Healthy Living

8 Foods To Help You Sleep Better


woman having trouble sleeping

Are you one of 70 million Americans who experience restless nights where you’re tossing, turning, and constantly waking up? Maybe you’ve already tried a slew of things in hopes of getting a good night’s sleep - from turning off electronics to blackout curtains, to spraying your pillows with lavender, but it’s still a struggle. We feel your pain and we just might have a solution you haven’t tried.

What if we told you there are certain foods that can improve the quality of your sleep and help you get those well deserved zzz’s?  Science has shown that one key to better sleep starts at the dinner table. Tryptophan, for example, is an amino acid that encourages the release of sleep hormones and is found in some of the foods you love. It’s not only what you eat that matters though, but also how you eat. Digestion slows when you’re laying down which can cause discomfort as you’re drifting off to sleep. So eating a large meal late in the evening isn’t ideal.

To help you rest easy,  we’re sharing eight of the top foods to add to your dinner menu and a few bonus tips on what you’ll want to avoid.  Bon appetit and sweet dreams!

Foods That Improve Sleep Quality

Almonds + Cashews: These go-to nuts contain magnesium, a mineral which acts like a natural sedative. Even a small deficiency in magnesium can lead to trouble in the sleep department. 

Apricots: Not only pretty and deliciously tangy-tart, they’re chock full of vitamin C which can help relieve stress. Vitamin C-rich foods have been shown to help your body recover faster from stress, and fewer rattled nerves may mean better sleep. 

Asparagus: These green stalks are famous for helping us cleanse but they’re also high in folate, which is essential for cardiovascular health and has been linked to anxiety and mood regulation, both which can affect your slumber. 

Bananas: Sweet and creamy, this fruit is a rich source of melatonin, a sleep hormone - as well as potassium, which helps normalize your heartbeat. 

Cheese: Swiss or cheddar, more specifically, are a great source of tryptophan which encourages the release of melatonin. The hormone that helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 

Nutmeg: Researchers have shown that nutmeg improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and it’s also earned a reputation as a home remedy for menstrual cramps and anxiety. 

Tart cherries: This fruit is loaded with anthocyanins, an important type of antioxidant that lowers inflammation, as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels. But they’re sleeping beauties, too, since cherries are also a natural source of melatonin.

Oatmeal: Oats contain more tryptophan per serving than turkey, the food famous for making you sleepy. This amino acid is converted to the feel-good and sleep-controlling hormone, serotonin. Not only that, but just one cup provides you with 60 mg of magnesium. If you have trouble quieting down your brain at night, a lack of magnesium might be to blame. Optimal magnesium levels are needed for getting better sleep.


healthy dinner party

Foods To Avoid

High fat meals: Heavy meals loaded with unhealthy fats and refined carbs have been shown to cause disturbances in your sleep/wake cycle and disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythms which makes it more difficult to fall asleep.

Added sugars: The sweet stuff will affect blood sugar levels, giving you a short burst of energy, before a large drop. As your blood sugar levels fall, your sleep can be disrupted in the middle of the night.

Caffeine: That cup of coffee at night may cause insomnia and restlessness. Try your best to avoid soda, coffee, tea and chocolate after 12:00 p.m.

Alcohol: Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but your quality of sleep throughout the night will be negatively impacted and likely leave you feeling groggy when you wake up.

A lack of quality sleep can have many negative side effects, including irritability, difficulty focusing and an overall lack of ability to function properly. That’s why it’s important for you to try different things, like avoiding certain foods and adding others to your diet. It just might be your key to less tossing and turning at night and more jumping for joy during the day.

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

7 Tips To Help You Sleep Like A Baby

Best Yoga Poses For Better Sleep

Your Food Portions Depend On Your Goals


cutting up large meal

What’s the best choice when it comes to eating habits surrounding meal frequency: eating several smaller meals or three larger meals throughout a day? The answer might not be the same for everybody.

Many studies suggest that smaller, more frequent meals may be healthier overall. Yet, mixed results from other recent studies suggest there is no significant difference between several small meals or three large ones. Instead, you must find the option that works best for you and your lifestyle.

Here’s a little more on what the research has to say:

Metabolism

One argument for eating several small food portions throughout the day is that it keeps your metabolism revved. Your body uses energy to digest food, so the theory is that the more frequently you eat, the more calories your body is burning. Researchers fed study participants the same number of calories divided into either one or four meals and found that increased meal frequency also increased post-meal energy expenditure and fat utilization.

However, other studies did not find significant differences in resting metabolic rate or energy expenditure between low and high meal frequencies.

Weight Loss

Even if the frequency of your eating habits doesn’t have an effect on calories burned, does it influence how many calories you consume? The research is mixed as well. Two studies—one in obese men and one in lean men— assessed how eating breakfast as one meal vs divided into four smaller food portions would influence appetite and energy consumption. In both cases, increased meal frequency lowered hunger and appetite, which may mean that several small meals may potentially prevent you from overeating. That being said, only the lean men ended up consuming less in the following meal.


fork picking up food

Chronic Disease Risk Factors

Maintaining normal blood sugar and lipid levels is key for preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Some studies have found that eating smaller food portions reduces insulin excretion, while others did not find any significant difference in insulin or blood sugar responses.

Mixed results have been found with lipid and cholesterol levels, too. In one clinical trial, participants were randomized to eat either three meals a day or three meals plus three snacks a day. There were no differences in metabolic variables except for an increase in HDL (aka the good cholesterol) in the 3-meal group. Yet, another small study compared three vs nine meals per day and found that more frequent meals significantly decreased LDL (aka the bad cholesterol).

The Bottom Line

This one will be specific to each reader. With various findings on eating habits, likely due to varying study designs, more research is needed. Regardless, what’s most important is the quality of food you eat, the proportion of nutrients you eat and understanding your behavior and lifestyle.

If you tend to be a snacker or want to try out a more frequent eating routine, Life’s Abundance supplements are an excellent option. We designed them to fill the most common gaps with a variety of clean, plant-based and organic ingredients. Of course, it helps that they’re convenient and delicious!

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Best Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

You’ve tried sipping Sleepytime tea, turning off all your screens an hour before bedtime, and even spraying your pillow with lavender - but you still can’t sleep. And less sleep equals more stress, which increases our cortisol levels, negatively affecting the quality and quantity of sleep we get - so you need it.

Yoga can help. A Harvard study on insomnia found that when people practiced yoga for 8 weeks, their sleep improved significantly, including their total sleep time and quality of sleep.

Losing sleep can turn into a vicious cycle and it’s best to break it ASAP, so ditch the late-night Candy Crush, and instead try these five poses to catch a solid eight hours:

Supine Twist


woman doing supine twist

Practiced before bed, this yoga pose helps your spine release tension and relax to stress less and sleep more.

Lie on your back and hug your knees toward your chest. Bring your arms out into a T and lower your knees down to the right, keeping them in line with the navel to stretch the lower back. Hold for 1-5 minutes and repeat on the other side to ring out spinal tension.

Child’s Pose


woman doing childs pose

This pose is known for helping to reduce stress while encouraging sleep, due to the forward folded position. 
Start in a tabletop position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips; big toes to touching. Shift your hips back toward your heels as you lengthen the hands in the opposite direction; gently creating more space in the spine. Rest your forehead on the floor, or on a block or firm pillow. Hold for 1-5 minutes to calm the nervous system and relieve stress. (If your hips don’t reach your feet, don’t worry, just go as far as you can until you feel a stretch).

Legs up the Wall with Extended Exhale


woman with legs against the wall

Bringing your legs above the head, in a restorative position, allows the nervous system to calm down and increase blood flow and circulation, combined with a breathing exercise, it’s the ultimate turn-down pose.

Sit with your right hip up against the wall or the headboard of your bed, with your hands back behind you for support.  Slowly bring your legs up the wall as you lower onto your back with your, hands by your sides. If your hamstrings are tight, your hips may be a few inches away from the wall. Take a deep inhale through the nose, to the count of four, completely inflating the lungs. On the exhale, slow down the breath and empty to a count of eight until the navel contracts back into the spine.  Stay here, continuing this breathing pattern, for 5-10 minutes to calm the mind.

Supta Baddha Konasana


woman performing supta baddha konasana

Supta Baddha Konasana is a wonderful pose that helps you to reach a deep state of relaxation by improving circulation and calming your nervous system.

Start by placing a pillow or a bolster at the base of your back. Bend your legs and gently place the soles of your feet together, but don’t push – just relax. Lie your body back across the pillow or bolster, and allow your body to open up and relax into the position. Breathe slowly and hold the position for at least 5 minutes.

Supported Savasana


men doing savasana

This is the final pose before you go to sleep, as it really helps your mind to relax.

Lie down on the floor, with either a yoga mat or other cushioning, letting your arms and legs relax, palms facing up to open your shoulders. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply, and close your eyes. Stay like this for at least 5 minutes. Come out of the pose by slowly drawing your knees into your chest, then lie down to sleep. (Alternatively, you can do this pose in bed and fall right asleep).

Think of these poses as a restorative meditation and focus the mind solely on the breath as you inhale and exhale. Resist any temptation to lie on your back, hold your phone in the air, and scroll through your social media feed - your sleep is more important than your friend’s latest selfie.

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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.


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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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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.


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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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#1 Yoga Mistake You're Making

woman rolling up yoga mat

People come to yoga for all sorts of reasons: injuries, stress, tight hamstrings, or even to help them get more sleep. To be honest, no matter how you get there, you’ll eventually notice the amazing benefits it has to offer.

Studies have shown that yoga does a lot more than just get you flexible, but because most teachers focus solely on the physical practice, we miss out on the many other incredible benefits that will serve us in more ways than touching our toes. 

So what’s the #1 mistake you’re making when practicing yoga?

You’re only practicing yoga on your mat.

Don’t get me wrong - flowing through a series of poses has its benefits, but the poses are only one of The Eight Limbs of Yoga, and I’ve yet to see Warrior 1 transform a life like what I’m about to share with you.

The Eight Limbs are like a roadmap for how to live your life in the present, not sweat the small stuff, let go of the things that aren’t serving you, to be content where you are, and to be happy for those around you, even if it seems like their lives are a gazillion times “better.”

Once you put all Eight Limbs into practice you’ll marvel at how you no longer are irritated by your kids fighting over the X-Box, or your jerky co-worker who stole your idea and presented it to your boss as his. Even the five pounds you gained on vacation won’t put you into a tailspin, because once you start living in the present without reacting to every outside obstacle, then you look at situations for what they are, figure out a way to handle them, and move on.

No complaining or eating a pint of ice cream necessary.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga work together as a team. They start off with practices that are more about being more mindful of our actions than perfecting the poses, and they’re taught to be followed in order. So ironically, nailing the first two limbs that deal with personal growth and serving others is more important than getting into that handstand you’re coveting on Instagram- because asana, or the actual poses, are number three.

Breaking Down The Eight Limbs of Yoga

  1. Self-restraints that teach us self-discipline. Ever heard of The Ten Commandments? These are just like them minus the religious aspect, and they relate to how we can best co-exist peacefully with our neighbors, and those aforementioned credit-stealing co-workers.
    • Non-violence
    • Truthfulness
    • Non-stealing
    • Self-restraint
    • Non-coveting

  2. Observances to guide us along our yoga practice and they’re important to be learned before stepping foot on a mat.
    • Cleanliness
    • Contentment
    • Discipline
    • Self Study
    • Surrender

    Can you see why it’s been said to practice those first two limbs before moving on? They have so much to do with how you treat people, and yourself, that these mental practices are given much more value than balancing on your head, as they should. Yogi masters believe that once you begin to practice those, you are ready to get “physical” on the mat.

  3. Asana is the physical part of yoga; the poses that most westerners are familiar with. The number one thing to remember when doing physical yoga is that the posture should be steady and comfortable, and the breath flowing freely- nothing else matters.

  4. Breath regulation is one of the most underrated aspects of yoga, yet one of the most powerful. The breath takes precedence above the postures, as it’s usually a mirror of what’s going on in your mind. If your breath is steady and comfortable then your pose probably is as well. If you’re holding your breath or gasping for breath then you’re probably pushing yourself past where your body should go.

    woman practicing yoga

  5. Sense withdrawal is all about focusing your attention inward so as to not be distracted by each buzz on your phone or mosquito biting your arm. On the mat, can you stand in Warrior II with your thigh on fire and stay focused on your breath without constantly having the urge to straighten your leg? Great, then you’re already practicing this limb. Concentration is a constant battle with the senses, so turning inward essentially prepares you for the next 3 limbs.

  6. Concentration leads us closer to peace. It could be a candle flame, a mantra, or a picture - whatever it is, you practice concentrating so intently on that object that time disappears. All this concentration is a set of training wheels for meditation, which is next.

  7. Meditation is uninterrupted focus - where the real magic happens. So what are you thinking of? Some teachers say nothing at all, but for beginners that can be discouraging as it takes years to have glimpses of concentrating on absolutely nothing without any thoughts of disruption. I’ve been taught and teach to use the same tools that you use to begin concentrating- your breath, a mantra, a candle flame, etc.

    Then what’s the difference you ask? Think of your object of focus as water flowing from a pitcher- in concentration that flow stops and starts and stops and starts while pouring into a glass, and in meditation it continually flows freely.

  8. Bliss is when they say you have reached enlightenment, the ultimate goal. (Uhh, I’m still working on this last one). But seriously, instead of looking at it like I’m aiming at some unattainable nirvana, I’ve made my goal something much more tangible, that of being present in each and every moment and in every interaction, and on some days I reach it, but not every day.

I promise, even if you focus on practicing just one of these limbs at a time, alongside your physical practice, it will have a profound effect on your mental well being as you begin to integrate them into your daily life.

It takes practice to stay calm on your mat—and in life, but if you ditch the notion of yoga just happening on that 8 x 2 foot rectangle, you’ll notice a radical change in the positive light that is you yourself and the world around you.


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5 Road Trip-Friendly Summer Recipes

bliss bites and map

What makes a recipe road trip-worthy? 

First off, it has to travel well - nobody wants to open their snack bag to find a wilted salad, a squashed sandwich, or warm fruit salad. These recipes are easy to pack and will not only keep their shape, but also their flavor along the way- while providing you with much needed nutrients to fuel your hiking, biking, or sunning at the beach.  

Second, snacks should give you the energy you’ll need to explore once you get to your destination. So although they should taste great and definitely include “treats,” you want to avoid sugar laden, fried or overly processed packaged snacks.

We’ve road tested our favorite recipes below and given them all the green light - they’re sure to keep you energized, hydrated, and happy on the go.

Sweet Potato Bread

sweet potato bread recipe

Bread travels well, but it’s usually just white flour packed with carbs that make you want to take a nap - not our make-ahead Sweet Potato Bread, packed with Life’s Abundance Plant Protein. It will give you a much needed energy boost after sitting on a long ride, instead of putting you in a carb coma.

Protein-Packed Brownie Cookies

Protein-packed-brownie-cookies

Brownies? Yes, when we said our recipes were healthy, we even meant this one. These Protein-Packed Brownie Cookies pack a double protein punch with the addition of almond butter and Life’s Abundance Plant Protein, so go ahead and eat two!

Bliss Bites

bliss bites recipe

Ever eat a kitchen sink cookie filled with chips, dried fruit,  pretzels and whatever else was hanging around the bakery? Yes, they’re delicious, but packed with sugar and full of empty calories you don’t need. These Bliss Bites are the same concept except they’re chock full of healthy add ins like coconut, almonds, flax seeds, oats and our nutrient-dense Greens Blend. Ok, they also include chocolate chips, but you’re on vacation - go for it!

Summer Wonder Slushie

summer-wonder-slushie

Hydrating drinks, (sorry not a latte),  should be on the top of your packing list, especially when traveling in the summer. Yes, you can pick up a bottle of water when you stop for gas but you’re more likely to be tempted by the slushie machines promising to make your taste buds do a happy dance. Honestly, that two second Cha Cha isn’t worth the red dye #7 and 54 grams of sugar it’s jammed with. Instead, take two minutes and mix up our Summer Slushie that includes our Minerals and Antioxidants powder packed with hydrating coconut water and super fruits to keep you refreshed until you reach your destination. 

Cherry Limeade Fresh Whips

pink-fluff-things

Craving a light and refreshing, crunchy and flavor packed cookie? We’ve got you covered. These Cherry Limeade Whips will keep your passengers happy and your car free from major cookie crumbs. These make ahead treats are so easy, make a double batch and save half as a hostess gift. You’ll be sure to get an invite to return next summer!

Why Your Cardio Needs Strength Training

two people doing lunges at gym

Don’t worry, we aren’t going to tell you to ditch your brand new Peloton bike (that you waited eight months for) but if you’re just “spinning your wheels” doing cardio, without adding strength training, you definitely want to keep reading.

Both cardio and strength training have many of the same benefits and play an important role in your wellness routine. Both can strengthen your heart and reduce your risk of developing a ton of other health issues, including high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis, but strength training has value-added where cardio falls short. Below are just some of those incredible benefits.

Strength training:

    • Can incorporate both your upper and lower body at the same time, unlike cardio which focuses only on 50% of your body. Bonus -  it can raise your heart rate on par with cardio zone levels.
    • Can save your joints, unlike cardio, which puts extra pressure on them. Strength training strengthens all the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even our bones. Plus, it can create more fluid in the joints without placing those repetitive blows to the joint that running or other high-impact cardio does.
    • Fights bone and muscle loss from increased stress on bones. This is great news for people with osteoporosis, or for those of us who want to get ahead of the game and prevent it.
    • Improves flexibility, according to results from a 2017 study in the journal Isokinetics and Exercise Science.
    • Prevents injuries and falls, since strong muscles are important for balance and coordination.
    • Is more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise, according to a Harvard study.
    • May be more effective at reducing cardiovascular disease risks than cardio exercise such as walking and biking, according to research from the ACC Latin America Conference 2018.
    • Can boost your metabolism, so you burn more calories 24 hours a day.
    • That last one gets most people excited, and rightfully so.  One study showed that after working out with weights, your metabolism can actually be boosted for up to 38 hours post-workout. That might not sound so epic, but If you add up every time you workout it can mean a few extra slices of pizza or craft cocktails every month.

person using kettle bell weight

The greatest news? It’s not just about the physical benefits, it also improves mental health. Research published by Jama Psychiatry found that not only do those exercise-triggered endorphins boost your mood,  but strength training provides an opportunity to overcome obstacles which helps increase mental resilience.

Think about it: something as simple as increasing your weights from 5 to 8 pounds can seem like a big victory - we’ll take it!

And don’t think these benefits are just for men. A 2015 Journal of Extension study of middle-aged women, showed that consistent strength training improves body image and perceived physical appearance even if the aesthetics don’t change. But in reality, another benefit to lifting weights is that the results are relatively fast and noticeable.

If you’re looking to tone up and get more definition from your workouts, you aren’t going to see those results just from doing cardio. Watching your clothes getting looser comes from building muscle, which takes up less space than fat, and that results from strength training.

Still worried you need to do cardio every day? You’re in luck!

Strength training can be turned into a cardio workout simply by adding intervals with lighter weights and more repetitions because as long as you’re increasing your heart rate and breathing, then you’re doing a cardio workout.

See, it’s a win-win!

If you love a challenge and want to take it a step further you can up the multitasking benefits by combining upper and lower body dynamic movements that also work the core- it’s like getting three workouts in one. Think about doing a squat with an overhead press, incorporating a twist.

Just think of all the progress you’ll make - in half the time.

The great news? Just 15 minutes of strength training 3 times a week will bring you all of the incredible benefits mentioned above - especially enjoying that extra pizza and margaritas with friends.


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