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Candy Cane Protein Shake Recipe

Candy Cane Smoothie

Attention Candy Cane Lovers: The holidays are here! That means it’s time to indulge in a sweet peppermint treat with a healthy boost of protein.

Create your own Candy Cane Protein Shake this holiday season:

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add ice, blend, and enjoy!

7 Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs and Cats

Woman Plays With Her Dog At Beach

As your furry friend gets older, are they showing signs of slowing down? Arthritis in dogs and cats can potentially be treated, giving your pet an active life for years to come.

Here are seven common signs that may indicate your pet has arthritis or other joint problems:

1. Limping

Did your cat land wrong when jumping off the couch or is it a sign of something else? If your pet's limping seems to be related directly to a potential injury, it's important to have it checked out by a vet.

But if your pet seems to regularly have issues with limping, it may be a sign of a developing condition that could impact their joint health.

2. Stiffness

Many of us pet parents relate to the extra time it takes to get going in the mornings or during cold weather. Just like us, arthritis may be to blame more than old age. When your pet's joints hurt, they don't want to move as much, and who could blame them? The trouble is, this causes their muscles to become even tighter and stiffer after long periods of time without activity.

3. Problems Moving or Standing

Tight muscles and achy joints can also keep your pet from wanting to move as much as they used to. You may notice that your dog or cat has problems standing up or moving around, almost as though their muscles are bound.

This isn't far from the truth — the lack of use and limiting motion can cause your pet's muscles to atrophy, making early treatment of arthritis in dogs and cats important.

4. Refusing Normal Activities

Is your pet no longer wanting to jump, climb or run as they once did? When joint disease and arthritis make these activities painful, your pet may not want to partake in them anymore. Though this could be a temporary situation, make sure to pursue treatment options if the behavior continues for more than a few days or weeks.

Cat Lounges On Red Couch

5. Snapping

Your precious pet may be the friendliest animal on the planet, but if they have suddenly become grumpy it's important to find out why. If an animal is in pain, touching may add to their discomfort. That's why it's vital to take a pet to the vet if you see them reacting to being petted or touched in certain areas.

6. Licking Sore, Swollen Joints

Animals lick their bodies to soothe pain — licking sore joints is no exception. When your pet spends significant amounts of time licking their joints, it's a good indicator that the underlying area is painful for them.

Some animals that are in pain can even end up creating bald spots from the continuous licking. The good news is that this is something you can easily watch for and monitor.

7. Shying Away from Attention

When your social butterfly has become a wallflower, it's because your pet is having a slightly different response to the snapping symptoms listed above.
To avoid pain, your precious pet is trying to avoid being petted, lifted or played with. It's vital that these symptoms be treated relatively quickly, before the temporary behavior becomes a permanent pet problem.

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By keeping an eye out for some of these symptoms and involving your veterinarian early, you may be able to help avoid years of chronic pain for your pet. For more advanced arthritis and joint treatments, talk to your vet about options such as cold laser therapy and underwater treadmills.

Pet parents in the know often turn to dog supplements and cat supplements that specifically support joints. Agility Formula for dogs and cats not only addresses joint health, but supports the entire musculoskeletal system. If you have a pet approaching middle age or just want to be proactive as they get older, try our Agility Formula and see what a difference it can make!

Face Yoga: A New Trend In Skin Care Routine

Woman Practices Face Yoga

When you think about yoga, there’s a good chance you picture a group of women bending and contorting in a wide variety of poses at some boutique gym. But there’s a new trend that’s sweeping the country that has very little to do with total body fitness — face yoga.

Here’s everything you need to know about face yoga and how it could make you look younger:

What is Face Yoga?

In simple terms, face yoga is exactly what it sounds like: special exercises designed to tone the muscles in your face. Most regimens include special movements that workout up to 57 different areas including the face, neck, and scalp.

For example, one common exercise involves opening your mouth wide, folding your upper lip over your front teeth, and smiling broadly. This is just a sampling of the various types of facial movements included in face yoga.

Does Face Yoga Work?

Although there are plenty of skeptics, preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that face yoga is actually beneficial to one’s appearance. In most cases, those who remain committed to the program will see some sort of positive change within the first couple of months.

The reason for this is as old as time—the movement of the body will always cause a lifting and firming sensation. What makes this program unique is that most people mentally believe that exercise is only for areas of the body you would traditionally train at the gym, such as abs or quads. But in this case, it’s the finer muscles in the face that are being worked out.

Woman Stretching Her Lips With Face Yoga

What Can Face Yoga Help Improve?

One of the first things face yoga participants generally notice is a brighter complexion, due to an increase in blood circulation. Something else many people experience is fuller cheeks. The reason for this is simple — after continuously working the muscle, it grows in size similarly to how your bicep would after doing weeks of curls in the gym. In turn, this counteracts some drooping and sliding of the skin for a more youthful appearance.

Furthermore, it is important to note that face yoga is actually used in a medical setting. Patients recovering from injuries and even neurological or stroke episodes have used various forms of facial movements in the same manner for years. However, it is typically referred to as a form of physical therapy and not for beauty purposes.

The Downside to Face Yoga

According to most experts, the only real downside to trying out this new trend is time. Just like working out your body, this isn’t something that you can see results in just a session or two. The average amount of time spent doing face yoga is around thirty minutes daily for a minimum for eight weeks. For most busy women, this is far more of a time commitment than their busy schedules allow.

Of course, activities like face yoga are always better when paired with a positive skin care routine. We offer our own line of beauty products designed to help your skin look and feel amazing!

Some people might scoff at the idea of yoga for your face, but there’s really not much to lose other than time. Partaking in special exercises to help improve your overall look and muscle tone is never a bad idea. And it’s completely non-toxic, free to try, and can be done on your own schedule. What’s not to love about any of that?

Dog Years Are A Myth — Find Your Pup’s True Age

Giving A Puppy A High Five

We love our dogs — so much, in fact, that we are obsessed with comparing their age to our own. The problem is that the formulas we have used to calculate dog years may be completely wrong!

A new study of doggie DNA by the University of California, San Diego shows that young dogs with a lot of energy may actually be older than you think.

After comparing the results of over 100 labrador retrievers with around 300 humans, the study shows that:

  • Dogs mature quickly in their first year, but their aging slows over time.
  • By age two, the DNA of a labrador is similar to a human entering their early 40s.
  • By age ten, a labrador is most comparable to a human aged 68.

This data on dog years, yet to be peer-reviewed, shows many similarities between the aging process between humans and dogs, researchers found, with an eight-week-old puppy resembling a nine-month-old baby.

“The expected lifespan of labrador retrievers, 12 years, correctly translated to the worldwide lifetime expectancy of humans, 70 years,” researchers noted.

Unfortunately, the new equation isn’t as simple as multiplying our dog’s age by 7 to find out their age in human years. Here’s the formula: 16 x ln(your dog’s age) +31.

If you have a scientific calculator on hand, you can calculate the dog years to human years yourself — or follow the guide below. We’ve done the math for you!

Table for Human Years to Dog Age

The aging rates of different breeds could vary drastically, so future research will be needed to determine the differences. Studying different breeds with different lifespans could shed some new insight on the aging process of both humans and dogs! 

Happy Dogs In Park

National Cat Lover's Month: The Best Of Cat News In 2019

Woman Kisses Gray Cat

If I were to ask my cat Penelope if she knew that December was National Cat Lover’s Month, she’d probably plop down in the most dramatic patch of lighting she could find, start to groom herself, and say, “Of course, darling, we always save the best for last. Now fetch me a treat.”

I’m the first to admit that in the world of petdom, cats often get short shrift compared to their larger, furrier, droolier dog counterparts. What can I say? Dogs just seem so much needier than their independent, above-it-all feline housemates. I know it’s not true, and I’d like to give them their due in their month of celebration.

So in honor of National Cat Lover’s Month, I’m sharing my favorite cat news, discoveries, or insights from 2019. After all, cats deserve no less!

A Scientist Shares How To Pet Your Cat

We all know intuitively that there are right ways (gentle, front-to-back) and wrong ways (staring into their face, clutching them to your chest) to pet a cat. But a researcher from Nottingham Trent University took it a step further and actually collated the research data that exists in order to perfect the rules for successful cat-petting.

The number one factor in whether or not a cat enjoys getting pet? Whether or not the cat was the one to initiate the interaction. As anyone who has had to endure those rib-crushing hugs from Great Aunt Edna over the holidays can attest, this makes perfect sense.

Free Quilty

Like Puss in Boots or Robin Hood, Quilty the Cat is a rogue at heart. Quilty wasn’t satisfied with his plush digs in a Houston shelter, and decided to make a run for it. Over and over and over, he’d open the door handle and let all the residents of the cat room run amok. Each morning the staff would come in perplexed, having to retrieve the 15 cats Quilty had set free, and finally placed a camera to figure out what was going on.

Eventually Quilty was identified as the prison-breaking culprit and sent to solitary confinement, where his irritated pout earned him a whole different type of freedom: that of internet darling. The best part is, he earned the ultimate escape: he is being matched with the perfect home.

Cats Absolutely Love Us

Though some might interpret a cat’s natural independence as a lack of interest compared to, say, the neverending ardor of a Golden Retriever, the truth is cats do form strong bonds to their people. According to a Current Biology journal article from September that compared the attachment behaviors of cats to that of human babies, they exhibited the same patterns of caregiver attachments as infants!

So cat lovers, rejoice in the scientific proof of what you already knew — of course our cats love us. They just show it in their own cat-like way.

Cute Kitten Wants To Play

A Dog Would NEVER Interrupt an NFL Game Like This

Right in the midst of a Cowboys/Giants Monday night game, a black cat decided he was going to show the world who really held the power and brought the game to a screeching halt with nothing more than his presence on the field.

Not satisfied with merely showing up and running around, he proceeded to dramatically work his way to the endzone, working the crowd into a frenzy as he led a start-and-stop saunter into touchdown range. I haven’t heard cheers that loud at an NFL game since Prince rocked the halftime Superbowl show! Yes, cats know dramatic entrances.

Cats Know Us Better Than We Think

It’s a common belief that dogs sense and respond to our moods due to thousands of years of selective breeding. While cats are also domesticated, they evolve not from a pack species but a solitary one, so we’ve long assumed that cats aren’t as attuned to our behavioral cues as canines. But that assumption is incorrect.

Take, for example, the pointing test- a test of human-animal communication long thought to be passable only by a select few animals such as, you guessed it, the dog. But when researchers actually placed cats in the test with their owner, they followed their owner’s pointing hand as often as the dogs did- if, that is, they were paying attention.

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2019 was the year when cats came into their own and proved, this time with the rigors of science behind them, that they are well aware of their place in our world and enjoy being a part of it. They just do it on their own terms. Will we ever understand them entirely? Probably not. Do we need to? Not really. They are who they are: fun, loving, neurotic, playful, aloof, or whatever the heck they choose to be on any given day. That’s part of the fun of having one in the house.

Best wishes to your family in the coming year!

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr V 

What You Need To Know About Double Cleansing

Woman Uses Double Cleansing To Wash Face

Double cleansing is a new beauty trend that is gaining traction around the country — and many are claiming that it’s one of the best ways to take care of your skin!

If you aren’t familiar with double cleansing, let’s look at exactly what this skin care routine involves and how it can benefit your skin:

What Exactly is Double Cleansing?

Double cleansing is simple — you may have guessed just by the word “double.” It’s the act of cleansing your skin twice in a row at night.

The idea behind this trend is that the first cleanse will remove the layer of makeup, dirt, oil, and debris that accumulates on your face during the day. The second go-around with a facial cleanser is supposed to clean your skin on a deeper level, which could be a good idea, especially if you use long-wearing foundation each day.

This double cleanse is said to help to unclog your pores, get rid of dead skin cells, and prep your skin for facial serums and moisturizers. With less debris and residue left on your skin after proper cleansing (double or not), your skin is primed to absorb all the nourishing ingredients in your facial products.

It's proven that skin care products work much better on exceptionally clean skin. If double cleansing works for you, then you may notice an improvement after just a week — your skin should be glowing brighter and more radiantly! But watch out for over-drying which can have the opposite effect.

Steps to the Perfect Double Cleansing Routine

The perfect double cleansing routine starts with the right facial cleanser. At Life’s Abundance we offer a skin care line that’s handcrafted and organically sourced. All of our skin care products are made with organic, plant-based and nourishing ingredients.

For your cleansing routine, try our Facial Cleanser. This creamy, but lightweight cleanser is going to pamper and remove all of that end of the day gunk that builds up on your face. Our facial cleanser won’t strip your skin of its natural oils — plus, it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, parabens or additives.

In the morning it’s not necessary to double cleanse — your skin isn't getting that dirty at night. You can either cleanse once in the morning, or just splash your face with water before you use your daily skin care routine.

Healthy Skin Care Products

In addition to our Facial Cleanser, we offer a full line of skin care products. To complete your skin care routine both day and night, try our Facial Serum and Facial Moisturizer. Both of these products together are going to nourish and strengthen your skin. By adding these products to your beauty routine, you can enjoy healthier skin that is silky smooth to the touch. These are pure products that are packed with antioxidants for nutrient-rich skin.

Try it out — Is double cleansing right for you?

For some people, more radiant skin starts with the double cleansing method. If you’re tempted to try it for yourself, think of it as one easy extra minute at night with fairly quick payoff. If this trending technique is right for you, you should see results within just a week.

Life's Abundance Premium Skincare Products

Why You Should Consider Fostering Senior Dogs Or Cats

Woman Playing With Senior Foster Dog At Beach

About ten years ago, I was on my way to a rescue to meet a Labrador named Lucy. She was four years old, bouncy, loved kids, and would have been the perfect companion for my one-year old Golden Brody.

While we were there, I saw a little black potato hovering in the shadows. That was Kekoa, they explained. She wasn’t who I had come to meet, but she sure did love meeting new people and I asked if it was okay if she came over to say hi.

Kekoa was ten or so. It was her second time being returned to the rescue. You could see in her eyes both the defeat of her return and the hope of a new family. She licked my hand gently, then gave my toddler son a very delicate kiss on the face. When she turned to leave, he ran after her. Even at two, my son knew something so many don’t:

There is no love as profound as that of a senior pet.

“I don’t want to get attached only to have to say goodbye so soon.”

First things first: People who foster pets of any age are a special kind of angel. Whether you are giving a puppy, senior, or new mother space in your home, you are doing them a tremendous service.

As an extension of the shelter system, foster families provide innumerable benefits to the community:

  1. The pet is able to wait for their forever family in a loving home environment, instead of a shelter that may be loud, crowded, and stressful. We know stress results in increased illness, and potentially reduces their adoptability. I mean, when would you rather go on a date? On a nice Saturday afternoon or Tuesday night after a terrible day at work? Calm environments allow us to be our best selves.
  2. You’re creating space for another animal at the shelter. The number one limitation in a shelter environment is space. By acting as an extension of that space, you are helping your shelter serve a larger community and reduce the number of euthanasia due to overcrowding.
  3. You have so much to offer. You’re watching their behavior. You know their preferences. You have a better idea than anyone else who is a good and maybe a not-quite-perfect long-term family for this pet. Making the right placement is key in a successful adoption.

These benefits apply to anyone. I know lots of people who prefer to foster animals under 4 months of age. I have a friend who likes to foster kittens because she knows she gets an endless supply of adorable little fuzzballs in her house, but she still has the flexibility of her busy lifestyle because she knows they are adopted quickly and rarely require a commitment of more than a month.

Foster Dog And Cat Laying Together

I also know a lot of families who choose to foster young pets knowing they are likely to keep one as a permanent family member- the ever present ‘foster failure’. For these families, fostering is a way to test their children’s ability to be responsible pet owners without the pressure of a long-term commitment if the time just isn’t right.

The motivations for fostering senior dogs or cats are a little different.

We all know senior pets are often the first to be euthanized at a shelter. This is a sad reality. With limited space, shelters need to allocate space to the most adoptable animals and those who are older, with health problems or a grey face are often the last chosen for adoption. This despite the fact that they are usually the most low-key, relaxed pets who are past the whole chewing thing, past the whole tearing up the yard thing, and just want a place to be happy.

It is a myth that seniors are more high maintenance than other pets. When in good health, it’s usually the opposite.

When you bring a puppy or a kitten into your home, they don’t have the life experience to know just how great you are. A senior, on the other hand? They’ve seen some things. They’ve had a life, and you have no idea how great or terrible it was, but something terrible must have transpired because they are here, homeless.

They understand the difference between their home and the shelter.

They understand what love looks like, and unfortunately what lack of love looks like.

They appreciate you in a different way.

You can make a bigger difference in one month of a senior’s life than you can in months or years with a younger pet, because those moments are just that important. Dogs and cats don’t hold grudges. They have astonishing capabilities for forgiveness. In this life, what they remember is this week. And the love you show in your time as a foster can erase years of sadness and neglect. Isn’t that amazing?

The timeline is a little more variable in a senior foster situation. Puppies and kittens are gone in a flash. They move on to something incredible — a forever home. Seniors may be with you for quite some time. It is a relationship. Your time together ends because they are adopted, or because their time on earth has come to a conclusion. Either way, you know you have provided something priceless to them.

My friend Karen fell into senior hospice unintentionally. She has the right heart for it. She has a type: anything with a huge head, preferably with lots of Shar Pei rolls. The rescue called her once with a perfect foster who just happened to be a senior, and she said yes. She says yes a lot now.

Three senior fosters so far that I know of.

I see her take these souls in knowing it is unlikely they will know any homes other than hers, and in their eyes you see the dawning realization that they are safe.

They go on car trips.

They sleep on couches.

They live the Instagram life.

Her stories have inspired other people to take in senior pets as well, because she does such an incredible job of documenting the transformation that can take place in just a few weeks of joy. That’s all you need. There’s no minimum amount of time it takes to make a difference in someone’s life.

November is Adopt a Senior Pet month, so it’s the perfect time to remember that. Whether you are adopting or foster, there’s ways anyone with the right heart can make a difference in the life of a senior. How about you?

Dr V 
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

 

Your Makeup Brushes Could Be Ruining Your Complexion

Woman Gets Ready After Washing Makeup Brushes

Did you know that washing makeup brushes is an important part of your skincare routine?

“In addition to collecting product residue, dirt and oil, makeup brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria," according to the American Academy of Dermatology. "This could compromise your complexion—in the form of acne breakouts and rashes—as well as your health.”

If this isn’t compelling enough, washing makeup brushes will also help you get the best results and help prolong the life of your favorite makeup applicators.

Your mission: Use products and practices that won’t harm your skin or supplies!

The good news is that it’s simple to incorporate brush cleaning into your weekly routine. Immediately after applying your makeup in the morning, follow this quick guide to clean your makeup brushes effectively. By the evening, your brushes will be clean, dry and ready to help you sparkle!

How clean your makeup brushes:

  • Using a gentle detergent like Castile soap, create a soap and water mixture
  • Swirl the bristles into the mix
  • Rinse thoroughly with the bristles pointing down, avoiding the head where the brush is glued to the handle
  • Shake, then gently squeeze any excess water and reshape the brush
  • Roll a towel to form a hump so the brushes dry at a slight upward angle

Makeup Brushes Dry After Washing Them

With clean, dry brushes on hand, the next step is to wash the subject of your masterpiece, your face! To avoid drying the skin, use a gentle facial cleanser, followed by facial moisturizer. If your skin still feels tight, our facial serum can work wonders and serves as a fantastic pre-makeup base. 

Remember, the cleanliness of your beauty brushes and sponges will affect how your skin reacts. If you have consistent outbreaks and cannot seem to regain your natural glow, it may come down to how often you’re washing makeup brushes. Consistency and cleanliness are key!

Popular 'Fruit' Drinks For Kids Found To Be Unhealthy

Girl Shares Unhealthy Kids Drink With Woman

Parents around the country are always trying to make sure their children are eating a nutritious diet — that’s why it was so shocking when an eye-opening new study revealed their kid’s favorite seemingly-healthy drinks are loaded with added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Researchers analyzed 34 sweetened kids' drinks and found that two-thirds contained no juice, but images of fruit appeared on 85% of the packages, according to a new report from the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Packaging with pictures of fruit and other nutritional claims have left both parents and kids thinking these drinks contain fruit and sources of nutrition. In reality, many kids end up consuming more than the recommended amount of daily added sugar.

“Labels on drinks are confusing and misleading, causing parents to think they are providing their children a healthy drink when in actuality they are not,” said Natalie Muth, MD, pediatrician and representative of the APP. “The American Academy of Pediatrics is alarmed that children consume so much added sugar.”

According to the study:

  • Sugary drinks make up about one-half of all added sugar consumed by children.
  • Fruit-flavored juice drinks with added sweeteners are the most common sugary drink consumed by young children, toddlers and preschoolers.
  • One serving of 11 of the top fruit drinks had more than 50% of the recommended amount of daily added sugar for children.

“I know that parents want their children to be healthy, but the sweetened drink market is just incredibly confusing to parents,” said lead author Jennifer Harris, the principal investigator for the study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Unhealthy Drinks For Kids On Production Line

Many popular kids’ drinks in the country contain 0% juice while plastering images of fruit on their labeling and advertising. Making a switch to something healthy seems like a simple choice, but kids will be demanding a flavorful alternative beyond the pediatrician-recommended options of water and milk.

If you are looking for a tasty replacement for the sugary drinks in your family’s life, look no further than our Minerals & Antioxidants drink mix. Meant for use as a dietary supplement, it’s packed with electrolytes, amino acids and other nutrients from a blend of nutritious sea vegetables and superfruits. With delicious Cherry and Tropical Fruit flavors, the kids will never know! As with all Life’s Abundance products, it does not contain any added sugar or artificial flavors. There are even fun recipe ideas to try, like Mango Tropsicles. As always, consider talking to your family physician before introducing new supplements.

The next time you are in the ‘juice’ aisle at the store being bombarded by vibrant packaging and maybe even your kid’s pleas, remember this study and feel confident in your decision to skip the sugary kids' drinks.

Owning a Dog Can Increase Your Lifespan

Woman Rests With Dog At Park

If you own a dog, you probably find yourself gushing to others about how great your four-legged furball is. Now, there are compelling new scientific studies that prove the benefits of owning a dog!

Published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, the evidence shows that dog owners have a lower risk of death over the long term and are less likely to die from heart disease when compared to non-owners.

Researchers also determined that dog owners who experienced a heart attack or stroke had a significantly lower risk of dying from these causes when compared to non-owners.

The research shows that for dog owners:

  • The risk of all-cause mortality is lowered by 24%, and the chance of dying from heart disease is reduced by 31%.
  • The risk of death for heart attack patients living alone was 33% lower, and 15% lower for those living with a partner or child.
  • The risk of death for stroke patients living alone was 27% lower, and 12% lower for those living with a partner or child.

The studies were originally used to see whether owning a dog was associated with reducing cardiovascular mortality, but the data showed that it fought off other causes of death as well.

“These two studies provide good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause mortality,” said Glenn N. Levine, MD, chair of the writing group of the American Heart Association. “While these non-randomized studies cannot ‘prove’ that adopting or owning a dog directly leads to reduced mortality, these robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this.”

- So what is causing dog owners to live longer than non-owners?

There have been many documented mental and physical health benefits to owning a dog. When it comes to mental health, dogs have been known to reduce stress and increase social interaction.

Man Playing With Dog In Park

“Dogs offer companionship, reduce anxiety and loneliness, increase self-esteem, and improve overall mood,” said cardiologist Dr. Dhruv S. Kazi, in an editorial that accompanies the studies.

Previous studies have also shown the physical benefits of owning a dog. Just petting a dog can lower a person’s blood pressure! In addition, “Dog ownership may increase time spent outdoors, which has an independent positive effect on cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Kazi.

In fact, owning a dog can end up improving other health measures such as blood pressure and heart rate. By walking a dog 20 to 30 minutes a day, owners will meet the American Heart Association’s recommended 150 minutes of weekly moderate exercise to improve their cardiovascular health.

If you were on the fence about adding a furry family member to your household, remember, walking your dog isn’t just good for your pup — it’s very, very good for you too!