What is collagen?

Have you heard of collagen?

If you’re the least bit interested in beauty and/or health, I’m sure you’ve seen it referenced a time or two. It is the newest buzzword in the health and beauty industries… and for good reason!

So, what IS collagen?

Per Medical News Today, “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.”

Okay, so collagen is a protein… what’s the big deal?

Well it IS a big deal if you care about the health of your connective tissues… I’m talking joint health, healthy skin, nails and hair, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Did I catch your attention yet?

Collagen is important when it comes to your body growing new connective tissue – that means keeping joints, bones and tendons healthy as well as quickly replenishing skin, hair and nail cells (the quicker our body can replenish cells, the younger our skin/hair/nails appear). When we are young, collagen is produced by our bodies in abundance, but as we age and expose our body to UV radiation and other environmental factors, our bodies produce less and less collagen. This is why we associate popping joints, brittle nails/hair, and wrinkles with aging… our body produces less collagen to prevent these age-related issues.

Besides age, what else can reduce collagen production?

  • High sugar consumption (UGH, I KNOWWW… even more reason to keep that sweet tooth in check!)
  • Smoking
  • UV Rays
  • Genetics

So, what can we do to prevent collagen loss?

The biggest factor in maintaining healthy collagen production is – you guessed it, a healthy diet. Consuming the correct amounts of Vitamins A and C, copper (found in nuts, red meats and shellfish), as well as Proline (found in egg whites, meat, and cheese) can aid in the production of collagen.

Along with a healthy diet, I’ve chosen to supplement my collagen over the past few months. I’ve tried a few brands and while, I do think they work (although it is still a bit early to tell…), they either don’t mix well or leave an awful flavor when I mix them into my smoothies or water.

Because I’m always looking for new health and beauty supplements to try, I was SO excited when AdvoCare announced the launch of its Glow system a few weeks ago! There are three products in the system, one of which is a collagen supplment. YAY!!!

Glow is a three-step system designed to promote the health of our skin, hair and nails. It is comprised of three products – Collagen, Skin, and Hair & Nails, and it has received only RAVE reviews from the ladies (and gentlemen!) that were given the opportunity to test it before it was released to the public.

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Step 1 is Glow Collagen. This supplement supports skin firmness and elasticity, promotes healthy skin cell function, and helps support natural collagen and elastin fiber production. It is a drink mix that is a cherry berry flavor and my oh my is it ever tasty!! It is much better than other collagen products I’ve tasted!

Step 2 is Glow Skin. This supplement provides antioxidants to support skin health, helps promote healthy aging of the skin, and supports healthy skin quality and structure. It is a single pill you consume daily.

Step 3 is Glow Hair & Nails. This supplement promotes healthy hair growth, supports lustrous hair (yes, please!!), and contains nutrients that support hair and nail strength. It is also a single pill you consume daily.

As I am now entering my mid-30’s (say whattt??), taking care of my body is one of my main priorities. I eat mostly healthy, I exercise, I *try* to get enough sleep (LOL, I’m a mom… yeah, right!), and I supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps my diet may not provide.

For me, staying healthy also means looking healthy. Is that shallow? Maybe, but if products can not only make me look better but also keep my skin, hair, nails, and other connective tissues healthier, count me in!

I am currently participating in a Glow Challenge where everyone is taking the new AdvoCare Glow System for 30 days and sharing their real results. The online group is private and very supportive, open, and a big ol’ self-love fest. We have been sharing photos of our before images this week along with photos that make us feel like we are GLOWing. I am loving this new “challenge” and all of the love and support we are showing each other.

If you’re interested in learning more about Glow, please don’t hesitate to reach out. There is no time like the present to put a little love into yourself and begin glowing both inside and out!

Big Slice Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins & Giveaway!

We are talking healthy snacking today.

Yes, HEALTHY during the holiday season! Holidays and healthy eats can go hand in hand, especially with some help from flavorful Big Slice apple products.

Today I have an amazingly simple recipe and a deliciously healthy giveaway for y’all… Perfect timing for all of those New Years’ resolutions if ya ask me ;) But first, let’s cover this whole healthy snacking thang.

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If you’re anything like me, you want your snacks to be quick, easy to grab, and packaged to take with you when you’re on-the-go. We all live busy lives – Who has time to spend 30 minutes on prepping a snack?! I definitely don’t! Between running to the gym to teach, responding to emails and chasing after my now on-the-go baby, snacks need to be consumed in 30 seconds or less.

I was so happy when Big Slice sent me a big ol’ package full of goodies a few weeks ago. I’ll be honest, I was not familiar with Big Slice prior to my goodie package so I’m going to give you a few details in case you were in the dark about this amazing brand like I was.

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Big Slice features 17 delicious flavors that are available in glam on-the-go pouches (They are perfect for the gym bag!) that are all approximately 100 calories per pouch. They use all-natural ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives and let me tell you, the apple and fruit chunks are juicy, chewy and taste super fresh!

I’ve been snacking on these pouches pre- and post-workout, mixed in with my oatmeal and yogurt at breakfast, and when I’ve craving something sweet but want something on the healthier side. Big Slice has yet to disappoint!

Another thing I love about Big Slice is that a portion of each purchase goes to the Spark Foundation – an organization that supports women and girls in need.

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I decided to try my hand at mixing Big Slice into the most popular recipe here on Olives ‘n Wine… The result? An amazingly moist, perfectly sweetened, chewy and healthy muffin. The recipe is exactly the same with a slight addition… 2 pouches of natural Big Slice. The apple pouches were a total game changer for this recipe, I won’t be making them without them again!

Oh! And I used dried cranberries rather than raisins in the recipe… I like to use what I have on hand and cranberries were in my pantry ;)

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Now, for the fun part – One of YOU are going to win a fun package from Big Slice!

The giveaway consists of:

  • 12 sample pouches, assorted flavors
  • Big Slice tumbler
  • Spork

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment for each of the following for your chance to win!

I will select a winner on Monday, December 28, 2015!

Disclaimer: I was sent Big Slice products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

Spicy Zucchini-Peanut Noodles & Giveaway!

Disclosure: I was provided with 2 bottles of Mighty Nut as well as compensated for this post. All opinions, the recipe, and my love of peanut butter are my own :) Thanks for your support!

Let’s talk peanut butter.

Peanut butter is by far my FAVORITE nut butter. It’s creamy. It adds a delicious flavor to pretty much anything. And peanut butter + chocolate… Need I say more?

Today, I have a recipe for you that has my favorite peanut butter flavor but instead of being made with regular ol’ peanut butter, a key ingredient is Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter.

Powdered peanut butter? Have you heard of it?

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I’m still fairly new to the powdered peanut butter bandwagon (I know… I’m so behind the times!) so when Peanut Butter & Co offered to send me two bottles of Might Nut, I jumped at the opportunity! Mighty Nut has 85% less fat than regular peanut butter AND it offers up 6g of protein per serving. All of the flavor and ability for recipe creation with only 45 calories per serving… I’m not one to complain about that.

I decided to try my hand at a recipe with the “original” flavored Might Nut Powdered Peanut Butter. And can you believe that it doesn’t involve chocolate?! Be shocked and amazed ;)

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This is a healthy recipe and it packs a punch of protein, a serving of green veggies, and spicy kick all with my favorite peanut butter flavor. Yes, please!

So, without further ado… Spicy Zucchini-Peanut Noodles!

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Spicy Zucchini-Peanut Noodles

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 3 TBSP Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter, Original flavor
  • 2 TBSP coconut aminos (you can sub soy sauce)
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oil (I used sesame)
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili hot sauce (more for a spicier recipe!)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

Using a spiralizer or food grater, make your zucchini noodles and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter sauce over zucchini noodles and stir until combined. Serve chilled as a side along side your favorite protein. Enjoy!

These noodles would be delicious served with grilled shrimp or chicken. They add a healthy and flavorful Asian-inspired kick to your favorite meal!

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Now, for the fun part… One of YOU will win a bottle of Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter in a flavor of your choice.

A little more about Mighty Nut:

Peanut Butter & Co just launched Mighty Nut, their new powdered peanut butter! Each batch of Mighty Nut is created from quality USA grown peanuts. The peanuts are roasted, then pressed, to remove most of the fat.  What remains is protein, fiber and delicious peanut buttery taste.  Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter can be rehydrated and used as a spread or dip, or as an ingredient in baking, cooking or smoothies and it is available in four delightful varieties:

  • Original
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Flax & Chia

Giveaway entry methods: 

  • Leave a comment below on what recipe you would make if you won a bottle of Mighty Nut.
  • Follow @GoMightyNut and @olivesanwine on Twitter
  • Follow @GoMightyNut and @beckyklap on Instagram
  • Tweet about the giveaway. Sample tweet: I would LOVE to create recipes with @GoMightyNut! #EatMighty @fitapproach #sweatpink mightynut.com
  • Pin a picture from MightyNut.com

U.S. only. One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Mighty Nut through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner. 

I will randomly select a winner on Wednesday (10/28/15) morning!

Healthy {Green} St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie

St. Patrick’s Day – I’m sure most of you celebrated over the weekend, yes?

All of that weekend celebrating calls for something healthy and GREEN. I mean, it IS St. Patrick’s Day (tomorrow) after all ;)

There are plenty of healthy green foods out there to indulge in this March holiday… green beans, asparagus, green apples, brussel sprouts, green grapes, and the list goes on. But it is St. Patrick’s Day and we need to DRINK something green. #amiright?!

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So, today I bring you something that you can whip up in your blender in a few seconds flat.

It might not be pretty but… It’s healthy. It’s slightly sweet. It’s perfect for a hurried weekday breakfast. And – most importantly, it’s green.

Green like a summer’s lawn. Green like the Chicago River. Green like your clothes better be tomorrow. And green like we’re pretending the smoothie in my photo below looks (because it is green in real life, haha!) ;)

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Healthy {Green} St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie

Makes 1 smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I like this one.)

Directions:

Throw all ingredients into your favorite blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into a shamrock-covered glass and enjoy!

Yes, this post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almond Milk, but even if this weren’t sponsored, I would still use it in my morning smoothie! Full of calcium, unsweetened, great flavor, low in calories – It is the perfect addition to your morning smoothie or your cereal or however else you like to enjoy your almond milk.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almond Milk.

Almond-Crusted Chicken Bites – A Game Changing Snack!

In a few short days, football fans and socialites alike with gather for the biggest game of the year.

Whether you are a serious football connoisseur, advertisement expert, food and beer lover, or a loving spouse there for moral support, you can’t deny the deliciousness Sunday will bring.

Chips and guacamole. Cheesy dips. Burgers and brats. Chili. Bean-filled taquitos. Beer. Margaritas. Soda pop. #gimmeALLthefoods

If we’re being honest, the day is bound to be full of less-than-healthy snacks. But hey, that’s what football is all about, right? Gathering with friends, eating foods that will make your stomach hurt (LOL) and cheering on your favorite team.

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Today, I’m bringing you a game changing snack and adding in a bit o’ healthy into a typically not-so-good-for-you day. Are you down with that?!

Almond-Crusted Chicken Bites.

These three-ingredient bites are not only quick ‘n easy, they can be made ahead (wahoo!), pack some major flavor, have a savory crunch that will delight your taste buds, and taste fabulous dipped in hot sauce.

And you can’t tell me you don’t love that bottle of hot sauce ;)

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Almond-Crusted Chicken Bites

Makes 30 bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup Blue Diamond Almonds <– I used 1/2 cup Smokehouse and 1/2 cup Wasabi & Soy Sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a non-stick mat onto a baking sheet. (If you do not have a non-stick mat, use tin foil sprayed with baking spray.) Crunch almonds in a blender or, if you like to wake your neighbors on a Sunday morning, by placing them in a sealed sandwich baggie and beating them with a wooden spoon. Dip chicken pieces into egg and then place into almond bag. Shake, shake shake! Once chicken is coated in almond pieces, place onto baking sheet. (If you have extra almond pieces, sprinkle them on top of chicken.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through. If making ahead, store in airtight container in fridge. Reheat for approximately 1-2 minutes in microwave when ready to serve.

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These are beyond flavorful on their own, but would be delicious dipped in ranch, guacamole, or your favorite hot sauce!

Make these for your friends. Make these for your picky eater. Make these for your protein lover. JUST MAKE THESE. They’ll be the hit of your Sunday party and you won’t even have to admit that they’re healthy.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What are your plans for the game on Sunday? Is there anyone else besides me that doesn’t know who’s playing, LOL?

Seven Days of Healthy Eats IV – Recipes and More!

Heard a lot about AdvoCare and the 24-Day Challenge? Ready to jump on board and begin an incredible journey to a healthier lifestyle? If you want in on the challenge fun, you can purchase your bundle here or reach out to me (becky@olivesnwine.com) for more information!

We’re into the final countdown of the challenge – How crazy is that?! Like we all know by now, AdvoCare is a lifestyle, not a diet. You now know how to fuel your body to keep it running at its best – That’s pretty awesome, right? What’s your plan for Day 25 and beyond?

Not sure where to begin? Your coach will give you fab recommendations on what you should continue to optimize your goals, all you have to do is ask!

Welcome to your new healthy lifestyle, my friends. It’s the best place to be!

Since it’s Sunday, it’s time for this week’s meal plan.

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Miss the last 3 weeks? You can find them here:

Breakfast:

  1. 2 HB eggs + Banana <– easy, on-the-go breakfast!
  2. MRS <– There is also a vegan option here. Serves 1. These are great when you get into the Max Phase!
  3. Zucchini-Sweet Corn Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  4. 2 TBSP peanut butter on 2 slices of Ezekiel Bread
  5. Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Whole <– exclude the cheese and serve with a cup of fresh fruit

Lunch:

  1. Super-Food Antioxidant Salad
  2. Spicy Chicken & Soba Noodle Salad <– sub coconut aminos for soy sauce and whole wheat spaghetti or Mung Bean pasta for the soba noodles
  3. Chipotle salad <– Obviously, my favorite lunch of the week! Just leave out the dairy options :)
  4. Jalapeno-Spiced Black Bean Burgers <– Leave out the wheat germ and add 1 extra egg
  5. Butternut-Walnut Soup
  6. Dinner leftovers x2

Dinner:

  1. BBQ Chicken Chili <– Just be aware of the amount of sugar in your BBQ sauce. Whole Foods has some sugar-free options!
  2. Butternut Squash and Lentil Curry Stew <– A great vegetarian option!
  3. Crockpot Fajita Stew <– Sub homemade taco seasoning for the packet of fajita seasoning.
  4. Healthy Beef & Broccoli – Eliminate the brown sugar (it’s good without it!) and sub coconut aminos for soy sauce – serve with quinoa or brown rice.
  5. Taco Salad – Mix greens topped with 4 oz ground turkey, 1/2 cup black beans, tomato, black olives, 1/4 avocado and LOTS of salsa.
  6. Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage (I like the jalapeno flavor!) served with roasted peppers and quinoa
  7. Leftovers!

Snacks:

  1. Mango-Jalapeno Salsa – Good with spoon, LOL or served with celery :)
  2. Sugar-Free Banana Bread Granola Bars
  3. Apple + 2 TBSP peanut butter
  4. 1/4 cup mixed nuts + Banana
  5. AdvoBar – I personally LOVE the DB9 flavor.
  6. HB Egg + 1/4 Avocado <– Mix together and serve on top of a salt-free rice cake
  7. Spark <– good option if you are not hungry come snack time!

What has been your favorite healthy meal over the past 24 days? How are you going to continue your new Advo-lifestyle?

Peanuts or almonds? {recipe!}

Peanuts or almonds?

Almonds or peanuts?

Everyone has a favorite and lately it seems that the lovely almond has taken the spotlight. Well, not today my friends! Today is for my personal favorite, the peanut.

Think the little ol’  peanut is plain and boring? Think again!

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I’m sharing a super easy, super tasty, and super healthy treat over on Jen’s blog today and you should most definitely check it out. It’s like Halloween candy without all the junk ;)

Peanut Butter Joy Bites.

You know you don’t want to miss ’em!

Zucchini-Sweet Corn Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

You guysssss.

This is good. Realllllll good.

I was tempted to leave this post at that because honestly this recipe is one of the best on this blog. I obviously don’t post my recipe disasters (and there are many, trust me…) in this space, but I do have favorites. And this is, by far, one of the best recipes that I’ve shared.

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As there isn’t any peanut butter or chocolate (gasp!) in the recipe, you’re probably wondering why the heck this is topping my list of favorite recipes. Let me tell you why…

  1. It’s easy. Like super, no fail easy.
  2. It’s made of whole foods and that’s it.
  3. It’s dairy-free. (I’ve noticed that dairy has been doing wonky things to my tum tum lately, and this has none of that business.)
  4. It’s FULL of veggies that are abundant this time of year. Hellooooo sweet corn!
  5. It has a sweet potato crust. IT HAS A SWEET POTATO CRUST. Ahem… yeah, it’s pretty good ;)

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I found inspiration for this recipe on Pinterest, but was disappointed when I clicked on the photo only to be taken to one of those photo-stealin’ sites that have no links to the original recipes. So. Annoying.

I did my best to recreate the image – although who the heck knows what was originally in the recipe, you can only tell so much by a photo! Also, this recipe was originally destined to be in a round pie pan. Well, that is, until I arrived home with ingredients in hand only to realize that my pie pan is one of the many things packed away until Kyle and I move to a larger space.

Sigh.

Thankfully, this quiche tastes fantastic when made in a square brownie pan as well ;)

Slightly egg-y, full of tasty, summer vegetables and lined with a sweet potato crust. Could it get any fresher?

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Zucchini-Sweet Corn Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 2 cups of sweet corn, about 2 ears worth
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray pie pan (or brownie pan, haha!) with non-stick cooking spray and line bottom and sides with sliced sweet potato. Slightly overlap each sweet potato in order to prevent gaps in the crust. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, until slightly browned. While crust is baking, beat eggs and mix in remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture into crust, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes, until middle is set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!

Breakfast, brunch, brinner – whatever the occasion, this recipe will be a winner! It also makes fantastic leftovers… and tastes pretty darn delicious with a side of avocado ;)

What is your favorite summertime vegetable? Sweet corn!! I am originally from Iowa, remember :) Wait, does that count?! If not, tomatoes (although technically a fruit…) and green beans.

{Copycat} Whole Foods Greek Orzo Salad

Kyle and I are not picky eaters.

We love everything from Italian to Indian to Mexican to Thai. We devour olives and hummus and octopus and brussel sprouts.

But, just because we’re not picky eaters, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have our favorites. One of Kyle’s favorite side dishes is Whole Foods’ Greek Orzo Salad.

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You know, the salad that costs about $20 per ounce from the delectable hot bar. Since moving to Chicago, I’m fairly certain we’ve spent a few hundred dollars on that orzo salad…

Needless to say, I needed a substitute and I needed it fast. Girlfrand can’t be spending her lulu money on crazy expensive orzo salads ;)

Enter my {Copycat} Whole Foods Greek Orzo Salad!

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Super quick. Super easy. Super tasty. You have no reason not to make this salad for your next picnic, backyard BBQ, neighborhood party or quick lunch option.

Al dente orzo, wilted spinach, salty kalamata olives and big ol’ chunks of feta cheese all tossed with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic.

Pure (affordable!) Greek deliciousness coming at ya.

{Copycat} Whole Foods Greek Orzo Salad

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup orzo (uncooked)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped or crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP balsamic

Directions:

Cook orzo per package directions. While pasta is cooking, place spinach at bottom of strainer. Once orzo is cooked to al dente, drain into strainer over spinach and rinse with cold water. Combine orzo and spinach mixture with remaining ingredients and mix well. Store in a covered container in refrigerator and serve chilled. Enjoy!

What is your favorite copycat recipe?

Double Chocolate Quest Truffle Cookies

Quest Bars.

You love ’em too, right?

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Ever since Blend and the generosity of Quest Nutrition, Kyle and I have been eating those delightful bites of protein and fiber like they’re going out of style.

With Quest Bars bursting out of my cupboards, I’ve also been getting creative in the kitchen and making some deliciously healthy desserts. Today I’m sharing one of my favorites over on Piece of Cait!

Head on over to check out my Double Chocolate Quest Truffle Cookies.

Also, since I’ve been eating all things Quest non-stop lately, I’m linking up with Jenn for WIAW!

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