January 2018

World's Best Dairy-Free Cheesecake


It’s raw. It’s vegan. And it’s impossibly delicious.

Our culinary artist has created a taste sensation that puts other cheesecake recipes to shame! What’s so amazing is that’s it’s dairy-free and packed with nutrients, thanks to our incredibly nourishing Vanilla Plant Protein.

Using muffin tins, makes 36 mini or 12 full-size cheesecakes.


•1 cup packed pitted dates*
•1 cup raw walnuts (or almonds)

•1 1/4 cups raw cashews, quick-soaked**
•1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
•3 Tbsp Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein (about 1/2 scoop)
•1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
•1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (recommend skimming ‘cream’ layer off)
•1/2 cup liquid sweetener of choice (agave, maple syrup or honey if not vegan)

•2 Tbsp salted natural peanut butter
•1/4 cup wild blueberries (allow to thaw slightly if frozen)
•3 Tbsp caramel sauce
•Lemon peel, fruit, chocolate or crushed nuts


1. Add dates to a food processor and pulse several times until only small bits remain and form into a ball. Remove and set aside.
2. Add walnuts to food processor and pulse 5 times to create a meal texture. Add dates to walnut meal and pulse until a loose dough forms. Add more dates if the texture is too dry. If too wet, add more walnut meal.
3. Lightly grease your muffin tin, either standard or mini-size.
4. Scoop in a dollop of crust (about 1 T for standard tin, 1-1.5 tsp. for mini). Press is down using a small glass or the back of a spoon. A shot glass works perfectly for mini tins. If it sticks, cover the glass with parchment. Place in freezer to firm up crusts.
5. Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until creamy smooth. Add a bit more liquid (either lemon juice, sweetener or coconut milk) if the mix fails to blend uniformly.
6. Taste and adjust as needed. If you opt to use additional flavoring to the filling, blend in now. Leave aside any toppings for now.
7. Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Tap a few times to release air bubbles. Add any toppings, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, about 4-6 hours.
8. Once set, remove by loosening with a butter knife.
9. Serve frozen or thawed. You can store these cheesecakes in the freezer for up to 1-2 weeks … not that they’ll last that long!


*Soak in warm water for 10 minutes if they’re not very sticky. Drain well and pat dry before using.
**To quick-soak cashews, pour boiling water over them and allow to soak for 1 hour uncovered. Drain well before using.

Top 5 Not-So-Healthy Trends


Our immediate way of life calls for quick results in almost everything we do. The general rule is “Gimmie a quick and effective hack and I’m there.” Those who lead way too busy lives don’t have time to research the latest and greatest on nutritional science. As a result, the big headlines are often very enticing, but the problem is that a lot of nutritional advice goes to extremes. So before you go all out on that “I really mean it this time, I have to lead a healthier life in 2018” resolution, check out these five not-so-healthy trends. Don’t worry, we’ll make it fast and simple!

#1 Extreme Dieting: It’s time to think of the word ‘diet’ as a noun. It’s something everyone has, not something you do, or can ‘be on.’ Severely limiting calories or following a strict plan consisting of only a few foods or even liquids in the hopes to lose weight is not a sustainable way to work your way to health. While you can lose weight following one of these plans, it often throws people into the bad habits of yo-yo dieting. Depriving your body from the adequate nutritional fuel it needs to run properly can have some pretty negative results like mood swings, lack of energy, brain fog, dull skin, slowed metabolism, constipation and bloating. Yuck! Making small, positive changes to your diet over time can help you lead a healthier lifestyle, and reach your health goals, without going to extremes.

#2 Gluten-Free Eating, Just Because: Over the past several years, “gluten-free” went from a medical recommendation to a health fad to, sometimes, a marketing ploy. The truth is, whether going gluten-free is a good choice for you depends on factors like how your individual body digests gluten and your lifestyle. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. There’s no doubt that those diagnosed with this disease as well as those with gluten sensitivities and wheat allergies should avoid foods that contain gluten. However, many health care professionals advise against a gluten-free diet unless it’s absolutely necessary because whole grains containing gluten like wheat, rye and barley are linked to reduced risks of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. In other words, for healthy people, they’re healthy, and avoiding them can actually introduce more ingredients into your diet that you should actually be avoiding, like added sugar.

#3 Cutting Out Fats: Let’s finally put to bed the thought that eating fat makes you fat. The days of low-fat or reduced-fat are behind us. Often, the products that have the fat removed have other filler ingredients added, and are often higher in sugar! Fat doesn’t make you fat! Fats are satiating and help you feel more satisfied after a meal, meaning you need less to feel full. Healthy fats like omega-3s also offer so many benefits, like brain and heart health. Whole milk greek yogurt? We’re for it!

#4 Supplement Supersizing: Adding a good nutritional supplement to your diet is a positive move, but more is not necessarily better, especially when it comes to fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Taking excess amounts of these vitamins can potentially lead to overaccumulation, toxicity and other negative side effects. As for water soluble vitamins? Any excess will simply be excreted in your urine. 

#5 All Raw, Vegan Diet: Adding raw fruits and vegetables to your daily diet is a smart move. However, adhering to this strict regimen can be risky because an all raw, vegan diet can often be lacking in important nutrients like vitamin B12, which can cause fatigue, constipation and appetite loss. It also often lacks calcium, an important nutrient for bone health, and vitamin D, a nutrient associated with many health-promoting benefits.

Okay, so this may not be exciting advice, but good common sense is really all that you need to make good choices when it comes to your diet. As we all know, any ‘quick fix’ diet or health trend is not the answer to better health. Focusing on real whole foods that are minimally processed, and incorporating lots of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins (and did we mention vegetables?!) into your diet can help you work your way to better health!

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

Health Scares & Family Togetherness


It’s no secret amongst medical professionals that December is one of the toughest months for pet parents. No one really understands why, but both people and pets fall ill this time of year more frequently than at other times, making what should be a happy time of year one of the saddest. In my time working the veterinary ER, I got to see it firsthand, and it was always just heartbreaking.

We had our own scare last month. The week before Christmas, my beloved Golden Retriever became seriously ill. At 8, he’s old enough to be susceptible to a myriad of problems but young enough that despite his whitening muzzle I still think of him as an overgrown puppy with lots of time ahead of him. He collapsed on a Sunday morning. We headed straight to the ER.

Although Brody was stabilized on intensive care and had undergone myriad tests, they were unable to determine the cause of his symptoms and suggested we take him to a cardiologist as soon as possible. In between taking the kids to a holiday play and maintaining some semblance of normalcy, I shuttled him to the specialty center an hour away at midnight, hopeful for some sort of resolution or at least answers.

After three days of hospitalization and test after test, we were still without a diagnosis. Multiple specialists at the top of their fields came up empty. The “cancer” word was suggested multiple times. After all, this is a Golden Retriever we’re talking about. But despite our best efforts, every diagnostic evaluation came up short. We did what you always do when you don’t know what’s going on: treat the symptoms and hope for the best.

I brought Brody home with a pile of medications worthy of your Great Uncle Joe’s medicine cabinet while we regrouped to await test results. Biopsies, ultrasounds, blood tests, all normal. And despite all indications to the contrary, Brody started to slowly improve.

No one was more shocked than me. In all my years of practice, I can’t recall the last time I saw a dog as ill as mine bounce back. It was truly a Christmas miracle, and we couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful. I had fully planned to spend Christmas staring at his empty stocking in a puddle of tears, and here we were instead, cuddled on the couch like nothing had ever happened.


I’m sharing this with you for a couple of reasons: first, as hard as it is for me to not know what happened, it’s a good reminder to all of us that medicine is an imperfect science. The people on his case are the smartest I know, and the fact that they couldn’t tell me what was wrong isn’t an indication that they were somehow lacking so much as the fact that sometimes there’s just nothing that can be found. I am so incredibly grateful to the medical professionals who spend the holidays away from their families so that we have somewhere to go when our pets are sick. Their care brought him back to me.

Second, this gives me a real impetus to actually follow through on a New Year’s Resolution for once. I always say I’m going to value my relationships more and spend more time with my loved ones, but this time there is an urgency to it that I’ve never had before. I was quite sure I was going to enter into the new year minus one fluffy lovebug, and yet here we are: I still get to wake up to his face on the side of the bed, roll my eyes in a not-really-mad kind of way at the amount of fur he sheds, and wrestle with him for space on the couch at night.

Every day with our loved ones is a gift, and nothing makes you appreciate that more than the prospect of no longer having it. I have no delusions that everything is back to normal; although we could find nothing wrong, something did go wrong with my dog, and it is very likely to come back. But since I have no control over it, for now I will just be grateful for the small things that fill a dog lover’s heart with joy: dog kisses, tail wags, and unabashed joy at something so simple as a short walk. There are no givens for the upcoming days or weeks.

No matter what happens tomorrow, our time together today is a blessing, so let’s make the most of it. From all the pet lovers here at Life’s Abundance (that’s pretty much everyone), wishing you and yours all the best for 2018!

Dr V
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM