Category Archives: Diet

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Obesity in Pets

“That’s all you give him?” 

I’ve been asked that question twice in the last three weeks, but it isn’t the first time I’ve heard it. When guests in my home watch me feed my cat, Simon, they often show concern that it isn’t enough. When I first adopted Simon off the street he vowed that he would never be hungry again, scarfing down as much food as he could. This technique usually results in vomit. But because of this behavior, I had to measure his food and split his meals into four feedings every day. If I hadn’t made this adjustment he would be Garfield’s doppelganger! After switching Simon to a raw diet, however, I stopped measuring his meals.

He weighs between ten and eleven pounds and is very active, so the daily recommended amount of food for him is four ounces of frozen raw, according to Nature’s Variety Instinct website. The factors that determine how much to feed include the type of food, the cat’s activity levels and their current versus ideal weights. In the past, I’ve fed him Primal, Small Batch, Nature’s Variety Instinct and other similar products. They come in pre-measured nuggets – each approximately two ounces – so when I buy him Corrina’s Corners or All Provide (both are local Atlanta-based companies), I scoop out a similar amount to the size of the nuggets. I also add raw goat’s milk to each meal and he gets treats throughout the day, so it’s highly likely that I over feed him. 

He has maintained a healthy weight for years on a raw diet so I’m not concerned that he will be getting fat any time soon. If you’re concerned, there is a feeding calculator on Nature’s Variety’s website where you can check the amounts for dry, canned, and raw food for your pet! I’m sure most pet food companies have feeding guides on their websites so take advantage of your resources.

Every other day there is a new trend in weight loss or some article out about a new superfood that’s going to save us all. While there is evidence out there about the benefits of weight loss and strength training for humans, the pet community is slowly (but surely) catching up. They may have two more legs to carry themselves, but that doesn’t mean loading on extra weight onto them is acceptable. There are studies that show a number of health issues associated with obesity in our pets, so let’s look at a few!

Did you know that there is an Association for Pet Obesity Prevention? I love it! October 9 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, and thankfully they have provided some great resources to help spread the word. I’ve included the link below for their website, because not only does the Pet Obesity Association provide plenty of data for us, but October 9 they will be conducting their 12th annual Pet Nutrition and Weight Management survey. Collectively, we can help contribute to their data set! They also provide some great tools of their website that can be useful in reaching weight loss goals for our dogs and cats.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, “In 2018, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese.” That is millions of animals in American homes. I know people think it’s cute when our fur-babies have a little extra to love, but their health could be affected. Ideally, you should be able to easily feel your dog or cat’s ribs using light pressure with your hands. Also, if you’re looking at your pet from a birds-eye view, you can also look for a waist to help determine if they are dealing with weight issues.

Overweight or obese dogs and cats can develop arthritis, kidney issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as heart and respiratory problems. Some cancers have also been linked to obesity in animals. In some cases, weight gain and chronic obesity can cause these problems, and in other cases they can worsen or contribute to diseases. If your pet’s little body is carrying unnecessary weight, it can cause their structural and organ systems to work harder on everyday tasks. That can affect their digestion greatly. In Traditional Chinese medicine there is a belief that if an imbalance in the stomach exists, health issues are sure to follow. We hear about probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and the importance of the gut biome all the time these days. The same importance applies to our pets. By reaching ideal weight in a healthy manner, you could be extending the lifespan of your pet by years!

Diet is not the only factor in weight loss. You can help improve your pet’s health by increasing their activity level. Go for an extra walk everyday with your dog; you’ll reap the benefits too! You could also create an obstacle course or carve out more play time with your dog or cat. Not only does this burn calories for both of you, but it also builds stronger bonds with them. This is great endorphin-stimulating therapy! Don’t even get me started on the benefits of endorphins – I’ll start working on that blog article for another day. Another way you could help your pet lose weight is by finding out what foods they have developed sensitivities or intolerances to by testing their hair with our 5 Strands test. By discovering what foods or environmental factors could be causing symptoms in our pets, we can help them become healthier and happier.

If you’d like to purchase one of our tests, you can purchase on our website at https://www.5strands.com/shop/

 

https://petobesityprevention.org/

Your Body’s Nutritional Needs

In today’s day and age, we are surrounded by fast food and other quick and easy conveniences that we indulge in from time to time. That being said, many of us still try to incorporate better eating habits when we have the time to or when we need a dietary change. But do you know exactly what your body really needs? Do you know what nutrients your body may be craving? In Dr. Ross White’s article entitled “7 Essential Nutrients Your Body Needs”, he talks about the seven vital nutrients all of our bodies need in order to maintain healthy bodily functions. These seven essential nutrients include water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.

WATER

Our body is made up of up to 60% water which, when properly consumed daily, helps improve your skin and overall health by regulating your body’s functions. In order to know how much water you should consume, take both your weight and activity level into consideration. There are several water intake calculators that will assist you in finding that amount. If you do not like drinking water daily, be sure to eat foods that contain high water contents like fruits and vegetables.

CARBOHYDRATES

Unfortunately, many of us overindulge on our carbohydrates when we eat a lot of bread, pasta or other foods that break down into sugar. However, if we create a balanced diet of good carbohydrates, it could be beneficial to our eating habits. Carbs allow our bodies to feel fuller, which would help us cut down on unhealthy snacking around meals. You can create a balanced diet of carbs by eating whole grains, fruits and veggies.

PROTEIN

Proteins are essential to our bodies because it builds muscles that create hormones and new enzymes that we need. Of course meat contains a lot of protein but if you do not eat meat then be sure to substitute it with foods like eggs, dairy, beans or other foods that are high in protein so your body is getting the proper amount that it needs.

FAT

Even though many of us think of fat in our bodies as being a negative thing, healthy fats are important to have. Healthy fats help protect our bodies’ organs and absorb vitamins. You want to be sure to limit the amount of trans fat from foods like potato chips, and instead eat foods with unsaturated fats like avocados, nuts and salmon.

VITAMINS

The essential vitamins your body needs consist of vitamins A, C, D, E and B vitamins. These vitamins aid in bone growth and immune health, benefits your skin and eyes, and helps improve bone and muscle structure. Some of these vitamins can be found in foods like citrus fruits and dairy products or taken in supplements like vitamin E oil.

MINERALS

Our bodies also need minerals because they help build bones, regulate blood circulation, aid in lowering blood pressure, and improves kidney functions, to name a few. These vital minerals include sodium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, and magnesium. These minerals can be found in foods like dairy, fruits, leafy green vegetables, beans and whole grains.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

Lastly, our bodies need omega-3 fatty acids, especially since our body cannot create this nutrient. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in brain health and heart function, and can be found in foods like salmon, krill, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

These seven nutritional needs are general items that our bodies need to aid in proper bodily functions, but we are all different people with different types of bodies that crave specific nutrients. In order to know exactly what your body needs, all it takes is 10-15 strands of your hair (which contains your DNA) that can be tested through Affordable Testing’s Nutritional Deficiencies test. This test examines over 100 nutritional deficiencies, some of which your body may need. It personalizes your test by using your DNA from your hair sample to tell you exactly what your body is lacking, but it is your job to make the change and give your body what it craves and deserves. Click the link: https://www.affordableallergytest.com/product/nutritional-deficiency-test/ to know what nutrients your body needs today!

References

White, R. (2018, June 05). 7 essential nutrients your body needs. Retrieved from https://www.wellnessdaily.com.au/health/7-essential-nutrients-your-body-needs

But That’s My Go to Snack

We have all heard the saying “Too much of a good thing isn’t good for you”. Well there is some truth to this cliché. We eat certain foods that we like on a consistent basis and wonder why they all of a sudden make us feel bad. This may be because your body has developed a food intolerance or food sensitivity to these particular foods.

A food intolerance is developed when your body is unable to properly digest those foods. Many of us mistaken food intolerances for food allergies, but they are not the same. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to food are more severe than symptoms of food sensitivity, trigger the immune system, can cause swelling of the body, and could even become fatal. According to a Medical News Today article written by Christian Nordqvist, common symptoms of food intolerance are bloating, migraines, headaches, cough, runny nose, stomach ache, irritable bowel, hives, or simply feeling under the weather. These symptoms aren’t as bad as those of a food allergy but they can be very uncomfortable and can inconvenience your day to day activities.

Nordqvist (2017) also mentioned some common food intolerances to foods like “lactose, wheat, gluten, caffeine, histamine (present in mushrooms, pickles, and cured food), additives such as artificial sweeteners, coloring, or other flavorings”. Food intolerances can be caused by the absence of an enzyme, which is needed for proper digestion; chemical causes like amines in some cheeses, or caffeine in coffee and tea; food poisoning toxins like aflatoxins in undercooked beans; occurrence of histamine like in fish that has not been properly stored, or from salicylates which come from salicylic acid that is present in most plant-sourced foods like tomato sauce, berries, and citrus fruits which have high levels of salicylates (Nordqvist, 2017).

My youngest nephew used to eat a lot of dairy when he was younger and now has a food intolerance to anything with dairy. Now, he does not eat dairy at all but will occasionally have soy milk or soy cheese instead. As for me, I have noticed that my body will react to certain beans, yogurt and some smoothies, so I try to be attentive to how my body reacts to these foods if I decide to eat them, and I try my best to limit my intake of those foods.

Fortunately, there is a way to fix your food intolerance issue! First, be sure to get your Food Intolerance test done through 5Strands Affordable Testing [insert link here]. This test is non-invasive and only requires a few strands of your hair in order to create personalized results for you. Once you get your results, you are then able to see which foods you are intolerant to and should begin eliminating one or two of those foods for a few weeks to see how your body reacts. Then you can progress to the rest of the foods from your results. After a few weeks, your body will build up a tolerance level and you can choose to eat some of those foods again. Be sure to monitor what you’re eating and the amount of those foods you are eating if you decide to begin eating those foods again. Also, try to incorporate a more balanced diet instead of consistently consuming the same foods. Meal prepping is a great way to help you have a variety of foods and meals throughout the week, and it limits unhealthy snacking. Your body is your temple so make sure you are giving it the proper food and fuel it deserves!

References

Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 20). Food Intolerance: Causes, types, symptoms, and diagnosis.

Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263965.php

Shilton, A. (2017, November 10). Why Eating the Same Thing Every Day Does Not Cause Food

Allergies. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.bornfitness.com/food-allergies/