You're not the only one who could benefit from eating a species-specific diet. Your pets could too. Again, as if on cue, another feature article in the New York Times demonstrates that you, wise reader, are at the epicenter of the health revolution. (It also demonstrates that the New York Times is completely idiotic in predictable ways -- more on that later.)
- Pet-owners are starting to feed their pets less processed food. Why?
"Many of them say they made the switch out of desperation after their animals had lingering illnesses that resisted medicine and other remedies. With home-cooked meals, they say, those health problems cleared up."
"Many converts said their new food choices quickly resulted in healthier animals that no longer required endless trips to the vet. Charlene Smith, a project manager in publishing who attended Ms. Laino’s workshop last year, said that one of her two cats, Polly, had been on a steady diet of antibiotics to treat urinary tract problems before the switch to home cooking. Ms. Smith said that her other cat, Esther, “was angry most of the time” when she ate commercial food, and has a much better temperament now."
Sound familiar? Yeah, it's become a bit of a refrain around here.
- Dogs and cats should not have diabetes and heart disease. If they do, you're feeding them wrong. But it's because they have such unnaturally long lifespans! It's because they eat too much red meat! It's because I don't exercise them enough! No, it is because you are feeding them processed garbage that they are not adapted to eat. Full stop.
- Cats are carnivores, dogs are a bit more omnivorous...but still mostly carnivores. Is that concept really so hard to grasp? There is all this concern in the article about how hard it is to formulate a balanced diet for your pet. Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. FEED THEM DEAD ANIMALS. Unless, of course, your pet is an iguana, and then you feed it plants. Or if your pet is a bird, and then you feed it insects and seeds. Or if your pet is a cow, and then you feed it grass.
This dog-owner is worried about her dog getting enough calcium:
"When she began cooking for her beagle, Maddie-Sue, two years ago, she researched dogs’ dietary needs before coming up with a recipe of brown rice, cooked ground beef or chicken, peas, green beans, yams, dry milk and Tums tablets for calcium. Most of the ingredients are organic. All are bought at a food co-op nearby."
Tums tablets? Are you kidding me? FEED THE DOG BONES! BONES ARE MADE OF CALCIUM! DOGS LOVE BONES! There is not a large enough, bold enough font size in the world to express how I feel right now. Tums is giving me heartburn.
- Organic should only be of secondary concern. Of course, the New York Times gets this dead wrong. They dramatically over-emphasize the role of organic. From a health perspective, if given the choice between feeding a dog organic kale and Tyson chicken, you feed the dog a Tyson chicken every time.
- Enter the crazy vegan ideologue. Predictably, the story ends with a vegan imposing her crazy ideology on her poor, defenseless pet:
Though Dr. Wakshlag said that protein should come from animal meat, some pet owners apply their personal dietary choices to their pet’s food.
Anastasia St. John, a vegan in Ithaca, N.Y., who works as an administrative manager, makes vegan food for Hazel, a 15-year-old greyhound, and Dixie, a 16-year-old beagle. “The important thing for me is feeling good about giving my dogs the best thing I can,” said Ms. St. John, 38. “And it’s in line with my values, as well as being healthy.” She feeds a mix of lentils, rice, kale, carrots, apples, oats, tofu, vegetable oil, a textured vegetable protein (a soy-based dehydrated product used as a meat substitute) and mineral and vitamin supplements. The dogs, fed on this diet since 1999, appear to be thriving.
“No one would think they are as old as they are,” she said. “The beagle — we call her the Tank because she is so energetic.” With dogs, veganism may be a fairly new occurrence. But the care and attention of animal lovers like Ms. St. John have been going on for ages.
Notice Ms. St. John's priorities: "The important thing for me is feeling good about giving my dogs the best thing I can". Her goal is TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT HERSELF, not to actually have a healthy dog. Again, a familiar refrain. Anyhow, it's a good article overall and moving things in the right direction.
But here's my question: how many billion dollar industries do we have to upturn? Running shoes, podiatry, human food, and now, pet food. This is getting a little ridiculous. (If you are a company that would like to get ahead of the game, you can contact me for consulting services at john [at] hunter-gatherer [dot] com. I charge $500 an hour, my billing rate from management consulting a few years ago. I have done work for most of the largest CPG and financial services firms.)
And if you read the pet food article, then you'll enjoy this New York Times spoof article even more. Note the Deuteronomy Diet. Yeah, that's me getting lampooned.
UPDATE: Here's what I learned about health at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.