with one of our dietitians for an individualized nutrition counselling session, please contact us at amananutrition@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us page to book your first appointment.

References:

[1] Vollmer, D., West, V., & Lephart, E. (2018). Enhancing skin health: By oral administration of natural compounds and minerals with implications to the dermal microbiome. International journal of molecular sciences19(10), 3059.

[2] Ricard-Blum, S. (2011). The collagen family. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology, 3(1), a004978.

[3] Avila Rodriguez, M. I., Rodriguez Barroso, L. G., & Sánchez, M. L. (2018). Collagen: A review on its sources and potential cosmetic applications. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 17(1), 20-26.

[4] Rangaraj, A., Harding, K., & Leaper, D. (2011). Role of collagen in wound management. Wounds uk, 7(2), 54-63.

[5] Murad, S., Grove, D., Lindberg, K. A., Reynolds, G., Sivarajah, A., & Pinnell, S. R. (1981). Regulation of collagen synthesis by ascorbic acid. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 78(5), 2879-2882.

[6] Bishop, A., Witts, S., & Martin, T. (2018). The role of nutrition in successful wound healing. Journal of Community Nursing, 32(4).

[7] Liu, R. M., Liu, Y., Forman, H. J., Olman, M., & Tarpey, M. M. (2004). Glutathione regulates transforming growth factor-β-stimulated collagen production in fibroblasts. American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, 286(1), L121-L128.

[8] Harris, E. D., Rayton, J. K., Balthrop, J. E., DiSilvestro, R. A., & Garcia-de-Quevedo, M. (1980). Copper and the synthesis of elastin and collagen. In Ciba Foundation Symposium (Vol. 79, pp. 163-182).