Category Archives: collagen

New Year Self-care Jump Start, Day 3

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Good morning, beauty! Today’s little mission for self-care is to make a small corner of your life organized and calming to look at. No need to spend the whole day cleaning house, but tidy up a small corner you use a lot. Clean with loving intention, perhaps meditating on your good fortune at having warmth, shelter, and a place to call home.


A good, small spot to focus on might be your desk, your bathroom counter, your vanity, or a kitchen cabinet. (That’s my kitchen cabinet above, and you can probably tell from looking at it that, 1. I don’t have a lot of pantry space, and 2. I’m kind of a birth junkie. Yes, that’s a printout of an Alex Grey piece taped to the inside of my cupboard. Makes me happy every time I look at it.)

A tidy space is calming to the psyche, and there is even a school of thought that says living in clutter contributes to overweight. I believe that a calm environment brings a sense of peace and a feeling of competence. How about you? Do you thrive on a bit of chaos or do you need order in your personal space? Let us know in the comments!

Kirsten Quint Fairbanks is health coach and holistic living expert who loves offering real-world holistic coaching for mamas who want to consciously cultivate big lives that get them totally fired up.  Kirsten lives happily, works gratefully, dances inexpertly, paints badly, cooks traditionally, and rocks a tiny homeschool in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She believes that connection can change your life.   Read more about her here.

Bulletproof Coffee – What Is It and Should You Drink It?

thanks to Flickr user Pseph for this source image, which I've amended.

thanks to Flickr user Pseph for this source image, which I’ve amendended












When I found myself having three different conversations about the Bulletproof Diet this past week I knew I needed to write to you all about my take.

The diet is an interesting one with lots of great arguments on both sides. It is essentially a Paleo diet that is built on lots of healthy protein and organic produce, plus high saturated fat. Dave Asprey, the author of the book, also talks a lot about keeping the diet free of toxins, which as you know I am all about, and “intermittent fasting,” which basically means adherents eat only during a certain number of hours a day– say 2pm-8pm, and then fast the rest.

A major part of the diet is Bulletproof Coffee, a blend of Bulletproof author-approved special coffee plus coconut oil and pastured butter, all blended together into a creamy drink that tastes like a latte made with totally unhealthy non-dairy creamer. Seriously, it is so good!

Bulletproof Coffee offers lots of good saturated fats that are used to keep drinkers full and satisfied during fasting times. (The author also has a line of products he sells, including an organic, toxin-free coffee, his own coconut oil blend, and some other things.)The Bulletproof Diet promises a pound a week weight loss and tremendous energy. My own experience as a coach, an eater, and a reader of research bears out that a high fat low carb diet can indeed result in better energy and nice weight loss, for a time. There are some huge caveats, though. For one, it is not sustainable for most people. It is definitely not for nursing mothers, pregnant women, or women who want to become pregnant. Or for anyone with any hormonal issues to navigate. So it turns out that intermittent fasting is NOT a good solution for women. It can result in low energy, anxiety, wrecked metabolism and hormonal issues. For these reasons, I can’t broadly recommend the diet to you. Nor can I recommend unfettered coffee consumption because I would hate to see you burn your adrenals out completely, subsisting on coffee all day.

But I can offer you a great recipe that gives you the saturated fat benefits of Bulletproof Coffee with an extra bit of collagen protein and without the jitters and shakes.  Make it with coffee and my additions (make sure to add the cardamom that mitigates the caffeine effects of coffee, according to Ayurvedic theory and corroborated by my Ayurvedic doc), or make it like this for a healthy alternative that tastes delicious:

Dandy Bulletproof, serves 1

1/2- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (I use this one. )
1/2 -1 Tablespoon Pastured Butter (I use Kerrygold, unsalted, from Trader Joe’s)

1 Tablespoon high quality Gelatin Powder   (I use this one.)

Add ingredients to 8 ounces of almost-boiling water. Add to a blender or use an immersion blender. Blend everything (adding taste variations like a shot of vanilla extract, a drop or two of stevia, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, etc. as you like them) and mix until it’s frothy.This drink is so delicious, and the dandelion is fantastic liver detoxifying support. The gelatin gives you a good collagen boost for healthy digestion, smooth skin and strong hair. The butter gives you fat-soluble Vitamin A and D, and the coconut oil gives, among other benefits, boosted immunity and sustained energy.

You can work your way up to higher amounts of coconut oil and butter as time goes on, up to 2 tablespoons each. But be careful– coconut oil can have a laxative effect if you’re not used to it in high doses like this. So start slow. And enjoy it with some protein and veg for breakfast, not instead of breakfast.

~ Kirsten

Kirsten Quint Fairbanks is health coach and holistic living expert who loves offering real-world wellness coaching for people who want to beat the blues and build self-esteem using nutrition and holistic lifestyle methods. Her popular online seasonal Craving-control Real Food Reboot is for anyone who wants a happier brain and a body that feels and looks its best. She also offers holistic skincare and coaching  for anyone who is tired of the beauty hype and is ready to have vibrant health and glowing skin from the inside out.  Kirsten lives happily, works gratefully, home-schools secularly, dances inexpertly, paints badly, cooks traditionally, and nurses on demand in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more about her here.

Natural Ways to Beat Cellulite

celluliteMany people are bothered by cellulite on their thighs and backsides.  You can improve the look and feel of your skin by using a dry brush but when it comes to cellulite, looks are only a small part of the story.

What is Cellulite?

It’s a fat issue. Cellulite may be trapped fat, but it is more than simply fat. If you don’t believe me, then ask anyone who has lost a lot of weight but is still stymied by the bumps and lumps on her thighs.  Until I figured out how to dramatically reduce the cellulite on my bum and thighs by using nutrition, I was one of them. And on my thrice-weekly trips to the swimming pool I see many women far thinner and/or far fitter than I am with cellulite. Clearly weight and cellulite are not the whole story.

It’s a skin issue. Cellulite is fat that is trapped in the skin’s connective tissue. So it stands to reason that taking care to preserve the health and integrity of that connective tissue is a key aspect of cellulite control. I’ve written extensively about skin and cellulite. You can read all about it here and here.

Finally, cellulite is a toxicity issue. When environmental toxins accumulate in our bodies they are stored as fat instead of being allowed to to circulate in our systems. While this keeps our bodies from being overwhelmed by toxins in the short term, it means we become saddled with excess weight. Many people also experience sluggishness, digestive issues, poor sleep, mood swings, skin disorders, and auto-immune issues.

If you have cellulite it means your body’s systems of detoxification are overworked and not functioning properly. So cellulite is less a beauty issue than a symptom of less than optimal wellness. Specifically, the lymphatic system and the liver are overworked and needing support. A real food seasonal detox that includes the right foods to help your body’s overworked systems get back in balance will do amazing things for your weight, your skin, and your overall health and beauty. And your annoying cellulite will be on its way!


Wiggle, Jiggle, Glow

better yet, let's eat jell-o

better yet, let’s eat jell-o

(This post was originally published here.)
Let’s talk about  dermal fillers.
Better yet, let’s talk about soup. And Jello.
Last year I read a book called Deep Nutrition, Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, by Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan. Read my thoughts about it here.
Here’s Dr. Cate on mineral-rich soup stocks for skin:
“The highest quality skin care products contain the collagen-building ingredients your skin needs to restore itself. Even skeptical doctors agree that regular use of these expensive products can have impressive results.  However, skincare expert Dr. Dennis Gross, MD warns that it’s not an overnight solution.  “It takes time, molecule by molecule, to build collagen fibers.” Dermatologists advise patience and regular application to get anti-wrinkle creams in contact with skin as much as possible.  Why not also feed your skin from the inside?
If a cream containing two or three collagen-building nutrients can help your skin, imagine how effectively you could nourish and rebuild your dermal collagen if you ate a meal containing dozens of dermal growth factors. The nutrients in bone stocks switch the genes for collagen manufacture to “on.”  This effect is magnified by vitamins A, D, E and C, and a few common minerals.  Whether in a skin cream or your soup bowl, the same natural ingredients help you look young. But when you ingest them, you infuse all the layers of your skin, and all the other tissues in your body, with rejuvenating nutrients. “
According to Weston A. Price Foundation President and prominent nutrition researcher Sally Fallon Morrell, stock not only contains gelatin, it has “minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”
Now, I will admit to being a regular consumer of that broken down material from cartilage and tendon. I take daily hyaluronic acid and silicon supplements for the health and hydration of my skin. They’re not cheap but they and a good skin care regimen work well to decrease the giant chasm that too many years of refusing to wear glasses has etched deep between my brows.  Still, nutrients from real food are always best since they work together synergistically in a way that isolated supplements never can. For the health of my skin, my hair, my digestion, and my overall body, I make and consume many quarts of mineral-rich, nutrient-dense, and delicious broth every week, for soup broth and as the base for sauces.  I also channel Betty Draper and make a great big jello-mold every week for snacks and kid lunches. Yes, gelatin is just powdered bone broth, without the savory flavor. And it’s actually a health food.
A good gelatin makes beautiful, smooth, cellulite-free skin.  It’s one of my favorite “beauty treatments” and it’s easy as can be.

My recipe is over here.  What are your favorite “beauty foodie” staples?