The Benefits of Collagen | Gut Health, Skin, Hair and Joints

There has been an increase in awareness and popularity with taking collagen supplements over recent years. Claims have been made that it can help with skin’s youthful appearance, increased bone density and decreased joint pain, along with other claims such as helping to heal your gut lining. For all of these reasons, it’s no surprise that collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient in the wellness and beauty communities. But collagen’s efficacy is still pretty up in the air. Here’s what we know.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in the body. “Its fiber-like structure is used to make connective tissue. Like the name implies, this type of tissue connects other tissues and is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps to make tissues strong and resilient, able to withstand stretching.”1 As we age we naturally start to reduce our collagen production. This means that our bodies are not able to replace the collagen we are losing as quickly as it is breaking down. Starting in our 20s about 1 percent of our collagen production breaks down each year. External factors such as cigarette smoking (inhaling or second hand smoke), extended sun exposure, pollution, excess alcohol, lack of sleep and exercise increases the breakdown of collagen.

Collagen As A Supplement

The first appearance of collagen was as an ingredient in serums and creams. However, this topical application is not backed by science as collagen itself is not found on the skin’s surface but deep in the layers of the skin. The fibers in collagen are too large to penetrate through the skin’s layers, the same evidence goes for the shorter chains of collagen called peptides. So I wouldn’t suggest buying anything that claims the collagen in their creams will help with signs of aging.

Oral collagen on the other hand, in the form of pills, powders, and certain foods is starting to show some scientific evidence that it can be effectively absorbed by the body. As long as it is not the natural molecule of collagen. It needs to be broken down into smaller peptides as they can easily pass through our gut barrier and into our bloodstream. In theory the body can use the collagen peptides in areas that need repair the most.

Look out for collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen, as these are the two forms of broken down collagen that can be easily absorbed by the body. Collagen supplements contain amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. As additional nutrients, some supplements may also contain vitamin c, biotin or zinc. Also look out for any companies claiming their collagen as “plant based” as there is only animal based collagen to date, so this product will not contain any collagen. However, you can consume supplements that contain the primary amino acids that are involved in collagen synthesis – glycine, lycine, and proline.

What Does The Science Say? Does It Work?

The research is showing that taking collagen for many months can help with signs of aging on your skin, improve the health of your gut lining, and even increase the density in bone that are weakened naturally by age. However, most of the research being done is by companies who directly sell collagen themselves – so the information may be biased.

“Most research on collagen supplements is related to joint and skin health. Human studies are lacking but some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity. [3,4] Other trials have found that the supplements can improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain such as with osteoarthritis or in athletes. [5] Collagen comprises about 60% of cartilage, a very firm tissue that surrounds bones and cushions them from the shock of high-impact movements; so a breakdown in collagen could lead to a loss of cartilage and joint problems.” 1

The scientific proof on collagen is starting to rise, and more and more research is being done to prove it’s benefits. The great news is all research that has been done has not been showing any negative side effects of taking collagen as a supplement. 1

There are more and more people starting to share their own personal experiences with taking the collagen supplement and the benefits they are experiencing from it. But do keep in mind, if you are going to give it a try, you need to take it every day for at least 1-3 months before you can really see and feel the benefits of it.

How Much Do You Need For It To Be Effective?

As of right now, health authorities have not provided any guidelines for how much collagen to take in a day. This will all depend on what type of collagen you are consuming. There are three types of collagen: hydrolyzed collagen, undenatured collagen, and gelatin.

Hydrolyzed Collagen

This type of collagen is derived from cattle, marine, poultry, pigs and other animal sources and has been broken down into a more digestible and easier to absorb peptide particle. It is the most common form of collagen supplement as it is in powder or capsule form and can be added to smoothies, hot and cold drinks, soups, baked goods and other forms of food.

A 2019 study has found that taking anywhere from 2.5-15g of collagen a day may be safe and effective.

2.5g per day: could benefit joint pain, skin health, and hydration 11, 12, 13
5g per day: can improve bone density 14, 15
15g per day: can help with muscle mass and body composition 16, 17

Undenatured Collagen

This is raw collagen derived from chicken cartilage, some human studies have suggested that taking daily doses of 10–40 mg of undenatured collagen per day may improve joint health. 18, 19


As all collagen is, this is derived from animal sources and is a form of cooked collagen. This type of collagen is not really sold as a supplement as it’s usually used as an ingredient in gelatinous desserts or foods. There is limited research showing daily serving sizes for gelatin, so it is best to refer to the packaging for the products recommended serving size.

Can you eat too much collagen?

It seems as of right now that collagen is a relatively safe product to consume without any side effects. However, always refer to the product packaging for recommended doses of that particular collagen as there has been reports of feeling overly full, unpleasant taste, and other stomach complaints. 20

Where Can Collagen Be Found?

Collagen is a type of protein and it can be found in your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, organs, skin, intestinal lining and other connective tissues. You can see why it is such an important component in our bodies as it helps to make tissues strong and resilient.

In food, naturally collagen is only found in animal flesh like meat and fish that contains connective tissue. However, there is a variety of both animal and plant foods that contain materials to help our bodies natural collagen production.

You can find easily digested forms of collagen in meat and seafood, supplements and even bone broth.

Lifestyle Habits That Can Help Collagen Production

Along with a well-balanced diet, here are some healthy habits that may help with protecting the collagen production in your body.

Reduce Stress: Chronically high cortisol levels in the body can decrease the production levels of collagen naturally in the body. So start mindful practices like meditation and breathing techniques to decrease the amount of stress you may have in your life.

Get A Good Amount Of Sleep: Among many other factors, sleep is extremely important for the human body. But not just any sleep, aiming for 7-9 hours a night of adequate sleep will help with many daily functions in the body.

Stop Smoking: There are many health concerns that we are aware of when it comes to a habit like smoking. But this also includes trying to avoid secondhand smoke whenever you can.

No Excessive Time In The Sun: Now this does not mean hiding from the sun. The sun provides the vital vitamin D that we need for many functions in the body including the immune system. So aim to get 10-20 min of daily direct sunlight 3-4 times a week, but the rest of the time be sure to use sunscreen or cover up with layers and hats.

Exercise Regularly: Exercise is hugely beneficial in so many ways, but some studies have found that exercise can slow down cell activity involved with aging.2

What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?

Helps with gut health

Collagen can play a key role in helping with the repair and strengthening of the gut lining in our digestive tract. This is due to the amino acids it contains, glycine and glutamine. There is research coming out showing the benefits of collagen on the gut and specifically leaky gut. However, do keep in mind all of the research as of right now is all based on animals, there has not been much if at all any human research on this subject.

Although this being said, a research paper published in 2017 has shown that among IBD patients, there was an imbalance between the formation and breakdown of collagen fibres, and this was connected to inflammation. An older study from 2003 showed that IBD patients do have a decreased amount of type 4 collagen. As we know, collagen is a part of connective tissue, and this makes up our colon and GI tract. Therefore, increasing your levels of collagen may be a supportive environment for your body to heal.

Even though there has not been much human research being done on collagen and its effects on the gut, there has been recent human research of l-glutamine on gut health! Since collagen contains glutamine, this could be a step in the right direction. It can help with inflammation, “Several lines of evidence indicate that glutamine has an anti-inflammatory property by influencing a number of inflammatory signalling pathways.”3 As promising as this is, more human research needs to be done to know its full potential.

It can help with what is naturally lost through aging

Your body starts to produce less collagen as we age starting in our twenties, and collagen peptides added to your diet may serve to replace what your body begins to lack as you age, and support your overall health.

Collagen is a good source of protein and is easily digestible

For some people digesting proteins like chicken or beef can cause digestive upset and may be hard on their body. Collagen supplements are hydrolyzed, meaning the collagen is broken down. This means that collagen supplements may potentially be a more comfortable way for your body to digest protein. The process of hydrolyzing also means that the collagen supplement can be easily dissolvable in water which then can be added to everyday foods like water or smoothies.

Collagen may help with skin’s signs of aging

This is by far the most researched when it comes to the benefits of collagen. In a 2019 systemic review, researchers analyzed 11 randomized, placebo-controlled studies of more than 800 patients who took up to 10 grams (g) per day of collagen with the goal of improving skin health. The results? “Preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging. Oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.”6

Collagen may help to decrease joint aches and pains

There is no doubt that when you have joint pain, exercise becomes a much harder habit to follow. A study from 2017 found that athletes with knee pain who took 5 g of collagen peptides daily for 12 weeks had less joint pain during exercise compared with a placebo group. Oral collagen may support cartilage repair and may also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to start taking collagen or not, don’t forget to also work on other collagen-depleting factors such as sleep, smoking, pollution, stress and exercise as mentioned in this blog post. Taking a supplement is exactly as the name suggests, you supplement with everyday lifestyle changes. Be diligent with quality control and do your research into the company you are sourcing your collagen from. Check to make sure the company is doing their part to source good quality collagen and following safe practices in how they manufacture their products. Also, be sure to follow the supplement’s recommended dietary requirements (RDA) to be sure you are not taking too much of it a day. Any supplement in high quantities over the RDA is not good for anyone, always follow the package directions when consuming supplements.

A Collagen Product I Recommend:

After my diagnosis of celiac disease I decided to try taking collagen to help the healing of my gut lining. Along with following a gluten free diet, I found taking collagen helped to improve my bowel movements, bloating, inflammation in the gut and in my joints and helped my hair and nails grow back stronger along with helping to heal the rashes I had on my skin.

Was it the gluten free diet or taking collagen that helped? I believe it was both, as I stopped taking collagen for a few years and recently just started taking it again. After a few days of taking it I’m starting to see a few improvements in my overall health again.

I am a proud affiliate with the Canadian company Organika, and I stand by their products as they are high quality, follow industry leading practices, they are backed by researched nutrition, mindful crafting and they really source out the best quality ingredients for their products.

They have won awards for Canada’s #1 collagen for a reason.

Follow this link to look through their wide selection of collagen to find the one that is right for you and be sure to use my code LEWSLIFE25 for 25% off site wide!

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.





















Meditation Doesn’t Need To Be Complicated | 5 Practices To Try Out

When we think of meditation, I think we all envision a monk sitting calmly under a beautiful tree, sitting perfectly straight, possibly levitating, with his legs crossed and hands rested on his knees or in his lap. Even though this is the traditional way of a meditation practice, there are many different ways to practice mindfulness and meditation.

By definition, meditation is the action or practise of meditating. Therefore, meditation can be whatever you wish it to be.

I personally practice Transcendental Meditation (TM), where we are given a mantra specific to us and we meditate for 20 min, 2 times a day. This practice is meant to be effortless, you allow your thoughts to come and go as you repeat your mantra with your breath over and over again. The other part of this practice is you sit comfortably, if that is cross-legged and in a straight posture, great, but for myself, I will sit with my back rested against a wall or the back of a chair or couch with either my legs crossed or straight out in front of me.

This is the perfect practice for me, but for yourself, this may not work. Mindfulness is about finding what works for you and your individual needs. It’s paying attention to what gives you anxiety or upsets you through the day, but also finding out what calms you back down after those situations have passed. There is no sense in trying to force something that does not work for you, however, to know if it works or not, you need to first give it a try.

Here are 5 meditation practice methods you could give a try:

  1. Transcendental Meditation

    As I mentioned above, this is the practice I personally do every day. This is not paid advertising for TM, but my own personal experience with it and how much it has helped me through the years. This is a technique that you learn through a teacher and a course, but it is very understandable and does not take weeks or months to perfect. Once you learn it, you’re good to go and practice everyday. On their website they state, “In the TM course, you learn how to effortlessly transcend — go beyond the surface level of your awareness. This state of deep inner silence is typically unavailable from meditation apps and other techniques.” As I mentioned, you are given a mantra specific to you and you are to practice the technique 2 times a day, 20 min each time. If you want to learn more about TM, click here for their website and to find an instructor near you.

  2. Breathwork

    There is a lot of talk starting to arise all over the internet about breathwork. So what exactly is it? Breathwork is any type of breathing exercises or techniques. There are many different ways to practice this technique, all from sitting and being mindful of your ribcage rising and falling, to counting breathwork where there is a sequence of breaths in an order like 4-4-4 (inhale for 4 seconds – hold the breath for 4 seconds – slowly release for 4 seconds). This is an afordable (as you could learn this technique for free on the internet/in a book or through an instructor) and an available technique for everyone. As mentioned, one example of a breathwork technique is through a sequence of numbers. For example, 4-4-4, you want to slowly inhale your breath in paying attention to the expansion of your ribcage and through your nose for 4 seconds, then hold that breath for 4 seconds, and end by slowly releasing your breath for another 4 seconds. You can also play with these numbers as well to make it easier and more challenging by having your numbers as 3-3-3 or 10-10-10, or even 5-10-15.

    Another technique that is very effective is alternate-nostril breathing. This technique is one type of pranayama or breathing practice, also known as nadi shodhana. With this technique you want to sit comfortably, bring your right hand up to your nose and move your forefinger and middle finger out of the way. Place your thumb on your right nostril. With this nostril covered, close your eyes and exhale fully and slowly through your left nostril. Once you’ve exhaled completely, release your right nostril and put your ring finger on the left nostril. Breathe in deeply and slowly from the right side. Make sure your breath is smooth and continuous. Once you’ve inhaled completely, exhale through your right nostril. Release your ring finger and close your right nostril with your thumb again. Breathe in fully and exhale fully from your left nostril. Repeat the full process two or more times.

    As mentioned there are many types of breathwork techniques to explore and try to see which one works for you!

  3. Counting

    Another helpful practice is counting. This one ties in with breathing as while you are counting you will be paying attention to your breath. Sit comfortably, and inhale through your nose as much as you can while you count 1, then exhale. Inhale again saying 2 either outloud or to yourself, and exhale completely. Repeat this pattern until you count to 10, then start over again from 1. Try to sit doing this technique for around 5 minutes to start and slowly increase from there. The point of this exercise is to get you slowing your breath down and to pay attention to how you are breathing as well. Which brings me to my next point…

  4. Being Mindful

    Did you know being mindful of your everyday life and living in the moment can also be considered a form of meditation? When was the last time you went for a walk without headphones or a phone and payed attention to everything happening around you? This can be a form of active meditation or mindfulness. For example, go for a 10 minute walk and listen to all of the sounds around you, feel the sun or wind on your skin, pay attention to what you are seeing as you walk. Just by tuning into your senses for only 10 minutes to start, it can be a wonderful way to get a mindfulness practice in if you are not ready to try meditation just yet. You can do this with not just walking, but when you’re painting or drawing, playing a musical instrument, playing a video game, reading a book, etc.

    One more technique you could try, which ties into all types of mindfulness and meditation, is diaphragmic breathing. Laying on your back place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. You want your breath to start from your diaphragm, so the hand over your belly should move first and the next movement is your chest. Imagine as if you are blowing up a balloon from your stomach, as that balloon gets bigger there is a bit of movement into your chest and when you let that balloon go, the exhale will go from your chest back down to your stomach. Another way of thinking of it is you want to expand your ribcage from the front, side and into your back so you get the full surface area of your thoracic cavity (the area inside your ribcage where your lungs are located). This can be a bit frustrating at first, but keep at it and you will have it down in no time.

  5. Listening To a Recording

    This is another popular choice and for good reason. There are so many different apps you can download like Headspace or Calm, but they all have one thing in common, it’s an easy and affordable way to try out mindfullness and meditation. They typically have recordings on them that either take you through a story, help you be mindful of how you are feeling from head to toe, they will take you through a breathing technique or help you with counting a sequence. Most apps will have a free trial, but some eventually have you paying for the app as a one time fee or monthly fee. With technology as it is these days, almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet they can use to access these types of apps. They are a great place to start, but if you wanted to try something else or this type of meditation does not work for you, trying one of the other techniques mentioned above can be just what you are looking for!

You do not need fancy crystals or rocks, weighted blankets, or a cusion specifically for meditation to sit on. To try out meditation and build yourself a consistent practice that works best for you, all you need is yourself and somewhere to comfortably sit. Give one of the techniques mentioned above a try and let me know on here or on my Instagram which one works best for you!

Much love

LEW xo

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

How To Become A Morning Person And Wake Up Early

Everyone is wired differently and not everyone considers themselves a “morning person.” Even if you are not one to wake up early, you can consciously build a morning routine that works for you to get yourself up and start your day off right. Through the process of becoming a morning bird, you should keep in mind to have compassion for yourself and be kind as this is a process. It takes time to build up to waking up earlier, but with that, you’ll need to switch up your sleeping schedule as well by going to bed earlier as well. This is a new habit you’re trying to build and it will take time to adjust to the new sleeping schedule, but over time and with patience, you’ll get there!

Important note: Trying something new is challenging already, so don’t feel like you need to do ALL of the suggested tips below. Start with one and go from there, try to not get overwhelmed by doing too much too soon.

  1. Consistency is key

    As with everything in life, you need to be consistent and stay with a sleeping schedule that works for you. What I mean by that is, you’ll want to pick a bed time and wake up time that will allow you to get enough sleep, around 8-10 hours. So if you are wanting to wake up at 5am, you’ll need to make your bed time around 9pm to get 8 hours of sleep. However, being consistent means that you also have that same bed time and wake up time on the weekends as well as during the week. The body’s circadian rhythm needs consistency, if you wake up at 5am during the week but wake up at 7am on weekends, you’ll be having a hard time getting out of bed come Monday morning.

  2. Change your mindset

    This can be a tough one, but changing how you think of mornings can make a huge difference. If you think negatively of something, it will make that particular habit or goal a lot harder to accomplish. So instead of saying, ” I have to get out of bed at 5am,” say, “I get to wake up early to have a good start to my day.” The way you think of something can completely shift how you feel about it. This will come with practice and time, but when a negative thought comes into your mind about the morning ahead of you, try and switch your words to help change your mindset. This will make getting out of bed a lot easier and worthwhile.

  3. Think about the delicious breakfast you’re about to have

    Following up my last point, getting out of bed will be easier if you are excited about what you’re going to eat! I know I’m personally motivated by food, but thinking about that warm cup of tea or coffee and the waffles or avo on toast you’re about to have just might give you enough fire and want to get out of bed. I find having this thought in your mind the night before can make it that much more enjoyable, something to look forward to the next morning.

  4. Don’t eat or drink too late into the evening

    For better digestion and rest, you want to stop eating and drinking anything 3 hours before bed. By doing this you will help your body get a better nights sleep as your digestion won’t be working overtime, and potentially disturbing your sleep by waking you up through the night. This can also help your body fully rest and recover from the day you’ve just had. Another point is caffeine, try to stop drinking or eating anything with caffeine in it by midday – I usually stop at 1-2pm. The reason for this is caffeine itself can stay in your system for up to 12 hours. At 6 hours, your body would have burned through half of the caffeine you have consumed. So if you stop drinking at 1-2pm by 9pm you would have given your body 7 hours to burn through the majority of the caffeine sitting in your system. This will allow for a better night’s sleep.

  5. Shift your schedule gradually

    If you wake up at 9am most days, changing your schedule to waking up at 5am the next day without giving your body anytime to adjust will end up with you hitting the snooze button until 9am. Instead, adjust your time by 30 min each day. If you wake up at 9am, the next day set your alarm for 8:30am, try that for a few days then once that becomes easy, adjust it again to waking up at 8am and let that new time settle for a few days. Repeat this process until you get to the new desired time you’d like to wake up at. Eventually over time you will be able to get up and out of bed without any issues at all, infact, you may actually wake up just before your alarm goes off!

  6. Get to bed earlier

    I hate to say it, but there is absolutely no way you will get out of bed at 5am if you are going to bed at 2am. Just like slowly adjusting your morning wake up time, slowly adjust your bedtime as well. If you are used to going to bed at 12pm, trying to get to bed at 9pm may be proven difficult. So, just as above, slowly adjust your bed time with the wake up time you are doing. Remember that you want to achieve getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, so schedule a bedtime and wake up time that works where you will be getting enough hours a night to sleep. Eventually over time, you will have your new sleep schedule and be able to sleep soundly through the night, as long as you work on what’s floating through your thoughts of course.

  7. Have a morning AND evening routine

    Everyone always talks about a morning routine, but ever so often a night time routine is never mentioned. Both routines are important for a better sleeping schedule. The morning routine can help you get out of bed thinking about the things you’re excited to start your day with and the night time routine can help to wind down your thoughts and body into a calm state for a restful sleep ahead. These routines do not need to be lengthy or complicated, find what is right for you and slowly start adding them into your everyday life.

  8. Have good sleep hygene

    What I mean when I say “sleep hygene” is habits like having the room cooler, blackout blinds, decrease light exposure at least an hour before bed, no technology an hour before bed, as I mentioned before – stop eating at least 3 hours before bed, maybe stretch or read before bed to signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and relax for a restful sleep ahead. I find if you have a busy brain like I do, journalling and breathing techniques before bed seems to help wonderfully for a good nights sleep.

  9. Morning light

    Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning in the winter months when it’s cold and dark out, but it’s a lot easier getting up in the summer months as the sun comes up much earlier? This has to do with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, when you see light your body knows it’s morning and time to wake up. This also triggers the body to drop melatonin levels and start producing cortisol and other hormones to wake you up. Try to walk outside first thing in the morning for about 5-10 min to kick start your body into the day ahead. I realize this may be difficult in the winter months as it’s dark, but once that light starts to rise try to go outside for a bit if you can. I promise you’ll feel a big difference doing this.

  10. Try to cut back on caffeine first thing in the morning

    Woah! Don’t kill the messanger, hear me out. I know some people live off caffeine, especially parents of young children. But try to go the first 1-2 hours of the day without any caffeine and let your body do what it naturally does without the assistance of that warm cuppa or cup of joe. By waiting a few hours in the morning you will be able to help your body take control and regulate your energy levels. Just think of how much better that cup will feel and taste after only a few hours extra before having it.

  11. Don’t snooze your morning away

    We have all been there, our alarm goes off and we shut it off right away and say to ourselves, “Five more minutes.” But in reality another hour or 2 goes by and then we finally get up. Instead of shutting it off right away, sit yourself up and then shut it off, this way you’re already up. Another trick is putting your phone or alarm that you use aross the room so you have to get up to shut it off. The hardest part is getting up out of bed, once you get past this point, you’re good to go. You can also try a light alarm if it’s the winter months that you have a hard time waking up in, these alarms slowly light up the room as if the sun is rising.

  12. The 5 second rule

    Another trick you can try is the 5 second rule. I’m not talking about the rule where you’ve dropped part of your breakfast on the ground and as long as you pick it up in 5 seconds, you can still eat it…you’d be lying if you said you haven’t done this. The author, Mel Robbins, wrote about a rule where you count down from 5 to 1 and just do it. This rule isn’t just for waking up in the morning but can also be used with pretty much anything else in life that you may be procrastinating on. So, when you wake up, count down from 5 to 1, and once you hit one, push yourself up out of bed and get your day rolling.

More and more research is starting to come out on the importance of sleep, but if you’re wanting to become a morning bird, above are just a few tips of how you can get yourself closer to your goal of getting up earlier. And remember, take it one step at a time, pick a few and work on those first, then start adding more. If you enjoy the process you will be more likely to continue it.

Keep being legends and thank you for reading my blog 🙂

LEW xo

The Benefits Of Electrolytes And When To Have Them

You may have come across these bright coloured drinks in the store before that range from blue to green and every other colour in the rainbow. They all claim to help you with physical performance and recovery. You may have picked this drink up to help with muscle recovery after a workout or maybe you are getting over the flu or another health condition. The real question is, are electrolyte drinks beneficial and worth all of the hype?

Many dieticians whom I have spoken with and research papers I have read have all mentioned that there is a time and place for them, but they can be beneficial.

What Is An Electrolyte And When Should I Drink Them?

Electrolytes are natural minerals that are found within your body, and their job is to regulate and control the fluids within your body. The job of electrolytes is to keep your overall system functioning along with regulating blood pressure and muscle contractions. There are three big electrolytes in the body:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium

You need to have the right amount of electrolytes in your body to have optimal functioning and performance. You can actually make your own electrolyte drink at home, but more on that later.

You will need to consume electrolytes through diet when these minerals are diminished within your body due to intense exercising, sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. Any amount of excessive fluid lost in your body at one time will call for consuming more electrolytes. The reason for this is your body at this point will be dehydrated, which in turn can cause muscle spasms and cramping to occur (this is usually one of the major signs in your body that you are dehydrated, next to extreme thirst).

How Do I Know If I Am Dehydrated?

Regardless if you know it or not, we have all been dehydrated at some point in our lives. There are many symptoms of dehydration such as dry lips and tongue, headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea and cramps. However, the biggest teller of dehydration is thirst. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Depending on how much intensity, fitness level, weight, humidity, duration of exercise and how much you sweat will vary how many electrolytes you lose during activity. The main electrolyte lost is sodium, even though sodium sometimes gets a bad rep, it is essential to help us retain fluids. Any type of sweating regardless of whether it is from exercise or from being sick, if you lose enough fluids you will become dehydrated.

An easy way to know how hydrated or dehydrated you are is by paying attention to your urine colour when you go to the bathroom. Also, paying attention to how many times you do have to go to the bathroom in the day. Chances are if you only have to pee 1-2 times a day, you’re not getting enough fluids in. A typical person that is staying hydrated will have to pee at least 6-7 times a day, but can range from 4-10 times as well depending on the person and if they have any other underlying health conditions that may be effecting their frequency to go to the bathroom.

What colour should my urine be?

As I mentioned, another way to know if you are hydrated enough is by paying attention to your urine colour. “Normal urine colour ranges from pale yellow to deep amber — the result of a pigment called urochrome and how diluted or concentrated the urine is. Pigments and other compounds in certain foods and medications can change your urine colour. Beets, berries and fava beans are among the foods most likely to affect the colour.”1 When you’re healthy and hydrated, your urine should fall somewhere between colourless and the colour of light straw and honey. When you don’t consume enough fluids, your urine becomes more concentrated and turns a darker yellow or amber colour.

Use this chart to refer to in order to have a better idea if you are hydrated or not:

Remember, we are not camels, we are meant to go to the bathroom multiple times a day to urinate. Some may find they “don’t have time” to go to the bathroom multiple times a day and so they purposely to not drink enough fluids. I think the benefits of staying hydrated throughout the day outweighs the “inconvenience” of having to go to the bathroom. You will stay focused, your skin will be more clear, and your body will overall function at its highest optimal level if you stay consistently hydrated throughout the day. Humans are mostly water at an average of 60% but can range up to 75% of our body. Why wouldn’t you want to stay hydrated with all of the benefits it brings us?

What Electrolyte Drink Should I Get?

There are all kinds of electrolyte drink options on the market nowadays. Ones that are in tablet form, powder form and ones that are already mixed into drinks that are ready to go. Which one you decide to go with is really all about preference and convenience. It’s nice to have the tablet and powder forms to take with you to the gym or on a hike when you don’t know for sure if you will need them or not, but you also don’t want to carry the extra weight of the liquid outside of regular water. However, if you are short on time and need electrolytes mixed for you in a liquid form, such as when you are travelling, then the premade drinks are for you!

A word of caution though, not all of the electrolyte drinks are made equal. Therefore, you must first decide if and how much you need. If you are working out for an hour or less, regular H2O will do and there is no need for a substitute. But if you are exercising for upwards of 75 min or more, especially on a particularly hot day, then a drink with electrolytes is a great idea to have during or after your workout.

Usually, a typical 8-ounce electrolyte drink has approximately 14 grams of sugar, 100 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium. You can even find drinks that are specifically for high endurance or ultra-endurance athletes with a higher amount of potassium and sodium along with other minerals like magnesium and calcium. Do keep in mind that these drinks are really high in sugar usually, so if you are going to be having multiple of them a day, try to choose the ones that are low-calorie or zero sugar. You should also look out for the drinks claiming any added immunity or high vitamin claims as they usually do not contain any electrolytes so they will not help with hydration in particular.

What’s The Deal With Coconut Water?

You may have heard that coconut water is a good substitute for regular sports drinks. This is partially true as coconut water does have a nutrient composition similar to traditional sports drinks, but they do differ in significant ways. The key nutrients for longer workouts are carbohydrates and sodium, however, regular or unsweetened coconut water has a fewer amount of these nutrients. Coconut water is an all-natural electrolyte drink alternative to your regular tap water, but it does have more calories and if it is sweetened it will have a much higher amount of sugar. The recommendation for athletes who are working out for a long period of time is to stick with the regular sports drinks as it will ensure proper hydration for maximum performance and recovery. But again, if you are drinking more than one of these drinks a day, I would opt for the low-sugar version of these drinks as they do contain a high amount of sugar. Always read your nutrition labels and research which drink is best for you.

How To Make A Homemade Electrolyte Drink

If you want to save yourself a lot of cash, you can make your own electrolyte drink at home with a few simple ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup orange juice (you can do freshly squeezed or orange juice from the store, but be sure it is 100% oranges, nothing added)
  • 1/4 cup lime or lemon juice (same as the point above straight from the produce itself or 100% the juice and nothing else)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 tbsp of honey or maple syrup (this all depends on how sweet you like it)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

By adding the orange juice and the lemon or lime juice, you will also be adding the extra minerals of magnesium and calcium along with potassium as well.

If You Are Looking For A Store Bought Electrolyte Recommendation…

I would suggest the Organika Electroylytes And Enhanced Collagen. I am not suggesting this company because I am an affiliate, but because I know it works. This powder has the three main electrolyte ingredients you need to rehydrate – magnesium 60mg, potassium 175mg and sodium 440mg. It also has the added benefit of collagen, which contains protein, and you need protein to help with muscle recovery after activity. On the added benefit, it conains no sugar!

On a nutrition stand point this powder is great to rehydrate you with all of it’s electrolyte properties, but it is not a nutritional supplement for after a workout. It is low in carbohydrates and has 5g of protein, after a workout you will need at least 10-20g of protein depending on your body weight. So if you are looking for a great electrolyte drink, this is may be the one for you! And remember as mentioned above, you only need electrolytes on a really hot day, if you have been sweating a lot, after the flu, or with 75 min+ amount of physical activity.

I recently just had a glutening experience at a restaurant and because I am celiac this threw my immune system through a loop. Usually after an exposure like this, all we can do is stay hydrated and let it run its course. I have been drinking this supplement to help with recovery as I had extreme sharp pain and muscle contractions in my gut, and as mentioned above electrolytes help in rehydration. But I find with it’s added benefit of collagen, this may help with gut repair as collagen has been shown to help with gut healing.

If you are wanting to give it a try, I have a 25% off code! Click the link above and use LEWSLIFE25 at the checkout.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.



A Book I Highly Recommend For Gut Health: Love Your Gut

I have to start off by saying if you have gut issues or even if you don’t but you are interested in learning more about gut health, this is the book for you! If you have been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I have celiac disease, you will also know that I’ve been struggling with ongoing gut and full-body symptoms even with following a strict gluten-free diet. This is the book that changed my mindset on gut health and had me start working with a registered dietician.

Dr. Megan Rossi is, “a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with a Ph.D. in gut health from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia. Megan’s Ph.D. was recognized for its contribution to science receiving the Dean’s Award for excellence. Megan leads research at King’s College London investigating nutrition-based therapies in gut health, including pre- & probiotics, dietary fibres, the low FODMAP diet and food additives.1″

She starts the book off by explaining about her grandma who was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and how when she started working in the hospital as a dietician she had a lot of patients with kidney disease who were complaining of gut issues. She then went on to work with Olympic athletes and company CEOs who got her thinking about the link between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain axis). From here she went into research to make a difference, but she found that even with the research that was being done and that was available, there were false and dangerous fad nutritional messages being passed to the public. She educates the public that restricting diets and taking expensive supplements can destroy people’s gut health. Her mission is to now spread true information about gut health and nutrition through evidence-based research. She also talks a lot about getting enough “plant points” in your diet every day by eating a wide range of plant-based foods.

When I say this book is jam-packed with exceptional information, I mean that I have post-it notes all over this book to the information I have referenced back to time and time again. The book is full of evidence-based information from the gut microbiota to food intolerances and irritable bowel syndrome, plus so much more. She explains the information in a way that anyone would understand and in a way that really sticks with you as well. She wrote the book in a way that as you are reading about the information given, you will also have the opportunity to take her assessment quizzes to find out the state of your individual gut health. By the end of the book, you may have a better understanding of what is going on in your own gut and have a better idea of what to do to correct it. It’s like having a dietician right there in your own home!

What made me pick up this book

For a short personal story, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2017. I went on a gluten-free diet immediately after being diagnosed. After a few months of continual symptoms even with following a strict gluten-free diet, I started reaching out for help. The walk-in doctors were of no help as they kept telling me to continue eating a gluten-free diet and I would be fine. This is when I started reaching out for help from other healthcare providers like naturopaths, acupuncturists and nutritionists, all of which were helpful in their own way but something did not add up. I was placed on extreme elimination diets like the hypoallergenic diet and I was told through a muscle food intolerance test that I was intolerant to certain foods and needed to avoid them. I was not told that I could eventually reintroduce those foods back into my diet, like what Dr. Rossi explains in her book, but instead, I was told to eat restrictively and avoid those foods for the rest of my life. This was not the lifestyle I wanted for myself and I eventually started to develop anxiety over food. This past year I started wondering if the anxiety I felt over the foods I was told to avoid was contributing to my ongoing gut health issues. It turns out, I was right.

Fast forward to last year when I started reading Dr. Rossi’s book, Love Your Gut, after listening to her speak over many podcasts and on her social media platforms. After reading her book and completing the self-assessments, I decided to give working with a dietician a try. I cannot emphasize this enough, I wish I started working with one sooner, as I have noticed more difference in my gut over 6 months of working with one than in the 4 years with other healthcare providers. This is not to say other healthcare providers do not help, but be sure you are working with the right ones for your individual needs.

I feel like I could write a book-length reason why you should read this book. Definitely pick up a copy for yourself or a friend or family member you feel may need it, I’ve bought this book for many people in my life. She even has delicious recipes to try at the end of the book, they will definitely help you get your ‘plant points.’

I personally cannot wait for her next book, Eat More Live Well, to be available in Canada, but in the meantime check this one out!

Thank you Dr. Rossi for all that you do, you’ve helped to transform my life and I’m sure many others as well!

Click here for her Instagram page. Click here for her amazing blog.

This review was in no way sponsored – more a way to spread the word on a great book and human being!


Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

Why Your Goal Setting Is Not Working For You

Every year without fail we make new year resolutions that we cannot keep. Then we feel like we have failed and it puts a damper on our mood for the year.

According to the University of Scranton (Michael Scott’s hometown), a whopping 92% of people who set new year’s eve resolutions do not actually achieve them. Are we surprised? Probably not. But why is it that we cannot meet the goals we set for ourselves every year?

Because we start off on the wrong foot and do not set our goals correctly.

You do not have a timeline. You’re not sure when it will happen.
Your goal is Vague. You’re not being specific enough with what you want to achieve.
Unwritten. You have not taken the time to write your goals out on paper. Yes, there is an actual study that proves this works.
Your goal is intimidating. We can all see the future we want but we don’t break the road to get there into smaller realistic steps.

How do we set goals that work? By transforming them from a dream, into a plan.

1) Follow the proven steps of SMART goals.
Specific: Make your goals specific and narrow for more effective planning.
Measurable: Provide a way to evaluate and keep track of the metrics or data targets that will prove you are making progress then re-evaluate when necessary.
– Attainable: Make sure you can reasonably accomplish your goal within a certain timeframe.
– Relevant:
Your goals should align with your values and long-term objectives.
– Time-Bound
: Set a realistic, ambitious end-date for task prioritization and motivation.

2) Write it out! A study at The Dominican University found a 42% average of people achieving their goals when they write them down on paper.

3) Put a reasonable timeline to it. Having a due date can give you a sense of urgency to get it done.

4) Break your goal down into baby steps. You must first learn how to walk before you can run. Breaking your goals down into smaller steps makes your goal more manageable.

Journal Prompts for 2022:
1) 3 things I achieved in 2021
2) My biggest lesson in 2021
3) What do I want more of in 2022?
4) 5 intentions for the year. “I will…”
5) Your word or words for 2022
6) Main Goals and Focus for 2022 psst…remember to be really specific here.
7) Purpose in 2022
8) By the end of 2022…

So grab yourself a pen and paper or write out your goals the twenty-first century way and get out your IPad and Apple Pencil and start making yourself goals you can achieve this year to make you that much closer to your end goal, whatever that might be :).

Infographics are found on my Instagram account here.

Simplify Your Life

It seems the overall vibe right now is to be going 100 miles a minute to try and get all of our ambitious goals done. So we start with a fresh face and make a goal to write a book, start a YouTube channel and make an empire before the end of the week. Then we are usually beating ourselves up for not completing what we wanted by the end of the week and the self-doubt and the negative talk starts in our burnt-out brain. Trust me when I say, we have all been there.

Why do we do this to ourselves? It might be the overachieving personality that we have, or maybe we feel like we are running out of time. Whatever the reason, know that you are not alone as there are thousands of us doing this exact same process right now.

It seems like women’s brains try to do all of the things in this exact moment all at once, while men’s brains are usually a lot more relaxed when it comes to life tasks. Sometimes I wish I had the talent of simplifying everything and putting it all into neat little boxes in my brain like men do, but we will work with what we got! (If you have not seen Mark Gungor’s comedy skit on the difference between men and women’s brains, check it out for a great laugh).

So if you are like me and you have too much to do, too much to think about, or too much stuff, it’s time to simplify!

  1. Declutter: You want more joy in your life? Have less ‘things.’
  2. Disconnect: This does not have to be anything huge, even shutting your phone off for one hour a week can make an exceptional difference to your mental health. I personally always put my phone away from 7pm until 7am the next day. But if you are feeling like experimenting, unplug for a day a week or even one weekend a month. You will thank yourself.
  3. No multitasking: Try to concentrate and work on one thing at a time. Our brains are amazing machines, but once you start to make it concentrate on more than one thing, usually productivity goes down. So try setting a timer for 20 min and think about one task at hand in that 20 min, then move onto the next task.
  4. Cut back on commitments: As humans we cannot physically or mentally be in two places at once, if you can do this I would love to see it. Look at your daily schedule and re-evaluate your time commitments, then think about what you can let go of that day.
  5. Let the expectations go: There is no such thing as perfection. We usually put way too much on our plates where in any world, it could never get done in one day. So, make your to-do list shorter, and expect less of yourself so you are not so hard on yourself. This will actually allow you to be able to give more of yourself.
  6. Stop the frequent spending: By not buying more, you will have a better budget plan. If you have a better budget plan this will free up time, money and your emotional energy. Which will allow your energy to be used elsewhere!
  7. Delegate: Whether this be to yourself, a virtual assistant, coworkers, family or friends: delegate. “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”…WRONG! Change that way of thinking, we cannot expect ourselves to get every little thing done in our lives by ourselves, especially as our schedule starts to become busier. Ask for help when it is needed, it will lower your blood pressure and make your day that much better.

Give these tips a try, and if you do, let me know in the comments or on Instagram.


LEW xoxo

How rolling your feet can help with hamstring tightness

Image from Anatomy Trains

Have you ever stretched your hamstrings and lower back as much as you can but still have tightness? This can sometimes be due to a connective tissue structure called fascia.

Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place. The tissue does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin. Therefore, it plays a major role in our musculoskeletal system.

As shown in the book, Anatomy Trains, there is a fascial line from your skull down to your toes. If the fascia is tight it can tug and pull on the muscle causing it to feel tight. One way you can correct this is by rolling the bottom of your feet to loosen up the fascia at one end.

Give this a try to see if it helps you be able to bend forward to touch your toes easier:

  1. Bend forward to touch your toes, but be sure to keep your knees straight and you bend from your hips not your knees. Measure how far you can reach and remember this length as you will be using it for reference again later.
  2. Roll the bottom of both feet, but be sure that you roll slow and controlled. Rolling fast will not help to release the fascia. Be sure to roll front to back and into the arches of the foot. Roll for 2-5 min per foot. Roll in a triangle position like the picture shows to the right.
  3. Now bend forward and try to touch you toes again. Notice the difference in how far forward you can bend.

Pretty cool eh?

This is how beneficial it can be to roll your muscles first before you stretch. So next time you have a good stretching session, roll out your muscles for a few minutes first and see how you feel!

I have a full video on how to do this on my Instagram account that can be found here.

Consistency Is Key

This is something I tell my patients all of the time, other than to be an advocate for your own health.

In order for you to get better at anything in life, you need to be working at it little by little every day.

That’s not to say there isn’t such a thing as a ‘rest day.’ But if you think of it in a way that will promote progress, consistency is key.

For instance, if you want to become stronger and more mobile, doing a yoga class or going to the gym once a month isn’t going to get you any closer to your goal of becoming the next James Bond.

You need to work at it and know that you are making a lifestyle change.

This is a concept that can be used in all aspects of our lives. If you are trying to save up for a house, car or retirement, only putting money into a savings account once will not help you in the long run. However, if you consistently put money into that account it will start to grow into a pretty nice retirement plan.

Same thing goes for if you want anything else in your life, you need to be consistent and work at it little by little everyday.

The things that are worth while waiting for, do not happen over night. Keep working at it and you will see the progress, guarenteed.


LEW xoxo

How Tea Can Help With Mental Health: Featuring The Genuine Tea Company

There are not enough words in the world for me to write about how much I love this tea company.

Genuine Tea is ethically sourced, free of artificial flavouring and colours, and the best part for people who may have celiac disease, they are 100% gluten free! This Toronto, Ontario based company hand packages their tea with love, care and excitement to all orders of their super flavourful tea.

Another big reason I support Genuine Tea, is for every cup of their tea that you enjoy, 1% of proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

With the uprise in mental health awareness, it is really refreshing to see a company that supports such an important cause. Recently there have been many studies showing the many major benefits of tea with overall health. Some of these benefits are listed below.

The Benefits of Tea on Mental and Physical Health:

Tea not only tastes great, but there is a lot of research backing the many health benefits found within the nutrients in tea. The bioactive compounds found in tea are called flavonoids, which are plant compounds with a variety of health benefits. Researchers have found a decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and some cancers with a diet rich in flavonoids. If this was not reason enough to add more flavonoids into your diet, they also have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease.

The amino acid, L-theanine, which is found in tea has been found in some studies to alter the attention networks in the brain and also has clear-cut effects on brain waves. This then leads to a feeling of relaxation without having any drowsiness. A placebo-controlled study was done to show how the people who drank tea were better at doing an attention task than those who drank the placebo drink. Green tea for instance has been shown to help with concentration and relaxation without having the jittery side effects that can occur with coffee. Even more fascinatingly, there have been studies showing that theanine has some success of reducing anxiety and other symptoms in people with schizophrenia!

There are also polyphenols found in tea that can contribute to better cognition and working memory. There have been many studies on people with Alzheimer’s disease that shows drinking green tea can lead to promising results with improving a decline in memory, cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tea has also been shown to help with a decline in stressful situations. One study showed that drinking 4 cups of oolong tea everyday for a week helped to decrease the symptoms of stiffness in the shoulders and neck, fatigue of the eyes and headaches. Black tea has also been shown to decrease stress hormones if consumed regularly.

It is safe to say, when we are in and out of stressful situations we can all learn a lesson from those in England who have a cuppa close in hand!

Regardless of the type of tea you like to consume on a regular basis I can “guarantea” that it will have many positive beneficial outcomes for your overall health!

If you are considering adding tea to your daily routine or looking for another company to try and enjoy, check out Genuine Tea and support their amazing Canadian small business!