Healthy Living

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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Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

woman holding bottle and bag

Going green is more than just a trending topic. If you truly want to have a significant impact on your own ecological footprint and improve your local community, then you should consider adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. On the surface, it may seem difficult to transform your entire life and begin living in an eco-friendly way. However, you can take small steps and slowly change your habits in a way that will eventually make a big difference in the world around you.

Here are five ways that you can live a more sustainable life:

Minimize Your Plastic Use

It seems that everything and anything can be made out of plastic, and that material has taken a serious toll on our world. It is often found washed up on beaches and has been known to cause harm to animals that come into contact with it. One of the best ways to combat this global issue is to reduce your own use of single-use plastics. A few ideas that can help you get started include:

  • Purchasing a reusable water bottle to use instead of buying disposable bottled water. Get fancy with it and buy one that really suits you.
  • Metal and glass straws which are super affordable, eco-friendly alternatives to using regular plastic straws that are not biodegradable.
  • Bring reusable, fabric bags to the store and give them to the bagger to use instead of plastic bags.

Shop at Thrift Stores

The process of manufacturing and distributing clothing products is incredibly draining on the world's natural resources, and the high turnover rate of new fashions has only compounded this issue. Rather than constantly buying a brand new wardrobe every season, you can shop at thrift stores to get great deals on clothes that are in excellent used condition. Even better, many of these stores have designer brands in stock that are still in season and in style!

Amp Up Your Recycling Efforts

One of the simplest ways to live a more sustainable life is to recycle as often as possible. If your community has a recycling program in place, make sure that you recycle every eligible product that you can. However, be mindful of what cannot be recycled as one tarnished recycling bin can compromise the entire load. In addition to participating in curbside recycling, you can also get creative and think about ways you can reuse the products in your house before you dispose of them. Some great ideas include:

  • Repurpose glass jars to organize small items like nails and pins.
  • Use egg cartons to start a gardening hobby.
  • Turn your empty paper towel rolls into a DIY bird feeder.

woman farming

Go to Farmer's Markets

At the farmer's market, you will be able to discover endless options for your next meal. There are tons of vendors available who sell fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products. In addition, you can find homemade pastries and baked goods as well as other locally-produced food items. By shopping local at the farmer's market, you can support your community and reduce the need for cross-country transportation to get food into your area.

Be Mindful of Your Water Usage

Thousands upon thousands of gallons of water are wasted on a daily basis, while many around the world do not have access to clean, fresh water. By being more conscious about how much water you use and when you use it, you can aid in the water conservation efforts that are taking place worldwide. Some things you can do include:

  • Take cooler, shorter showers.
  • Buy a rain barrel to harvest fresh water to reuse in your garden.
  • Wash your dishes by hand rather than using a dishwasher.

Buy from Sustainable Companies

Many companies are getting on the train of sustainability and incorporating eco-friendly practices into their daily operations. Choosing these green businesses over others that take a toll on the environment is just another way to live a more sustainable life. At Life’s Abundance, we aim to decrease our carbon footprint in just about every practice from product packaging to using solar panels. We took it an extra step with our Trees for the Future program by planting a tree for every clean beauty and clean body purchase. As a result, we will have planted over 1,000,000 trees by 2025!

As you take small steps toward a larger goal, it is important to know that a sustainable lifestyle is always within reach. By being conscious of the impact that you have on the environment and staying informed about the best ways to go green, you can improve your own health, reduce your ecological footprint and make the world a better place for the generations to come.


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Yoga At Your Desk

woman at desk with yoga mat

Unless you’re on your feet often as part of your job, it’s highly likely that you sit at a desk for hours on end - and you know what those new studies say, “sitting is the new smoking.”

The chronic stress and tension you place on your body by sitting at a desk, without taking breaks to get up and move, places unnecessary strain on the lumbar spine, overstretches the mid to upper back, and shortens the muscles of the chest and hips, leading to neck, shoulder, and low back pain - and who wants that?

Instead of sitting uncomfortably throughout the day, set aside just a few minutes in between calls to stretch your tight muscles with the quick yoga poses in the video below, take some deep breaths, and clear your mind.  Your body will thank you, and you’ll move through your day healthier, happier, less stressed, and more productive.

POSES

 

Arms clasped behind back to open shoulders

Start by sitting up straight in your chair and interlacing your hands behind your back. Micro bend your elbows and lift them without locking. Roll your shoulders outward to create more space in your front body, and then lift your hands away from your lower back, any amount,  and breath into your upper chest.

Seated pigeon

Crossing your legs while seated, especially when done on one side more than the other, can create imbalances in the hips and lower spine- this pose stretches the outer hips which tend to be super tight from all that sitting.  Flex foot, extend leg out if hips too tight, bend knee and lean forward if you want more of a stretch.

Seated side stretch

The side body tends to collapse when hunched over a computer, contributing to neck and shoulder discomfort. This pose helps you sit with a taller spine, and lengthens the muscles around the ribcage to create more space. Keep shoulders rooted as stretch and side body long.

Seated chair twist

The muscles and other tissues that surround the spine can become stiff over time. This will lead to a decreased range of motion, pain, and stress. Turn sideways hands on the back of the chair, twist from the ground up, and lengthen through the crown of the head.

Forward fold lower back stretch in chair

Forward bends calm the nervous system, so hold this pose for at least 10 long deep breaths. Sit in your chair and widen your legs so they are wider than hip-distance apart. From the hip crease, bend forward and allow your entire body to relax. You can round your back. Drop your head and completely relax your neck.


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Make Your Holidays Sustainable With Eco-Friendly Decor

sustainable wrapping ideas

How great would it be if you could celebrate the holidays while giving our earth the gift of sustainability? Well, that’s exactly what we want to do! We’ve come up with some eco-friendly decor ideas so you can deck the halls without the guilt (or expense) of waste. Here are some of our favorites:

Pressed Leaves

As fall comes to an end, take up the leaves from your backyard and get to pressing! Elevate this tried and true activity to make gorgeous wreaths or tie them to your wrapped gifts as a colorful accessory. There are a couple ways you can press your leaves. You can use a heavy hard book and put the leaves between the pages to flatten them or iron the leaves between wax paper, paper towels or a thin cloth.  To preserve your pressed leaves, you can coat them with eco-friendly epoxy so you can use them for holiday decor for years to come!

Dried Fruit

Another elegant eco-friendly item you can use for your gifts, wreaths, and ornaments is dried fruit! This is a colorful way to decorate your space while using what you already have in your kitchen! Some of the best fruits to use are oranges, apples, and lemons. All you have to do is slice up the fruits and be sure to dry them out as much as possible with a paper towel. Then, lay them flat, bake in the oven at 200 degrees Farenheit for 3-4 hours, and make sure to flip them until they are completely dry! And there you have it! Beautiful eco-friendly decor that smells good and looks even better.

Cranberry and Popcorn Garland

Need a new garland? Look no further! Make a new one that pops with color by using cranberries and popcorn. This is a classic to be sure, but if you’ve never tried it, it’s a wonderful homemade addition! You’ll need none other than popped popcorn and washed cranberries as well as craft string and a needle for threading. Make the popcorn a few days in advance so it gets slightly stale and is firm enough for threading. Thread your two snacks through the string in any pattern you like and then add it to your tree decor! If you really want your homemade garland to last a few more years, spray it with shellac to preserve and reuse!

sustainable decor ideas

Gingerbread Ornaments

Get the kids in on the eco-friendly decor with gingerbread ornaments! This super easy craft looks adorable on trees and gives off an inviting cinnamon scent. These gingerbread cookies are made with only three ingredients, making it the perfect homemade project. All you need is craft glue, ground cinnamon and unsweetened apple sauce. Combine these ingredients together into a dough, roll out and get to work with the cookie cutter. Don’t forget to create the hole at the top for the string to hang. Let it dry by baking, air drying, or using a food dehydrator. Then, whip out the glitter and any other gingerbread accessories for decorating! Once these have all dried, string a ribbon through and hang them up for everyone to enjoy. Even though these look good enough to eat, make sure that you keep them away from kids and pets!

Cloth Gift Wrapping

Traditional wrapping paper doesn’t have the best impact on the environment, especially considering over two million pounds of it end up in landfills by the end of the holiday season. A fantastic alternative to wrapping paper, which is reusable and looks just as festive, is wrapping cloth. Also known as furoshiki, the practice of using cloth to wrap gifts originated in Japan. You don’t need to purchase the exact kind of cloth traditionally used because you probably have something very similar lying around the house. Once you find a fabric, check out the easy tutorials online for the many unique ways to tie up your gifts.

Recycled, Personalized Greeting Cards

Need a fun holiday decor project to do with the kids? Instead of buying a bunch of greeting cards that could potentially end up in landfills, make your own! You can get recycled cards or paper and customize them using potato stamps. All you need to do is outline the desired shape on the potato and then cut around it with a knife so the design sticks out. Dip into paint and you’re all set! This keeps the same festive feel as traditional greeting cards while adding a unique touch, and serious crafty bonus points

By all means, continue to enjoy festivities and less-DIY holiday decor! Just by making small changes to your decorations like we’ve listed here, you can reduce your environmental impact while still experiencing all the warm, fuzzy feelings of the holidays.

Five Healthy Habits That Can Extend Your Life

young woman cutting vegetables

People have spent centuries looking for the Fountain of Youth, hoping to stay young and prolong their lives. We now know that the real gold is in aging as well as we can by embracing a reasonably healthy lifestyle.  We’re here to share the great news that there are some healthy habits you can adopt to help you live longer and better! A recent study conducted by researchers out of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that your lifestyle choices do indeed make all the difference.

The Harvard Study

This 2018 study looked at existing information on thousands of men and women to see if there were patterns that might tell them why some people live longer than others.

They found that a healthy lifestyle played an essential role in how long people lived. According to the study, certain lifestyle factors can reduce the risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. The earlier you start, the better, but adhering to these five standards by age 50 could add 14 years to your life.

Five Healthy Habits That Can Extend Your Life

 

1. Refrain From Smoking

This comes as a surprise to no one. But it’s important to reinforce avoiding the use of tobacco products as this is the most influential factor in living longer. Although the number of people still lighting up continues to drop, cigarettes are not completely out of style. Just one cigarette a day can result in cancer and heart disease later on in life. Also, younger people, especially teens, have taken up vaping and e-cigarettes.  Studies are still emerging on this hot group of products, but fundamentally it is just another way to introduce chemicals from tobacco into their bodies. Lung disease and early death are a risk from use of any form of tobacco.

The numbers might surprise you, but about 12 percent of women and 16 percent of men are still habitual smoking. And an alarming 3.6 million high school students admit to using e-cigarettes for vaping. Estimates are that smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.

senior family yoga

2. Remain Physically Active

If you’re reading this while sitting, let this be the little voice that reminds you to get up and move. A sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It also increases your risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, and mental illness.

Most people know by now that exercise should be part of their daily lives, but how important is it? The study found that the people living the longest did at least 3.5 hours a week, about 30 minutes daily, of moderate to vigorous activity. You can reach this goal by going swimming, dancing, or our favorite - taking a brisk walk with your furry friend.

3. Limit Yourself to Moderate Alcohol Intake

There has been some toss-up on the effect of alcohol on your life. Some studies say that drinking helps you live longer while others say it contributes to chronic illnesses that take years from your life. This study in particular shows that you can still drink, but there is a limit you should try to follow. The U.S Department of Health Dietary Guidelines lists moderate alcohol intake as one drink per day for women and two for men.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Generally, body mass index (BMI) is the tool that measures healthy weight and excess body fat. The study lists a healthy BMI as 18.5 to 24.9, so you’ll want to be within this range. You can calculate your BMI manually, but the math is a bit tricky. Talk to your doctor about calculating your BMI, or use one of the free tools online.

5. Eat a High-Quality Diet

We all know nutrition is a big part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be confusing to know exactly what you should include in your diet. The study used a tool called the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) to determine what a high-quality diet looks like. The AHEI allows you to develop a score based on the number of daily servings you eat certain foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The goal is to follow a diet that is rich in foods that can help prevent chronic illnesses. The study suggests a score of 40% or higher as the standard for a high quality diet.

Along with following these guidelines, you can enhance your food choices and maintain a balanced diet by using high-quality supplements. One takeaway from this study is that even if we know the steps to take toward healthier living, we need support and reminders.  From probiotics to multivitamins and more, Life’s Abundance nutritional supplements provide key elements necessary for good health.

If you’re questing for the Fountain of Health, start by applying these healthy habits and you can potentially add more than a decade to your life.