Monday, January 17, 2011

Primal Pets

Cats are obligate (strict) carnivores, relying on nutrients from animal tissue to satisfy their nutritional needs (protein and fat).  They lack specific enzymes to properly digest carbohydrates (grains/vegetables).  Most commercial cat foods are loaded with carbs in the form of brown rice, barley, wheat and potato and corn.  Dry foods make up the bulk of carbohydrates, but several canned food brands also add these as fillers, mostly to bulk and keep the cost down.

Nami is a 2.5 year old black and white female cat.  She has had digestive issues since day one resulting in occasional episodes of both diarrhea and constipation.  She loved her dry food and had a can of wet food once per day.  She didn't particularly care for the wet food but steadily ate her dry.  Her weight was average at 11 lbs. 

Nami being ADORABLE

We took her to the vet numerous times to discuss her digestive issues only to be given a new brand of dry for her to try.  After several brands of her either not liking or not reacting well, we finally found a Hypo-Allergenic brand that she was okay with.  It cost $35 for a small bag.  Yikes!

In October 2010, we introduced kitty number 2 to the family.  His name is Mushi.  He's a healthy, hyper and a typically destructive but loveable kitten.  If you are interested, you can read about their introduction here.  My concern at the time with introducing him was that we were going to upset Nami's special Hypo-Allergenic diet.  The kitten wouldn't be able to eat her specific dry food, so I did some research to try and figure out a solution.

Mushi at 3 months

My research got me thinking.  After such incredible results modifying my diet and eliminating sugar and grains, I became concerned about some of the ingredients listed on the cans of food I purchased for Nami.  I always figured I was treating her well with only the finest "organic" brands of food featuring an animal product and some brown rice and vegetables.  Realizing that I didn't need grains to survive, I thought about what I was doing to my cats health.  It dawned on me that some of the digestive issues she was going through may have a lot to do with the brown rice and extra veggies in her diet.

I removed the dry food immediately from her diet and switched to wet food only.  After some more research, I came across a brand of cat food called Before Grain.  These are cans of 96% meat and are grain and vegetable free.  It was perfect for both cats and kittens so I didn't have to worry about separating anyone's dish.  They also provided a grain free dry food, but I considered the amount of processing it had to go through probably wasn't that good, so decided not to purchase it.

The cats loved it and Nami went through a bit of a digestive transition with the food resulting in a couple of episodes of diarrhea.  This most likely happened because of the sudden change in her diet (and also the stress of a new kitty in her territory).

It has been three months since the food has been introduced and I'm proud to say Nami has transformed.  Not only have her digestive issues completely vanished, but her fur is super soft and shiny and her eyes are so much brighter.  She lost 1 lb and she is so fit, lean and incredibly energetic (some credit should probably go to Mushi for giving her a regular run around the apartment).

Other brands that we've come across over the months are Wellness Core Grain Free and Merrick.  The Merrick brand, which also makes Before Grain, does contain some fruit and vegetable, but is free from grains. 

Of course, the ideal way to feed your cat would be to make your own.  For more information on this and switching your cats to a more "Primal" diet, please visit

Play Time

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy New Year and Coconut Brownies!

Such a busy holiday season!  I must admit I entirely forgot about my blogs.  But, Happy New Year to everyone!!  I hope you enjoyed the holidays with your family and friends :)

I started the new year immediately with a stomach flu that left me out of commission for an entire week (not the best way to start off a new year with your employer, either).  I haven't been sick like that in a long time and I'm usually very careful about handwashing and eating well to keep my immunity in check.  So, my first week of 2011 was spent dozing in and out on the couch with episodes of Desperate Housewives playing in the background.  My cats used my warm slightly feverish body as a heating pad all week, which is both morbid and cute.

My holidays were filled with non-paleo treats and I suffered tremendously.  It's all tasty at first, but the effects shortly kick in and all goes to hell in a hand basket for my guts.  I got into a pattern of just saying "oh, it's just one . . one won't kill me" and my indulgences for three weeks had me gain 5 lbs and some lovely headaches and lethargy.  Actually, that's most likely where the stomach flu stemmed from.  My craptastic culinary voyage got my immune system into a funk.  Lesson learned . . . I hope.

But, I'm all better now!  Got my eating in order as soon as I got my appetite back.  5 lbs gone (kinda thanks to the flu) and I'm in a good place.  My days are super bacon filled and I'm feeling pretty darn good.

I made some softball size Marvellous Meatballs tonight in a lovely sauce.  Recipe thanks to my most recent paleo blog discovery Everyday Paleo.  Created by Sarah Fragoso, her recipes are simple and incredibly tasty.  Definitely one of the best recent additions to my blogroll.  I wish Sarah all the best with the release of her new book and if you're interested, she recently started a podcast, Paleo Talk.

I just finished making a batch of brownies.  I occasionally like to test out recipes to bring treats for my colleagues at work. 

Coconut Brownies

7 Tbsp Coconut oil

1/2 Cup Honey

2 eggs

9 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1/4 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

1/2 Cup Almond Flour

1/4 Cup Arrowroot

1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Mix all ingredients and pour into a coconut oil greased 8x8 inch pan. Bake at 350 for about 20
minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

They turned out quite well and make a lovely thin cake brownie (1 cm thick).  Because of the sweetness of the dark chocolate chips, I could probably reduce the honey a bit more.  If you try them, let me know how they turn out!