January 12, 2016

Written by Aspen Anderson, Director of Retailer and Consumer Relations 

 

It seems more and more these days, you hear the words ‘probiotic’ and ‘prebiotic’.  You may have a vague idea of what they mean, and that they are healthy for you or your pet, but do you know why they matter so much? 

Dried natural Chicory (the dry medicinal herbs)

 

First, let’s explain the difference between pre- and pro-biotics.  Pre-biotics are, essentially, a type of fiber that feeds the healthy gut bacteria (probiotics) in our digestive tract.  So the Prebiotics are the fuel, and the probiotics are the car, if you will.  Prebiotics are generally fibrous materials that do not digest in the stomach, but pass undigested to the gut, where probiotics feed on them and use them for fuel.  Inulins are one of the most important pre-biotics, and one of the few that meet the leading expert’s definition of the most complete form of prebiotics.  Derived from Chicory Root, Steve’s Real Food contains inulins, a supplement that feeds the good bacteria in the gut.

 

 

fermented-foodsProbiotics, the healthy bacteria in your gut, keep your digestive system in check, balancing bad bacteria, promoting good digestion, and performing crucial functions that are just beginning to be understood.  Thousands of strains have been discovered, and more are being discovered every year. Thus far the balance of gut bacteria and positive probiotics have been linked to either contributing to or helping alleviate symptoms from IBS, allergies, lactose intolerance, immunity, anxiety, colic, constipation, cavities, eczema, and more.  Problems as far reaching from mental illness and Chrone’s disease are currently being evaluated to see how probiotics can lead to new treatment options.

 

InflammationFor pets and humans alike, our high-carb, high sugar, and high dairy, processed diets leave our digestive systems in a state of chronic inflammation.  The number of diseases that can be linked to inflammation are numerous as well – ADD, chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dental issues, cancer, thyroid issues, obesity, and more.  Eating processed, high carb foods causes irritation in the stomach lining, which weakens the intestinal lining, allowing more toxins, yeast, etc. to pass through. As this trend continues, the cell’s ability to process them becomes overloaded and worn out. After years our pets’ bodies being stressed by the food they eat, they are left with a weakened immune system and a broken digestive system. There are dozens of diseases that have been proven to have inflammation at the root. Unfortunately, Western medicine focuses on suppressing the immune response to reduce inflammation, rather than addressing the causes of inflammation themselves.

Vector illustration of digestive system of the dog anatomy

Inflammation and probiotics are closely tied, because inflammation begins in the gut, and that is where treatment begins, as well.  If the bacteria in our gut is out of balance, inflammation can run rampant.  Certain strains of probiotics can strengthen the gut barrier, lower inflammatory response, balance our pH levels, enhance mineral absorption, and neutralize harmful bacteria in our gut that can lead to illness and produce toxins.  Probiotics can also help make other minerals and nutrients more bio-available, increasing our body’s ability to absorb important building blocks for good health.

 

Foraged edible dandelions flowers and greens with jar of dandelion preserve

Prebiotics can be found in more than just chicory root, though this is the best source of them.  Fibrous foods are the best sources, and it is most bioavailable when raw.  Things like Garlic, Dandelion Greens, Leeks, Onions, Asparagus, Wheat Bran, and Bananas are all great sources of prebiotics.

 

Probiotics can be found most readily in fermented foods – pickled vegetables, kombucha, kefir, and yogurt.  Our goat milk yogurt contains 6 strains of wonderfully healthy bacteria:

 

  • Lactobacillus Delbrueckii
  • Lactobacillus Bulgaricus
  • Streptocccus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium Lactis

Healthy Food Diet: Probiotic Food including sour dough bread sauerkraut yogurt Parmigiano-Reggiano and Camembert cheeses on wood chopping boards against a blue background.

Raw Goat Milk (unpasteurized, like the goat milk in all our products) is another wonderful source of probiotics, and while federal regulations make raw milk illegal, the health benefits are numerous for those who can find and purchase it from local farmers.  Those that can access it enjoy over 200 strains of probiotics that are naturally occurring, and important prebiotics that feed and keep the probiotics going.  Add in the digestive enzymes found in raw food, and you have incredible building blocks to promote good gut and digestive health.

 

 

 

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January 6, 2016

Kimberly-Gauthier-top-benefits-of-rawBenefits of Raw Feeding

With the growing popularity of raw feeding, it’s easy to forget that the concept of raw feeding is new to many people. Raw feeding is an attempt by pet owners to feed their dogs and cats an ancestral diet that is natural and species-appropriate. Raw feeders believe that feeding commercial dry and canned pet food has lead to the growing number of pets diagnosed with allergies, diabetes, and cancer.

I transitioned our dogs from dry dog food to raw in April 2013 and immediately saw the benefits in my dogs. Now, more than two years later, I can provide a long list of benefits to our dog’s health thanks to a diet of raw dog food.

Click on the infographic for my fun top ten list!

kimberly-gauthier-signs-you-are-a-raw-feeder

You Might be a Raw Feeder If…

When I first transitioned our dogs to raw feeding, I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of information available and felt intimidated by the raw feeding groups. Today, I’m one of those crazy dog moms who quietly (not really) obsesses about her dogs’ diet.

Recently, I was thawing out 200 pounds of raw meat to make meals for four dogs and I started thinking about the life of a raw feeder and developed an infographic inspired by my experience and that of my raw feeding friends.

What can you add? Join the conversation on the Steve’s Facebook page, and come on over and visit my blog.

Author’s Bio for both Infographics…

Kimberly Gauthier is the blogger behind Keep the Tail Wagging, a blog about raw feeding, dog supplements, and raising littermates. Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of littermates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run and explore. Kimberly finished her first e-book on raw feeding called Raw Feeding from A to Z. Rodrigo, Sydney, Scout and Zoey are all herding mix dogs, including Blue Heeler, Border Collie, Catahoula, Australian Shepherd, and Labrador (a lover, not a herder).

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December 2, 2015

IMG_0891This is my cat Magic – the most frustrating cat on the planet. You know how you have that one friend that has extremely unhealthy eating habits but won’t change, even though you can practically watch it killing them? Magic is the cat-version of that friend.  Now imagine that you shelled out a ton of money to help that friend stay alive, and then they still won’t change?  Magic is still the cat-version of that friend.

Magic weighs over 20 pounds and the only thing besides his crappy kitty-kibble I have ever seen him actually taste is ice cream.  A year ago, right as I started learning about raw pet food and the many health benefits it can bring to animals, Magic was attacked by a dog and it cost us over 1,400 dollars we didn’t have to save his life, not to mention my now-husband’s hospital bill.  This is one expensive cat.  And working for Steve’s Real Food, I have access to some of the healthiest pet food on the market, and you know what?  I tried just about everything, and this darn cat still wouldn’t eat it.

This is actually fairly normal.  Cats are much more difficult to transition to raw food than dogs are because they can imprint on their food very early, and since cats seem to assume that anything unfamiliar is a threat, getting them to try something new can be darn near impossible.

If this is your cat, here are some of the many tips and tricks I have heard from people on how to get your cat onto a raw diet.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Expect it to take awhile.
  2. Stop leaving the kibble out for them to eat whenever they want. Have mealtimes, so they can start getting hungry enough to be willing to branch out.
  3. Leave raw (or canned as a transition step) out for them all the time to try, but only offer kibble during their specified meal times. If they want a snack, they have to try the raw or canned.
  4. DON’T  just take away their kibble and play hardball, thinking that once they get hungry enough they will eat.  Cats can starve themselves or go into shock that can turn fatal before they dare try something new, so this is a BAD IDEA.
  5. Have one meal available as kibble and one as raw, to see if they will be hungry enough without it getting dangerous.
  6. Try different proteins to see if they like chicken over beef, etc.
  7. Take freeze dried raw food and hide it around the house, or put it in places the cat is not normally allowed.  Cats like to feel that they have pulled one over on you, and they like to hunt.
  8. Start with the goat milk yogurt.
  9. Place the food where they are usually fed, or some other place they consider safe or theirs, like their bed or cat toys.
  10. Take a stopper and (kindly) force a bit of raw meat into their mouth.  Sometimes cats will try it once you have jolted their taste buds.
  11. Tie a freeze dried nugget to a cat toy and make them play with it. That gets them to put their mouth on it.
  12. Mix in a tiny crumbly bit of freeze dry product in with their regular kibble – not enough that they will notice it, but enough that they can’t work around it.  Once they have started eating it as nuisance, slowly increase and make sure they are still eating their food.

 

 

It is number 11 that has finally worked for my cat Magic, just recently after a year of trying.  Number 8 worked for my cat Rawri, and number 7 worked for my Katara. And of course our office kitties, being young and used to switching their diet, had absolutely no trouble trying raw food.  Every cat is different, but every cat deserves to be fed the best diet you can get them to eat.

 

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November 23, 2015

As we turn our hearts and thoughts towards the most Thankful time of the year, we here at Steve’s Real Food are grateful for so many things.  Since Thanksgiving is on the 26th, here are 26 things we are grateful for, with pictures from real fans of Steve’s:
Baileybaxter great pyrennese pawtrero dog sniffing

 

 

 

sparky colleen dunn   Tera: “Our passionate customers.”

Bruno and Dan   Shantel: “Being able to meet so many amazing independent retailers across the country!

CaliAspen: “Our positive office environment where things are fun and relaxed and we all get along.”

ChipAndDaleShantel: “The chance to help pets get healthier.”

DiddyNicole: “Distributors who go the extra mile to help our stores.”

dogs sniffing steve's   Shantel: “The ability to feed our fur-babies so well.”

ERin, Chuck, and Redbull   Aspen: “Fun projects like Raw.U!”

FoxeyBrownShantel: “Families who support and believe in what we do here at Steve’s.”

Harper   Shantel: “Canines for a Cause, the local charity we support, who are doing great things!”

HomerAspen: “Hearing all your fun stories on Facebook!”

JackAspen: “I’m grateful for 2015, when I got kicked out of my apartment, bought a house, got engaged, finished grad school, planned a wedding, got married, graduated, and got a new puppy – all by June!  I survived!”

JimmerShantel: “Working for Nicole, who has a huge heart and allows us to be creative.”

Jody and Carmine and Redbull   Nicole: “The patience that our online customers showed us during the dry ice shortage.”

KobeAspen: “Our four-legged family members who love us unconditionally.”

Athena the rescue   Tera: “Our families.”

 

 

Bravo bentleys corner bakery bruce c meno manny brucecmeno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

callie looking mysterious   Nicole: “The ability to source our meat from local farmers who provide top quality meats and produce.”

carlotatiajuana   Shantel: “For working with the very understanding people at our manufacturers and storage facilities.”

lucky   Nicole: “Dedicated employees who truly care about our customers, products, and pet parents”

Nala of Nala Jeans a therapy dog   Tera: “Our good health.”

tanktassi   Nicole: “Steve Brown, for being the pioneer in the raw food industry that has made good health possible for millions of pets.”

ThreeDoodles   Tera: “Our good friends.”

Lambkin   Nicole: “The animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians who are paving the way for the raw food movement.”

LilyNicole: “The support my family gives me which allows me to be a mother AND a business owner.”

michael jackson   Aspen: “For working in a field we can be passionate about!  Go healthy pets!

 

 

 

Adorable pomeranian in the leaves. Other fall decor blurred out in the background.Rocko Simba Simon-And-Garfunkel ThreeDoodles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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November 19, 2015

In this week’s blog, we are going to be sharing some stories we have gathered from retailers around the country who have helped pet parents switch to Steve’s Real Food through their advice, research, and especially, their willingness to care.  See why more and more people are switching to raw, thanks to the hard work of retailers who are making a difference:

“A few weeks ago I had a new customer come in looking for Nutro.  I told her I was happy to special order it, but that I didn’t stock it.  She asked why not, as she understood it to be the best food, and I explained it didn’t meet our quality standards.  She said her dog was doing great on it, but had bad breathe, itchy skin, and joint pain.  This led to a review of ingredients and a discussion of minimal processing and the absence of enzymes in kibble.

We reviewed options of premium kibble and raw.  She was skeptical that raw could improve her dogs issues and was worried about the lack of convenience.  I suggested we work towards 1 meal raw, 1 kibble, then reassess in a month.

She returned a few days ago thrilled to report  one box of Steve’s chicken later, her dog has noticeably better breath, more energy, and was less itchy!  She plans on transitioning to 100% raw when she returns from traveling!”

 

Cute dog and kitten isolated on white

“I recently had a customer come in and ask me to recommend a diet for her dog.  The dog is a three year old basset hound mix who suffers from allergies.  The symptoms of his allergies include lethargy and excessive paw licking.  The dog is also a few pounds overweight, and because he is a basset she wants him to lose weight so as not to put unnecessary pressure on  his spine.  She had previously been feeding the dog a high quality kibble, but speculated that the dog was allergic to chicken and was looking for a new protein.

I recommended that she try a more novel protein like pork, duck or rabbit and encouraged her to consider a raw diet.  I explained to her the myriad benefits of raw feeding and told her about my own experiences with feeding my dog and my cats a raw diet.  She was not quite sold on the idea of feeding raw, mainly because of the cost, so I encouraged her to start slow by adding some raw goat’s milk to her dog’s kibble, explaining to her that goat’s milk is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent as well as an excellent source of raw nutrition packed with enzymes, vitamins and minerals essential for good health.  She was impressed by the effects of the goat’s milk on her pup’s allergies and decided to give raw feeding a shot.

This experience taught me the importance of being able to read your customers; this customer was still skeptical after I explained to her that the cost of feeding raw is offset by the money saved in the long run (through less frequent illness/vet visits), so I had to take another approach – recommending the inexpensive raw goat’s milk to give her an easy introduction into the world of raw feeding.  Once she got a taste of just how much raw feeding could improve her dog’s health and quality of life, she was enthusiastic about the prospect of transitioning to a fully raw diet, regardless of the cost.”

Cairn terrier dog playing with his ball a sunny day in may. ** Note: Visible grain at 100%, best at smaller sizes

“I had a customer come in and said he was looking for an organic dog food without any poultry in it.  His vet thought his dog had a poultry allergy and they wanted something to help with her itchy skin.  I asked him if he was set on a kibble or if he would be open to trying a can or a raw food for her.  He told me that he just wanted what was best and would help his dog the most.  I told him that without a doubt that would be a raw diet.

He had several concerns about feeding raw; cleaning, remembering to thaw and then of course questioning whether or not it was organic.  I addressed his issues one by one; first explaining that cleaning the bowls should be simple enough; done daily just like your own dishes.  I told him that the Steve’s nuggets were great because you could serve them straight from the freezer, or he could do patties and thaw a few at a time.  Lastly, I explained that even though it was certified organic, it was much less processed and would be much closer to organic than any kibble would be.  He ended up leaving with a box of patties and a bag of nuggets in case he forgot to thaw a patty out.”

 

Many thanks to the retailers who work every day to bring the best knowledge and products they can to their customer’s pets. They are the best!

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