Healthy dog food.

Many people are surprised to learn that not only can dogs enjoy vibrant health on a vegan diet, but just like people, their physical condition actually improves as a result of eliminating animal products and bi-products from their meal plans.

By genus, dogs may be classified as carnivorous, but metabolically, they are actually omnivorous. This means that their nutritional requirements can be adequately met with a plant-based diet – as they can source or synthesize all the nutrients they require from plant foods with supplementation. This is wonderful news for many of us who are already vegan and feel completely out of our comfort zone  feeding our companion friends unhealthy torture and cruelty. It therefore makes perfect logical sense to transition them for health reasons mostly but also in order to decrease our carbon foot print on the planet.

If you have never considered this option or thought that it was not possible then we shall with confidence help you in the right direction.  We have spoken to many vegans who have already done so and their canines are in perfect health! There is no reason why you can’t make the switch for them. It is very easy to cut meat, eggs and dairy from his diet for health and ethical reasons. With the vegan diet enjoying a positive widespread exposure, it should come as little surprise that  ‘pet’ owners might want to project those ideals onto their canine companions.

The health hazards of commercial meat-based:

The health hazards of commercial meat-based pet foods are extensive, and difficult to avoid. They  include slaughterhouse waste products; 4-D meat (from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals); old or spoiled supermarket meat; large numbers of rendered dogs and cats from animal shelters; old restaurant grease, complete with high concentrations of dangerous free radicals and trans fatty acids; damaged or spoiled fish, complete with dangerous levels of mercury, PCBs and other toxins; pathogenic bacteria, protozoa, viruses, fungi and prions, and their associated endotoxins and mycotoxins; hormone and antibiotic residues; and dangerous preservatives. The combined results are rendered so delicious to cats and dogs by the addition of ‘digest’ – a soup of partially dissolved chicken entrails – that more than 95% of companion animals subsist primarily on commercial meat-based diets.

Unsurprisingly, diseases described in the scientific literature following long-term maintenance of cats and dogs on commercial meat-based diets include kidney, liver, heart, neurologic, eye, muscoloskeletal and skin diseases, bleeding disorders, birth defects, immunocompromisation and infectious diseases. Degenerative diseases such as cancer, kidney, liver and heart failure are far more common than they should be, and  many are likely to be exacerbated or directly caused by the numerous hazardous ingredients of commercial meat-based cat and dog diets.

Vegetarian diets: a healthy alternative:

On the other hand, studies and numerous case reports have shown that nutritionally sound vegan companion animal diets appear to be associated with the following health benefits: increased overall health and vitality, decreased incidences of cancer, infections, hypothyroidism, ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, lice and mites), improved coat condition, allergy control and less irritations, less dandruff or excess shedding, weight control, arthritis regression, diabetes regression and cataract resolution, improvement in breath and no stinky poos, longer life, and a general positive boost to their immune systems.

Creating a balanced diet that makes up for the loss of animal protein with substitutions of beans, soy and, to a lesser extent, vegetables and grains is key!

Many dogs with food allergies, benefit switching to a vegan diet.  They also avoid taking in animal by-products from commercially produced dog food, including slaughterhouse waste products and rejects that wouldn’t be fit for human consumption. We’ve seen so much cancer and other degenerative diseases in dogs in recent years so it’s easy to suspect that pet food is a contributor.

For those who have embraced a vegan diet for their dogs,  say they have living and breathing proof that it works.  Their dogs are normal, healthy, energetic and rambunctious!

The important thing is that you put together a well balanced  diet following a few easy guidelines that have been tried and tested over the past 30 years or so.  Today it is absolutely possible to find a good quality commercial vegan dog food from a reputable vegan supplier that doesn’t have animal products in it. Please check that they have gone through proper feed control trials. If you have the time and prefer to cook meals from scratch to save on costs, it is easy to do so, once again on advice from tried and tested recipes that offer all the nutrients and a good balance of essentials needed (this is much easier than you think).  We shall show you how.

You can now find all the vegan alternatives and you are able to produce nutritionally-balanced food for both cats and dogs.

Putting Together a Basic Meal:

At least a third to a half of your dog’s meal should consist of a quality protein source. The remaining portion can be made up of a variety of whole grains, raw and cooked vegetables, as well as certain supplemental items.  (please refer some of our suggested listing below).

The Vegan Dog Nutrition Association recommends that the base of the meal be comprised of soybeans, lentils, rice, oats and sweet potatoes. Pinto beans are the most non-allergenic food for vegan dogs, and (along with sweet potatoes and carrots),  they provide a good basis for their diet. Pinto beans and sweet potatoes can also be used exclusively for up to 6 to 8 weeks to determine whether your dog is suffering from food allergies.

Note: All legumes should be well-cooked (until very soft) and preferably mashed or puréed in a food processor.

Adding a sprinkling of sea vegetable flakes such as kelp or dulse helps to ensure a dietary source of minerals.

Dogs can enjoy fruit in small amounts  if they will eat it. Our dogs enjoy a variety of fruits, ranging from bananas, apples and orange, to watermelon! Just make sure that you don’t feed your dog fruit too close to a high-protein meal. The enzymes are different and can cause digestive discomfort.

Protein & Carbohydrates:

A dog’s protein requirement need is higher than ours. To ensure that your dog gets enough, make sure that approximately a third to a half of their meal consists of a high-quality protein source (such as well-cooked legumes – pintos, chick peas, soy beans, lentils, sprouted lentils, garbanzo beans, and split peas, tofu,  and tempeh (are all good).

Unless your dog requires a grain-free diet for health reasons, well-cooked whole grains are good sources of both protein and carbohydrates, as well as other nutrients such as B vitamins. We’ve found that whole grains in moderation work really well for our dogs, including brown rice, quinoa, millet, polenta (corn grits) or blended fresh corn kernels, oats, barley, and buckwheat.

Seitan (wheat-meat) is a high-protein vegan ‘meat’ made from gluten flour. Dogs absolutely love it, and (just like with humans) seitan can be a great help when ‘veganizing’ a formerly carnivorous dog. But since wheat gluten should not be consumed to excess, seitan ought to remain just an occasional treat for dogs as they are not very healthy to eat on a regular basis.

Enzymes & Beta-carotene:

Sweet potatoes, carrots and other orange-colored root vegetables are important sources of beta-carotene, and should be included on a regular basis (cut finely and/or mashed). Regular potatoes (in small pieces or mashed) are also fine to include on occasion, but they do not include this important nutrient. Dogs convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which is a necessary nutrient that is hard for them to get elsewhere in a plant-based diet.

Other vegetables (also cut finely and/or mashed) are good to include whenever possible, for the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber. The best choices are pumpkin, squash, yams, carrots, and also other small bits of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cooked cabbage, etc. Raw, grated carrot and/or beetroot is good, as well as sprouts, and/or raw, dark leafy greens, finely chopped and mixed in well with their meals.

Some authorities recommend adding digestive enzymes to a dog’s diet, though this is not something we’ve had reason to be concerned about. The company Harbingers of a New Age sells a product called Prozyme; a supplement for dogs that contains all of the enzymes they require.

There are also some excellent supplements available for dogs, cats and other companion animals that are made from dark green leafy vegetables and other highly nutritious plant foods. One such product (which also happens to contain all the essential digestive enzymes as well as a comprehensive probiotic mixture) is called Green Mush, produced by Health Force Nutritionals. Green Mush is a whole food, green plant based powder, that includes large amounts of CoQ10, which is a powerful antioxidant involved in energy production and longevity. The owners of Health Force state that the product can be helpful for dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, ferrets, squirrels, other mammals and human animals too! Health Force Nutritionals is an excellent resource for both human and nonhuman nutritional needs.

Taurine, L-Carnitine & B12:

Vegetarian dog specialists and most companies that sell vegan dog food advise adding taurine and L-carnitine to the diets of vegan dogs. These are two amino acids that are naturally found in animal flesh, but do not naturally occur in plants. Dogs cannot synthesize these nutrients themselves. Deficiencies can be potentially serious, so a supplement is an important preventative measure. Both of these nutrients can be bought at your local health food store, and they are also included in many commercial vegan dog products.

Another supplement that we have included in our dogs’ diets is nutritional yeast; either Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula or Lotus Brands – both of which are rich in B vitamins, and are fortified with Vitamin B12. Whether or not you include nutritional yeast in your dog’s food, you should make sure that they receive an adequate source of B12.

Note:  Harbingers of a New Age provides a supplement called ‘VegeDog’, which provides two of these: Vitamin B12 and taurine. One month’s supply of this fantastic product costs just $12.00. That’s only 40 cents per day to make sure that your dog is getting these important nutrients, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals.

Oils & Essential Fatty Acids:

Dogs need a certain amount of oil in their diets, and if they’re lacking it, their coat will be a clear sign. A lusterless coat can transform after a few days of including a nutritious oil in the diet, such as flax. A dog’s oil requirements can also be met with 1-2 tablespoons of tahini (sesame seed butter), flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, or ground flax seeds, coconut oil is great too.  A teaspoon or two of organic sunflower, olive, or coconut oil poured over their food will get them to eat anything! Flax and hemp have the added benefit of being Omega-rich.

There are many studies that confirm the powerful healing benefits of giving dogs flax seed oil or another fatty acid blend. To ensure your dogs are receiving the necessary essential fatty acids (omegas 3, 6, & 9), add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of vegan essential fatty acid oil.  Flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, or 1 teaspoon of ground or soaked flax seeds. (This is beneficial for vegan humans as well). ‘Total EFA’ oil also serves other purposes such as helping joint function and coat health. These oils are especially important for senior dogs.

Vega EFA Oil Blend is made from a combination of antioxidant and phytonutrient rich seed oils including green tea seed oil and blueberry seed oil. Deva and V-Pure are now producing vegan DHA, long chain fatty-acids from seaweed in a capsule for humans, which you can share with your companion animals.

Cranimals organic supplements contain vegan EFAs like DHA and ALA, as well as beta-carotene and a host of other valuable phytonutrients (urinary tract, dental and heart healthy antioxidants from berry extracts and vitamins and minerals from organic spirulina). The powdered and liquid Cranimals supplements for dogs and cats, as well as their Zendog biscuits, supply EFAs from algae, flax and cranberries.

Conclusion:

Being a responsible guardian for any animal means making an effort to ensure that his or her diet is nutritionally complete, just as you would for yourself. The best thing you can do for your animal friends is to continue to keep yourself informed, as  new research being released all the time.

Go  organic where you can.

Quality protein source:

Beans/legumes

Garbanzo beans (cooked, ground/blended).

Pinto beans are the most non-allergenic food for vegan dogs

Lentils (cooked, mashed and or processed)

Sprouted lentils

Chick peas

Split peas (cooked, mashed and or processed)

Chia seeds

Soy

Soybean

Sprouts

Tempeh

Tofu

TVP (textured vegetable protein)

Variety of whole grains:

Brown rice

Oats

Quinoa

Millet

Polenta

Barley

Buckwheat

Vegetables raw and cooked:

Orange-colored root vegetables are important sources of beta-carotene

Carrots

Pumpkin

Squash

Yams

Sweet potatoes

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage cooked

Sprouts

Dark leafy greens (raw and cooked = calcium and iron supplementation)

Supplemental items:

Taurine

Niacin

L Carnitine

Glutamene

Ground flax

Amino acids

Essential fatty acids

Nutritional yeast (great source of  B12)

Sea vegetable flakes such as kelp or dulse helps to ensure a dietary source of minerals

Seaweed

Oils:

Flax seed oil

Hemp seed oil

Coconut oil

Olive oil

Sunflower oil

Fruits:

Cranberries

Bananas

Apples

Orange

Watermelon

Herbs:  In small amounts and always check with your vegan vet

Ginger

Goldenseal

Milk Thistle

Valerian

Calendula

Basil

Hawthorn

Please share your successes with us in switching your canines to a healthy cruelty free diet and do help us update our page here for others to share. We would love to hear from you! Are your dogs vegan yet? Have you stopped supporting the cruel factory farming industries, pet, zoo and other entertainment trades, as well as domestic breeding programmes? Do let us know!

Rolling out our newsletter for February 2015!

It’s been such an exciting start to the year! We have so many aspirations and doable goals for 2015, and shall tackle them all monthly! There is just so much to do this year! We have a stunning, dedicated team who sincerely wish to get the wonderful word out there regarding all aspects of being vegan and living life in a true and non violent way!

January saw us finally setting up our brand new website as well as our new twitter account, which will see us rolling out news and wonderful articles daily. Please do join us on both forms of media , share, and lets get the word out there! We feel so blessed and so grateful to social media which today, both allows and encourages us to share our knowledge and compassion with everyone out there who has access to it! It was only a couple of decades ago that this was not a possibility leaving very little room for growth!

So very many people have not been reached yet, are denied free access to all of the health benefits, well being, and are therefore denied the opportunity of living life cruelty free in a cost effective manner.  One of the biggest problem and ‘grey’ areas still, is the lack of compassionate education at school levels. We firmly agree  that most are not taught about veganism at family level, leaving a huge void and a deep gap that slows down much faster  potential room for growth. One of the  biggest obstacles still lies with government to get on board this ‘concept’, who have the power to introduce valid reasoning to their communities and to curriculum’s within the schooling educational systems.

We have had the great pleasure to have communicated with so many people across the board who have diverse opinions, sharing insight as to where ‘felt’ current existing problems lie, and how change could effectively be made to run a little faster.  We agree that people cannot be forced to make the switch, they have to be able to understand why making the switch is imperative.  People want to make that connection, they want change but many still don’t quite fully know how to go about it.   People do want to embrace the concept fully however, can only do this when they have access to information.

Every individual connects on a variety of different levels, some connect to the cruelty of sentience and want to save as many animals as they possibly can from torture.  More than 60 billion animals are slaughtered each year not including sea creatures. Each and every vegan can spare over 200 lives per year!

Others connect to the health aspects , whilst some have been through great pain, suffering, and illness and have managed to reverse their symptoms. A vegan diet helps prevent and treats heart disease, reduces the risks of cancer and can actually reverse some cancers within three months, as cancer as well as other illnesses cannot survive in body with a healthy ph balance.  Going vegan can cure diabetes as well as high blood pressure etc.

Many go vegan because they know that it shall help environmental change. ‘Meat’ is not green. Livestock accounts for more than 9% of global carbon dioxide emissions, 40% of global methane emissions, and 65% of global nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Some are passionate about people. The worlds cattle alone consume a quantity of food that is equal to the calorie alone needed for 8.7 billion people which is more than the entire human population on earth! The more people that go vegan, the more hungry  we can feed!

Others are passionate about land. Did you know that the same amount of land can produce enough food that can feed 20 vegans or just one meat eater. 30% of land mass is dedicated to raising animals for food which is about the size of Asia.

Then there is water! Nearly 60% of all water goes to raising animals for food. It takes 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat, 815 gallons to produce 1 pound of chicken, 1630 gallons to produce one pound of pork, and a staggering  5000 gallons to produce just one pound of beef.

Some people make the switch for energy! Balanced vegan diets are naturally free of cholesterol laden and artery clogging animal products.  Whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are so high in complex carbohydrates, that they supply the body with plenty of energising fuel!

Then some find the beauty aspect appealing. With no animal fat, weight goes down naturally and skin gets cleansed.  Going vegan  has a direct health effect and appearance on skin, hair and nails.

Others simply do it to avoid toxic chemicals. Nearly 95% of the pesticide residue in the meat eaters typical diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products.  Fish contains carcinogens and heavy metals . Meat and dairy are fortified with steroids and hormones.

Finally some find the discovery of taking their eating experience to a whole new level. Experience new foods, discover new tastes, experiment and enjoy!

All of the above are valid reasons to go vegan however, we firmly believe that it ought to be primarily about abolishing animal cruelty. Having said this though, we do respect the connection that individuals make in order to accomplish the ultimate goal of living ones life as a vegan. So with such a diverse culture of people throughout the world, we are highly excited and motivated. and fully embrace all reasoning in uniting everyone whom we believe to be heading in the same direction.  The links are strong!

Whilst all of these topics will be covered daily to continue to encourage, engage and unite, we shall also focus primarily on something quite different for February, which we shall update you on in our  March newsletter, should efforts pan out to be a success!

In the mean time we strongly recommend that you to talk about veganism, and all of it’s wonderful values and benefits to as many as you possibly can! May February bring you much joy and health, and may you be positive in everything that you do.  We encourage you to touch the lives of as many as you can! Be an ~ Active Vegan ~ every second of your day!

https://www.facebook.com/ActiveVegan

~ Active Vegan ~

What is your reason to go vegan! Please do let us know, we would love to hear from you!

Egg replacements

Have a favourite recipe that you’d like to make egg-free? It’s easy! There are a variety of things you can use depending on the type of recipe. So very many are still struggling with the concept of replacing eggs in their cooking.  This ought to make it a lot easier for you ! Try it and see how great you start feeling!

Baked Goods.

You can use any of the following substitutions for cakes, cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods which use eggs as a binder (to hold them together). Some of these may change the taste of your recipe, so pick the one that would work best (for example, banana goes great in pancakes and recipes with chocolate or vanilla, flax seeds go well in nutty recipes, apple sauce in fruity recipes).

 1 egg = 1/2 banana (mashed)

1 egg = 1 T ground flax seeds soaked in 3 T water

1 egg = 1/4 cup apple sauce

1 egg = 1 T oil + 2 t baking powder + 2 T water

1 egg = 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg = 1 T of chia seed to 3 T of warm water

1 egg = 1.5 t Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 T water (see below)

Ener-G Egg Replacer is a balanced blend of different flours, starches and leaveners, and works very well replacing eggs in any recipe without affecting the taste. Note that the powder must be mixed with the water prior to adding it into the recipe. It is inexpensive and available at most health food stores, vegetarian grocery stores, and also online.

Quiche and Custards.

For recipes that are very “eggy” and not fluffy, purée 1/4 cup soft tofu (unsweetened) per egg in the recipe. Make sure it’s well blended to avoid chunkiness in the final product.

Breakfast Scramble and “Egg” Salad.

Crumble about 1/3 cup of medium firm tofu in place of each egg in recipe.

When you get used to the idea it’s easy! Put it to practice!  If you are not already vegan consider going vegan.  Kick the eggs out of your plan altogether! Go healthy, cut out ‘unhealthy cholesterol and cruelty from your life! It really is that easy – the choice is yours.