Life's Abundance | Premium health products

Yoga At Your Desk

woman at desk with yoga mat

Unless you’re on your feet often as part of your job, it’s highly likely that you sit at a desk for hours on end - and you know what those new studies say, “sitting is the new smoking.”

The chronic stress and tension you place on your body by sitting at a desk, without taking breaks to get up and move, places unnecessary strain on the lumbar spine, overstretches the mid to upper back, and shortens the muscles of the chest and hips, leading to neck, shoulder, and low back pain - and who wants that?

Instead of sitting uncomfortably throughout the day, set aside just a few minutes in between calls to stretch your tight muscles with the quick yoga poses in the video below, take some deep breaths, and clear your mind.  Your body will thank you, and you’ll move through your day healthier, happier, less stressed, and more productive.

POSES

 

Arms clasped behind back to open shoulders

Start by sitting up straight in your chair and interlacing your hands behind your back. Micro bend your elbows and lift them without locking. Roll your shoulders outward to create more space in your front body, and then lift your hands away from your lower back, any amount,  and breath into your upper chest.

Seated pigeon

Crossing your legs while seated, especially when done on one side more than the other, can create imbalances in the hips and lower spine- this pose stretches the outer hips which tend to be super tight from all that sitting.  Flex foot, extend leg out if hips too tight, bend knee and lean forward if you want more of a stretch.

Seated side stretch

The side body tends to collapse when hunched over a computer, contributing to neck and shoulder discomfort. This pose helps you sit with a taller spine, and lengthens the muscles around the ribcage to create more space. Keep shoulders rooted as stretch and side body long.

Seated chair twist

The muscles and other tissues that surround the spine can become stiff over time. This will lead to a decreased range of motion, pain, and stress. Turn sideways hands on the back of the chair, twist from the ground up, and lengthen through the crown of the head.

Forward fold lower back stretch in chair

Forward bends calm the nervous system, so hold this pose for at least 10 long deep breaths. Sit in your chair and widen your legs so they are wider than hip-distance apart. From the hip crease, bend forward and allow your entire body to relax. You can round your back. Drop your head and completely relax your neck.


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What’s the Big Idea Behind Feeding Trials

man giving dog food

If you’ve been brought to your knees by the vast amount of information you’ve faced in search of the best products for your dogs, we understand. Really, how much can the average person be expected to know about their dog’s products and still have a life? We’re happy to tell you all about the ins-and-outs of our products because we’re very proud of them. But we think it will be even more helpful for you to know what type of company you’re buying from.

We think and operate differently and are transparent about it. We’re private, employee-owned and purpose driven. But what does all that mean in action? Here’s a little behind the scenes insight into our decision to conduct dog food feeding trials.

Dog Food Nutrition

Did you know that there are two ways a dog food maker can demonstrate the nutrition of their foods? These are set by the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the association that establishes nutritional standards within the pet food industry.

Nutrient Analysis

The most common of the two is through nutrient analysis. This is laboratory testing of the finished food that measures the value of each of the key nutrients that are required to be present. Beyond the required nutrients, optional tests can be ordered to tell a fuller story of the nutritional value of the formula being examined. For instance, if a brand prioritizes antioxidants they’ll want to test for adequate value, though it’s not required.

This is the method we at Life’s Abundance have used for over two decades, until recently. Now, after years of internal debate, planning and an ongoing commitment to transparency, we have engaged in the second of AAFCO’s sanctioned tests - Feeding Trials.

Feeding Trials

Feeding trials provide a look at the ability of a food to convey adequate nutritional value to the dogs consuming it. Eight dogs are exclusively fed the food being tested for a number of weeks (duration varies based on life stage). Periodic blood tests and the dog’s weight are tracked and recorded to demonstrate that the nutrients shown on paper actually make it into the dog’s body at life-sustaining levels.

Why Conduct Feeding Trials?

First and foremost, we have a responsibility to the hundreds of thousands of dogs eating our food. Because of this, it is important to know how nutrients in our formulas behave once digested by the dogs eating them. Nutritional analysis, exacting care, decades of anecdotal evidence and now feeding trials bear out our formulation philosophy and the science behind it. A close second reason for these tests is to give you peace of mind as a parent to the dogs you love. Just think, without this proof, your dog will essentially be a participant in an uncontrolled feeding trial.

lineup of Life's Abundance dog food

Importantly, in the veterinary world, feeding trials are the gold standard to demonstrate a food’s worth. While there are many other measures this overlooks, now when your vet asks if your dog’s food has been through a trial, if you’re feeding Life’s Abundance, you’ll be able to say ‘yes.’ We know from all our veterinary consultants and colleagues how important feeding trials are to veterinarians as a mark of quality assurance. This is our way of showing we're absolutely serious about making the best food out there.

To be sure, the decision to conduct feeding trials was a years-long process involving many levels of staff at Life’s Abundance. We consulted with veterinarians, insiders who have seen many sides of laboratory research, sought alternative testing protocols, interviewed testing companies and personally toured testing facilities. It took all of this time, effort and consideration to be certain we’d found a testing company that met our standards for animal care, interaction, environmental enrichment and overall welfare. It was important for us to take this time so that we feel as good about the process as we do the results, so you can too.

What Feeding Trials Won’t Tell You

Though a feeding trial is a true scientific study, it only provides a baseline of whether a food is adequate or inadequate to keep a dog going. It will not tell you anything about the quality of the ingredients or if they will help your dog thrive. It won’t tell you how beautifully or shoddily orchestrated the ratios of nutrients are to one another.

To understand the true quality of the food you choose you need to understand the motives of the brand you choose. But how do you trust that a brand has your best interest at heart, abhors corner-cutting practices and always asks what’s best for the consumer (two- or four-legged) before making a decision? At Life’s Abundance, it’s more than formulating, making and delivering a great food. It’s about getting the ultimate nutrition into your dog so they can thrive.

Life’s Abundance Feeding Trial Status As Of Fall 2021:

  • Adult Weight Loss Dog Food - Successfully completed Spring 2020.
  • All Life Stage Dog Food, Chicken Meal & Brown Rice - Successfully completed Summer 2021.
  • Grain Free All Life Stage Dog Food - In queue to start. Tests are not run concurrently which makes the timeline to complete the series quite long.

Of all the research we do to be sure we’re making the best choices for our dogs, finding a definitive answer or solution can seem like a never ending journey. Understanding the brand and the people behind the products you choose just may be the best measure yet. If you’re not currently feeding Life’s Abundance, consider making the switch to our uniquely formulated foods that have feeding trials to back their efficacy. Others will tell you just how good it feels to fill your dog’s bowl with nutritious food or reward them with tasty treats knowing you’ve made the best choice for them.


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This Ingredient Has Sweet Benefits For Your Skin

close up womans face

Sugar. We love it, we crave it & we do our best to avoid it. The human brain can be biologically impaired when it comes to excess sugar intake; our cognitive abilities degrade and our self-control is pushed to the limit. We all know the (many) reasons to avoid over-consuming it - like chronic inflammation, poor dental health, weight gain that can lead to liver or heart disease, & glycation (a natural aging process that’s exacerbated by sugar) - but what if we told you there’s a seriously beneficial way to incorporate sugar into your life? It turns out, sugar may not always be so bad.

Topical Skin Care

You read that right. Your everyday skin care routine is a perfect place to introduce this controversial ingredient. Now hear us out. Not all sugar is created equal - discover how sugar can gently support skin health. How? Let’s explore this sweet ingredient in its many forms below.

Sugar Cane Extract

Saccharum officinarum, or as we’re discussing it here, sugarcane, is a hearty species of grass that originates from Southeast Asia. Beloved by cosmetic chemists and skin care formulators, this plant extract contains humectant (moisturizing) and exfoliating properties.

Sugar cane extract contains glycolic acid, falling under the category of an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA. AHAs are water-soluble acids, with their most common sources being fruit, and you guessed it, sugar cane! They work by gently peeling away dead skin cells on the surface to unveil more even-toned skin. AHAs, like the glycolic acid found in sugar cane extract, are an excellent option to help aid skin that has hyperpigmentation or a rough texture.

man looking in mirror

Sugar Maple Extract

Just reading this ingredient name, we’re dreaming of warm morning waffles topped with freshly tapped Vermont maple syrup. But let’s switch gears. This sugar extract is in fact from the very same source as your morning breakfast syrup, but formulated into skin care, this extract can help reduce signs of aging and more. This particular sugar extract is also a member of the AHA family, containing malic & tartaric acids. Let’s break them down:

  • Malic Acid: Most commonly found in apples, malic acid is an AHA beloved for its ability to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, even-out discoloration known as hyperpigmentation & reduce congestion in the skin. But what sets it apart from other AHAs, you ask? It’s molecule size. Larger than other AHAs (like glycolic acid), it is unable to penetrate the skin as deeply, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While this does mean it may not be as effective as other AHAs in its family, it is however a more suitable option for sensitive skin types that have experienced irritation from other AHAs.
  • Tartaric Acid: The largest in molecular size than other AHAs mentioned in this post, tartaric acid is an AHA that’s often added to formulations to help enhance the performance of other AHAs when it comes to sloughing away dead skin cells.

Find these delicate exfoliators in our Facial Cleanser. Gentle enough for daily use, the sugar cane extract & Sugar Maple Extract support skin function by gently exfoliating dead skin cells as you wash, revealing fresh, more even-toned skin.

Sucrose (Sugar) Extract

Consumed through sweet baked goods or sugary beverages (added sugar can be sneakily hidden in many coffee drinks & even gut-healthy drinks like Kombucha), sugar can be detrimental to skin health and appearance. The natural process of glycation (a process in which our skin ages) is excelled with the introduction of sugar, and sugar has also been known to cause breakouts and inflammation. But fear not, when sugar is topically applied, skin reaps many benefits.

Sucrose is most likely the most common form of sugar you may be familiar with. It is naturally a humectant and an exfoliant (an AHA). Humectants work by attracting and retaining moisture in the air to seal in hydration. Similar to the Sugar Cane Extract discussed above, sucrose is a natural source of glycolic acid that helps slough away dead cells at the skin’s topmost later to help uncover smoother, brighter skin. Sucrose takes form in the shape of small, crystalline particles which allow it to perform as a gentle abrasive to remove the top layer of dead skin cells and buildup that can lead to congestion, breakouts, or a dull complexion.

Put sugar to work with our Hibiscus Mask & Scrub. Use it as a gentle facial scrub 2-3 times weekly, or opt for a face mask 1-2 per week. Let sit for 15 minutes & rinse.


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What You Should Know About Dog Cancer

close up smoothie bowl

I love so many things about being a veterinarian- puppy kisses, seeing a sick patient recover to go home to a happy family, you name it. That being said, there are also a few things that I wish were different. Having to deal with dog cancer is one of them.

As one of the leading causes of death in both dogs and cats, working through a cancer diagnosis is one of the most challenging and common problems pet owners face. But here’s the good news: The number of treatment options has skyrocketed in the last few years, thanks to brilliant researchers and some big advancements in immunotherapy. Gone are the days when the options were limited to prednisone or whopping doses of chemotherapy. Pets are living longer and happier with cancer now than they ever have. Let’s review a few things about cancer that every pet owner should know:

Risk Factors

Age: It’s kind of a paradox that the better veterinary care becomes, the more cancer we’re seeing. It makes sense when you think about the fact that cancer is a disease associated with age. Sadly though, we do sometimes see cancers in young pets, but by and large the more time your pet has with you on Earth, the greater the chances become that they may face a cancer diagnosis.

Genetics: Some breeds are more prone to certain types of cancers than others. Golden retrievers are notoriously susceptible to lymphoma (a lymph node cancer) and hemangiosarcoma (a cancer of the blood vessels). Scottish terriers, West Highland White terriers, beagles, and Shetland sheepdogs show higher numbers of bladder cancer. Brachycephalic dogs- ie any dog with a smushed face like pugs, are more likely to develop brain cancers.

What about diet? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Cancer is a complicated disease with many contributing factors, and the truth is we just don’t know how much of a role food plays in dog cancer. We do know from human medicine that certain foods or food additives are more likely to contribute to cancer, and other foods or nutrients may be protective. This is why choosing a healthy diet is so important. You want to reduce as many risk factors as possible, even if they’re ones we never see. That’s why our premium dog food is formulated with the finest ingredients that help your dog achieve and maintain optimal health.

Age, diet, and breed are never a guarantee of a pet getting cancer- thank goodness. But it’s always good to keep in the back of your mind so if your pet exhibits any changes in health or behavior, you know to get it checked sooner rather than later.

woman and dog touching heads

Signs to Look Out For

Cancer is tricky because it’s not one specific disease. As the uncontrolled growth of a mutated cell, the behavior varies quite a bit depending on the type of cancer, the location, and the overall health of the patient. These signs exist in other illnesses as well, so just because your pet exhibits one or more does not mean it’s cancer- but it does mean you should check in with the vet!

  • Change in appetite. A Labrador who normally inhales his kibble in ten seconds flat suddenly leaves kibble in the bowl every night? That’s not normal.
  • Sleeping more. A pup who usually zooms around the house all day suddenly curls by your feet for hours at a time? Might be worth getting checked out. It could be a behavior change related to owners spending more time at home, so we’ll hope for that!
  • Sudden swellings. Anything bulging that shouldn’t be bulging- get it checked out ASAP. A tiny lump or bump on the skin? Here’s what oncologist Dr. Sue Ettinger recommends:
    If a lump is:
    • Bigger than a pea
    • Present for more than a month
    Then it should be checked out! Caught early, even some of the most aggressive cancers can be treated easily- but the longer you wait, the harder it becomes.
  • Non-healing sores. People often say “spider bite” any time a pet has a red or ulcerated lesion on their body. It rarely is. Even if it’s not cancer, any ulcerated skin is going to be painful, so no matter the cause, get it looked at!
  • Really anything else out of the ordinary. You know your pet better than anyone. Coupled with the increased time you’re spending at home in their company, people are 100% spotting conditions they might otherwise have missed.

Don’t Panic!

Dog cancer is scary. As someone who's been through it more times than I’d ever wish, I understand and appreciate the natural response of being scared, and grieving. But the one thing you should know is that cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Years ago, many people had the opinion that if a pet was diagnosed with cancer, therapy was a waste of time and money. Times have changed.

While the treatment and life expectancies vary tremendously, many cancers can be managed almost like a chronic disease. With supportive care and a carefully crafted treatment plan, pets can live comfortably for months or sometimes even years. Recent advances in immunotherapy are showing incredible promise. A lymphoma vaccine? A melanoma treatment? Things that were considered untreatable just a few years ago are now on the verge of having very effective treatments. If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, ask the vet if anyone nearby is participating in clinical trials your pet may qualify for. The Veterinary Cancer Society has a list of trials.

No one considers what’s going on in the world a blessing, but since so many of us are spending more time at home anyway, you might as well use some of that time to give your pet a once-over and check for lumps and bumps. While the outcome of a cancer diagnosis is never a given, one thing is for sure: the earlier you know, the better your pet will do.

Stay safe and don’t forget to love on your pets for me, ok?

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr V


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Red Velvet Smoothie Bowl Recipe

close up smoothie bowl

When was the last time you ate cake for breakfast? If you normally try to eat healthy, the answer is probably never. Well, thanks to our Red Velvet Smoothie Bowl, you can now have your cake and eat healthy too!

Ok, so it’s not exactly cake, but it tastes just like a creamy slice sans the red dye, sugar and calories. It’s also a thousand times easier to make than baking an actual cake and you can lick the bowl because it’s vegan.

This smoothie bowl is not only beautiful but it’s full of nutrient dense ingredients, a few of which you may not prefer to eat on their own, but you’d never even know they’re blended in here, like cauliflower and beets.

Just one serving of our Red Velvet Smoothie Bowl boosts your diet with:

  • Cauliflower is very low in calories yet extremely high in vitamins, including 77% of the RDI of Vitamin C, 20% of the RDI of Vitamin K and  11% of the RDI of Vitamin B6. It’s also full of fiber and a great source of antioxidants.
  • Beets also contain many important vitamins including folate, manganese, and potassium but they also contain pigments called betalains, which research shows may contain a number of anti-inflammatory properties. Beets are high in sugar, but luckily a small amount packs a nutritious punch.
  • Raspberries are an antioxidant powerhouse containing 50% of the minimum daily target for vitamin C and a healthy dose of manganese, vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium. Plus they have less sugar than almost every other fruit and are full of fiber.
  • Bananas are most touted to be full of potassium, and while they do have 9% of the daily RDI, they also contain 33% of the RDI of Vitamin B6, 14% of Manganese and 11% of Vitamin C. They are also rich in pectin, a type of fiber that can help moderate blood sugar.
  • Cacao powder is full of naturally occurring antioxidants called Polyphenols that are packed with health benefits such as reduced inflammation, better circulation, improved cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.

red velvet smoothie bowl

If all those health benefits don’t get you excited, remember the aforementioned comparison to tasting like a slice of Red Velvet Cake. We’re sure you’re going to love it.

Share your smoothie pics on social and tag us at @lifesabundance #lifesabundance - we can’t wait to see your creations.

Serving size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ⅔  cup frozen cauliflower
  • ⅓ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup frozen beets
  • 2 tsp Life’s Abundance Plant Based Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cacao powder
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Toppings of choice: We used chia seeds, bee pollen (leave off for vegan bowls), plain plant yogurt, cacao nibs, freeze dried raspberries, and sesame seeds.

Instructions

  1. Blend ingredients from top to bottom and add your favorite toppings
  2. Enjoy!


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Maintaining Pet Dental Health At Home

cat teeth

Pet Dental Health Month comes around once again to remind us of how important it is that we focus on our pet’s oral hygiene. Other than not wanting to smell doggie breath, there are multiple important reasons as to why you should be taking care of your pet’s dental health. About 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have dental issues, so it’s a pretty common concern. You may think that your pet doesn’t have any problems now, but left untreated, it can become costly and painful in the long run.

What starts as bad breath could have tons of underlying causes beyond just their mouth. Your dog or cat could have built up tartar, tooth decay, oral abscess, or periodontal disease. If you wait too long to resolve these issues, they could eventually lead to heart, liver and kidney problems. Luckily, you can take preventative measures so your pet doesn’t have to face these scary scenarios.

Nutrition for Dental Health

Besides the obvious solution of getting a dental cleaning, you can actually give your dog certain foods and treats that will help minimize the potential for oral problems. It’s important that you feed your pet a diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients, whether it’s their food or treats. One of the ingredients you should be looking for is oats. Oats are a strength-giving ingredient that not only supports strong teeth but also helps coats as well! Probiotics don’t necessarily help dental health on their own, but they do help your pet’s intestinal tract which in turn promotes a healthy mouth. Calcium is a given as it maintains healthy bones, so that means teeth too!

Gourmet Dental Treats: These treats are a tasty snack that also targets nutrition and dental hygiene. The high-quality grains and proteins, plus calcium and phosphorus, help maintain strong teeth and gums. Plus, the added parsley helps with doggie breath!

Porky Puffs: Less about nutrition, and more about the chew, these are a great alternative to rawhide. Porky puffs are made from pig snouts and contain no artificial preservatives or flavors. Give your pup one of these delicious treats for their ultimate chewing pleasure!

Buffalo Bully Sticks: Delicious AND healthy? Say no more. These bully sticks are made from free-range, grass fed buffalo. The chewing action helps reduce tartar and maintain your dog’s dental health. Totally a win-win.

dog licking girl

What Else Can I Do?

Along with dental treats, there are steps we take at home to maintain your dog and cat’s dental health and ensure long lasting pearly whites.

  • We humans are supposed to brush our teeth twice a day for a healthy smile. Just like us, our pets need this too. We know it can be a struggle, but brushing your pet’s teeth twice a day can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
  • If you can easily get into your pet’s mouth without them pulling away, it might be in your benefit to take a look at their teeth and gums. Lift the flap of their mouth and examine for any signs of bumps or swelling on their gums, and any tartar or chipped teeth.
  • If your pet’s teeth seem a little too dirty to manage, it might be time for a proper teeth cleaning by their vet. While it may be a bit costly now, there are long term consequences such as dental extractions that may come if you put it off.

Proper oral health is necessary for a long, happy life for your pet. And if you love happy cats and puppy kisses as much as we do, then it’ll be a win-win for both you and your furry friend.


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The Recall System Is Putting You At Risk

holding pill

Behind the scenes here at Life’s Abundance, when the alert of a recent pet food brand’s recall due to deadly levels of aflatoxin first hit our inbox, there was a sense of urgency to spread the news. At that point, the death of 28 dogs was being reported by the FDA and the media hadn’t picked it up yet.  A meal time had already passed since the notice was posted, and another one was approaching. Unsuspecting pet parents not fortunate enough to sign up to have these alerts delivered to their inbox were about to dip into potentially contaminated bags to feed their beloved dogs.

Eventually, the news media began broadcasting the story. Sadly, dozens more dogs being fed the recalled food died. As of this writing, the investigation is still ongoing with over 110 deaths reported.

Now, a few short weeks later, another pet food brand issued a recall in an overseas market due to excess levels of Vitamin D. The steps being taken in both cases bring the inherent problems of the recall system into relief. They also illustrate the unmatched value built into the Life’s Abundance way of doing business.

The Media Fallacy

Relying on the media for recall information is inherently problematic. Unless the problem is big enough to have harmed a large number of people or pets, most consumers will never hear about a recall. Of the dozens of recalls and product withdrawals in the U.S. each year, how many do you remember hearing about? The ones that make the headlines tend to have caused widespread illness, whether in people or pets. Even then, you need to be at the right place at the right time to catch the information.

The Full Time Approach

A brand with a problematic product surely is aware of the issue. The question is whether they have a system in place to communicate it out to customers. If they do have a system in place, chances are they don’t know who you are - your purchase was likely made through a retailer so they have no way to contact you. Taking the step of signing up for news alerts for each brand you have in your home might catch recall news and deliver it to you. Is that a practical approach? With dozens of brands represented in your pantry, refrigerator and bathroom, probably not. Is it a surefire way to hear about a recall? Odds are slim unless the brand has a system in place to push out an alert to subscribers, and has committed to do so. Keeping tabs on the brands you buy could amount to a full time job.

toddler reaching up

The Point of Sale

A flyer posted on the bulletin board at retail locations is sure to reach a lot of people.  But is it reaching the right people? If you buy your supplements from a specialty store, or your dog food from a pet supply store, it’s unlikely you will return to that shop until you’ve used up the product that may be the subject of the recall notice. And now, at a time when grocery delivery services are being used, visits by consumers are a fraction of what they were - meaning they’ll never see that sign on the register or bulletin board.

Trust The Brand You Choose

At Life’s Abundance we love pragmatic innovation, and the troubled recall system outlined above got our attention decades ago. There has to be a better way, we thought. That’s when we committed to a quick notification system. To explain, because of our direct relationship with consumers, combined with our controlled manufacturing, we know which consumer received which product, down to the lot number. In the event there is ever an issue with a product, our proactive communications system allows us to reach 6,000 people by phone in just one hour ensuring that we can contact all affected customers quickly. We can also reach them by email and through the mail.

As consumers, parents and pet parents ourselves, we understand that deciding to buy a product can feel like a leap of faith. With Life’s Abundance, that leap is backed by our commitment to provide you with safe, high-quality products and, importantly, a system to follow through on that commitment. When it comes to the safety of the ones we love, peace of mind is certainly a measure of a product’s value. Combine that with thoughtful formulation, exceptional quality and rigorous safety measures, and you’ve got a win on your hands.

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Taking Care Of Your Skin In The Winter

woman with lotion

Winter weather looks and feels quite different across the U.S. For some, winter means below the freezing point with plenty of snow, but for another lucky bunch, sunny skies and warmer temps are the norm. In the same way that switching out your summer wardrobe for fall sweaters is a yearly ritual, your skin can majorly benefit from a similar update when it comes to the skincare products you use each season. Whether you’re in the harsh temps of NYC, or basking in the LA sunshine this winter, your unique skin deserves the best protection it can get!

What does winter skin look like?

Generally speaking, as winter temps drop, so do humidity levels, meaning air becomes drier and naturally, so does our skin. How does this manifest in my skin you might be wondering? Oftentimes, these changes look like flakiness or dullness and skin can feel itchy or chapped. Plus, existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis can be exacerbated. In harsh winter regions, like the Midwest or the Northeast, some people may also experience redness caused by the effects of extreme winter conditions.

All of that dry air means that skin is more prone to losing water in a process called Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL, so skin may need extra assistance in sealing in water. Our skin relies on a healthy, functioning skin barrier to retain water with ample lipids, so when this natural barrier is out of whack, so goes hydrated skin with it.

What is the skin barrier & what does hydration have to do with it?

The skin barrier is our last natural defense between us and the outside world. It’s a fancy way of saying the outermost layer of our skin, and its function and purpose is vital to maintaining healthy hydration and overall skin health. The skin barrier keeps vital water in and potential pathogens and free radicals out. In order to lock in hydration, the stratum corneum, the skin’s outermost layer, relies on a healthy layer of protective lipids (oil) to coat each skin cell, effectively keeping water in and intruders (like drying winter air for example) out. The bottom line is that hydrated skin and a healthy skin barrier go hand in hand.

illustration of skin

How to pick the right winter moisturizer for you

Knowing your skin type is a helpful place to start when considering what your independent needs may be. Dry, oily, or balanced? Read on.

Normal or balanced skin

This skin type falls in the middle of the skin spectrum; it doesn’t produce excess oil, but it’s not overly dry either. While balanced, this skin type is still vulnerable to winter extremities and can benefit from a protective barrier plus other nutritive ingredients to restore skin. Those with normal skin types can benefit from Life’s Abundance Facial Serum, formulated with essential fatty acid-rich oils and antioxidants to protect skin from harsh, external environmental factors like dry air or cold wind. If skin needs an added boost of moisture throughout the winter months, add a few drops to your facial moisturizer before bed to help prevent TEWL.

Oily skin

This skin type naturally produces excess sebum as compared to normal skin types, so water can be key when looking for a moisturizer. Opt for the Life's Abundance Facial Moisturizer. Containing 7 of the 8 essential amino acids that help skin retain water, dry winter air will meet its match. This lightweight formula easily absorbs into skin and won’t leave behind oily residue.

Dry skin

Dry skin types produce less sebum than normal skin types, meaning they lack lipids. Add dry winter air to the mix, and dry skin types will also lack water, leading to a state of dehydration.  The best way to combat this is to consider a double-dose of moisture using both water and oil. Start with the Facial Moisturizer and add in 2-3 drops of the essential fatty acid-rich Facial Serum. Blend in the palm of your hands to create a creamy emulsion and massage into skin for an ultra-hydrating, protective barrier.

lotion on hand

Plant actives at work

Dive into how each moisturizer works to hydrate and nourish your skin back to health.

  • The Facial Serum is packed with essential fatty acid-rich ingredients to protect, moisturize and restore.
    • Pomegranate oil: High in punic acid (omega-5) to help prevent moisture loss.
    • Chia oil: Contains the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), that’s been shown to help restore the skin's moisture barrier, especially in dry skin types!
    • Prickly pear seed oil: Exceptionally high in the essential fatty acid linoleic acid (omega-6) which plays a key role in maintaining a healthy skin barrier function.
  • The Facial Moisturizer offers skin a hydrating, protective base.
    • Aloe leaf juice: Contains 98% water and helps skin to become more hydrated and improves elasticity.
    • Hemp seed oil: One of the many amino acid-rich ingredients in this moisturizer that helps bind water to the skin.

Beyond skincare

In addition to your winter skincare arsenal to tackle dry, winter skin, here are a few lifestyle tips to help keep skin hydrated and happy this winter:

  • Use a humidifier.
  • Exfoliate regularly.
  • Consume your water (don’t just drink it!) - think soups & bone broths.
  • Avoid hot showers & baths as this can be damaging to the skin barrier.
  • Drink extra H2O! Tip: If you want an extra nutritional boost, add Life’s Abundance Minerals and Antioxidants drink mix.

 



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Which Dog Breed Is Your Perfect Valentine?

woman with great dane

Many would agree that dogs make our lives whole. The love, loyalty, sweet cuddles, and wet kisses are what make us dog people. And just like us, they have their own personalities too! There are the ones that live off of adventure and others that are perfectly content as lap dogs. Here are just a few breeds that have personalities very similar to yourself!

Extroverts

Beagle: Extroverts! What better dog breed to match your outgoing and friendly personalities than a beagle? Beagles are usually an all-around great dog that can adapt to many lifestyles. However, they are extremely intelligent and playful which makes them a great fit for extroverted owners. So, feel free to invite company as beagles will meet them with a happy wagging tail.

Introverts

Shiba Inu: Shiba Inus have a unique personality. They were originally bred as hunting dogs and tend to be a bit possessive. But, just as any breed, they can be trained in a way to be loving family dogs. The reason they make great dogs for introverts is because they are independent and almost “cat-like.” So they are a great match for those who are more to themselves.

Social

Golden Retriever: Goldens fit into so many different categories but they are most definitely a social pup. They are known for being family-friendly and generally getting along with many people. They’re the perfect fit for the social butterfly since they naturally fall in love with just about any visitor that will give them a belly rub and a tasty treat.

Homebody

Maltese: Quite the cute little one in the toy dog group, maltese breeds are fond of cuddling. They still love to play and be active but they don’t require as much activity as other breeds. They make great companions for people who prefer to stay home as they are gentle, loving and are very content being curled up on your lap.

Peaceful

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: You already know that getting a dog means that there is barking involved. However, there are certain breeds that are less likely to bark, including the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. If you’re the type of person who enjoys living more peacefully without much noise, this breed is usually more quiet than others. Even excessive yelling doesn’t go over well with these spaniels.

Intellectual

Doberman Pinscher: Looking for a pup that matches your need for knowledge? Dobermans are known for their obedience and intelligence, in fact they are one of the smartest breeds in the world. They respond very well to positive reinforcement so you can feel comfortable training them to sit, stay, or fetch all day long.

Adventurer

Border Collie: Running in the park or hiking up trails, Border Collies are lovers of adventure. They are naturally athletic and are part of the hunting and herding dog groups, meaning that you can bet they are always looking to be where the action is. These dogs will no doubt be up to partnering up with you as you embark on all your outside adventures.

woman playing with border collie

Cuddler

Great Dane: Okay, we know. This sounds absolutely off track. However, despite the Great Dane’s...greatness, they’re actually avid cuddlers. Their size certainly does not stop them from taking a seat on your lap. So, if you’re the type of person who enjoys a rainy day spent snuggled under the covers, then a Great Dane might be the one for you. Just make sure you can take the weight of at least 100 pounds.

Athletes

Parson (Jack) Russell Terrier: Say hello to high energy! If you love going out for a run and spending all your energy, Jack Russels would enjoy being by your side. They are a smaller dog breed that needs to be exercised more than your average pup, they don’t do well just chilling out at home. Also avid hunters, don’t be surprised if they start sprinting after a small animal.

Creative

Poodle: Just take a look at how pet parents get their poodles groomed and you’ll realize they’re a walking canvas on their own - ideal for the creative type. Besides that, poodles are a smart breed that love to be stimulated in different ways. This includes both physical and mental training that ranges from the traditional fetch to becoming a watchdog.

Don’t get us wrong. Just because you might be a huge extrovert, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t fit well with a Shiba Inu or Great Dane. The amazing thing about dogs is that they will always adore their owner no matter what their personality is. Plus, don’t they always say opposites attract anyways?

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Don't Disconnect, Decrease

man watching television

With the New Year here, many of us are thinking of some good habits we want to implement into our lives. One of the biggest things people think of is to completely disconnect from technology. This could mean staying off and away from their smartphones, televisions, and computers. While it sounds good on paper, it may not be the smartest to quit cold turkey. This can be quite unrealistic and hard to stick to, so a better option would be to decrease, not disconnect.

We get it, technology can be pretty overwhelming sometimes. You probably catch yourself scrolling through social media or stuck in front of a TV for hours at a time. Before you know it, the day just passes by. One of the other things about technology, primarily social media, is that we constantly compare our lives to the people we see online. This causes an unhealthy relationship with yourself as you start to become unhappy with your own reality. There are other harmful effects of too much screen time including:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • A disrupted circadian rhythm
  • Neck and back pain

So, it sounds pretty reasonable when you decide that you want to go on a full technology detox. You may think it’ll relieve you of any related stress and allow you to fully relax without the worries of needing to respond to someone. This may have worked well in the past, but it doesn’t necessarily do as much good as you think.

smartphone and laptop

Technology surrounds us in our everyday lives. Whether you work on a computer, or make calls and texts on your phone, our society is engulfed in it. Technology has only grown over the years, which has made it even harder to disconnect from it. Some of us might even flippantly say we are addicted to it. In saying this, it’s important that we don’t completely rid ourselves of it. Not only would it not last long, but it also doesn’t work so well when you are trying to go about your normal day. Texts, calls, and work emails are just a few things that make it difficult to fully disengage.

Instead of completely disconnecting from technology, set a goal to decrease and limit your time on it and around it. This is a much easier habit to implement into your life since you won’t be quitting it so abruptly. For example, if your screen time on your smartphone tends to be around five hours a day, set a goal of  two hours, or any amount you feel is achievable. Find yourself sitting in front of the television binge watching your favorite show? Decrease down to an episode or two.

If you find it hard to stick to it, you can write it down where you’ll always see it so you’re constantly reminded of it. You can even tell a friend to help hold you accountable. Set yourself up for success and schedule this time away from technology to do other activities. You can go for a walk, talk to a loved one, or spend time doing a hobby. Little by little, you will start to feel the results of decreasing your tech time, both mentally and physically. You can do this!

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