Tag: Vitamin K

3 Easy Ways To Stay Healthy in Flu Season – and Beyond!

Nobody likes getting sick. And with winter winding down to spring, it’s the time of year that will most likely challenge your immune system. So Veronica “V” Wheat, aka Chef V, has some tips to increase your chances of staying healthy this spring…

cherry blossoms

You shouldn’t succumb to the fear-mongering that the media is hyping over this year’s flu season. Sure, it’s true that more people will get the flu this year in comparison to the last couple of years now that most people have gone back to resuming a normal life. Still, there are some relatively simple ways you can support your immune system this time of year.

Zero Added Sugar Diet

If you’re a Chef V follower, the advice to minimize or, better yet, completely ditch added sugars probably sounds like a broken record. But when we talk about the negative effects of sugar, it usually pertains to how it expands our waistline and spikes our blood sugar levels and leads to energy crashes and moodiness.

But when it comes to the cold and flu season, one of the biggest influencers on your immune system is your sugar intake.

Now, it’s one thing if you’re eating ice cream and other sweet treats in the summer. Of course, you can get sick in the summer, too. But most people can offset the increase in sugar consumption because they are getting outside more often for exercise. And even just spending time outside without breaking a sweat has positive effects on the immune system, research shows.

But in the colder months, we don’t get outside nearly as much and we’re breathing stale air. So we’re spending more time indoors. Add to that the temptation of sweet treats at holiday parties and it’s easy to see why many people’s immune systems get overwhelmed this time of year.

That’s why it’s so important to snack on healthy, zero-added-sugar treats this time of year. Because as a recent research study shows, “a high amount of glucose [sugar] may lead to impaired function of the immune system and pathological conditions.”

Researchers explain that when you eat a lot of sugar, your body produces excessive amounts of proteins (cytokines) that trigger inflammation. More inflammation in the body increases your chances of getting sick.

This is why it’s super important to keep your added sugars to as close to zero as possible. So instead of sweetening your tea or coffee with any kind of sugar (even if it’s organic cane sugar, it’s still sugar), use stevia or monk fruit extract. And if you love baking this time of year, you can also use sugar alcohols like xylitol. They may cause bloating in some people with sensitive GI systems.


Vitamin D & Vitamin K

This time of year, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are too weak for your skin to make vitamin D3. (Not to mention that when it’s cold out, you don’t expose that much skin.) This is one thing I don’t have to worry about as much because I live in San Diego, which is far south enough for vitamin D synthesis.

Yet, just to be on the safe side, I take a vitamin D3 supplement. After all, it can get chilly in San Diego this time of year. And it’s super important to mention that not just any vitamin D supplement will do. The one I take also has vitamin K, which helps vitamin D absorption and helps guide calcium into the bones instead of where it doesn’t belong like the arteries.

It is important to get outside, – you get a double positive. Getting outside is both a natural source of Vitamin D and a way to keep up a healthy exercise routine. Walking, skiing, or even pushups in the snow – there's an exercise for everyone.

pushups in the snow

Nutrient-Rich Diet

This tip applies to anytime during the year, but it’s never more vital than right now. In order to satisfy your appetite and get vital nutrients to support your immune system, start eating more stews and soups. Now’s also the time to start eating lots of antioxidant-rich veggies like winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and roasted beets.

And there’s no easier way to get your daily dose of immune-supporting green, leafy veggies than with a Chef V Organic Green Drink plan.

Finally, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep, stay active and keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum at holiday parties.

Stay healthy, friend!


How To Effortlessly Boost Collagen Levels For Beautiful Skin

You’ve heard of collagen and know that it’s good for your skin. But let’s take a deeper dive with Veronica Wheat, the “V” in Chef V and find out exactly what collagen is and how to boost levels of it in your body so that your skin looks more youthful. And let’s improve our skin in healthy ways.

Have you ever seen a skyscraper under construction? Ever wonder how they build these monstrosities? With scaffolding just like this:


What does scaffolding and skyscrapers have to do with your skin?

Well, in order to understand collagen, you first have to imagine that your skin and bones also have a matrix (obviously on a much smaller scale, like invisible small).

Collagen Basics For Skin

The stretchy connective tissue that makes up your skin requires a strong, structural framework, just like skyscraper scaffolding. The framework that prevents your skin from completely sagging to the floor is called the extracellular matrix.

And there’s something that needs to provide structural integrity to this extracellular matrix. And that something is collagen—the most important protein in connective tissue (skin), not to mention your bones.

Out of thousands of proteins in the human body, collagen is by far the most abundant. Roughly 30% of all protein in the human body is one type of collagen or another.

There are 28 different collagen types, but when it comes to youthful-looking skin, we’re only concerned with collagen type I & III.

How Aging Affects Collagen

The aging process can be cruel to the skin. And what’s going on under the hood of our skin, so to speak, is that by the time you’re 25, your collagen levels in your body are already on the decline.

In fact, starting around age 30, 2% of our collagen stores will be depleted. By age 40, we have lost roughly 15% of the collagen we had when we were born. (But don’t let that depress you if you’re celebrating your 40th soon!). Then, once we turn 60, say goodbye to roughly 50% of your original collagen.

Going through menopause is especially a collagen killer. That’s because when you go through menopause, your estrogen levels plummet. Estrogen is vital for collagen production.

“Estrogen appears to aid in the prevention of skin aging in several ways. [It] prevents a decrease in skin collagen in postmenopausal women; topical and systemic estrogen therapy can increase the skin collagen content and therefore maintain skin thickness.” —The American Journal of Dermatology

How To Defy The Aging Process & Support Collagen Through Food

So there’s good news and bad news with collagen. I’ll start with the bad. While our bodies can make new collagen, as we age, we lose more of it than our body can rebuild and repair. And not only that, the collagen protein fibers that we do have start getting weaker. That’s why wrinkles develop.

The good news is that there are simple nutritional interventions that can help our collagen build back better.

Chicken Bone Broth

I’m not a strict vegetarian but I rarely promote meat. One rare exception is bone broth because it contains collagen. Bone broth contains collagen protein because the process of slow cooking bones for many hours releases collagen from the bones. So by consuming the collagen from animal bones, you’re helping revitalize your own body’s collagen.
In addition, bone broth contains other nutrients that help with collagen growth and repair such as:

Hyaluronic acid

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it helps skin stretch and flex and reduces skin wrinkles and lines; also reduces visible scars.


This compound plays a major role in connective tissue and is essential for normal skin health and regeneration.


Known as GAGs, these complex sugars—not the unhealthy kind you might think of in junk food—hold nearly 1,000 times their own weight. Translation: a moisturizing weapon for your skin you’ve never heard of. GAGs also support collagen and elastin, another important skin structural protein.

In addition, bone broth contains a great balance of minerals that support collagen production. But what if you’re a vegetarian? Thankfully, there are non-meat, collagen-building foods…

Green Leafy Veggies

Nearly everybody knows that green leafy veggies are among the healthiest foods on Earth. (Can’t stand eating them? Then drink them!)

But what you may not know is that green leafy veggies are a great source of a vitamin that hardly gets any attention: vitamin K. And it turns out that vitamin K is really effective at building that skin-and-bone scaffolding matrix I was talking about earlier, research shows.

Citrus Fruits & Berries

Citrus and berries contain good amounts of vitamin C. And vitamin C is a precursor (building block) of collagen. So make sure you’re getting both citrus and berries in your diet everyday.

Collagen Powder

Very few people like sipping on a piping hot mug of bone broth in the summer. And many people don’t like the meaty, savory taste of bone broth everyday. But you can get the benefits of collagen without broth simply by adding a scoop of collagen powder to a smoothie (or even your Green Drink!).

More and more non-meat-sourced collagen powders have become available, including marine collagen powder (derived from fish) and even plant-based collagen powders.

Botox For Collagen

And finally, no article about more youthful skin would be complete without mentioning botox. OK, so you can’t eat botox. That would be bad, and it’s the reason why babies can’t eat honey for the first year of life. (Both botox and honey have a toxin called botulinum.)

Obviously, people can go overboard with the botox treatments. But if you’re in need of major wrinkle reduction, there’s no doubt that Botox helps the skin build collagen. But don’t think that by getting a Botox injection, it gives you a free pass to eat like crap! You need to eat a high antioxidant diet every day otherwise the effects of Botox may be short-lived.

Bottom line, there aren’t enough long term studies on the effects of botox injections. We recommend getting as much collagen as you can in your diet, limiting your exposure to botox and trying a more natural route.

Do you Take Vitamin K? Maybe You Should.

Vitamin K

You know that Vitamin K is important for heart and circulatory system health, but now a connection with viral disease and mortality makes getting your Vitamin K more important than ever. 

In recent reporting on viral research, The Guardian reports: “Researchers studying patients who were admitted to the Canisius Wilhelmina hospital in the Dutch city of Nijmegen have extolled the benefits of vitamin K after discovering a link between deficiency and the worst pandemic outcomes.”

Dr Rob Janssen, a scientist working on the project says: ““My advice would be to take those vitamin K supplements. Even if it does not help against severe viral disease, it is good for your blood vessels, bones and probably also for the lungs.”

The research, undertaken in partnership with the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, one of Europe’s largest heart and vascular research institutes, studied 134 patients hospitalized for viral disease between 12 March and 11 April, alongside a control group of 184 age-matched patients who did not have the disease.

Jona Walk, a second researcher on the study, which was submitted for peer review on Friday, said: “We want to take very sick patients and randomise so that they get a placebo or vitamin K, which is very safe to use in the general population. We want to give vitamin K in a significantly high enough dose that we really will activate [the protein] that is so important for protecting the lungs, and check if it is safe.”

Consumer Reports on Vitamin K

Consumer Reports recently discussed three investigations of people with low amounts of Vitamin K and their increased risk of dying from any cause. Other research has shown that too little vitamin K is associated with various age-related concerns, such as cognitive function and mobility.

Vitamin K is needed for normal blood clotting and is related to healthy lungs – it has been shown to protect lungs by protecting the elasticity of connective tissue, and it makes sure minerals (e.g., calcium) stay in bones rather than the blood vessels, which inhibits atherosclerosis. Both blood clots and difficulty breathing are serious complications of viral disease.

Green Drink has 562% of your daily recommended dose of Vitamin K

If you’re having 16 oz. of my Organic Green Drink every day, you’re getting 562% of your daily value of phylloquinone.

Phylloquinone is the plant form of vitamin K.

And next time you get a cut and you’re bleeding, you can thank my Green Drink for helping stopping the bleeding.

That’s because this critical nutrient produces a protein that helps clot your blood.

(If you take blood-thinning medication, though, don’t overdo the Green Drinks and other foods rich in it.)

Vitamin K in foods

Best Sources

It turns out that two of the top five top sources of vitamin K are in my Organic Green Drink: collard greens and kale.

Now, I never intended to create a detox drink that was specifically high in vitamin K.

That’s because, to be honest, even though I’m a certified nutritional therapist, I, too, tend to treat vitamin K like a neglected friend.

I don’t think about vitamin K often like I do like the B vitamins or C and E (for skin health) or even A.

But next time I get a nick from a bad paper cut, I’m going to be grateful for the fact that my Green Drink not only tastes great, but will help my boo boo heal fast.

Women around my age should consume about 90 micrograms (mcg) a day, of vitamin K. As for men: 120 mcg.

Each 8 oz serving of Green Drink contains 210 mcg (over 250% of your daily value).

That means even if you don’t have any other green leafy veggies the rest of the day, you don’t have to worry about your vitamin K intake.

Which is good news if you’re one of our always on the go customers that don’t get any other greens from food aside from Green Drink. (If that’s you, think of Green Drink as your health insurance.)

In addition to kale and collard greens, lettuce, another of the 7 certified organic veggies in Green Drink is rich in vitamin K.

Who Needs It Most?

Although it’s not common for someone other than newborns to have a vitamin K deficiency, certain people do need more.

If you have any digestive issue that affects how you absorb nutrients, you might want to consume more vitamin K. Ulcerative colitis, Celiac Disease, and Cystic Fibrosis are examples of malabsorption conditions that may require an increase of vitamin K.

If you have one of these conditions, consider not only drinking Green Drink first thing in the morning, but also eating lots of green leafy veggies in salads.

In addition, the Japanese fermented soy food, natto, is the highest source. However, if you have a FODMAP sensitivity, it might be best to avoid fermented foods.

(FODMAPs are short-chain carbs that don’t get absorbed easily in the gut and can lead to fermentation in the digestive system. This is a good resource that explains FODMAPS.)

Vitamin K capsule

K2: Is it the same?

On certain food labels, you might come across vitamin K2. The plant-based form of vitamin K is K1, whereas animal-based sources are K2.

I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian. But I do believe in popular food writer, Michael Pollan’s famous saying: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

WIthout doubt, you can definitely get enough vitamin K from plant sources.

There’s actually vitamins K3, 4 and 5, but you’ll need a degree in biochemistry to understand what they do.

Health Benefits

Here are some other reasons to have a Green Drink every day….

There’s a protein in your heart that depends on vitamin K. The protein is also located in your bone and cartilage. This protein is very important because it can help reduce calcification (hardening) of the arteries in the heart.

That’s why if you’re not getting enough leafy greens in your diet (either through Green Drinks or salads), you might be at greater risk for heart disease.

In addition, there’s another protein that depends on it for healthy bone formation. That’s why researchers believe there’s a link between low vitamin K intake and osteoporosis.

And when you get older, you’ll especially want to make sure you’re getting enough leafy greens. That’s because the higher blood levels of it you have, the lower your chances of memory loss. Moreover, your blood pressure will be at a more normal level.

Have Some Fat With It

K is fat-soluble. That means you need to eat some fat with it so your body absorbs it.

My Green Drink has zero grams of fat, or at most, a trace amount. So what I do is shortly after I have some Green Drink, I’ll have a tiny amount of avocado, coconut oil or almond butter (or other healthy fat) so that next time I get a boo-boo, my blood will clot fast.

Veronica in NYC

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