Category: Food

The power of great nutrition.

Talk about having one’s eyes fully opened! Hopefully!

On the 16th I published a post under the title of The Power of Good Food.

It primarily featured a short video from the home page of Colin Potter’s Fight Parkinson’s website. That video explained how a strict regime of the right food and supported by supplements had made an incredible difference to his health, effectively putting his PD into remission.

Or in Colin’s words:

I am Colin Potter and I have a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Only there’s one difference between me and virtually all other people with Parkinson’s

I no longer suffer from its symptoms. I don’t take conventional medications.
You’d hardly know I had Parkinson’s.
How is this possible?

I’m not a doctor, I’m just an ordinary bloke diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 who just didn’t like what he was being told by his doctors; that his condition was incurable and his health would go into permanent decline.
So, I started my own research, and found thousands of authoritative research studies that:

  • Showed that Parkinson’s mostly had its origins in our lifestyle and environment
  • Revealed the possible, specific causes behind Parkinson’s
  • Promoted the actions I could take to fix the problem
  • Allowed me to cease levodopa medication

I then made the necessary changes to my lifestyle and diet and here I am, two+ years later, healthy and recovered.

I know many of you will find it hard to dedicate a measurable amount of ‘viewing’ time to this post but that doesn’t stop me from recommending a subsequent video.

Namely, a longer (32 minutes) interview of Colin Potter that really explains his transformation

There’s even more to share with you but Jeannie and I have made a fundamental decision.  That is that before we go any further it is only right that we seek the views of a local nutritionist in nearby Grants Pass.

We need to be certain that the major changes that we are planning in terms of diet and supplement intake are supported by local, qualified persons.

We will share those findings with you very soon.

But it does cross my mind that the following should be included in this post.

We do not offer advice and nothing on any website, email or any other communication is intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease. It is not a substitute for consulting your doctor. You should consult a doctor for diagnosis of conditions, before beginning any diet, exercise or supplementation or if you suspect you have any health issue. You should not stop medication without consulting your doctor.

No room for being wrong!

Getting to the truth of what is or is not good for our dogs.

As many will understand so very often I am acting more as a messenger than an authoritative source in this place. It is very difficult for me, almost impossible indeed, for me to verify the validity of what is posted here.

On January 11th, I published a guest post from Kathreen Miller. Her article was called Is Organic Food Really Good For Your Dog To Eat?

Yesterday, local good friend and neighbour, Jim Goodbrod, sent me an email pointing out a number of weaknesses in Kathreen’s article and giving me permission to republish what he wrote as a post on Learning from Dogs.

Jim is an experienced Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and has frequently advised us, both professionally and informally, about our own dogs and cats. We trust him fully. Jim attends a couple of local vet clinics including Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic in Grants Pass to where we take our pets when required.

Dr. Jim seeing a patient at Lincoln Road Vet.

Here is Jim’s update published with his kind permission and unchanged by me apart from some minor formatting amendments including italicising some phrases.

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Hey Paul …

Regarding your post of 1-11-18, a guest post by Kathreen Miller concerning canine diet, I feel the need (justified or not) to clarify a few points. She seems to be a big proponent of “organic diets” and lest your readers be misled, I think we need to define what is meant by “organic”.

The legal definition of “organic” is codified by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) in 7 CFR 205. Pet foods and pet treats must comply with these regulations or they may not legally use the word “organic” on the label. If you read these regulations, you will find that “organic” refers only to the handling and processing of ingredients and products.

These regulations cover: ingredient sourcing, ingredient handling, manufacturing, and labeling & certification of products wanting to use the word “organic” in their labeling.

However, these rules are not considered by NOP as a means to ensure safer, healthier, or more nutritious foods. In fact, there is no regulatory distinction in the tolerable levels of pesticides, drugs, or other residues allowed in organic vs conventional products (even though lower residues may in fact be a result).

Rather, the “organic” label is viewed as a confirmation of the organic production process, and the purchaser is left to his or her own determination as to whether the costs merit the perceived benefits. The bottom line is that “organic” refers to the processing of a product, and makes no guarantees as to the quality or digestibility of ingredients, safety, nutritional value or health benefits of the product.

A savvy pet owner, in order to ensure her dog’s optimal nutritional health, would be better advised to follow guidelines outlined by WSAVA or AAHA (or other reputable source) rather than to reflexively reach for the dog food that says “organic” on the label. The “organic” label does not necessarily mean a diet is good or bad, but it has nothing to do with the nutritional adequacy of the diet and hence your dog’s health.

Another point: Kathreen seems to buy into the popular myth that plant-based ingredients (like corn) are poorly digested fillers that provide little nutritional value and can cause allergies. Corn provides a good source of carbohydrates, essential amino acids, protein, and essential fatty acids in the diets of dogs and cats. It is highly digestible and is not a common cause of allergies. It is actually a very good nutrient as an ingredient in pet food.

My last point is regarding the product “Pet Bounce” that Kathreen endorses as a treatment for arthritic pain in dogs. This product is labelled as homeopathic and as such is nothing more than a placebo.

It has been proven over and over and over again that homeopathic remedies are nothing but water and perform no better than placebos in numerous clinical trials. Reading the list of ingredients, one can see that it contains:

  • 1) Belladonna 6X
  • 2)Caulphyllum 6C
  • 3) Colchicum autumnale 200C
  • 4) Apis mellifica 30C
  • 5) Rhus toxicodendron 200C
  • 6) Ruta graveolens 6X.

Anyone familiar with homeopathic nomenclature knows that, for example, the Apis mellifica 30C designation means that this particular herb is diluted in water 1 to  or   (that’s 1 followed by 60 zeroes!).

To put it into perspective, that’s equivalent to 1 molecule of this substance in a sphere of water 90 million miles in diameter (approximately the distance of the earth to the sun). That’s a 30C dilution.

At a 200C dilution, the treating substance is diluted more than the total number of atoms in the known universe!

Regardless of any medicinal properties these herbs may have, they are so fantastically diluted that there is not one molecule present in the final solution.

I defy any reasonable person to tell me that this so-called remedy is effective to treat anything and consists of anything more than a water placebo.

My problem with this kind of snake oil is that well-meaning pet owners waste their money (~$50.00 per bottle!) on this useless product, believing all the hype and thinking that they are improving the quality of their dog’s life, meanwhile squandering the opportunity to actually help their dog with an effective and evidence-based treatment.

Kathreen seems to be a nice and well-intentioned woman, but I don’t know what qualifies her as a “pet health expert”, other than her own opinion. According to her profile (from your blog) she lives in Chicago with her daughter and dog “Buddy” and listens to music, watches TV, and travels. That’s it? Nothing more??

Again, your readers, Paul, would be well advised to visit professional veterinary nutrition websites (and there are dozens of them) for their veterinary nutritional information.
Below are a couple good places to start:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf

http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

Regards, Jim

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I know you will join me in thanking Jim for spending the time in writing this update.

The power of good food!

Connections: connections!

In my recent post Diet is so crucial to good health, published on the 11th January I opened it thus:

Sometime over the next few days I will write a post about an amazing connection that Jean made, via Richard in England, with Colin Potter. He is the founder of the site Fight Parkinson’s.

It is mentioned as an introduction to today’s post because Colin stresses the critical importance of the right diet for us humans.

Richard lives with his good lady, Julie, in Minety, a village in North Wiltshire. He and I go back many, many years and we have been close friends from the day that we first met. Richard was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s Disease (PD) the same year and month as my Jeannie: December, 2015.

Last New Year’s Eve Richard and Julie were at a local party and the subject of PD came up. Richard subsequently told me that he was speaking to a fellow party guest who said that he was, in turn, an acquaintance of a Colin Potter. He went to add that Colin had also been diagnosed with PD but had decided not to ‘give in’ to the diagnosis but undertake comprehensive research into the causes and whether it was possible to go into remission. He later launched a website Fight Parkinsons.

This is Colin’s video that appears on the home page of Fight Parkinson’s.

Here’s some more of what Colin writes about on his website.

Parkinson’s RecoveryThis is where you find the answers to the causes of Parkinson’s and the actions you can take which may bring about a recovery.

There are actions that I’ve taken which have required guidance from a doctor (of Functional Medicine) or special practitioner. Other steps, such as changing to a better diet, I have done independently based upon my research.

Nowadays, there are so many ways that we fall foul of nature and the kind of life we are built to lead. Industrialisation and technology expose our bodies to so much stress and toxic substances, it’s no wonder that chronic disease arises. It also means that there are many things to put right.

This has been a journey of learning over several years and, with subsequent knowledge, there are some things I did at the start that I would do differently now. Nevertheless, I did them and can’t turn the clock back.

I share this with you because the chances are that you know someone who knows someone with PD. The information on the Fight Parkinson’s website is too important not to be shared as far and wide as possible.

The subscription price for signing up to all the information is just $5/GBP3.60 per month. Both Jeannie and Richard are subscribers.

Mercy For Animals

Sent to me by John Zande!

John, he of the blog site The Superstitious Naked Ape, recently sent me this appeal. I am very pleased to republish it here.

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Hello,
When I started Mercy For Animals nearly 20 years ago, I was a kid from the Midwest with a big dream and an unwavering determination to help animals. Building MFA was not easy. Our first meeting had three attendees. We had no money. But as we grew, I surrounded myself with incredible supporters like you, passionate volunteers, and committed colleagues.

MFA is the most meaningful endeavor of my life so far. My journey has been moving and inspiring. Working alongside such brilliant colleagues and implementing our shared vision of a kinder world for farmed animals has been an honor. Together, we have built MFA into the powerful organization it is today—one that achieves groundbreaking successes as the result of teamwork.

As MFA has grown in the past few years, I’ve found the personal and creative space to think about how I can best continue to shape our movement—and help more animals. This space led me to launch Circle V, the first vegan animal rights music festival, and to conceptualize and co-found The Good Food Institute, an organization that supports innovation in food and science to produce alternatives that are superior to animal products.

I’ve determined that I can be most effective right now by helping launch exciting new companies and initiatives. This means remaining in this creative, big-picture space and handing over much of the day-to-day operations at MFA to other skilled and respected leaders within the organization.
I’m proud to announce that our executive vice president, Matt Rice, has been promoted to president of MFA. I will continue to serve MFA as chair of the board of directors and will remain intimately involved in strategic decisions as the organization’s founder.

For more than 15 years, Matt Rice has been a central leader in the animal protection movement. He shares my vision for MFA and has implemented it with determination, tireless dedication, and compassion for animals and people.
Matt began in MFA’s New York office carrying out grassroots outreach before being promoted to director of operations. He later moved to Los Angeles to take over as director of investigations, working closely with our brave undercover investigators. Matt has overseen many of MFA’s biggest cases, most successful campaigns, and other victories. As executive vice president, he has overseen all departments.

Click below to watch a video about Matt and MFA’s priorities for 2018.


Matt is steadfast in his commitment to MFA. He is an ideal team player with sound judgment—a true powerhouse for animals. I trust him completely.

Matt is already working with other senior MFA leaders to implement new systems and structures, and we will launch compelling new campaigns this year. Matt is supported by a team of some of the best activists I’ve ever met.

I know that MFA will continue to break barriers and exceed expectations worldwide. Much remains to be done for animals, but we’ve proved time and again that for a movement built on love and persistence, no company is too powerful, no factory farm too big, and no government too mighty.

I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of MFA and our movement. Our greatest victories are still ahead.

Nathan Runkle
Founder

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Let me add that there is much information about the charity on WikiPedia, from which I quote a little:

Mercy For Animals (MFA) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies, founded in October 1999. Nathan Runkle is the group’s executive director and founder.[1] Focusing primarily on advocacy on behalf of farmed animals, MFA runs a number of campaigns that aim to educate the public on animal protection issues and to encourage them to adopt a vegan diet.[2] It has engaged in several undercover investigations, primarily of egg farms, and has produced television commercials showing the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms.[3] MFA is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Plus the charity’s website is here Mercy For Animals.

If you didn’t watch the video then, please, do it now.

Finally, please do what you can to support them.

Thank you, John, for sharing this with me.

 

Diet is so crucial to good health.

Not only for us but for our wonderful dogs.

Sometime over the next few days I will write a post about an amazing connection that Jean made, via Richard in England, with Colin Potter. He is the founder of the site Fight Parkinson’s.

It is mentioned as an introduction to today’s post because Colin stresses the critical importance of the right diet for us humans.

But now I want to go straight to a guest post sent to me by Kathreen Miller on the topic of diet for our dogs.

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Is Organic Food Really Good For Your Dog To Eat?

by Kathreen Miller

If you are searching for information related to organic food for dogs, then you’re probably a firm believer in animal rights and how food affects their health. . Maybe you are also considering how your dog will follow a vegan diet. Or how an organic diet can help improve your pet’s health?

You must understand that dogs require protein-rich foods. Therefore, you should look for balanced and high-quality food so that your pet’s health is not deteriorated. A low intake of protein in your pet could result in anemia which again causes joint pain in dogs.

Pet Bounce is one of the best dog pain medications to allefviate the joint pain in pet dogs.

Therefore, read this article to get information about organic food for a dog and how to make it a part of their regular diet. You might have some questions in your mind. You might think how can you make your dog eat organic food? Is it good for dogs? Before you start such kind of diet for your pet you need to do some research.

Consult a veterinary doctor and speak to him/her about the deficiency and advantage of an organic diet. You need to understand that the stomach of dogs is fragile. An instant change in the diet of a dog makes them suffer from diarrhea or bad breath. The change of diet in your dog should be slow.

If you are starting with organic food for your pet, then initially you need to give them organic food once a week. This will make your dog habitual and accustomed to organic food.

During this time period, you need to ensure that your dog gets a mix of normal as well as organic diet. Then after a considerable period of time, slowly increase the organic food proportion, and finally making it one hundred percent.
Besides, if you are considering about giving your dog the homemade diet then you must know which vegetables and fruits aren’t consumed by your dog. This is of utmost importance as a few vegetables can be toxic to your dog’s digestion. Visit a professional canine nutritionist to receive expert guidance. Also take your dog for health checkups.

This is to make sure that your dog will eat their new food and does not suffer from any diseases.

Why is Organic Food Important for Your Dog?

It is correct, that organic food for dogs is created with natural methods and does not contain any type of additives, preservatives, and artificial colorants. Also, the organic food should be grown in a completely natural manner. But remember, that all organic food brands won’t be entirely free from the preservatives.

Is Organic food Good for Dog’s Health?

As long as you obey the advice of your veterinary doctor, organic food is very good for the health of your dog. If you satisfy the requirements of your dogs, and their health is good, then we can have the idea that organic diet is good for the dogs. There are many types of organic foods. But what makes them bad or good is the range to which they satisfy the animal requirements for the nutrients.

Also, ensure that dogs must get a regular and high intake of protein and they never eat the excess quantity of corn. Since for dogs, corns are not easy to digest.

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I am delighted to add a little about Kathreen’s background.

 Kathreen Miller is a pet health expert. She lives in Chicago with her daughter and a dog named “Buddy”. She regularly contributes her write ups to pet health related websites and blogs. In her Free time, she loves listening to music, watching TV and traveling.

On her Pet Bounce site there is an informative article about joint pain in dogs.

Thanks Kathreen for composing this guest post.

I have taken the liberty of grabbing a copy of one of the photos from the Pet Bounce site.

We must do all we can to keep our dogs fit and healthy for as many years as possible!

Primal Dog Food Recall

This was sent to me back on the 22nd December.

December 21, 2017 — Primal Pet Foods of Fairfield, California, is voluntarily recalling specific lots of 5 of its freeze-dried poultry products because their grind size exceeds the ideal size of ground bone to be fed to dogs and cats.

What’s Recalled?

Affected products include Primal Canine and Feline Freeze-Dried Poultry Formulas.

Click here for a more readable copy of the following list of recalled products.

Company Comments

Primal has posted the following comments about this recall on its website:

  • This is a Primal production specification issue – it poses absolutely no risk to human health.
  • We have very precise requirements as to how our foods are to be produced so they preform optimally.
  • We require our meat and bones be ground down to a coarseness of 1/8″
  • Over a single production run, the wrong grind plate was used and the product was ground at 1/4″ coarseness, which is a 1/8″ variance to our specifications.
  • We became aware that food produced over a single production run did not meet our precise specifications and may not preform optimally, particularly for small dogs and cats.
  • We are not comfortable having product in the market that doesn’t meet our precise specifications and deliver optimal experience to the consumer and pet.
  • This decision is entirely voluntary and the FDA is not involved at all.

What to Do?

The company asks that affected products be returned to the Primal retailer from where they were originally purchased for full credit.

Those unable to return the product directly to the retailer are invited to contact Primal Customer Service at 866-566-4652 extension 2 or by email at support@primalpetfoods.com

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

Hope this helps!

Another fabulous guest post from Rohit.

Three years have passed by; just like that!

In the first couple of weeks of the New Year in 2014 I received an email from Rohit Agawal asking if I would like to receive a guest post. Of course I said yes.

That started a wonderful series of guest posts coming in from Rohit.

Here is his latest.

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Five Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Dog
Dogs are like children in a broader sense and when you decide to adopt one, there are many things that you need to be responsible for. There is not much difference between adopting a dog and having a child as you will need to take responsibility for another living being by giving him the necessary care and support.

Therefore, adopting a dog is a huge decision and should not be taken on a random impulse. You need to be aware of all the pros and cons before taking your decision and a major part of estimating them involves asking yourself some important questions. To help you get ready for an important life changing decision, we have listed a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself before adopting a dog and therefore without any further ado, let us get started!

  1. Can You Afford to Buy and Maintain a Dog?

The first question that you need to add yourself is quite obvious because a dog will need constant love and support throughout its whole life. To give him the best, you will need to shell extra bucks. The expenses that are involved include adoption or buying fees, spraying (no needed if you are adopting a dog from any rescue shelter), dog food, dog accessories like collar, dog crates (you can visit this website to explore your options) etc and annual veterinarian checkups for your pet’s well being.

Additional expenses can also include monthly heartworm medicines and flea and tick prevention but these vary from dog to dog.

  1. Do you have the time?

Dogs are tactile beings and they need to be given a suitable amount of time. Young puppies without their mothers will need an extra touch and support. The amount of tactile contact is different for different breeds but all domesticated dogs do need their owner’s love and affection to survive. You would also need to dedicate some time to go on walks as a dog needs to out at least 8 hours a day. If you are busy with work the n employ dog walkers.

  1. Are you prepared to commit for a long time?

This is an important question that you need to ask yourself at every step of the process. Dogs can live up to 18 years and therefore you need to be prepared for a lifelong commitment and not change your mind after actually adopting one. Abandoned dogs are a common sight and this is even true with fancier and smaller breed that people adopt for certain reasons and wash their hands off their pets after a few years, citing reasons like job relocation, marriage etc. A dog deserves a stable home and if you can’t provide that for a long duration then it is better to not adopt.

  1. Select the Dog Breed That Suits Your Lifestyle

When you finally decide to adopt, the first thing that you need to select is the breed that you want. Now different types of breeds have different needs and wants. You need to know everything about the same before you select any breed and therefore concentrate on conducting an extensive research about the same.

Also make sure that the dog you adopt will be able to adapt to your lifestyle.

  1. Dogs get sick and are you ready to handle that?

Dogs are prone to sickness and you need to accept that you would need to shell out extra money for healthcare emergencies. It can be something simple as a weight issue or it can also be a serious condition that might require surgery. Pet insurance is a great option that dog owners can look into to cover any emergencies.

So these were some significant questions that you need to ask yourself when you adopt a dog. It might seem too much of work but the joy that a dog will bring in your life will be second to no other and I promise that you will never regret your decision if you take all the necessary steps.

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Author Bio: Rohit is a dog lover and pet enthusiast; he owns two adorable and wonderful dogs that include a German shepherd and a Labrador retriever. As work keeps him away from home, concerns arise about the safety and comfort of his pet friends, which made him try out various products that facilitate the same.

As Rohit makes so clear at the end, the joy that a dog will bring in your life will be second to none

Consuming the living planet.

The eating habits of us humans have to change!

Funny how things go!

For just two days ago I published a post under the heading of Meat is Heat. It featured an essay by Michael Greger. He of the website NutritionFacts.org. That essay promoted the message:

What we eat may have more of an impact on global warming than what we drive.

Just cutting out animal protein intake one day of the week could have a powerful effect. Meatless Mondays alone could beat out a whole week of working from home and not commuting.

Many of you read that post.

On the same day that I published that post, George Monbiot published an article in The Guardian newspaper that offered the same message, albeit coming at it from a different place but nonetheless just as critically important.

Here it is republished with Mr. Monbiot’s very kind permission.

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We Can’t Keep Eating Like This

This is the question everyone should be attending to – where is the food going to come from?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th December 2017

Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is not because I don’t care – I care very much. It’s only because I have a bigger question on my mind. Where is the food going to come from?

By mid-century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

The trouble begins where everything begins: with soil. The UN’s famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the world’s croplands.

Now consider water loss. In places such as the North China Plain, the central United States, California and north-western India – among the world’s critical growing regions – levels of the groundwater used to irrigate crops are already reaching crisis point. Water in the Upper Ganges aquifer, for example, is being withdrawn at 50 times its recharge rate. But, to keep pace with food demand, farmers in South Asia expect to use between 80 and 200% more water by 2050. Where will it come from?

The next constraint is temperature. One study suggests that, all else being equal, with each degree Celsius of warming the global yield of rice drops by 3%, wheat by 6% and maize by 7%. This could be optimistic. Research published in the journal Agricultural & Environmental Letters finds that 4°C of warming in the US Corn Belt could reduce maize yields by between 84 and 100%.

The reason is that high temperatures at night disrupt the pollination process. But this describes just one component of the likely pollination crisis. Insectageddon, caused by the global deployment of scarcely-tested pesticides, will account for the rest. Already, in some parts of the world, workers are now pollinating plants by hand. But that’s viable only for the most expensive crops.

Then there are the structural factors. Because they tend to use more labour, grow a wider range of crops and work the land more carefully, small farmers, as a rule, grow more food per hectare than large ones. In the poorer regions of the world, people with less than 5 hectares own 30% of the farmland but produce 70% of the food. Since 2000, an area of fertile ground roughly twice the size of the United Kingdom has been seized by land grabbers and consolidated into large farms, generally growing crops for export rather than the food needed by the poor.

While these multiple disasters unfold on land, the seas are being sieved of everything but plastic. Despite a massive increase in effort (bigger boats, bigger engines, more gear), the worldwide fish catch is declining by roughly 1% a year, as populations collapse. The global land grab is mirrored by a global seagrab: small fishers are displaced by big corporations, exporting fish to those who need it less but pay more. Around 3 billion people depend to a large extent on fish and shellfish protein. Where will it come from?

All this would be hard enough. But as people’s incomes increase, their diet tends to shift from plant protein to animal protein. World meat production has quadrupled in 50 years, but global average consumption is still only half that of the UK – where we eat roughly our bodyweight in meat every year – and just over a third of the US level. Because of the way we eat, the UK’s farmland footprint (the land required to meet our demand) is 2.4 times the size of its agricultural area. If everyone aspires to this diet, how do we accommodate it?

The profligacy of livestock farming is astonishing. Already, 36% of the calories grown in the form of grain and pulses – and 53% of the protein – are used to feed farm animals. Two-thirds of this food is lost in conversion from plant to animal. A graph produced last week by Our World in Data suggests that, on average, you need 0.01m2 of land to produce a gram of protein from beans or peas, but 1m2 to produce it from beef cattle or sheep: a difference of 100-fold.

It’s true that much of the grazing land occupied by cattle and sheep cannot be used to grow crops. But it would otherwise have sustained wildlife and ecosystems. Instead, marshes are drained, trees are felled and their seedlings grazed out, predators are exterminated, wild herbivores fenced out and other lifeforms gradually erased as grazing systems intensify. Astonishing places – such as the rainforests of Madagascar and Brazil – are laid waste to make room for yet more cattle.

Because there is not enough land to meet both need and greed, a global transition to eating animals means snatching food from the mouths of the poor. It also means the ecological cleansing of almost every corner of the planet.

The shift in diets would be impossible to sustain even if there were no growth in the human population. But the greater the number of people, the greater the hunger meat eating will cause. From a baseline of 2010, the UN expects meat consumption to rise by 70% by 2030 (this is three times the rate of human population growth). Partly as a result, the global demand for crops could double (from the 2005 baseline) by 2050. The land required to grow them does not exist.

When I say this keeps me up at night, I mean it. I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape from grey wastes, being beaten back by armed police. I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna – lions, elephants, whales and tuna – vanishing. And when I wake, I cannot assure myself that it was just a nightmare.

Other people have different dreams: the fantasy of a feeding frenzy that need never end, the fairytale of reconciling continued economic growth with a living world. If humankind spirals into societal collapse, these dreams will be the cause.

There are no easy answers, but the crucial change is a shift from an animal to a plant-based diet. All else being equal, stopping both meat production and the use of farmland to grow biofuels could provide enough calories for another 4 billion people and double the protein available for human consumption. Artificial meat will help: one paper suggests it reduces water use by at least 82% and land use by 99%.

The next Green Revolution will not be like the last one. It will rely not on flogging the land to death, but on reconsidering how we use it and why. Can we do this, or do we – the richer people now consuming the living planet – find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?

http://www.monbiot.com

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As many of you know Jeannie and I changed our diet to a vegan diet some four weeks ago. It was done more for personal health reasons than from an awareness of the difference that it made to the future of the planet. But over the last few weeks we have had our eyes opened to the broader benefits of not eating meat. George Monbiot spells out the urgency of change for all of us, especially the richer people in the richer countries.

Am I hopeful that there will be a mass awareness of the need to change? I truly just don’t know. I will close be repeating Mr. Monbiot’s closing sentence.

Can we do this, or do we – the richer people now consuming the living planet – find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?

Interesting times!

Meat is Heat!

A counter-intuitive approach to stopping global warning.

About three weeks ago, the 22nd November to be precise, I published a post under the title of Our Beautiful Planet. It included the reply to an email that I had sent to Prof. Bill Ripple or, to give him his full nomenclature, William J. Ripple, Distinguished Professor of Ecology, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.

I reached out to the good Professor because I wanted to share with you what he thought were the top priorities in terms of how each and every one of us should change our lifestyle. You may well recall his reply (my emphasis):

Paul, Consider suggesting that if people want to help, they could have fewer children, reduce energy consumption such as driving autos and flying, avoid meat and eat mostly plant-based foods and avoid wasting food. Below are quotes from our paper. Bill

“It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources ….

… reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure; promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods

Last Tuesday week, on the 5th December, there was an item published by NutritionFacts.org. It was called Meat is Heat: The Effects of Diet on Global Warming.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Dr. Michael Greger is happy for me to republish this article in full. For it so underlines what Professor Ripple is promoting. (Indeed, further browsing on the NutritionFacts website showed that articles are published under the Creative Commons License arrangement.)

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Image Credit: Andrew Walton / Unsplash. This image has been modified.

Meat is Heat: The Effects of Diet on Global Warming

One of the most prestigious medical journals in the world editorialized that climate change represents “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” Currently, chronic diseases are by far the leading cause of death. Might there be a way to combat both at the same time? For example, riding our bikes instead of driving is a win-win-win for the people, planet, and pocketbook. Are there similar win-win situations when it comes to diet?

As I discuss in my video Diet and Climate Change: Cooking Up a Storm, the foods that createthe most greenhouse gases appear to be the same foods that are contributing to many of our chronic diseases. Researchers found that meat (including fish), eggs, and dairy had the greatest negative environmental impact, whereas grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables had the least impact. And not only did the foods with the heaviest environmental impact tend to have lower nutritional quality, but they also had a higher price per pound. So, avoiding them gives us that triple win scenario.

The European Commission, the governing body of the European Union, commissioned a study on what individuals can do to help the climate. For example, if Europeans started driving electric cars, it could prevent as much as 174 million tonnes of carbon from getting released. We could also turn down the thermostat a bit and put on a sweater. But the most powerful action people could take is shift to a meat-free diet.

What we eat may have more of an impact on global warming than what we drive.

Just cutting out animal protein intake one day of the week could have a powerful effect. Meatless Mondays alone could beat out a whole week of working from home and not commuting.

A strictly plant-based diet may be better still: It’s responsible for only about half the greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have suggested that “moderate diet changes are not enough to reduce impacts from food consumption drastically.” Without significant reduction in meat and dairy, changes to healthier diets may only result in rather minor reductions of environmental impacts. This is because studies have shown that the average fossil energy input for animal protein production systems is 25 calories of fossil energy input for every 1 calorie produced—more than 11 times greater than that for grain protein production, for example, which is around 2 to 1.

Researchers in Italy compared seven different diets to see which one was environmentally friendliest. They compared a conventional omnivorous diet adhering to dietary guidelines; an organic omnivorous diet; a conventional vegetarian diet; an organic vegetarian diet; a conventional vegan diet; an organic vegan diet; and a diet the average person actually eats. For each dietary pattern, the researchers looked at carcinogens, air pollution, climate change, effects on the ozone layer, the ecosystem, acid rain, and land, mineral, and fossil fuel use. You can see in the video how many resources it took to feed people on their current diets, all the negative effects the diet is having on the ecosystem, and the adverse effects on human health. If people were eating a healthier diet by conforming to the dietary recommendations, the environmental impact would be significantly less. An organic omnivorous diet would be better still, similar to a vegetarian diet of conventional foods. Those are topped by an organic vegetarian diet, followed by a conventional vegan diet. The best, however, was an organic vegan diet.

The Commission report described that the barriers to animal product reduction are largely lack of knowledge, ingrained habits, and culinary cultures. Proposed policy measures include meat or animal protein taxes, educational campaigns, and putting the greenhouse gas emissions information right on food labels.

Climate change mitigation is expensive. A global transition to even just a low-meat diet, as recommended for health reasons, could reduce these mitigation costs. A study determined that a healthier, low-meat diet would cut the cost of mitigating climate change from about 1% of GDP by more than half, a no-meat diet could cut two-thirds of the cost, and a diet free of animal products could cut 80% of the cost.

Many people aren’t aware of the “cow in the room.” It seems that very few people are aware that the livestock sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. But that’s changing.

The UK’s National Health Service is taking a leading role in reducing carbon emissions. Patients, visitors, and staff can look forward to healthy, low-carbon menus with much less meat, dairy, and eggs. “Evidence shows that as far as the climate is concerned, meat is heat.”

The Swedish government recently amended their dietary recommendations to encourage citizens to eat less meat. “If we seek only to achieve the conservative objective of avoiding further long-term increases in [greenhouse gas] emissions from livestock, we are still led to rather radical recommendations” such as cutting current consumption levels in half in affluent countries—“an unlikely outcome if there were no direct rewards to citizens for doing so. Fortunately, there are such rewards: important health benefits…” By helping the planet, we can help ourselves.

There are tons of articles on diet and sustainability. It’s such an important topic that I may review the new science once every year or two. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture entered these waters, the meat industry appeared to freak out, and the Dietary Guidelines debate continues.

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Just reflect on the key message from this article (my emphasis):

“A study determined that a healthier, low-meat diet would cut the cost of mitigating climate change from about 1% of GDP by more than half, a no-meat diet could cut two-thirds of the cost, and a diet free of animal products could cut 80% of the cost.”

In other words, the most cost-effective way of mitigating climate change is to change to a diet free of animal products. Plus, it’s a damn sight healthier for you and me!

 

And more care required

Yet another dog food alert.

Reminds me of that wonderful quip about London buses. The one about waiting for ages for a bus and then two come more-or-less together!

For it was just twelve days ago that I republished a dog food alert concerning bone treats; or as the FDA described it:

The FDA reports it has received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to “bone treats”.

Bone treats differ from regular uncooked butcher-type bones because they’re processed and packaged for sale as “dog treats”.

Then just early last Saturday there was an email that warned:

Darwin’s Natural Pet Products of Tukwila, Washington, has notified its customers that it is recalling 2 lots of its Natural Selections raw dog food products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link:

Darwin’s Dog Food Recall of December 2017

Please be sure to share the news of this alert with other pet owners.

Mike Sagman, Editor
The Dog Food Advisor

Here are the full details of that alert.

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Darwin’s Dog Food Recall of December 2017

December 8, 2017 — Darwin’s Natural Pet Products of Tukwila, Washington, has notified distributors that it is recalling select lots of its Darwin’s Natural Selections dog food due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

What’s Recalled?

The product was shipped to distributors between September and early October 2017.

The affected product includes the following:

  • Natural Selections Turkey Meals for Dogs
    Net wt 2 lbs
    Lot #39937
    Manufacture date 08/24/17
  • Natural Selections Duck Meals for Dogs
    Net wt 2 lbs
    Lot #40487
    Manufacture date 09/29/17

Why Is It Recalled?

Through testing, the company determined that the products listed above, have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

About Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacterial organism that can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections in people, particularly young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems.

There is risk to humans from handling contaminated products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the product or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Some healthy individuals who are infected may experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infections can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe or chronic illness.

According to the FDA, it is uncommon for healthy dogs to become sick from Salmonella.

However, dogs with weakened immune systems (such as puppies or older dogs) have a higher risk of becoming sick.

Pets with infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Further information about Salmonella can be found on the Food and Drug Administration website.

Message from the Company

In an email message to distributors, Darwin’s president, Gary Tashjian writes…

We have not received any reports from customers regarding these meals, and are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution.

However, if your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of the above symptoms, please contact your veterinarian if they persist.

We are recommending that you inspect your inventory of Darwin’s meals to determine if you have any left from the lot listed above.

If any of the above product is still in your inventory, please take the following steps:

Write down the lot number, date/time of manufacture and quantity of any product from the above lot remaining in your inventory.

Dispose of the product by placing it in a plastic bag, then placing the bag in the trash in a secure manner.

Contact us at productsafety@darwinspet.com to confirm that you have taken the above steps and to arrange for replacement of any unused product.

Please note the following:

Your name and address (or customer number)

The date and time of manufacture and quantity of food from this lot that you have remaining in your inventory

Confirmation that you have disposed of it.

We anticipate that some of our customers will have questions or concerns regarding this matter.

We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about it.

Toward that end, we have set up a special toll-free number for you to call: 866-832-8319 (Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 6 PM and Saturday 7 AM to 3 PM Pacific Time).

Please note that we may not be able to talk with each of you at once, so we do ask that you be patient, particularly if your issue is not of an urgent nature.

We regret any concern and/or inconvenience that this causes you.

We are taking steps to reduce the opportunity for this to occur again.

What to Do

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.FDA

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As always, please share this with other dog lovers.