Sunday, December 29, 2013

Some Final Pre-Paleo Thoughts

You guys, I am SO excited about going Paleo.  I don't think I've ever been so excited about a change in my diet.  I wasn't this excited when I joined Weight Watchers.  I wasn't this excited when I spent months depriving myself of different things.  I wasn't even this excited when I started clean eating.

Why am I so excited?  I'm not really sure.  I can't put my finger on it yet.  Maybe it's because there's a part of me that feels like the Paleo way of life just makes sense - and therefore, it will actually work.  Do you want to lose weight and be healthy and all that good stuff?  Well eat the good stuff.  It's the same thing that's been drilled into our heads for ages now.  And all the bad stuff out there about corn and grain and carbs... I'm starting to believe it, at least for me.

When I started clean eating in September, I cut pasta out of my diet.  Boy did I miss it.  I didn't crave it, really; I just missed it.  I love a big plate of warm saucy pasta.  Since September, I can count three times, maybe four tops, that I've had pasta.  And each time afterwards - my stomach makes weird noises and I feel sick.  And not just for a little bit - like into the next day.  Pasta also gave me heartburn on two occasions.  Now that never happened to me before, ever; only when I cut it out of my diet.  You know what else happened?  I started breaking out, and bad.  My skin is a hot mess right now.  My eating habits were plenty good right on through November, but I hit December and on came the sugar, the cookies, the cooking for my cookbook... and my skin blew up, and my stomach was not handling it well.

So many physical reasons so far to be excited about going Paleo.

As my mind was racing about PALEOPALEOPALEOPALEO last week, I started thinking.  If the Paleo diet cures many of what ails us humans.... couldn't it also cure what ails our dogs?  My dog has had a severe, severe issue with skin allergies for the last 8 years or so - pretty much as soon as we moved to Philly.  We took her to the vet for her constant itching and scratching and licking, and he diagnosed her with a food allergy.  He recommended we start her on a hypoallergenic (*cough cough* expensive *cough*) food immediately.  Within a couple weeks, her allergies seemed to have cleared up.  But soon she developed a tolerance to that food, and we had to switch her to something else.  Then she developed a tolerance to that food, and we had to switch her again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  After several years and many thousands of dollars, we switched vets for another opinion.  He confirmed that it was allergies (duh), and wanted to do allergy testing, steroid shots, antibiotics... the whole nine yards.  After another thousand dollars or so, they were able to tell us that she is allergic to "something", but they don't know what.  (Thanks, I'd like my money back now.)  By this time we had cycled her through every hypoallergenic, healthy skin & coat, skin calming, grain-free, corn-free, wheat-free, gluten-free food you could find on the market and it would appear that she was allergic to every damn one of them.  This vet took a different approach though; he didn't think it was food.  He thinks it's environmental.  So we started taking her to get steroid shots every three months.  They used to last for at least 2 months.  The last time we took her?  The effect barely lasted a week.


Fuck if I know.  But it dawned on me - what if a Paleo type diet would help her?  At this point, what the heck do we have to lose?  So I started doing some research on what "people" food dogs can and can't eat.  I stumbled across the "raw" diet for dogs.  It all sounds quite expensive, but if she can eat what I'm eating, essentially... maybe it will help.  I mean, it can't hurt.  If you think about it - why can't we give dogs "human food" anyway?  Maybe dogs didn't evolve to eat grain-laden kibble just as much as humans didn't evolve to eat corn and grain.  Dogs are much closer to their hunter-gatherer roots than we are as humans, from an evolutionary perspective.  Dogs weren't hunting around for kibble back in the day.  They were eating what they could.  That probably included plants and their fruits, as much as it included raw meat.

So.  I've already kind of started feeding Moko a raw diet.  Yesterday she had some apple, carrots, celery, cantaloupe, and raw pumpkin, with a drizzle of coconut oil on top.  Today she had some raw chicken.  Bonus to my dog eating a raw diet?  All the beef and chicken trimmings - can go right into her bowl.  Normally I'd toss that stuff, but she can eat it.  And it won't stink up my trash can or destroy my garbage disposal.

I need to find a butcher though and see if I can find some cheap cuts of meat, or some organ meat.  That would round out her raw diet well.

So anyway.  It sounds like me and my dog are going Paleo for January.  I am so, so excited to see what improvements await us.  And I really, really hope this works for my dog.  We have really honestly tried everything, and I don't know what else we can do for her.

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