Let me be the first to say that there is no single food, supplement, beauty product, ancient berry from South America, shade of blush, miracle cream, or expensive Los Angeles surgery that is going to make you instantly beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyways – don’t you know?
What does contribute to beauty is feeling and being healthy, getting enough sleep, surrounding yourself with friends, family, and loved ones, petting animals, picking flowers, feeling fulfilled in your career and relationship, flossing your teeth, going on adventures, doing things that make you smile, and filling up your plate with real, whole, lovely, beautiful foods. Voila! Instant beauty!
Sure, beauty is just one big social construct and we can totally go on that tangent here – or we can talk about foods that contribute to health – which in turn, in my humble opinion, contribute to total beauty and feeling vibrant. You already know how great whole foods are for your entire body, so let’s break down the goodies found in these Beauty Balls including a very special ingredient that’s just about taking over the wellness world: collagen.
As you know by now, a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, quality proteins, and plenty of H2O is the absolute best way to ensure total health, wellness, and beauty inside and out. There are, however, certain nutrients and proteins that help to boost the beauty-making process even more. Nutrients like zinc, B Vitamins, healthy fats, magnesium, Vitamins A, C, and E, all contribute to skin health while collagen, 2016’s trendiest new ingredient, promotes even more body-loving benefits. If you haven’t heard of collagen before, take note, as it’s about to have its moment – with good reason.
Collagen, composed of the amino acids Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine, is the main protein found in animal connective tissue and an essential building block for our skin and bodies. In fact, collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body and helps to make up skin, nails, organs, hair, tendons, ligaments, bones, cartilage, vasculature, and more. In terms of skin health, collagen is necessary for providing the elasticity, suppleness, and regeneration of our skin, meaning it keeps us looking youthful and wrinkle-free – hooray!
As we age, the outer part of our skin, known as the epidermis, begins to thin and lose elasticity and moisture. Even more so, environmental factors like sun damage, pollution, smoking, and genetic factors can speed up the aging process even more. The good news is that collagen taken orally can promote skin health, increase skin moisture (1), slow down, and even reverse this skin damage. A double-blind placebo study in 2014 showed that women who took collagen peptides regularly for 8 weeks saw a 20% reduction in wrinkles. (2) A 2015 study found that oral collagen peptide supplementation significantly increased skin hydration after 8 weeks of intake. Even better, the collagen density in the dermis (the thick layer of skin beneath the epidermis) significantly increased, while the breaking down of the dermal collagen network significantly decreased after just 4 weeks of collagen peptide supplementation. Both of this skin-loving effects continued to persist even after 12 weeks. (3)
Of course, when it comes to collagen supplementation, consuming a high-quality product is of the most utmost importance. You should always look for a product that uses pasture-raised, grass-fed animals who have not been given steroids, antibiotics, or any other ick. My absolute favorite company, Vital Proteins, is my go-to for a quality supplements formulated without additives or mystery ingredients. Vital Proteins uses BPA-free containers and all their products are kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, and minimally processed to ensure the highest quality of collagen. Luckily, the company loves you guys as much as I do and are sponsoring a giveaway on Instagram for a lucky follower to win some Vital Proteins goodies – go check it out! For more information on collagen peptides, I would suggest reading through Vital Protein’s website with peer-reviewed articles and extensive information.
Along with collagen peptides and collagen whey, these beauty balls are filled with other incredible skin-loving nutrients. Cashews, almonds, chia seeds, and coconut oil provide skin-loving healthy fats, while medjool dates add natural sweetness and fiber without the need for any other added sugars. For a rich chocolate taste, cacao powder adds flavor plus ample antioxidants for free-radical damage support along with zinc, iron, and magnesium.
Collagen peptides + rich cacao + crunchy nuts + antioxidant bursting chia seeds + sweet dates = the ultimate beauty ball.
Makes 16-18 small balls
1 cup tightly packed and pitted Medjool dates (about 15)
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1 scoop Vital Proteins collagen peptides
1 scoop Vital Proteins cocoa collagen whey
1 Tablespoon cacao powder
3 teaspoons chia seeds
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- Add dates and nuts to a food processor and process until mixture begins to break down: nuts become crushed and dates form small sticky pieces.
- Add remainder of ingredients and process until a thick, sticky ball forms.
- Scoop a teaspoon sized amount into your hands and roll mixture into small balls. This step is helpful if your hands are wet – it prevents the mixture from sticking all over you!
- Roll balls into unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut flour if desired. Enjoy!
- If your medjool dates are rock hard, pit and soak in warm water for 5-10 minutes. Strain dates from water and reserve for the additions to smoothies – this water is incredibly mineral rich and tasty!
- Store beauty balls in the refrigerator (2-3 weeks) or freezer (2-12 weeks)
- Get crafty with your add in’s – feel free to add in nut butter in place of coconut oil, or swap out the nuts for a nut or seed you have on hand.
This post and recipe is in collaboration with Vital Proteins – a company who totally rocks + utilizes the best, highest quality ingredients for their products.