Collagen Peptides – What are they + why should you be taking them?


Collagen peptides are all the rage right now. I feel like every time I open Instagram I see a video of some beauty blogger adding these to her coffee. This is a supplement I actually take and have researched in great detail, so I thought I would share my knowledge in case you were intrigued.


First of all, what is collagen?


Collagen is one of our bodies’ most important building blocks and makes up about 30% of the protein in our bodies. It is a key structural protein contributing to elasticity and regeneration of connective tissue – including skin, tendons, ligaments and bones. Unfortunately, with age our bodies start to produce less collagen and the signs of aging begin to occur. Collagen is made of primarily three amino acids: proline, hydroxyproline and glycine. Three very long chains of these amino acids are twisted together very tightly into a helix formation to create collagen. This collagen, in its native form, due to its size, is too difficult to break down during digestion and so it cannot be absorbed.


Collagen as a supplement is most commonly available as either collagen peptides or collagen gelatin.


What are collagen peptides and how are they different than collagen?

Collagen peptides are created by enzymatically hydrolysis of collagen. Hydrolysis is basically the breaking down of molecular bonds between individual strands of collagen into shorter strands with a lower molecular weight. Our bodies can more effectively absorb these shorter and lighter collagen peptides and they act as building blocks to boost production of new collagen and stimulate cell metabolism.


What is gelatin?

Gelatin is collagen that has undergone partial hydrolysis, making it not as bioavailable as collagen peptides. Also, gelatin will only dissolve in hot water, whereas collagen peptides can dissolve in hot or cold liquids.


Is collagen found in foods?

Yes, it is found in bone broths, as bone broths are made by slowly cooking bones and cartilage in water to form gelatin. The collagen in the animal bones and connective tissue is slowly turned into gelatin that dissolves in the broth. As this collagen is in a gelatin form, it will not be as easily absorbed as collagen peptides.


So, what are the benefits of collagen peptide supplementation?

Weight loss

Recent studies have shown collagen to be more filling than other types of protein. According to one clinical trial, collagen was found to be 40% more filling than whey, casein or soy. Another trial among obese individuals found the intake of hydrolyzed collagen (collagen peptides) stimulated the release of satiety hormones.

Reduces wrinkles, hydrates skin and helps to smooth cellulite

Collagen is the essential component of the dermis layer of the skin. Supplementation with collagen peptides has been shown to increase skin flexibility and hydration and reduce the depth of wrinkles.

Personally, this is the biggest benefit I have seen. I have chronic dry and dehydrated skin and since I started taking collagen peptides I have noticed a HUGE difference. Also, if I run out and don’t take them for a few weeks I can tell that my skin is noticeably drier.

Stronger + healthier hair and nails

The growth of hair follicles is dependent on collagen in the dermal layer of our skin. As we age and collagen decreases the amount and thickness of hair follicles also decreases.


There are so many more benefits of collagen related to strengthening of bones and joints, reduction of arthritis and injury and gut health. I feel like this blog post is long enough though, so if you are interested in learning more about collagen peptide supplementation let me know and I’ll do a follow up post.




Here are a few studies related to collagen and the benefits I spoke to in this post.

  1. Rubio, IG, and Gláucia Castro. “Oral Ingestion of a Hydrolyzed Gelatin Meal in Subjects with Normal Weight and in Obese Patients: Postprandial Effect on Circulating Gut Peptides, Glucose and Insulin.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2008.  
  2. Veldhorst, Margriet AB, et al. “A breakfast with alpha-lactalbumin, gelatin, or gelatin+ TRP lowers energy intake at lunch compared with a breakfast with casein, soy, whey, or whey-GMP.” Clinical Nutrition 28.2 (2009): 147-155.
  3. Asseran J, Elian L, Toshiaki S, Prawitt, P, “The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.




Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Beauty, Health + Wellness

Yellowfin Tuna Poke Recipe



We just returned home from an amazing trip to Panama with a TON of tuna…I’m talking 5 Yeti coolers full of vacuum-sealed fresh yellowfin tuna. Clay got one tuna spearfishing and I (with the help of a friend and a very experienced guide) got the other one using a rod and reel. It was one of the coolest fishing experiences I have ever had. The ocean in Panama is so alive and landing one of these big tunas is a pretty high-energy experience. You determine the location of the tuna by looking for schools of jumping porpoises as the schools of tuna travel with the porpoises because the porpoises push the bait fish to the surface providing a convenient feeding ground for the tuna. Once you spot the jumping porpoises you speed the boat to get ahead of the school and then drop your line with a bait fish and pray for a bite. We were fishing with Carter Andrews who has this process down to a science, so getting the fish on the line was pretty easy. The HARD part was getting the fish into the boat.  It seriously took my friend and me over an hour and a half to get an estimated 100 pound tuna into the boat and my arm almost fell off in the process. We persevered though, and with a little help from Carter, successfully got the fish on the boat and into the ice. This battle to land the fish greatly increased my desire to use every single ounce of the tuna to create food that was both delicious and nutritious to share with family and friends. The chef at Islas Secas (the resort where we stayed in Panama) was amazing and would make sashimi, sushi rolls, poke and entrees using our fresh catch each day. Now back in Texas, I’m trying out new tuna recipes to make use of all the fish we brought home. This poke recipe is hands-down one of my favorite dishes to create with tuna. I had it for lunch yesterday and served it to Clay with some chips as an appetizer before dinner. You can enjoy it on its own or eat it with chips (plantain, root vegetable or tortilla are my favorites).



Not our best photo, but this is real life what you look like after fighting a 100 pound tuna in 100% humidity.

Now for more pretty poke pictures…








Yellowfin Tuna Poke
Serves 4
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  1. 1 pound sushi grade tuna, cut into small chunks
  2. 1 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
  3. ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  4. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  5. 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  6. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  7. ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  8. ½ tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  9. ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want to increase spice)
  10. Salt + pepper to taste
  11. Optional – ½ avocado, small diced
  1. In a small bowl whish together soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice and rice wine vinegar
  2. In a large non-reactive bowl combine tuna chunks, diced cucumber and green onions
  3. Drizzle the soy sauce mixture over the tuna and vegetables and stir well to combine
  4. Add the red pepper flakes and toasted sesame seeds and stir well to combine
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving
  7. If adding avocado, add just before serving
  1. Serves 4 as a lunch or 8 as an appetizer
The Petite Piglet


Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Dinner, Low Carb, Recipe Box

Lobster Linguini with Grilled Bell Peppers

To celebrate the close of lobster season, I am sharing my all time favorite lobster recipe. Clay and I make this dish on almost every trip we take to the Bahamas. The ingredients are simple, but the peppers, parm and parsley really compliment the lobster. Also, adding all 3 colors of bell peppers is a great way to sneak a ton of vegetables into a dish.










Lobster Linguini with Grilled Bell Peppers
Serves 4
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  1. 1 red bell pepper
  2. 1 green bell pepper
  3. 1 yellow bell pepper
  4. 1 lobster tail per person (about 8 ounces each)
  5. 1 package linguini pasta (about 17.6 ounces)
  6. Olive oil
  7. Salt + pepper
  8. Parmesan, shaved
  9. Parsley, chopped for garnish
Prepare the lobster
  1. Cut the shells in half on top and bottom, pull the meat away from the shell, wash the meat and shell well with cold water and pat dry
  2. Drizzle olive oil on the lobster meat and season lightly with salt + pepper
Prepare the peppers
  1. Cut the top off each pepper and remove the stems and seeds. Cut each pepper into about 4 large slices (best if they are flat slices for grilling evenly)
  2. Drizzle peppers with olive oil, season with salt + pepper and mix so that all pepper slices are covered with a little bit of olive oil and salt + pepper
Grill the bell peppers + lobster
  1. Over a hot fire, grill until the peppers are charred and the lobster has turned white and is cooked through, about 4-6 minutes
While the lobster tails and bell peppers are grilling cook the pasta
  1. Cook pasta so that it is al dente
  2. Tong the cooked pasta into a large bowl and mix in a little olive oil and a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water
Assemble the dish
  1. Slice the cooked bell peppers into thin slices
  2. Cut the cooked lobster into large chunks
  3. Add the sliced peppers and lobster chunks to the pasta and mix to combine
  4. Shave fresh parmesan over the pasta and mix well to combine
  5. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley
The Petite Piglet

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Dinner

Shrimp + Sausage Jambalaya

My husband recently went on a spearfishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico and bought some shrimp right off a shrimp boat he encountered. I wanted to try a new recipe with these super fresh shrimp, so decided to try to make Jambalaya for the first time ever. It was surprisingly so easy and turned out AMAZING. This recipe is definitely becoming a constant in our house.











Shrimp + Sausage Jambalaya
Serves 4
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  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 green bell pepper, ¼ inch diced
  3. 1 small sweet onion, ¼ inch diced
  4. 2 stalks celery, ¼ inch diced
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 12 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
  7. 1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined (I like to leave on tails)
  8. 1 cup long grain white rice
  9. 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (I only used about ¾ of the can)
  10. 2 cups chicken stock
  11. ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  12. ½ teaspoon thyme
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  15. Green onion for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large high-sided skillet with lid
  2. Add the sliced sausage and cook stirring frequently until browned, about 5 minutes
  3. Add the bell pepper, onion and celery. Cook stirring frequently for about 5 more minutes
  4. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute
  5. Stir in broth, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, thyme, oregano and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  6. Stir in rice, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  7. Add shrimp, cover and simmer for 5 more minutes until rice is tender and shrimp turn pink
  8. Let stand covered for 10 minutes
  9. Remove bay leaf before serving
  10. Top with thinly sliced green onion
The Petite Piglet

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Dinner, Uncategorized

Tex-Mex Turkey Chili

This recipe is adapted from a chili recipe my dear friend Margot shared with me when we were creating a cookbook for a Junior League project. 8 years later, this is still one of my favorite weeknight recipes, especially when the weather gets cooler. It has such vibrant flavor and is just such a comforting dish to enjoy on a cool + crisp Fall night.







Tex-Mex Turkey Chili
Yields 6
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  1. 1 pound ground lean turkey
  2. 1 large onion, diced
  3. 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 3 – 10 ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chilies, such as Rotel
  7. 2 – 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  8. 1 – 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
  9. 2 cups of frozen corn
  10. 1 – 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed well and drained
  11. ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  12. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  13. 1 teaspoon crushed oregano
  14. Salt to taste
  1. Heat olive oil over medium - high heat in a large Dutch oven or large saucepan
  2. Add the turkey, onion and garlic and cook until the turkey is browned and the onions are soft. Be careful not to burn the galic
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and stir well to incorporate
  4. Add the diced tomatoes with chilies, tomato sauce, green chilies, corn and beans
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover, simmer for at least 30 minutes
  6. Add the jalapenos and adjust the seasoning as desired, cover and continue simmering for 10 minutes
The Petite Piglet

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Uncategorized

Decadent Zucchini Brownies

Oh my goodness, these zucchini brownies are HEAVEN! Full disclosure, I am not an expert baker, I have not always had the best luck when baking, but I have so many zucchinis from my garden I decided to give zucchini brownies a try. I had King Arthur flour in my pantry, so I thought I would use their zucchini brownie recipe and it turned out perfect! These brownies are so moist and rich and they have to be healthy cause they have zucchini in them, right????


The only changes I made to the King Arthur recipe are shredding and squeezing out the water from the zucchini before adding it to the batter and mixing in some chopped walnuts. 


(Scroll to bottom + click “Continue Reading”  for recipe)












Continue reading

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Recipe Box

The BEST Zucchini Soup

This zucchini soup is one of my secret weapons. Whenever I gain a few pounds, I’ll whip up a batch of this and have it in place of my afternoon snack or in place of snacking on cheese and crackers while cooking dinner and without fail those extra lbs will come right off!


This soup is so simple, clean and healthy, yet full of such vibrant flavor.














The BEST Zucchini Soup
Serves 6
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  1. 2 tablespoons of olive oil or grass-fed butter
  2. 1 white onion, sliced
  3. 8 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 4 – 5 medium zucchinis (about 2 pounds)
  5. 4 cups (32 ounces) organic GOOD vegetable broth
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Sour cream (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil or butter in a heavy large pot (I use a Dutch oven) over medium - high heat
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook on medium - low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent - keep the heat low enough that the garlic does not brown
  3. Add the zucchini, stir to incorporate with the onions and garlic
  4. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes
  5. Let cool slightly and blend with an immersion blender until creamy
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  1. If you prefer your soup a little more creamy, you can add a few tablespoons of sour cream before blending the soup
The Petite Piglet

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Appetizers, Lunch, Paleo, Recipe Box, Uncategorized

Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti squash casserole is one of my all-time favorite weeknight meals. It is the ultimate healthy comfort food with the added benefits of being simple to make and requiring minimal clean up. I have so many beautiful spaghetti squash growing in my garden right now, so this will definitely be part of our weeknight dinner rotation this Fall.


Note: You can make the spaghetti squash ahead of time or even the day before and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the casserole.








Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Serves 4
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  1. 1 spaghetti squash
  2. 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  3. ½ cup carrots, small diced
  4. ½ cup celery, small diced
  5. ½ yellow onion, small diced
  6. 1 pound lean ground turkey
  7. 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  8. 3 cups (24 ounces of your favorite pasta sauce)
  9. ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  10. 2 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  11. 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Prepare you spaghetti squash
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Prepare your spaghetti squash by cutting it in half lengthwise and removing the seeds
  3. Rub the spaghetti squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with pepper if desired
  4. Place the squash face down on a foil –lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes
  5. Remove the squash from the oven, let cool and then fork out the flesh into a bowl. It will look like very thin spaghetti noodles
While the squash is baking, prepare you veggies and turkey
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large high-sided skillet
  2. Add the diced carrots, celery and onion and cook stirring occasionally until the veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes
  3. Move the veggies to one side of the skillet and add the ground turkey. Break the ground turkey into very small pieces and cook until completely cooked and browned
  4. Stir to incorporate the veggies and turkey. Season with the Italian seasoning
  5. Reduce heat to low and add the pasta sauce, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes
To assemble the casserole
  1. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees
  2. Add the spaghetti squash noodles to the turkey and veggie mixture. Use tongs to incorporate all ingredients together
  3. Prepare a casserole dish
  4. Spoon half of the spaghetti squash/turkey/veggie mixture into the casserole dish
  5. Sprinkle ½ of the mozzarella cheese on top
  6. Repeat with the 2nd half of the spaghetti squash/turkey/veggie mixture and mozzarella cheese
  7. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees
  8. Remove casserole from the oven and sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese and parsley, return to the oven for 10 minutes
  1. You can make the spaghetti squash ahead of time or even the day before and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the casserole.
The Petite Piglet

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Dinner, Low Carb, Recipe Box, Uncategorized

The Perfect 4th of July Meat + Cheese + Fruit Board




Create the perfect 4th of July Meat + Cheese + Fruit Board with 5 easy steps

You can find everything you need to recreate this festive and delicious board at Whole Foods



  1. Start with a bruschetta. I choose to make a tomato basil and whipped feta bruschetta (whipped feta and the baguette this was served on are not pictured), but see below for the complete recipe


  1. Add a few of your favorite cheeses. I choose a mild blue cheese, a Brie and a goat cheese (Cabra Blanca made locally up here in CO by Avalanche Cheese). I made the cheese stars using a block of Monterrey Jack cheese and a star cookie cutter


  1. Add some sliced meats. I sliced up some Olli organic salami and used the prosciutto and capacollo from the Colameco’s Natural Italian Deli Meat Selection


  1. Add some colorful fruit.  I incorporated red grapes, green grapes, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Fruit is a wonderful way to add some vibrant color to your board


  1. Finish with some crackers and bread. I love the 365 Entertaining Cracker sets from Whole Foods, as they provide multiple types of crackers in one box. I also used some bread sticks and Nita Crisp crackers for this board. I served the bruschetta on a French baguette





Whipped Feta Tomato + Basil Bruschetta
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Whipped Feta Spread
  1. 6 ounces feta cheese
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. Juice of 1 fresh lemon
Tomato Basil Topping
  1. 2 pounds of tomatoes, seeded and diced
  2. ½ white onion, finely chopped
  3. ¼ cup basil, chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. Salt and pepper
For the Crostini
  1. 1 - 2 baguettes, sliced about 1 inch thick
  2. Olive oil to brush baguette slices with
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and then place on a foil lined tray. Bake for about 5 minutes. Just long enough to slightly toast the bread so that it is warm when serving
  3. Combine the feta, cream cheese and lemon juice in a food processor. While processing add the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to process until smooth
  4. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, onion, olive oil and vinegar. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  5. To serve, smear the whipped feta on each toasted baguette slice and top with a spoonful of the tomato basil topping
The Petite Piglet

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Appetizers, Recipe Box, Uncategorized

Cashew Chicken Ding with TONS of Veggies





This delicious stir-fry is part of our weeknight dinner rotation, such a great alternative to take out (so much lighter and wholesome tasting). It is also a great way to use all those veggies in your fridge that are at risk of going bad. Tonight, I used red bell pepper, celery, jicama, red onion, snow peas and broccoli, but you can use whatever you have on hand! I would highly recommend the jicama though because it gives this dish a little crunch.

















Cashew Chicken Ding with TONS of Veggies
Serves 2
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For the marinade
  1. 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  2. 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  3. 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  4. 1 ½ teaspoon corn starch
  5. ¼ teaspoon salt
For the stir-fry
  1. 1 pound chicken, cut into ¾ inch dice
  2. 1 cup red bell pepper, cut into ¾ inch dice (about ½ of a bell pepper)
  3. 1 cup celery, cut into ¾ inch dice (from about 2 celery sticks)
  4. 1 cup jicama, pealed and cut into ¾ inch dice
  5. 1 cup red onion, sliced
  6. 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  7. 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  8. 1 cup toasted cashews
  9. 2 tablespoons canola oil
For the sauce
  1. 1 ½ teaspoon corn starch
  2. 3 tablespoons water
  3. 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  4. 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  5. 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  1. In a bowl combine the diced chicken with all the marinade ingredients (toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, corn starch and salt). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  2. In a small bowl combine all the sauce ingredients (corn starch, water, soy sauce, sesame oil and minced garlic)
  3. Remove chicken from the fridge 5 minutes before cooking
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until smoking
  5. Add the chicken and spread it out so that all pieces are in contact with the pan. Cook without moving until chicken is slightly browned, about 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until chicken is cooked through, about 4 more minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside
  6. Add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil to the wok or skillet and heat over high heat
  7. Add the bell peppers, celery and jicama and sauté for 1 minute
  8. Add the red onions, snow peas and broccoli and continue to sauté all the vegetables, stirring constantly, for about 5 more minutes (until the veggies all just begin to soften)
  9. Return the chicken to the pan, add the sauce and stir well to combine
  10. Turn the heat off and add the cashews, stir to combine
  11. Serve immediately with cauliflower or brown rice
The Petite Piglet

Jenn Likover, RD

Leave a comment | Posted in Dinner, Recipe Box, Uncategorized