Healthy Living

4 Reasons To Pay Attention To Your Gut Health

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We’ve all heard the advice to trust your gut, or listen to your gut instincts. You may have even had a gut feeling deep down inside that you should make one decision, or avoid another. People are always listening to their guts — but are they really paying attention to their gut health? 

The fact of the matter is, your gut can tell you a lot more about your overall health than you may realize. These are just a few of the reasons why your gut health is so important:

  • Your Gut Plays a Key Role in Your Central Nervous System

Often when people think of the nervous system, an image of the human brain comes to mind. However, the gut is actually home to one of the most important elements of the entire nervous system — the Enteric Nervous System, or ENS. The ENS is sometimes called the body's second brain because it contains more than 100 million nerve cells that communicate directly with the brain. The ENS primarily works to aid digestion, and a gut that’s out of balance may not have the ability to maintain a strong ENS.

  • Your Gut Contains Bacteria that Controls Inflammation

Your gut is host to a wide variety of bacteria, and on the surface, that may sound kind of gross. In reality, we need good bacteria in the gut in order to improve digestive health and keep inflammation at bay. Your microbiome, the good bacteria in the gut, protects the walls of the digestive system. When these walls are compromised, we can be at risk for a variety of short-term and long-term complications, including allergies, asthma or Alzheimer's. 

  • A Healthy Gut Results in a Happy Person

You know now that your gut routinely talks directly to your brain, but did you realize that your gut actually produces most of the serotonin that your body needs? When you actively support your gut health, you will find that your body produces more serotonin. 

Serotonin is the hormone that makes you feel happy. In fact, when your gut health is compromised, you may find that you feel more anxious or depressed than usual. Many people who include a probiotic supplement as part of their daily regimen find that they generally feel an improvement to their mood. 

  • Your Gut Controls Your Metabolism

Your gut needs to be in tip-top shape in order to properly digest the food that you eat. When you eat  healthy and exercise, both of which promote gut health, you will be able to have a better handle on your metabolism. You will find that you feel more nourished by the food that you eat, and that you have less cravings. People who support their gut health often feel more energized by their food, and they feel more capable of leading an active lifestyle. Remember, your metabolism is responsible for fluctuations in weight — that means taking control of your metabolism and gut health can help you take control of your weight as well. 

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One way to support positive bacteria in the gut is to take a daily probiotic supplement. Of the five beneficial strains in our probiotic at Life's Abundance, one has even been shown to support overall digestive health, including bowel habits. Further, we’ve included a strain that is native to humans, rather than cows like typical supplements. 

It can be tempting to ignore that little voice inside, but when you pay it some attention, you just may feel like the best possible version of yourself!

Sweet Potato Protein Bread Recipe

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Many people have turned to the satisfying task of making their own bread while they are stuck at home. In fact, so many people are baking bread that yeast demands around the country have been soaring!

Bread making is a time-consuming yet rewarding task that many people have found to be therapeutic while social distancing. Try it for yourself —here’s our unique recipe for sweet potato protein bread that the entire family will enjoy. 

Ingredients (one round loaf)

  • 3 chopped and boiled sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp of active dry yeast
  • 1.25 cups of milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 + 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/3 of a cup of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsps + 2 tsp of organic cane sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp of salt
  • 1 scoop of Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein
  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour + more to dust
  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour

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Directions

  • Peel, boil and mash the sweet potatoes.
  • Heat the milk and 2 tbsp of butter until the butter is slightly melted. Stir in the sugar and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Add the yeast to the milk and put it aside to activate. After about 7 minutes it should start to form a froth, with a lot of movement and yeast activity.
  • Mix the mashed sweet potato into the yeast mixture.
  • In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, salt, sugar and protein powder.  Add the yeast mixture and start mixing until the dough starts to form.
  • Stir the yeast into the water and allow the yeast to bloom until foamy.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt by hand. Once incorporated, create a small well in the middle and pour in the water and yeast mixture.
  • Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. The water and flour should come together and form a rough dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour in small increments, about 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Once the dough comes together, cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 ½-2 hours).
  • Uncover the dough and give it a few pokes with your finger. If the dough has risen properly, it should indent under the pressure of your finger and slowly deflate.
  • Using your hand or a rubber spatula, start from the rim of the bowl to work the dough loose from the sides and fold it up and towards the center of the bowl. Turn the bowl 90 degrees, and repeat until all the dough has been pulled from the sides and folded towards the center.
  • Once finished, cover and let the dough rise again for another 1 ½-2 hours.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size again, gently transfer it from the bowl to a lightly floured surface.
  • Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough. Using your hands, begin to shape it into a loaf. Fold the dough under itself several times to form a ball, then pinch together the seams of dough underneath.
  • Place the dough seam-side down in a clean bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil and dusted with flour.
  • Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, place a 6-quart Dutch oven (or heavy cooking pot with oven-safe lid) inside the oven. Preheat the oven to 450˚F (230˚C) with the pot inside for 45 minutes-1 hour.
  • Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place it on a trivet or heat-safe surface. (Be careful! It’ll be VERY HOT.)
  • Turn the proofed dough over onto a lightly floured surface and carefully place it inside the pot.
  • Cover with the lid and return the pot to the oven.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, removing the lid for the last 15 minutes.
  • Remove bread from pot, cover, and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Delivery From Our Friends: The FruitGuys

Family Using FruitGuys Delivery To Make Juice

If you’re among those who are searching for ways to help others through the tremendous impact coronavirus has had on jobs and businesses, we have a company we’d love for you to meet.

Our friends at The FruitGuys are an amazing bunch of people.  For 22 years they’ve made it their mission to do right by their customers, farmers, the environment, and the communities they serve.  Like us, they are a private Evergreen company working to make lasting change in the world. In short, we’re proud to know them.

Use our exclusive LIFE25 code at The FruitGuys checkout for a 25% discount on your order!

Here’s Where You Come In!

Home Delivery:
The FruitGuys deliver fresh fruit and snacks straight to your home.  You heard that right!  In a time when so many of us are craving fresh, healthy produce and want to avoid a trip to the store, these folks are packing an array of fresh, farm-sourced fruit and healthy snacks, and bringing them straight to you. You can also send a box of fruit to a friend or loved one who doesn’t have access to produce. They deliver nationwide from 15 regional distribution hubs with local farm and supplier relationships. 

Remote Staff Support:
If you’re an employer, consider their Remote Staff Delivery boxes for your staff who are working from home.

Nourish Our Heroes:
You can also contribute to their Fruit for Heroes Campaign, which is supplying hospitals, food banks and other charities with fresh fruit for the people who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. So far, over 111,000 servings of fruit have been donated by people just like you.

Why Now?

The FruitGuys have facilities across the United States and are certified with top scores for food safety by Primus, a 3rd party auditing agency.  In this unprecedented moment, The FruitGuys can safely pack your box of fruit for delivery so that it is both convenient and helpful to you. By trying out The FruitGuys home delivery service, you can help support farmers and staff while getting something you love at the same time!  

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“Lester (CEO of Life's Abundance) and I met through The Tugboat Institute and realized how similar our world views of businesses were.  As both an Evergreen and B-Corp business, we strive to bring delicious fruit and snacks to folks while also helping those in need and small farmers across America.  I love the care that Life’s Abundance gives to their customers and we love to bring that same spirit and support to those who order our fruit.”  

--Chris Mittelstaedt, The FruitGuys Founder/CEO

 More Reasons To Support The FruitGuys:

  • Right now many supply chains are disrupted and it can be difficult to find the fruit that you want from online grocery delivery services or at the store.

  • The FruitGuys share values similar to ours as a people-first business that is in service of your health and happiness.

  • The FruitGuys Community Fund is their nonprofit, founded in 2012, to provide annual grants to small farms and agricultural nonprofits. They fund sustainability projects that have a positive impact on the environment, local food systems and farm diversity. They are about to announce their class of 2020 grantees.

  • The FruitGuys GoodWorks Program makes sure all their excess or imperfect fruit is donated to local food banks and charities each week — they’ve given more than  15 million servings of fresh fruit since 2000!

  • Fruit mixes change each week — check out this week’s local fruit and snack mixes here.

During this time of need, we think it’s important to look out for one another when possible. The FruitGuys are an amazing company that is giving back to communities across the country and truly making a difference in the world. 

Use our exclusive LIFE25 code at checkout for a 25% discount on your order!

5 Fun Family Activities To Do At Home

Family Having A Dance Party At Home

Sometimes an unforeseen event can force you into a home office situation you might not be fully prepared for. When making the transition to working from home, some parents get caught short on one vital thing — how do you entertain the kids?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered — at least for a week! We’ve come up with five weekday activities you can do with the whole family when your kids are home from school — one for each day of the work week:

Monday: Have an ABC Day

Choose a letter and plan the day around that letter. For the letter G, you could eat Granola, drink Greens Blend, play in the Garden, and make drawings of Giraffes (you get the idea!). Set them on a scavenger hunt for things around the house that start with “G”. Keep a list of how many “G” related things you can accomplish in one day. This is a great teaching activity for parents with young ones, but it’s still a fun game for any age!

Tuesday: Grow Fruit Trees & Reuse

This simple project will encourage you to practice your green thumb while teaching kids about seed germination. Save up the seeds from your apples, oranges, or any fruit that you have in the house, along with the cardboard from your toilet paper rolls. Toilet paper rolls make excellent seed starters; they are compostable and can be directly planted into the ground. 

Instructions:

  1. Cut the toilet paper roll in half.

  2. Make four cuts in the roll, 1/3 of the way up.

  3. Fold the cut area on the bottom like you would close a box.

  4. Fill your new seed pots with a light potting soil, plant the seed and pack it down with your thumbs – it's that simple.

  5. Place outside in a sunny spot or inside a window sill and watch it grow!

 Wednesday: Spring Cleaning — But Make It Fun!

If you’re guilty of having a Pinterest board with organization ideas but no time to implement any of the tips and tricks you’ve been saving, this one's for you! Collect all reusable jars in the house and start transferring the contents of your pantry into them. Add a little fun to this project for kids or adults by getting crafty with your labeling. Use an eco-friendly cleaner to wipe down the insides of your pantry once you’ve taken all the contents out!

“Mason

Thursday: Dance Party

Create a music playlist for the family and have a dance party! Movement is important for the mind and body, and dancing is a wonderful way to have fun and connect with your family while moving. We love this activity because it’s something you can do even if you are alone — this is your chance to dance like nobody's watching! 

Friday: Start A Book Club

Start a book club with friends and schedule video chats to discuss. Book clubs promote reading, critical thinking and healthy socializing in kids. And with today’s technology, it’s easy to hop on a group video call and stay connected. Keeping up with a book club doesn’t end when they go back to school — this is an activity that can be permanently ongoing! 

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You can tackle these projects in the order your family wants to. Remember, assigning projects to kids at home is a great way to keep them engaged, entertained and finding success when they’re home from school. It also helps keep them on a schedule and gives everyone something to look forward to each day!

 

4 Ways To Support Digestion And Immunity

Woman Gets Probiotics From Eating Yogurt

Gut health has been gaining traction in the health and wellness world, and for very good reason. Gut health affects everything from your immune system, to your weight, to your brain function, so it’s really important to focus on what’s going on in your belly.

More and more research highlights the importance of the healthy bacteria that live in your gut.

Having adequate “good” bacteria has been shown to help regulate the digestive system and help support the immune system. Recent probiotic studies connect proper balances with healthy body weight and brain health too!

Here are four ways you can take steps to support your digestive health, a key to your overall well-being and immunity:

  1. Take a Probiotic daily 
    Think of this supplement as a bit of an ‘insurance policy’ to help make sure that you’re balancing the bacteria in your gut every day, no matter what. Support your digestive health and immune system with our Probiotic Supplement — it has a proprietary 5-strain blend with 25 billion CFUs guaranteed. Plus, it's made in the USA

  2. Add fermented foods to your diet 
    Try adding foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. They begin with a live active culture and are fermented, giving them the benefit of probiotics.

    Man Pours Water To Stay Hydrated

  3. Drink lots of fluids 
    Our bodies need water for skin health, immunity and energy, but also to push things along through digestion. So while we need the bacteria for gut health, we also need the fluids to keep everything moving as it should.

  4. Eat fiber
    Many fibers are considered to be prebiotics. This means that they feed the good bacteria already present in your gut. But different fibers feed different bacterium, so it’s important to get these prebiotics from multiple sources and from a variety of foods.

To ensure a healthy gut, you should take a premium Probiotic supplement for balanced gut health and a supported immune system. You can also include a serving of fermented food each day for extra measure. Once you take gut health into your own hands, you may be surprised how great you feel and become a pro-probiotic fanatic as well!

7 Ways To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

Brother And Sister Washing Dishes With Eco-Friendly Cleaner

We should always be looking for new ways to be kinder to our planet — a great way to start is by making your own home more eco-friendly!

Having an eco-friendly home will help you contribute to a sustainable environment and also save some money. Every step you take helps reduce your own carbon footprint!

Here are seven ways you can put your home on an eco-friendly track:

  1. Save Water

    It’s time to get serious about saving water! Installing a water meter, checking your place for any leaks, and even just cutting down on shower time are ways to be conscious of your water consumption. A low-flow showerhead can save over 2,000 gallons of water per person each year! Remember: Use only what you need when it comes to water.

  2. Compost Food Waste

    Don’t waste your leftovers — turn your kitchen scraps into compost. Consider investing in a compost bin or building your own to start composting food waste. After breaking down kitchen scraps you will be left with rich fertilizer for your garden and a lot less food waste. Plus you’ll make insects such as worms very happy!

  3. Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

    Harmful chemicals are not only bad for the environment, they can be dangerous if you have pets or kids in your household. Luckily there are eco-friendly cleaners designed with kid and pet safety in mind. Check out our eco-friendly cleaners that are safe for the whole family, including our Bio-Base Floorwash and Bio-Base Biodeodorizer Spray.

    Man Mops Floor With Eco-Friendly Floorwash

  4. Proper Insulation and Ventilation

    If you are a homeowner, maintaining the temperature inside your house is crucial to energy management. The latest in insulation and ventilation helps keep your home’s temperature steady during all seasons, eliminates energy waste and saving you money in heating and cooling costs each year.

  5. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

    This is a simple one — investing in energy efficient light bulbs isn’t very costly and they use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. They also last much longer, which means you don’t have to replace them as often. It’s a no-brainer — save some cash and energy at the same time!

  6. Buy Recycled Items

    Try to buy recycled products whenever you can. From toilet paper to paper towels and napkins, you can find almost any paper-based household product made with recycled materials. You can even buy recycled technology, such as cell phones and video game consoles.

  7. Install Solar Panels

    While it’s a long-term investment, solar panels are an essential feature for an eco-friendly home. Solar panels provide clean electricity — and in many cases you can generate enough energy to sell some back to the electric company. Deciding to install solar is a long-term financial investment. The big upside here is that at a certain point you will break even and be free from continuing to pay your utility every single month. Hands down, solar is one of the best ways to make your home eco-friendly.

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Here at Life’s Abundance, we are focused on reducing our own carbon footprint everyday. Our Florida headquarters is solar powered, our Texas warehouse will be powered by wind, and we’re constantly implementing more sustainable practices throughout our business. Thanks to these initiatives along with our tree planting program we are a climate positive company. Customers are a big part of this impact too. For each skin care product purchased another tree is planted!

Do you have other great ideas for eco-friendly living? Share them in a comment below.

Tropical Chia Pudding Recipe

Bowl with Tropical Chia Seed Pudding

This recipe has become one of our favorites because of its few ingredients, minimal prep time, and delicious flavor. Whether you’re eating it for breakfast or dessert, chia pudding is a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Recipe:

Makes 4 servings

For Serving (optional):

  • Diced fresh peaches
  • Sliced banana
  • Walnuts
  • Honey
  • Sea salt

Instructions:

  • In a mixing bowl add coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup (to taste), and Minerals & Antioxidants. Whisk to combine. We used the container we would be storing the pudding in for less cleanup.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours). The chia pudding should be thick and creamy. If not, add more chia seeds, stir, and refrigerate for another hour or so.
  • Layer your serving bowls with cut peaches and one serving of chia pudding per bowl. Next, layer bananas and walnuts. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt, and enjoy!

Chia pudding will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, making this a great recipe for anyone with limited kitchen time. Even better, kids love helping with this recipe since the pudding turns pink once our Minerals & Antioxidants mix is added — it's also perfect for vegans!

Bored of Water — Stay Hydrated With These Tips

Little Girl Drinking Healthy Juice

Do you know someone who says, “I’m tired of drinking water!” Maybe you even feel that way yourself. Getting past your taste buds can be a challenge, especially if you're not sure where to turn for healthy alternatives.

Whether we like the taste of water or not, hydration is an essential part of our health. Many people experience symptoms of dehydration and have no clue their body is craving water. Here are some telltale signs that you may be suffering from dehydration:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark, yellow urine

While these are the first signs of dehydration, they can get worse over time. If your dehydration is not addressed, you may experience more serious symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, fainting, dry skin and lack of energy.

Woman Bored of Drinking Water

How to fight dehydration

While flavored waters can be appealing, typically they include undesirable ingredients like artificial colors, flavors, and sugar.

A tasty way to enjoy water is with our Minerals and Antioxidants mix. Instead of a sugar crash from other “healthy” drink brands, our mix delivers a delicious boost of sustained energy from a blend of superfruits and sea vegetables with no added sugars, flavors or preservatives.

Here are some other foods you can try out that will help keep you hydrated:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Oatmeal
  • Juice
  • Soup
  • Coconut water
  • Yogurt
  • Popsicles

Don’t let the taste keep you from proper hydration. Without it, you won’t be able to function at 100% and it could even impact your long-term health.

Staying hydrated is a simple but important step to putting your health first. Put some of these healthy and tasty solutions to work for you and benefit from their nutritious qualities!

Candy Cane Protein Shake Recipe

Candy Cane Smoothie

Attention Candy Cane Lovers: The holidays are here! That means it’s time to indulge in a sweet peppermint treat with a healthy boost of protein.

Create your own Candy Cane Protein Shake this holiday season:

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add ice, blend, and enjoy!

Popular 'Fruit' Drinks For Kids Found To Be Unhealthy

Girl Shares Unhealthy Kids Drink With Woman

Parents around the country are always trying to make sure their children are eating a nutritious diet — that’s why it was so shocking when an eye-opening new study revealed their kid’s favorite seemingly-healthy drinks are loaded with added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Researchers analyzed 34 sweetened kids' drinks and found that two-thirds contained no juice, but images of fruit appeared on 85% of the packages, according to a new report from the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Packaging with pictures of fruit and other nutritional claims have left both parents and kids thinking these drinks contain fruit and sources of nutrition. In reality, many kids end up consuming more than the recommended amount of daily added sugar.

“Labels on drinks are confusing and misleading, causing parents to think they are providing their children a healthy drink when in actuality they are not,” said Natalie Muth, MD, pediatrician and representative of the APP. “The American Academy of Pediatrics is alarmed that children consume so much added sugar.”

According to the study:

  • Sugary drinks make up about one-half of all added sugar consumed by children.
  • Fruit-flavored juice drinks with added sweeteners are the most common sugary drink consumed by young children, toddlers and preschoolers.
  • One serving of 11 of the top fruit drinks had more than 50% of the recommended amount of daily added sugar for children.

“I know that parents want their children to be healthy, but the sweetened drink market is just incredibly confusing to parents,” said lead author Jennifer Harris, the principal investigator for the study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Unhealthy Drinks For Kids On Production Line

Many popular kids’ drinks in the country contain 0% juice while plastering images of fruit on their labeling and advertising. Making a switch to something healthy seems like a simple choice, but kids will be demanding a flavorful alternative beyond the pediatrician-recommended options of water and milk.

If you are looking for a tasty replacement for the sugary drinks in your family’s life, look no further than our Minerals & Antioxidants drink mix. Meant for use as a dietary supplement, it’s packed with electrolytes, amino acids and other nutrients from a blend of nutritious sea vegetables and superfruits. With delicious Cherry and Tropical Fruit flavors, the kids will never know! As with all Life’s Abundance products, it does not contain any added sugar or artificial flavors. There are even fun recipe ideas to try, like Mango Tropsicles. As always, consider talking to your family physician before introducing new supplements.

The next time you are in the ‘juice’ aisle at the store being bombarded by vibrant packaging and maybe even your kid’s pleas, remember this study and feel confident in your decision to skip the sugary kids' drinks.