August 2018

Introducing Life’s Abundance Skin Care

Skin Care 1

I’ll be the first to admit that we’re difficult to please here at Life's Abundance. And you know what? I’m OK with that.

You see, we have a long history of taking matters into our own hands to get what we want. The pet foods on the market didn’t live up to our standards. So we made our own. The supplements available at stores weren’t pure enough. So we made our own. And the so-called natural skin care products we’ve pinned our hopes on? We wanted to believe. But when we examined the labels on many popular “natural” products, here’s a short list of what we found.

Artificial colors, artificial fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, PEG compounds and more.

Why would you want to put something on your skin that is questionable? We didn’t. So — you guessed it — we made our own.

A New Approach to Healthy Skin

I’m excited and proud to announce Life’s Abundance Skin Care, a premium system for cleansing, moisturizing and perfecting your skin. Made with pure, plant-based organic ingredients and formulated for fabulous results.

But that’s not all. We added a little more in each item than you’ll typically see in high-end skin care to lower the cost per application and reduce plastic in landfills. Also, because it is important to us to make a positive imact in everything we do, for each skin care product you purchase, one tree will be planted in your honor to help support a community in need.

Our product line includes:

Facial Cleanser - The ingredients speak for themselves. Aloe leaf juice. White willow bark extract. Argan oil. Sugar cane extract. Mango seed butter. Pure botanicals. Nothing synthetic. Our creamy, light cleanser gently melts away the residue of the day, including makeup, leaving your skin soft, revived and fresh. No matter what your skin type, this lather-free formula cleans deeply, without stripping away your face's natural protective oils.

Facial Moisturizer - This delicate moisturizer contains olive oil, aloe leaf juice and cardamom seed oil. Oh, and calming vanilla—the only edible orchid fruit! Plant-derived antioxidants, emollients and omega essential fatty acids deliver a conditioning boost and provide a protective barrier. No harsh chemicals that can irritate or toughen the skin over time. No synthetic junk. Just soft, natural, hydrating cream for soft, naturally hydrated skin.

Skin Care 2

Facial Serum - This targeted blend of radiance-boosting organic oils help correct and protect. The camellia, borage and carrot seed oils comfort irritated skin and promote a healthy complexion. And the age-defying broccoli seed oil delivers radiance-boosting vitamin A – think of it as nature’s retinol alternative. Every drop of this opulent potion is crafted to awaken your skin.

Body Lotion - Our long-lasting lotion softens and hydrates with shea butter and aloe. Light and fast-absorbing, it protects against environmental damage with plant-derived antioxidants. And with mood-lifting lemon and geranium oils, it smells as great as it feels. (True fact: I’m wearing it right now, and I can’t stop sniffing my own arms.)

Our Promise

Like all Life’s Abundance products, our skin care line is inspired by nature and informed by science. We started by raiding Mother Nature’s pantry, grabbing a vibrant array of fruits, oils and extracts. We carefully crafted each product with these nourishing organic botanicals to cleanse, moisturize and rejuvenate the skin.

Chemical free, our formulations are tested for purity and gentle enough for the whole family.

Radiant from the inside out, healthy from the outside in. That’s what Life’s Abundance looks like, and we hope you like how it looks — and feels — on you as well.

Explore the collection now!

Lester Thornhill
Lester Thornhill, CEO

7 Ways to Power Up Your Brain

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Humans are creatures of habit. Once we get into a rhythm, we're loathe to change things up. However, there's strong evidence to suggest that simply by doing things differently, you can boost your brain health. Others go so far as to suggest that opening yourself up to new cognitive activity can perhaps stave off certain forms of dementia (of which there are more than a dozen types), which is affecting an increasing number of Americans every year.

Before you balk at the mere prospect of doing things differently, check out the following easy - dare we say FUN - ways to get out of a rut and to start taking care of your brain's health.

Break Your Routine
Scientists have discovered an amazing series of life hacks to improve brain function. It all hinges on the fact that habitual actions - things we do by rote - require less and less brain power. By switching things up, the brain must compensate by creating new pathways and cells. If you drive the same way to work every day, mix things up by taking an alternate route. If you always go to the same grocery store, go to a different one. Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth. All of these activities can lead to a rapid and significant expansion of parts of the cortex, making cells stronger and more resistant to the effects of aging.

New Smells
Take a tour of your spice cabinet. Order collections of scented candles. Routinely vary your personal care products. Buy a new cookbook and try a new recipe every week. Begin your day by smelling something out-of-the-ordinary, then end your day the same. If you can connect new scents with an emotional meaning, you can stimulate different areas of the brain and naturally produce nerve-cell nutrients that improve memory.

Limit Your Binge Watching
In a 25-year study gauging the effects of binge watching, researchers note that people who watch more than three hours of TV score much more poorly on cognitive tests. In another study, binge-watchers reported higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression than those who were not. Same goes for the time spent staring at your phone. If you have a dog, take them for a walk along a completely new route. Or play a board game with the kids. There's a great big world out there that's not fictional, waiting for you!

brain-chart

Mental Stimulation
Switching your interaction with the world from passive to active can yield impressive changes in your brain. Rather than spending countless hours vegging, try on a new hobby or two. Crossword puzzles, sudoku or even a lecture series can stimulate new neural connections and the development of new cells, both of which contribute to mental elasticity. The best activities for your brain are ones that employ creative thinking and manual dexterity, so if you've ever wished you could draw or paint, now's the time to start learning!

Do All The Things
We've heard all the expert advice. All of what they've been telling us for years - don't smoke, don't drink to excess, exercise regularly, maintain an average blood pressure, get plenty of sleep, keep your blood-sugar and cholesterol levels in check - all of these can have a dramatic positive effect on your brain health. If you haven't been paying attention to these things, start taking steps beginning today.

Feed Your Head
If you're like most Americans, your diet could use some improvements. Walnuts, fish, olive oil, sage, blueberries, cocoa, tomato, broccoli, apples, spinach, black currants and pumpkin seeds all contain nutrients vital to brain health. To nourish your brain with a premium balance of omega-3's and 6's, look no further than Life's Abundance Fish Oil. Not only is it highly concentrated and ultra pure, research has shown that its consumption benefits cognitive performance due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists believe that cognitive decline associated with minimal intake of omega-3’s may be a predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease. Furthermore, other studies have found a causitive link between deficiencies in omega-3’s and a number of serious psychological conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD and even substance abuse.

Make New Connections
Socialization is hard-wired into your brain. When we isolate ourselves, it can lead to negative effects not only in the way we feel, but also for brain health. By cultivating relationships with friends, co-workers and family, you'll actually be helping to lower your risk for dementia, lower your blood pressure and even extend your lifetime. Get out there and make some new connections!

Put most simply, all of these tips boil down to being open to embracing new things. And the benefits are undeniable. We encourage you to try these simple tips and to let us know your experience in the comments section below!

References 
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/tv-may-be-bad-for-your-brain
https://apha.confex.com/apha/143am/webprogram/Paper335049.html
“Fish, meat, and risk of dementia: cohort study.” British Medical Journal, 2002; 325; 932-933.
"Plasma fatty acids are associated with normative variation in mood, personality and behavior." Abstract #1411. Presented at the 64th Annual Scientific Mtg of the American Psychosomatic Society, Denver, CO, March 1-4, 2006.
Hibbeln, J.R.. "Fish consumption and major depression." The Lancet, 1998; 351: 1213.
Hibbeln, J.R.. "Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in depression and related conditions, in Phospholipid Spectrum Disorder." (Lancashire, England: Marius Press, 1999), pp. 195-210.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young
https://www.businessinsider.com/brain-exercises-that-make-you-smarter-2018-1
“Dietary intake of fatty acids and fish in relation to cognitive performance at middle age.” Neurology. 2004 Jan 27;62(2):275-80.

Our Foundation Awards Grants to 9 Rescue Groups

woman-adopts-pug

Did you know that when you shop from Life’s Abundance, a portion of the profits is set aside to fund the good words of our charitable foundation? It’s true! Whether you’re ordering the finest nutritional supplements for yourself or premium food, treats and supplements for your companion animals, your repeat business will help fund the efforts to save the lives of homeless, abused and neglected animals throughout our great nation.

Our non-profit agency, The Dr. Jane Foundation, provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups from coast to coast. Each charitable organization dedicates itself to the hard work of ending animal homelessness and helping pets survive and overcome the effects of chronic abuse and neglect. Many of these rescue groups are just getting their operations off the ground, and the financial support we provide can help them grow and enable them to save even more lives. Since 2007, our foundation has awarded in excess of $200,000 to over 150 deserving groups!

The needs are many and great. Even though reliance on euthanasia is but a fraction of it was 20 or 30 years ago, still far too many adoptable dogs and cats have their lives ended prematurely ... nearly three million pets every year. The vast majority of recently founded animal rescues are committed to a no-kill approach, something we very want to support. For these new groups, many of the obstacles they face boil down to limited resources. If we can help dozens of these groups every year to save more lives and further establish their agencies as agents of positive change, we are thrilled to do so.

To qualify for funding from our foundation, applicants must meet rigorous criteria. Most of our grant recipients utilize one or more strategies that have proven successful in curbing pet overpopulation and reducing the number of dogs and cats 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 workers to place rescued animals in loving adoptive homes.

Just think, simply by buying from Life’s Abundance, you’ll be making the world a better place for dogs and cats in need. How often do you get to do something super positive without having to do anything different at all? As long as you keep purchasing our health-promoting products, you’ll be supporting rescue efforts across the US!

And now, we’re pleased to inform you that our Board of Directors held a quarterly meeting on July 17th. We approved funding several grant applications and sent checks the following worthy rescue organizations.

ACTion Programs for Animals

Located in Las Cruces, NM, this 100-volunteer-strong animal rescue is making a tremendous difference, not only in their local community, but even beyond state lines. Since May of 2012, they have rescued more than 3,500 dogs and cats. Nearly all of those were pulled from a nearby high-kill shelter. They have been able to make such great strides through the tireless work of their committed volunteer network of rescue and foster coordinators and families. They've even managed to hold weekend adoptions to locate loving homes for their rescues quickly and efficiently, all on a shoe-string budget. Soon, they plan to move into a newly purchased facility that will double their housing capacity, further bolstering their presence in the area as a welcome alternative to municipal shelters.

Animal Rescue of Southern Colorado

Based in Antonito, CO, this small yet committed animal welfare group focuses their efforts on two pressing needs: one, to house, care for and adopt out neglected and abandoned dogs; and two, to reduce pet overpopulation through spay-neuter services. Now barely into their second year of operation, this hardworking rescue managed to save 74 dogs in their first six months! Their goal - and fervent hope - is to never have to turn away a dog in need. Our financial grant has been earmarked to help cover the costs of constructing a modern kennel, which will allow them to rescue even more homeless animals. The new kennel will utilize solar panels to provide heat during harsh winters.

Bounce Animal Rescue

This foster-based rescue organization is located in beautiful Northern Colorado. Their goal is to grow to the size where they'll be able to rescue unwanted animals from high-kill shelters all over the country, place them with loving fosters and ultimately find them forever homes where they will be loved unconditionally. Even while they're out there saving lives, they're still focused on the well-being and adoption of unwanted animals. They're committed to building stronger community relationships, investing in technology and fundraising at the grassroots level. Bounce focuses on quality veterinary care, nutrition, spay/neuter programs, training and, of course, adoptions.

Boxer Aid and Rescue Coalition, Inc.

Headquartered in Tallahassee, Boxer Aid and Rescue Coalition is a not-for-profit rescue organization that operates a network of volunteers in north Florida and south Georgia. In their decade of operation, these devoted caretakers have helped to rescue and find forever homes for hundreds of Boxers. Each dog receives medical care, basic training (including a behavioral assessment), a caring foster environment and the promise that they’ll be ultimately be placed in homes where they will be treated "as a member of the family." Keep an eye on this group, as they plan to expand their organization to help provide care for senior and hospice dogs. 

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Eastern Plains Animal Welfare Alliance

Based in Burlington, CO, this small non-profit got its start in 2011 as a TNR program for feral cats. That has now grown to a much larger effort to rescue both cats and dogs, and to help curb overpopulation in their area. In just a few short years, they've achieved great success, altering more than 1,700 animals and vaccinating over 360 feral cats! A dedicated team of volunteers help with all aspects of the rescue effort. Amazingly, they're able to locate loving homes for their dogs and cats in record time. They're so insistent on matching up prospective pet parents with new intakes that the average wait-time for these creatures just two-to-four weeks before moving from terrible situations and into their forever home. Our grant will go towards the costs associated with low-cost spay/neuter community clinics or towards the purchase of a high quality shed to safely store their supplies, which has previously been done by their many volunteers. 

MeeowzResQ

Located in Orange County, this non-profit, all-volunteer organization is dedicated to the rescue of cats and kittens in Southern California. Every year, they have been able to save more than 2,000 felines! Their kittens are hand-raised in foster homes, and many of those are bottle-fed babies. These kittens grow into sweet and people-oriented cats thanks to the amazing foster care by pet parents who are dedicated to raising and finding good homes for these abused, injured or abandoned cats. They routinely hold feline adoption events in numerous cities, and operate an extensive foster network spanning even more locations throughout Southern California. Our financial grant will help them to further their mission as their current needs dictate. 

My Second Home Rescue

Based in Carr, CO, this no-kill organization is on a mission to rescue and re-home stray, neglected and abandoned dogs from high-kill shelters. They believe that all living creatures should be treated with dignity and respect. They provide much needed care, medical attention, microchipping and socialization, all towards their ultimate goal of placing these pups in permanent adoptive homes where they will be loved like family. At present, they adopt out between 125-150 dogs per year, which is no small feat for a small rescue. They strive to increase public awareness about overpopulation problem and hope to see an end of euthanasia in their area. Our award was earmarked to help fund heartworm treatments for two very sick dogs. 

woman-embraces-dog

New England Society for Abandoned Animals

Located in Centerville, MA, this non-profit was founded in 2009 to serve the Cape Cod community and surrounding areas. They are one of the few organizations committed to hands-on rescue work in the region, whether those cases stem from neglect, abuse or abandonment cases, to assistance with strays and their TNR program for feral cats. They take it as their mission to advocate, protect and rescue, using a proactive, humane approach. They are committed to increasing community awareness and creating progressive changes in animal welfare. As a “no-kill” organization, NESAA has a no-exceptions spay/neuter policy ... that notion is at the heart of every program implemented by the organization. They have established relationships with other organizations who serve individuals with disabilities, and these groups routinely help volunteers socialize animals at the shelter. Our financial award is earmarked for their multiple overpopulation prevention programs, from TNR to low-cost spay/neuter programs for the low-income community.

Res-Que, Ltd.

Based in Reno, NV, this non-profit group rescues dogs of all breeds. Res-Que was founded by Rhonda Shafer in 2009, after working as a distributor of dog food and supplies for local rescues. They work extensively with small, outlying shelters to rescue dogs and find them forever homes in both Northern Nevada and California. As their rescues recover from trauma and learn socialization skills, they live with one of the 15 caring families who make up their foster network. This group works very hard to find the less popular dogs from surrounding shelters where they will likely languish without interest from possible adopters, then place them in nurturing environments where each dog's true personality can finally shine. And their efforts are definitely paying off. In 2016, they were able to provide quality care and adopt out 147 dogs, and last year that number more than doubled to 303 dogs! Our financial grant will go towards covering the costs of veterinary medical care. 

To all of these groups, we say "congratulations!" Your remarkable efforts to make the world a better place for companion animals are truly paying off.

Are you involved in an animal rescue, or know someone who is? It's not too late to apply for 2018 funding. Our Board will be considering another round of applications at our final quarterly meeting in mid-October, so try to have completed grant requests submitted by the end of September to ensure your group’s consideration.

For all of you who actively support the vital work of our non-profit, we can’t thank you enough. Thanks to your personal donations and continued Life's Abundance patronage, we are continuing to make great strides towards helping animal rescue groups achieve their goals. Together, we’re making a positive difference in the world, one animal at a time.

5 Meds That Are Toxic to Pets

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The past four months have been a blur of training, cleaning up and chasing around after our new puppy, Dakota. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I did forget how much trouble a curious puppy can get into! Last week I found Dakota chomping on a travel-sized bag of trail mix that included chocolate covered raisins. Chocolate covered raisins! How did that even get into the house? I still don’t know where it came from, but fortunately I was able to intervene before he opened the bag.

Most people know that chocolate and grapes can be toxic for pets, but potential threats can lurk elsewhere in your home. Prescription and over-the-counter medications are among the top reasons people call into poison control hotlines for both kids and pets, and with good reason. Here are the top five medications of concern when it comes to pets and toxicity:

1. Ibuprofen. As the active ingredient in common over-the-counter products such as Advil and Motrin, ibuprofen is unfortunately ingested by pets both accidentally and intentionally by owners unaware of its potential side effects. Cats are particularly sensitive to its effects. The most common clinical sign is vomiting or gastrointestinal ulcers, though it can also lead to kidney damage. Other NSAIDS such as Aleve can also be problematic.

2. Acetaminophen. Speaking of pain medications, acetaminophen-containing products such as Tylenol are also high on the list of pet poisons. Like ibuprofen, cats are particularly sensitive to the effects of this medication, and one pill is enough to kill a cat. Both cats and dogs can experience liver damage as a result of this medication, starting with decreased appetite and leading to yellow skin (a sign of jaundice), swollen paws or difficulty breathing. Acetaminophen is a common ingredient in combination products like cough and flu remedies, so be careful to read the label on your products!

pill-spill-dog

3. Stimulants. ADHD medications such as Adderall and Ritalin can be toxic to companion animals. Sadly, they are more likely to be ingested by pets as they are often prescribed for children who may be less vigilant about keeping the pills out of the reach of the household dogs and cats. Signs of ingestion may include dilated pupils, seizures, shaking or hyperactivity.

4. Antidepressants. Antidepressants fall into several categories depending on their mechanism of action. In the most commonly prescribed medications (such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor) work by increasing the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain. When overdosed, the brain can be flooded with these chemicals and pets can experience a variety of symptoms such as depression, hyperexcitability, seizures and vomiting.

5. Vitamin D. As doctors are starting to diagnose Vitamin D deficiency more often, this is a common supplement in people’s medicine cabinets. When there is too much in the body, blood calcium levels also rise, resulting in serious damage to the kidneys. It is so effective at causing damage that it's commonly used in rat poisons such as d-Con. Vitamin D might appear on rodenticide labels as “cholecalciferol,” and should be avoided.

There’s no time like the present to ensure any of these items in your house are safely secured away from prying pet paws. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested any of these harmful substances, call your veterinarian or a pet poison control helpline ASAP!

Dr V
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM