Is Pet Food Good for Your Pet?

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I recently began to make some of my own dog food.  Over the years, my dogs  routinely seem to have the same problems over and over again.  One of my dogs is now 16 years old, and has got hip problems.  Since she is some kind of mix (most curiously probably a Beagle/Greyhound mix), this is mostly due to old-age.  However, all my dogs have had non-cancerous growths on them, suspected (by the Veterinarian) to be caused by the dog food they eat.  A Vet who has since been fired for not advising pet-owners to pay for expensive unnecessary shots told me that a few years ago.  While I did change the dry dog food my dogs eat, I’m afraid that the damage has been done.

Do you know what is in most dog food?  First, there are the “rendered” products.  This includes the remains of animals slaughtered for human consumption – the entire left-overs, including rotting remains that have been left out in the hot sun for days.  Also, road-kill and euthanized dogs and cats collected from animal shelters, including the flea collars, and cancerous animals who were euthanized due to various diseases.  Spoiled human-grade meats are part of this rendering process, also.

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Pesticides enter this food-stream from slaughtered livestock, along with the various medications that were given to them to increase their growth and milk production.   These include large quantities of steroids and antibiotics.  Fish filled with mercury and other heavy metals found in the ocean are also included.

I’ve been feeding my dogs a mix of dry and wet vegan dog food for a while now.  However, the cost of vegan canned food was too much for my budget, so I’ve begun making them their wet food.  They also get some left-over meat from my husband who is still a meat-eater.  I’ve noticed that they are more chipper since they’ve been on this diet, and they certainly love their food.

My dog food includes the following:  sweet potatoes, red and gold potatoes, cut-up carrots, peppers, rice, lentils, squash, peas and green beans.  I peel the sweet potatoes and red/gold potatoes then cook them with the carrots until they are soft.  While they are boiling, I cook up the lentils and peel and cut the squash and cut the peppers.  After the mix of potatoes is soft, I’ll drain them and then mash them up a little.  Then, I’ll add frozen peas and/or green beans to the pot.  Usually I’ve got a good amount of left-over cooked rice and I add that along with the lentils to the pot.  I wait for the peas and beans to get warmed up and then just mix it all together.  I usually add some A-1 sauce to the mix for some flavoring.  Once it’s cooled a little, I put it in glass jars.  This will last about a week.  So, for an hour or so once a week of chopping and cooking, my dogs get food that they really love.  Just a note of caution, if you decide to try this, make sure that your ingredients are pet-safe.  A quick search will let you know if any ingredient is good or bad for dogs.

https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/shocking-truth-about-dog-food/

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat

 

My Engine 2 Rescue Diet

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I’ve been following the Engine 2 Rescue Diet (a plant-based, whole foods) diet for six weeks now.  It’s been an interesting ride.  I have to make everything myself, including hummus and salad dressing, since this is a no oil, no salt, no preservative diet.  There has been a pretty high learning curve, and I’ve learned that it can be a little bit difficult to cook with no oil.  Also, I have to admit that I use a lot of spices which is a good thing, since they make everything taste really good.

The first two weeks were the worst, and I ended up going to bed early to avoid temptations.  But sometime during the third week I discovered the wonderful sweetness of grapes, and life has been much better since.  In the interests of truth-telling, I did indeed try some delicious vegan chocolate for Easter.

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So far, I’ve lost 13 pounds and I have no idea how many inches.  Last week was a hard week for me (depressed) and I did not get up and exercise.  I did however, go on my daily walk – so I did get some exercise.  I started back up yesterday with getting up early to exercise.

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Sweet Potato Bowl

I am mostly eating meals from the book, but there are many variations that you can use.  The recipes are quite easy, and the best thing that you can do is just decide that this is the way that you’re going to eat from now on.  Prepared foods, while convenient, are extremely harmful to your health.  And there is really no amount of oil that is good for you.  I do get take-out once a week, either Chinese food (steamed) with only Soy Sauce, or pizza with no cheese and lots of veggies.  So, I’m not totally doing without take-out.  However, I did learn not to get any sauces on my Chinese, and to only get it steamed.  I had the worst stomach ache the first time I got regular Chinese veggies.  So, there is a learning curve here.  Also, and this is the most important thing, I do not count calories.  Sometimes I fill my dinner bowl all the way!  I eat if I’m hungry.  I’m just not eating anything that isn’t plant based or filled with oils.  So, yes…I’ve been known to eat two bananas, two oranges and a ton of grapes in one day.  There are no limits on my food intake.  I’ll have a large (huge) salad with chickpeas for lunch along with a baked potato. Then, in the afternoon I’ll have one or two oranges.  If I’m hungry, I’ll eat.  There is little caloric density in plant-based foods.  So, you eat a lot, and often.

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As far as benefits, I have had less over-all aches and pains from Fibromyalgia, but they haven’t gone completely away.  I do feel healthier, and just to let you know, potatoes can indeed be eaten with no vegan butter on them.  I throw them in the microwave (or oven), bake them and put spices on them.  Also, they only have about 60 calories each.  So, yes, you can eat potatoes and be healthy.  I make sure that I don’t let myself become too hungry.  I buy a lot of fruits, including oranges, bananas and grapes.  I’ve also been buying frozen fruits, usually blueberries, mangoes and peaches.  I’m so excited for the summer fruits to start coming in.  I can’t wait!  If you want, I’ll give out some recipes in another post.  So far, this has been the best way of eating I’ve found, for me.  It takes more work, but I love the food!

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What I Want to be Like when I’m “Old”

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Have you looked into the future and decided what you want your life to be like when you’re 85 or even 90 years old?  I know, not everyone lives to be so old, but have you considered it?  I was in a doctor’s office with a client of mine when a woman walked in the door.  She walked with great difficulty, holding onto her cane for dear life.  Once my client went in to see the doctor this woman began telling me all about her aliments.  It turned out that she too suffered from Fibromyalgia (just like I do), and was on all kinds of medication.  When I told her I had the same ailment, she promised me that when I hit 50 (her age), I’d be unable to walk without medication.  I simply smiled, told her that I was 52 and didn’t take any medications. In fact, I did all the things that her doctor had warned her off.  I exercised, did yoga, lived a vegan lifestyle, and took various herbs for help in coping with the insomnia, pain and “brain fog”.  She got quite huffy and told me that I must have been misdiagnosed, since she’d been told that all people with Fibromyalgia needed medication.  I told her that I’d gone to a specialist to be diagnosed who had told me to inform myself and look into alternative ways to deal with the disease.  He never even offered to medicate me, which suited me just fine.  I’ve had this disease for almost 20 years, and try to keep up with all the new information that comes out, as well as all the new ways of coping.  I have good days and “bad” days, but never once have I been unable to walk.  I often think about this women and wonder how she’s doing.

My point is, that even though we’re not given a choice concerning certain things in our lives, we are usually given a choice on how we deal with it.  So, how do you intend to live out your life? Do you want to be infirm, or do you intend to go into old age as healthy as you can?  Here are a few people to emulate.  Enjoy, and choose well!

 

 

Carnage – A Mockumentary

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I don’t know if any of you saw this mockumentary, but I wanted to talk about it today.  It’s by the BBC and Simon Amstell.   The film shows the “history” of veganism from 1944 to 2067 with the focus on people in the future trying to come to terms with their carnist pasts.  The young people of 2067 don’t understand how people could have eaten animals, and this mockumentary explains the mind-set and attitudes of people regarding animals that helped with the exploitation of animals.

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The movie is actually quite funny, starting with the portrayal of early vegans as absolute nut-cases, as is the usual portrayal.  However, as the United Kingdom begins to deal with extreme weather due to global warming, the attitudes about veganism change.  In case you didn’t know it, animal production is indeed one of the leading causes of climate change due to the cutting down of vast forested areas, and the huge amount of emissions from intensely factory-farmed animals.

https://gelr.org/2015/10/23/a-leading-cause-of-everything-one-industry-that-is-destroying-our-planet-and-our-ability-to-thrive-on-it-georgetown-environmental-law-review/

In the movie, following the invention of a device that allows humans to hear the thoughts of the other animals, veganism goes mainstream, and by 2067 no one eats other animals.   There are some video shown of factory-farming, however the clips are not nearly as graphic as some of the slaughter-house clips you can see on your own on YouTube.

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I hope that many people watch this mockumentary which is available onYouTube and the BBC website.  It’s engaging, funny and a wonderful way to present the facts without being “preachy”.  I really hope that this makes a difference in people’s lives.

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/carnage-review

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBCaIYAG7IPKs7mafExL1nQ

 

Food and Exercise

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I’ve been on the Engine 2 Rescue Diet now for almost three weeks.  This diet is a no oil, no preservatives plant -based one.  How is it going?  Well, at times all I really want to do is to eat all the chips in the bag!  However, I haven’t done that, and it’s going pretty good.  I haven’t fallen “off the wagon” at all, and when I do get chip cravings, I tend to eat either some grapes – which are totally delicious, by the way, or an orange.

Learning how to make stir-fry without oil was a little hard to get used to, but I’ve got that down, now.  Tonight, is Chinese night, so I’m really looking forward to the steamed veggies with white rice.  A meal that I don’t have to cook is always a source of excitement.

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I’ve been having Quaker Quick Oats for breakfast with some maple syrup, cinnamon, banana and blueberries.  At first I thought yuck! I hate oatmeal, but when I have it like this, it’s really good!  If I get hungry later in the morning (sometimes I’ve already eaten by 6:30, I’ll have an orange.

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Here’s a lunch that I love.  I just cut-up some onion, mushroom, squash and peppers, then I stir-fried them in a little water.  I put them on a Sandwich Thin (again, no oil), added a little no-oil homemade hummus and dug in.  I also ate the leftovers.  Good lunch!  Next week I’ll give you some dinner recipes.  I have to take pictures, since I haven’t gotten around to that, yet.

I’ll also eat a salad with extra veggies and chickpeas. If I still feel hungry I’ll throw a small red potato in the microwave and cook it up.  I’ll then eat it with some garlic powder.  No vegan butter for me.  This was actually a little strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and now like the potato with only some herbs on it.

I’ve added some more exercise to my routine also.  I now work-out in the morning, then go for a walk with my dog around eleven, then come home and work-out some more.  In the afternoon, I’ll do so again.  So, this is what I do:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll do my Soloflex machine (yes, I’ve had one for more years than I want to admit), then a Denise Austin DVD with weights in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a Denise Austin Pilates DVD.  I hate Pilates!  Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll do a Fitness Blender video in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a bunch of Sun Salutations very slowly.  On the weekend, I usually mix it up with some Denise Austin workouts and different Fitness Blender videos.

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The whole process has been a major time-commitment, what with the meal planning, making things that I usually don’t from scratch and working out.  However, I’ve finally seen a positive change in my body.  Have you changed anything about your diet or exercise routine?  Let me know how that’s going for you.

 

How the Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet Worked for Me

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I wrote a post two weeks ago, about going to see Rip Esselstyn talk about the plant-based rescue diet he recommends in his latest book, and how I was planning to use this rescue diet in order to reboot my diet.  I’d been relying on prepared vegan foods too much, and since prepared food is not good for you, even if it is plant-based, I needed a rescue.

So, here I am, after my initial seven days to tell you how it all went.  First of all, most of the meals I prepared were his “bowls”, and they were all delicious!  I also tried some of his oil-free dressings, and they too were really good.  In the future, I’m going to make my own hummus, since it’s really easy and you can make it without any oil.

Talking about oil, on Thursday I did have a terrible craving for “naughty” foods, including potato chips.  I can tell you that I didn’t eat any and instead had some red seedless grapes that astonished me by how good they tasted.  One of the most difficult things I found on this diet is that I had to eat, not drink my food.  So, no morning smoothie for me.  I missed that, but found that I really like drinking cold water in the morning.  I still drank my coffee, only without sugar, and I put some non-sweetened almond milk (even though that wasn’t recommended).  The other huge change is that I ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast.  I’ve never really enjoyed oatmeal, but I was able to put some maple syrup in it, along with cinnamon and various fruits.  I’ve used oranges, bananas and blueberries, which were good and pretty filling.  Some days I have either a Halo orange or a banana around ten o’clock or so, and other days I’m good until lunch.

My lunches either consisted of a large salad with one of the oil-free dressing along with a good number of chickpeas thrown in, or a concoction of fresh veggies that I cooked up, oil free, which I put on some toasted oil-free multi-grain sandwich thins.  Again, if I got hungry in the afternoon, I just had one or two pieces of fruit.

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Again, my dinner usually consisted of the “bowls” that I got the recipes out of the book.  Thursday night I made whole-grain pasta along with fresh vine ripened tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and broccoli that I cooked up with some oil-free tomato paste.  That was also a good meal, and I served it with a large salad.

The physical results from these seven days are that my pain that’s associated with Fibromyalgia has lessened somewhat, and I have less brain-fog.  I’ve also lost about 4 pounds, which is always nice.  Am I going to continue?  The answer is yes!  I like the way I’ve been feeling, and want to see if I continue to feel better the longer I stay on this plant-based, no oil or preservatives diet.  Has it been easy?  No, this is not something that you should do without a meal plan.  Also, like I said I plan on making my own hummus, and continue to make my own salad dressings.  This requires planning and cooking – not my strong points.

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While this diet is not easy, and it does come at a cost – time to plan, time to cook, I am trying to look at it this way – What is the cost of your health?  Do I want to be sick and have to pay for that with my time and money, or do I want to stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can?  This choice is up to me, and I choose health!

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72 year-old Annette Larkins, Vegan

Rebooting my Diet

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I’ve been Vegan for a few years now, and while I feel really good on this lifestyle, as a fifty-something woman dealing with chronic pain from Fibromyalgia and the other aches and pains that come from (those dreaded words) growing older, I felt that I really needed to make a change with my diet.  No, I’m not talking about beginning to eat meat and dairy again.  Instead I mean that I want to start eating the way Dr. Michael Greger promotes in his book How not to Die.  So, luckily, I was able to go and see Rip Esselstyn on his book tour promoting his new book, The Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health.

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While my diet is mostly healthy, I haven’t been eating the way that I should.  As you probably know, there are a lot of prepared food products out there for Vegans.  While these foods make life easy, they’re not exactly healthy.  I’ve been eating half-a-bagel at breakfast with vegan butter, and then there is the wonderfully delicious mandarin orange chicken (I prefer the Gardein brand).  However, since these are prepared foods, they of course, are not really good for you.

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Due to the increase of pain related to my Fibromyalgia, I decided that I really had to change my food consumption to only whole plant-based foods.  Lucky for me, along came the Rip Esselstyn book tour.  I’m so glad that I went to see him.  A lot of the recipes for vegans require that you are able to both afford and go to a store such as Whole Foods.  While Whole Foods is a wonderful experience, I absolutely cannot afford to buy much there.  That’s what’s so good about the recipes in the Engine 2 book.  I will be able to buy everything I need at my local grocery store.  So, I originally thought that I would start this on Tuesday, however, I just realized that I should probably read the book and then start – know, what a novel idea!  I’ll let you know when I start, and how it goes.  Wish me luck!