Here’s Something I Like (Not that Anyone Asked): Collagen Powder

Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!

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Bursting with collagen

Since one opened a few blocks from my apartment over a year ago, I’ve started shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s not my grocery store (that would be Whole Foods 365, honey!) but I go about once a month to stock up on the things I love, like peanut butter (as a peanut butter connoisseur, I can assure you theirs is the #1 best in the whole entire world), olive oil (a big bottle of delicious, real 100% Kalamata extra virgin olive oil is only $8.99) and soyrizo (weird but great, and I’m not even a vegetarian!). I always buy way too much stuff and struggle to carry it home, but I just can’t resist all those deals! And since it is a little bit of a walk, I know it’ll be another month before I make it back, so I stockpile all my TJ’s necessities to ensure my trips to the store are infrequent.

I always go to Trader Joe’s around 11 a.m. on a weekday, usually after pilates (I love a routine) because that’s when it’s completely empty. Since it’s a big, cluttered store with all kinds of weird and vaguely exciting things, I like to have space to explore the goods and see if there are any new products I should try. During one such trip last week, I picked up a pepita salsa that was so good my sister and I ate it in a day. Since I was recovering from a brief but scary bout of illness (period cramps so painful I fainted and puked lol), I spent some extra time last week in the vitamin and supplement section which, while not nearly as extensive as the vitamin aisle (ahem!) in Whole Foods, is pretty comprehensive and more reasonably priced. And that’s how I ended up putting a tub of beef collagen in my shopping cart.

I’m very open about my passion for (obsession with?) supplements. I take a multivitamin, a daily probiotic, calcium and always throw stuff like flax and hemp seed in my morning smoothie. Whenever I’m under the weather, I turn to all kinds of powders and potions to cure what ails me. During a bout of depression a few months ago, I bought a big ass jar of turmeric pills, which I took for months. I think they did…nothing? But I’ll probably buy more! I’m also back on my bullshit (cod liver oil).

All of which to say I was in a weakened state when I came across Collagen Hydrolysate in Trader Joe’s last week and thought maybe it was exactly what I needed. I’ve only been taking it for a little over a week but guess what? I love it! I’ve been dumping it in my morning smoothies and I swear it gives me energy (I’m not even sure that’s one of the things it’s supposed to do!). What is this shit? It’s ground up beef bones, skin and cartilage lol. I know that sounds (and is!) disgusting but it’s just a white, tasteless powder that dissolves into liquid, so it’s not like I’m chewing on cowhide. Instead I’m sipping it through a straw!

If you pay any attention to the world of beauty (you shouldn’t!), you probably know collagen is all the rage. I started hearing about it a couple of years ago when everyone decided it was the beauty supplement. It’s supposedly good for your hair, skin and nails, i.e. the parts of your body that contain a lot of…collagen? Honestly, I don’t know!

What I do know is that I’ve wondered if I should take protein powder for years, and that’s exactly what collagen is. Though it’s gross to think about what it’s actually made of, when it comes to protein powder, collagen seems like the most appealing option. Even though it’s just straight-up powdered beef parts, that seems more legit to me than most protein powders, which from what I’ve read can be loaded with sugar and all sorts of crap. After reading a little about it, I’ve realized I should be taking it after and not before the gym, but fortunately it mixes quite well into most liquids (except, I discovered, kombucha. Don’t try it unless you like big soft chunks of powder in your carbonated beverages).

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Nellie doesn’t need collagen to have great hair

Aside from having more energy, my hair looks great! Not because of the collagen, which I haven’t been taking long enough to see results, but because I just got a haircut. Still, people swear taking collagen daily really does improve their hair, skin and nails, and I believe anything anyone tells me about beauty and/or supplements as long as they say it with conviction, so I’m sure I’ll soon be espousing the beauty benefits of collagen.

Not only am I a big believer in supplements, I’m also, above all, a big believer in the placebo effect. As long as something isn’t hurting you, I see no harm in believing it’s helping you. Collagen may not actually make my hair look better, but it might make me believe it makes my hair look better, which is more or less the same thing because when it comes to appearance, confidence is the only thing that really matters. This is the exact message of the film I Feel Pretty, which was maligned by critics but which made me laugh so hard I cried. Like, really cried. When I got home from the theater (that’s right — I saw it in theaters, bitch!), I had mascara all over my face. It may not actually be a good movie but I think it’s a good movie, and isn’t that enough? The placebo effect strikes again!

OK maybe I took this whole placebo effect thing way too far, but the point is that I tried collagen and I like it! I’m going to buy a big ass canister on Amazon — this one seems like a good deal, I think? The one I bought at Trader Joe’s is reasonably priced but small so I probably won’t keep purchasing it there. The store has once again served its purpose by encouraging me to try something weird with little financial commitment. Now, I’m ready to commit to collagen — as a supplement only! Unless I find out injecting it into my lips will make my hair look better and help my joints recover after a hard workout, in which case I’ll have the lips of a Real Housewife in no time!

As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares that I’ve discovered collagen. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, collagen peptides or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!

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