Collagen is a form of animal protein and the paleo diet is all about eating lots of animal protein (but not exclusively). But you want more than just “eat this because we tell you to.” You want to know why.
Eat the Whole Animal
The paleo diet has earned the misleading reputation of being a meat-only diet. It’s true we’re not afraid of, and even encourage, a steak now and then, but that’s far from the only thing we eat. In addition to eating lots of fruits and veggies, a big part of the paleo diet involves eating the whole animal (a.k.a. eating “nose to tail”). This means eating bones, skin, organs, etc.
Why We Need Collagen
Not only is this more economical and eco-friendly (less waste), but all those other parts of the animal are packed with nutrients that aren’t found in muscle meat, much less plant foods. One of those nutrients is collagen. It’s an amino acid that doesn’t get a lot of attention because it doesn’t help us build our muscles. But remember, it’s not found in animal muscle meat. It’s just found in everything else (mostly bones and skin).
That means its vital for us for the same reasons. We need collagen to help build and maintain our bones, tendons, skin, etc.
Help Your Body Help You
Another reason collagen doesn’t get a lot of attention as a nutrient or supplement is because our bodies make collagen. The catch is, on average, our bodies only make about 3 grams of collagen a day. We need closer to 10 grams a day to keep everything running smoothly, and even more if we’re injured.
Where to Get Collagen and What to do With It
The good news is there are lots of ways to incorporate collagen into your diet. You can make your own bone broth, which is a delicious, natural source of collagen. So is eating the skin next time you roast a chicken. You can also buy powdered collagen and incorporate it into the recipes you make every day. You can use it as a gluten-free thickener for your soups and sauces, throw some in your smoothies, or even add it to your morning butter coffee.
There are many places you can get powdered collagen, but our favorite brand is Vital Proteins.