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Collagen powder has a ton of awesome benefits for the body, but some people (myself included) were told not to count collagen supplements towards their daily protein macro. Because of this, I stopped using collagen powder for a few years but now I am back to using it daily. Today I want to talk about why I started using collagen again and why yes, I do count it towards my daily protein intake.

Today, I’m going to be talking about one of my favorite foods – collagen powder (and subsequently, amino acids). If you are on my weekly newsletter, than you may remember when I introduced you to one of my favorite brands, and website partners, Equip Foods.  When I first introduced them, I mainly talked about their grass-fed beef protein (which is not whey, but actual beef) which I have been using for probably close to 2 years at the time of this writing. I’ll be sharing a post about that specific product soon and you can also learn more about it in my brand new Deliciously Decadent Protein Ice Creams eBook that just launched in June, 2024.

This week, however, I am talking about Equip Foods grass-fed collagen powder, which I’ve been using for about a year now. I love it and I know you will too!

Why I Stopped Using Collagen Powder

Collagen powder has long been one of my favorite supplemental foods (I’ve talked about it for 10+ years on my site). But, to be 100% honest, I stopped using collagen at the beginning of 2022. At the time, the two practitioners I was working with told me that collagen powder doesn’t count towards my daily protein macros. This was frustrating for me because I was focusing on meeting my protein macro goals and I didn’t want to eat things that were not going to count towards that macro. I figured I would stop spending money on something that didn’t count and use that money elsewhere.

Shortly after that, I also started seeing this concept discussed in the carnivore and keto communities I was a part of. A lot of people were saying not to count collagen (or bone broth) towards your protein macros since it is missing the essential amino acid, tryptophan.

Since then, I had it in my head that collagen didn’t count so I only used it on a rare occasion because I was told by my practitioners that needed to focus on complete proteins. However, after doing a little bit more research (and I also stopped working with those practitioners). I spoke with my account manager over at Equip Foods and I shifted my viewpoints on collagen. I wanted to discuss that in today’s article in case you were also confused on the topic.

Why I Stopped Using Collagen (and Why I Started Using it Again) // deliciousobsessions.com

Can You Count Collage Towards Your Protein Intake?

The short of it all is that yes, you can absolutely count collagen powder towards your total protein intake for the day. The main caveat is that you need to make sure that you are also consuming decent amounts of complete proteins in your daily diet elsewhere. If you are consuming enough complete protein sources (essential amino acids, called EAAs), ideally from animal products, then your body will be able to use the collagen protein effectively.

The primary concern that many practitioners raise about collagen not counting towards your protein macro is that it is not a complete protein. Collagen is missing one of the essential amino acids called tryptophan, but when your diet includes complete proteins regularly, then it will still utilize collagen as a protein source, even if it’s not considered a complete one.

So if you, like me, have been told that you shouldn’t count collagen towards your protein macros, then rest assured, you can, AS LONG as you are consuming adequate amounts of complete proteins elsewhere. Whew! I am honestly super relieved about this!

So, What are Amino Acids Anyway?

Scientifically speaking, amino acids are organic molecules that contain an amine group (–NH2), a carboxylic acid group (–COOH), and a side chain specific to each individual amino acid.

There are 20 standard amino acids that are commonly found in proteins. These amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and play essential roles in various biological processes, including enzyme function, cellular communication, and muscle contraction. Amino acids can also act as neurotransmitters in the body and help regulate mood and behavior. In addition, they play a major role in metabolic pathways, the creation of healthy cells and muscle, and energy production.

Some amino acids are produced naturally within the body while others must be obtained from dietary sources. Animal products are the best place to obtain amino acids, but you can also find amino acids in plant foods.

Why I Stopped Using Collagen (and Why I Started Using it Again) // deliciousobsessions.com

What Are Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids?

Some amino acids are considered essential, others are considered non-essential. Regardless of the label, our bodies need them all and they all are important for our overall health. The difference lies in where we get them.

Amino acids are considered non-essential if our bodies can make them, without needing to get them from food sources. Even though they are labeled non-essential, they are necessary for our bodies’ proper functioning. Essential amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and they are essential to human health. They cannot be made by the body, so they must be consumed through the diet.

Essential amino acids are important for many bodily functions including growth and development, proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, maintenance of muscle mass, and tissue repair. Foods that are rich in protein such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy provide these essential amino acids in abundance. Those eating a plant-based diet are going to need to pay special attention to the foods they eat and combine them adequately to make sure they get everything they need.

The essential and non-essential amino acids are as follows:

  • Alanine (Ala) – Non-essential
  • Arginine (Arg) – Non-essential
  • Asparagine (Asn) – Non-essential
  • Aspartic acid (Asp) – Non-essential
  • Cysteine (Cys) – Non-essential
  • Glutamic acid (Glu) – Non-essential
  • Glutamine (Gln) – Non-essential
  • Glycine (Gly) – Non-essential
  • Histidine (His) – Essential
  • Isoleucine (Ile) – Essential
  • Leucine (Leu) – Essential
  • Lysine (Lys) – Essential
  • Methionine (Met) – Essential
  • Phenylalanine (Phe) – Essential
  • Proline (Pro) – Non-essential
  • Serine (Ser) – Non-essential
  • Threonine (Thr) – Essential
  • Tryptophan (Trp) – Essential
  • Tyrosine (Tyr) – Non-essential
  • Valine (Val) – Essential

Getting Enough Amino Acids

The science of amino acids and how they work in the body can be a deep and complex topic. It’s far more in-depth than I can get into here, but a simple Google search will yield more than enough information to get you going if you want to dive deeper into this topic.

But in short, you need to make sure you are eating a healthy, real food, nutrient-dense diet in order to get everything you need. And even then, there are times you may need to supplement to add more. I eat a meat-heavy, mostly carnivore diet and I still need to supplement with collagen or beef protein in order to meet my macro goals for the day. My stomach can only hold so much food and since I eat in an intermittent fasting window, there is only so much I can do through diet.

That’s why I love adding in things like the beef protein and collagen powder! I am thrilled to have the collagen back in my life because, unlike the beef protein powder, I can easily add this to my morning iced match latte or herbal coffee and never even know it’s there.

Why I Stopped Using Collagen (and Why I Started Using it Again) // deliciousobsessions.com

U.S. vs. South America – A Note About Collagen Sourcing

For years (well over a decade now), I’ve talked about Perfect Supplements collagen powder. I still love Perfect Supplements and I wholeheartedly support their brand because I know the owners well and I believe they are selling clean products. That said, one issue that people have brought up to me repeatedly over the years is that their products are sourced from South America.

If this is a concern of yours, then you will be happy to know that Equip Foods Grass-Fed Collagen Powder is sourced from small farms right here in the United States. The small ranchers they source from use sustainable and regenerative ranching practices, so you don’t need to worry about pesticides, chemicals, or other toxins being present.

Newly Formulated Grass-Fed Collagen

Last Fall, Equip launched an upgraded Grass-Fed Collagen Powder formula that uses the absolute highest quality bovine collagen available all from cows pasture-raised on small farms in the U.S.. This new collagen is superior quality to many on the market and it tastes better, mixes better, and is extremely consistent from batch to batch. There won’t be any funky smells or inconsistency taste-wise.

Not only is their the best of the best, but each scoop contains 15,000 mg of bovine collagen, which is a higher dose than other comparable brands (like Perfect Supplements – 11k mg, and Great Lakes – 12k mg). You can get 14 grams of protein per scoop. Rest assured that Equip is excited to now be right up there with the popular brands.

It’s as good, if not better than any other brand I’ve tried and they are right. There is ZERO funky smell or taste with it. We use all three varieties of Equip Foods collagen powder in our house daily. I add the unflavored or vanilla to my morning matcha frappes or lattes and I sometimes add the chocolate collagen to my herbal coffee. In addition, I use grass-fed collagen in almost all of my Deliciously Decadent Protein Ice Cream recipes (more details on that below).

Why I Stopped Using Collagen (and Why I Started Using it Again) // deliciousobsessions.com

Save on Grass-Fed Collagen from Equip Foods!

Equip Foods is an awesome company, ran by awesome people. I am really selective of the brands I partner with and I used their products for a good year before I decided to sign up for their affiliate program. They quickly became one of my favorite companies to work with and I just know you guys will love them as much as I do.

Right now you can save 15% off on your first order with Equip Foods with my special coupon code: DELICIOUS. Just enter that code at checkout to save (this coupon works on all of their products, not just the collagen). You can visit their website here.

If you’d like some ideas on how to use your grass-fed collagen powder, here are some recipes for you to try:

Boost Your Protein Intake with… ICE CREAM!

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of delicious ice cream? I know I do!

But what I don’t love with most ice cream brands is the high levels of sugar in them. Plus, depending on the brand, there are always other ingredients that are not really all that great. Especially things like gums, stabilizers, and artificial colors/flavors. When I eat ice cream, I want to eat something that I know is doing my body good, not harm. Which is exactly why I created Deliciously Decadent Protein Ice Creams! This book, as have been all of my books, was a labor of love and born out of a personal need.

In 2023, my mother suddenly got very ill and I was thrust (unexpectedly) into her full-time caregiver role. When she was super sick, she lost a lot of weight, getting down to a frail 110 pounds. She had a hard time eating, but ice cream was one food that almost always sounded good for her. We stuck with the healthier brands from the grocery store, but I knew that I wanted to improve the nutrition profile of her ice cream. So I purchased a Ninja® Creami® and the rest is history!

My goal with this book was to create decadent ice cream recipes there are not only delicious, but nutritious as well. My recipes are all low-sugar and high-protein. Some recipes will have more sugar than others, but even those are still much lower in sugar than your store-bought counterparts. And if you don’t have a Ninja® Creami®, then have no fear! I have you covered with easy modifications for traditional home ice cream makers.

I spent 6+ months creating and testing recipes and I can’t wait for you to try them all. Visit my shop site here to learn more about Deliciously Decadent Protein Ice Creams and grab your copy today!

Sources and Links for Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about collagen, complete and incomplete proteins, and amino acids, here are some resources for you. Much of the info shared in this article about collagen powder came from the following references:

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