Sunday, December 28, 2008

B.A.R.F. Bone And Raw Food Diet for your Pets

There is a lot of controversy around the BARF diet for pets. I can now say from experience that it is by far the best diet. I have seen such an improvement in my kitten from incorporating raw food into his diet. And think about it. What did they get in the wild? Byproducts, preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients? I think not. They got raw, nutrient packed food right from the source.

When I first got my little guy, Liam, he was extremely sick as were two of his siblings. Unfortunately we lost the other two boys from what I can only assume was some kind of viral infection. It caused them to stop eating and drinking, have watery diarrhea, and eventually succumb to their illness within 24 hours of us getting them. Luckily Liam fought for his life. He ate every time I fed him. I mainly fed him raw fish and chicken, and some hard boiled egg. I also supplemented infant probiotics and a baby multivitamin/mineral liquid supplement. I gave him Colloidal Silver to kill the infection as well as Oregon Grape Root to boost his immune system.

I didn't give him loads of supplements as it can clog the kidneys. I gave them sparingly and always with food to make sure they were digested and absorbed properly. But I do have to say with the raw food diet his coat is shiny and doesn't shed much and his eyes have changed from a dull brown to a bright yellowish green. And he's as healthy as an ox and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

I did start him on a very high quality kibble <name withheld> that I used to sell in the States. Unfortunately, through process of elimination, I found out he had a horrible reaction to it because he kept breaking out in sores on his neck. With cats, skin sores, biting or pulling out hair, or even just jumping up as if being bitten by something are all indicators of a food allergy. Always check for fleas first, but 9 times out of 10 it's the food. The kibble I sold in the States is different from the one out here. It has the same name but the two brothers that own the companies apparently don't use the same ingredients.

Once I buy my own food grinder I will be making all of his food myself. I still use a good quality kibble, that he has no reaction to, but supplement it with raw fish or chicken at every meal. In Ireland they don't sell organ meats, other than liver, at the butcher's or the supermarkets. So what I will have to do is source it from a butcher and find out what day they get their shipment and pick it up THAT day. It's illegal for them to hold it for me so I have to time it right.

Just a quick note about liver. It's extremely high in Vitamin A and giving too much can cause liver stones. So to avoid that but make sure they still get their Vitamin A, give them a small portion twice a week. This will give them enough in the meat source but don't forget you can give them the vegetable source, Beta Carotene, from carrots as well. It will also add a little sweetness to the food. My little guy ate some crushed carrots and broccoli when I drizzled some olive oil on top. They aren't herbivores and what little vegetation they do get is from the partially digested contents in their prey's stomach and intestines. Yum!

Visit one of these great websites for raw cat food recipes. If you don't want to make your own pet food there are several raw food manufacturers currently in the US. Do some research and see if there is a retailer nearby. One fabulous company I found was Primal Pet Foods. They have really high quality foods and treats. Instructions on how to feed are also on the package. You can even order online from one of their "Online Stores".

Good luck and give me testimonials on your success.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beat the Holiday Bulge

A few quick and easy tips to stay lean at the most stressful, and sweet tooth tempting, time of year.

I don't expect anyone not to have their favorite breads, sweets, and drinks during the holiday season. This is a time to eat, drink, and be merry. But this isn't the time to over indulge and make yourself unhealthy or gain weight.

So my solution to this problem is, eat anything that you fancy, just way less than you have in the past. Think of your entire day as one dinner sized plate. Whatever you can fit on that plate, you eat. Now I don't mean fill the plate up two feet in the air. Be reasonable. And I'm also not including the big meal of the day. That's a different plate and I'll explain what I mean.

Plate #1-The Sweets Plate-Considering most cakes, pies, egg nog, dried fruit, and alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugar and calories, you can understand why I'm minimizing your servings. This plate should have 1-2 bites of everything you like. You can easily work off 1 plate of sweets for the entire day. Try to have your plate have more of the "healthier" junk foods like dried fruits, nuts, pretzels, and carob covered nuts or raisins. The more you fill your plate with these little munchies, that fill you faster, the less you'll have room for cakes, biscuits, and pie. Keep track of this plate and have it near you throughout the day. That way you wont be tempted to over snack.

Plate #2-The Dinner Plate-This plate should be broken up like a pie chart. 20% meat 20% starch and 60% vegetables. Since meats and starches are so filling, and compete for stomach acids to break down, it's best to limit them so you don't fill up so fast. Vegetables are the fiber and enzymes you need to break down the other foods so they should be eaten in the highest portion. That way you won't have that bloated gassy heavy feeling in your stomach and you might not even have to undo that top button on your trousers.

Make sure you keep moving throughout the day. If you live in nicer climates, go for a walk with your family and friends, or play a sport in the back yard. Even a friendly game of horseshoes will burn off some of those pesky calories. Laugh A LOT! It burns calories! For the people in colder snowier climates, a rowdy game of Charades or Twister will definitely get your heart pumping.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season. And remember, drink responsibly.