Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fighting Canine Cancer - the Diet

I feed our dogs twice a day.  Jake needs a lot more protein now.  The tumor uses protein, so his body doesn't get what it needs without extra.  I shoot for 1/2 to 3/4 of his meal being a protein source, with the rest being vegetable and fats.  Extremely limited carbs.  I also believe the supplements are important.

My favorite protein sources for most meals:

Eggs  - I have hens, so almost organic eggs are in abundance

Chicken - plop leg quarters into a pressure cooker, add water and a couple glugs of apple cider vinegar, pressure for 45-50 minutes.  After it cools, you can mush the ends of the bones, they are that soft.  Called bone broth, lots of nutrients.  The dogs can eat everything in the pot. You can also save chicken bones in the freezer.  When you have enough, do a pressure cooker's worth of bones, water and apple cider vinegar.  Pressure for about an hour if you're starting with frozen chicken bones.  Add lentils or TVP to the broth afterwards for more protein.  OR cook chicken quarters in a stock pot, save some meat and jars of chicken stock for yourself, then put everything left over in the pressure cooker.  I love saving chicken or turkey stock in the freezer.  I'll let it thaw, then cook lentils or TVP in it for the dogs.

Lentils - easy to cook in about 15 - 20 minutes.  Add it to about anything.

TVP - textured vegetable protein - easy to add when I need more protein.  You can read about vegetarian dogs, it's kind of interesting.

Once every couple of weeks:
Canned Salmon
Chicken Livers
Venison, when we have it
Hamburger (when you add some TVP, it's not too pricey!)

I used to feed some raw meals (chicken wings, etc), but Maisy's been having some issues afterwards, so it's mostly cooked now.  I still give them a few raw, meaty thigh bones to gnaw on sometimes, but I cut the meat of the sides of the thigh.

When you feed them regular food, it's pretty easy.  I just make enough for them when I'm making supper. The dogs and I like ham and beans, split pea soup, stuff like that.  They aren't big on black beans.  There are a lot of beans that they haven't had yet as lentils are so quick and easy to make.  I also haven't tried tofu, but I slipped both dogs a little cube of fried tofu once and they snarfed it down.  Not all meals will work, of course.

My favorite vegetable sources
Green beans
Lambsquarter - it's an edible weed that tastes like mild spinach, but better
Dandelion - another edible weed.  LOTS of good stuff in these weeds.

Fats: a couple tablespoons at each meal
Coconut oil - yes
Bacon grease
Flax seed oil - I bought for myself, it tastes terrible, but the dogs like it.
The fat from chicken stock or their chicken dog food - as it cools, the fat rises to the top (you knew that already, right?).
Tahini - if you just happen to have some in the frig

Supplements and Vitamins and other stuff - Important!

A couple big spoonfuls of yogurt.  I use a homemade, countertop yogurt called viili (starter purchased from http://www.culturesforhealth.com/ ).  Add cold milk to the starter, leave it out on the countertop until the next morning and refrigerate.  After your initial $ outlay, it's just the cost of your milk for some good-for-your-gut probiotics.  OR
A couple big spoonfuls of cottage cheese.  I've been putting the flax oil on top of the dairy products with no problems.  Some dogs don't do well with dairy, but mine love it.

Vit D - 1000 IU per day
Salmon oil - at least 6 every day, pretty much almost every time he comes in from peeing, which is often.  Helps to shrink the tumor.  DO NOT add Vit E like some say.  Latest research shows that tumors grow much slower or shrink without it.  In the latest studies, tumors grew faster when Vit E was given.

Our noggins have a good way to keep bad stuff out of our brains, but it also makes it harder to get good stuff in.  These break the blood/brain barrier:
Acetyl-L Carnitine - This is for 'cellular energy'.  It helps transport fat to cells and 'supports brain function' .  500 mg per day.
CoQ10 - Also helps cellular growth.  100mg per day.
MSM - A joint suphur, helps with inflammation and pain better than glucosomine.  1000 mg per day.

And the list continues:
L-Carnitine - also helps with cellular energy.  500 mg
Vit C - did you know that dogs make their own Vit C?  But when they're sick, they could use some help.  500 mg of Vit C makes a big difference, even that same day!

Glutamine helps muscle growth for the wasting and I may add that.  Since it's in chicken, eggs and dairy, I didn't think it was necessary.  I'm still scratching my head on that as they get so much of those foods, but the muscle wasting seems to continue.

Since I don't give the dogs commercial dog vitamins, I make a supplement.  Check out all the vitamins and minerals on these products!  Here's the recipe as it was given to me:
2 cups nutritional yeast - Here's what I use: Azure Standard Nutritional Yeast

1 cup soy lecithin - again, what I use:  Azure Standard Soy Lecithin . Bob's Red Mill has one that I like, too.

1/2 cup kelp powder - I'll pass on tasting this one by itself: Azure Standard Kelp Powder

3 tablespoons of eggshell powder (I don't use this because of all the chicken bones, salmon, etc that the dogs get regularly.  I use this supplement for my ancient cat's food and just add some eggshell powder to her chow when I make it.)

Add a couple teaspoons of this mix to a meals at least once a day.  I just sprinkle it on their breakfast eggs.  It actually tastes pretty good, good for us, too.  Once in a while, I'll add a pinch of taurine to their food or add a Vit B 50.

AND of course, how in the world am I giving all these pills and stuff to the dog?
Pierce the end of the salmon oil capsules and after the first couple of tastes, they'll just eat 'em like they were candy.
The Vit D is a teeny capsule so I just drop it on their chow.

The rest?  I mix some raw hamburger with some rehydrated TVP, add an egg.  I also add a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin, but you probably don't have to.  I think it just makes it all firmer, again it's good for them.  The egg adds more protein and vitamins, helps hold everything together.  I make small batches, enough for a couple of days.  They get a meatball with a pill, no problem.

NO Essiac herbs for brain tumors - human or canine.  Tumors often enlarge before they shrink (according to the Essiac people, so they don't recommend using it).
NO Vitamin E (see above)

The Battle with Canine Cancer - a change in our lives

Our oldest boxer, Jake, has a brain tumor.  He's at least 10 years old.  We adopted him from a shelter when he was full grown.  He'd been abused and was skin and bones.  At the same time, we adopted a boxer puppy, Maisy.  She was 8 weeks old and only had one eye.  I'm a sucker for needy critters.

Two months ago, Jake had 8 grand mal seizures before we got him to our regular vet.  She gave him a 30 second exam, said he didn't have epilepsy and yelled at us for a couple minutes for not having current vaccinations.  She said they'd take some blood and walked out.  We won't go back to her.

The student vets at Kansas State Veterinary Health Center in Manhattan, Ks have been wonderful. Especially one - when she told us that Jake had the tumor, she said that now was not the time to be thinking of putting him down. He could have weeks or months, they just didn't know.  They gave him a thorough checkup, blood and urine analysis.  They would have done an MRI had we wanted, but it was $2000 and the treatment would be the same no matter what.  In the end, they prescribed Phenobarb and cautioned us about liver damage with long term usage.

On a side note, no one mentioned all the bizarre behavior dogs have after seizures like that.  No one mentioned how long it would take for his post seizure behavior to leave.  It's been two months, so I think part of his odd behavior is permanent.  I read that there is some brain damage associated with a series of hard seizures like his.  Add to it that his tumor is most likely in the front of his brain, on his right side, which is in the area of his behavior and thought processing... and affects the left side of his body.  The left side of his body is still somewhat shaky, he stumbles, has some difficulty with stairs.  Unfortunately K-State vets found that he also has an ACL injury on his right knee.  Jake also has muscle wasting in his hip and left rear leg.

So, in trying to extend his life, perhaps keep the tumor from growing (even shrink it??), I have spent hours researching.  Maybe this will help Jake, maybe it won't, but at least I'm doing whatever I can. 

Sorry, I can't post WHERE I got this info as I just took written notes and did not take the time to jot down or save sources.  It's good though, you need to do your own research and decide which course is better for your dog.  You may not feel comfortable with everything that I'm doing.

Since I'm frugal by necessity, I tend to think out of the box.  I also have made pet chow for some time, and there will be things that I have available that others won't.  I buy some things from Azure Standard (they have a drop delivery system or ship UPS) and other things from Amazon.

If you found your way to this page, you probably are dealing with the same issues.  I truly wish you and your dog good luck and good health!

Go to the diet page here

PS - I'll add links to the other pages as I get them typed out.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lemon Vinegar and Egg Shell Calcium

I have been buying organic apples from Azure Standard.  I think this last box put me at 100 lbs.   Gallons of applesauce, pie filling, apple chunks left me with mountains of apple peels and cores.  So of course, I made vinegar:

The peels on the Empire apples were so dark red that the vinegar ended up being pink (vinegar on the right).  Even the other jar has a light pink tinge to it.  I liked the darker pink vinegar so much that I put some in one of those newer, squat pint jars that look like the top half of a quart jar -- like this:   

JARDEN HOME BRANDS Ball Collection Elite 4 Pack 16 OZ Platinum Wide Mouth JarsI gave it to my bud, Shelby, for a late birthday present.  I loved her reaction!  She looked at me and said 'I get it!'.  Not everyone would appreciate pink apple cider vinegar in a cutie jar, but some of us do.  Anyway, I have been using more ACV lately, so I thought I might as well take advantage of those peels.

If I would have known it was so easy to make ACV, I would have done it years ago.  Peels and cores go in a jar, cover with filtered water and top with a cloth or coffee filter for 4 days or so.  Some say to let the peelings turn brown before you add the water and you'll get better tasting vinegar.  I did it both ways, both tasted good.  You can keep adding peels (peelings?) and cores for a few days, too.  Just keep 'em covered with water.
After 4 or 5 days, strain out the apple bits, top the jar with another cloth or coffee filter and put in a dark cupboard for 5 or 6 weeks.  Give it a stir or swirl every few days when you think about it.  The weird filmy or goobery thing that shows up in the vinegar later is the 'mother' that everyone talks about.   Leave it in the jar and be proud of yourself.  Around here a quart of Bragg's ACV is $7 a quart.  You just made better tasting, organic ACV with the mother, for nothing.

Now I have all this vinegar.  I also have two organic lemons in the frig that I need to use.  So, I washed them with a bit of soapy water (doh!  Should have used my vinegar!) to make sure they were clean.  I peeled them with the carrot peeler and dropped the thin lemon peels in a jar, then added vinegar.  In a week or two, I'll fish out the peels and have Lemon Vinegar.  I use a bit of that with some honey and cinnamon for a hot beverage.  It's really good on these cold nights.  Lemon vinegar makes a decent salad dressing and adds some flavor to various recipes instead of using lemon juice or plain vinegar.  I store mine in the frig.

That's my Lemon Vinegar on the left.  And leftover lemon halves in water on the right.  More on that in a moment.

Now I have some naked lemons.  Might as well make some more Egg Shell Calcium. (I started making that after some research.  I kept going back to this gal's page:
http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/supp2.php )  Osteoporosis is rampant in my family and this seems like a good thing for me to take.

The jar on the left is what I have in the frig - eggshells from my hens, but purchased, bottled ReaLemon.  Using fresh lemon juice makes it taste so much better!  Using a fork to juice the lemons makes it so easy, too.  Don't worry about the seeds, they'll strain out later.
The jar on the right with the bubbling goop is the fresh squeezed juice and this mornings egg shells.  Store it in the frig.  After 2-3 days you can strain out the egg shell and any seeds.  This will separate in the frig, so give it a swirl or two before you take it.  Read Bee's post for the details if this is something you want to try.

The last thing is the naked lemons.  I was going to make Whey Lemonade.  But!!  I have no whey!  I am currently whey-less!  Yogurt making and draining is the plan for tomorrow. If you have whey, add some (1/4 to 1/2 cup) to a jar along with sugar, evaporated cane juice, whatever is your sweetener of choice and top with water.  Leave it on the counter top for a couple days then fish out your naked lemon halves and refrigerate.  Pretty good over ice.

Have you made vinegar?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting the 'beany' taste out of homemade soy milk

Or how to make homemade soy milk taste better!

There are tons of people that love the taste of homemade soy milk.  I'm not one of them.  I thought it was awful and I really am one of those 'it's so much better when it's homemade' type people.  I researched over the course of a few days, but what really stood out was that over soaking your soy beans made them taste bland and flat.

Hey, that's what I want.  Here's what worked for me:

I put 1/2 cup of soybeans in a quart mason jar, added plenty of water and put them in the frig.  They hung out there for 2 full days - a full 48 hours.  Periodically I'd drain off the water and add fresh water (morning and before bedtime, maybe once or twice during the day).

Cooking day:  I drained off the water, dumped the soybeans in a pot, added fresh water and 1/4 tsp of baking soda.  I boiled the beans for 10 minutes.  Then I drained them, added fresh water and another 1/4 tsp of baking soda.  Again, I heated to a boil and boiled them for 10 minutes.

I drained them, added fresh water and boiled for an hour and a half.  After an hour, the beans were done and there wasn't too much flavor to them.  I was just being anal about over cooking them.  Next time I'll stop at one hour.

Anyway, I drained the beans, and then processed them in small batches in my Magic Bullet pitcher, adding fresh water.  The resulting milk was almost impossible to strain as the bean pulp was more like flour.  I finally gave up and just added the rest of it to the pitcher. 

I do add sugar and some vanilla to my plant milks.  Bingo!  Good stuff, doesn't taste beany at all.  There still is a slight soybean fragrance if you give it a sniff test first.

That half cup of soybeans swelled to 1-1/2 cups during soaking.  I think I used 4-1/2 cups of water when I processed the beans and I like the consistency of the milk.  It's not too watered down.  I also did not remove the skins from the soybeans.  I put the strained bean pulp into an ice cube tray and popped it in the freezer.  I'll use it later in baked goods.

Added 12-5
I read somewhere that if you add 3 Tbsp of barley malt, your soy milk will taste more like purchased soy milk.  I haven't tried it, I don't even know where you can get barley malt.  Let me know if it you use it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Low odor, cheap, eco friendly cat litter!

Update!  The latest and last poop on cat litter.
I have one cat that I could cheerfully drop kick out the front door.  Okay, maybe not. 

Here's the shorter version:

Cat would leave me a 'present' between the litter boxes.  She didn't like the Tractor Supply horse bedding pellets ($6 for a 40 pound bag) that is just like Feline Pine Cat Litter....but way cheaper. I tried misting the pine pellets so they wouldn't be so crunchy.  No luck.  Every day there was a 'present' between the boxes.  At least Cat whizzed in the box.

Cat did like expensive silicone, clumping litter.  Scented stuff just made me cough, gag, I hated it.  Next we got unscented.  Cat was okay with that, I still hated it.  I hated messing with big clumps of wet goop, hated knowing that it wasn't the best thing for Cat(s), hated the tracking, hated the expense, hated hauling it home. 

What is still working after two weeks of trial:
Cheap potting soil
Grass from our yard

After reading elsewhere about using dried grass clippings for cat litter, the light bulb went off.  Last year I raked up some grass clippings, threw some in the chicken coop and sprinkled some on the goat bedding.  I was amazed at how much better both areas smelled.  Fresh cut grass does smell pretty good, doesn't it.  And it does have some odor control qualities.

Back to Cat's box: I started with some newspaper on the bottom of the litterbox.  I added about 2" or less of potting soil and a sprinkle of grass that we yanked up.  That night I could tell it was working pretty good.  The next morning I decided to pull out the newspaper.  We don't use a trash service and I wanted something that I could just dump in an out of the way place.  I didn't want Cat's newspapers blowing all over the county.  Anyway, after pulling out the newspaper, I scooped the poops (plus an obvious damp area) and added some more grass clippings with a sprinkle of potting soil.  I haven't dumped the entire box yet after two weeks, but I have scooped out wet areas.  I planned on dumping the entire box weekly and rinsing it out.

The best thing about this is that a $2 bag of potting soil from the Dollar Store will probably last a good month.  It has that natural feel when Cat is in the box.  The grass is free and really does help with odor control.  I sprinkle some grass in the box with the pine litter, too.

Cat ate some of the grass, upchucked it after a bit, but only on the first day.  We also bought some small mats to put in front of the litter boxes.  That has helped with the tracking.

We use a riding mower, but now we are storing our son's push mower with a bag.   Let's see, cat litter, mulch in the garden, goat bedding, litter for the chicken coop...I'm smiling.  It's the simple things in life.  :o)