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

5 Foods for Glowing Skin

Promises of age defying, wrinkle releasing and instant face lifts in a bottle keep beauty products flying off the shelves everywhere from the grocery store to the most posh department store. I’m not saying a few fancy (or not so fancy) products don’t have their role in your skin's health and glow but your best bet at beautiful skin? Is building it from the inside out.

These five foods will offer you loads of nutrients to help clear your complexion, prevent wrinkles and make your skin glow.
Strawberries: This sweet fruit is full of antioxidants (including vitamin C and manganese) that help to prevent damage to the skin by free radicals. Not only that, but it also packs a punch in the B vitamin department, which plays a role in increasing circulation to the skin. Better circulation equals better cell turnover and a healthy flush. Here’s a bonus to these little fruits - researchers have shown that B vitamins play a role in a reduction in hair loss and contribute to shinier hair. Top a slice of Ezekial toast with a tablespoon of ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries as your new go-to breakfast.

Spinach: This leafy green contains zinc, important in controlling the oil content of the skin, which helps minimize breakouts. It’s also an essential component in the formation of collagen, which gives your skin cells their strength and keeps their structure. A boost of zinc will prevent skin from sagging and premature wrinkles from forming. Toss a cup of fresh spinach (frozen works too!) into your fruit smoothie for some serious skin boosting benefits.

 


Salmon: This fish is a well known option for those pining after glowing skin. And for good reason. Its high amount of omega 3s (DHA and EPA) are essential fatty acids necessary for good health, including skin. We can’t make them in our body so we must get them from food or supplements. DHA and EPA help maintain the structural and functional integrity of cell membranes and assist in warding off wrinkles. Their anti-inflammatory effect helps prevent collagen breakdown. Grill a salmon filet with rosemary and lemon for the simplest way to wow your dinner guests. Seafood not your thing? An Omega 3 supplement might be the next best option to ensure you’re getting a healthy dose of those necessary fats.

Almonds: Many know about biotin as being the answer for good hair and nails. But did you know that this vitamin does a whole lot of good for your skin, too? Almonds provide you with this particular B vitamin that gets the limelight for its role in stimulating faster cell turnover for a glowing complexion. Get your healthy dose of biotin by topping a salad with sliced almonds or by grabbing a handful of raw almonds as a quick snack.

 


Kidney beans: You may have heard of beans referred to as the ‘magical fruit,’ but this is true for more reasons than this tune’s amusing lyrics. Their high amounts of iron increase oxygen transportation throughout the body. This means better circulation, which means serious benefits for a healthy glow. Pairing them with a food high in vitamin C will ensure all of the iron gets put to work towards your best looking skin. Make a hearty veggie chili full of bell peppers, tomatoes and kidney beans for a nutrient match made in heaven.

 

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned From My Puppy

I never cease to be surprised at how much I learn from my dogs. Even after living and working with them for years, there’s always something new to learn about them or yourself. The first few months of my dog Brody’s life as a puppy were some of the most joyous weeks of my life. Even at two months of age, he seemed to have it all figured out. Maybe it’s a dog thing.

So, in no particular order, here are all the life lessons I learned from my puppy Brody!

A good solid wink is an essential people skill to master.

If you’re breaking the rules, better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Nap often and with great gusto.

When in doubt, just try looking chagrined.

Truly, no problem is insurmountable.

Did I mention it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission? Especially when it’s ice cream.

You’re never too young - or too old - to be a hero!

No matter your age, be sure to celebrate all of life’s milestones!

What lessons has your dog taught you? Please share your story in the comments section below!

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

The Many Health Benefits of Living with Dogs

While all dog lovers intuitively know we are happier and healthier with a dog or two (or three) in our lives, scientists around the world have been working to prove that this isn’t just a feeling but a fact. Dogs really do make us healthier!

  1. Fewer allergies
    That old wives tale that being around animals is more likely to make you sick is just that … a misconception. In fact, children raised around animals are 33% less likely to have allergies to those animals than those who are raised in a more sterile environment. Just like the “hygiene hypothesis” surmising that early exposure to germs makes us better at fighting them, being around allergens while our bodies are still growing helps the body recognize these particles as being A-OK.

  2. Trimmer waist
    Pet parents are less likely to suffer from obesity compared to the general population, particularly if you are the person in the household responsible for walking the dog. It makes sense: maybe you can talk yourself out of an early a.m. stroll, but it’s harder to justify skipping the walk when your dog is giving you those big, excited eyes!

  3. Lower rates of eczema
    Eczema, a painful and itchy skin condition, is a common plague in children and thought to have an allergic component. Children raised with dogs have demonstrably lower levels of eczema compared to the pet-less, which is great news for those of us who love dogs AND kids, and couldn’t imagine going without either!

  4. Cancer detection
    A dog’s sense of smell is somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times more sensitive than our own. Think about that the next time your spray perfume in their presence! One of the unintended benefits of this is that many dogs seem to pick up on very subtle olfactory indicators of disease. Dogs have shown repeatable, reliable skill in finding lung, bladder, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers in people … some of whom passed more commonly accepted screening tests! If your dog shows a sudden and insatiable interest in a certain body part, don’t ignore it … your pup may be trying to save your life!

  5. Noticing low blood sugar
    More than one out of every three dogs living with diabetics can detect low blood sugar, according to researchers. With no prior training, some of these dogs have on their own alerted their owners to something being off, providing people a critical lead time in intervening before their blood sugar levels lead to serious symptoms.

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

How Dogs and People Evolved Together

People live with and love many kinds of animals, but there’s just something special about our relationship with our dogs. We all get the sense that they need us the same way that we need them. Humans and canines, bonded together by some strange and immutable force. It’s almost as if we evolved for each other!

And there’s evidence to support that actually, we did. Here are some fascinating facts that scientists have discovered about the ancient, intertwined bond between humankind and canines…

1. Dogs first split off the wolf genome about 32,000 years ago.
Recently, scientists collected DNA from gray wolves as well as various dog breeds from across the globe. By comparing these samples against the DNA taken from an ancient dog skull uncovered in a Siberian mountain range, Chinese researchers determined that modern dogs split off from the wolf genome approximately 32,000 years ago … the earliest evidence ever discovered!

2. Dogs may have helped us beat Neanderthals in the evolution game.
While Neanderthals existed nearly 250,000 years ago, we Homo sapiens are a little newer on the scene: about 40,000 years ago or so. While no one is entirely sure why they became extinct whereas we flourished, some anthropologists surmise that domesticating dogs played a key role in allowing us to hunt more efficiently and therefore survive.

3. Their affable personality ensured their survival.
While wolves are naturally reserved and skittish around humans, dogs easily accept people as fellow pack members. From an evolutionary standpoint, the wolves who were comfortable enough approaching humans to beg off scraps possibly marked the first step in the domestication process. Which just goes to prove that dogs can’t help their genial nature!

4. Their body chemistry adapted closer to what we eat.
Right around the same time that human society moved from a hunting-based to a farming-based lifestyle, we started to further develop our aptitude for digesting starches. So did dogs. A 2013 study from the journal Nature found ten genes responsible for starch digestion that are not present in the carnivorous wolf species. Like us, dogs are true omnivores.

5. Modern dogs are more alike than they are different.
It’s hard to believe that hulking Great Danes and dainty teacup poodles are representatives of the same species, but they are! Their extensive physical variations are the result of selective breeding programs, which have only really been in vogue for less than 200 years. Without humans manipulating the breeding process, the huge disparities we know today would not exist.

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

A Family Guide to Coping With Pet Loss

As a veterinarian, a person regularly tasked with the sacred duty of helping beloved family members pass over the Rainbow Bridge, you might think that I had lots of training in vet school about how to help people during such a challenging time. To be honest, I didn’t. Almost none, in fact, which is a shame.

Oftentimes, the death of a pet is the first major loss experienced by a person, especially children. We know now that for many people, the pain and grief of losing a pet is as profound as the death of a person, yet people are often expected to carry on the next day as if nothing has happened. Openly discussing grief makes others uncomfortable, mostly because they don’t know what to say.

Because of this, we are often ill-prepared for helping people navigate the complicated maze that is grief. After working in pet hospice for several years, I have a better understanding than ever before about how profound this experience is for people, as well as how often they are pretty much left to figure things out on their own. There is much we can do as a veterinary community to better prepare families for the death of a pet, and also much that pet parents can do as well.

How To Talk to Kids

How many of us grew up with parents who said, “Oh, Fluffy ran away”? For many years this was the accepted way of dealing with a pet’s death: Denial. Not only does this deprive children of the opportunity to mourn, many kids (myself included!) felt a deep sense of betrayal when we got older and realized our parents deceived us. Although it comes from a loving place, it’s always best to be honest with our little ones.

1. Be Direct. Children do not understand euphemisms such as “put to sleep”. Children under five may not understand that death is permanent. It is normal for them to repeatedly ask when their pet is coming back, even after you have told them that a beloved companion animal has died.

2. Be Reassuring. It is natural for death to cause anxiety in children, and they may even experience nightmares. By reassuring them and being there for them, children know that they can trust in their family even during sad times.

3. Allow Them to Be Present. Depending on your own comfort level, of course, I strongly believe that children benefit from being present during the euthanasia process. I find children to be curious, accepting and often a very big comfort to their grieving parents! It is healthy for them to see how peaceful the dying process can be, rather than relying on their active imaginations to fill in scary details.

4. Allow Them To Grieve. There are so many ways children can express themselves during the grieving process: talking, drawing pictures, having a ceremony. In our house we had a Celebration of Life for our dog, complete with a poem my daughter wrote. I know of other families who hold goldfish funerals. It’s good for kids to know that memories and love do not end when the body is gone.

How to Deal With Other Pets

For a long time, I was ambivalent about whether or not other pets in the family needed to be present when a pet passed. After all, most of the times I helped with a euthanasia, it was in the veterinary clinic. All of that changed when I started going to people’s homes and experiencing the death process with the entire family.

Dogs and cats understand death. Perhaps we tell ourselves this based on intuition, but having seen it firsthand I truly believe it. I have seen feisty dogs full of energy calm down and curl up next to their dog brother or sister after they have gone; cats may wander in for just a moment and wander off, but they still take note. Either way, they seem to be able to sense the change that has taken place, some moment imperceptible to us. Just like children are confused when a pet suddenly disappears, there’s no reason to think our fur kids are any different.

How Grief Affects You

Make no mistake, the loss of a pet is a terrible thing. There is no need to minimize that sadness or try to push it aside; deep sadness reflects the depth of your love. You need to allow yourself the time to mourn the loss of your friend, the loss of what they brought to your family, and the time in your life that they signified.

1. Be Gentle With Yourself. If you find yourself surrounded by people who say unhelpful things like, “It was only a dog! You can get another one,” or some other inconsiderate things, find new people to talk to! Many areas offer pet loss support groups; if those are not available, you can talk to one of many pet loss support hotlines or even jump on the daily internet Pet Loss Support Chats run by the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.

2. Know That There is No Timeline. Some people grieve for months or even years. Don’t let anyone tell you it is “time” to get over your loss.

3. Read Up On Pet Loss. One of my favorite pet loss resources for pet parents is The Loss of a Pet by Wallace Sife. This excellent book details the process of grief, specifically with pets, and also helps readers identify when grief is such that a professional counselor might be helpful.

4. Be a Good Friend. When a friend says goodbye to a beloved pet, remember how it felt for you and offer a kind word, a good memory and a big hug. Even if they say, “I’m OK!” it is often because this is what everyone expects them to say, and a compassionate ear can mean so very much.

It may sound strange to say this, but memorializing a loved one can be a truly life affirming moment. It teaches children (and ourselves!) that what is gone is not forgotten, that death is sad but it doesn’t have to be scary, and that we can get through anything when we support each other. The lessons we learn by saying goodbye to our fur kids carries over to other losses in our life, and helps us process grief in a healthy way so that we can move to a place where we are able to remember our loved ones with peace and joy.

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Our Foundation Awards Grants to Several Rescues

Did you know that every order placed at Life’s Abundance benefits our charitable foundation? It’s true! Whether you’re ordering the finest nutritional supplements for yourself or premium quality food for your pet kids, your business will help the plight of homeless animals across America.

This work is done through our non-profit wing, The Dr. Jane Foundation, which provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups who work to prevent animal homelessness, abuse and chronic neglect. Since 2007, we’ve awarded more than $190,000 in funding to well over 100 deserving groups! 

In an era where so many shelters self-identify as “no kill”, it’s shocking to learn that euthanasia is still responsible for the deaths of nearly three million dogs and cats every year. Obviously, there’s a lot of work left to do, and why we wholeheartedly support the very agencies who are striving to bring these numbers down.

In every state, small and medium-sized rescues are working their hearts out to save as many homeless animals as possible. While large groups attract huge amounts of funding through awareness campaigns, these smaller non-profits rely heavily on the goodwill of their local communities. When a national organization like our foundation helps out, it helps draw attention to their vital, life-saving efforts.

To qualify for funding from our foundation, applicants must meet rigorous criteria. Most of our grant recipients utilize one or more programs that have proven successful in curbing pet overpopulation and reducing the number of pet kids euthanized. These initiatives include low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, TNR (trap-neuter-return) management of feral cat communities, affordable adoption fees, and community education efforts regarding the proper care of companion animals and the dangers of animal abuse and neglect. And all of this is done in addition to the day-to-day activities undertaken by these committed rescuers to place their animals in loving adoptive homes.

Time and time again, we’ve seen witnessed amazing transformations. Animals who have borne the brunt of cruelty or long-term neglect and yet were still able to rise above their hardships and make full recoveries. Every new group brings its own stories of triumph in the face of adversity. With so many grant recipients, it’s hard to calculate the exact number of animals helped by our non-profit … but it’s easily in the hundreds, if not thousands!

Just think, simply by shopping with Life’s Abundance, you’re making the world a better place. How often do you get to do something positive without having to do anything different at all? As long as you keep purchasing our health-promoting products, you’ll be supporting rescues!

And we’ve saved the best news for last. Our Board of Directors just held a quarterly meeting last month, approving grants to the following six incredibly worthy recipients …

- Forever Husky, Inc. of Crystal Lake, IL

- Page Animal Adoption Agency of Page, AZ

- Second Chance Cocker Rescue of Santa Barbara, CA

- Action Programs for Animals of Las Cruces, NM

- Fix Smith County of Elmwood, TN

- Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue, Inc. of Columbus, OH

Congratulations to all of these groups for their amazing efforts to make the world a better place for companion animals in need! And check back soon for updates on these very groups, and what they are able to accomplish with this round of funding.

Check back next month for another update from The Dr. Jane Foundation. Together, we’re making a difference!

Multivitamins… A Good or Bad Idea

In an ideal world, we would eat the perfect amounts and proportions of just the right foods from pristine, organically grown farms so we could obtain optimal nutrition from each and every bite. Sounds good, right?

It’s important to understand that foods are complicated – in a good way. All foods contain a host of complex micronutrients that work together in perfect harmony. This is why I believe that you can’t pop a pill and expect it to replace all of the nutrition foods deliver in your diet. There’s no singular pill, powder or solution that can compare with the comprehensive nutrition that fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and other foods supply to the diet.

The problem is that this is the real world, not an ideal world and our food supply, lifestyles and unique nutritional needs make it difficult for us to get the all nutrients we need from food alone. Fruits and vegetables don’t contain the vitamins and minerals they used to years ago due to the depletion of these nutrients in the soil. They also lose nutritional potency in transit from the farm to your table, not to mention the nutrients lost when cooking them. And finally, our hectic schedules often get in the way of making the right dietary choices. For example, instead of a grilled chicken breast with a sweet potato and green beans for dinner, you worked late and picked up a bucket of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and an apple cobbler dessert. This is why only one out of five people get adequate vitamins and minerals from their food.

Here’s where I believe a daily supplements can be very helpful. Although they cannot replace all of the nutrition food delivers, when your body needs a little extra help, they will have your back and can go a long way to help nutritionally compensate those of us who live in the real world.

So now you may be wondering, “what should I be taking?” There’s so many options to choose from that it can get kind of overwhelming. Is a gender-specific formula the way to go, should I try compressed pills, capsules or a gummies, perhaps a mega-dose formula is right for me or should opt for a special supplement formulated for hair and nails, energy or my age? I believe a multivitamin that provides you with the essential nutrients for optimal health and no more makes the most sense. Because too much of “good thing” can have unwanted consequences.

I recommend Life’s Abundance Multivitamin because it provides a balanced approach to a daily supplement, providing all of the essential nutrients and none of the extras. Plus, we’ve added a unique spice blend of black pepper extract, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, cayenne, cinnamon, holy basil and cloves. These spices offer a wealth of plant-based phytonutrients and antioxidants so important for optimal health. And since I believe it’s important to reduce additives from the diet, it is free from magnesium stearate. Life’s Abundance Multivitamin veggie capsules are made from cellulose, which not only helps protect sensitive ingredients but also breaks down and delivers nutrients more easily than compressed tablets. And, last but not least, it is soy, grain and dairy free with no added sugar, artificial flavors, color or preservatives. So, do the best you can to eat as healthy as you can and if you need a little help, try Life’s Abundance Multivitamin.

 

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

Care & Feeding of Aging Dogs

Aging Dog

A lot of folks don’t realize it, but as companion animals grow older, their nutritional needs often change. As their caretakers, we owe it to them to provide the best we can, based on their current nutritional requirements. The truth is, when it comes to senior dogs, appropriate, targeted nourishment can make a real difference in terms of longevity and long-term happiness. More...

Foundation Award to Elinore's Dream

Cradling a cat

It gives us immense pleasure to bring you more good news from The Dr. Jane Foundation! Here, we sing the praises of one of our 2016 recipients, Florida-based Elinore’s Dream, Inc. Headquartered in Ft. Pierce, this dedicated animal-welfare group has made significant inroads towards ending the cycle of feline overpopulation in their local South Florida area. 

This no-kill non-profit seeks to humanely reduce cat overpopulation through a multi-tiered strategy: the provision of spay-and-neuter services for homeless cats; placing adoptable kitties in forever homes; education of their local community on the necessity of preventative care; and advocacy on behalf of humane public policy as it pertains to non-lethal caretaking of feral cat populations.

Feline overpopulation has proven extensive in the Ft. Pierce area. Well over a third of the people live below the poverty line, which is a significant contributing factor in animal abandonment.

The volunteers of Elinore’s Dream care for feral felines who have been relegated to the outskirts. Through a program dubbed ‘Operation CatSnip’, aid providers use TNR, a method where felines are trapped without injury, neutered or spayed, and then released so that they may return to their feral group.

Any adults and kittens determined to be good candidates for adoption are temporarily placed with a fosterer until matched with a perfect forever home. Rescued felines learn to live indoors (a big change for some), where they are allowed to roam freely and socialize with people every day.

In operation for only six years, the number of cats this group has sterilized has increased exponentially every year, as has their number of successful adoptions. Amazingly, given the small size of their venture, over the years they have spayed and neutered over 1,700 felines! As you can imagine, that translates into far fewer feral cats with dire needs.

With our grant, they were able to continue their program to spay/neuter feral cats, making it possible to cover veterinary costs for 50 cats from low-income areas of Ft. Pierce. In addition to spay-and-neuter procedures, the treated felines received all needed vaccines at the time of surgery. Of course, medical issues, such as abscesses and infections, were also addressed.

According to Elinore’s Dream Treasurer Sande McKey, “We are very grateful to The Dr. Jane Foundation for their help with our feline welfare efforts. They don’t talk, but the cats are very grateful, too.”

To learn more about the adoptable cats available from this remarkable group, visit adoptapet.com/elinoresdream today. For any South Florida residents, this rescue encourages interested adopters to contact them immediately, as well as anyone interested in becoming a foster parent.

As the charitable arm of Life’s Abundance, The Dr. Jane Foundation provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups who work to prevent animal homelessness, abuse and chronic neglect. Every time you purchase a Life's Abundance product, a small donation is made to the Foundation’s operating fund.

And there’s more good news … we are now accepting applications for 2016 funding. If you know of an animal rescue organization that deserves special recognition and financial support, please encourage them to fill out an application.

Check back next month for more good news from The Dr. Jane Foundation. Together, we’re making a difference!

Dive Into Antioxidants

keri july 2016 blog

Antioxidants. Free radicals. Two buzzwords thrown around as often as, we eat! But what are antioxidants and free radicals exactly, where are they found and what do they do to and for you?

Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Think of them as the "good guys" that protect you from the "bad guys", free radicals. 

Free radicals are produced when your body breaks down certain foods, from environmental exposures such as tobacco smoke and even from the sun. In science terms, a free radical is a highly reactive unpaired oxygen atom. While oxygen is good and essential for the body, it is meant to be perfectly paired in its balanced O2 form. Think of a free radical as a pinball careening around inside your body, constantly smashing into other cells, and inhibiting normal cell function—the cells can’t do their jobs properly because this little guy keeps storming the gates.They damage cells and contribute to aging and other health concerns.

The good news is that we don’t need to live in fear of free radicals. Our bodies are pretty amazing and we can fight them, even with the food we eat. Free radicals can be reduced by eating foods that are loaded with antioxidants. Now the whole “good guy” part is making sense, right?

Antioxidants help counter free radicals in your body (think squashing that fly with a swatter) in a variety of ways. For example, antioxidants lessen the deterioration of the skin’s vital components like collagen and elastin. They protect against long-term sun damage, like wrinkling and skin discoloration, and from UVB exposure by fighting the free radicals that result from sun and pollution.

My favorite foods which have been found to deliver some of the highest antioxidant power are foods such as blueberries, artichokes, black beans, lentils and dark leafy greens. But all fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes will provide antioxidants. Herbs and spices and tea and coffee are also a powerful place to up your intake.

It’s important to remember to mix it up when it comes to eating. So, no eating that same turkey sandwich every day. Eating a variety of whole foods will ensure that you consume a wide range of antioxidants providing your body with the most help it can get, and you’ll be more satisfied, too! Even when you’re eating a balanced diet, sometimes it’s near impossible to consume all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Supplementing your diet with a low calorie antioxidant blend can be as easy as adding it to a glass of water. With our Minerals & Antioxidants mixes, just pour, stir and immediately enjoy 11 different nutrient-dense super foods, while simultaneously contributing to your 8 recommended glasses of water a day!

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN