Pet food ingredients

   Just as in human food, basically the first 4-5 ingredients, which is the largest makeup in that food, are your concerns. I will address later the other things you need to look for when you look at the label as well down the road.
   There are now over 93 dog food brands and 87 cat food brands. Most of them are owned by one company with just multiple brand labels under that company. Why you ask? Because consumers believe that one brand is better than another. They believe they are buying a better quality over another brand in spite of the fact the 2 brands are owned by the same company.  And the really big piss me off is you are paying up to $3.00 for a can of food with the first 4 ingredients that look like this-
      Corn starch, hydrolyzed poultry by-products(feathers and all) coconut oil, soybean oil!

   I can not even tell you when I found this label, rage coursed through my body! I had to take a deep breath and move on. This was from a very expensive company with the initials R.C.  We are being duped to believe that we are feeding good nutrition to our animals and paying a fair price for that nutrition. I want to change all of that! I want pet food companies to change their practices. There must be good money in it because there are tons of pet stores now with tons of different brands of food to choose from. I am going to give you a label from another common cat food you can buy in almost every store-again giving the first 4 ingredients.

      meat by products, water sufficient for processing, turkey, poultry by products.

   Lets first start with “by-products” and what that can be. That means everything left not for human consumption! Beaks, feet, feathers, intestines and so on. So if we translate this label it really reads-
beaks,feet and feathers, water to mix all that stuff up and get it liquid, a little bit of turkey and more beaks and feet! Oh yum! And you wonder why your cat is so fussy. If this was ever discovered in human food we would absolutly scream. Yes, a feral cat if given the choice of starve or eat chicken feet will eat the feet, is this actually good for the cat? Maybe once in a while but their entire diet made up of chicken feet and beaks! Let us now look at a label from a dry cat food I think is actually pretty good and no more expensive than some of the best brands out there-

  Boneless chicken (fresh), chicken meal, turkey meal, boneless turkey, chicken fat

   Much better ingredients especially since cats require a higher protein diet even more so to dogs. This food is from Acana which is in Canada. While I am not thrilled with the chicken and turkey meal which I will explain later, this certainly is a much better quality product for the money. More importantly the taste will be much more pleasant for the cats! The better the quality of the  ingredients, the better the health of your animal. The better the health, the less you need to see a vet which makes more expensive food worth it.
   I can not even stress enough, just as with humans, the body is a machine, if you put poor quality fuel in the machine the machine runs poorly. Over time the machine will begin to break down. Period. This is a fact. At the cost of taking a sick animal to the vet it is so much cheaper to spend a little time in making sure you are providing the best nutrition you can. Let us look at another label from a bag of dry dog food from Eukanuba large breed dog food at 37.00 a bag-

     chicken, corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by product meal, ground whole grain barley, chicken flavor.

    While it is good that the first ingredient is chicken we then move on to my next piss me off, look at all the grain. The 2nd largest ingredient is corn. A cheap filler with little nutritional value. And sorghum? And we are back to the by-product meal. In fact they must add chicken flavor because there is no meat flavor after it is cooked and dried at high temperatures. Why are grains a problem you ask. 
Besides for the most part they are just used as fillers to keep the food made as cheaply as possible to increase the profits of the company it is also one of the problems with developing allergies. It also contributes to weight gain. Corn has a high glycemic index which is why I dislike it the most when used in food. It is not horrible for you but it really has low nutritional value compared to its glycemic value which in other words-how it converts to sugar and goes to belly fat. Your animals are no different. Try to look for the grain free products which is a good start. Think of those foods they tell you to stay away from for weight loss such as potatoes, corn and other starchy foods. look for meat to be listed in at least the first 2 ingredients ESPECIALLY if it is dry food because the process of drying the food destroys so much of the nutritional value alone.
    Okay now that I have you running to fido’s cupboard to check the ingredients I will stop for today and prepare you for my next blog-ingredients to stay away from and why!

Peace and love to you


    

Switching up-your animals and the pet food industry

Several years ago, I had a dog die at age 10 of liver cancer. I thought this was odd and began a half hearted research on the food I had been feeding her. When I actually looked at the ingredients I was shocked to see multiple chemicals and dyes in it. No wonder her 10th birthday was her last.
   Well, many years later I was forced to revisit this subject when I recieved a call from my vet. She reported that my dog, who had recently had normal yearly bloods drawn and a health check-up was now sick. Her liver enzymes were elevated. The vet was convinced my dog Lexy (a 10lb Shitzu) had allergies. This helped to finally explain what had been going on for months with occasional vomiting, chewing of the paws, dry fur, itching ears and constant licking. Many days she just acted like she did not feel well.
   It was decided Lexy had to go on a hypoallergenic dog food. The difference with this food and other food besides major cost is they process this food separately so there is no cross contamination with other foods. There are only a few companies who actually do this. We started both of my Shitzus on Royal Canin.  I had to try several different varieties of their canned food because they would not even taste it. That should have been my first clue! I finally found a can of venison and potato they would sort of taste. So I bought a case of it along with a bag of the same food but in dry. It cost me around 150.00! This is what I would be spending every 5 weeks.
   What happened next is what lead me to begin months of searching and investigating. When I would open a can of this food, the majority of the time my 2 little dogs would walk over, sit down and just look at the food. Every few days they would eat approxamately half and walk away almost sad. They were losing weight and visibly getting depressed. What was so horrible about this food? It smelled okay , as dog food goes. I began looking at the ingredients. I no longer have a can to read you the ingredients but the first 3 ingredients were potatoes, soybean and oil I believe. The first ingredient was potato. I was paying 150.00 to feed my dogs the majority of their diet in potatoes! No wonder they would not eat it. My dogs are not vegan.
   I quickly did research and found there was no company with hypoallergenic food who did any better so I began cooking for my dogs! I later put them on a raw diet but that is many blogs down the road.
   Just as I tell people about their own food, you must read labels. The pet food companies are regulated much more loosely than our own food industry and look what they are doing to us! I am going to address the chemicals they put in the dog and cat foods, the ingredients they use such as by-products and what that actually means. We will look at many of the popular brands out there and review their labels and be prepared to become disturbed.
   We are the stewards for these animals. Just like being parents of children, these animals rely on us to feed them, bath them and care for them. I take the responcibility seriously not just because I love them but because they love me.

till tomorrow, read labels



Photography

   Recently, I took up photography after receiving a digital SLR camera. I had to look initially for those shots that would capture the moment or beauty of the subject. Every bug, bird, animal and flower was my prize. I took closeups frequently , trying to capture the colors and textures. I would hurriedly  run into the house with my newest pictures to download them to the computer to see it “on the big screen.”
   I accidentally took some great pictures.  I say accidentally, because I am self taught and still learning. I framed many of these pictures, not just because they were truly beautiful but as a reminder that even novices like me can capture beauty.
   A few years later and something in my head and eyes have changed. It is now impossible not to see color and beauty in almost everything. My eyes have become the camera. I have noticed more things like a small child seeing for the first time. Last fall was the most colorful I can remember in my lifetime. I saw colors in the pastel range I have never seen before. I have seen birds with additional colors I never knew they had. I am unable to go on a trip without gasping at the beauty of this country. I am in love with creation!
   I encourage you to either begin taking your camera and take pictures of the beauty around you or in the least go out and pretend you have a camera with you and look for the “shot.” It will train your brain to see the color and richness that is all around you. Letting your eyes become a camera lens can do more for your life as a reminder of the gifts we are given constantly.

I am here with you!


Sacred space

As I stood in my bedroom after spending over a hour cleaning, changing sheets, putting the thousands of pillows on the bed it occurred to me that this was my favorite space in my home. I had spent months thinking about this space and what I wanted. Did I want light and airy such as pale blues, greens, white, pale yellows? Was bright and colorful more my style like bright turquoise, reds and yellows like a santa fe necklace?
One morning I woke up with sun streaming in the blinds I had forgotten to close the night before. My eyes hurt from the darkness of my eyelids to the now starkness of bright filtered light pouring in the window. Bright colors were out! I wanted a sedate, quiet, tranquil bedroom with only splashes of color to tease my eye but not strain it. I chose earth colors of gray, ivory, beige and dotted rusty melon throughout.
I bought used furniture to convert because I developed such ideas I could not buy them. I shopped in unusual places to find just the right armoire because suddenly my bedroom had a french, traveled flare. My bedroom began to take on a place I love, France and the thing I love to do, travel.
I then added one of my favorite things in nature; birds and butterflies. My bedroom was not feminine yet it was me! It felt like my soul when I walked into that room. The room is not to impress anyone, get compliments on how tasteful or show my decorating abilities. It was solely designed for me and my peace. Some day I will show you but for now it is my sacred space that harbors a piece of me. Everyone needs to create a sacred space somewhere! A place when you walk in your soul can say, “ah, I am home!”

Always with you my friend

Never alone in this world

   Over a long career of being a nurse I found almost everyone had the fear they might not matter to someone as well as when they were going through something, they were alone. I plan to briefly address both of these.
   I promise you, no matter whether your 20 or 50, somewhere you have made a difference in someones life. A kind word for a friend, a smile to a homeless person, your family and maybe even a teacher. No matter what your circumstances are or where you are in your life, there is no way for you not to matter as long as you are breathing in this world. It is part of the human experience. Gosh, I may not know you but trust me, you matter to me! You matter to the world because only you have the specific talents and abilities that you possess. There is no one like you. I am not trying to ramp up your ego (it does fine on its own!) I am stating just “facts.” You are special in so many ways which is why you can not, not matter.
   When you are going through something whether it be a divorce, death, betrayal or life threatening illness you can never be alone either. We humans have been around for quite some time! Think of Henry The 8th and his wives! Now that was a screwed up marriage, with adultery, betrayal, divorce mixed with a little beheading! Look at the bible and you can see every bit of crap back then as we see now. Trust me, your pain has been felt by countless others and will continue to be felt. With billions of people on this planet, chances are when you are going through something, there is at least ONE more person going through it as well. You also can never be alone in something because all humans have the capacity for feelings and it is universal. Because of those universal feelings, the  tragedies and foibles of life follow humans no matter where they are. You tell yourself that your divorce has special circumstances, or the death of a loved one was different than anyone else experience of death but they are just stories, not true. Since the beginning of the time of being human started, people have suffered at the hands of others and as well as due to Their circumstances. I guarantee you, there were some pretty horrific deaths back in the 1400’s that we future humans could not even fathom. I promise you that the diseases were just as bad back then but instead, no treatment. Hell a broken leg most likely meant death! Men went off to war, never to return and women were left to fend for themselves and children.
  My  Great grandmother had 12 children but only 7 survived. She lost children as late as age 4. When I asked her how she survived the death of her children she said ” I was grateful for the lives of my remaining children”. This was actually the norm back then.
I promise you, we have it so cushy now days compared to just a few hundred years ago, but it takes perspective. I feel really lucky to be alive now, how about you? I feel so lucky not to be one of Henry’s wives!

Love to you



Nursing flashback

   This morning I sat down to my computer for which I thought would be maybe a few hours. Within the first thirty minutes I knew I was going to have problems. Every time I clicked on something, I would get the multi colored disc wheel of death (mac wheel). It would sit and spin while I did the dishes, I would finally get it to close out and stop, go to open something else up and back the death wheel would come, so on to another chore to wait. I did so much deep breathing at one point I thought I would hyperventilate.
   I do believe man created computers to put just one more thing on this planet that would trigger our anger and pent up hostilities. Working on the computer is definitely  a lesson in staying calm and focused,  a exercise in patience (which I struggle with) and a knowledge bender in working with their language. In other words, I despise them as much as I love them.
   When I was a nurse , every thing we did was recorded in the computer. Every thing I did, gave or said to a patient was documented.  We were encouraged to document every hour but realistically this did not happen. You were just to darn busy. So on average I would say I charted every 2-3 hours but I wrote everything down on paper till I could get to the hospital monster. In some hospitals it was worse than others as the computer system would go down. Could be by accident, for maintenance or other various reasons the computer could think of to annoy us. But the panic that would occur was overwhelming.  If for some reason It had been 3 hours since I last had time to chart and now the computers went down, it was reasonable for it to be another 3-4 hours before that chance would come again.  It would be a hour before my shift was ending when the computers would come back online.
There I would sit, feverishly pounding at the keyboard, praying for it to be over.
   For the first half of my career as a nurse, I had NO practice except if stress and panic were a practice, well I was almost dam perfect. I could have taught the class! Eventually I was eased in the direction of meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness so I would sit at the computer huffing and puffing as I tried to deep breath my way out of it. It was simply because of too much oxygen rushing to my head and feeling lightheaded that I was calmer at the computer. Today I had one of those moments and had to just laugh, knowing that the computer ALWAYS wins and its a game of futility!

Be calm my little butterfly!

Always with you


Likeness

   This weekend I caught a TV show on PBS about travel.  Rick Steves goes to Iran. I was interested because there is so little I have ever seen on TV about Iran except all the bad stuff. I decided to watch and decide for myself.
   Even though Steve explains that he was only able to record, view, go where the government allowed him along with a government provided guide,  it was a travel show. He went to major cities in Iran, showing the sites, mosques, various historical sites and Iran’s close ties with Persia. He also spoke with various age groups of people which for me was the most fascinating.
   The people were warm and welcoming. Many stated, “we love America.” The statements were not what I found fascinating,  but the fact it confirmed what I believe which is we are not the product of our governments. It is our governments that lack the trust between themselves, but the people still have the compassion and curiosity about other people.
   I have always thought that no matter what country it is, a mother still protects her children, still weeps if they are injured, starving or worse killed. A father still provides, protects and worries about his family. Children are still innocent no matter what part of the world they are in. The universal human experience is everywhere which is what binds us. We really are all the same just different countries, colors, religions but our fears, concerns and compassion’s are the same.
   If we humans could see people for our likeness instead of our differences wouldn’t things be so different. Unfortunately,  as adults we think we know better and are doing what is best for our countries but in the big picture of life it really just hurts us. It ever divides us into US against them.
It really becomes all about our Egos! We are a more progressive nation. We are more civilized than them. Our religion is better than theirs. Where does it ever stop? War doesn’t even stop it. It has been going on since the beginning of time.
   The next time you see the news or a program about another culture or country, try to have compassion even if things are different from what you know and believe. It is changing how we think and react to difference that one day could change the world. One person at a time, one thought at a time.

Always here with you, friend


Forgiveness

    I was once asked how it was so easy for me to forgive others. I actually had to think about it. I simply did not hold grudges but why was that?
   I realized years ago I learned something that Maya Angelou spoke of, “when people know better , they do better.”
   All people, no exceptions, have a certain amount of knowledge about the hows and whys of this world. Until they are taught by life how something feels or hurts others, they can not act in a way that  differs from this. Until a woman suffers from gossip, she can not truly understand the hurt that it causes, so she will continue to gossip. A man will continue to shout and rave when angered until he learns the fear this causes. A boy who was raised in poverty and saw death, starvation and worse, can not see how killing another is wrong until he experiences something that changes that lifetime of conditioning. They can not do better until they know better.
   When I see murder in the news, I do not just feel compassion for the family and loved ones of the murder victim, but also for the person who did the murdering. He does not know better. In essence this is what Jesus said to ‘forgive them father for they know not what they do.”
   When you really begin to see that it really is just about the knowledge you have in this life, it becomes so easy to forgive. They do not know better. It also makes it easier to forgive yourself. If you did something in your past that you have a hard time forgiving yourself for, ask yourself “if I had known better would I have done better?” If the answer is yes then forgiveness must start. You now know better but then you did not. You were like a child then working with a limited amount of information. You have apparently become more knowledgeable due to mistakes and other things in your life and now understand the repercussions to your actions. You would make a better decision now. How can you not forgive the innocent child?
   A few years ago, a beautiful woman I had known in high school showed up at a gathering a few friends of mine were having. Because it had been over 25 years since we had seen each other, there was a lot of catching up to do. I just briefly went over some of the highlights but for her she needed me to know what recent horrific wrong she had committed in her life. She needed me to find fault in her as she did. I refused to give her the rejection she hoped for. I told her that I too had many screw ups but they did not define my life and for her not to let this little thing define hers. There was nothing to forgive, she now knew better and would do better. She is now happy, in a wonderful relationship and repairing damage to relationships.
   You are not your mistakes! Period! We are all flawed and learning in the school called life. When you learn the lesson, you will always do better. I have faith in humans and I know their capacity for compassion and love.

Always with you, always forgiving



Love you

   This is mainly for women but it can apply to men as well. Are you in love with YOU? Do you feel your worth?
   For many of us, society, advertising and family have taught us that how skinny we are, how beautiful we are and how sweet we are gives us value. But as we age, we begin to realize this just is not true. You are valuable because of the things you have done and brought to this planet. You have birthed and raised children, worked jobs, kept a home tidy and clean, helped with PTA, volunteered, been friends and neighbors and most of all brought the special gifts you call you!
   The size of your butt, the lines on your face, the size of your breasts and the scars are just parts of what make up the real you. You are a sum of ALL parts. When you feel less because of physical stuff you diminish all parts of You. It is like when the sun is out and a large cloud passes over and creates shadows. Your feelings about physical flaws place a shadow over all the parts which are wonderful.
There is no one in this world just like you. This fact lends to the bigger butt, smaller breasts, upturn top lip, and other physical differences. It makes you a sum of all that is special.
   Next time you look in the mirror and wish you had something in your physical appearance to change, ask yourself if you want to look and be like everyone else? Do you want to just fade into obscurity or stand out as the special person you are? Learn to love all those flaws. If you can change something such as weight, then I encourage you to do so because of health reasons as well as it will lift your spirits and make you feel better. But if it is on your face or body and it was given to you at birth, try to see it’s uniqueness. Try to learn to love your uniqueness.
   I have learned with age to change the things that I can such as improving health, exercise and improving my mind but I have also learned to love those things that for years made me distraught. In particular were my skinny legs, long monkey arms and thick curly hair. I now see my arms as being able to carry babies, hug people tightly and carry large boxes that most people could not. I see my skinny legs as my foundation to carry my body, the one part of my body these days that doesn’t gain weight! My thick curly hair is a godsend now as I get older because if it begins to thin, I got lots of it.
   It took me years to begin to see my flaws in a new light and a lot of looking in the mirror and telling my self I loved me just as I am. Today I am proud of who I am, the whole good, bad and uglies.
Be proud of who you are, love who and what you are and be your own best friend because you are special and unique.

Love and blessings to you.


Sun behind those clouds

   I woke up this morning to one of those very gray, cloudy days.  It is so gray that it feels like early morning due to the low light coming in the windows. It is the kind of day that just makes me drag.
I do not mind rain; however, I find I do not accomplish what I would on a sunny day or even partly cloudy days. My body drags through the days as if at any moment we will be returning to bed.
   I am sure this is almost a metaphor for depression. But everyday is cloudy and less of the light comes through as days go by. I can not imagine months of really cloudy days and rain. Not knowing if and when the sun will come out.
   I had a friend who had severe bouts of depression and it was so hard to watch. She was very good at putting on a front when it would start so that no one would know. Then she would disappear for sometime as she received help. I spoke to her several times about it and she said she had no control over it and eventually it would overwhelm her body and mind. When I had the opportunity to speak to her during a moderate bout not only was her affect flat but so was her thinking. She had thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness that no words from me could change. She literally was captive to her mind and IT’S thoughts about her.
   It was because of her that I began to pay attention to the words I use with myself. How do I talk to myself when I screw up or get angry?  Is depression from just years of horrible self talk until one day the mind takes over and thinks for itself? I could not answer this question but I did know that my words to myself became much kinder. What use to be “how could you be so stupid” became “silly me”. I became more compassionate to myself. I learned to see the basic human foibles I and every other human in this race do, with kindness and compassion.
   If you suffer from occasional or mild depression, pay attention to your self talk. If you can not find compassion for yourself, who else will? If you can not speak kindness to yourself who else will? You are the most important voice you hear every day. MAKE IT COUNT.

Be kind, always with you