Going Grain Free: Fad or the Future of Health?

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So I'm not too happy about Ms. Boo's post that featured a picture of me with Jackson Galaxy. She could have at least had my back(side) and maybe photoshopped me a little skinnier? Alas, it may have been just the kick in the pants to get me motivated to try my mother's latest eating adventure: Paleolithic. This is basically an eating plan (note my deliberate non-use of the four-letter dreaded D word) that is modeled after what our pre-agricultural ancestors ate. So no grains. Sorry, new Panera Bread that just came to town... Our love affair is over...

I've also noticed this trend among dog and cat foods. "Grain Free" is the new buzz phrase I'm seeing splashed across ads and labels. In theory, this is a good thing because better dog and cat food recipes should contain more meat protein sources and easy-to-digest animal fats as this would also mimic their ancestral diet. And grains can produce allergic reactions in pets as they do not have as many digestive enzymes to break down starchy carbohydrates as their human herbivore guardians have. And I'm seeing discussions online about people claiming their dogs are slimming down on these types of diets.

Photo by Jordan Batch

I've been pondering both human and pet health lately a lot due to my gratitude for my furry friends helping me turn the corner to better wholeness and healing. I want to see us all thrive, and I know a lot of this has to do with what we eat. There have been so many issues related to pet food quality lately, and I get the sinking feeling that we're all (humans and pets) pretty much cows in the feed lot, eating whatever comes out of the shoot, heading towards an untimely demise because corporate food giants don't care if we live or die. They care about profits. But people are starting to educate themselves and be their own advocates for themselves and for their pets.

But maybe like me, you feel a little intimidated. Navigating the confusing information on human ingredient lists is tricky, but pet food labels are even more difficult to discern because animal foods labeling policies aren't as strict as human food labels. Large companies are often profit motivated, and smaller companies try to grab attention as fear mongers. How do we find balanced information?

The best I can do is pass along some sites I've been reading as the breadth of information is far too broad for this little blog. And my dogs are wanting me to get off the aforementioned backside to take them for their walk, which would do a lot for our well being and weight as well!

Helpful sites that discuss Grain-Free Pet Diets and dog food in general:

Dog Food Advisor

The Dog Food Project

And for those of you who are considering a raw pet food alternative, I found these sites very helpful:

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding

In conclusion, there may be some logic in embracing an eating lifestyle that our ancestors had to promote the best health in the future. We know that BaxterBoo friends don't just like their pets, they LOVE them, and we are with you on this journey thrive alongside our furry friends. We hope this information will help us all grow together towards greater health.

Have any of you folks out there had any luck going grain free personally or for your pets?

Featured photo of a dog in a wheat field by opalset.

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Joan on May 31 at 12:21 PM said:

I am gluten, dairy and, worst of all, soy intolerant. Our dog food is free of corn, gluten, dairy and soy. Check out DogtorJ's (John Symes, DVM) websites both old and new.
Joan on May 31 at 12:23 PM said:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/gluten-what-you-dont-know_b_379089.html
Joan on May 31 at 12:25 PM said:

Don't foget to read some of the 1220 comments.
Dana Craft on May 31 at 12:26 PM said:

My furbaby Sophie, is a Maltese. She had severe skin problems which I was told were allergies. We have been using Nutro for 6 months, which is grain free. Guess what, no more skin problems! Both our furbabies, Sophie and Doc love the food, so it is a win win for us!
Diane Zang on August 31 at 11:36 AM said:

Dana we also went to a grain-free food called Alpha made by Natural Balance and our dogs, who had really bad scabbing and scratching from allergies, got all better too! The Alpha is not as rich in protein as some grain-free foods, and since it also has probiotics in it, it did not upset their stomachs and they never got diarrhea from the transition.
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