Health and Diet
“A lot of misery has been created due to our modern diet.”
I began feeding my dogs and cats real food almost 20 years ago. Unfortunately, it was too late for my darling Meg however Molly, Rosie, Penny, Lucy, Ashley, Tillie and Buck have all reaped the benefits of eating real food. Liver and kidney disease, arthritis, allergies, irritable bowel, diabetes, and hypothyroid are just a few of the inflammatory conditions that no longer plague us as a result of this diet choice. Through diet I have supported their immune system and gut.
The transition to real food supports and nurtures the gut health of our animals. The lining of the gut is the largest interface between the body and the external environment. Since the gut provides this mechanical barrier it should not be a surprise that 70%-90% of our immune cells are found in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. A healthy gut equals a healthy immune system. When we eat fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut as well as fresh whole foods we are supporting the gut flora or gut micro biome with good bacteria and fiber, which helps to maintain the integrity of the lining of the gut.
Leaky gut, irritable bowel, allergies, and autoimmune disease, are all conditions that can result when the integrity of the gut lining is compromised. Diet, environment, stress, and drugs can support or damage gut health. Antibiotics can create the greatest insult to our GI tract. It can take minimally 4- 8 weeks, and more often up to a year to restore and repopulate the lining of the gut with gut friendly bacteria after taking antibiotics. It is also important to avoid processed, artificial, and preserved foods as they contain chemical emulsifiers, artificial coloring and flavoring. These ingredients destroy the healthy bacteria and nurture the disease producing bacterial in the gut.
Over the last few years I have rediscovered the health benefits of fermented foods and now not only include but also make my own sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt. I make the yogurt and kefir from fresh raw milk. Raw milk is a living food rich in beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Raw butterfat contains conjugated linoleic acid, a healthy trans fat that fights cancer, primarily breast, intestinal, and bone. Raw milk is easier to digest due to the presence of lipase, lactase, and amylase. These enzymes work in conjunction with naturally occurring macronutrients helping to better digest the raw milk as a whole food.
In California there are a few certified raw milk producers. This raw milk can be found in health food stores or at farmer’s markets. Or you can participate in a herd share as I do. I met Sherri and Todd Kruger of Bannister Oak Farms in Lincoln, California last November and have been enjoying their wonderful raw milk weekly. Bannister Farms has a small herd of well cared for Jersey Cows and Alpine Goats.
Think of the gut micro biome as a garden and consider how you can cultivate the microbes of this garden to promote health for you and your animals. Kibble is a processed food like substance incapable of supporting a healthy gut micro biome, contributing instead to disease and inflammation. Real food such as meat, bones, sardines, green leafy vegetables, fruits, kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut will help this garden to grow. Your animals will have a healthy glow, increased energy and mental clarity, body odors will disappear, and their eyes will look brighter.
Similar to humans, the state or our animal’s health is unacceptable. Dogs have the highest rate of cancer of any mammal. Diet, exposure to environmental toxins and stress are all contributing factors. Feeding real food can transform life quality and longevity. We must make the choice for health and invest the time for our animal’s sake. It is critical that we maintain our curiosity and search for the causes rather than accept and simply treat the effects of disease.
I look forward to hearing your stories as you and your animals continue on your journey to health.