Okay, here is a not-so-happy idea: the older I get, the more unwelcome changes my body presents. Perhaps, you’ve had similar ideas as the years have passed. We can whine and pout, but I think it is more productive to face maturity head on—embrace the wisdom of age with gratitude and don’t let those growing-old cliché’s get us down. Because, while aging is inevitable, growing “old” is not. My grandma was a young—very young—97 when she left this world for a new one. 

One thing I have always loved about summer, though, is that my skin would get really nice. The dry, dusty indoor heat of winter, coupled with the cold, wind and frost outside, have always left me scratchy, flaky and weathered. Hives, because of dust and mold allergies, remain a problem for me all winter long, though I have supplements that help with that to some degree. But come summer, with its cool air conditioning inside and natural humidity and hot summer sun outside, my skin always revived. I will not try to deny that I’m in the sun longer than most people think is healthy, but my skin has always loved it, so that’s how it’s been… until this spring. 

Now that I am “in” my 60s, I guess things were bound to change, at least a little. And this spring, when I was prepared for the return of calm, moist, supple skin as the indoor heat went off, nothing really improved. Partly, I blame the weather—still cold for much of this spring, very high mold (to which I am highly allergic) and enough allergens to maintain those hives. Itch. Itch. Itch. Swell. Swell. Swell. Not a pretty picture. 

So, facing my problems head on, I dove into the New Hope Network Blogger Box to see if I could find some help. There’s always a lot of great products to choose from because everything from power bars to vitamins to body creams has been selected carefully before being shipped to New Hope Influencers, like me. I was specifically looking for help with skin that was as close to natural food as possible—my homeopathic physician has one mantra: Food is medicine. Works for me. 

I landed on two products: Nordic Naturals Marine Collagen in a powder form that is highly absorbable and Manuka Health Honey from the pristine areas of New Zealand. Both are touted for creating skin health and keeping that youthful glow we all desire. So for nearly a month now, I’ve been having one tablespoon of Manuka Honey every morning after breakfast—sometimes with breakfast on my yogurt or oatmeal because it is delicious—and I’ve taken one heaping teaspoon of the Marine Collagen in a four-ounce glass of water about one hour before my dinner in the late afternoon. You know what? I see a big difference! 

Now, I am not a scientist, and this was not a scientific study with all that double-blind stuff going on. Still, there was a definite shift in my skin. Maybe the weather has improved and the mold has gone down. Sure. I get that. All I know is that it took little effort, no drugs and only the pleasant experience of ingesting both these products to make me moisten up and glow again. Further, the research I did confirmed that both these companies are earth friendly and community focused. Gotta call that a plus, right?

My one shocker: the other day we had a major thunderstorm, and I was out at the weekly CSA get-together in a very small out building—dust and mold and heat. When I got home, I had a large, itchy hive on my left knee. I decided to experiment, so I rubbed a tiny bit of the Manuka Health Honey right on the hive, as some of my research suggested. A minute later, the hive and the itching had vanished. Whoa.  Just sayin’.

Here is the information on these two products that I put together. You can see if, maybe, one or both of these great products might be right for you. I trust them or I wouldn’t have continued taking them. So read on….

Nordic Naturals Marine CollagenNordic Naturals Marine Collagen

With over 20 years’ experience, Nordic Naturals is guided by the latest research and technology. Their Marine Collagen is “specifically formulated for efficient absorption” and delivers “small, hydrolyzed collagen peptides to help stimulate and maintain the body’s own collagen-producing cells. These short-chain, type I collagen peptides are combined with vitamin C from acerola fruit to provide collaborative support for skin.”

Okay, I know that’s a lot of science-type stuff, but collagen, in general, has been in the news for several years, with a lot of accumulated data that suggests companies like Nordic Naturals are really on to something. You may recall that I did a post for the New Hope Network  a couple of years ago on Collagen in the Kitchen. This continued interest by health professionals suggests to me that something is working. The trick is finding what works for you and which companies you can trust. Here’s why I trust Nordic Naturals….

All their products are non-GMO and third-party tested, surpassing the strictest international standards for purity and freshness. You can review their Certificates of Analysis for full disclosure. And I love their motto: There is no alternative to doing what’s right.

And what’s right for Nordic Naturals includes giving back: “At Nordic Naturals, giving is in our DNA. In addition to seeking out cause-partners with a global impact, we look for ways to support our local community. It gives us a chance to make a real difference in people’s lives, right where we live. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County, and the Santa Cruz Warriors, are two local organizations that we’re proud to support with our time and donations.”

Nordic Naturals is also a partner in sustainability. They remain mindful of their impact on people and planet. They carefully manage their business so they can offer customers the purest essential nutrients, made with manufacturing technologies and business practices that are sustainable well into the future. “As a family-owned company with no shareholders to answer to, we’re unique in our ability to do it right at any cost.” Sold!

If this has really perked your interest in collagen, take a look at a current online article in Delicious Living Magazine: The science behind collagen, according to a naturopathic doctor.

Manuka Health Honey with MGO 100MGO™ 250+ Manuka Honey

Perhaps you recall that I have written reviews on Manuka Honey before, and my previous review still stands regarding Wedderspoon. But I believe we benefit most when we have access to as many sustainable, ethically produced products as possible. And Manuka Health is a great example of the best of the best.

They are leaders in Manuka honey science: “We have spent years discovering [Manuka Honey’s] secrets and protecting and optimizing the purity and extraordinary natural properties of this remarkable honey. This intricate knowledge and depth of care means you can trust our premium products are exactly what they promise to be.”

The honey I tried is their high-grade, premium New Zealand MGO™ 250+ Manuka Honey that is certified for natural methylglyoxal content (minimum 250mg/kg). Okay, what the heck does that mean? Well, I really didn’t know either, so I looked up some reliable sources to find out. I landed on the webpage of Professor Thomas Henle of University of Dresden, Germany, who has done a ton of research on manuka honey and has a lot of positive things to say about my honey. For one thing, he explained what methylglyoxal is and why it is so important:

Methylglyoxal is a compound that occurs naturally when glucose is made available to a living cell in the human body, plant or animal. Methylglyoxal is produced to insure every cell’s health.  MGO Manuka Honey is the only 100% natural food that has a strong antibacterial and antiviral activity due to the presence of Methylglyoxal that forms in natural form in the nectar of the flowers of Manuka Bush, ready for collection by the honey-bee.

This explains why Manuka honey has powerful and long-lasting antibacterial activity when applied to wounds and broken skin—or to hives, apparently. Clinical studies show it is effective against a wide variety of bacteria including antibiotic-resistant strains.

And here’s why I think the honey took care of my problem: “Manuka honey also has a direct soothing action and stimulates natural repair and healing when applied topically, speeding the healing process and helping to prevent scarring. It has a debriding action to help clear the wound site while protecting the new healthy tissue, and draws excess fluid away while still maintaining a moist, low-pH wound site beneficial for healing.”

And here’s why my summer glow returned: “Manuka honey is a wonderful natural skin care and beautifying ingredient. It helps plump and hydrate the skin to protect against dryness. It softens and soothes the skin, great for rough skin or after environmental exposure from the sun, wind or cold.

But, of course, as a demanding New Hope Influencer, I had to have more. Just what kind of company was this? Were they robbing the honey bees of their food in New Zealand? That would not be cool. Thankfully, the reality is that Manuka Health works in collaboration with Maori landowners across New Zealand to improve the productivity and revenue from their whenua (That’s native land.). Further, as part of the New Zealand Government’s ‘1 Billion Trees’ program, Manuka Health is proud to partner with Te Roroa Farms in a long-term partnership to plant Manuka in the Northland region. According to the company: “Starting in 2018 with the planting of 55,000 native Manuka seedlings, which will be able to produce Manuka honey in 3-5 years, the planting will continue over the next 10 years to cover over 500 hectares. Northland is known for its high-grade Manuka honey which produces high levels of MGO. Providing both environmental and economic benefits, these Manuka tree plantations help regenerate deforested or unproductive land and will grow the Manuka honey industry, generating regional economic and employment benefits.”

The Te Roroa planting is one of a growing number of co-investments in Manuka planting that Manuka Health is making across New Zealand to support the future growth of the Manuka Honey industry. Sweet! And the honey is sweet, silky and yummy in addition to being medicinally beneficial.

Want to learn more? There is an online version of Delicious Living’s latest article on Manuka Honey “Bee Informed.” The June issue is probably still on the stands at your local independent health food store or wellness center.

Bee well! Okay, okay, that’s enough, I know.

 

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