Feeding Herman Canine

Just as I’m suspicious of processed foods for humans, I am (almost) equally concerned about what I feed my doggie.

This isn’t to say I’m a complete crazy person. Yet.
But I am crazy enough that I regularly cook for my dog. #yikes

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Herman loves dress-up 🙂

Here are my three concerns:

  1. Nutrition. What nutrition does the dog food contain?
    • Some commercial dog food is messed up.  And by messed up, I mean messed up beyond belief.
  2. Health Concerns. My dog is tiny, and tiny dogs are prone to three issues specifically:
    • weight gain;
    • knee problems;
    • anal gland problems
  3. Supporting Animal Cruelty. If you think about the cruelty that goes into making human food, I can only IMAGINE the cruelty that goes into making dog food. I want to vote with my wallet. To whatever extent reasonably possible, I’d like to avoid supporting cruel practices.

A Resource!

DogFoodAdvisor.com  is an excellent resource.  They use a 1-5 star rating system to help you find the ideal food for your dog.

Whether your dog eats Wet Food, Dry Food, or Raw Food – you can easily find the top rated products. You can also use the search feature to look for more details on a specific food.

It’s very simple. Each category of food is broken down according to the site’s rating:

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a screenshot

What I LOVE about this site is the level of specificity that they apply to each analysis.

  • Their database is EXHAUSTIVE
  • They examine each and every ingredient of a given product
  • But they also offer a bottom line w/ regards to each product so that you don’t get bogged down in the details
  • They offer levels of confidence with regards to statements they make about the safety and/or nutrition of any particular ingredient
  • They even show a recall history for the brand you’re looking at

One of the foods I regularly feed Herman is Primal Freeze-Dried Raw Food.  Here is just a small part of their analysis on this product:

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More to Learn

Just as there is more to learn about human nutrition, there is also more to learn about the perfect doggy diet.

That said, we probably know what a perfect doggy diet ISN’T. It’s not a diet full of processed junk and filler.

Some dog foods can be prohibitively expensive, so we can only do the best we can. But this is great resource to figure out where to get started.

How does your dog food stack up? 

*EDIT* If anyone knows of a similar resource for cats (or other pets), please share the wealth. I’ve just found BestCatFoodAdvisor.net, but I don’t have any personal experience with it.

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Healthy Does NOT = Expensive

Many people argue that eating healthy is expensive. I STRONGLY disagree.

  • If you eat processed/fast-food because you think it’s cheap…what about the medical bills in the future? What about prescriptions in the future? Cholesterol medicine, blood pressure medicine, diabetes medicine/supplies, etc… it ain’t cheap. 
  • Let’s do some basic math:
    • My household= 2 people
      • Grocery shopping for the ENTIRE week (2-29 through 3-6), this includes breakfast for two, lunch for two, dinner for two and snacks. Total bill $80.00 with the help of coupons and Ibotta
        • Ibotta: This is one of my most favorite money savings apps (I’ve gotten over $100 back just from food/clothing shopping). I’ll give you the basic run down. Over 100 stores (grocery stores, clothing, electronic, etc) participate with this money back app. Each store/company posts rebates on specific items (you will not redeem money if it is not listed on the app), for example, I received 25cents back for buying an avocado. You scan your reciept and barcode(s) to the app, they verify the purchases and money is loaded to your account and you can transfer it to your Paypal account. The more people on your team, the more money you can get back. Please use my referral code so we can be on the same team: ciyalig. I believe the first rebate you redeem, you automatically get $10.00
        • Coupons. They work. If you download the ShopRite app, you can load virtual coupons to your phone. If you clip a coupon and ShopRite has a virtual coupon for that same item, ShopRite will DOUBLE that coupon! Example: You have a 25cent coupon for cheese, Shoprite has a 25cent coupon for that same brand. BAM! You just got a savings of 75cents. I walked out of ShopRite once with 3 Lara Bars, a box of pasta, marinara sauce and toothpaste all for FREE.
          • Total bill for the week is 80.00 thats $40.00 per person for 7 days. $40/7= $5.71 / 3 meals = $1.90 … Isn’t a meal from Wendy’s or McDonald’s like $5 + ? If you get fast food meals 3x a day that is $15+ dollars = approx $105.00 per week… this is for just one person and already costs more than my weekly shopping for 2 people. Someone explain to me how this is cheaper?
  • Purchasing tips:
    • Find store brand products that work for you. Name brand doesn’t necessarily mean tastier. Name brands usually cost more than store brand.
    • Buy in bulk. You can always freeze. We got a great deal on chicken thighs. We bought two packs and froze one for later use.
    • Don’t buy premade food. It’s so silly to me when I see people buy pre-made egg salad…It ends up costing more than a dozen eggs. Make it yourself!
    • Rain check please! If your store is having a major sale and the item is sold out, rain check it. You will get that item at the sale price when its back in store versus the regular price.
    • Look online at brand websites and Facebook for coupons. I’ve gotten some pretty awesome deals on Dannon Greek Yogurt before (6 for the price of 3). Oh, lookie here, a Dannon coupon, how convenient for you!
  • How is this healthier and cheaper?
    • 28oz bag of frozen chicken wings = $5.99
      • wings are the worst part to eat and the least filling. You would probably need to eat half the bag to feel slightly full.
    • 3lbs (48oz) pack of fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts = $5.97
      • Cheaper, more meat, better meat and its versatile in terms of cooking.
        • you can make a crock pot dish, you can stuff chicken with broccoli and cheese, you can fry it up, grill, bake, etc… SO MANY HEALTHY OPTIONS!
  • Stop buying bagged salad kits. This is so silly to me. I see people eat an entire Caesar salad kit mix bag and they cost roughly $3.00 per bag. Let’s say you buy one bag for each work day lunch… 3 x 5 = 15.00 . I bought a family size box of leafy green mix for $6.99 … leafy greens are way healthier than iceberg lettuce and I just bought way more for way less.
  • Stop buying canned soup. High in sodium and how can soup containing meat that lasts for 25 years be healthier than a fresh soup? One can feeds one person for one meal. Make a giant pot of soup and it can last several meals and for more than one person!

I can go on and on with examples. But this ties back to my post on meal prepping. Clip your coupons, find rebate apps like Ibotta (join my team!), have a list, don’t go in blindly, prepare a menu for the week, use the same foods for different meals. As you get into a routine, meal prepping will become easier, shopping will become easier, you will become healthier, and quality of life becomes better.

I truly believe you are doing a disservice to yourself and your family by buying/eating/feeding processed foods. You only live once *YOLO* , be kind to yourself and your loved ones. Take care of yourself. Be wise. Be healthy.

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Your Friends and Family are Stupid

Romantic Love

Enough about love. Let’s talk about hate.

The People You Love are Killing You

Some people are fortunate enough to be surrounded by people with healthy habits. Most of us fall into a different category.

Being fit takes work. And if the people in your life support your efforts, then that is a beautiful thing. If not, it might be time to make some very difficult changes.

Failure to Respect Boundaries

Some people will  never respect your boundaries.

Maybe it’s your friends who tell you to “live a little” while pushing a plate of nachos in your face. It could be your colleagues who tell you, unprompted, that they’d rather be “fat and happy” than deprive themselves. Perhaps you have an Italian grandmother, who despite your morbid obesity, insists that you’ll starve to death if you don’t have another meatball.  And also, don’t forget your coat.

Losing weight is so hard. Your body is fighting you, your friends are fighting you, and maybe even nana is fighting you.

For me, I couldn’t do it without enforcing my boundaries. These people must be classified as “Haters” and removed from your life, temporarily, while you establish good habits.

Don’t Shun Nana

Ok, when it comes to nana – don’t shun her.

Just put on your mental blinders. When she offers you a meatball, don’t fight. Just change the subject. Then do it again next time, and again next time. Nana is probably so old she won’t even remember.

And Nana is your grandma. She’s not god. She can’t make you eat the meatball. She can barely even lift a newspaper. Deep down, you want that fucking meatball. So don’t blame nana, who can barely even see without her bifocals.

Your Family is Nana

Nana is a metaphor. I’m not even Italian.

Nana represents all the people who think you’re beautiful just the way you are, and who want to stuff the shit out of you because they lived through the great depression.

Nanas of the world are old as hell, and they’re stubborn. You can’t change them. But you can’t let them change you.

Don’t shun your nanas. Just ignore their efforts. They brought you into this world, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat what they offer. Go ahead and break their hearts. We all have nanas. Your nana will be offended, but she won’t be uniquely offended. Disappointing grandma is just an unavoidable fact of life.

And Then There are The Others

If a person is not a nana in your life, and yet they are negatively impacting your weight loss efforts, just do this: drop them!

Temporarily, maybe. Permanently, maybe. Who cares? Once you’re hot, everyone will want to be your friend.

Why so harsh? Because people in your own age group should have the mental flexibility to respect your goals and boundaries. If they don’t, they are losers – or worse yet, jealous haters.

People who love you want you to be happy. When they see you struggling, they want to help you. All the others are just bags of douche.

And Then There Are Your children and Spouse

I love when people who are overweight say they MUST keep crap in the house because the kids like it. Or their husband likes it.

Fit people don’t feed poison to the people they love and care about. Just because your kids and husband are skinny now, doesn’t mean they’ll always be. And it doesn’t mean that unhealthy foods aren’t affecting them negatively.

This is YOUR life, and those are YOUR children and YOUR spouse. Set some parameters, and stop using them as an excuse. I can’t even imagine feeding unhealthy food to my dog, let alone my human family.

This doesn’t mean be a dictator. But it does mean TRY your best. And ACTUALLY try.

Your husband  is entitled to make his own choices. And your kids, depending on their ages,  are also entitled to do the same. But young kids won’t starve to death if you don’t feed them garbage. And older kids can buy junk food with their own money if that’s what they want. Set a good example by living it. And don’t be a nana to a younger generation.

On Stupid Lies

People who love you (and people who hate you) will fill your head with stupid “facts”. Facts about life, about diets, even facts about you.

Examples:
1. Oh, our family just has slow metabolisms
2. Oh, you’re naturally big. Not like your sister – she’s slim
3. Oh, you shouldn’t eat avocados, they’re fattening. Here, have some cake.
4. Everyone who loses weight will just gain it back, plus more.

These aren’t really facts. They are silly opinions that have been filtered through these people’s various biases. All they amount to is a giant pile of BS.

You don’t have a slow metabolism. Have you ever noticed that people with slow metabolisms are usually the same people who eat crap all day and night?

And no, you’re not “naturally big.” YES you probably should eat avocados.  And no, you’re not destined to gain back everything you lose.

In Sum

The people you love AFFECT you. The people who surround you AFFECT you. Both with their actions, and with their words. But they don’t own you.

So this Valentine’s Day – be careful of the people you love the most. You might be using them as an excuse, or they might just be killing you.

Now a question

How do YOU deal with difficult family and friends?

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