| Food For Thought, Producer of the Month

After a holiday season filled with abundance and out of the ordinary consumption, some folks turn to the New Year as a way to reset the body. New habits, food choices, recipes, supplements and exercise can support a New Year’s Resolution regimen built on healthy choices. As a Co-op we have always focused our January edition of Food for Thought on a local producer offering a product that could support your health. This month we will share the story of Suzanna Kamphuis of Keene, NH and her supplement called TotumVos (means “Totally You” in Latin) which is a delicious collagen-based supplement.

There are many personal reasons why Suzanna created these collagen chews, but let’s start with the history and emerging facts on meat. Within today’s food culture many people consume muscle meat exclusively such as steaks, boneless chicken breasts, a pork loin, or whatever cut one may prefer. While these are all delicious offerings, we know that our ancestors were eating more than just muscle meat including organs, skin, and bones as they believed (and they were right) it contained the best nutrition in the animal. So why is it important to eat more than just muscle meat? Muscle meats are very high in the amino acid methionine and very low in glycine. By consuming all of the animal you obtain a more balanced amino acid profile. Once you reach your late 20’s your body stops producing collagen at the same rate. Studies are demonstrating that those who consume more whole animal nutrients that include collagen in their diet are seeing greater support for heart, skin, bone, and muscle health as they age. These studies were the inspiration for the creation of TotumVos collagen chews. TotumVos brings the benefits of collagen to people in a convenient, ready-to-eat form. Each chew contains 6,500 mg of collagen from three sources to supply your daily collagen needs.

People in Vermont and around our country as well as other continents do eat bone broth, skin from an animal, muscle meat and organ meats. In some houses, it is a weekly ritual to cook bone broth with many delicious bones and skin as well as herbs and other ingredients. But let’s be honest—finding the time each week to make bone broth or purchase and cook interesting cuts of meat is not always an easy task. That is where Suzanna’s creation of TotumVos occupies a unique niche of both high-quality supplemental nutrition and convenience. TotumVos Collagen Chews are both delicious and supportive to one’s health. Studies have found that ingesting collagen orally on a daily basis is supportive of so many important systems within the body. Collagen can support digestion, heart, skin, bone, muscle recovery, and even sleep. TotumVos Collagen Chews are not cheap, but neither is the ingredient list. Suzanna initially created this product for her mother. She wanted her to have the highest quality collagen she could find. This product contains no gluten, dairy, sugar, nuts, or eggs. It is delicious, with three flavors, all sugar-free, but with great taste: Lemon Turmeric, Chai Beet, and Mocha. As well as collagen, the chews contain MCT oil to protect the brain; the product is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit.

The formula for TotumVos took shape over the course of a few years. Since the base of this supplement is collagen, Suzanna took her time reading and studying different forms of collagen, their sources, and their properties to determine the proper formula. As she found out, collagen is tricky because it is derived from skin and bones where most animals hold lots of unhealthy things. So, she worked hard to find the cleanest sources possible. She ended up using three different types of collagen: European organic chicken, Icelandic wild-caught deep-sea cod, and U.S. grass-fed beef. Other ingredients, such as MCT coconut oil, coconut milk, monk fruit, stevia and flavors such as cacao, lemon, turmeric, and beet powder, each offer some additional nutritional benefit. Pairing collagen with Vitamin C and the brain-supportive MCT coconut oil, and the omission of sugar, eggs, gluten, and nuts allowed Suzanna to feel proud of her final product. Vitamin C, in particular, is an important addition to the formula as it supports the utilization of collagen within the body. Once the recipe was perfected, she knew it was important to have third-party testing to ensure that shelf stability and bacteria levels were safe. Testing was executed through both Cornell Labs and a lab out of Maine, and analysis confirmed the product was shelf stable and had zero concerns with bacteria.

This product was first and foremost created for Suzanna’s mother who was having serious issues with osteoporosis. From Suzanna’s research, she was finding that a daily dose of collagen among many other healthy habits was showing, through bone scans, to have a positive effect on bone health. Suzanna’s mom did not want to take pharmaceuticals because of the side effects, so instead she began taking TotumVos chews. She has been taking the chews for over two years and has seen great results along with the support of a healthy diet and exercise.

Suzanna grew up in Northwest Indiana and moved with her four kids and husband to Keene five years ago when her husband found a job in the region. She has worked in education, primarily as a Reading Specialist. Her family is steeped in the medical world including a father who is a surgeon and mother who is a nurse: creating TotumVos has appealed to her as a puzzle to solve. As she developed this product, she was curious how much goodness should could get into the smallest possible space. She feels she has developed something unique, with a great taste and with a high level of health benefit. She currently rents space at the Community Kitchen in Keene and produces her chews every Saturday that it is available. She stated that they are very supportive of what she is creating and producing in their commercial kitchen and she is in debt to them.

Suzanna hopes that the future brings growth in sales for TotumVos. She knows this will occur based on positive feedback from people that consume her collagen chews regularly. She is already hearing stories of people experiencing newly found support for problems as diverse as osteoarthritis and rosacea. She is even witnessing doctors in the region prescribing TotumVos as a supplement. With growth will come increased production needs, and while she is up for the task, she will not water down her formula to make it easier to produce or to make more money. She is committed to quality ingredients and a quality product. Try TotumVos, it is a unique and delicious offering to support your everyday and long-range health.

Join us on Wednesday, January 15th from 11:30am-1:30pm and Saturday, January 31st from 4-6pm to meet Suzanna and taste her collagen chews.

By Jon Megas-Russell