How I Saved the Life of My (now) Primal Dog

I wanted to relay a story about how I saved the life of my dog…

I have an Australian Shepherd who is now 3 years old. He was/is an active dog, he comes for long trails runs with me, gets a fair bit of love and attention and all the “healthy” dog biscuits he needed. But he was a absolute pain in the backside! I tried my best to wear him out by taking him for long runs and walks. But he wouldn’t tire. We tried all sorts of things, dog parks, beach, throwing the ball, and training. I thought it was just him being a puppy but at two years old, I thought to myself, something is a miss here. If we had a child who behaved like this the first thing I would look at changing was their diet. After all, it worked for me as a human to eat how ancestors eat, it would makes sense for a dog to eat like their wolf ancestors. It was a bit of a light bulb moment because it seemed like he had ADD. He would constantly steal kids toys, or socks or under pants and if there was any food about on tables or bench tops, Harvey would steal it. He would poop 3 or 4 times a day, which I thought was a lot, as it seemed like what ever he ate he pooped out. He was constantly itching and had extremely smelly and frequent flatulence. This forced me to look at what dogs should be eating. I thought, why am I not looking at this from an ancestral point of view, I have done it with my diet, why not my dogs? Dogs in the wild don’t eat biscuits from a plastic bag bought from a store. They are scavengers, they eat raw meat, bones, maybe some fruit or vegetables that they had found.

I was convinced I was on the right track after reading the Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve and Celeste Yarnall and the blog post by Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple The Primal Diet For Dogs. I worked out the dog biscuits were full of fillers and things that where not helping my dog be happy and healthy. In fact, it seemed from research that they were doing the very thing that was making my dog hard to live with itchy skin, flatulence, behaviour issues, excess poop, barking and being overly excited.

So straight up, cold turkey I made the switch and changed his diet. And for him it was the best move I ever made. Overnight he became a new dog. His gas stopped, he pooed less than once a day and they where small. He was obedient, affectionate and loving, like I had freed him from a world of hurt. He listened and obeyed orders and came back when we where at the park , it seemed like the training had paid off. He stills barks and likes to steal food but a change in diet has completely changed my dog. He now is a complete Primal Dog eating how his scavenger ancestors would’ve eaten, eating meat, bones (we give him chicken wings, which help strengthen his jaw and give a huge nutritional boost), vegetables, occasional seasonal fruit- definitely not processed biscuits filled with fillers, grains and lamb meal- (WTF is that you ask???? -lamb bones that have been rendered until they have zero nutritional value). Just like us, dogs need to eat like there ancestors and none of this processed, industrial trash filled with sugars, grains and hydrogenated oils!

If you have been thinking about changing your dogs diet I would highly recommend it. Please free free to contact me for any tips, tricks or questions.

Living Primally

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In the upcoming weeks I will be writing a more in depth post on some of the following subjects but in the mean time, to give you an idea or guide to start living primally, here are a few topics to think about.

  1. Eat Plants and Animals- eat good quality organically sourced, in season fruits and vegetables as well as organic, free range meats.
  2. Avoid Grains, Sugars and Refined Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils
  3. Move More Frequently- whether that be taking “movement” breaks at work after sitting for too long, taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking further away so you have to walk. Find more ways to move more often throughout the day.
  4. Get Plenty of Sleep- at least 8 hours!
  5. Play- have fun, move around, enjoy time with your children
  6. Get lots of Sunlight- Vitamin D is essential for many processes in the body and we can get an abundance of Vit D from the Sun.
  7. Lift Heavy Things.
  8. Sprint once in a while.
  9. Try Intermittent Fasting- not immediately, but once you have become fat adapted (I’ll talk about that in coming posts) you can tinker with not eating 😉

These are adapted from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Laws. For more of Mark’s excellent teaching see his blog at marksdailyapple.com

 

Going Primal

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So you’re thinking about going primal.

Here is a brief summary of how I can coach you to completely change your life for the better…

The answer to optimal health and gene expression can be found in evolution. Going Primal looks way back into our past to determine how millions of years of selection pressure and environment created the perfect recipe for human health, lifestyle and longevity. Our genes expect us to be fit, lean and healthy, because if you weren’t back in the day you would’ve been eaten by a sabre tooth tiger! We can do this by following the diet and lifestyle of our hunter gather ancestors. You can reprogram your genes to respond to the signals they are given based on what you eat, what activity you do or don’t do, your lifestyle and sleeping habits and sun exposure.

Using our knowledge of human evolution we know that body prefers burning fat over carbohydrates. The standard diet or conventional wisdom tells us that grain based, low fat diet created by processed, sugary carbohydrate is the best. This is completely false. Going Primal shifts you from your carb cycle, sugar dependant way of eating into a fat based, all day energy metabolism that has supported human survival for millions of years. Humans have use fat as our primary source of energy for years. By eating more healthy fats (saturated fats are not our enemy) we can program our genes to prefer using fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates and glucose. Current conventional wisdom suggests saturated fats and cholesterol are bad and are linked to heart disease. This statement is only true when linked to high amounts of processed carbs and sugars. A high fat, low carb diet has been proven to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which in turn reduces heart disease and cancer risk.

Exercise is ineffective for weight management and 80% of our body composition success is determined by how you eat. By ditching grains, sugars and man made, poly unsaturated vegetable oils and fats will promote efficient reduction in excess body fat, increased energy levels, decreased levels of inflammation in the body and optimal function.

Maximal fitness can be achieved with a minimal time with high intensity workouts. Just like our hunter gather predecessors who would sprint to catch a meal or run from a predator, we can use shout bouts of high intensity sprint or cardio to reach maximal fitness gains. Enjoy more benefits in a fraction of the time with high intensity and less of the cardio preached by conventional sports wisdom.

So going primal entails eating plants and animals and avoiding sugars, grains and vegetable oils. It involves moving more frequently, rather than being sedentary, stuck at our desk being Primal means getting up moving around, taking the little opportunities throughout the day to move more. Our hunter gather ancestors showed us the way with regard eating as well as exercise. They performed short bouts of all out efforts to catch dinner or to run from a predator.  They covered large distances over an extended part of the day to hunt prey or to move camps. They also had to lift heavy things, to make shelter and to carry large wildebeest back to camp to cook and eat. This shows our genes and predisposed to sprint occasionally, lift heavy things and perform long slow endurance cardio as our preferred methods of exercise.