I’ve always believed in the adage ‘you are what you eat’.
This is not a new concept. Way back around 600 BC Hippocrates famously said: “Let medicine be thy food, and food be thy medicine”.
Prudence, my Miniature Bull terrier, Mr Binks my English Toy Terrier, and Gremlin my cat, all eat a raw diet.
They’re benefitting from my study with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies where I learnt about the new science of Nutrigenomics.
I learnt that key nutrients have an influence at a cellular level to boost the immune system, prevent disease, prevent obesity, and even delay aging.
Nutrigenomics reveals how functional foods nourish deep at a cellular level to influence our genetic make up through gene expression.
Nutrients interrelate with our epigenome, which is a clever structural layer that surrounds our DNA.
Luckily ready prepared convenience foods have never appealed to me. I’m conscious of not consuming too many processed foods, and don’t own a microwave.
I want to balance the inevitable negative health effects triggered by modern environmental stressors like air pollution, over medication, intensive farming, pesticides, insecticides and the like that are all ubiquitous to modern living.
It’s been easy for me to transfer my eating values to my pets. It all began 16 years ago when Molly my first Miniature Bull terrier arrived.
Her breeder advised me not to feed the standard dry ‘cremated’ pellets so often recommended by vets. Instead to feed her raw green tripe mixed with some vegetables, and some fruits.
Raw green tripe (not to be confused with the white, bleached tripe prepared for human consumption) is a rich source of nutrients for dogs – it’s an elixir!
The stomach of a ruminating (grazing) animal including cows, and sheep, green tripe is packed with key nutrients, proteins, fats, pre and probiotics and is low in fat.
This is because the unique stomachs of these ruminants have four chambers to naturally process grasses with a slew of digestive enzymes, gastric juices and amino acids.
Over the years Molly championed an awareness of raw green tripe as a superfood for dogs.
It may not smell like a bed of roses, but I’ve got used to the aroma! It’s a small inconvenience to bare, in return for one meat ingredient that boasts so many health benefits as a functional food.
I like to combine some muscle meat like lamb, or venison. Another staple functional food that’s always in our fridge are lamb’s hearts.
Rich in amino acids, especially Taurine, Gremlin eats one or two hearts a day. Without Taurine a cat’s immune system shuts down. A cat cannot survive without Taurine.
Cats are known as obligate carnivores, which means they are biologically and physiologically designed to eat meat.
The interrelationship between diet and health is inextricable. By feeding as nature intended, we can impact so positively on the health and well-being of our pets.
I feed strategically and add a variety of fresh very finely chopped leafy greens like kale, spinach or watercress for a mineral and vitamin boost.
I’m fascinated by recent research that highlights the brain boosting capacity of Coconut oil, which we all take in moderation, and I use probiotics.
Whilst dogs do produce Vitamin C, I never underestimate the potential of berries like a blackberry or a blueberry as anti-oxidants that absorb unwanted C02 and free radicals from our system, boosting our immune system.
I’ll add some small fish like sardines or sprats for an Omega boost as well as a raw egg beaten up and served as a low calorie, Omega rich snack.
Even if everyone made tiny steps towards a raw diet, beginning with home cooked foods, it’s a way of helping to manage your dogs’ health, naturally.
“Let food be thy medicine” Hippocrates.