Whole Foods Approach


What Should I Feed My Pet? Questions, answers and revelations:

Being healthy means having normal metabolism, and normal metabolism requires a healthy diet. Most people think that once the right amount of vitamins, minerals, protein and fatty acids are there, the job of creating a healthy diet and body is done.

A diet’s impact on your metabolism is impacted by how a food is processed. Do you believe eating a diet consisting solely of processed foods is good for you? How about your kids? No, yet we assume our pets can thrive on them, and are then surprised when they experience chronic or recurrent health complaints. The unfortunate truth is that most dogs and cats cannot experience maximal health and wellness on the processed diets we currently feed them

What should I feed my pet?
How do I know my pet’s problems are from high insulin levels?
What boosts insulin levels?
Why are processed foods a problem?
Are raw diets safe?
Are home-cooked diets healthy?
I’ve been told not to feed table scraps to my pet. Why can I now?
What if you don’t have time to cook?
What if your cat is addicted to kibble?


What should I feed my pet?

Processed diets raise blood insulin levels, leading to inflammation that causes most dog and cat ailments. To avoid excess insulin levels, feed a balanced diet that is home-cooked or raw.

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How do I know my pet’s problems are from high insulin levels?

Excessive weight gain in dogs and cats is always caused by high insulin levels. In cats, chronically high insulin levels can cause diabetes. Additionally, high insulin levels lead to recurrent inflammation in the skin, digestive tract, urinary tract, airways, mouth and ears, causing:

  • bladder infections and inflammation
  • urinary tract obstruction
  • pancreatitis
  • allergic dermatitis
  • ear infections
  • stomatitis
  • diarrhea
  • chronic vomiting
  • eye infections
  • oily coat

Insulin – it’s not just for diabetes anymore.

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What boosts insulin levels?

  • Physical inactivity
  • Processed diets, which are too easily and rapidly digested
  • Diets high in sugar or starch

Dog and cat diets are commonly starch-based. It provides the “glue” that holds kibbles together and is a cheap source of calories. Unfortunately, carnivores like dogs and cats are not designed to eat starch. Their insulin levels spike upwards when they get too much of it.

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Why are processed foods a problem?

Besides boosting insulin levels, food processing destroys many nutrients. Only those believed to be important are added back in, leading to occasional epidemics of malnutrition. Until the 1990’s, cats were plagued with heart disease due to deficient taurine levels in canned and dry catfood.

In contrast, home-cooked and raw diets contain the full spectrum of nutrients nature has endowed them with, including those not yet considered essential but which are undeniably helpful, such as antioxidants. The quality of canned and kibble diets will always be limited by our nutritional knowledge, whereas home-cooked and raw diets will always exceed it.

Nutrient deficiencies aren’t the only diseases arising from feeding canned and dry dog and cat foods. A few years ago, thousands of dogs and cats died in North American from kidney failure caused by eating processed diets. Many brands of food were involved, since they all contained the same wheat gluten as their protein source. This wheat gluten came from China, and had been contaminated with a toxin called melamine. Home-cooked and raw diet ingredients are always sourced locally and never carry this kind of risk. They’re better for the planet and require a lot less energy to make and transport them.

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Are raw diets safe?

When fed over time, raw diets replace the need for most anti-inflammatory drugs. Even if your pet isn’t prone to inflammation, there are many other conditions that also benefit from them including chronic kidney and liver disease, anemia, and cancer. Although many veterinarians are as yet unaware of their health benefits, feeding an unprocessed low starch diet is one of the most important things you can do for your dog or cat’s health.

Not all animals can digest raw diets easily. Some animals vomit them back up, or may only eat them once and then never again. For these animals, consider a home-cooked diet instead.

The digestive upset these diets sometimes cause leads veterinarians to question their safety. Studies show that raw diets sometimes contain bacteria that could potentially cause disease. Bacteria counts of most frozen commercial raw diets are low, however, because of how they are manufactured. Freezing kills the majority of any bacteria they contain, and the powerful acidity of the dog and cat stomach makes short work of the rest.

As a result, there has never been anywhere in the world an outbreak of a food borne pathogen linked to feeding frozen raw diets to dogs and cats. In contrast, Salmonella outbreaks have occurred regularly from feeding pets commonly available treats like “pig’s ears”.

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Are home-cooked diets healthy?

Most dogs and cats can easily digest a home-cooked diet, but to be healthy they must be nutritionally balanced. We have a nutrition consultation service that can help with that, and which will take into account the ingredients your pet prefers to eat as well as Chinese medicine theory’s centuries of experience to craft a nutritionally complete recipe that is tailor-made for your pet’s particular complaints. We also have recipe books available and supplements to make them nutritionally complete.

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I’ve been told not to feed table scraps to my pet. Why can I now?

It’s common for dogs and cats to experience digestive upset from table scraps. Many times, though, it is not the scraps, but  the sudden shift from processed to home-cooked that is the problem. Feeding processed foods for months or years on end weakens the digestion, until the body rejects foods that are less processed and therefore harder to digest.

To remedy this, and get the full nutritional benefit of an unprocessed whole foods diet, start by feeding your pet just small amounts. Their digestion will gradually get stronger until, after several days, they will be able to handle them easily.  For those that still struggle, we can supply you with digestive enzymes, herbs and probiotics to make the process go more smoothly and quickly.

Some foods are never going to go down well. Baked goods and sauces, while home made, are still starchy and processed. Cooked bones become brittle and can scratch or even perforate the digestive tract of dogs and cats who eat them.

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What if you don’t have time to cook?

Many people don’t have any time to cook for themselves, let alone their pet. For them, if the diet isn’t going to be a commercial frozen raw diet then it has to be canned or kibble, although dehydrated diets and new food technologies are being developed every year.

If you must use a processed diet, strive for one that is higher in protein. Many brands are available, although even high protein diets are contentious among some veterinarians. We can provide some reputable brands of high protein kibble or recommend others that seem reasonably effective in countering insulin resistance and have a track record of safety.

Just because you have to feed kibble some of the time doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time. Get your pet accustomed to the taste of real food by top-dressing their kibble or canned food with organs, meat or veggies. Or feed some meals as kibble, and others as home-cooked or raw.

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What if your cat is addicted to kibble?

Many pets have become addicted to life on the sofa eating the equivalent of bon bons in the dog and cat world – kibble. We can advise you on how to overcome that addiction during your consultation but meanwhile, a good resource for helping show cats the error of their ways is www.catinfo.org.

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