Life's Abundance | Makers of premium health products for dogs, cats and pet parents, too!

My Skin’s Road To Redemption Is Paved In Serum

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Author Profile: 40-something mom of two; Life’s Abundance marketing manager; part-time farmer; full-time penny pincher; a little more crunchy than country.

My dearest friend from college, Kristan, has spent much of our friendship lovingly prodding me to take care of my appearance — via makeup tips, wardrobe audits, encouragement toward adopting a basic skin care routine, etc. Much the way I view my floors — “With a good scrubbing, that tile will really shine!” — she’s long been adamant that a little TLC could do wonders for my complexion.

Alas. Clean floors and counters bring me joy, but for most of my adulthood, I just haven’t found it within myself to invest time and money into my own appearance. Then I turned 40, and a close look at my reflection led to an unsettling series of revelations. I have perpetually dry skin despite my high-humidity environment, irritating monthly breakouts, patchy redness on my cheeks and fine lines around my eyes (OMG).

I realized Kristan had been right all along — skin care was worth my attention. The proof was staring back at me in the mirror.

Now, in fairness to myself, it’s not like I’d neglected my skin completely. For years I’d bounced around between organic or natural daily moisturizers. I’m a label-reader, so though I never loved any of these products (and they clearly weren’t working for me given the state of my complexion), I stuck with my lotion strategy. After all, these were nontoxic — that’s worth something, right?

For a while, I was generally OK with this half-truth. But when my 30s ended, it was time to get real. With those lines around my eyes, smiling suddenly felt like a high-stakes game. Because my skin felt so parched and brittle, I was certain any expression of emotion would be permanently etched into my face. I needed to make a change.

So, I took a deep breath and plunged into the murky and expensive world of serums. Being new to this level of skin care (and a little bitter about having to undertake this journey in the first place), I didn’t know what I was looking for, which made the shopping process unpleasant and tedious. Researching these potential cures-in-a-bottle — vetting their ingredients, reading their claims and poring over online reviews — was about as much fun as listening to Uncle Jim drone on about his wine collection during family dinners. And no matter how much money I spent, I got mixed results. Sometimes these products left me feeling greasy; other times they had no effect at all. Regardless, I used every last drop because I’d spent my family’s money on this higher-priced product. Always I cursed my inability to get the skin I wanted.

Countless disappointments later, I thought I had three options — live with new wrinkles, shell out big bucks for not-so-nontoxic treatments, or train myself not to smile.

But then, my employer developed a skin-care line, and I decided to give serums one more try.

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Life’s Abundance doesn’t mess around with iffy ingredients, and we pride ourselves on selling products that deliver on their promises. And guys, this product delivers. I introduced Life’s Abundance Serum into my routine without changing anything else. After a week of once-daily use, the redness on my cheeks was completely gone! I have small pores to begin with, hence the dry skin, but they’ve tightened up and smoothed out even more. I feel like my skin looks flawless! Plus, I am delighted to report — NO monthly breakouts! I’ve now found a balance using the serum two to three times a week, and the Life’s Abundance Facial Moisturizer on the other days. And, shout out to all the other label-readers out there: This formula is 100% botanical. Read it and leap!

Bottom line: If my complexion was smooth, plump and even-toned when I was 20, I didn’t appreciate it. But, I sure do now.

Arin-Roos
Arin Roos, Marketing Director

World’s Creepiest Cat Legends

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If we asked you to name something spooky about cats, you’d probably mention a black cat crossing your path leading to misfortune. But a bit of bad luck pales in comparison to some of the terrifying myths of times past.

Cats are undeniably enigmatic. There’s just something about those haunting eyes, their silent, furtive movements and a wail that reminds some of babies crying. Whatever the cause, that air of mystery has lead humans over the course of human history to entertain a whole host of seriously scary - or even downright strange - beliefs involving felines. Honestly, it would be easy to fill a book’s worth of information of this topic, but we’ve culled that down to a manageable list of five. After reading these decidedly spooky superstitions, you’ll feel like the scaredy cat. But don’t worry, your sweet kitty will be there to comfort you.

Sith Cats

A fairy creature from both Celtic and Scottish mythology, Sith Cats were large black cats with splash of white fur on its chest. While Sith Cats were believed to be spectral in nature, they were inspired by actual creatures known as Kellas cats, a hybrid between wildcats and domestic cats only found in Scotland. They were believed to have nefarious purposes, including a desire to consume souls immediately after death. Every year on Samhain (which we now celebrate as Halloween), houses where an offering of a saucer of milk was left outside would be blessed by the being, while those that did not would suffer a curse. Fun Fact: The Scots believed the Cat Sith was actually a witch that had the ability to transform into a cat, but that the witch was limited to only nine transformations in a lifetime. Scholars believe this is the origin of the belief that cats enjoy nine lives!

The Matagot

First conceived in the oral traditions of southern France, the Matagot (also referred to as Mandagot) is a mischievous spirit. While it was capable of shapeshifting into a number of animals (such as a rat, a fox, a dog and even a cow), its preferred form was that of a black cat. Matagots were considered evil in nature, but they could be trapped whereupon it would take a largely beneficial role for its captor. The legend states that if you lured one from its hiding spot with a serving of fresh, meaty chicken and then scooped it up and walked straight home without looking behind you, it would become a source of dependable good fortune. There were a couple of catches, as there always are with magical beings. First, before every meal, you would have to feed the first mouthful of your food and the first sip of your drink to the Matagot. If you managed to stick to that routine, each morning you would find a gold coin. Second, you would have to release the creature from this servitude well prior to your death. Otherwise, your last days on earth would assuredly be agonizingly painful.

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The Bakeneko of Nabeshima (aka, Vampire Cat)

The origin of this terrifying legend is from 16th century Japan. One of the more frightening creatures, this cat not only sought to devour humans, but immediately afterwards would assume their victim’s exact likeness, whereupon they would attempt to deceive other humans, thus continuing a vicious cycle. Aside from their shapeshifting abilities, they were believed to wear strange hats for dancing, perfectly imitate human speech, have the ability to place hexes on people (especially those who were known for their cruelty to cats), possession, and even a penchant for hiding in mountainous locales where they would tame and train wolves to assist them in attacking weary travelers far from home.

The Wampus Cat

Believed to originate among the Cherokee people, the mythical Wampus Cat is a common staple of Appalachian folklore. A shapeshifter, its most common manifestation was as a large, wild cat, but it could also take the shape of a beautiful woman. It was considered a ferocious creature, capable of driving even the bravest of warriors to the brink of insanity. J.K. Rowling’s fans may recognize this magical being as a source for the hair that Garrick Ollivander used in the creation of certain magic wands. Fun Fact: the word “catawampus,” which means “out of alignment” but also “fierce and destructive,” arises from this myth.

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The Black Cat of KillaKee

Like all of our the supernatural kitties, this Irish creature's origins began centuries ago. However, sightings have continued into modern times, which makes this arguably the most frightening. Like the tall tales that are common in the area, this one is attached to a particular great house. But we can assure you, nothing like this ever happened on Downton Abbey. Located in Dublin, the Killakee House was rumored to be haunted by a spectacularly creepy cat. Though technically it stalked the grounds, unlike other big cat sightings in the UK, the main difference is that this cat is supernatural.

In 1968, a young couple bought the Killakee House and began much needed renovations. Within days, workers started hearing strange noises and sensing things that quite frankly were decidedly spooky. Things came to a head when the workers were shocked by the sudden appearance of a towering black cat with eyes that "glowed like a demon." Just as the renovators started freaking out, the specter vanished. Afterwards, the new owners listened politely to the story, but didn't put much stock in the tale. And then ... the creature appeared to each of the new owners in turn. The giant apparition appeared in every corner of the house, despite locked doors and windows, stalking the couple with its penetrating stare and toothy snarls. The newlyweds sought help from the Catholic Church, whereupon an exorcism was performed on the estate. For a few months, everything was quiet, and the two believed their nightmare was finally over. Sometime later, however, a group of actors visiting the estate held a séance, whereupon the devilish creature returned, bringing with it two frightening ghosts dressed in nuns' garb. And thus, the nightmare continues.

5 Spooky Canine Superstitions

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We’re all familiar with the long and storied association between cats and mythology. It makes sense: they are mysterious creatures, well suited to legends and lore. But what about dogs? As man’s best friend, they fall into a bit more of a predictable and familiar category. Or do they?

As much time as we spend with dogs, it makes sense that superstitions would crop up over time. While some are specific to a certain time or place, others are more universal. Where did these myths come from, and why? Read on to learn about five of the most unusual ideas and legends surrounding our canine companions!

1. A Howling Dog Brings Death

Origin: This is one of the most common dog superstitions, and can be found in multiple cultures. In Greek mythology, the howling of a dog was thought to signal that the Wind God had summoned death to a nearby home. In Norse mythology, dogs howl at the approach of Freyja, the Goddess of Death. Why? Because her chariot is pulled by two giant cats (think about it). In Welsh lore, the king of Annwn would patrol the land riding supernatural hounds that only other dogs could see. The howling was their way of acknowledging the presence of these spooky beasts as they raced by.

Facts: Dogs howl as a form of communication. Sometimes it's for attention, other times it's an expression of anxiety, and sometimes it’s just a loud way of saying, “HELLOOOOOO." As a form of communication, it’s very effective! As a former coonhound owner, I can attest to the fact that baying carries over long distances. Remember, dogs are pack animals, much like their relatives, wolves, whose howl can be heard for many miles!

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2. Dogs Can See Ghosts

Origin: If you’ve lived with a dog, you’ve probably had this hair-raising experience ... it’s pitch black outside. You’re home alone. In the eerie silence, your dog suddenly starts to stare at a wall (or worse, a door with no window) and starts to growl, hackles raised. Are they seeing the supernatural?

Facts: Dogs do perceive the world differently than we do, but that’s hardly proof of the supernatural. From dog whistles that pick up high frequencies we cannot register to a sense of smell 10,000 more sensitive than our own, dogs enjoy a heightened experience of their environment beyond our capabilities.

Out in the world, many people report dogs appearing agitated in the moments before earthquakes or other natural disasters. It is theorized dogs can pick up on sensitive vibrations we miss. People have taken advantage of these sensitivities to train dogs in everything from seizure alerts to cancer detection, proving that in almost every sense, dogs out-perceive the world compared to you and me. So what is your dog growling at in the dead of night? Let’s tell ourselves something comforting so we can fall asleep tonight.

3. If You Step in Dog Poo, Do it Properly

Origin: This one is specific to France, land of croissants, the Louvre, and lots and lots of dog poop. According to local lore, stepping in dog piles with your left foot is good luck, while stepping in it with your right? Woe be unto you!

Fact: More than anything, this legend reflects that as a “scoop your poop” culture, France has a long way to go. A recent survey noted that while 1.85 million dog waste bags were sold in the UK in 2015, France sold a mere 3,600. That’s one fifth of one percent as many bags being sold, people. Until 2007, dog poop wasn’t even mentioned in French law at all. Mon dieu!

I think no matter where you live we can all agree on one thing. Stepping in a warm pile of dog waste never feels lucky, regardless of the foot.

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4. Seeing Three White Dogs Together Signals Good Luck

Origin: An English myth contends that seeing three white dogs standing together is a sign of good fortune, particularly financial luck. An alternate version states the same good luck will come to you if you spot a Dalmatian (pun intended!) on the way to a business meeting.

Fact: No one is quite sure where this came from. Maybe because these dogs were rare, it was more of a unique find to see them wandering the streets! Just as possible is the simple associations people make between white being a symbol of good luck and black a symbol of bad luck, an unfortunate fallacy that results in many wonderful black cats and dogs having a more difficult time getting adopted. As someone who adopted both a beautiful black Labrador and a sweet and wonderful black cat, I’m convinced they bring nothing but great fortune.

5. No Dogs Allowed On Board Ships

Origin: Historically, nautical legend is filled with a wide variety of superstitions about who and what can come on board. It makes sense. Sailing is by nature a dangerous occupation, so every time something terrible would happen, it’s only natural to look for some external cause. Better to blame the flowers or bananas you brought on board than the terrible weather you had no control over. But why dogs? That, unfortunately, remains a mystery. You’d think those long, lonely days out on the open seas could only be improved with a happy companion. Maybe it was the fleas they brought as stowaways?

Fact: Times have changed. Dogs are now considered faithful companions to many seafaring people. You can even get your dog his or her own lifejacket if you’re planning to bring him aboard. If you want any further proof about how much our views have evolved over time, consider this: cats on board ships used to be considered good luck, probably due to their ability to control the rodent population. Can you imagine taking today's average house cat out on the high seas? Yikes!

If you ask me, having a dog in the house is good luck no matter what. According to my own personal legends and lore, dogs bring good health, happiness, and reduced stress to all they come across. That's a story I could tell again and again!

Have you ever heard a dog-related superstition? Share it in the comments section below!

Dr V
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Pumpkin Spice Protein Truffles

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Nothing says Halloween is just around the corner like the arrival of pumpkin season. Sadly, many of us never really enjoy the fruits of this versatile squash varietal. Amazingly, you can easily bake or boil your own pumpkin purée using the innards of your decorative jack o’ lanterns!

This October, instead of stocking up brightly colored, high-fructose-corn-syrup concoctions that can cause repeated sugar crashes that leave you feeling like an empty gourd, why not try an entirely new fall delicacy using pumpkin purée? We promise, there’s nothing terrifying - or tricky - about these tasty treats.

Sure to delight, nourish and leave you with a big, toothy grin on your face, this no-fuss, no-bake recipe will help banish the hobgoblins of low-blood sugar and in-between-meal cravings. And the perfectly balanced blend of spices will instantly transport you to fall memories of years past.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cup oats
½ cup pumpkin purée
¼ cup coconut palm sugar
2 Tbsp. Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. pumpkin spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Unsweetened desiccated coconut or cinnamon to coat

DIRECTIONS

1. In a food processor or high-speed blender, pulse oats until a fine powder is achieved.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oat powder with remaining dry ingredients.
3. Fold in wet ingredients until evenly combined. The batter should be firm with just enough moisture to allow the coconut coating to stick (next step).
4. Use hands or a 1-inch scoop to make small dough balls. Roll balls until outside is smooth, coating in chopped coconut, cinnamon or topping of choice.
5. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week … even though they’ll never last that long because they’re just too darn delicious!

This recipe yields approximately two dozen 1-inch bites. Enjoy!

Junk Drawer Confessions

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Since my early 20s, I’ve been obsessed with skin care products. This means that over the course of 40-some years, I’ve brought home a heck of a lot of serums, moisturizers and, especially, cleansers. And you know where most of them end up? Not on my face.

They also don’t land in the trash because I hate the thought that I chose wrong — again — and wasted my money — again. So, I’ve got piles of half-empty failed products jamming up my bathroom drawer. Truth be told, I could probably pay for a new car with all the money I’ve spent over the years in my efforts to look and feel better.

It’s a vicious and annoying cycle that I think I’ve finally broken.

I’m a sucker for promises — that’s how this all started. Health and wellness are very important to me, as are looking and feeling better, so I have been eager to believe. Over and over again I’ll buy something because it seems great at first glance, but then it quickly stops working. Or I’ll read the ingredients more closely at home and realize that it’s packed with a bunch of scary chemicals that I don’t recognize or understand and should have more carefully researched before buying. Either way, it ends up in the drawer.

If it’s packed with chemicals, I then make a trip (a well-worn path by now) to the health food store, where I carefully read the ingredients and choose my next purchase. For a moment, I’ll feel really good about myself and hope springs eternal. But then it doesn’t work. Once again, the junk drawer receives another half-empty bottle. Same with all the new skin care companies online — the words sound good, but nothing has been effective. Yet, I’m the one with the guilt!

Finding skin care products that do what they say they should do while trying to avoid chemicals is a maddening process.

If you are even vaguely familiar with this vicious circle than you will understand why we at Life’s Abundance decided to develop a skin care line with organic ingredients that are formulated to actually work.

Skin Care 2

My favorite product in this new line is the Facial Cleanser. I have oily skin, so I've always used foams and gels. What I didn’t know was that these kinds of cleansers stripped my skin of its natural oils, making my skin go into oil-production mode.

When I first tested our cleanser, I noticed how light and creamy it is. It took off all my makeup, and after rinsing, my face felt super clean but smooth and soft. For the first time ever, my skin had noticeably less oil. And week after week, it stayed that way! I loved it so much that I kept returning to our warehouse for samples.

My bottle of Life’s Abundance is sitting proudly on my bathroom sink. And you know what? Now that I’ve finally found a product that works, I think it’s time to empty out that blasted drawer.

Linda Logue
VP of Marketing

Pudgy Pet? Surprisingly Easy Fixes

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The latest surveys indicate that over half of the dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight. Moreover, a sizeable percentage fit the criteria for moderate to severe obesity. The extra heft puts pets at-risk for serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, painful arthritis, high-blood pressure, kidney disease and cancer, all of which can shorten their lifespan. The good news is that solving your companion animal’s weight problem might be easier than you’d expect.

A pet parent’s strongest weapon in the fight against obesity is small and powerful … a measuring cup! If you’re like many pet parents, you guess at the amounts, or simply replenish the bowl when it’s empty. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention states that as few as 10 extra pieces of kibble can lead to excess weight gain in smaller dogs. Amazingly, just by measuring meal portions, you can help your dog or cat shed unwanted weight!

While the feeding guide on a label offers a good rule of thumb, remember that most of these standardized charts are based on the needs of young adult dogs. If you’re feeding an older “couch potato” based solely on the label, you could be over-feeding your dog by about 20%. Each pet’s metabolism is different, so it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian … they can calculate your pet’s ideal daily intake.

Another vital measure towards curbing weight is also a simple one … selecting the perfect food. Choose a diet that states an animal-specific protein source (such as chicken or fish) as the number one ingredient. Avoid foods pumped up with corn, wheat and glutens, as carbo-loading will sabotage any weight-loss efforts. Made for canines with weight issues, Life’s Abundance Adult Weight-Loss Formula has 28% less fat and 32% fewer calories per cup compared to our original formula. This recipe also features higher protein levels to aid metabolism, and is enhanced with L-carnitine to support a healthy metabolism and weight management.

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Now, let’s talk about treats. You know that great feeling you get when you give your pup an edible goodie? Yeah, you might not be doing them a favor, because too many treats on the market aren’t much better than canine candy bars. Again, stick with a trusted brand, one that commits to only selling treats with a targeted health benefit. For example, Life’s Abundance offers a whole line of baked treats, each made to promote overall health and happy tummies. Wholesome Hearts are delicious, low-fat dog treats, perfect for dogs who need to be careful about their weight. The rich aroma makes Wholesome Hearts simply irresistible. Break treats into smaller pieces and dole them out as mini-rewards for your pupper.

Lastly, research has proven the most effective way to living a long, disease- and pain-free life is daily exercise. Dogs make the best exercise partners … they’ll never tempt you to skip your new routine in favor of a flavored latte. We’re not talking about going out and running a marathon. As little as 20-30 minutes of brisk walking can have a remarkable effect, improving cardiovascular health, enhancing mood and boosting immune function. Plus, you’ll likely eliminate behavioral problems common among cooped-up canines. Do yourself and your dog a favor and commit to daily walks.

If you implement these simple suggestions, your companion animals will be well on their way to slimmer figures and healthier lifetimes.

Be sure to share this post with other pet parents. It just might be the first step in the process toward a better life for an overweight pet.

Red, Green or Cooked: It’s Apple Season

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There’s been a lot of ruckus lately about the decline of the Red Delicious. For the past 50 years, the Red Delicious apple has been number one in America. But according to the U.S. Apple Association, its reign has been usurped by Gala — and it seems there are many people out there who are pretty pleased by this news. “It’s the beginning of the end,” apple historian Tom Burford crowed to The New York Times. “How are you going to market a tasteless apple when the consumer has tasted so many good apples?”

Amen to that. Forget those waxy mealy red orbs you can find in every grocery store, gas season or public school cafeteria. It’s apple season, and anyone who has ever been apple picking knows there is a whole world of flavor out there in those orchards. Some apples are crisp with a honeyed bite; some are juicy and tart; and some taste like earthy brown sugar.

But did you know that just as every apple has a distinct flavor profile, each variety has varying levels of healthy properties? In other words, not every apple will necessarily keep the doctor away.

According to a 2009 study, researchers determined that the 800-year-old Pendragon apple has the highest levels of health-promoting plant compounds. The Pendragon’s rivals in the study were 12 organic apples and three conventional ones, including the Golden Delicious, Royal Gala and Cox. “Of all the organic varieties, Pendragon was the best apple variety and contained seven of the eight kinds of healthy components at the highest levels,” study author Michael Wakeman told the Telegraph. “In contrast, the non-organic apples consistently had low levels…in both the flesh and the peel.”

Because the top apples in the study were grown organically, Wakeman surmised that they naturally had more phenols to protect against infection. Many studies have shown that polyphenols — a type of antioxidant — in apples help fight inflammation.

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So, more antioxidants in organic apples — especially the elusive Pendragon, which apparently you can only find in a small courtyard in England — are a good thing. But there’s another reason to only buy organic apples. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “90 percent of conventional apples had detectable pesticide residues [and] 80 percent of apples tested contained diphenylam, a pesticide banned in Europe.”

Yuck. Even worse — those apples were all washed.

This fall, stick to organic apples. Try out a local farmer’s market and taste the variety. And even if you can’t find the Pendragon, remember that the average organic apple is loaded with fiber (which helps with weight loss), vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants. According to Medical News Today, apples have been credited with reducing the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Just remember that if you’re baking your apples, they’ll lose a bit of their phytochemicals. Oh! And if you’re worried about whether to choose green or red — don’t worry about it. The differences between the two (slightly more antioxidants in red, slightly less sugar and more fiber in green) are negligible.

No matter which variety you love, be sure to enjoy your pickings!

HELPFUL TIP: For those times you can’t make it to the farmer’s market, you can get antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients from our premium supplement line.

REFERENCES:
http://usapple.org/after-50-years-red-delicious-falls-to-2-as-most-grown-u-s-apple-gala-takes-1-spot/
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/6151010/800-year-old-apple-healthiest-to-eat.html
https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php
https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/05/16/is-there-a-nutritional-difference-between-red-and-green-apples_a_22088567/

Ways a New Puppy Improves Life with Teens

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For the past three weeks, I have heard “Are you nuts?” more times than I can count. I think the answer is mostly likely “yes,” but then again I challenge any one of you to turn down this face ...

Puppy-Oliver

Yes, our family now has not one but two puppies. Dakota is eight months old, and just getting into that lovely stage where his adult teeth are all in and he’s starting to mellow out. So, of course it’s the perfect time to introduce a Golden Retriever puppy. Meet Ollie!

Dakota was mortified at first, annoyed at second, but now they are best buddies. He gets to bear the brunt of Ollie’s substantial puppy energy, and they spend long hours chasing each other all over the yard, wrestling like two frat brothers, and generally looking for mischief to get into.

Dakota-peeks

For most of my adult life I have had retrievers, and one of our favorite things to do was head over to Grandma’s house on the weekends to go swimming. I’ve never had a dog who could resist going into the pool. Until Dakota, that is. He hates swimming. Despises the water and looks at it like it is acid.

Ollie, not so much. I don’t think you could keep his fuzzy little butt out of the water if you tried.

Oliver-leaps

It’s entirely possible that I only agreed to take on another puppy because sleep deprivation from the first puppy left me delirious, but to be honest we’re all feeling pretty darn good about our decision here in the Vogelsang household. With the exception of the mass amounts of fur we now have to deal with every day (remind me again how a tiny puppy can shed that much?) we were well equipped to take this little guy on.

It's also possible that I agreed to this because my oldest is entering high school this year and I needed a small distraction from both the march of time and her natural (yet still sad) pulling away from wanting to hang out with us. As I sit overseeing Dakota and Ollie's mutual and seemingly perpetual wrestling competition at my feet, it’s a good time to reflect on what puppies bring to the life of a parent with teenagers:

1. Puppies are always overjoyed to see me, which I can’t always say for the teenagers. Any extra joy I feel certainly has an effect on the whole household.

2. The pups are also always excited to see the teenagers, which keeps them around a little longer in the evenings before disappearing to talk to their friends.

3. Puppies are incredibly photogenic, so my kids spend even more time with us taking photos for their Instagram feeds. Whatever it takes, right?

4. Puppies keep you in the moment. I mean, not only are you taking in every cute and adorable moment, you are truly engaged because otherwise they eat all your shoes. It’s easy to spend the day staring at your phone and miss what’s going on right in front of you.

5. Pups remind you that every moment is fleeting. It seems like Ollie and Dakota are literally growing in front of my eyes, a pound a day. They live their lives in fast forward. They remind me that even though my human kiddos grow a little more slowly they, too, are young for only a short while.

6. Puppies remind me to have compassion for other parents. As a vet, it’s very easy to sit in an exam room or on the phone and tell someone what they should be doing, but we forget how truly difficult some of the implementation can be. An act as simple as brushing the dogs every day takes me five times longer than it should as Ollie tries to eat the brush, then the hair, then a sock he found who knows where. The same goes for human parenting. Boy, it’s easy to judge other parents for the lunches they pack or a child’s choice of T-shirts but really, we’re all just trying to do the best we can!

7. Pups put to rest, once and for all, any regrets about the size of our family. One of my neighbors has three dogs and six children. They are lovely and she is very happy. I am very happy with two dogs and two children, and my hands are more than full! I don’t know how she does it, but I am glad she has the family that makes her fulfilled. Everyone creates the family that is right for them.

Any other puppy lessons you care to share? Leave your stories in the comments section below.

Dr V
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Introducing Life’s Abundance Skin Care

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I’ll be the first to admit that we’re difficult to please here at Life's Abundance. And you know what? I’m OK with that.

You see, we have a long history of taking matters into our own hands to get what we want. The pet foods on the market didn’t live up to our standards. So we made our own. The supplements available at stores weren’t pure enough. So we made our own. And the so-called natural skin care products we’ve pinned our hopes on? We wanted to believe. But when we examined the labels on many popular “natural” products, here’s a short list of what we found.

Artificial colors, artificial fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, PEG compounds and more.

Why would you want to put something on your skin that is questionable? We didn’t. So — you guessed it — we made our own.

A New Approach to Healthy Skin

I’m excited and proud to announce Life’s Abundance Skin Care, a premium system for cleansing, moisturizing and perfecting your skin. Made with pure, plant-based organic ingredients and formulated for fabulous results.

But that’s not all. We added a little more in each item than you’ll typically see in high-end skin care to lower the cost per application and reduce plastic in landfills. Also, because it is important to us to make a positive imact in everything we do, for each skin care product you purchase, one tree will be planted in your honor to help support a community in need.

Our product line includes:

Facial Cleanser - The ingredients speak for themselves. Aloe leaf juice. White willow bark extract. Argan oil. Sugar cane extract. Mango seed butter. Pure botanicals. Nothing synthetic. Our creamy, light cleanser gently melts away the residue of the day, including makeup, leaving your skin soft, revived and fresh. No matter what your skin type, this lather-free formula cleans deeply, without stripping away your face's natural protective oils.

Facial Moisturizer - This delicate moisturizer contains olive oil, aloe leaf juice and cardamom seed oil. Oh, and calming vanilla—the only edible orchid fruit! Plant-derived antioxidants, emollients and omega essential fatty acids deliver a conditioning boost and provide a protective barrier. No harsh chemicals that can irritate or toughen the skin over time. No synthetic junk. Just soft, natural, hydrating cream for soft, naturally hydrated skin.

Skin Care 2

Facial Serum - This targeted blend of radiance-boosting organic oils help correct and protect. The camellia, borage and carrot seed oils comfort irritated skin and promote a healthy complexion. And the age-defying broccoli seed oil delivers radiance-boosting vitamin A – think of it as nature’s retinol alternative. Every drop of this opulent potion is crafted to awaken your skin.

Body Lotion - Our long-lasting lotion softens and hydrates with shea butter and aloe. Light and fast-absorbing, it protects against environmental damage with plant-derived antioxidants. And with mood-lifting lemon and geranium oils, it smells as great as it feels. (True fact: I’m wearing it right now, and I can’t stop sniffing my own arms.)

Our Promise

Like all Life’s Abundance products, our skin care line is inspired by nature and informed by science. We started by raiding Mother Nature’s pantry, grabbing a vibrant array of fruits, oils and extracts. We carefully crafted each product with these nourishing organic botanicals to cleanse, moisturize and rejuvenate the skin.

Chemical free, our formulations are tested for purity and gentle enough for the whole family.

Radiant from the inside out, healthy from the outside in. That’s what Life’s Abundance looks like, and we hope you like how it looks — and feels — on you as well.

Explore the collection now!

Lester Thornhill
Lester Thornhill, CEO

7 Ways to Power Up Your Brain

power-up-your-brain

Humans are creatures of habit. Once we get into a rhythm, we're loathe to change things up. However, there's strong evidence to suggest that simply by doing things differently, you can boost your brain health. Others go so far as to suggest that opening yourself up to new cognitive activity can perhaps stave off certain forms of dementia (of which there are more than a dozen types), which is affecting an increasing number of Americans every year.

Before you balk at the mere prospect of doing things differently, check out the following easy - dare we say FUN - ways to get out of a rut and to start taking care of your brain's health.

Break Your Routine
Scientists have discovered an amazing series of life hacks to improve brain function. It all hinges on the fact that habitual actions - things we do by rote - require less and less brain power. By switching things up, the brain must compensate by creating new pathways and cells. If you drive the same way to work every day, mix things up by taking an alternate route. If you always go to the same grocery store, go to a different one. Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth. All of these activities can lead to a rapid and significant expansion of parts of the cortex, making cells stronger and more resistant to the effects of aging.

New Smells
Take a tour of your spice cabinet. Order collections of scented candles. Routinely vary your personal care products. Buy a new cookbook and try a new recipe every week. Begin your day by smelling something out-of-the-ordinary, then end your day the same. If you can connect new scents with an emotional meaning, you can stimulate different areas of the brain and naturally produce nerve-cell nutrients that improve memory.

Limit Your Binge Watching
In a 25-year study gauging the effects of binge watching, researchers note that people who watch more than three hours of TV score much more poorly on cognitive tests. In another study, binge-watchers reported higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression than those who were not. Same goes for the time spent staring at your phone. If you have a dog, take them for a walk along a completely new route. Or play a board game with the kids. There's a great big world out there that's not fictional, waiting for you!

brain-chart

Mental Stimulation
Switching your interaction with the world from passive to active can yield impressive changes in your brain. Rather than spending countless hours vegging, try on a new hobby or two. Crossword puzzles, sudoku or even a lecture series can stimulate new neural connections and the development of new cells, both of which contribute to mental elasticity. The best activities for your brain are ones that employ creative thinking and manual dexterity, so if you've ever wished you could draw or paint, now's the time to start learning!

Do All The Things
We've heard all the expert advice. All of what they've been telling us for years - don't smoke, don't drink to excess, exercise regularly, maintain an average blood pressure, get plenty of sleep, keep your blood-sugar and cholesterol levels in check - all of these can have a dramatic positive effect on your brain health. If you haven't been paying attention to these things, start taking steps beginning today.

Feed Your Head
If you're like most Americans, your diet could use some improvements. Walnuts, fish, olive oil, sage, blueberries, cocoa, tomato, broccoli, apples, spinach, black currants and pumpkin seeds all contain nutrients vital to brain health. To nourish your brain with a premium balance of omega-3's and 6's, look no further than Life's Abundance Fish Oil. Not only is it highly concentrated and ultra pure, research has shown that its consumption benefits cognitive performance due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists believe that cognitive decline associated with minimal intake of omega-3’s may be a predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease. Furthermore, other studies have found a causitive link between deficiencies in omega-3’s and a number of serious psychological conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD and even substance abuse.

Make New Connections
Socialization is hard-wired into your brain. When we isolate ourselves, it can lead to negative effects not only in the way we feel, but also for brain health. By cultivating relationships with friends, co-workers and family, you'll actually be helping to lower your risk for dementia, lower your blood pressure and even extend your lifetime. Get out there and make some new connections!

Put most simply, all of these tips boil down to being open to embracing new things. And the benefits are undeniable. We encourage you to try these simple tips and to let us know your experience in the comments section below!

References 
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/tv-may-be-bad-for-your-brain
https://apha.confex.com/apha/143am/webprogram/Paper335049.html
“Fish, meat, and risk of dementia: cohort study.” British Medical Journal, 2002; 325; 932-933.
"Plasma fatty acids are associated with normative variation in mood, personality and behavior." Abstract #1411. Presented at the 64th Annual Scientific Mtg of the American Psychosomatic Society, Denver, CO, March 1-4, 2006.
Hibbeln, J.R.. "Fish consumption and major depression." The Lancet, 1998; 351: 1213.
Hibbeln, J.R.. "Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in depression and related conditions, in Phospholipid Spectrum Disorder." (Lancashire, England: Marius Press, 1999), pp. 195-210.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young
https://www.businessinsider.com/brain-exercises-that-make-you-smarter-2018-1
“Dietary intake of fatty acids and fish in relation to cognitive performance at middle age.” Neurology. 2004 Jan 27;62(2):275-80.