Ask Jenny: Collagen for Vegans?

Olivia asks:

My question for you was in reference to collagen powders. I’ve looked into them briefly but it doesn’t seem like vegan options are easy to come by. Are you aware of any companies making vegan collagen, or what I should be using as an alternative? Especially following your recipes, I’m wondering if an extra scoop of protein powder is sufficient or is collagen is altogether different?

Such a great question Olivia!

Let’s start by qualifying what collagen powder is made from – collagen is actually the most abundant protein in the body, and is found throughout all connective tissues in humans and animals. Collagen protein is typically made from the connective tissues of cows, therefore making it totally unsuitable for vegans! Vital Proteins does make a Marine Collagen made from fish scales for those of you who follow a pescatarian diet.

However, all is not lost for those of you wanting the gut healing and skin beautifying benefits of collagen whilst following a vegan diet. Collagen is considered a ‘complete’ protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids, but we have to remember that all types of protein (plant and animal) break down into amino acids in the body. So as long as vegans are having a variety of plant-based proteins in their diet, they will be ensuring they get all the building blocks to manufacture collagen within the body.

Plant-based protein powders (pea, hemp, rice) can help vegans up their protein intake, especially if they find their diet on the lower side, or if they are doing a lot of exercise. Vegan diets can typically be pretty carbohydrate heavy, so my tip here would be to increase the amount of plant protein you are consuming, eat more low carb vegetables such as leafy greens (yes, even vegans can eat more veggies), and be aware of the amount of ‘deliberate carbs’ (carbs you add to a meal) they are consuming.

Vegans and non-vegans alike can also up their intake of foods that help promote natural collagen production in the body such as avocados, walnuts, flaxseed and strawberries – all super delicious options!

My Collagen Crusader Smoothie is designed to promote natural collagen production in the body and is packed with gut and skin loving protein and great fats!

Collagen Crusader Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon walnut butter
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • ¼ ripe avocado
  • ½ cup strawberries (keep the tops on)
  • 1.5 cups hemp seed milk

Blend until smooth.

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