March 2016

How to Drink Your Greens

Girl Drinking Greens Blend

Many people assume a green juice is for other people. They claim they don’t like veggies. They fear the poison-colored concoction will taste even worse than it looks. They think die-hard green juicers seem nutritionally elitist and willing to compromise their taste buds in the name of super fuel.

While there is definitely a spectrum of green -- from beginner to advanced -- there is a place for you somewhere along the line. I promise. And I’m encouraging you to join the party, because nothing bad happens when people add more whole green foods to their diet. Nothing. Zilch.

There are a few ways to go about getting more greens into your diet, and I promise they’re way easier than you think. Best part? You don’t even need a fork. You only need a straw.

Here are three ways to drink your greens …

1) Hop on the green juice train. If you want to make your own juice, you’ll need a juicer but not necessarily the fanciest one on the market. Juicing is a process that extracts the liquid from whatever you put in it, and it leaves all the pulp out of your cup. The pulp is full of beneficial fiber, but if pulp isn’t your thing, you still get plenty of vitamins and minerals from drinking just the juice. Not into cooked broccoli, kale, collards or spinach? You may like them better in a raw juice. Sometimes the flavors are milder when raw and combined with other ingredients.

Immediately after the juice is made, it starts losing its nutritional powers, so you’ll want to grab a straw STAT. Green juice is sensitive to time (how long from when it was made until it is consumed), temperature (heat can diminish some of the vitamin potency) and storage (air and clear glass containers can also make the juice less potent). But even not-so-fresh juice is better than no juice at all, so don’t let this deter you. Just make sure to put in the fridge and drink within 24 hours if you’re not drinking as soon as you make it. Here’s a great beginner recipe if you’re just getting your feet wet:

Keri’s Beginner Greens Juice

● ½ head of romaine lettuce
● ½ cucumber
● ½ cup spinach leaves
● 1 green apple

Clean all produce well. Toss in the juicer in order and drink immediately.

2) Get your smoothie on. If you don’t have any more room on your kitchen counter for yet another appliance, then your handy blender is waiting for you to let it make a smoothie. A blender can’t separate the pulp from the juice, which is why by definition smoothies are thicker and well, smoother. The smoothie crowd is just as cool as the green juice crowd, and some would even argue smoothies are even healthier than juices because of that pulp stuff I mentioned.

My formula for the perfect smoothie is incredibly simple … 1 cup milk (cow’s, nut or seed-based milk), 1 fruit, a handful of greens, 1 healthy fat, an extra (call it a flavor wild-card) and protein powder.

One of my fave healthy fats is coconut because it’s loaded with health-promoting properties, flavor and, of course, healthy fats. The fat in coconut is mostly MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) and although they are a type of saturated fat, they are not the same saturated fat as you’ll get from say fatty meat.

3) Add a green supplement to your drink. Think green juices and smoothies too much work for you? I’ve got you covered. At Life’s Abundance, we’ve created a Greens Blend that is jam-packed to the brim with nutrients. All you have to do is mix with water. Yep, it’s that easy. Add a scoop to water and mix. The Greens Blend is made of organic greens (picked at peak nutrient density) and an organic mushroom blend for overall health. The best part? It doesn’t have that I-just-ate-dirt-from-the-yard taste. It has a yummy, berry flavor. You can add to water, your morning smoothie, baked goods like zucchini muffins or even to yogurt. Most important, just drink up. Greens are the master of the health universe. 

Salad Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

The 411 on Fat

Salad

Fat is not your enemy. I can’t stress this enough.

But, so many of my clients are still sailing past the avocado bin at the grocery store or grabbing powdered peanut butter instead of the real thing, all in an effort to avoid eating anything “fattening.” 

Well, here’s the deal with fat, and listen closely. Consuming too much of anything will make us fat. But when you eat the right amount of food overall, fat by itself does not pack on the pounds. Studies have even shown low-fat diets can actually make that number on the scale CLIMB AND CLIMB!

Why do I love fat so much? It tastes good (think, guacamole), helps you absorb vitamins (yes, the dressing on your salad ACTUALLY helps you to absorb nutrients), helps you burn fat (it’s true, fat indeed burns fat!) and helps you to feel satiated after eating (i.e., keeps you feeling full). But, truth be told, not all fats are created equal.

Saturated and trans fats are both solid at room temperature (think lard and butter), but there is a big difference between saturated fat and trans fat.

Saturated fat has been labeled as a dietary no-no for a long time, but there IS room in your diet for it if you’re getting it from real, healthy foods like dairy, coconut … even dark chocolate.

Trans fat on the other hand is a definite diet devil. You’ll find it in packaged, highly processed foods that you already know you should be avoiding. Just no.

Now let’s talk about the angels of the fat world: monounsaturated fats (like those found in avocado, nuts and seeds) and polyunsaturated fats (also in nuts and seeds, as well as fatty fish). These “good” fats have been shown to have many, many health benefits! For more than a decade, the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have been studied by researchers all over the world.

You want to make sure you get enough of all these good fats - so stop avoiding the avocado bin already, and drop by the seafood counter for some salmon. In fact, salmon and walnuts in particular are two of the richest natural sources of omega-3s. If you’re not a flax, salmon or walnut junkie, a supplement could be just what you need to ensure you’re getting sufficient fat in your diet. I actually recommend an ultra-pure, ultra-concentrated Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement to all of my clients as insurance.

Salad Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Sad Pug

Pet parents have asked me if dogs can experience depression. In almost every case, the question is prompted by troubling behavior and not just simple curiosity. Well, dogs can most certainly exhibit obvious signs of depression, such as loss of appetite or declining interest in previously enjoyed activities. And then there are symptoms not readily recognized as depressive: anxiety, fearfulness, aggression, various destructive behaviors and even hiding from people. Are these last signs indicative of depression, a complicated emotional disturbance, or do they point to something else altogether? 

In humans, depression ranges from temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent clinical depression, which persists for significant periods of time. Both are marked by a depressed mood and a loss of interest and lack of pleasure.

Dogs are highly intelligent, emotional creatures. We know that they can read our facial expressions, learn complex commands, express fear and joy, and can get stressed, but can they be depressed? Behavioral scientists not only say ‘yes’, but are surprised by how prevalent depression is among canines. In fact, in a 2013 British study, scientists discovered something shocking … nearly one in four dogs in the UK was suffering from some form of depression.

Because we cannot simply ask our dogs if they’re depressed, how can we know for sure what’s going on? Well, the experts say, look to sudden changes in behavior which cannot be attributed to a medical problem. In such cases, depression offers the most logical rationale. But, on an emotional level, we also have our own sense of empathy as a guide. As pet parents, we often just intuitively know something’s up.

MORE ON SYMPTOMS

Canines often express signs of depression after loss of a family member, whether it’s a human or another animal. When someone close to a dog is no longer around, they can be listless, lose their appetite, be cranky, pace frantically, regress in house-training, sleep for even longer periods, and even develop destructive behaviors such as digging or chewing. Some dogs can develop anxiety-ridden behaviors, such as prolonged trembling, while others experience a significant change in personality (outgoing, becoming withdrawn and distrustful).

MORE ON CAUSES

Some dogs can exhibit depressive behaviors if they don’t get enough exercise or attention. Even changes in routine, ranging from serious (loss of a caretaker) to the seemingly harmless (changing a pet’s bed) can result in the symptoms listed above.

Unfortunately, changes in behavior can signal an underlying medical problem. Painful conditions such as arthritis, pinched nerves, bladder infections, or gastrointestinal inflammation can elicit behavioral changes, and hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism can mimic the signs of depression in dogs. If you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. With a physical exam, and any necessary tests administered as warranted (such as blood work, urine testing and x-rays), your vet will be better equipped to determine potential causes and likely treatments.

Sad Shaggy Dog

HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR DOG’S DEPRESSION

If your dog seems inordinately sad or becomes listless, you do have some options for home therapy.

Be intentional about the time you spend with your dog. Be prepared to dote on your pup, (yes, even more than usual!), and shower them with attention, like you would with a newly adopted dog.

Renew your commitment to exercise with daily walks … sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for both you and your dog. Plus, you’ll be adding a little adventure to your dog’s day. By taking long but unhurried walks, you allow your dog the time and space to roam a bit and smell all the scents. Remember, they can detect a whole host of odors, building timelines and creating mental maps of previous activity in any given spot … think of it like canine storytelling.

While at home, make sure your pup has plenty of good chew toys, and engage in some training sessions to stimulate positive mental activity.

In spite of all this, if your dog is still experiencing chronic depression, your veterinarian can recommend an appropriate medication to help manage, possibly even resolve, the illness. Your vet may recommend a consult with a board-certified veterinarian behaviorist. Certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, these experts are especially good at understanding such situations and knowing which pharmaceuticals will be most effective.

Have you ever known a canine who suffered from depression? How did you know? And what, if anything, were you able to do to help alleviate the condition? We’d really like to know about your experience, so please submit your comments below. You never know … something you share might mean the world to a pet parent searching for a solution, even if it’s simply the solace of knowing others have dealt with similar issues.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.

Dr Jane Bicks  Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM

REFERENCES:
In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding, by John Bradshaw, 2011, ISBN: 9780141046495.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10251465/One-in-four-dogs-suffering-depression.html

Giving Makes the World a Better Place

Rescuing Dogs Makes Life Great

Charitable work is core to our mission of well-being for all. It’s so important to us that every order placed aids homeless animals. This work is done through the non-profit branch of Life’s Abundance, The Dr. Jane Foundation, which provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups who work to prevent animal homelessness, abuse and chronic neglect. 

We made this commitment because we understand the need, which is so big, it’s almost hard to comprehend. But, like with all great endeavors, progress is made by focusing on the next task, taking it day by day.

In an era where so many shelters self-identify as “no kill”, it’s shocking to learn that euthanasia is still responsible for the deaths of nearly three million dogs and cats every year. And with between five and seven million entering shelters every year, it’s a percentage that’s way too high. That being said, in 1970, the number of dogs and cats being euthanized was north of 20 million, even though the total pet population was about half what it is today. Obviously, there’s still a lot of work left to do. But it’s incredibly worthwhile work … work that we earnestly, wholeheartedly support.

People involved in rescuing homeless, abused and neglected animals will tell you ... sometimes, their work comes down to doing the best you can when confronted by road blocks on all sides. And so many of the hardships these small non-profits encounter are linked, directly or indirectly, to a chronic lack of funding.

That’s why we dedicate a portion of our profits to our non-profit’s funding reserves. Since 2007, we’ve awarded funding to more than 100 deserving groups!

The rescue groups we support employ strategies that we know are effective. Most of our grant recipients utilize one or more programs that have proven successful in curbing pet overpopulation and reducing the number of pet kids euthanized. These initiatives include low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, TNR (trap-neuter-return) management of feral cat communities, affordable adoption fees, and community education efforts regarding the proper care of companion animals and the dangers of animal abuse and neglect. And all of this is done in addition to the day-to-day activities undertaken by these committed rescuers to place their animals in loving adoptive homes.

Time and time again, we’ve witnessed amazing transformations. Animals who have borne the brunt of cruelty or long-term neglect and yet, still were able to rise above circumstance and make full recoveries. Every new group brings its own stories of triumph in the face of adversity. With so many grant recipients, it’s hard to calculate the exact number of animals helped by our non-profit … but it’s easily in the hundreds, if not thousands!

Faith Before & After
One of the many animals helped by our non-profit, Faith was rescued by SW Collie Rescue. Our 2015 award helped restore her to health after a harrowing abandonment in the middle of the desert.


Just think, simply by shopping with Life’s Abundance, you’re making the world a better place. It’s a rare case where you can do something positive without doing anything different at all. As long as you keep purchasing Life’s Abundance products, you’ll be supporting the cause of rescue. So, while you're focused on your health, the well-being of your family, caring for your own companion animals ... while you're doing all that, you're also making life better for homeless animals and giving a helping hand to the people who operate on the front lines.

And we’ve saved the best news for last. Our Board of Directors just held a quarterly meeting in mid-February, approving grants to the following seven worthy recipients …

- Alchemy Acres Animal Sanctuary of Salem, OH (alchemyacres.org)

- Carol's Ferals of Grand Rapids, MI (carolsferals.org)

- Elinore’s Dream, Inc. of Ft. Pierce, FL (adoptapet.com/elinoresdream)

- Greyhound Hope Rehabilitation and Adoption, Inc. of Cape Coral, FL (greyhoundhope.org)

- The Bailey Project of Jupiter, FL (TheBaileyProject.org)

- The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs of Cleveland, OH (sanctuaryforseniordogs.org)

- Humane Society Pet Rescue Florida of Okeechobee, FL (animalrescueokeechobee.org)

Congratulations to all of these groups for their outstanding efforts!

In the coming months, we will reveal just what these non-profits are able to accomplish with our funding. However much they are able to achieve will be in no small part thanks to all the supporters of The Dr. Jane Foundation.

Are you involved in an animal rescue, or know someone who is? We are currently accepting applications for 2016 funding. Our Board will be considering applications for the next round of funding in April, so try to have completed grant requests submitted by the end of March for immediate consideration.

Check back next month for another update from The Dr. Jane Foundation. Together, we’re making a difference!