Life's Abundance | Premium health products

Strawberry Protein Smoothie


person putting strawberries into a blender

Looking for quick and easy breakfast ideas to make your sweetie on Valentines Day? Look no further than this delicious, strawberry smoothie. It’s not only packed with vitamins and protein, it’s also sugar free and gluten free for those who have allergies. Plus it only takes about 2 minutes to make, and is totally portable if you need to take it to go. If you want to kick the nutrients up a notch, you can make it a green smoothie by adding a handful of frozen spinach or kale - just know it will lose it’s pretty, pink color. Enjoy!


strawberry protein smoothie

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend for 60-120 seconds until you get a smooth and creamy texture.
  2. If it’s too thick, add more milk.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately. You can store in the fridge for up to 24 hours, but it definitely tastes best fresh.

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

Banana Bread Protein Breakfast Cookies

Blueberry Protein Overnight Oats Recipe

How To: At Home Facial Massage


woman putting serum on skin

You know that healthy glow? The one you have just after a facial treatment? Your esthetician’s most effective tool in her line up is her hands and you can achieve that very same radiance at home, without costing you a thing. All you need? Your favorite facial oil and your very own two hands to practice a simple facial massage. Healthy, radiant skin is about so much more than just the products you use. Your beautiful serum or cream are only a part of the puzzle, but how you use your products and treat your skin is another. Tie your hair back, grab your nutrient-rich facial oil and explore your skin while enjoying the many benefits of a facial massage at home. 

Facial Massage Benefits

Aside from that gorgeous healthy glow, there are quite a few reasons why you may want to start including this simple, effective and feel-good practice into your weekly (and better yet, daily) routine. We love to think of facial massage as not just another step in a routine, but as a solid building block of a healthy, skin supporting regimen. Let us count the reasons we encourage a this practice:

  1. Increased circulation: Facial massage encourages circulation which means increased blood flow that brings more oxygen to the skin’s surface, supporting skin-healing. The pinkening of your skin during facial skin is thanks to that increased blood flow.
  2. Lymphatic drainage (aka toxin removal): With the right techniques, you can aid your lymphatic system with its natural process of toxin removal where stagnant fluid (made up of white blood cells, lipids, excess water, proteins, and salt) that’s built up below the skin’s surface.
  3. Reduction of fine lines: We like to think of a facial massage as a workout for your face, albeit a much more relaxing one. Using the right techniques and working with the facial muscles, we can train them to “lift” in the right direction, creating an overall more toned appearance. With a steady practice, facial massage also “wakes up” fibroblasts, which are responsible for creating juicy collagen in our bodies, and alerts them to up their collagen production.
  4. Release of tension: Although we may not realize it, we tend to hold stress and tension in our face, neck and shoulders. This repeated pattern can lead to painful knots, fine lines and wrinkles, and grinding of the teeth. Facial massage invites you to connect with where you hold tension and gently help to release it.
  5. Better product absorption: Help your beautiful, natural facial oil go the extra mile. Facial massages are one of the most efficient ways to help your products better absorb into skin. We suggest misting skin with a water-based toner and massage your serum or hydrating face cream into skin.
  6. Learning your skin: Don’t be fearful of touching your skin - just approach it with care. Using clean hands, explore your skin with touch and learn it’s texture. Ask yourself these questions; how does it feel? Is it oily? Are there any dry patches? Does your skin feel tight? Actually getting to know your skin on this level will help you identify when skin is off balance or experiencing inflammatory responses.


woman doing a facial massage

How To Do A Facial Massage At Home

Start with clean skin and freshly washed hands. Apply your favorite facial mist (also known as toners) and apply facial oil liberally to the palm of your hand (5-6 drops). Rub hands together to create warmth. Starting from the neck, apply your facial oil in gentle, upward moving sweeps, from your neck to chin and mouth, to cheeks and nose, and lastly to your forehead. Now your skin is prepped. 

  1. A great place to start is with a few movements that encourage lymphatic drainage; using your finger pads, very lightly brush skin in outward movements toward the lymph nodes. Beginning from the jawline up to the ears, then cheeks out to ears, and lastly mid-forehead down to ears. Next, lightly tap the area above your inner collar bone to awaken the area for drainage. End this lymphatic sequence at your neck; use your fingers to lightly brush from the nape of your neck downward, ending at your collarbone, “flushing” lymphatic fluid out. Repeat several times.
  2. Next, focus on oxygenating movements. Holding your hands horizontally, place your fingers at the base of your mouth and move upward toward your cheek and under eye, alternate hands and move in quick succession. Repeat at least six times on both sides.
  3. Use your middle knuckles to simultaneously massage your cheeks in upward, outward circles. This movement feels wonderful and also increases blood flow, so we encourage you to perform this movement for as long as it feels good.
  4. Focus on tension reduction. Make a narrow peace sign on each hand with your index finger and middle finger and hold your chin with your thumbs below to support. Glide fingers upward along the jawline until you reach your earlobe. Next, use your thumb and index finger to lightly pinch your brow starting at the center and work your way outward. Repeat both sequences six to eight times.
  5. As a last step, use index and middle fingers to create light circles in outward motion around your cheeks, and lastly at your temples.

Facial massages don’t have to be overly complicated or involve complex techniques to be effective. Just be sure to prep skin, use outward and upward movements, move with your facial muscles, and use featherweight, downward strokes when focusing on lymphatic drainage. Drop your facial massage questions below!


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

Why You Need Facial Oil In Your Skin Care Routine

Face Yoga: A New Trend In Skin Care

Maintaining Pet Dental Health Through Nutrition


dog teeth

If you’re a fan of dog kisses, then you might be taken aback when you get a hint of foul breath. Bad breath can be a sign of numerous problems including periodontal disease, which is the result of inflammation of the gums and bones in your dog’s mouth. More than 85% of pets have dental issues, so it’s an overwhelmingly common concern.

In order to prevent disease and other dental issues, it’s important to take care of your pet’s teeth. Waiting too long for a dental cleaning can result in more damage such as problems in the heart, liver and kidney. One of the ways you can support oral health is through nutrition. First, your pup’s daily diet should be full of nutrients and vitamins that maintain their overall dental health. Here are a few you should be looking for in the ingredients:

Antioxidants: Look for an antioxidant system that includes vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins offer anti-inflammatory actions. Folic acid can also help support the gum tissue warding off the likelihood of periodontal disease.

Calcium and phosphorus: Calcium is a vital nutrient for dental health as it promotes healthy bones and teeth. It works together with phosphorus which helps maintain the strength of the bones. It’s important that the nutritional balance of these two minerals meet a dog’s needs throughout their life stages - whether they’re rapidly growing puppies, or entering their senior years.

Probiotics: Probiotics are great for your pet’s gut health. But have you considered that the oral cavity is part of the digestive tract? By supporting your pet’s gut health, this can help in supporting their dental health as well.


woman getting dog kisses

While the kibble they eat is important, you cannot forget about their snacks. Look for treats that allow them to chew such as Water Buffalo Bully Sticks. This chewing action helps reduce tartar and maintain their dental health. You can also choose a Gourmet Dental Treat that contains ingredients like calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones. Plus, the added parsley helps with doggie breath!

In addition to taking care of their teeth through nutrition, you can also monitor their dental health at home. Just like us, pets need daily teeth brushing too. This can sound like a daunting task but it can save your furry friend’s oral health and your bank account in the long run. If your pet allows it, frequently check their mouth by flipping their lip and taking a look at their teeth and gums. Ask your veterinarian for a tutorial on what signs to watch for, like bumps or swelling on the gums, as well as tartar or chipped teeth. Pay attention to how their breath smells too. This could indicate unfriendly bacteria in their mouth.

The bottom line is to remember the importance of oral health to overall health. Plan on regular,  proper cleanings by your vet. Even if you’re brushing their teeth daily, they will still eventually need a deep cleaning which usually includes x-rays. Between these regular checkups both at home and at the vet, and robust daily nutrition, your pup will enjoy a happier, healthier life while you enjoy those sloppy kisses.


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

Maintaining Pet Dental Health At Home

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Banana Bread Protein Breakfast Cookies


banana bread protein breakfast cookies

You’ve heard it 1,000 times, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” yet you still struggle to find the time to eat it, let alone make it. Although there’s a whole niche market of grab-and-go breakfast items, most of them are full of ingredients you can’t pronounce, let alone would want to eat - not the way you want to start your day. 

We’ve got the perfect solution. Say hello to our Banana Bread Protein Breakfast Cookies. These “cookies” not only taste great, but are full of healthy ingredients and pack a protein punch - thanks to our Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein.

Ingredients (Makes about 12 cookies): 

  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, melted, plus more for the pan
  • 3 medium, ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 scoop of Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein
  • 3 cups gluten-free oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts


banana bread protein breakfast cookies recipe

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with oil and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal and 2 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes to thicken.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, vanilla, oil, sugar, maple syrup, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flaxseed meal-water mixture. Add the almond flour, protein powder, and oats. Stir until combined. Fold in the walnuts.
  4. Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop out the batter and put on the cookie sheet, until all the batter is used.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cookies feel firm and the tops have turned golden brown.
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, or put in a container and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.


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

World's Best Dairy Free Cheesecake

Blueberry Protein Overnight Oats Recipe

Everything You Need To Know About Urine Marking


person walking dog outside

Why do dogs mark inside the house? You might be wondering this every time you leave your furry friend home for a couple hours and come back to a tinkle near the sofa. The good news is, most of the time, this behavior is normal. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s okay. It can be extremely frustrating to deal with a soiled couch or other belongings.

Dogs mark their territory outside as a way of communication. Think of it like social media. Each time your pup stops and sniffs, they’re learning about the dog that was in that spot before. Then, your dog might pass over it or urinate in that same area to claim that territory as their own. However, if your dog is marking inside your home, there could be a multitude of reasons as to why.

Reasons Your Dog Is Marking Inside

One of the biggest reasons your pup might be marking inside is due to stress or anxiety. This includes leaving them home alone, unsupervised. Dogs can start to feel lonely and stressed which leads to this unwanted behavior. Sometimes, even stressful situations outside, such as seeing another dog, can result in urinating in the house. This can happen when dogs hold off on marking outside because they don’t want to announce their presence, therefore leading to an accident inside.

Another reason your furry friend might be marking is because of a change in routine. This could be anything, such as moving to a new home. This unfamiliar atmosphere could cause them to mark inside, essentially claiming it as their own. Even something as simple as rearranging your furniture can stress them out and cause a change in behavior. What about when you have guests over? Have you noticed a change in marking habits? Having someone out of the ordinary staying over can also trigger marking. Dogs are basically telling your guests that any object that is in their house is theirs.


woman petting dog in new house

The presence of other furry friends in the house could be another reason why your dog might be marking. Your pup might see the others as competition and will mark inside the house to show who is the “pack leader” in their home. They may also urinate when they are competing for your attention, toys, treats or food. This can be very stressful for insecure dogs leading them to mark to relieve this stress.

Sometimes, lack of training could simply be mistaken for urine marking. This is especially common among puppies and small dogs. You’ll know if your pup is properly house trained if they are not having accidents for about 1-3 months. You may want to talk with your vet to rule out incontinence in an older dog.

How To Stop Your Dog From Marking:

  1. Supervise your dog at all times. If you have to leave, confine your pup to a smaller area so they are not free to roam. You can use a gate or a crate (if they are crate trained) to keep them in the area.
  2. Dogs are less likely urinate where they eat so consider moving their food and water to spots where they frequently mark. You can even put their treats in those same areas so they associate it with snacks rather than marking.
  3. If your dog does mark, clean the area with a Biodeodorizer. This will break up the proteins that are in urine so they aren’t tempted to mark in the same spot over and over again. Even better, this spray has a neutral pH with no harsh chemicals so it’s safe to use around your pets and kids.
  4. Some dogs continue to mark out of habit. If you notice that your pup frequently marks outside as well, gently pull him away each time they try to urinate after they’ve already relieved themselves. This could help stop the habit that continues inside.
  5. If none of these seem to work for your dog’s marking, talk to your vet, a behaviorist or professional trainer. If your dog is urinating due to anxiety or stress, confidence-boosting exercises may make a difference. Or, if they have an underlying UTI, medication may be needed to help. Pay attention to your dog’s habits. If they start exhibiting behaviors that are out of the ordinary, it is best to talk first to your vet to rule out any medical conditions.

Whatever you do, do not punish your dog when they mark, especially if you don't see it happen. Dogs will not associate their urinating with the punishment which can only cause confusion. If you catch them in the moment, distract them from the action. Then, immediately take your pup outside so they know to only urinate outdoors.


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

Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Illness

Understanding And Dealing With Pet Stress

Decoding The Skin Microbiome


woman looking at face in mirror

Understanding your skin’s microbiome

Did you know that there is an entire microscopic world living on the surface of your skin? This natural ecosystem is called the microbiome, a system of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses and more, that is responsible for the health and function of our skin. You may have read or heard the skin microbiome referred to as the “skin flora,” similar to how the system of microorganisms in the gut is called “gut flora.” Why is this natural ecosystem on the surface of skin so important? Read on below to discover more about your own skin microbiome. 

What is its role?

If you think about it, skin - the body’s largest organ - is essentially the biggest shield between us and the outside world. It protects us from things like pathogens (harmful bacteria or viruses that can cause disease), so it’s important that the skin microbiome is healthy, flourishing, and functioning optimally. The microbiome also hosts a slew of impressive functions including but not limited to reducing inflammation, communicating with your immune system and protecting us from environmental stressors, and more. Research into the microbiome is uncovering something new nearly every day!

The skin microbiome and skin barrier connection

As we mentioned, modern science is regularly uncovering new information into the complex world of our natural microbiomes. Although it’s a super complex topic, it’s helpful to have a top-level overview of how two of our vital defenses, the skin microbiome and barrier, function and work in tandem. 

If you’ve been reading our blog posts on skin care, you’re probably familiar with the term “skin barrier,” it’s the outermost layer of skin made up of lipids and skin cells. A functioning skin barrier locks moisture in, and blocks harmful bacteria from entering. The incredible skin microbiome is a vital and essential component of an optimally functioning skin barrier as discussed above by keeping healthy flora at a premium, and pushing the bad guys out. 


woman washing face

How to keep your skin microbiome healthy and flourishing

First, you should know that a healthy microbiome results in skin that’s hydrated, balanced, lacks inflammation and is clear. Microbiome imbalances are often linked to eczema, acne, allergies or dandruff and can also result in sensitized or dry skin. Several factors can all affect the overall health of skin flora including diet and topical products, two factors that are easily in your control! 

If you’re dealing with chronic breakouts and using antibacterial treatments but not getting the results you’re hoping for, consider that those antibacterial creams or washes may be killing the bad and the good bacteria, resulting in a decimated skin barrier. While we can’t emphasize enough the complex science that is microbiome research, we do have a few steps to implement daily to help care for your skin’s microbiome:

  1. Don’t always opt for an antibacterial cream or wash if you’re experiencing acne. As we explained above, antibacterial treatments often kill off the good bacteria that keeps your microbiome balanced and healthy. You also run the risk of bacteria building up resistance to antibiotic treatments with repeated use. Look for natural antibacterial options like tea tree essential oil, blue chamomile essential oil and thyme essential oil to name a few.
  2. Do not over cleanse. Research shows that our natural flora thrives in a more acidic environment (the skin’s natural pH is on average just below 5). We recommend washing your skin with soap once daily at most with a pH balanced cleanser. By not overcleansing, you also ensure that you’re not overly disrupting the natural flora (including all of the healthy, beneficial bacteria).
  3. Introduce probiotics into your diet. As we’ve touched on before, there is an incredible link between your gut and skin flora. When skin is out of balance and experiencing any number of inflammatory conditions, oftentimes, your gut flora is the culprit. Opt for an everyday probiotic. You can also get creative with your diet and introduce natural sources of probiotics from fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt or kombucha.
  4. Don’t over exfoliate. We’re often told that we must scrub away those dead skin cells in order to reveal fresh, bright skin. What if we told you those dead skin cells hold an important purpose? They are what makes up that important outermost layer of the epidermis called the stratum corneum. They are essential for helping to retain moisture and protect newer cells below. Opt for a gentle exfoliator that you can use 1-3 times per week (depending on your skin’s needs).

All skin types are different, but learning how your skin microbiome works is essential to achieving that glowing complexion. 


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

What You Need To Know About Double Cleansing

Feed Your Skin From The Inside Out

What Does Your Dog’s Sleep Position Mean?


dog sleeping on bed

How do you sleep? On your back, on your side, or on your stomach? Maybe you curl up into a ball or maybe you spread yourself out and take up the whole bed. Just like you prefer a certain position while you sleep, so do our four-legged friends. While how we sleep may not reveal a whole ton about our personality or mood, it does say quite a bit for our dogs. Read on to see what your dog’s sleep position means.

Side Sleeping


dog sleeping on side

Just like humans, this is the most common sleeping position for dogs. Sleeping on their side with their paws loose usually means they feel comfortable and safe. You also might notice that your pup moves a lot and twitches in this position. This is because they’re more likely to fall into a deep sleep and dream when they’re lying on their side. These dogs tend to be the loyal and trusting type.

Lion’s Pose


dog in lions pose

If you’ve ever seen a lion sleeping, you’ll notice they rest their head on their front paws. Dogs can sleep in this same position, but it usually means they’re more in a resting mood rather than aiming for a deep sleep. This puts them in the perfect position so when you have a few minutes to play, they’re ready to spring up quickly! They are usually more devoted and protective and you might find them dozing this way next to your feet.

Sprawled Out


dog sprawled out

This position looks a bit like Superman with your dog’s front legs and hind legs stretched both ways. This is common with puppies or energetic dogs that love to play but also get tired and want to take a quick snooze. Similar to the lion’s pose, when your dog is sprawled out on their tummy, they want to be ready at a moment’s notice to play tug-of-war or fetch with you. It’s also a great position to cool down on tiled floors. 

Curled Up


dog curled up in a ball

Some dogs will curl into a “fetal” position and tuck in all of their limbs. This could mean that your furry friend is trying to protect themselves by hiding all of their vital organs. One study showed that this position is common among dogs in a shelter, an unfamiliar place where they may prefer to go unnoticed by other dogs. It may also be the preferred posture in pups who are anxious such as strays or those getting used to their environment. Dogs who sleep like this may  feel scared, but also have a caring personality. However, this position could also just mean they’re cold and trying to preserve their body heat.

Belly Up


dog laying on back

This is the most vulnerable sleeping position for dogs as it reveals all of their vital organs. This means that they are aware of what’s around them and completely comfortable at home with you. These sleepers tend to be more loving and trusting of you. This is also another position that allows dogs to cool off. You might even say that these pups are feeling totally carefree! 

Each of these positions can give you a clue to your dog’s personality and how they’re feeling. Keep an eye on their patterns as this can reveal a lot about their health. For example, it’s normal for dogs to sleep 12-14 hours a day but if you notice they are sleeping more or less than they usually do or sleeping in an abnormal position, it’s always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian.


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

The Secret Of The Dog Bow

Dog Chewing Paws: What Does It Mean?

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.


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

Five Healthy Habits That Can Extend Your Life

4 Reasons To Pay Attention To Your Gut Health

Can You Claim Pets On A Tax Return?


woman cuddling with dog

Pets contribute to our lives in so many ways, but have you ever thought about how they contribute financially? You may be thinking, “Yes, I spend on their kibble and treats and plush toys” but that’s not quite what we’re referring to. There might be a way you can claim your dog or cat on your tax return. Pets are not considered dependents since they don’t have a social security number, but there are a variety of other ways that animals can show up in a tax filing. Talk to your accountant about these possibilities to find out if you qualify:

Fostering & Volunteering

If you’re helping out an animal shelter or rescue by offering to foster a pet, some of those expenses can be considered a charitable deduction on your taxes. This includes anything you pay for out of pocket from their food to medical expenses to other care supplies, and possibly even the miles you drive to their vet appointments.

As a volunteer, you can also list your travel expenses for the volunteer work. However, this has to be travel specifically related to the nonprofit’s mission, not the commute there (remember to keep a mileage log). Of course, financial donations to qualified nonprofits, like The Dr. Jane Foundation, can qualify too.

Service Animals

Is your pet a service animal? If you have physical disabilities, vision or hearing impairments, or a mental health condition such as PTSD, talk to your accountant about the possibility of writing off some expenses. This could be veterinary care including surgery, food necessities, pet supplies, training, grooming, boarding, and even the cost to acquire the pet itself. However, your companion must have formal training to be a service animal and a letter from your doctor in order to qualify.


cat getting head scratched

Moving & Changing Jobs

If you’ve recently relocated for a job and qualify for a moving expense deduction, your dog or cat could be included in this. The IRS considers your pet a household possession, so if you’re able to deduct expenses like transportation for your family, lodging while moving, or packing and shipping any goods, your pet may be part of that too. There are a few requirements to meet such as the distance and time of the big move.

Pet Providing Service for Business

Does your pet have a job of their own? Maybe they work alongside you on your farm to help guard a herd of goats. Maybe they’re a star in a movie or advertisement or work as a performance animal. Do they have their own successful social media account or breed adorable puppies that you sell? All of these examples could qualify for deductions. It may be the food used while breeding, travel cost to get them to the movie set or anything else that involves caring for your animal. If you start a hobby with pets that turns into a business, remember to officially establish this new venture in order to deduct related expenses.

Now that you know of the many ways you may be able to claim your pet, talk to your accountant for guidance. There are requirements they can help you untangle, but the universal rule is to keep good records. Save those receipts! And, thank your sweet, furry friend for any savings!


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

Appreciating The Joys Our Pets Bring

Pets Make Life Healthier For Their Pet Parents

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.


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

Make Your Holidays Sustainable With Eco-Friendly Decor

Getting Ready For Company?