Using Food as Medicine…Part 1
So, a quick recap…..
Nutrition is the Centerpiece of Good Health. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. The same goes for our pets, which is why I’ve dedicated an entire series in this blog to using Food as medicine. We really are what we eat, as whatever is eaten becomes part of the body at a cellular level. This isn’t about picking the best kibble. In fact, kibble isn’t really ideal at all. A proper, balanced diet for Fido is prepared with a variety whole food. Feed the best you can afford to your pup to provide the fuel necessary to live — well — for many many years to come. Here are a few guidelines:
- Feed wholesome foods to fuel the body with good
- Feed foods that are locally grown as they will be appropriate to balance with the
- Feed organic and/or grass-fed meats when
- Avoid processed
If you were to take away all of my other tools as a veterinarian — all other modalities, all surgical options, all medicinal remedies — but were willing to implement a prescribed diet designed for your pet, I’d still be able to treat many of the diseases and symptoms I treat in my practice today. Many diseases can be cured using food as medicine because food is the critical centerpiece to ideal health. In fact, there is NO ideal health created without it. Unfortunately, the way we feed our dogs today would be considered absolutely unacceptable as a way of feeding our children, even according to the SAD “Standard American Diet” standards.
Imagine this. You have an active 3-year old daughter. For breakfast, you feed her a bowl of shredded wheat and almond milk. Not an entirely awful breakfast, really. Then, when lunchtime rolls around, you feed her a bowl of shredded wheat and almond milk. A snack of a bowl of shredded wheat and almond milk at 3 PM, and a bowl of shredded wheat and almond milk for dinner. Do this day in and day out and that “not entirely awful” breakfast becomes a diet so undeniably lacking in nutrients, your daughter would be in jeopardy of serious illness.
The same is true for our dogs. We pick a “not entirely awful” kibble and then feed it to them day in and day out, wondering why their health is suffering. Yet, the pet industry is so dominated by pet food manufacturers using their deep pockets to sell us “better” dog food, few people even remember other dog food options. Have you ever contemplated how a dog food company could state that there is one appropriate exact recipe/diet that you can feed your dog for every meal of its entire life and it result in good health? What if Kellogg’s made the same claim for your children?
While the pet food industry first came on the scene with Spratt’s Patent Meal Fibrine Dog Cakes in 1860, the majority of family pets ate table scraps (a variety of leftover meat, vegetables and starches) until the 1950s. The truth is, dry dog food (kibble) was originally designed as short-term option for dogs in war oversees — easy to store and needing no refrigeration.
In 1964, the Pet Food Institute (a lobbying group for the now multibillion-dollar pet food industry) began a compelling campaign to get people to stop feeding their dog anything other than packaged dog food. They funded and published “reports” that showed up everywhere, detailing the benefits of dry dog good and even produced a radio advertisement focused on the “dangers of table scraps.” Their work — combined with the industry’s spending a combined $50 Million a year on advertising — was undeniably successful… and undeniably damaging to pet health.
Feeding dry food to your dog every day, twice a day is the equivalent of feeding breakfast cereal three meals a day. Convenient, and shelf stable, yes. Decent in a pinch, yes. But, full of empty calories and hard on the body.
“It matters not whether medicine is old or new, so long as it brings about a cure. It matters not whether theories are Eastern or Western, so long as they prove to be true”
Please stay tuned for next weeks blog….. Using Food as Medicine…Part 2…Essentials
Michel Selmer, DVM, MS, CTCVMP – “The Caring Vet”