Tag Archives: Food

Where Do Dog Food Ingredients Come From?

Health, energy and lifespan of your dog all depend on two things. One is how well taken care of your pet is and the second directly related thing is the dog food you purchase. Not all dog foods contain the same ingredients. Knowing which ones have the correct vitamins and nutritional value for your dog will ensure that he is around for a long time.

The Recall of Dog Food

The dog food recall in 2007 that was the result of companies in China and the U.S. using melamine in their pet food products was directly responsible for the deaths of 2,200 dogs. This is a chemical that is used to manufacture plastic.

About 800 tons of wheat gluten that contained this chemical was found in China. Not only was it found, but it had been mislabeled to avoid inspection.

The melamine was added to boost the protein content of the gluten used in the dog food. The reason behind this was the cost. It was merely cheaper to use melamine than it was to add real protein.

This is where a lot of companies cheat on the products being sold. Consumers read the label and think it contains a certain ingredient. In fact, they do not contain that product at all; they often contain ingredients that are dangerous and may even cause death as in the case of the tainted food.

How Do You Know What Product to Buy?

So how are you supposed to know if a dog food is good for your dog or not? This is not something you can tell by looking at the food. The ingredients used to make the food will be one way of discovering if the food has the right combination of nutrients to keep your dog healthy. This is found on the bag itself.

Look for the first ingredient listed. The first ingredient is extremely important as this will be the ingredient that makes up the largest percentage of the dog food. If the first ingredient listed is an animal protein, such as chicken meal, you are on the right track. Keep in mind that if it says poultry protein, this is not the same thing.

Do not buy food that has meat meal or meat by-products either. The protein required by dogs is not present in these ingredients. Nutritional value can be affected by using these products as well as soy, wheat and corn. Preservatives are another ingredient you should beware of in your dog’s food. There are certain ones that can be extremely hard on dogs. This is especially true if this is what the dogs eat for an extended time period.

One of the things you will learn is to never take the word of the manufacturer when they label their food ‘complete and balanced’. Dogs can even look outwardly healthy unless examined by a veterinarian. This is when they will notice the coats that are not healthy looking and often dry or oily skin. In addition they may have excessive itching and ear infection. The ‘complete and balanced’ food they were eating contained corn as the main ingredient.

This used to be hard to diagnose because the dogs would appear healthy and some even looked to be overfed. However, the reason for the constant problems with coats and ear infections was the grain diets they were consuming and the absence of meat. Combined with itchy, flaky skin and the overweight condition, the grain fed diets were not providing the proper nutrition.

When purchasing a truly ‘balanced and nutritious’ food for your dog, meat-based is the choice. The meat is an essential part of the dog’s diet as long as it is the correct type.

Dog food companies should stop worrying about making fancy commercials to try and get the public to buy their product. Instead, spending this money on quality ingredients will tell the public far more readily that this is a dog food that will be nutritious and beneficial for their dog. A fund for the owners of these animals was started in 2008. Documented proof of the owner’s expenses related to the tainted food can allow them to be reimbursed. What, however is supposed to happen for the families that lost beloved pets that were a part of the family for years?

Moms Make Food Memories, Let’s Lighten Up

Mother’s Day celebrates moms and all that they do. They are most likely the chief cook, bottle washer, chauffeur, event planner, wardrobe stylist, food stylist, psychologist, healer and the list goes on. Mom is a pretty busy woman. One of the key things Mom does as the chief cook is nurture and establishes the foundation of our food heritage. Whether she is a cooking Mom or Carry-out Mom, the foods we eat at the family table play a super-size part in our food memories and eating patterns.

In most families there are comfort foods, favorite dishes, as well as the dishes that are fixtures on the menu at extended family gatherings. Historically many of these foods may have been made with traditional ingredients such as whole milk, butter, higher fat beef and pork, cane sugar, and more. Although these foods taste good and impart what folks may consider as authentic flavor, most of us today do not need the high number of calorie foods made with those ingredients. As people learn more about the influence food selections have on health, many have made the conscious choice to change eating habits, ingredients and the dishes that our food memories were built on.

One of my signature mottoes-“There is not one food that is completely good for you or completely bad for you.” I advise my clients to make wise food choices and exercise moderation. You can make changes in family food favorites by choosing more healthful ingredients. For example:

• Choose low-fat or 2% milk in place of whole milk as a beverage and in recipes.

• Replace high starch carbohydrate foods with more green vegetables.

• Use plain low-fat Greek-style yogurt in place of sour cream.

• Choose smoked turkey to flavor broths for vegetables and soups instead of pork.

• Replace white rice with higher fiber brown rice

• Reduce the amount of fried foods in your diet.

• Increase the fiber in your diet by eating more whole grains, dried beans and lentils.

• Reduce the amount of sugar consumed in foods and beverages.

• Choose 4-oz portions of meat, fish and poultry. (the serving should be the size of the palm of your hand

• Enjoy a treat now and then, but don’t overindulge.

If you grew up enjoying meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, consider making it with lower fat ground beef, ground turkey or chicken. Try serving it with boiled potatoes or mashed cauliflower. Serve assorted fresh fruit with a topping of toasted almonds and low-fat lemon yogurt.

These are guidelines to adjust some of Mom’s recipes, helping you and your Mom make healthier choices when dishing up meals. On occasion you and Mom may want to indulge your guilty pleasure just remember, you can enjoy, but don’t over indulge.

Take Away: Mom’s play a huge part building the foundation of our food memories. You can lighten up those traditional recipes and dishes by making adjustments in the ingredients you use. A few changes add up to a dual win by creating a healthier lifestyle for Mom and you too.