Lifes Abundance posts created by lifes abundance

Disaster Planning for Pets

With September being National Preparedness Month, it’s a good time to remember that disasters, like hurricanes and wildfires, can happen at any moment with little to no notice. It can be difficult to remember what you need as you evacuate, especially when you have a furry friend, so planning in advance is key! Dr. V hosted a live video stream to share some essential planning tips for pet parents. Read on for a recap or watch the video above!


Check ID Tags

  • Make sure your pet’s ID tags are up to date as addresses and phone numbers change.
  • Check with your dog’s and cat's microchip manufacturer to ensure they have updated contact info.


Updated Contact List

  • Double check that you have important numbers, like your vet’s number, saved for emergencies.
  • Shelters may require paperwork, like proof of vaccination, so be sure to put important documents onto a smartphone app for easy access.
  • As a backup, make paper copies of records for when you don’t have access to your digital copies.


Get Connected on Social

  • There are many social network groups that are local to your town or neighborhood. Join in advance to keep in touch with the community! Dr. V. told us about her experience of hearing from a neighbor that her neighborhood was on the news because of an evacuation order. Thanks to her network, she was able to get her pets out safely and quickly.
  • Apps like NextDoor and local Facebook groups can be great resources to stay up to date on local news, updates, and evacuations.


Make a “Go Bag”

  • With little time to prepare in the midst of disaster, making a go bag for your pets in advance is essential for a quick evacuation.
  • Always have a week’s worth of dog food, cat food and water for them.
  • Continuously rotate bags of food as you receive them so you are not left with an expired bag.
  • Rotate your pet’s water supply every six months.
  • Don’t forget dog treats and cat treats to help keep your pets occupied in stressful situations.
  • Include your pet’s carrier, bowls, leashes, and toys.


Pro-tip: Always keep your carrier empty so you don’t spend valuable time unloading any items to make way for your cat.

It is crucial that you prepare for emergencies before they happen. To watch Dr. V’s entire live stream for more details and her own harrowing story, watch the video above. Stay safe everyone!

How To Massage Your Cat

woman scratching cat

Are you looking for a way to bond with your cat while you also work to improve her health? Even for aloof cats, one way to build a positive bond and make your cat more responsive to contact is with cat massage. Sure, it may seem far fetched that the introverted animal that shares your home would respond, but you just might be surprised.

The Health Benefits of Massage for Cats

Massage stimulates the nerves and muscles in your cat's body. It also creates a relaxing response in the lymphatic system. Just like us, this can help with pain and muscle spasms, which may help reduce stiffness and discomfort. It can also create feelings of relaxation and calm.

Massage also has an effect on the circulation. As you massage your cat, the circulation increases. This flushes away toxins that can build up in the muscles, which can help reduce pain and inflammation. It can encourage a better immune system response as well. Will massage cure all of your cat's health problems? No, but it can set the stage improvement in health, especially if your cat needs a little extra care for her muscles and joints.

The Emotional Benefits of Massaging Your Cat

Not only can massage for your cat provide health benefits, but it can also provide emotional benefits. Massage has a calming effect on cats that are hyper or anxious. It creates a better emotional bond between you and your cat. It can also build trust between you. With practice, massage is something you both will grow to enjoy.


woman petting cat on carpet

How to Massage a Cat

If you're ready to embrace these benefits, here's what you need to do. First, find your cat in a calm time when they will be more receptive to what you are going to do. Extend your hand to your cat, and wait for them to accept your touch, especially if you have a cat that is easily startled. Then, follow these steps as you learn how to massage a cat:

1. Start with the shoulders
Start the massage at the shoulders. Bring your thumb and index finger together at the base of the neck, and massage down the shoulders, following the contour of the bone. Then, stroke down the spine, then return to the shoulders.

2. Move to the head
After massaging the shoulders and spine, move your hands to the head. Pet your cat's head for a moment, then move to the ears, an area that cats enjoy having touched. Rotate a finger slowly around the ear and watch as your cat relaxes under your touch.

3. Massage the tailbone
Now move to the other end of the cat. Place your hand on the top base of the tail, and massage. This is an area that can stand a little more pressure and even some scratching, as it is not as delicate as the ears and shoulders. Most cats like being massaged in this area very much, and you may find your cat leaning into your touch.

4. Consider the tummy
Not all cats like a tummy rub, but if yours does, you can massage here too. Gently massage the tummy, watching your cat's reaction carefully. If the reaction is positive, continue massaging this area a little.

5. Tickle the chin and chest
Now you are ready to finish the massage on the chin and chest. Most cats enjoy chin and chest rub. You can use a bit more pressure as you gently massage this area of your cat's body.

Tips for Giving Your Cat a Massage

While this process works for most cats, remember that each animal is unique. Consider these tips to tailor the massage to your cat's needs:

  • Avoid surprising your cat, unless you want to be pulling a hissing feline off of the ceiling.
  • Pay attention to your cat's response. If something seems uncomfortable, move on to a different area.
  • Go slowly. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Use a soft voice. Repeat a phrase or calming sound during the massage, but maintain a calm, soothing tone to your voice.
  • Reward your cat with a nutritious treat after the massage or to encourage her to be patient with the process.
  • Practice! If you don't get the hang of it the first time, that's okay. Keep practicing, and soon you will both be massage experts.



Cat massage is just one way to help your cat live a healthy, happy life, and build a fulfilling bond. Nutritious food is also important. Because it is their daily source of nutrition, choosing the right food is the surest way to have a positive impact on your cat's happiness and quality of life.

The Nutritive Power of Mushrooms

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Throughout history, humans have valued mushrooms as culinary delicacies and for their health benefits. In fact, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and many other healthcare traditions have utilized medicinal mushrooms for millennia.

In recent years, Western medicine has discovered medicinal mushrooms' nutraceutical value, as well. Research indicates that mushrooms have nutrients that offer a number of benefits, from specific nutrients (such as protein, key vitamins and numerous bioactive compounds) to properties that provide powerful antioxidants and fight stress while supporting the immune system.

Read on to learn about the nutritive power of mushrooms... and discover how you can reap the tasty benefits of adding organic mushrooms to your diet. 

Benefits of Eating Mushrooms

There's a reason why so many cultures have long enjoyed mushrooms as a food source. Not only are these popular fungi delicious, they're also nutritious! 

Mushrooms deliver a healthy helping of low-calorie, cholesterol-free protein and carbohydrates, as well as dietary fiber in the form of beta glucan. Research has found that this soluble fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels, and it has also been linked to heart health. 

Organic mushrooms offer vitamins such as B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and easily absorbed B12. Together, these B vitamins can benefit your cardiovascular health, give your red blood cells a boost, support the skin, and help balance hormones. Unlike many other plant-based foods, some mushrooms also offer vitamin D, which contributes to healthy bones, teeth and muscles. 

Mushrooms also provide necessary minerals such as potassium, choline, copper, phosphorus, and selenium, an antioxidant. And speaking of antioxidants, let's take a look at one of the most promising health benefits of mushrooms: anthocyanin compounds known as flavonoids that support the immune system. 

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Powerful Antioxidants

Multiple studies have explored the role antioxidants play in human health, and mushrooms have been discovered to be packed full of them! Why are mushrooms such a rich source of antioxidants? Unlike plants (which meet their metabolic needs through photosynthesis and drawing minerals from soil) fungi "feed themselves" by breaking down the plant matter around them, withdrawing what they need to survive and freeing key nutrients along the way. The more nutritious the growth medium, the more antioxidants the mushrooms will have!

This process creates antioxidants that benefit our health. Specifically, mushrooms are among the highest known dietary sources of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, which have been linked to:

  • immune system support
  • performance enhancement
  • increased energy and stamina
  • improved mood

Another key benefit? Stress reduction. Certain varieties of adaptogenic mushrooms serve as nature's stress fighters. Commonly used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, these mushrooms may help balance adrenal glands, which in turn may help your body better handle the effects of stress. 

While many mushroom varieties offer health benefits, certain varieties may be even more beneficial when combined. Recent studies indicate that specific mushroom nutrients provide extra support to the immune system when blended together. The combination of shiitake, reishi, and maitake mushrooms offers outstanding health benefits. 

- Shiitake

Lentinula edodes, commonly known as shiitake mushrooms, may be best known as a tasty delicacy. But did you know that shiitakes contain nutrients that may support heart health and your immune system? 

- Reishi

Reishi, or Ganoderma lucidum, may support memory and improve mood. Known as the "immortality mushroom," studies indicate that reishi may also support immunity and even improve mood and reduce fatigue.

- Maitake

Maitake, or Grifola frondosa, are adaptogenic mushrooms known to support immune system function. Long used in Japanese and Chinese medicine, maitake contain high levels of antioxidants. 

Simple Way To Add Mushrooms To Your Diet

Life's Abundance makes it easy to add the benefits of organic mushroom nutrients to your diet! Our Greens Blend nourishes your body with a blend of raw, certified-organic grasses and certified, organic mushrooms for exceptional nutrient value. This certified organic blend of reishi, maitake, and shiitake mushrooms goes down easily in this lightly berry flavored mix.  Scoop, stir and enjoy your organic greens and mushrooms!

World Cleanup Day - Upcycle Challenge

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Upcycling, or creative reuse, is finding a way of turning your useless, unwanted packaging or waste into something brand new. At Life’s Abundance, we’re all about going green — that’s why we challenged ourselves to find exciting ways to upcycle with our own product packaging!

Our employees competed to create the best upcycle projects using their leftover product packaging at home. Here are our five upcycle challenge winners, including a runner-up and a winner! Which one will you try to replicate at home?

Cardboard Scratcher Tray by Arin Roos

“Upcycled

Cat parents unite!  Satisfying your cat's need to scratch can be costly, but cardboard scratchers are a popular recyclable choice.  To save a little money, buy the refill version that does not come with a cardboard tray.  With help from a little tape, you can create your own backing from the trays Life's Abundance canned cat food comes in.   

What you’ll need:

  • Two Life’s Abundance cardboard cat food trays 
  • Tape

Tea Light Holders by Sasha Stephens 

“Upcycled

This upcycle project was inspired by the many evenings we have been spending in our garden. After serving my dog her Life’s Abundance canned food, I cleaned the can out with soap and water. Next, I glued strips of wrapping paper (but you can use any paper or even fabric) around the can and voilà, instant mood lighting for a dinner in your backyard! 

What you’ll need:

  • Life’s Abundance can food, can be dog or cat
  • Wrapping paper or fabric 
  • Glue 
  • Tea Light
  • Scissors  

Market Bag by Angelina Nava 

“Upcycled

Whenever I grocery shop, I bring my own bags and reusing my empty dog food bags are a great way to upcycle them! To start, just lay the dog food bag on the ground and decide how tall you want your tote to be, then cut off the top of your dog food bag. Next, take the bottom of the dog food bag and fold down the edges where you cut. Tape the folded-over flap on the bottom of your dog food bag and handles to secure them into place. Lastly, fold two pieces of tape in half (these will be your handles) and put them in place. Also, I found the best way to get rid of the dog food smell was a bit of dish detergent and a couple days of air drying. 

What you’ll need:

  • Life’s Abundance dog food
  • Masking Tape
  • Scissors 

Upcycle Challenge Runner-Up:
Coasters by Stephanie Greenhalge

“Upcycled

I was very excited to participate in this challenge! I have always wanted to find a creative way to upcycle my Life’s Abundance dog food and treat bags and this gave me the perfect opportunity to be crafty. To make these coasters you will need cardboard (I used a wet can food sleeve) which you will want to cut into 4- 6” squares. Next, you will cut your Life’s Abundance bag to the same size as your cardboard cut out, you will need two pieces per coaster. Then, glue on your Life’s Abundance bag cut pieces onto the front and back of your cardboard, I used a glue stick. After the glue dries you will want to use a clear acrylic gloss sealer and let it dry for 24 hours.  

What you’ll need:

  • Life’s Abundance Dog Food or treat bags
  • Glue 
  • Clear acrylic gloss sealer
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors 

Upcycle Challenge Winner:
Amber Glass Vase by Lindsey Whitehead

“Upcycled

Since spending more time at home I have been filling my apartment with flowers to keep things cheery and found the Life’s Abundance Fish Oil bottle makes an excellent vase! Simply clean your bottle with a bottle brush and leave it soaking in dish soap and water overnight. Peel off the label or scrub it off with a scouring pad — you can also use some baking soda to speed up the process and get rid of any residue. 

What you’ll need:

  • Life’s Abundance Fish Oil bottle
  • Scouring sponge 
  • Dish soap 
  • Baking powder 

3 Ways Dogs Help With Mental Health

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Millions of people around the country love having dogs as a part of their family — what they may not know is how greatly their furry friend can benefit their mental health.

Recent studies exploring the bond between humans and animals have started revealing what so many of us have suspected all along - having a dog has many benefits! This research is how we found that dogs are great at interpreting our mood through our tone of voice, body language and gestures. 

Now we have started to better analyze precisely how our furry friends benefit us mentally and emotionally. Here are three ways dogs can help with our mental health:

1. Early exposure to dogs decreases the chance of psychiatric disorders

A recent study showed that adults who had a dog during childhood were 25% less likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.  

The apparent effect of exposure to a pet dog is the most evident when the dog is present at a child’s birth or joins a family before the child turns three years old. Exposure to a family dog during this time was associated with a 50% less chance for a schizophrenia diagnosis.

2. Dogs can help battle depression

Studies have found that dog parents are less likely to suffer from depression than those without dogs. Playing with dogs and even feeding them treats has shown to raise levels of serotonin and dopamine, which helps pet parents relax and be happy. 

Companionship from a dog can help fend off some triggers of depression such as isolation and loneliness. Studies have shown that having a dog can even prevent illness and add years to your life!

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3. Dogs promote a healthy routine and self-care

A lack of routine and structure in a person’s life can make them feel unorganized or anxious. Many people who struggle with maintaining a healthy, normal routine may benefit from bringing a dog into their life.  

If you don’t wake up early enough, your dog most likely will! Going for a walk in the morning and eating breakfast is a staple in every dog’s life. This gets you up and out of the house for walks, hikes or runs — just being outdoors provides its own mental health benefits. Taking care of a pet reminds us to take care of ourselves. 

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Of course, bringing a dog into your home isn’t the answer for every person or family, but people should be aware of the mental health benefits that come with the furry package! Remember, dogs can help us just as much as we can help them.

 

News Alert: FDA identifies over 100 dangerous hand sanitizers

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Note: Life’s Abundance Rinse-Free Hand Cleanser is not involved in this FDA report. Our product has been tested for safety and is confirmed to contain at least 70% organic ethyl alcohol and does not contain any methanol.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to be on the lookout for dangerous hand sanitizing products. There are two areas of concern to watch for.

Methanol Contamination

The FDA has seen a spike in hand sanitizers that have tested positive for methanol contamination. This has led to an increase in adverse health events related to methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and can even be life-threatening if ingested. 

“Consumers must… be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizer products,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol. 

Low Alcohol Content

FDA test results have shown that other hand sanitizers have “concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol,” which are active ingredients in hand sanitizer products. These sub-potent hand sanitizers have also been added to the FDA list of hand sanitizers to avoid.

Click here for the FDA's full list of dangerous hand sanitizers to avoid.

Common Houseplants That Are Safe For Pets

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Having plants in your home is a great way to add beauty, keep your air clean and boost your overall mood. However, you have to be careful when choosing houseplants when you have pets — some are toxic and can even cause life-threatening health problems. 

No need to worry — we’ve compiled a list of pet-friendly plants that are safe if you have dogs, cats, or both. 

Pet-Friendly Houseplants

African Violets

African violets can add touches of vivid color to any part of your home. These flowering plants can thrive in low light and don’t require a lot of care in order to grow, so they’re a great option if you’re not used to having plants around. Since they’re non-toxic, you also don’t have to worry about curious dogs or cats chewing on them. However, it doesn’t hurt to distract playful pets with healthier items to chew, such as our nutritious dog treats or cat treats.

Boston Ferns

Boston ferns can add some bright greenery to your home with their long, shaggy leaves. They do like humidity and some light, but they don’t need direct sunlight. Since their long fronds might become chew toys for dogs or cats, you might want to consider keeping these ferns in an out of the way spot that your pets don’t frequent, such as bathrooms or a guest bedroom.

Bromeliads

“Bromeliad

Bromeliads are beautiful plants with hardy leaves. These flowering plants can make any room more inviting.You will want to keep them in an area that gets bright light and some humidity. In addition to being safe for dogs and cats, one of the other perks of bromeliads is that you can grow them on logs rather than in soil, making them a good option if you have cats that might dig in potted soil.

Friendship Plant

If you’re looking for a small plant that’s easy to care for, consider friendship plants. These plants have fuzzy leaves and normally won’t grow taller than a foot high. You can keep these plants on counters, shelves, or other surfaces in more humid areas of your home, but make sure they have low or medium light. You can also set up a terrarium to keep friendship plants out of reach of pet claws and teeth.

Maidenhair Ferns

Maidenhair ferns are a bit more challenging to care for than Boston ferns. If you decide to get these non-toxic, pet friendly plants, just make sure to give them plenty of water and some bright light. These ferns have long, delicate leaves with a feathery shape, so they might catch the eye of your cats. Having healthy cat treats around might lower the risk of having your cats paw at or chew on maidenhair fern fronds.

Polka Dot Plants

Polka dot plants are another colorful houseplant you can enjoy without fearing for your pet’s safety. These plants have wide leaves with a spotted or speckled appearance, giving them a visually interesting look. Keep these plants in bright light rather than low light to deepen their coloring, or they’ll end up with a more muted look. If you’re going to get polka dot plants, plan on replacing them from time to time. While your pets might leave them alone, these houseplants usually don’t have a long lifespan.

 Spider Plants

“Chlorophytum

Spider plants (or chlorophytum) are among the most common plants that are safe for both dogs and cats. You can decorate shelves or window sills with potted spider plants or place a few hanging ones near windows. These plants are easy to grow if you don’t have a green thumb. They just need a bit of water every so often, indirect light, and some pruning so their leaves don’t get too long. In fact, cutting back the leaves regularly might help prevent pets from playing with them or chewing on them.

 Succulents

Succulent plants are ideal houseplants if you usually forget to water plants. However, some succulents, such as jade and aloe, are toxic to pets when ingested. Safe succulents that won’t hurt dogs or cats include echeveria and haworthia. These plants just need to be kept in areas with bright light and watered about once a week in order to thrive.

Houseplants That Are Toxic To Pets:

Now that you know several plants that are safe for pets, there are some you should immediately remove from your home if you have them. Ingesting any of these plants can lead to serious health problems for your pets and require a visit to the nearest animal hospital. The following are common houseplants known for being toxic to pets:

  • Asparagus fern
  • Caladium (elephant’s ear)
  • Jade
  • Lilies
  • Pothos
  • Sago palms

When you're a pet parent, it's important to be thorough and protect your furry friend in every way that you can when they're at home. Double-checking your houseplants is just one more way you can ensure your pet's safety!

Why Magnesium Is Important To Your Health

“Healthy

Magnesium is instrumental to many body functions and necessary for every biological organism, not just humans. Technically, it is an essential mineral nutrient, meaning it’s something the body needs, but it cannot make itself. That means it has to come from a dietary source like food or a supplement. 

This mineral plays a critical role in the brain, heart, and muscle health for humans. Here’s everything you need to know to make sure you can avoid magnesium deficiency: 

What Is Magnesium? 

Magnesium is one of several minerals in the body and the fourth most abundant (the first is calcium.) It’s a functional part of muscle movement, heart rhythm, blood sugar levels, protein synthesis, bone formation, and DNA building. 

Having low levels of this essential mineral can lead to weak muscles, high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease. An estimated 68% of the U.S. population fails to meet the daily requirement, possibly leading to magnesium deficiency. 

Magnesium and Brain Health

Magnesium is a key player in translating messages between the brain and body. Nerves generate electrical impulses to send these messages. If the impulse is strong enough, it activates a receptor that allows it to continue to the next axon, a thin cable that carries the electrical impulses in nerve cells. 

Not all the electrical impulses that travel down an axon are strong enough to move forward, though, which is a good thing. If they were, your brain would be continuously flooded with messages that it doesn’t need. 

Magnesium acts as a gatekeeper for some of these receptors, so impulses that are not strong enough stop before they hit the brain. This way, it prevents nerves from overstimulation that might cause damage. 

Magnesium and Heart Health

Magnesium is critical for maintaining a stable heartbeat. When your heart beats, calcium floods the cells of the heart muscle to cause a contraction. It relaxes when magnesium enters to block the calcium. Calcium and magnesium are natural competitors — when magnesium is present, it blocks calcium. These actions are essential to keep the heart beating. 

Magnesium and Muscle Health

Magnesium plays the role of calcium blocker in all muscle tissue, not just the heart. When calcium enters the muscle cells, it contracts. When magnesium comes in to counteract the calcium, the muscle relaxes. Now, think about how many times your muscles contract and relax every day, and you get an idea of how vital magnesium is to health. 

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How To Tell If You Have Magnesium Deficiency 

Some symptoms of low magnesium levels include:

  • Muscle twitches and cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Personality changes

There are also medical conditions sometimes associated with magnesium deficiency, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Asthma
  • Mental health disorders

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium varies by age and gender. On average, adults need between 400 to 420 mg. The older you get, the more you will need.

How to Get Magnesium? 

One of the easiest ways to make sure your body is getting enough magnesium is through diet. Some foods that contain high levels of this important mineral include:

  • Nuts
  • Black beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Avocados
  • Rice
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Chicken breast
  • Broccoli

Even if you eat right, you might still find that you struggle to get the proper amounts of daily magnesium. For you, the answer might be a supplement like a Multivitamin

Some people prefer to rely only on food for their nutrients. With that in mind, you can add minerals to your water using a drink mix and get the same benefits. Dietary supplementation will help you sustain energy throughout the day and the right formula can add delicious flavor to your drink! When choosing a supplement, look for something with all-natural flavors and no added sugar or colors.

Magnesium is a critical part of hundreds of cellular processes in the human body, and many people don’t get enough of it. But don’t worry, it’s easy enough to increase your intake. Simply add some mineral-rich foods to your diet, add a supplement, or both!

4 Great Protein Substitutes For Meat

Woman Enjoys Protein Substitute Chocolate Shake

Everybody needs protein, but not everyone enjoys eating meat. Fare including the usual suspects like beef, chicken, and fish, is among the best sources of protein available.

Just check out the amount of protein in a single serving of the following cooked meats and fish:

  • 3 oz of chicken breast: 13 grams 

  • 3 oz of steak: 23 grams

  • 3 oz of salmon: 21 grams 

All that protein is made up of varying combinations of molecules called amino acids, dubbed the "building blocks of life." Your body really can't function without them and relies on amino acids for everything from repairing tissue to digesting food.

So, does this mean you have to be a meat-eater if you want your body to get all the nutrients it needs to thrive? The answer is ‘No!’ In fact, whatever your reason for exploring non-meat protein substitutes, you'll be pleased to know you have plenty of alternative options. Here are a few simple ones you can start with:

  • Eggs

Like chicken, beef, and fish, eggs are considered a complete protein source. Crack just one open and you'll find six grams of protein inside. If you skip the yolk, you'll still get about 4 grams of protein from just the egg whites. 

Eggs may be a good choice for people who follow a vegetarian lifestyle or simply want to cut back on their meat consumption. Not so good of an option for people with egg allergy, however. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 2 percent of kids are allergic to eggs, although most (70 percent) will outgrow the allergy by age 16. There are vegan and plant-based egg alternatives that have similar amounts of protein as well.

  • Plant Protein

Plant-based diets are an integral part of human history, but for several reasons (e.g., ethical, environmental, taste, health) they've become even more popular lately. A 2018 study found that 14 percent of Americans regularly consume plant protein sources, even though the majority of them (86 percent) do NOT consider themselves vegan or vegetarian. 

Replacing some of your calories from meat protein with plant protein can even lower your risk of heart disease and early death, according to a study from Harvard Medical School. In other words, the animal vs. plant debate isn't necessarily an all-or-none choice, and you don't have to swear off meat completely in order to enjoy the health benefits of plant protein. 

One of the most delicious ways to get your plant protein is in a convenient powder that you can mix into water, smoothies, pancakes, baked goods, oatmeal and more. Our delicious plant protein mixes have 13-14 grams of protein and 100-120 calories in every serving — that’s more protein and less calories than half of a chicken breast! 

Other top plant protein options include pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, hemp, spirulina, and quinoa. Like meat, these plants are considered complete protein sources. Additional options include rice, legumes (lentils, peas, peanuts, and beans), and other nuts and seeds including almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. 

Bowl of Healthy Plant Protein Options

  • Dairy 

Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk also earn a spot on the "complete protein" list. A 16 oz glass of skim milk has a little over 16 grams of protein, while 8 oz of cottage cheese has a whopping 25 grams. 

About 65 percent of people are unable to properly digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy. This explains why so many of us experience uncomfortable symptoms (like diarrhea, gas, and bloating) when we eat dairy products. If dairy intolerance symptoms sound familiar to you, you may consider avoiding this protein substitute. 

  • Soy, Tempeh, and Tofu

Soy and soy-based products like tofu and tempeh are also good sources of plant-based protein. We're mentioning them separately from other non-meat protein substitutes because many people avoid soy due to allergies or other health reasons. (Keep in mind a lot of plant-based protein supplements are made with soy, so if you're trying to avoid this ingredient be sure to look at the label carefully.)

For reference, just one ounce of dried soybeans contains 12 grams of protein. One cup of tempeh (fermented soybeans) contains over 30 grams, and one cup of tofu (soybean curd) has about 20 grams.

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When meat's not on the menu, you'll need to be sure you fill your plate (or shaker bottle) with other good protein sources. Why? Because protein is made up of amino acids, which our bodies must get in order to grow, repair, and stay healthy.

Remember, even if you do eat meat and other animal products, consuming plant-based protein offers additional health benefits and may even reduce your risk of certain diseases. So, in addition to non-meat protein substitutes like dairy and eggs, be sure to get more plant protein in your life.

5 Pet Safety Tips For 4th of July

Safe dog wrapped in flag on 4th of July

July 5th is one of the busiest days in both veterinary hospitals and animal shelters for many reasons — panicked pups bolt over fences leading to injuries and lost pets, unattended food gets scarfed down causing gastric problems, overheated canines experience heat exhaustion, and the list goes on.

The good news is that we know what to anticipate, which means we have the opportunity now to plan ahead and help keep the Fourth fun and safe for everyone. Here are five tips to make sure you and your pet have a great Independence Day.

  1.  Keep the barbecue food away.

    Summer barbecues are delicious for us but full of hazards for pets. High-fat foods like burgers and hot dogs can cause pancreatitis, kebab skewers can wreak havoc in the stomach, corn cobs are a leading cause of GI surgery, and ribs have bones that can splinter and pierce the intestines. Make sure all your grilled goods  are securely out of the way of nosy pets, and keep an eye out for party guests (especially kids) who accidentally leave plates in precarious locations.

  2. Avoid putting glow-sticks on your pet.

    Although they may look cute, please resist the urge to put a glow stick around your pet’s neck. They really aren’t designed for pet use, chiefly because the liquid they contain can be quite irritating if ingested. Fortunately, there is another option! If you want your pup to look bright and patriotic, LED-lighted collars are designed to be both adorable and perfectly pet-safe.

    Woman Keeping Dog Safe on 4th of July

  3. Update your pet’s ID info.

    Is your pet’s tag and microchip up-to-date? If you’ve recently moved or your phone number has changed, getting a new tag and calling your vet to update a microchip are inexpensive forms of insurance for a potentially scary problem. When fireworks go off, even well-behaved, mild-mannered pets can panic and bolt. One of the main reasons pets languish in shelters after the 4th is due to incorrect or missing identification.

  4. Provide a happy distraction at home.

    If you must leave your companion animal home alone when fireworks are likely, take some precautions to help minimize anxiety. Some may even surprise you! For example, some pets find classical music soothing, while others enjoy TV. There are non-drug calming options such as the Thundershirt or a pheromone collar. And, last but not least, try the tasty distraction offered by a treat-dispensing toy filled with healthy dog treats or cat treats!

  5. Consult your vet before the 4th.

    If your dog or cat are prone to levels of anxiety that over-the-counter remedies can’t address, your veterinarian might prescribe medications to help him or her through the night. We can’t stress enough how important it is to plan ahead for this holiday! Vet’s offices are often slammed on July 3rd with pet parents in a panic asking for a new prescription, and it may not be available on short notice.

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While the Fourth of July can be a source of stress for many canines and felines, it doesn’t have to be! As you can see, just a little bit of planning can make a world of difference.  We wish you a safe and happy Independence Day!