Lifes Abundance posts created by lifes abundance

DIY Projects to Make Your Home Pet-Friendly

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If you're like a lot of new and prospective first-time home buyers, having your own home gives you the opportunity to do something you've always dreamed of ... welcoming a companion animal into your family!

In fact, it turns out that home buying decisions rely significantly on pet-related considerations. For pet parents, a house in a community with pet-oriented features will almost invariably win out over a community with numerous pet restrictions. With over 60% of American households that include a pet or want one, that's many millions of home buyers focused on their pets' needs.

Our love of pets is not just affecting buying habits, it's driving renovation decisions. This summer, countless families will be starting do-it-yourself projects with an eye toward making their homes more suitable or more comfortable for dogs and cats. In this post, we'll be taking a deep dive on some of the most common DIY projects for pet parents. So strap on your toolbelts, recharge your power tools, dig out your measuring tape, crack your knuckles and let's get down to brass tacks. Or, nails, probably nails would be better. To the list!

Hot Dog a Doggie Door!

Your dog wants to go outside. Then he wants to come back in. Then he wants to go outside again. And the cycle repeats. Rather than giving yourself over to the whims of your dog, who quite frankly will be much happier if he can run around the yard whenever the inclination strikes, why not remove yourself from this equation entirely? A dog door offers the ideal solution. And, as far as renovation projects go, relatively easy to install.

Project Difficulty: pretty simple, actually.

Laying Down the P-Lam

Life is not always neat. Dogs and cats can track in all sorts of crud into your home. And sometimes they have accidents, too. Rather than risk a pee incident with your carpeted house, why not upgrade your flooring to something decidedly more pet-friendly? Scratch-resistant, stain-proof plastic laminate flooring offers a great way to avoid the unpleasantness of carpet stains. New homeowners, be forewarned, though ... tearing out old carpet and pads and laying down all new flooring is a bit of a challenge.

Project Difficulty: moderate, but big payoff.

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The Wonderful World of Built-Ins

Like the groovy conversation pits of 60's post-modern ranch houses, the understated elegance of built-ins to accommodate pet food and water bowls, not to mention pet beds, are all the rage with your fellow DIYers. There's no better way to demonstrate that your pets truly matter to you (as in, this house was literally made for you to be here). Functionally, they're a dream. Straightening up for company has never been so simple. Though it is a bit more labor-intensive than first-time DIYers should tackle, if you have a good plan, anything is possible.

Project Difficulty: complex, unless you've had woodworking experience.

The Deluxe Mud Room

Mud rooms are not just for ranches and farm houses anymore. If you have rambunctious doggos who love to romp and wallow in the dirt, and maybe young children who enjoy the same, having a room between the messy great outdoors and the cozy cleanness of your living areas can provide the perfect buffer. Now, savvy homeowners are outfitting their mud rooms with plumbing! While some install an oversized sink that functions as a doggie bathing area, other deluxe mud room conversions also function as a laundry room as well as a changing area. Wouldn't it be nice to peel off dirty clothes and drop them in the wash before you enter your inner sanctuary? The benefits are tangible and numerous, if you're ready for a bigger project.

Project Difficulty: challenging (as they say, when plumbing's involved, best to leave it to the professionals).

The best part of committing to pet-friendly renovation projects, aside from the obvious benefits of each, is that not only is there very little chance you'll regret your decision but also that you'll almost certainly derive great satisfaction from these renos. A recent survey showed that four out five people were very satisfied post-project, even when they paid someone else to do all the work. And that number only goes higher when you do the work yourself! 

So, the only question left now is, what will you build?

5 Considerations When Choosing Supplements

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There are many wonderful ways to give your health a dietary boost these days, but determining which supplements are best for you can be daunting. The choice for the perfect supplements for your needs really depends upon who you are ... your body’s unique requirements and your personal goals.

If we know anything it's that the internet is rife with unsubstantiated claims and, frankly, bunk recommendations for healthy products that don’t come anywhere near to living up to their hype. Before you start buying nutritional supplements, please carefully consider the following five criteria.

1. Medicinal Intake
Consider your current health and any medicines you’re taking because they might leech your body of necessary vitamins and minerals. For instance, if you regularly take an antibiotic, you might need a probiotic supplement to help keep your gut flora healthy. Or if you’re taking hydroxychloroquine for an autoimmune issue, you’ll need to monitor your folic acid intake. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist when prescribed a new medication to see if you need to supplement your diet during the course of treatment. Additionally, you would be wise to ask if the supplements you are already taking might be contraindicated by your medications.

2. Prevention Goals
Some of us might be worried about a specific ailment (such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, etc.) and seek a supplement that could possibly aid in prevention. If this is something you’re concerned about, do your research! Learn which supplements contain the nutritional benefits you are seeking and whether or not there’s science to back up any benefit claims. But don’t trust just anyone, make sure your decisions are based on quality information. A good place to start is the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

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3. Age
As we grow older, our bodies require additional levels of certain nutrients to stay healthy. Older women tend to experience bone loss (which can lead to an increased risk of fractures), so adding extra calcium is usually a good idea. Older men might need extra dietary fiber if Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are sources of worry. If you’re older than 50, you might want to check out the National Institute on Aging for helpful vitamin and mineral recommendations (they have loads of other great nutritional information as well)!

4. Gender
The fact is, men and women have different dietary needs. This is why we often see multivitamins developed specifically for either women or men. Women tend to need more iron and calcium, while men are often deficient in, well, quite frankly, just about everything. If you're not taking your sex into consideration, you very well could be shortchanging yourself.

5. Current Diet
This is really the baseline for everything. Maybe you are strictly following a ketogenic diet (low-carb, high fat), or you’re a vegan or you eat whatever you please. No matter what foods you consume, you should keep close track of your diet for a week and then analyze the data to identify any nutritional gaps. Common deficits include fiber, vitamins D and E, probiotics and fish oils. For example, one person may eat a lot of fish and white rice, but forget to add fibrous fruits and veggies. Another might regularly eat veggies and fruits, but not enough protein. This is a healthy exercise in that, once you see what you might be lacking, you can make a more targeted effort in your meal planning. Furthermore, now that you recognize your dietary deficits, you'll be much better equipped to determine which quality supplements (such as a multivitaminfish oil caps or plant protein) you need to maintain balanced nutritional intake.

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Once you've had time to run through all of these considerations, you will be so much more confident that your next steps will actually be tailored to your needs. When you're ready to shop for nourishing supplements, we hope you'll keep Life's Abundance in mind to help fulfill your nutritional supplement needs!

Ultimate BBQ Sauce – Father’s Day Recipe

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Question: What's the quickest way to get your dad to say "awesome sauce"?

Answer: This recipe!

Looking for a fun way to celebrate Father's Day? If you're like many Americans, firing up the outdoor grill is action item #1 on Sunday's to-do list. And who can blame us? There's the summer sun. The comraderie of friends and family gathered together. Cool, refreshing drinks. And, of course, seriously tasty foods. With this fantastic BBQ sauce, you better believe there will be loads of tasty foods.

Our BBQ sauce is not just sweet, tangy and spicy. It's made with the health-promoting power of certified-organic greens and certified-organic mushrooms! Our Greens Blend supplement nourishes with our proprietary blend of reishi, maitake and shitake mushrooms (a superb source of iron and B vitamins) and raw greens (a great source of phytonutrients and antioxidants).

Perhaps best of all, it's super easy to make! Let's get to the details ...

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3/4 cup organic ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Life’s Abundance Greens Blend
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/6 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. chipotle powder

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients (except Greens Blend) in a sauce pan over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in Greens Blend. That's it, your homemade BBQ sauce is complete! Serve right away as a condiment, marinate your meats or store in the refrigerator to use whenever you want. Use as a dipping sauce for stuffed potato skins, as a spicy condiment on your burger or even as a sumptuous marinade for ribs, chicken or salmon.

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This Father's Day, give your dad something he'll really enjoy! Who knows, it may end up being his favorite thing of the day!

4 Tricky Fruits & Veggies Worth the Effort

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We have to respect a fruit that can draw blood just by grazing your flesh. But once tamed, the pineapple delivers a bounty of health benefits: antioxidant vitamins A and C, copper, manganese and bromelain, which is thought to ease inflammation. Plus, buying a whole pineapple versus pre-sliced or frozen chunks can save you some cash. And it sure tastes a lot more flavorful and juicier.

But, you might be asking yourself, how the heck do I even approach a pineapple without losing an appendage? Armed with a little know-how, victory can be yours but first, the preliminaries:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before you start handling food.
  • Remove any damaged or bruised areas. If you suspect it could be rotten, toss it out.
  • Thoroughly wash the food under running water. It’s okay to scrub firmer produce with a brush.

So don’t be intimidated. Grab a sharp knife and claim your birthright:

Pineapple

What to Look For
A ripe pineapple is mostly firm but will give ever-so-slightly when you squeeze it. The color should be a consistent golden yellow (but a little green is OK), and the base should smell sweet and bright.

How to Prepare
Chop off the top and base. Next, prop that puppy up lengthwise and use a serrated knife to carefully saw off the spiky skin, top to bottom. Then you can cut it into chunks or slice it into rounds as desired.

Artichoke

One of earth’s natural diuretics, the artichoke has a reputation for fighting bloat. But this vegetable has more than one trick up its thorny sleeve. Rich in fiber and folate, it also has tons of vitamins C and K, copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Sure, you could buy a can of artichoke hearts but why deny yourself the pleasure of eating the leaves — or the satisfaction of conquest?

What to Look For
The leaves should be tightly packed, not loose or splayed. They also should squeak when rubbed together.

How to Prepare
If you plan to eat the whole artichoke (leaves and heart) start by using a serrated knife to cut off the tips and stem. Then use kitchen shears to snip off any sharp points on the leaves. Once you’ve boiled or braised it, be sure to scoop out the inedible “choke,” a thistle-like substance, using a spoon.

Ginger Root

Good God. Look at that thing. So gnarled. So rooty. How could something so delicious look so filthy? And yet, there it is. Still, we urge you to look past this plant’s dusty veneer and consider its benefits. Long used to calm nausea and indigestion plus, it tastes and smells divine. 

What to Look For
Pick up the hand — yes, that’s what it’s called and we think it’s creepy, too — and examine its texture. Choose a section with smooth, taut skin, which should be thin enough to nick with your fingernail. You should also be able to detect its spicy scent.

How to Prepare
Break off as much of the hand (shudder) as you need. Pro tip: If it doesn’t snap easily, it’s probably not fresh. Use a knife to pare off any dry ends and nubs, and then hack away at the larger swaths of skin with a vegetable peeler. If any stubborn bits remain, scrape ‘em off with a spoon. You’re left with lovely flesh for grating, pickling or candying.

Coconut

You may take one look at that hairy stack in the produce section and feel a strong urge to abort mission. Resist! Nutrient-rich coconuts aren’t hard to master, and buying them whole is more cost-effective. 

What to Look For
First, check for heft; a good coconut should feel heavy for its size. Next, give that bad boy a good shake. Does it sound like at least a cup of water is sloshing around in there? Great. Now examine the cluster of indentations called “eyes” for cracks, mold or wetness.

How to Prepare
Guys, you get to use a hammer for this! And a screwdriver, which you’ll use to poke a hole in the coconut’s softest eye. Once you’ve pierced the eye, drain the liquid inside by either slurping it up with a straw or pouring it into a glass. Gently hammer a spot toward the center of the fruit until a fracture forms along the circumference. Pull the halves apart and pry the flesh from the shell with a butter knife.

Then, imagine yourself on a desert island and enjoy the sweet bounty.

We're One of America’s Best Small Companies!

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We are proud to announce that Life’s Abundance is a 2019 Forbes Small Giants winner! This award is bestowed annually to 25 privately held companies that exemplify their commitment to choosing greatness over growth. Each of these companies provides stellar service to customers, offers employees fulfilling, rewarding work and is a vital member of its community. Below is the write-up in May’s edition of Forbes Magazine.

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Life’s Abundance has been making and selling healthy pet food (and other products) since 1999, and it’s never had a product recalled, a record that makes CEO Lester Thornhill, a native Trinidadian, proud. It relies on customers to market its products, as in multilevel marketing, but with a crucial difference: There are no quotas, and no one is required to buy or sell anything. That not only means a lot of repeat customers but also lets the company keep its goods out of big-box stores and Amazon, which is a matter of principle, Thornhill says, enabling Life's Abundance to manufacture in small batches and guarantee freshness and quality.

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“We are deeply honored to be a part of the Small Giants Community, an inspiring group of purpose-driven business leaders,” says Lester Thornhill, CEO of Life’s Abundance. “This award holds particular meaning to us because it celebrates our commitment to making an impact beyond our balance sheet, whether it’s creating products for the well-being of you and your pets, selecting sustainable business practices, or contributing to charitable organizations.”

The Small Giants Community is open to businesses that are eager to grow and make profits, but only while upholding their culture and purpose. Once a year, 250 like-minded leaders get together for a three-day conference loaded with vivacious speakers and social events centered on how to keep great companies strong. At the summit, the 25 Best Small Companies who were named in Forbes are honored. We were so thrilled to be a part of the celebration this year!

Amazing Greyhounds: Fun Facts About the Fastest Dog

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Greyhounds are one of the oldest purebred canines. Ancient paintings of these noble creatures grace the walls of tombs in the great Egyptian pyramids. In fact, Greyhounds are the only breed mentioned by name in the Bible!

Aside from being one of the fastest animals on the planet, they are so good-natured that they are commonly referred to as “Velcro dogs” by their people. 

Would you like to learn more about this elegant, ancient breed? Then look no further, because here’s a handy infographic that reveals some of the most amazing Greyhound facts. To view the full-size PDF, simply click on the image below!

PDF Document

What Your Skin Can Tell You About Your Health

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You already know that when you eat well, sleep enough and exercise, you glow. As evidence, look no further than the notoriously disciplined power couple Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. Okay, okay … genes might have something to do with their eternally spotless complexions. But the inverse can certainly be true ... sometimes, the condition of your skin can point to potential health issues. Here are five telltale symptoms that could signal problems that are more than skin deep, and why.

Flakes: Sure, maybe it’s just symptomatic of dry weather. But if you have a lot of flakes, severe itchiness or dry spots that don’t resolve even after using a thicker moisturizer or running a humidifier, you might want to have a dermatologist take a look. Persistently parched, itchy skin without a rash or a lot of dandruff on the scalp could be a sign of thyroid disease.

Butterfly rash: If you notice that your cheeks and the bridge of your nose have a sudden bloom of red, and it's not just a passing flush, you might have an underlying health condition. A butterfly (or malar) rash is red or even deep purple and can be flat or slightly raised. It might even be painful but doesn’t usually include bumps or blisters. While this could result from an ongoing sensitivity to sunlight, this type of rash can also be symptomatic of a skin disorder (such as rosacea), a bacterial infection (like Lyme disease) or even an autoimmune disease (like lupus). Get it checked out so you know how to treat it appropriately.

Never-ending pimple: Yes, we’ve all had at least one zit in our lives that was so substantial, it seemed to take on a life of its own. For many of us, it happened on a school photo day, thus ensuring its memory will last forever. All kidding aside, if you discover a pimple that has been hanging around for weeks without clearing up (or clearing up and coming right back in the exact same spot), get thee to a dermatologist. There’s a chance it might be basal or squamous cell skin cancer, cystic acne (a condition that can cause scarring but often improves with medication or a diet change) or MRSA (a Staph skin infection that calls for antibiotics right away).

Thin skin: Easy bruising, creping of the neck or joints, and skin tears that take forever to heal. All of these are just symptoms of getting older, right? It’s true that some people develop thinner skin as they age, especially since older skin produces less collagen. While this isn't a sign that disease is present, you can pick up infections if you’re constantly nicking yourself or walking around with open wounds. In addition to drinking a lot of water and upping your sunscreen and moisturizers, the British Journal of Nutrition recommends fish oil or flax seed supplements for improving thin skin. At Life’s Abundance, we offer ultra-pure fish oil in both a smooth liquid and in citrus-flavored capsules.

Hives: If you suddenly break out in a rash of large itchy bumps or welts of varying shapes and sizes, you’re most likely having an allergic reaction to a food or medicine. Discontinue what you believe is the source and avoid it in the future. If you find yourself breaking out in hives quite often, you might want to talk to a medical professional. Stress might trigger an outbreak in people who are already susceptible, particularly those who have an autoimmune disease or a history of severe allergies.

No matter the condition of your skin, be sure you are using care products that actually nourish your skin. Our skin care products are made with pure, organic ingredients and are formulated for fabulous results. We want you to look great and feel great, too!

Please remember that the internet is a powerful tool for research, but there is no substitution for a visit to your doctor. If you have a concern, book an appointment today.

References:

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/other-conditions/thyroid-disease-checklist
https://www.healthline.com/health/thin-skin#aging
https://www.livestrong.com/article/159989-how-to-make-thin-skin-thicker/
https://www.everydayhealth.com/hives/can-stress-cause-hives/

Black Bean & Greens Burger Recipe

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Looking for a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Try our signature vegetarian burger! With a lot fewer calories that a regular beef burger, it's actually brimming with the health-promoting power of our special ingredient, Greens Blend

As listed, makes approximately three large or four medium-size burgers. Or, divvy it up into six mini patties and serve as sliders! If you're making it for friends and family, you're going to need to double it, because these burgers are the bomb.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp. yellow onion, minced
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • ½ scoop Life’s Abundance Greens Blend
  • 1-2 Tbsp. avocado oil

Directions

Drain most of the liquid from the black beans, but do not rinse the beans. Pour beans into a medium-size bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Not every single bean needs to be mashed, just the majority. Add flour, onion, white pepper, salt, chili powder, egg and Greens Blend. Mix well with your hands until all ingredients are fully combined. Form into 3-4 burgers, remembering that black bean burgers do not shrink in size like regular burgers. So the size you start with will be the finished size.

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high and add 1-2 tablespoons of avocado or coconut oil. Place burgers into the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until slightly browned.

Serve your delicious black bean burgers on a bun (or slider roll if you've made mini burgers). Or, for an even healthier alternative, avoid the bread altogether and wrap your veggie burgers in a crispy butterhead lettuce leaves (either Bibb or Boston).

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All that's left to do is add your favorite burger toppings and tuck in!

Why Does My Pet Eat Grass?

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It’s a question pet parents routinely ponder. While there are competing theories regarding why dogs and cats consume grass, a conclusive answer has yet to be supported by scientific study. Here’s a brief overview of the current speculation behind your companion animal’s impulse to graze …

1. It’s an ancestral thing. The prey of wild dogs and cats frequently have grasses in their intestinal system, so domesticated dogs and cats still retain a yearning for a spot of grass in their diet.

2. Our companion animals know of some nutritional value in grasses that we have yet to uncover (such as antioxidants).

3. They do it to provoke vomiting if they’ve eaten something that has upset their stomachs.

4. They are augmenting their keen sense of smell with taste to discover more about their environment.

5. They simply like the taste and texture of grass, so it’s just for the sake of satisfaction!

Although we may never know the exact reason why, we do know that this is one of the most commonly asked questions that veterinarians hear from their clients. If you notice excessive grass-eating with either your dog or cat, please consult your vet.

Fun Ways to Exercise with Your Pet

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Spring has a way of breathing energy back into your life. So why not take some of that kinetic potential and pour it into a fun activity? Perhaps even something you can do with your companion animal that could actually improve your health? 

Sure, you could go to the park and play fetch. Or play Frisbee. But if you're looking for something different but still a healthy activity, check out our fun ways to exercise with your pet below!

Pup Pilates

In the last 20 years, millions of Americans have tried pilates, the art of controlled movements. As an exercise regimen, pilates can help improve balance, tone muscles and bring practitioners a sense of peace. For a new twist, try doing exercises while holding your pets! While cradling your puppy or small dog (sorry Newfoundland moms and dads) while doing squats, lunges, lunges with side to side twists and bridge pulses with your little buddy on your belly. Of course, this is only something you should do if your dog (or cat) is calm enough. A wriggly pupper might throw off your sense of balance, so exercise some caution.

Agility Training

The great thing about agility training is that it not only provides exercise for both you and your dog, it can forge a closer connection between you, too! And it doesn't have to take place in a pre-approved or professional facility. As long as there's plenty of room to move around, you can set up your own little endurance challenges. If you have a small dog, a long hallway can afford sufficient space to set up an obstacle course (think plastic cups rather than pylons and wooden dowels on stacks of books as hurdles). The only limits are your imagination!

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Yoga with Your Cat

We know what you're going to say after reading this headline ... "yoga to be kitten me!" But, no, we're completely serious. Just like with Pup Pilates, only docile cats should join you for resistance training. After the customary warm-up, some compatible moves you can do with your cat are the prayer position, the Lion King pose (remember when Simba was held aloft for the admiration of the Animal Kingdom? it's based on that), the Crescent Warrior (or in this case, Purrier) and Vinyasa to downward dog (yes, we do admit the irony of doing that pose with your cat). Even if you don't hold your cat, their close proximity can add both peaceful and playful moments to your practice. Some people just enjoy the happy purring of their kitties while working through their yoga routine. Who knows, that constant sound might even help you reach a higher state of peace!

Low-Resistance Strength Training

If you're more old school and would prefer to rekindle a weight-training routine, but you can't lift the same amounts you used to, strength training with your pets is an option! Before you laugh, just recall that it did wonders for Milo of Croton, a 6th Century Greek wrestler who lifted a calf every day until it was a fully grown bull (or so they say). But we're not shooting for anything remotely that superhuman. Try push ups with your cat on your back, the kitty press, puppy squats, lateral raises (again, think Lion King) and cat curls. And, of course, in between reps, be sure to take time for scritches, boops and copious pets.

So Many More Options ...

If none of these sound appealing because you're looking for something a little more strenuous or you just want to get away from your house, check out our video tutorials on all sorts of outdoorsy activities and exercising you can do with your dog, including jogging, biking, swimming, hiking and camping.

Do you have a special activity you like to do with your companion animals? Share your exercise tips in the comments section below!