As an introduction:  Three years ago I decided to adopt a 12 pound shih tzu/poodle rescue dog…my first dog in over 30 years.  He followed me everywhere so I decided to name him Shadow.  If our shadow is that which we haven’t yet recognized or shone light upon in our lives, then Shadow truly was that.  For Shadow revealed a joy in my life that I had never experienced before–he is now the light in my life and I learn new things about life and about myself each and every day with my new companion.  I have learned even more about the connection between the food we eat and how it shows up in our lives–even in a dog’s life–by observing him on a daily basis.

When I first adopted Shadow, I was pretty ignorant as far as what to feed him.  I perused the pet stores and was overwhelmed by the choices–canned, kibble, freeze dried, and on-and-on.  My vet also recommended the standard veterinary-approved brands carried in her clinic. Eating the prescribed low-fat food and treats, Shadow had several bouts with diarrhea, itched, and he often ignored his food.  Then I learned about Marty’s Meals, a small business in Santa Fe that produces gently cooked or raw meals for dogs offering organic or hormone free meats combined with vegetables along with some choice grains and supplements. Meats and poultry include rabbit, chicken, turkey, wild boar, goat, bison, venison, kangaroo and more.

I transitioned Shadow to Marty’s Meals and he was doing well…until I started adding in foods like licks of my almond butter, pieces of my own cooked meats and baked goodies (even though they were human healthy).  I simply could not resist his big brown eyes peering into mine which seemed to beg for a taste.  The tastes added up and one day he became extremely ill with pancreatitis.  The vet reprimanded me for feeding my dog gently cooked raw foods and insisted I feed him 1-1/4 cans of low-fat food daily which she carried in her office.  I decided to give it a try at $3.00 a can.  Shadow, to my surprise, loved his new canned food…the only problem was, he insisted on eating every two hours.  He let me know by licking his lips and becoming very aggressive until I fed him.  He was often hyperactive which was not the Shadow I knew.

In my cooking classes I teach that if you are not eating whole foods with the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, your body will go looking for the missing pieces and cravings will occur. My vet insisted that the canned food was scientifically tested with the correct proportion of nutrients–however, it was not whole food, contained manufactured vitamins and minerals and lacked fat and who knows the content of natural flavorings.  I argued that her canned food wasn’t even real food.

I also teach that fat puts the brakes on in our eating–meaning we know when we are satiated when fat is included in the meal in the correct proportion.  Observing Shadow, I recognized what was happening and transitioned him back to Marty’s Meals, exclusively, only this time I eliminated the “extras” I had been giving him which were not “dog healthy”. Since that time he has been doing great.  I honor that he is, in fact, a dog and some things are not met for a small dog’s digestive system and that whole, real, fresh and natural food is the best choice for both two legged and four legged beings alike.