Lifes Abundance posts created by lifes abundance

What Does Your Dog’s Sleep Position Mean?


dog sleeping on bed

How do you sleep? On your back, on your side, or on your stomach? Maybe you curl up into a ball or maybe you spread yourself out and take up the whole bed. Just like you prefer a certain position while you sleep, so do our four-legged friends. While how we sleep may not reveal a whole ton about our personality or mood, it does say quite a bit for our dogs. Read on to see what your dog’s sleep position means.

Side Sleeping


dog sleeping on side

Just like humans, this is the most common sleeping position for dogs. Sleeping on their side with their paws loose usually means they feel comfortable and safe. You also might notice that your pup moves a lot and twitches in this position. This is because they’re more likely to fall into a deep sleep and dream when they’re lying on their side. These dogs tend to be the loyal and trusting type.

Lion’s Pose


dog in lions pose

If you’ve ever seen a lion sleeping, you’ll notice they rest their head on their front paws. Dogs can sleep in this same position, but it usually means they’re more in a resting mood rather than aiming for a deep sleep. This puts them in the perfect position so when you have a few minutes to play, they’re ready to spring up quickly! They are usually more devoted and protective and you might find them dozing this way next to your feet.

Sprawled Out


dog sprawled out

This position looks a bit like Superman with your dog’s front legs and hind legs stretched both ways. This is common with puppies or energetic dogs that love to play but also get tired and want to take a quick snooze. Similar to the lion’s pose, when your dog is sprawled out on their tummy, they want to be ready at a moment’s notice to play tug-of-war or fetch with you. It’s also a great position to cool down on tiled floors. 

Curled Up


dog curled up in a ball

Some dogs will curl into a “fetal” position and tuck in all of their limbs. This could mean that your furry friend is trying to protect themselves by hiding all of their vital organs. One study showed that this position is common among dogs in a shelter, an unfamiliar place where they may prefer to go unnoticed by other dogs. It may also be the preferred posture in pups who are anxious such as strays or those getting used to their environment. Dogs who sleep like this may  feel scared, but also have a caring personality. However, this position could also just mean they’re cold and trying to preserve their body heat.

Belly Up


dog laying on back

This is the most vulnerable sleeping position for dogs as it reveals all of their vital organs. This means that they are aware of what’s around them and completely comfortable at home with you. These sleepers tend to be more loving and trusting of you. This is also another position that allows dogs to cool off. You might even say that these pups are feeling totally carefree! 

Each of these positions can give you a clue to your dog’s personality and how they’re feeling. Keep an eye on their patterns as this can reveal a lot about their health. For example, it’s normal for dogs to sleep 12-14 hours a day but if you notice they are sleeping more or less than they usually do or sleeping in an abnormal position, it’s always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian.


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The Secret Of The Dog Bow

Dog Chewing Paws: What Does It Mean?

Five Tips To Boost Your Metabolism


woman eating an apple

Ask anyone who has a history of yo-yo dieting if they’d rather have a faster metabolism that allowed them to eat whatever they wanted for the rest of their lives or to win $100,000 and I bet they’d have a hard time deciding. Yes, having a fast metabolism does seem like winning the lottery, yet there’s no golden ticket to win one.

The good news is that even if you weren’t born with one, there are things you can do to make the one you have work more efficiently - including the tips we’re sharing below.

First, a quick lesson on what your metabolism really is, as most people think it’s like a muscle you can build, but it’s not. Your metabolism is actually made up of various chemical processes in your body that create fuel from the food you eat. Everyone has a “basal” metabolic rate, which measures how many calories you burn just while sitting on the couch during a Netflix binge. Those calories are burned by keeping your organs functioning, your digestive system running, and keeping the body’s muscle and fat alive.

There are a few things that predict your “couch sitting” metabolic rate, including your age, hormones, height, weight, and the amount of muscle you have, and yet, no matter what it will slow as you age due to less activity and muscle loss - known as sarcopenia.

What we want to do is take that basal metabolic rate and raise it as often as we can, so that even while you’re watching Ted Lasso you’ll burn more calories- these tips will help!

Build Muscle

One of the best ways to boost your resting metabolic rate is to increase the amount of muscle you have, because muscle uses a ton more energy than fat, so no matter how much you weigh, the more you have the more calories you’ll burn.

Each pound of muscle uses approximately 6 calories a day to sustain itself, while a pound of fat only uses 2 - so although that might be a small amount, it can mean the difference between gaining or losing a few pounds a year.

One study showed that doing strength exercises for 11 minutes a day, three times per week, helped burn an additional 125 calories per day and increased the participants resting metabolic rate by 7.4% after just six months.

Adding strength training to your weekly workouts can not only help you retain muscle as you age, but also build it, and avoid that drop in metabolic rate. You can even pick up those weights or resistance bands during commercials to reach that 11 minute goal three times a week!

Amp Up Your Workout

Cardio may not help you build muscle, but it can help boost your metabolism, especially if you make it a high intensity session. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) uses quick and intense bursts of activity to deliver a longer rise in resting metabolic rate than a moderate or low intensity workout can.

Sound intense? Don’t let the “bursts of activity” scare you. It can be as intense as you want it to be, as long as the alternating intervals help your heart rate reach at least 80% of its maximum capacity, which will be different for everyone. For example, you can take a bike ride and speed up for 30 seconds to a rate that increases your heart rate, then the next 30 seconds take it easy. It’s helpful to use a Fitbit or Apple watch to help you know the rate of intensity you’re working at.

So lace up your running sneakers, do soccer drills with your kids, or find a quick HIIT workout on Youtube to keep you challenged.


woman lifting weights at gym

Fuel Up With Water

Did you know that even if you’re mildly dehydrated it can cause your metabolism to slow down?

Yes, drinking water does more than keep your skin glowing and organs running - it can help you burn more calories, as your body needs water to burn them. That’s not to say you can hydrate with any old liquid - drinking a Gatorade full of sugar counteracts not only the calories burned during your workout, but those burned in general.

A study showed that people who drank water instead of calorie-laden beverages were more successful at keeping off weight they had lost because it reduced their overall calorie intake and temporarily sped up their metabolism. Drinking 17 oz of water can increase your resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour and it may be even greater if the water is cold, as it takes even more energy to heat it to your body’s temperature.

Not crazy about the tasteless, clear stuff? Add our Minerals and Antioxidants to not only keep you hydrated but also keep you from ingesting a bunch of sugar and red dye you don’t need.

Snack Smart

Eating smaller meals, more often, can help keep your metabolism working overtime. When you eat a large meal and then wait hours in between your next, your metabolism slows down, but if you eat a meal or snack every three to four hours, you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.

Power Up With Protein

Eating a slice of pizza usually sounds more appealing than a chicken breast, but the latter helps your body burn more calories by digesting protein instead of fat or carbohydrates. Good sources of protein include lean meat, fish, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products, and eating more of them can increase your metabolism due to the thermic effect of food (TEF),  caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the food you eat.

Eating protein causes the largest rise in TEF, because it  increases your metabolism by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats, and also reduces the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat.

One of our favorite ways to get in extra protein that tastes great is by sneaking our Plant Protein into our favorite recipes. You can check them out here.

If you don’t already consider yourself a healthy eater and exercise lover, start out slow. Add those 11 minutes of strength training, three times a week, to your TV watching schedule, drink a few more ounces of water during the day and speed walk through the mall intermittently. If all else fails, maybe start off by adding some chicken to your pizza.


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Five Healthy Habits That Can Extend Your Life

4 Reasons To Pay Attention To Your Gut Health

Can You Claim Pets On A Tax Return?


woman cuddling with dog

Pets contribute to our lives in so many ways, but have you ever thought about how they contribute financially? You may be thinking, “Yes, I spend on their kibble and treats and plush toys” but that’s not quite what we’re referring to. There might be a way you can claim your dog or cat on your tax return. Pets are not considered dependents since they don’t have a social security number, but there are a variety of other ways that animals can show up in a tax filing. Talk to your accountant about these possibilities to find out if you qualify:

Fostering & Volunteering

If you’re helping out an animal shelter or rescue by offering to foster a pet, some of those expenses can be considered a charitable deduction on your taxes. This includes anything you pay for out of pocket from their food to medical expenses to other care supplies, and possibly even the miles you drive to their vet appointments.

As a volunteer, you can also list your travel expenses for the volunteer work. However, this has to be travel specifically related to the nonprofit’s mission, not the commute there (remember to keep a mileage log). Of course, financial donations to qualified nonprofits, like The Dr. Jane Foundation, can qualify too.

Service Animals

Is your pet a service animal? If you have physical disabilities, vision or hearing impairments, or a mental health condition such as PTSD, talk to your accountant about the possibility of writing off some expenses. This could be veterinary care including surgery, food necessities, pet supplies, training, grooming, boarding, and even the cost to acquire the pet itself. However, your companion must have formal training to be a service animal and a letter from your doctor in order to qualify.


cat getting head scratched

Moving & Changing Jobs

If you’ve recently relocated for a job and qualify for a moving expense deduction, your dog or cat could be included in this. The IRS considers your pet a household possession, so if you’re able to deduct expenses like transportation for your family, lodging while moving, or packing and shipping any goods, your pet may be part of that too. There are a few requirements to meet such as the distance and time of the big move.

Pet Providing Service for Business

Does your pet have a job of their own? Maybe they work alongside you on your farm to help guard a herd of goats. Maybe they’re a star in a movie or advertisement or work as a performance animal. Do they have their own successful social media account or breed adorable puppies that you sell? All of these examples could qualify for deductions. It may be the food used while breeding, travel cost to get them to the movie set or anything else that involves caring for your animal. If you start a hobby with pets that turns into a business, remember to officially establish this new venture in order to deduct related expenses.

Now that you know of the many ways you may be able to claim your pet, talk to your accountant for guidance. There are requirements they can help you untangle, but the universal rule is to keep good records. Save those receipts! And, thank your sweet, furry friend for any savings!


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Appreciating The Joys Our Pets Bring

Pets Make Life Healthier For Their Pet Parents

Staying Healthy Through the Season


woman meditating

As fans of holiday celebrations and baked goods ourselves, we at Life’s Abundance know it’s difficult to keep healthy around the holiday season. The abundance of treats and busy schedules are the two main reasons we let go of our wellness efforts during the holidays, so here are some tips to enjoy the season, stay stress-free, fit in fitness, and not be caught lying on your bed to zip up your jeans come January.

Schedule Your Workouts

Plan your sweat sessions. Actually put them in your calendar and treat them like an important meeting you can’t miss - that way you’re more likely to stick with them. When squeezing in a condensed workout, choose exercises that move as many parts of the body as possible.

Don’t overlook small opportunities to get your heart rate up. Keep small weights next to your pantry and grab them while water is boiling or broccoli is steaming. Instead of staring at the stove, you can jam out a few squats or bicep curls. That way if you don’t have time to do a full workout, you can still get in about 15 minutes of strength training while cooking. When spending time with family and friends during the holidays, go for a walk between dinner and dessert.

Engage VS Indulge

Yes, there is a huge focus on food during the holidays but this year, how about focusing on the people you’re surrounded by? Forget counting calories as you repeatedly visit the dessert bar, instead sit down and catch up with that aunt you haven’t seen all year, or say hi to the intern who looks lost at the company party.

According to The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, “Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, and spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.” So, instead of filling your belly with comfort foods, comfort your soul with friends and family members.

“Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”

This time of year, we can get trapped into two different modes: “Oh it’s the holidays, I deserve to eat it” or “I’ll start eating healthy again on January 1st.” The problem with both of these mindsets is they trigger the “feast or famine response.” If you think you’re never going to eat another cookie once January comes, then you’ll stuff as many cookies in your mouth between Thanksgiving and New Years as possible! So instead of limiting our indulgent eating to two or three-holiday celebrations, many of us overeat for six weeks straight and tell ourselves we’ll figure it out in January. Instead focus on eating mindfully DURING this time so you don’t wind up with 10 pounds to lose. (2 or 3, no worries!)

That being said, don’t go to a holiday gathering hungry. Thinking you can starve all day and “save” the calories for later is a recipe for disaster. Your metabolism will slow down and you’ll arrive at the party ravenous. A light breakfast and a big bowl of soup for lunch will keep you satisfied, or a health bar made with our Vanilla Plant Protein will do the trick. Then pick a few of your favorite treats and eat them in moderation. That doesn’t mean to pick a 500 calorie peppermint latte or holiday cookies and have one every day, but to mentally visualize what it is you want to splurge on and imagine being satisfied with just a few bites, or one drink.

In other words, don’t let a few holiday treats turn into feeling stuffed and guilty until the ball drops in Times Square. When there is no judgment around what you’re eating, you’ll eat less, won’t feel the need to overindulge, and like the song’s title suggests - you’ll catch yourself before it’s too late.

Listen To Your Gut, Literally

Along with all the holiday indulging, usually comes a little pushback from your digestive system. Make sure you keep your gut healthy and in proper working order with some help from a probiotic supplement. There are enough variations in strains to make your head spin, but in this case, make sure you’re taking one that is specifically formulated for gut health, like the one we’ve developed, with an award-winning probiotics manufacturer in the USA. It specifically includes multiple strains focused on keeping your digestion on point.


couple cooking holiday dinner

Batch Cook Quick Healthy Meals

Don’t wait until you’re ravenous after a long day at the office, followed by last minute shopping, to figure out what you’re going to have for dinner. Plan ahead and batch a few meals with simple and healthy ingredients- then freeze them, so they’re ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice.

Here are a few tips when figuring out what to cook:

  • Plan ahead and choose a few meals the whole family will eat
  • Get organized by making a shopping list and printing out or bookmarking recipes
  • Choose a few recipes that use the oven, and others on the stove or in a slow cooker so you can cook them at once without having to wait until one pan is clean to start another recipe.
  • Choose recipes that have five or less healthy ingredients
  • Cut staples such as onions, carrots, celery, and freeze ahead of time so they are ready to add to recipes anytime
  • Partner with 3 friends and each make 4 servings of two meals, and then you each wind up with 8 different meals
  • Have glass containers on hand to store food- they aren’t the most convenient, but the healthiest. You can also store soups and grain meals in canning jar

Don’t Sweat The Holiday Stuff

It’s inevitable that you’ll have more social engagements and things to check off of your to-do list this month, so make sure you’re taking the time to chill amidst the holiday whirlwind.

Stress takes its toll right away and can diminish the healthy return of that kale salad and spin class if we’re otherwise running on empty. Give yourself extra time to finish your holiday shopping, or bake those cookies for the class party; then make sure to drop in on family gatherings with a positive attitude no matter what type of angst certain people have brought on in the past. When we leave everything for the last minute or enter a situation wearing emotional armor, the residual stress can raise our cortisol levels and cause more weight gain than a vat full of chocolate truffles.

B R E A T H E. This is one present that won’t be wrapped up by someone else and put into the yankee swap, you have to gift this one to yourself. Reverse all that stress by taking time to stop and…do nothing. The process of getting still and breathing - anytime, anywhere, is the best gift you can give yourself. All it takes is a few minutes away from your computer, your kids, or your co-workers. Find a place to sit comfortably and just breathe.


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Make Your Holidays Sustainable With Eco-Friendly Decor

Getting Ready For Company?

Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season


dog getting treat on holiday

Between the seasonal errands and frequent visitors, we furry family members know it can be hard to keep up with us too. We promise that we try to be on our very best behavior (with snacks as a reward, of course) but we do need a little extra consideration around our home. Try as we might, around the holidays, there may be more risks than you think.

Most of us love visitors. I mean, five times the belly rubs, two times the treats, and lots of cuddles? I’m here for it. I love to greet everyone, but my younger fur-sister gets easily overwhelmed. She’s at knee-level, and that’s a lot of traffic coming in the door with feet at the bottom and booming voices at the top. It can also be scary when the small kids come to tug on our ears or tails, or worse, wrestle us into a neck-squeezing hug. I’ll play with the kiddos for a bit, but then really appreciate a break. My sis would rather keep clear of them altogether until she feels like being brave. So, to keep everyone happy and safe, please remind the guests that we can be sensitive! Sometimes putting me in my safe zone is more comfortable. This could be my crate or my bed in your room, but make sure to leave treats, toys, or even better, something that smells like you! It’ll keep me calm.

Speaking of holiday joy, your beautifully decorated tree can be a danger to us. For my feline besties, it’s a tower waiting to be scaled, and for us canines, it can get in the way of our zoomies! One of the best things you can do is put it out of our reach. Maybe put a fun decorated fence around it. Also, it’s no fun when my tail hits the ornaments, sending them shattering to the ground. What can I say? I’m a happy guy and can’t help that my tail acts like an excitement meter. We dogs took a vote and we think the best way to get around this is by avoiding glass ornaments.


cat on woman near tree

Another risky decoration? Those festive houseplants! I like to think of myself as the most well-behaved, good boy since I’m not a chewer or a digger. However, some (ahem, the new puppy in the house) love to take a little bite or two of your favorite houseplants. Plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly can be toxic if they’re ingested. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and breathing problems are all side effects we could experience, possibly sending us to the vet. I know they’re beautiful, but faux plants look just as festive and are a safer option for all of us!

Now, let’s skip to the oh-so fantastic smelling family dinner. Of course, it can be a joy when my puppy eyes fool all the visitors and I get a little piece of their meal, but some holiday foods can wreak havoc on my digestive system. Lots of festive treats include chocolate - a major no-no for us canines. Oh, and that turkey! Not only can it cause pancreatitis if I eat it, but the bones can do even more damage if they get lodged in our intestines. If you really want to satisfy my holiday cravings, toss me a few delicious treats that are full of healthy, high-quality ingredients.

We know we have to share your attention with visitors during these times, and we want to be part of the holiday joy too!  So, with these few precautions we’ll enjoy all the festivities together.


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A Holiday Guide To Glowing Skin


woman looking in mirror at face

For some, the holiday season is met with pure joy and anticipation. For others, the gifts to buy, the cooking and baking, the presents to wrap, and the cards to write can all feel a little overwhelming. If you find yourself in the second category, we propose a radical idea - put yourself at the top of your holiday to-do list and prioritize your sleep, feed your body warm nourishing meals, and don’t cross off self care rituals.

Easier said than done? Read on for quick and effective everyday tips to keep your skin glowing from the inside out this season.

Stay hydrated

Of course, you’ve heard the old “drink 8 glasses of water a day,” but do you know why it helps keep your skin sparkling? Dehydration literally sucks the life out of your skin and leads to wrinkles and premature aging and breakouts. When your skin is hydrated it not only looks healthier, it is healthier, as each cell gets plumped up with what they crave to function- water.

Staying hydrated helps improve skin elasticity, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging, and flush out toxins more effectively.

But watch what you drink

Yes, running from store to store holiday shopping may take some extra fuel in peppermint latte form, and craft cocktails are especially enticing while listening to Nat King Cole, but caffeine and alcohol can wreak havoc on your skin - at a time when you want to look your best.

Alcohol and caffeine not only cause inflammation that can lead to redness, but they also dilate the pores of the skin and cause acne, which can cause an unflattering Rudolf-like appearance if it pops up in the wrong place.

Drinking alcohol or caffeine can deprive you of sleep when your body actually regenerates the skin and also dehydrate your skin, which you learned above can leave you with many unwanted side effects- both leaving your skin looking dull.

If you must, keep the caffeine to one cup in the morning, and drink a large glass of water to counter it, and choose a nice glass of red wine, which tends to be the least harmful as it contains resveratrol, which acts as an antioxidant for the skin and helps kick free radicals to the curb.

And when you want to drink something to improve not only your skin but also your overall health, try Life’s Abundance Minerals and Antioxidants or Greens Blend. They’re a great way to flavor your water and get electrolytes and veggies in without any sugar, alcohol, or caffeine. Instead of crashing 30 minutes later, like most “health” drinks, these will give you sustained energy and get your skin glowing.

Eat nourishing foods AND indulge in holiday favorites

Because our skin is our largest organ, its beauty on the surface is a reflection of what we’re feeding it on the inside. Ever notice after a weekend of overdoing it with alcohol and sugar, your face breaks out? Studies have shown that those inflammatory foods, along with caffeine, can cause internal imbalances, which are mirrored on our skin.

To keep your skin spot-free during the holidays, you’ll want to eat 5-6 small meals and snacks throughout the day, preferably cooked at home and made from whole foods, nothing processed.  Meals should be high in fiber and, not to be a buzzkill, free of potentially inflammatory foods including dairy, sugar, alcohol, gluten, most red meat, caffeine, processed foods, fried foods, artificial colors, and sweeteners.

A whole-food, plant-based diet is where it's at, so focus on fruits and veggies that contain powerful antioxidants to protect the skin from free radicals, foods loaded with vitamin C and E to help support healthy skin growth and help blemishes heal properly, and healthy fats that provide moisture to your skin and improve elasticity. You can easily get those healthy fats from Omega 3 supplements like our Life’s Abundance Fish Oil, which is the highest quality on the market.

Not sure what else to eat? Start with these top five foods to fuel up on: avocados, raw nuts, leafy greens, artichokes, and blueberries. Plus, inspiring resources are endless; check out #eatclean on Instagram and you’ll find thousands of meals that will actually get you excited about quinoa- even if you can’t pronounce it.


woman drinking tea

Getting your “beauty sleep” is no joke

Eight seems to be a magic number when it comes to your skin - 8 glasses of water and 8 hours of sleep to keep your skin’s appearance and structure from premature aging. One study showed that chronic poor sleep quality is associated with increased signs of inherent aging, diminished skin barrier function, and lower satisfaction with appearance. This is due to the skin’s need to repair itself while we snooze, including collagen regeneration and increased blood flow for healing - so the less we sleep, the less time there is for your skin’s cells to renew.

If cell renewal doesn’t excite you, how about this study that found people who had five hours sleep versus eight hours sleep appeared to have more swollen eyes and dark circles, more wrinkles, and appear sadder when they were sleep-deprived. Would that make you reconsider “just one more” show in your Netflix binge at 1 am?

Holiday makeup

This year’s holiday season will most likely be looking a little different than last with more get togethers and festive parties with friends and family. You may have shifted into a “new normal” of less daily makeup wearing and comfier athleisure too. The holidays call for dressing up and feeling your best! Wear that bold red lip, go for the shimmery eye palette. Just please promise yourself that you won’t skip out on your makeup removal ritual once the party is over. Start a go-to practice for removing makeup by double cleansing. For the first step, a creamy facial cleanser will help emulsify makeup and oil, making it easier to remove. Next, opt for a sudsing cleanser that will remove any last traces of makeup and excess buildup. 

Moisturize. Hydrate. Repeat.

Depending on where you live, winter can be a season of alternating temperature extremes; from the cold of the outdoors to the warmth of dry heat in your home or car, and it can all greatly affect your skin’s moisture levels. Keep skin hydrated and vibrant with plenty of added hydration from a non-alcohol based toner and a nutrient-rich facial oil at least twice daily. If your skin is feeling extra dry, itchy or tight, combine 2-3 drops of facial serum with a small amount of moisturizing cream and blend before applying to your skin. 
 
Consider additional factors that could lead to dehydrated skin like excess coffee and alcohol (‘tis the season of holiday cocktails). Do you skin an extra favor and assist the topical products addressing the dehydration with warming soups and brewed teas to up your water intake.

Multitasking skin treatments

With plenty on your holiday to-do list, your skincare ritual may not feel like it has a place in the top priorities section. But what if we told you a targeted treatment mask will multitask for you as you multitask your way through that list? This Hibiscus Mask helps treat skin in several ways that are key for glowing skin in the winter; it’s antibacterial, moisturizing, brightening and gently exfoliating.

The mask’s natural Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and enzymatic exfoliants from the sugar extract, hibiscus, and pumpkin all work together to remove dead skin cells and increase circulation, resulting in fresh, glowing skin. Aim to apply a thin layer of your mask twice weekly to start and don’t forget to finish off your masking ritual with a good facial oil or moisturizer.

If beauty truly comes from within, then it’s no surprise that we need to be mindful of not only what we put on our skin, but also what we take into our bodies. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of putting all of the above tips into practice, no sweat - even adopting one or two of these changes will help to keep your skin glowing brighter than Times Square on NYE during the holiday season, and beyond the ball drop.


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Taking Care Of Your Skin In The Winter

What You Need To Know About Double Cleansing

How Gut Health Affects Overall Pet Health


cat and food bowl

If someone asked you “how’s your microbiome doing?” a few years ago, you’d probably feel moderately offended and tell them to mind their own business. Generally, talking about your gut health was not considered a part of polite conversation with anyone except your gastroenterologist. How times have changed! You can’t walk three feet in the grocery store without seeing something touting prebiotics. What gives? It all comes down to this key question:

Bacteria: friend or foe?

Back in the Middle Ages, medicine took an exponential leap forward with the concept of germ theory: the idea that many diseases are caused not by ‘ill humors’ or the lack of a good bloodletting, but by tiny organisms too small to see with the naked eye. In 1928, Alexander Fleming pushed us into a new stratosphere with the discovery that penicillin, an innocuous looking mold, was capable of stopping bacteria in their tracks.

For the next century or so, we’ve been busy at work figuring out how to kill bacteria, be it with antibiotics we swallow, disinfectants in our soap and in cleaning sprays, and in our overall belief that the more sterile something was, the better it had to be for our health. Bacteria = bad!

On the other hand, we’ve also been reaping the benefits of bacteria and other microorganisms for years. Whether it’s yeast turning grains into beer or bacteria fermenting our favorite sauerkrauts and yogurts, our understanding of the role of microorganisms in our lives continues to evolve as we realize just how much these little organisms can accomplish. Bacteria = good!

We’ve also known our guts are teeming with bacteria. We know there are ‘bad’ bacteria, the ones that move in after a course of antibiotics or cause a bad case of food poisoning, and we’ve also known having a healthy population of “good” bacteria goes a long way in keeping the baddies from setting up shop. Without really knowing exactly what these bacteria do, most of us have gone about our lives thinking of the good bacteria as innocuous hitchhikers in a symbiotic relationship: they don’t do much, really, but they don’t hurt either.

We were wrong. Enter the world of Gut Microbiomes.


dog and owner playing with ball

What the heck is a microbiome?

The intestines host a world all their own. Teeming with bacteria and viruses, the microbiome feeds off the environment we’ve created for it while doing a whole heck of a lot in return, such as:

  • Producing fatty acids that keep our gut lining healthy
  • Helping to digest carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • Producing critical chemicals like serotonin
  • Regulating inflammation of the GI tract
  • Promoting healthy weight and metabolism

Not only do these bacteria assist in digestion and promote the health of the gut itself, many of these actions impact the entire body. Heard of the gut-brain axis? It’s true! The health of the gut can directly impact cognitive function and mental health. Anyone who’s felt ‘sick to their stomach’ under times of extreme duress may find this not so surprising. 

Each month, a new study into the effect of the microbiome tells us something new: the microbiome affects neurotransmitters, metabolism, mental health, inflammation, and even the aging process. If your microbiome isn’t healthy, in short, neither are you.

If it sounds complex, that’s because it really is. Your overall health can impact your gut health. Conversely, your gut health creates ripple effects throughout the entire body. And every one of these same principles applies to our pets.

The importance of food

We all know that food is important for health. What we didn’t know was just how important. Food provides essential macro- and micro-nutrients, the building blocks of our bodies. It is a fuel for our bodies. But just as importantly, it fuels the microbiome.

Nutrition choices directly affect the health of our microbiome, a fact that’s even easier to observe in pets- whose diets often vary much less than the average person. The biomes of a dog eating a high-protein diet, for example, is consistently different from that of a dog on a higher-carbohydrate diet. What does this mean? We’re learning more every day. 

In addition to the choice of pet food, pet owners can impact gut health by adding probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are the bacteria itself: eating yogurt for a mouthful of Lactobacillus, for example, would be ingesting probiotics. Prebiotics, in contrast, are components that serve as food for the microbiome: health food for your bacteria buddies. One thing we do know: the dog and cat microbiomes are unique to them. In short? Don’t grab people supplements and expect them to help. Stick to products meant for pets.

We don’t know everything there is to learn about the microbiome, but one fact is crystal clear: take care of your microbiome and it will take care of you. And when it comes to taking care of the gut, there’s nothing more important than the food you choose to feed it. Luckily for you, when it comes to your pet, we’ve believed this all along.


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Feed Your Skin From The Inside Out


woman looking at clean face in mirror

You are what you eat. Remember that expression? While the mantra “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” is true when it comes to fueling your body with the earth’s best, it’s also totally okay to have a delicious chocolate chip cookie. We’re all human. Every once in a while we go for the dessert, or the snack food, and that doesn’t make us bad. But, when your diet revolves around nutrient-dense greens and veggies; whole foods that feed and power each and every one of your cells, you tend to feel better overall. Your sleep can improve, your mood is brighter and you get that renewed sense of energy to tackle projects. Even better? Your skin glows too.  

We’ve all had those bouts of breakouts, itchy, dry patches, dullness, bumps or overall sensitized skin. In the end, it’s more than what you apply to your skin; it’s also about what you feed your skin.

A holistic approach to skin wellness

Feed your skin from the inside out. This concept embodies a holistic approach to skincare; it’s a whole body approach, one that takes into account how we nourish our body with food, our daily practices and habits, as well as what we apply topically to our skin (and eventually what gets absorbed into the body through our skin). 

Let’s start on the inside

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Rather than viewing drinking water as something you have to do, start viewing it as something you get to do. Each morning when you roll your sleepy self out of bed, pour a tall glass of water and slowly sip away. This routine ensures that you are starting the day off with room temp fluids, and helps set the intention to continue drinking throughout the day. It’s a simple routine that you can look forward to from the minute your eyes open in the morning. 

When water alone feels repetitive, you can opt for another easy and nutrient-rich option. At least once daily, add a dash of minerals and vitamins to your water. This Greens Blend is a sugar-free drink mix that’s a smart blend of key minerals and vitamins that will all quite literally feed your skin from the inside out. Rich in vitamins A, C and E, all powerful antioxidants that protect skin from damage, plus a host of skin-loving B vitamins and key minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.


woman drinking water

The gut health + skin connection

Studies have shown the direct link between our gut health and our skin health. When the intestinal microbiome is off balance and we lack the right amount of good bacteria, so goes our skin health, too. Many common inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis can be triggered when our gut microbiome is disrupted. 

The flora of the gut microbiome is made up of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa, providing us with vital metabolic and immune benefits (like creating important enzymes & nutrients and fighting off hazardous pathogens). While there is so much more to dive into when it comes to the gut/skin connection and how it contributes to inflammation in the body, a good place to start on your healthy skin journey is by taking a daily probiotic. You can also look for fermented foods rich in probiotics like kimchi, some yogurt and kombucha. 

Curb inflammation

Leaning on additional support from a supplement rich in Omega-3’s can help. An Omega-3 supplement like fish oil has been shown to help reduce inflammation and reduce the effects of skin conditions that result in dryness, flaking and itchiness. While the benefits of omega-3 are vast, supplementing your skin with this nutrient can be particularly useful during times of uncomfortable flare ups. 

Supportive skin care

Each of the suggestions above should be seen as supportive skin care. While skin is inherently intelligent, by providing it with the right nutrients, we’re simply supporting skin to carry out its everyday functions optimally. By opting for plant-based, nutrient-dense skin care, water and smart supplements, we can truly help our skin glow and perform its best from the inside out.  


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Getting Ready For Company?


family having dinner during the holidays

The holidays are right around the corner and your to-do list is probably starting to pile up. Of course, we all love the twinkling lights and precious family time that comes with celebrating together, but for now, it’s time to prepare. As you start going down your to-do list, it can become overwhelming - especially when you’re welcoming guests into your home. Don’t stress, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick guide to getting ready for company.

  1. Cleaning: Resist the urge to start your spring cleaning now. Between gift buying, cooking and holiday activities, you want to leave time to enjoy this time of year! We understand that once you start tidying up, it can be a slippery slope to a full clean out of the entire attic or basement. In a word, try to keep it simple. First, focus on decluttering. If it’s on a surface and it’s not decorative or functional, it’s got to go. This will instantly give it that more put-together feel.

  2. Next, put your energy towards the spaces where guests will spend most of their time - think the kitchen, bathrooms, and the family room. Skip scrubbing the grout and dusting in between the blinds, you can save that for after the new year! Use a multi-surface cleaning spray so you don’t have to switch between five different surface sprays. Freshen fabrics and other surfaces with this eco-friendly biodeodorizer. It’s safe to use around both kids and pets, and you won’t have to worry about noxious odors with its subtle fragrance.

    Last area - floors. Use this floorwash on almost anything - wood, ceramic, concrete, you name it! The friendly bacterias in it eradicate muck and grime completely. As an added bonus, you’ll get a deep cleaning in your drain lines as this keeps working after you pour the mop water down the sink.


    lifes abundance hand sanitizer

  3. Sanitize: It can be a little stressful when you’re traveling elsewhere for the holidays or finally gathering in small groups. Put your guests’ minds at ease and place some bottles of alcohol-based hand cleanser throughout the house. You can put them near your entrance, on your dining table, in the guest room and in other common places so visitors can frequently cleanse. For bonus host points, treat your guests to a comfortable feeling, rather than an overly drying sanitizer experience. Our Rinse Free Hand Cleanser includes organic aloe vera, provitamin B5 and organic D-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) that will leave their skin feeling more supple. In two convenient sizes, it’s free from methanol and contains 70% alcohol.

  4. Don’t forget your pets! We know how it goes - you get sidetracked in the kitchen and run out of time to bathe the dog. But, chances are that your guests will want to spend time with your pets too. Oh no, dog smell! If you need to save the grooming for another time, make it easy with a quick spritz. Your guests will appreciate your pet’s delicate scent and soft coat when they greet them at the door!

Bonus tip: If you’d rather not sit down to dinner smelling like a clove of garlic, try out this multipurpose stainless steel bar. Rub it between your hands to remove pungent odors, and even on your pets. The contoured nubs work to remove lingering scents and doubles as a mini massage.

Most importantly, remember that your guests are there to see you. The kinship of the holidays and shared feasts overshadows that one section of grout you missed that will distract you until the last visitor pulls out of the driveway. We promise, you’re the only one who noticed.


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Our Favorite Wellness Apps


person listening to meditation on the beach

How many times have you downloaded an app, excited for it to deliver anything from an increase in productivity to a decrease in stress, yet after just two days in - you’re out? We get it, but maybe the app you chose just wasn’t a good fit. To help you give it another try, we did the research and rounded up our favorites in a few top categories. 

We chose them based on reviews, accessibility, price, and offerings - so whether it’s wanting to up your fitness routine, learn how to meditate, or get more sleep, we’ve searched high and low to share the best of the best. 

Some are free and some have a low monthly fee, so if you have room in your budget alongside Netflix and Prime, we think they’re worth it for the extra content and support they provide. 

In the end, the real deal breaker as to whether an app will work is if you not only download it but actually use it - and the only person who can help you with that is, well, you. Set a goal within the app, then create space in your calendar to follow the program, videos, etc. and commit to it for at least 30 days to see and feel results. 

Best of luck, we know you can do it!

Meditation

If you’ve ever tried to meditate on your own and declared you’re “not good at it,” we urge you to try again. Not only is meditation an amazing way to stay present and calm your nervous system, it can also help you sleep. These apps have guided meditations that help you stay focused and relaxed all at once.

  • Headspace: 14 days free, then $5.83 per month
  • Insight Timer: Free

Sleep

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is, yet it’s something so many of us are lacking. Try these apps to not only track your sleep, but set gentle wake up reminders, detect snoring, and even play relaxing sleep sounds to lull you into next level slumber.

  • Sleep Cycle: Free with in app purchases
  • Calm: Free trial then $69.99 a year


person looking at phone

Nutrition

Sticking to a healthy eating routine isn’t always easy, but having a pocket nutritionist and endless recipes at your fingertips make it so much easier. These apps not only have amazing recipes, nutrition guides, and calorie trackers, but they also offer workout videos.

  • Deliciously Ella: Free 7 day trial, then $9.99 a month
  • My Fitness Pal: Free with tons of tools, upgrade for more personalized data at $49 a year

Fitness

Staying on track with exercise is something many people struggle with, so using an app that guides you through workouts you can do from your living room, in under 20 minutes, is a gift. These apps offer everything from strength training to guided runs and help you track your workouts so you have a record of what you’ve done each week.

  • Pear Fitness: Free with in app upgrades
  • Nike Training: Free

Yoga/Pilates/ Hybrid

If you’re looking for more of a mind/body workout, these apps offer great classes, some even incorporating strength training moves that get you not only flexible, but also strong. Plus many of the classes end with meditation for an all-in-one experience.

  • Alomoves: Free trial, then $20 a month
  • Gaia Yoga: Free trial, then $11.99 a month / $99 a year

BONUS: Goal Setting

Here’s the thing- you can set the loftiest of wellness goals, but if you don’t keep track of getting them done, there’s less of a chance you’ll stick with them, so we’ve included a bonus app that helps you do just that. Whether it’s drinking more water, walking your dog to get in your steps, or avoiding sugar during the week, Streaks can help you follow your progress.


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