These days we are constantly seeing so many promotions, advertisements and programs touting the “NEW” health movement. People are exercising more and shopping the organic and green farmers’ markets. All over, we are seeing smoothie bars, organic markets and restaurants, yoga studios plus other healthier venues opening at record numbers. The medical communities are adding alternative practitioners to claim integrative services. Farm to table is becoming a staple in food service. What does that mean and how can it be applied to our pets?
The following terms such as holistic, natural, healthiest, USDA inspected, organic and many others have very specific meanings, some of which are legal. However, many companies use these terms erroneously. Sometimes these terms appear in the company or product name only to give you a false sense of security. Packages may say “natural ingredients” however when you read the list you see chemical names, individual vitamins and others that obviously do not occur in these forms in nature.
“Holistic” is defined as a philosophy that is “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” The definition of “natural” in food is “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by mankind.” Processing changes the ingredients to an un-natural state.
As many strive to be a holistic family, it requires a real discipline. It requires fresh whole food and herbs, spices, botanicals that are raw or minimally processed. Yes, this is for us and our pets as we need to develop the lifestyle philosophy that is congruent with a true belief that this is the healthiest way to go. Once we truly believe in this, the answers will become evident. We also know it is a difficult commitment to follow as you must now read every label, ask the purveyors at the green market where they grow or who the farmer is that produced the food.
I recently came across an information sheet from a major supplier of pet foods for a “natural” health kibble food. It stated, “zero additives and zero fillers” and “made with real beef and potato.” Here are some things to look for…Is there really something other than real food in that product? Do some foods use fake beef or are they referring to the highly processed “not fit for consumption meat meal?” Does it mean that the beef in the ingredients is approved for human consumption? Analyzing the label which consisted of 33 ingredients, I found many that were foods of questionable quality. Sixteen were composite products containing multiple ingredients and thirteen were chemicals. End result…only 4 out of 33 ingredients in the product were natural and 29 were not.
Sadly, you will find this true with all the processed dry kibble and most canned products as well.
Now that you are aware of what to recognize when you read that label, are you willing to improve your pets and your families lives by avoiding the chemicals in drugs and foods that are causing the health challenges that we all our facing today? You can look up those ingredients on your pet food labels before you buy and you will see for yourselves.
As always, we are here to help as the voice for your pets. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime.
Bill Piechocki, nutritionist and Dr. Diane Sudduth, DVM are partners in Fiesta Pet Deli in Pompano Beach, FL, and co-hosts of the PetHealthCafe.com radio show. Our 40 years in the animal field has provided us unparalleled vision and information which we pass to our clients daily. We can be reached at www.PetHealthCafe.com or 800-940-7387. Call us for a free consultation or stop by Fiesta Pet Deli, we would be more than happy to help.