What is Holistic?

What is Holistic Diet?

The word, “holistic,” comes from 12th century Korea and means treating the body from the inside out (eastern medicine); not from the outside in (western medicine).

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Jeff Baker, Canine Caviar Pet Foods:

Pet parents are more concerned than ever about what they are feeding their furry companions. Questions about what we are feeding our pets and what all the terms on bags of kibble mean are finally being asked.

Holistic health is based on the law of nature that a whole is made up of independent parts. When one part is not working at its best, it influences all of the other parts of that animal. This animal, including all of its parts, is constantly interacting with everything in the surrounding environment. For example, when a pet is anxious about its owner leaving, their nervousness may result in a physical reaction such as an upset stomach or loose stools.

The principles of holistic health state that, health is more than just not being sick. A common explanation is to view wellness as a continuum along a line where the line represents all possible degrees of health. The far left end of the line represents premature death, the far right end is the highest possible level of wellness, and the center point of the line represents a lack of apparent disease. This places all levels of illness on the left half of the wellness continuum. The right half shows that even when no illness seems present, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Holistic health is an ongoing process. The cells in an animal’s body are constantly being replaced and new cells are built from what is available. Harmful substances or the lack of needed building blocks in the body can result in imperfect cells and an inability to do what is required to keep that animal healthy.

When diseases and chronic conditions occur, holistic health principles can also be applied. However, the term usually changes to holistic medicine and additional factors are added. A holistic approach to healing means going beyond simply eliminating the symptoms that are present. For example, giving your pet an inoculation for dry skin and itchiness would be like disconnecting the oil light on the dash of your car when it flashes. The irritation is eliminated, but the real problem still exists. In a holistic health approach, a symptom is considered a message that something needs attention. The symptom is used as a guide to look below the surface for a root cause.

A holistic pet food is one that supports your pet’s health on all levels by using high quality ingredients and proper formulation to ensure that optimal amounts of nutrition are being achieved. If appropriate nutrition is received by the animal, you should not see itchy and dry skin, energy loss, excessive eye drainage, or yeast infections in the ears and skin.

What should you look for in a Holistic diet for your pet?

The best advice when looking for your pet’s diet (and yours) is to rely on common sense nutrition rather than what you have “learned” from web sites, pet food marketing and the pretty pictures on packaging.

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  • A holistic diet should address health concerns such as diabetes, cancer, kidney, liver and heart disease.
  • A holistic diet should settle digestive upsets, reduce scratching and hotspots.
  • A holistic diet should reduce anaerobic activity and increase aerobic activity.
  • Quality animal based protein sources that are steroid, antibiotic and hormone free. Keep in mind that ingredients are listed by weight. “Chicken” includes 70 – 80% moisture and 20 – 30% meat (good); “chicken meal” contains 14% moisture and 86% meat (better); “dehydrated chicken” contains 6% moisture and 94% meat (best).
  • Whole grains and not grain fragments. Beware of ingredient panels that list three grain parts together as their total weight could add up to more than the animal protein (i.e. rice, rice bran, rice flour). Look instead for a variety of grains such as millet, oatmeal, brown rice, barley and quinoa.
  • Quality fats and oils (cold processed). Omega 3:6 Ratio should be 3 to 1 or less.
  • Natural preservatives, such as Vitamin E. Avoid foods that contain chemical preservatives such as BHT, BHA or Ethoxyquin.
  • The diet should be free of added colors or flavors.
  • All diets of the same amount of protein and fat start out with the same amount of calories; it is where they end up that defines the quality of that food. High calorie count means better nutrient absorption and better utilization of nutrients.
  • Grain Free does not mean carbohydrate free and not all carbohydrates are created equal. In a nutritional comparison, pearl millet and brown rice offer more nutrition and less insulin production than potato or tapioca.
  • Moderate Protein – Genetically, dogs can only utilize a maximum of 35% protein.

Translation avaiable in: Chinese (Simplified)