Unlikely solution to better skin
Do you inject collagen? Eat it? Pump it into your veins or sprinkle it into your cereal to achieve perfect skin?
And what about supplements? I've taken so many over the years I've lost track of what I was trying to achieve in the first place.
The beauty world can be overwhelming. And just the other day our resident beauty columnist Beck Sullivan tweeted advice from French designer Isabel Marant saying forget about supplements and "a good salad with half a lemon is much better than using a supplement".
Unfortunately I read this after embarking on a beauty diet.
Here's what happened.
EATING YOUR BEAUTY
It started when I was sent some collagen beauty bars to try. I passed them around the office and my colleagues and I were pretty impressed by how tasty they were.
What was this untapped world I had stumbled into where my arvo snack could plump up my skin while I'm sitting at my desk?
So off I went to find out more. As someone who's never tried injectables and until a couple of months ago had no skincare routine at all, this (somewhat strange) idea appealed to me.
After speaking to naturopath Charlotte Williams at Healthy Life Bondi Junction, I found there was a whole range of things I could be doing to plump up my skin naturally.
Locako collagen bars, stocked by the Sydney health food store, contain about 10 per cent collagen, or about half the recommended daily intake of the protein for maximum health benefits.
Charlotte also recommended incorporating bone broth for a collagen boost, which could help with my gut too (something we'll get to later).
All I knew about bone broth was the Pete Evans controversy and I wondered what people would think if I started living off the stuff.
But there I was the next day sipping on my beef broth for breakfast, accompanied by my mushroom tea - also good for the gut.
You wouldn't know the chocolate flavoured bars actually have collagen sourced from beef ligaments and joints.
Catch up on The Beauty Diary by Beck Sullivan here and read the latest column tomorrow
"It might not sound very tasty but once it's hydrolysed into a powder form, it becomes tasteless," Locako owner Ally Mellor said.
"We're used to hearing about people putting collagen in their lips but putting it past your lips is actually a healthier and more natural way to make the most of its anti-ageing benefits. "While collagen supplements have been trickling onto the market for about a year, many people still don't know that they can take it internally, or how best to consume it for their health."
The bone broth was surprisingly tasty - but not when I combined it with the tea and a digestive supplement. Rookie error.
It gave me flashbacks to the time an acupuncturist gave me some kind of powder to mix into my water that tasted like dirt and made me heave every time I sipped it.
Being the trooper I am, I still gulped this new mix down because, you know, health.
After I began by beauty diet, combined with a regular skincare routine, for the first time ever people were complimenting me on my glowing complexion and my skin felt smoother and brighter.
Flannerys Organic and Wholefood Markets naturopath Caroline Robertson also recommends using bone broth for your skin. She even calls it a game-changer.
"Bone broth is rich in nutrients, such as high amounts of collagen, and makes your skin baby-soft by treating with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals," Ms Robertson said.
"And that's whether you're eating it or smearing it on topically. Maybe don't apply this before a hot date though."
DATING WITH BEAUTY
This brings me to my next topic. Like many of us, I've struggled with gut issues.
I was diagnosed with IBS years ago and at 30, I still struggle to stay on top of it.
Yes it's been annoying, frustrating and embarrassing, but I didn't realise how much so until I recently became single.
With an established long-term (and understanding) partner you can get away with making an unexpected dash to the bathroom.
A sleepover with someone you're still getting to know? That's some scary uncharted territory.
When Ms Robertson warned me that while taking an ultra-biotic each night it would be best to avoid sleepovers because of any noises that might take place while I'm snoozing away, I relented this was a sacrifice I was willing to make. More bed space anyway, right?
But when I was mixing that and some slippery elm together each night, and shotting it down before I could remember how bad it tasted, I started questioning the sacrifice.
Probiotic ice-cream, however, that's another story.
The Cultured Ice Cream Company's gelato, which is dairy-free, grain-free, sugar-free is made from 30 per cent cultured water kefir coconut cream and is pretty tasty.
They say it could contain about four billion colony forming units of good bacteria and yeast strains in every 100g serve.
Ms Robertson reckons cultured ice-cream is a great way to get more people eating fermented food and reap the benefits of good gut health.
"Cultured ice cream contains a plethora of floral probiotic strains, achieved using a water kefir culture," she said.
"Probiotics build the colonies of flora within our digestive tract which in turn boost our immune system and strengthen our first line of defence against pathogens."
The downside is your date is hardly going to jump at the chance to snuggle and eat healthy sugar-free ice-cream together.
And they might get concerned when they sees the lactation cookies sitting in your pantry. These were actually delicious - and I didn't lactate, in case you were wondering.
I also had a date who spotted all the vegan products I was about to try on my quest for healthy living and he wasn't impressed. He even gathered them in a heap and said I should throw them in the bin. Next!
SAVING THE ANIMALS FOR BEAUTY
I've always thought I should go more plant-based. We're constantly hearing about the benefits for us, and of course for the animals.
As an animal lover, I thought I'd give going vegan a go while on this beauty quest.
That would rule out the collagen bars and the bone broth, though. See what I mean about this beauty world being tough to navigate?
But when people like Queen B herself are vegan and look the way they do, I figured there must be something great about it.
Like many women out there, I often ask myself, "What would Beyonce do?".
Well to make things simple, you can get a vegan starter kit from Peta Australia which includes recipes, tips on eating out and health information.
Sadly I couldn't bring myself to cook the packet vegan steak. It's still sitting in the cupboard.
This part of my quest was going to require a full overhaul and one I'm really not ready for. I like eggs too much.
After speaking to the naturopath at Flannery's she also agreed this wasn't the way to go.
Her advice? Keep it simple.
So now I'm squeezing half a lemon on everything.
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