Life's Abundance | Premium health products

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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Getting Ready For Company?

Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season


dog getting treat on holiday

Between the seasonal errands and frequent visitors, we furry family members know it can be hard to keep up with us too. We promise that we try to be on our very best behavior (with snacks as a reward, of course) but we do need a little extra consideration around our home. Try as we might, around the holidays, there may be more risks than you think.

Most of us love visitors. I mean, five times the belly rubs, two times the treats, and lots of cuddles? I’m here for it. I love to greet everyone, but my younger fur-sister gets easily overwhelmed. She’s at knee-level, and that’s a lot of traffic coming in the door with feet at the bottom and booming voices at the top. It can also be scary when the small kids come to tug on our ears or tails, or worse, wrestle us into a neck-squeezing hug. I’ll play with the kiddos for a bit, but then really appreciate a break. My sis would rather keep clear of them altogether until she feels like being brave. So, to keep everyone happy and safe, please remind the guests that we can be sensitive! Sometimes putting me in my safe zone is more comfortable. This could be my crate or my bed in your room, but make sure to leave treats, toys, or even better, something that smells like you! It’ll keep me calm.

Speaking of holiday joy, your beautifully decorated tree can be a danger to us. For my feline besties, it’s a tower waiting to be scaled, and for us canines, it can get in the way of our zoomies! One of the best things you can do is put it out of our reach. Maybe put a fun decorated fence around it. Also, it’s no fun when my tail hits the ornaments, sending them shattering to the ground. What can I say? I’m a happy guy and can’t help that my tail acts like an excitement meter. We dogs took a vote and we think the best way to get around this is by avoiding glass ornaments.


cat on woman near tree

Another risky decoration? Those festive houseplants! I like to think of myself as the most well-behaved, good boy since I’m not a chewer or a digger. However, some (ahem, the new puppy in the house) love to take a little bite or two of your favorite houseplants. Plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly can be toxic if they’re ingested. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and breathing problems are all side effects we could experience, possibly sending us to the vet. I know they’re beautiful, but faux plants look just as festive and are a safer option for all of us!

Now, let’s skip to the oh-so fantastic smelling family dinner. Of course, it can be a joy when my puppy eyes fool all the visitors and I get a little piece of their meal, but some holiday foods can wreak havoc on my digestive system. Lots of festive treats include chocolate - a major no-no for us canines. Oh, and that turkey! Not only can it cause pancreatitis if I eat it, but the bones can do even more damage if they get lodged in our intestines. If you really want to satisfy my holiday cravings, toss me a few delicious treats that are full of healthy, high-quality ingredients.

We know we have to share your attention with visitors during these times, and we want to be part of the holiday joy too!  So, with these few precautions we’ll enjoy all the festivities together.


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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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How Gut Health Affects Overall Pet Health


cat and food bowl

If someone asked you “how’s your microbiome doing?” a few years ago, you’d probably feel moderately offended and tell them to mind their own business. Generally, talking about your gut health was not considered a part of polite conversation with anyone except your gastroenterologist. How times have changed! You can’t walk three feet in the grocery store without seeing something touting prebiotics. What gives? It all comes down to this key question:

Bacteria: friend or foe?

Back in the Middle Ages, medicine took an exponential leap forward with the concept of germ theory: the idea that many diseases are caused not by ‘ill humors’ or the lack of a good bloodletting, but by tiny organisms too small to see with the naked eye. In 1928, Alexander Fleming pushed us into a new stratosphere with the discovery that penicillin, an innocuous looking mold, was capable of stopping bacteria in their tracks.

For the next century or so, we’ve been busy at work figuring out how to kill bacteria, be it with antibiotics we swallow, disinfectants in our soap and in cleaning sprays, and in our overall belief that the more sterile something was, the better it had to be for our health. Bacteria = bad!

On the other hand, we’ve also been reaping the benefits of bacteria and other microorganisms for years. Whether it’s yeast turning grains into beer or bacteria fermenting our favorite sauerkrauts and yogurts, our understanding of the role of microorganisms in our lives continues to evolve as we realize just how much these little organisms can accomplish. Bacteria = good!

We’ve also known our guts are teeming with bacteria. We know there are ‘bad’ bacteria, the ones that move in after a course of antibiotics or cause a bad case of food poisoning, and we’ve also known having a healthy population of “good” bacteria goes a long way in keeping the baddies from setting up shop. Without really knowing exactly what these bacteria do, most of us have gone about our lives thinking of the good bacteria as innocuous hitchhikers in a symbiotic relationship: they don’t do much, really, but they don’t hurt either.

We were wrong. Enter the world of Gut Microbiomes.


dog and owner playing with ball

What the heck is a microbiome?

The intestines host a world all their own. Teeming with bacteria and viruses, the microbiome feeds off the environment we’ve created for it while doing a whole heck of a lot in return, such as:

  • Producing fatty acids that keep our gut lining healthy
  • Helping to digest carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • Producing critical chemicals like serotonin
  • Regulating inflammation of the GI tract
  • Promoting healthy weight and metabolism

Not only do these bacteria assist in digestion and promote the health of the gut itself, many of these actions impact the entire body. Heard of the gut-brain axis? It’s true! The health of the gut can directly impact cognitive function and mental health. Anyone who’s felt ‘sick to their stomach’ under times of extreme duress may find this not so surprising. 

Each month, a new study into the effect of the microbiome tells us something new: the microbiome affects neurotransmitters, metabolism, mental health, inflammation, and even the aging process. If your microbiome isn’t healthy, in short, neither are you.

If it sounds complex, that’s because it really is. Your overall health can impact your gut health. Conversely, your gut health creates ripple effects throughout the entire body. And every one of these same principles applies to our pets.

The importance of food

We all know that food is important for health. What we didn’t know was just how important. Food provides essential macro- and micro-nutrients, the building blocks of our bodies. It is a fuel for our bodies. But just as importantly, it fuels the microbiome.

Nutrition choices directly affect the health of our microbiome, a fact that’s even easier to observe in pets- whose diets often vary much less than the average person. The biomes of a dog eating a high-protein diet, for example, is consistently different from that of a dog on a higher-carbohydrate diet. What does this mean? We’re learning more every day. 

In addition to the choice of pet food, pet owners can impact gut health by adding probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are the bacteria itself: eating yogurt for a mouthful of Lactobacillus, for example, would be ingesting probiotics. Prebiotics, in contrast, are components that serve as food for the microbiome: health food for your bacteria buddies. One thing we do know: the dog and cat microbiomes are unique to them. In short? Don’t grab people supplements and expect them to help. Stick to products meant for pets.

We don’t know everything there is to learn about the microbiome, but one fact is crystal clear: take care of your microbiome and it will take care of you. And when it comes to taking care of the gut, there’s nothing more important than the food you choose to feed it. Luckily for you, when it comes to your pet, we’ve believed this all along.


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Feed Your Skin From The Inside Out


woman looking at clean face in mirror

You are what you eat. Remember that expression? While the mantra “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” is true when it comes to fueling your body with the earth’s best, it’s also totally okay to have a delicious chocolate chip cookie. We’re all human. Every once in a while we go for the dessert, or the snack food, and that doesn’t make us bad. But, when your diet revolves around nutrient-dense greens and veggies; whole foods that feed and power each and every one of your cells, you tend to feel better overall. Your sleep can improve, your mood is brighter and you get that renewed sense of energy to tackle projects. Even better? Your skin glows too.  

We’ve all had those bouts of breakouts, itchy, dry patches, dullness, bumps or overall sensitized skin. In the end, it’s more than what you apply to your skin; it’s also about what you feed your skin.

A holistic approach to skin wellness

Feed your skin from the inside out. This concept embodies a holistic approach to skincare; it’s a whole body approach, one that takes into account how we nourish our body with food, our daily practices and habits, as well as what we apply topically to our skin (and eventually what gets absorbed into the body through our skin). 

Let’s start on the inside

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Rather than viewing drinking water as something you have to do, start viewing it as something you get to do. Each morning when you roll your sleepy self out of bed, pour a tall glass of water and slowly sip away. This routine ensures that you are starting the day off with room temp fluids, and helps set the intention to continue drinking throughout the day. It’s a simple routine that you can look forward to from the minute your eyes open in the morning. 

When water alone feels repetitive, you can opt for another easy and nutrient-rich option. At least once daily, add a dash of minerals and vitamins to your water. This Greens Blend is a sugar-free drink mix that’s a smart blend of key minerals and vitamins that will all quite literally feed your skin from the inside out. Rich in vitamins A, C and E, all powerful antioxidants that protect skin from damage, plus a host of skin-loving B vitamins and key minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.


woman drinking water

The gut health + skin connection

Studies have shown the direct link between our gut health and our skin health. When the intestinal microbiome is off balance and we lack the right amount of good bacteria, so goes our skin health, too. Many common inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis can be triggered when our gut microbiome is disrupted. 

The flora of the gut microbiome is made up of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa, providing us with vital metabolic and immune benefits (like creating important enzymes & nutrients and fighting off hazardous pathogens). While there is so much more to dive into when it comes to the gut/skin connection and how it contributes to inflammation in the body, a good place to start on your healthy skin journey is by taking a daily probiotic. You can also look for fermented foods rich in probiotics like kimchi, some yogurt and kombucha. 

Curb inflammation

Leaning on additional support from a supplement rich in Omega-3’s can help. An Omega-3 supplement like fish oil has been shown to help reduce inflammation and reduce the effects of skin conditions that result in dryness, flaking and itchiness. While the benefits of omega-3 are vast, supplementing your skin with this nutrient can be particularly useful during times of uncomfortable flare ups. 

Supportive skin care

Each of the suggestions above should be seen as supportive skin care. While skin is inherently intelligent, by providing it with the right nutrients, we’re simply supporting skin to carry out its everyday functions optimally. By opting for plant-based, nutrient-dense skin care, water and smart supplements, we can truly help our skin glow and perform its best from the inside out.  


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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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Our Favorite Wellness Apps


person listening to meditation on the beach

How many times have you downloaded an app, excited for it to deliver anything from an increase in productivity to a decrease in stress, yet after just two days in - you’re out? We get it, but maybe the app you chose just wasn’t a good fit. To help you give it another try, we did the research and rounded up our favorites in a few top categories. 

We chose them based on reviews, accessibility, price, and offerings - so whether it’s wanting to up your fitness routine, learn how to meditate, or get more sleep, we’ve searched high and low to share the best of the best. 

Some are free and some have a low monthly fee, so if you have room in your budget alongside Netflix and Prime, we think they’re worth it for the extra content and support they provide. 

In the end, the real deal breaker as to whether an app will work is if you not only download it but actually use it - and the only person who can help you with that is, well, you. Set a goal within the app, then create space in your calendar to follow the program, videos, etc. and commit to it for at least 30 days to see and feel results. 

Best of luck, we know you can do it!

Meditation

If you’ve ever tried to meditate on your own and declared you’re “not good at it,” we urge you to try again. Not only is meditation an amazing way to stay present and calm your nervous system, it can also help you sleep. These apps have guided meditations that help you stay focused and relaxed all at once.

  • Headspace: 14 days free, then $5.83 per month
  • Insight Timer: Free

Sleep

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is, yet it’s something so many of us are lacking. Try these apps to not only track your sleep, but set gentle wake up reminders, detect snoring, and even play relaxing sleep sounds to lull you into next level slumber.

  • Sleep Cycle: Free with in app purchases
  • Calm: Free trial then $69.99 a year


person looking at phone

Nutrition

Sticking to a healthy eating routine isn’t always easy, but having a pocket nutritionist and endless recipes at your fingertips make it so much easier. These apps not only have amazing recipes, nutrition guides, and calorie trackers, but they also offer workout videos.

  • Deliciously Ella: Free 7 day trial, then $9.99 a month
  • My Fitness Pal: Free with tons of tools, upgrade for more personalized data at $49 a year

Fitness

Staying on track with exercise is something many people struggle with, so using an app that guides you through workouts you can do from your living room, in under 20 minutes, is a gift. These apps offer everything from strength training to guided runs and help you track your workouts so you have a record of what you’ve done each week.

  • Pear Fitness: Free with in app upgrades
  • Nike Training: Free

Yoga/Pilates/ Hybrid

If you’re looking for more of a mind/body workout, these apps offer great classes, some even incorporating strength training moves that get you not only flexible, but also strong. Plus many of the classes end with meditation for an all-in-one experience.

  • Alomoves: Free trial, then $20 a month
  • Gaia Yoga: Free trial, then $11.99 a month / $99 a year

BONUS: Goal Setting

Here’s the thing- you can set the loftiest of wellness goals, but if you don’t keep track of getting them done, there’s less of a chance you’ll stick with them, so we’ve included a bonus app that helps you do just that. Whether it’s drinking more water, walking your dog to get in your steps, or avoiding sugar during the week, Streaks can help you follow your progress.


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You And Your Cuddly Companions


person petting cat

What strengthens your connection to pets more than the yummy treats you give them or the sloppy kisses they give you? Cuddles! Cuddling with your dog or cat builds up your relationship with each other.

With all that floof, our pups and kittens seem to be made for cuddling! No doubt, you’ve experienced all the love that your furry friend can give. But did you know that your love of cuddles also gives benefits to the object of your affections? From you to your canine to your feline, you’re all receiving a positive impact from snuggling up on the couch.

Scientifically speaking, when you are physically close to your pet, your brain, and theirs releases Oxytocin, the love hormone. That’s why you get all those warm and fuzzy feelings!

For the Humans:

Cuddling with your pet has endless benefits for your health. It can relieve depression and make you feel happier. This is due to two neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, that are released when snuggling. Plus, it lowers your levels of cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for all the not-so-good feelings like anxiety. So, maybe take a few minutes before a long, stressful day to cuddle up with your furry companion.


dog cuddling on human shoulder

For the Canines:

It’s no surprise that your dog cuddles up next to you because they absolutely adore you. They consider you their person, so nothing feels better than being close to you. Rewind to earlier times when dogs used to stay close to other dogs and their owners when they needed to keep warm in cold weather. This habit has stayed true to many breeds of dogs today. In addition, this is one of the ways that canines show their affection and bond with you. Remember, dogs are pack animals like us. Some need the same physical touch and companionship to feel happy. Without it, dogs can slip into depression and higher feelings of stress. Cuddling with your dog can also help you stay in tune with their health. While petting them, you’ll be able to observe them from head to toe. Bumps, bad smells, or sensitive areas will become apparent when you’re so close.

For the Felines:

Everyone is an individual, but generally, cats absolutely love and benefit from cuddling just as much as we do. In fact, they depend on your companionship! A new study shows that cats miss you when you’re gone. Even leaving them with an item with your scent on it does not alleviate their stress. They just want you! Another study revealed that cats would actually choose human companionship over their own food. Just like you, cuddling lessens symptoms of sickness and reduces feelings of stress. Even if your cat has behavioral issues, they’re more likely to decrease with daily pets and cuddles.

Remember, not all dogs or cats are fond of cuddles. But for those who are, you can feel comfort in knowing it benefits them as much as it does you. So, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, cuddle up next to your sweet pup or kitten for a few minutes. You plus your cuddly companions is a combination for a longer, happier, and healthier life.


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Tips For Waste-Free Skin Care


lotion on hands

So you’ve done your research; you found your natural, clean skin care go-to’s and you’re on a journey to your best, healthiest skin yet. You’ve built a simple skin care routine based on nutrient-rich, hydrating, skin-barrier-protecting ingredients. Good work! No doubt you’ve spent countless minutes researching products online or asking friends for recommendations while wading through a seemingly endless ocean of skincare products and their claims. We’re so glad you made it here! 

You and your skin are worth the time and investment, so we chatted with Ashley Guttuso, a licensed holistic esthetician, to help you get the most out of your products and daily routine. We have answers for some of our most-asked questions; from “how much facial oil do I use?” to “what order do I apply my products in?” and more. Skincare 101 is now in session!

Q: How do I use bar soap as a facial cleanser? Should I use it twice per day?

Ashley: Cleansing your face with a solid bar of soap can definitely seem like an adjustment if you’re used to more traditional liquid cleansers, and understandably so! Bar soaps have been given a bad reputation. When you hear “bar soap” I bet your mind goes to a cheaply made, mass-produced, overly-drying bar that you’d typically buy at the drug or grocery store. The difference with a natural, hand-made bar cleanser like the Charcoal + Sea Salt Soap is that it’s superfatted meaning that during the soap making process, the soap retains more oils and is ultimately more moisturizing to your skin, unlike traditional bar soaps. 

I love to recommend using a bar cleanser once daily in the evening. When you’re ready to wash, wet your hands and rub the bar until you reach a creamy, sudsy lather. Add water as needed, but don’t hold your bar directly under water (following this method will help your bar last longer!). Check out my video below for another soap-saving tip!

Q: How should I store my bar soap after cleansing?

Ashley: Look for a dish or tray with drainage or deep grooves to help clear water away from the bar. Leaving your bar in water will make it soft and dissolve more quickly. 


woman applying serum drops

Q: I love a sudsy lather when I’m cleansing my face, but I go through my liquid cleanser too quickly. How much should I really be using?

Ashley: To start, a good general rule is to cleanse once per day. I tend to see that people over-cleanse, and ultimately dry out their skin (often leading to excess oil production and congestion or breakouts) or cause skin irritation that can show up as tiny bumps, redness or dry patches. Try cleansing only during your evening routine and rely on warm water, toner, and moisturizer in the morning. While I can’t speak for all cleanser formulations, a dime-sized amount of Life’s Abundance Facial Cleanser will adequately cleanse skin. Watch the video for a good visual!

Q: My face feels oily after I apply my facial serum. Am I using too much?

Ashley: Oil and water; a magical skin duo! Let me explain. If you’re applying a facial oil to dry skin and left with a heavy feeling, or like the oil is sitting on top of your skin, introduce a water-based toner (or simply water) into the mix. Post cleanse, either leave skin damp with water, or mist skin with your favorite toner (nix any alcohol-based toners) and apply 2-4 drops of oil. The water will help your skin to absorb the product. Start with fewer drops of oil and add more as desired until you find your perfect balance. I’m a 3-drop of facial oil kind of gal!

Q: How much moisturizer should I use? My skin is currently oily.

Ashley: This is a great question for a few different reasons; one being that it’s definitely important to take your skin state (aka what your skin is experiencing at a certain point in time) into consideration and the second being that oily skin needs moisturizer, too! Start small - apply a chickpea-sized amount to your fingertips and apply to damp skin. Cover your face and neck. You’ll be able to feel if your skin needs more; add a small amount of moisturizer at a time until you’re feeling adequately moisturized.

For folks experiencing dryness, my favorite moisturizer tip is cocktailing your own! Apply a dime-sized amount of facial moisturizer to your fingers and add 1-2 drops of facial serum. Blend together and let your face and neck drink it up! As you would before applying your facial serum, be sure your skin is slightly damp with water or water-based toner before applying to deeper product absorption. 

Watch the video below for bonus tips!


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Putting On Healthy Weight For Underweight Pets


dog running alongside owner

At first, feeding your pet seems like a simple concept. Scoop out food, place in bowl, done. But if it were really that simple, how come we spend countless hours researching, debating, and reading about pet nutrition? Truth is, getting your pet’s diet just right means being aware of all the different factors that go into the right nutritional plan:

  • Health status of the pet
  • Current weight
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Lifestyle

Take, for example, a cat named Charlie. At nine, he seemed to have a new lease on life- after being a bit of a couch potato, he couldn’t keep still- zooming around at all hours, and after years of being a bit on the larger side, he slimmed down to a svelte ten pounds.

Then nine.

Then eight.

His owners, assuming Charlie was simply experiencing a midlife burst of energy, gave him more food. It seems like a reasonable approach- but it didn’t fix Charlie’s weight loss. In this case, his weight loss and high energy was a byproduct of an undiagnosed medical condition. By the time his owners brought him to the vet, he was quite underweight, a symptom of his untreated thyroid tumor. With the right medication- AND the right food- he stabilized at his ideal weight.

Charlie’s thyroid disease is a good example of the complicated relationship between food and health. Does food cause health problems? Heal health problems? Maintain good health? The answer is, all of the above!

Weight: More than just a number

When performing a physical exam, the pet’s weight and their diet are noted. But knowing that a pet weighs twenty pounds doesn’t mean anything without some additional context- are we talking about a chihuahua or a lab mix? How does that number compare to the pet’s ideal weight?

Many veterinarians use a scoring system called the Body Condition Score. They use their eyes to assess the pet’s waist (or lack thereof), how visible the ribs are, and how much of a belly you can see from the side. They also use their hands to assess the amount of padding over the ribs. Putting those two together, they assign a number between one and nine. One is emaciated, nine is morbidly obese, and five is ideal. 

In a world where half of the country’s pets are overweight, you would probably not be surprised to know that the most common numbers assigned are six or seven. This triggers a conversation about weight management, diets, and exercise. But what happens when a pet is less than their ideal weight?


cat playing with toy

Assessing the underweight pet

  1. History. When a pet’s body condition score is four or less, their history becomes very important. Have they always been on the lean side or have they recently lost weight? Has anything changed in their life- a move, a new food, a new pet? Getting a detailed health history helps the veterinarian figure out if this is primarily a problem with the pet not getting enough calories, or if it’s an indicator of a potential health problem.

  2. Diagnostic tests. When a pet is dealing with an unexplained weight loss, vets use all of these clues to figure out whether or not they need to run some additional tests to look for health conditions. Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and- as in Charlie’s case- hyperthyroidism can be identified with some very simple bloodwork, allowing intervention and treatment if caught early. Others, such as certain cancers, may take more targeted diagnostics to identify. In all of these cases, unexplained weight loss is one of the earliest things noticed.

  3. Nutrition Plan. Once the status of the pet’s health is known, picking the right food becomes clearer. Is this a very active pet who needs a more calorie-dense diet with lots of high-quality protein? That’s very different from a pet with kidney disease who needs lower protein percentages to ease the stress on the kidneys. Does the pet take medications or supplements? Those can impact nutrient absorption as well! It has a lot of moving parts. 

    Once all of these factors are put together, you and your vet will know the best food choice. But what to feed is only part one. How much to feed is just as important!

    Just like a pound of steak has more calories than a pound of lettuce, knowing how much food to feed depends very much on what food you’ve chosen- which is why “just feed him more!” is less helpful than it sounds. With the right information, nutrition label, and a calculator, your vet has the ability to calculate the exact amount of food right for your pet. 

  4. Follow up. You’ve got your premium diet chosen; you know how much to feed. Now what? Follow up is key! Your vet will indicate when they want to check in and see how the pet is doing, and assess their weight change. Are they going in the right direction? Once they reach their ideal weight, does the plan change again?

Like so many things in life, how and what to feed your pet is never a simple answer, because our pets change over time, and so do their needs. The good news is, vets have gotten really good at identifying how to pick the right food at the right time. 

As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Sure, he probably wasn’t thinking of dogs and cats when he wrote that- but it still holds true. Here’s to a long life of health to you and your pets!


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