Edible beauty — and health foods, in particular — is a big market. Some might say it’s even saturated, what with everything and everyone jumping on the organic train. So it’s hard to figure that even at this point, we’re still discovering products in this category that are singular and work as well its inventors intend them to (we don’t know about you but we still get surprised when we see real results!).
Enter Kalumi BEAUTYfood, a protein bar packed with marine collagen that promises to be unlike any before it. Models, friends and co-founders, Jayla Harnwell and Chrissy Blair swear by it after formulating the first bars in their New York apartment kitchen after a long day of castings. The goal was to create a healthy snack that complemented their crazy schedules — and supported their well-being (think glowing skin, strong nails and gorgeous hair) from within.
So far, it’s been nothing but rave reviews for this double duty supplement. The multi-hyphenate product is the brand’s only one for now — there are three flavours: chocolate, lemon and cinnamon — but new offerings and a nutrition diet plan is in the works.
According to Jayla and Chrissy, the naming of their company is an amalgamation of the Greek word “kalon” which means ideal physical and moral beauty, and the word “luminance” which means light. In a way, the name is befitting of what they have set out to accomplish. These BEAUTYfood bars embody the true meaning of what a protein bar should be and how it should benefit your beauty.
In other words, health never tasted so good.
Firstly, why did you create Kalumi BEAUTYfood protein bars?
We had two problems that we were able to resolve by creating Kalumi.
We had both been struggling with a number of inner and outer ailments which stemmed from diets lacking nutrients due to our incredibly busy schedules. We were dealing with irritated and blemish prone skin, thin and brittle hair, and constant bloating. We had trouble finding a healthy snack that fit our high standards and could actually help support our long-term health and beauty.
We both started consuming marine collagen for its high protein content and amazing benefits for hair, skin, nails and more. We noticed significant improvements in all aspects of our health and appearance, but found it so hard to take when our schedules got crazy and when we were travelling a lot.
This is how we came up with the idea to combine a healthy snack with our daily beauty supplement. We hit the kitchen ourselves and developed the first BEAUTYfood bars. After enjoying the benefits, convenience and amazing taste for ourselves, we knew we had to share them with everyone!
How did you discover hydrolysed marine collagen — your key ingredient — and what were the initial results?
Both of us experienced very similar results from consuming marine collagen. That’s how we knew it was no joke. We became obsessed! We are very similar in terms of how sensitive we are — when we get stressed or eat poorly, it really shows! We both had incredibly thin and damaged hair, as well as sensitive and blemish prone skin.
Jayla Harnwell (JH): I went to see a holistic doctor with my health concerns (hair falling out and constantly irritated skin) and she introduced me to marine collagen. There are other sources of collagen available derived from land animals but marine collagen is the purest and most sustainable source.
Not only is it a great source of protein, collagen is the “glue” that holds our bodies together. It is responsible for keeping our bodies young, healthy and performing at their best. As we age, collagen levels decrease. Replenishing these levels by consuming collagen can drastically improve the texture of the skin, promote the growth of thick, healthy hair and aid in joint health and gut health. I was obsessed, so naturally I told Chrissy about it!
Chrissy Blair (CB): Jayla introduced marine collagen peptides to me when I came to her seeking advice on how to heal gut issues. I had an extremely fussy gut that hated almost any food I ate. I knew something was off and that I needed something really powerful to help my body heal from the inside out. After ingesting marine collagen for a few days, I started to notice my nails growing longer. After a month, my gut felt so much better and I noticed I could eat things I wasn’t able to digest well before supplementing with collagen. I also noticed my hair getting much thicker and less dry.
Glowing, even and hydrated skin came two to three months later. I was blown away by the transformation and knew I had to figure out a way to bring this ingredient to the world. I mentioned to Jayla that we have to make something with this stuff, and she agreed, and that’s when the ideas started forming for Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars.
“There are other sources of collagen available derived from land animals but marine collagen is the purest and most sustainable source.”
What does it mean for marine collagen to be ‘hydrolysed’?
Hydrolysing collagen is a process that results in a series of small, intact amino acids. When the collagen is hydrolysed, the amino acid molecules are smaller and therefore more quickly and easily absorbed into the bloodstream. These essential amino acids are used as the building blocks of new collagen.
How exactly is your hypoallergenic and bioavailable marine collagen beneficial for us and the environment?
We only use wild caught marine collagen in our products. It’s superior to bovine and porcine collagen sources (beef and pork) in absorption, purity and sustainability. Marine collagen is absorbed 1.5 times faster into the body as it has a smaller molecular weight and size than land animal sources. Marine collagen is also free of possible toxins that can be associated with land animal sources.
And it’s good for our environment. Marine collagen is a sustainable source of collagen derived from the scales and skin of fish that would have otherwise been discarded.
Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars contain marine collagen, the most bioavailable source of protein available
Why is it important to you that Kalumi is clean, green and sustainable?
At Kalumi, we strive to leave as little of an ecological footprint as possible. It’s simple: we only have one planet, and we must do all we can to preserve it. We take pride in being conscious of every aspect of our company, from the ingredients we source, to our packaging. We find that what is best for our bodies often goes hand in hand with what is best for our environment — that is clean, natural and sustainably sourced food.
“We find that what is best for our bodies often goes hand in hand with what is best for our environment — that is clean, natural and sustainably sourced food.”
Tell us more about the organic yacon syrup used in your bars that are sourced from a family-owned farm in Peru.
We love getting ingredients straight from the source when we can. Not only is our yacon syrup the most delicious out of all of the ones we’ve sampled, it is fair trade. This is important to us as it insures fair prices are paid to local producers, resulting in improved living conditions for farmers in developing countries.
Tell us about each of your diets.
JH: I try to follow the 80/20 rule. Out of every 10 meals, eight are healthy and clean, and two can be cheats. I love salty foods, fries and chips! I think it’s super important to listen to your body and make sure it’s getting what it needs. It is also important to make sure your body isn’t being overloaded with foods it may be sensitive to. For me, this includes gluten and dairy. I noticed huge improvements in my overall health after cutting them out of my diet.
I always try to eat a well-rounded meal consisting of lean organic proteins, fresh vegetables, and salads with healthy fats and a complex carb. I’m a big smoothie person. In the mornings, I’ll make one with greens (like celery, carrot and cucumber), matcha, marine collagen, coconut oil and a touch of yacon syrup. I also always carry Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars with me when out and about. It’s the perfect combo of protein, complex carbs (from sweet potato) and healthy fats to nourish my body and tide me over for hours on end!
CB: I’m super busy in the mornings and don’t always find the time to cook breakfast, so I usually use this meal to enjoy a Kalumi BEAUTYfood bar. In the past, I’d consume marine collagen in water as my breakfast. I snack a lot throughout the day on things like cashews, salads, sweet potatoes and juices. My lunches and dinners are usually a giant salad with salmon, or a vegetarian dish like zucchini noodle pastas, or sprouted rice and beans.
I always try to stick to a mostly vegan diet while eating wild fish two to three times a week; as well as marine collagen as my daily protein. My rule is never buy bread, junk food or sugar loaded snacks/desserts. But when I’m out to dinner with friends, I’ll enjoy a few bites of dessert or share an order of fries.
Sweet potato, cinnamon and coconut are just some of the ingredients used in the bars
Why is it important to ensure clean and healthy food is a big part of your diet?
JH: It is so important to eat clean and healthy food as the majority of your diet because our bodies can’t function properly when they are not fed properly. Eating poorly can result in many healthy problems from a leaky gut, to skin and digestion problems. It’s important to be mindful of what you’re putting in your body without getting obsessed and stressing out about it. Finding that perfect balance is key!
“It is so important to eat clean and healthy food as the majority of your diet because our bodies can’t function properly when they are not fed properly.”
What does it mean to you to live consciously?
JH: Living consciously means mindfully evaluating all aspects of your life including your activities, decisions and options. Having consciousness truly is a powerful tool. It allows you to make the best decisions based on your values and beliefs, resulting in a happier, more fulfilled life. It’s also important in evaluating the impact that your actions have on other people, animals and the Earth. This also applies to food — knowing where your food comes from and having appreciation for it is so important and gratifying. The world would be a better place if everyone lived consciously!
CB: Seeing that I used to be vegan for two years — it got so serious that I started to feel terrible for even eating leaves as they are living things! — I now look at food as a necessity that we have to be so grateful for. Every time we ingest something, we have to know that something had to be sacrificed for us to eat it. I’m super conscious of where all my food comes from, and I’m grateful of how I get my protein and nutrients.
“Reward yourself with health,” says Jayla and Chrissy
Images courtesy of Kalumi