Our Nutrition Beliefs
- Low Carb: Many new studies have been coming out lately to corroborate this view, especially in dogs and cats, because their bodies were not designed to break down large amounts of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not just your potatoes and rice! Carbohydrates can seem healthy but especially in the context of cats it can be very harmful even if it is 'nutrient dense.' Cats have a very short digestive system and they lack many of the enzymes we, as humans, use to properly digest plant material. Dogs' digestive systems are very similar to cats, contrary to popular belief! Dogs can typically handle %25 vegetable material, while cats should be around %5 vegetable material. Carnivores should never eat grains!
- Nutrient Dense: A major problem with food these days, in pet food and human food, is the lack of nutrients left in produce and meats. We tend to choose empty foods to fill our stomachs because they are easier to find and cheaper to produce, this can cause many health issues over time. You should try to use a variety of vibrant plant matter that has high nutritional quality such as; Swiss chard, kale, spinach, squash, carrots, etc. You can also use many garden herbs & spices as well such as; oregano, parsley, cilantro, sage, ginger, rosemary, turmeric, kelp, nutritional yeast, etc. Plant matter is great for adding vitamins and antioxidants and to some degree minerals as we'll, however, the best source for minerals for your dog and cat is bones/marrow. This is an essential part of pet nutrition, the ratio of calcium to phosphorous in the bones are the perfect ratio to maintain healthy bones in your pet, plus you get all the important trace minerals as well. Feeding bones helps strengthen your pets' bones which in turn helps to reduce the effects of arthritis, especially if your pet gets proper nutrition through it s formative years. Another huge thing that people forget is to include healthy fats, if you are feeding a whole-carcass based raw food this won't be a problem, but many people feeding dry kibble are missing a hugely important part of an animals diet, healthy fats! The reason this is so important is because many essential vitamins are fat soluble, meaning that the body can't absorb them when there is no fat present in the stomach at that time. To help remedy this you could add some organic coconut oil, my dogs love it! And the cats do too!
- Organic: I have met many people that think 'buying organic' is a hoax. There definitely are some companies out there trying to take advantage of you, but as long as you know some things about organic you can help protect yourself. Learn what types of crops are more likely to have been sprayed with pesticides, such as fruit and tomatoes. Also to know which crops are less likely, such as root vegetables; carrots, turnips, etc. Don't think that all organic food is more nutritious either, the point of organic is to avoid toxins, not all of it is necessarily more nutritious. I firmly believe that the absence of toxins is far more beneficial, because if your body is free of toxins it operates better and can absorb nutrients better. While it is very important to have high nutrient content as well, I think it is far more important to avoid pesticides that damage the immune sytem and digestive tract.
- NON-GMO: GMO is another hot topic that causes a lot of controversy, I don't necessarily have a problem with the process of genetically modifying plants. The problem lies in the fact that they combine two very different species; bacteria, and plants. They use the bacteria genes to increase the plants level of 'natural' pesticides called lectins. Wheat is the worst for this problem, since they started genetically modifying wheat, the concentration of lectins in the plant has increased 100x. This causes extensive damage to the gut lining, which in turn damages the whole immune system. Chemicals and undigested food start to leach into the blood stream through holes in the gut lining, which causes the immune system to go into defense mode. Protiens like lectins and gluten are similar in structure to tissues within the body, the immune system begins to attack the body's own tissue causing chronic inflammation which can manifest as; hot spots, food allergies, diarrhea (IBS), arthritis, tooth aches, stiffness, etc. Corn, Wheat, Soy, Legumes, Potatoes, are all very high in Lectins and many are GMO. Studies have also shown there is a danger of passing on the modified genes to bacteria in the soils, this could have unknown catastrophic consequences to the soil ecology.
- Inflammation: Anything that is bad for the gut lining is bad for inflammation, I mentioned some of the problems with GMOs in the previous section but that is just the beginning. Other common foods that damage the gut are simple carbohydrates that quickly turn into sugar, these cause an imbalance of bacteria in the gut which leads to damage of the gut lining. Avoiding high amounts of carbs is imperative to the health of your pet, especially cats who have lower liver & kidney function than dogs do. Aside from carbs and GMOs, there also can be a problem with high levels of omega-6 fats when sufficient omega-3 is not present, typically caused by vegetable oils. This can cause inflammation and pain throughout the body. Another cause of inflammation may be the 'nightshade' plants such as; eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, etc. The best way to repair damage to the gut lining is by removing the source of damage, and by providing high quality probiotics. A great source of natural probiotics are from fermented foods like Kefir, and Yogurt as long as they are natural and unsweetened. You can also buy probiotic supplements.
- Allergies: Allergies are most commonly just a form of inflammation, in a sense. If the gut lining wasn't damaged by toxins and bad bacteria, there would be a significant if not complete reduction in food allergy reactions. If there aren't proteins getting into the blood stream then the immune system isn't going to become hyperactive and start destroying tissues in the body. The more damage to the gut lining, the more foreign proteins enter the blood stream. The more foreign proteins that are in the blood stream, the more inflammation is caused throughout the body. It can be a vicious cycle until the antagonists are removed and the gut slowly begins to repair. You can help repair the gut by switching to foods that contain little to no carbohydrates (which feed bad bacteria), and reduce toxic load in the body by avoiding pesticides, hormones, excessive vaccines, and other toxins, and most importantly of all by replenishing the good gut bacteria through probiotics.
- Toxicity: Many things in your house could be negatively effecting your pets health. Cats have very different liver enzymes than humans, and even dogs. Air fresheners, most laundry soap, cleaning products, VOCs from paint and vinyl flooring, flame retardant from couches and mattresses. These things are toxic to all living creatures, but some surprising things may also be toxic to your cat that aren't toxic to you. Certain foods like citrus and garlic are highly toxic, and many house plants may also cause severe poisoning. Most essential oils are toxic to cats, but there has not been much research into what is safe for dogs on that topic either. In my opinion, essential oils are a much safer choice than conventional air fresheners but if it isn't necessary, don't use them at all. Lavender essential oil is the only oil that may be safe enough to use around pets and babies, but always make sure they aren't forced to stay in the same room as a diffuser. Vaccines are a hugely controversial topic, I'm not going to say that you should or shouldn't get them for your pet! All I can say is that they hyperstimulate the immune system using adjuvants, which come from mercury and aluminum. This is a fact. They are designed to be stored long term in the body's fat cells. This can be catastrophic to your immune system and very hard to get rid of the lasting effects. Another uneccessary toxin to avoid is flea and tick medication, these are all neurotoxins and are detrimental to the healthy functioning of your pets brain and nervous system. Do not use them unless absolutely necessary.
'My dog has always been effected by vaccines, when he got his puppy shots he would pant and shake, and pace around for two or three days afterwards. I called my vet and she basically said I was imagining things. The next time I went in to the vet, I picked up some flea and tick medication because the Vet said all dogs and cats should be on it to prevent the spread of fleas. Again, thinking I'm doing the right thing, I apply the drops on the back of his neck. He slowly became more agitated as the day went on and by the second day he had weeping sores on both his armpits. I immediately took him to the vet and they said he's fine, they said it wasn't from the meds but they didn't know what caused it. Against my vets wishes, I avoided any further flea meds until several years later when we had a huge tick outbreak in the area. My fear of Lyme disease caused me to question my previous judgement, so I went down to the vet and got the chewable tablet for ticks. Exactly three days later my dog was bleeding from the mouth and his body was covered in deep purple bruises underneath his fur. I rushed him to the vet and they said, 'he must have a broken tooth. Come back in a week when the dental surgeon is in.' I felt defeated, and went home. The next day his mouth was still bleeding, it wasn't clotting at all. I did some research quickly and then rushed him to the vet again. When I got in there, I demanded they check his white blood cells, which they reluctantly agreed to do. I went home and anxiously awaited the results. A few hours later the veterinarian called me and said, 'you need to go to the emergency clinic right now! Get in your car, I will transfer your files over, they know you're coming!' I didnt really know what was going on, when I got to the emergency clinic they took him from my arms right away and left me in the room, alone with my husband. When they finally came back, they explained that his immune system was attacking all of his platelets, he could bleed-out from any one of the dozens of bruises across his body, let alone his openly bleeding mouth. They informed me that he would probably need blood transfusions to stay alive, and his chances were very poor that he would survive. So they gave us a quote for how much they thought it would cost to hopefully keep him alive overnight. I gave them everything I had in my savings account and went home and cried all night long. In the morning we called the emergency vet just hoping that he would still be alive. They had him on high doses of steroids and an anti-cancer drug, but they said he had a great appetite and they were shocked that he was up and moving around the kennel still. I was very happy, but I knew we weren't out of the woods yet. They called his condition 'Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia' it is not very common and in many cases it recurs later on. Many cases I read about highly suspected vaccines or flea medication as the cause, but no veterinarian I have ever met so far has admitted to me that medication or vaccines could have any negative effect on my pets' health. To this day I am still certain the flea medication and vaccines were the cause, and I have never vaccinated my dogs again, and I have never used flea or tick medication again either. It took three days for him to be ready to leave the emergency vet, and he was on high dose steroids for three months afterwards. We checked his platelets every two weeks to make sure his body was producing them again and not destroying them. Slowly we were able to ween him off the prednisone, but it took him a long time to build up his energy again. I also removed all inflammatory foods from his diet and gave him increasing doses of probiotics, starting very small. Today he is a happy and healthy boy, who loves getting into trouble!