Healthy Body, Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Mind, Healthy Recipes, Uncategorized

Cinnamon Banana Smoothie

 

Cinnamon Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder (see note below)
  • 2 tbsps  Ground Flax Seed
  • 2 tbsps  Chia Seeds
  • 2 Banana (frozen)
  • 2 cups Water or Milk of choice (I used Raw Milk)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup

Directions: 

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glasses and enjoy!

Notes: 

  • No Protein Powder
    Use Collagen Powder and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • Leftovers
    Store in a mason jar with a lid in the fridge up to 24 hours. Shake well before drinking.
  • Make it Green
    Add spinach.
  • Super Power
    Add superfood like Maca, Ashawagandha, Cacao, Chaga, Moringa, Cuma Cuma
Healthy Body, Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Mind, Healthy Recipes, Healthy Spirit

Healthy Chocolate Donut Holes

I have been craving chocolate lately.  I don’t normally deprive myself from what I am craving. Since  cleaning up my diet and tuning into my body, cravings have become an indicator that I am lacking something in my diet.  I try to figure out what it is I’m lacking, then eat the healthiest nutrient dense version of what it is, to satisfy my need.  However, I am doing a 28 Day Cleanse, so this is ALL mental

I decided to whipped up a cleanse friendly treat.  BUT there was a bit of a casualty…. my beloved Vitamix, Zippy (yes I named my Vitamix) crashed!!  We’ve shared 6 long years together.  I am truly crushed! She seems only to have enough oomph to mix up liquids.  I have used Zippy every day for the past 6 years, unless I was traveling and sometimes  she even traveled with me.  

I was able to complete my mission, however the batter wasn’t as smooth as I like it to be, but it tasted just as good!!! These Donut Holes go really well with a Bullet Proof Chaga Tea!  

There’s a link below to print of a PDF of the recipe.  

Ingredients: 

Directions: 

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dates, black beans, chocolate protein powder, pumpkin seed butter, sea salt, and cacao powder in the bowl of your food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  3. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in unsweetened coconut flakes and place on the covered baking sheet.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set. Enjoy! 3 balls equal one serving.

Chocolaty Blessing to you all! 
~Jen~ 

 
Healthy Body, Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized

Help is Out There. You’re Not Alone!

“The rewards are profound. Shadow-work enables us to alter our self-sabotaging behavior so that we can achieve a more self-directed life.” ~Connie Sweig

October is INTENSE!!! For me has a whole lot of energy! It holds space for a lot of wonderful things, but for some reason, it’s the time when I dig down and work on my shadow side.  Perhaps it’s because October represents a significant seasonal change.  The waning of the warm sun, the retreat of the wildlife, the death of vegetation.  October holds the energetic space of death and ending. A time to turn inward and retreat.  For me it holds a lot of traumatic memories in my a personal life and from former animal welfare career.

This is sweet girl was one of them. Seeing her photo pop up earlier this month on Facebook opened some unresolved feelings and deep wounds. This dog was my breaking point and the realization that it was time for me to leave animal welfare because I was so toxic and so damaged.  I felt guilt, shame, hopeless, grief, and really pissed off,  ALL of the time.  I was withdrawing from the world, yelling at my family, and stewing in my own negativity.  BUT I got up every morning at 4 am to put in a 10-12 hour work day, bringing critters home over night that needed extra care, sleeping 2-4 hours a night. Then up to do it all over again with a fake smile and a broken heart.  I was cruising through the world on auto pilot. The joy in life was swallowed up in the dark grungy pit of darkness I kept myself in- a self induced prison.  I wore it like a badge of honor, with a sense of entitlement, that I had the right to be angry and sad because I was taking care of society’s stupidity, bad choices, and lack of  compassion and commitment to the animals they had failed.  Sure, I had every reason to feel this way.  But living in this vortex of negativity lead to a serious health crisis.  

I loved this girl deeply and wanted more than anything to keep her. But a tragic accident that happened at the shelters “under my watch” took her life. It was something that could have been prevented, in fact, I had brought the issue up a few times, but there’ were always other priorities. 

After that incident I no longer had it in me to continue to fight. I felt I could not do my job effectively. I could not lead my team and be in integrity with myself while working against a broken system within the shelter, and the animal welfare field. I was broken too! I carried so much of the trauma of the animals I rescued, the trauma of the people I worked with, along with my own suitcase full of hurt, neglect and pain from my childhood. I never allowed the space to recognize or process the trauma I was exposed to everyday. Nor didn’t think it was important enough (at that time) to do so. I thought that would show weakness and failure on my part, if I couldn’t “handle it.” Perhaps I was too deep in my own anger and playing the victim card, that no one could possibly understand how I was feeling. The truth is, there WERE and ARE so many that do. I suffered 15 years of not knowing how to manage or live a life while working in animal welfare. 

Does this sound familiar to you?  

For those of you that work in animal welfare, or in a job that requires you to take care of others, put your life at risk, or are exposed to trauma regularly! Please, please, please…. take care of YOU! You can only show up and give your best to the world, if you take the best care of yourself! Self-care is not just about massages, pedicures, glitter night with friends, but those activities can definitely be included in your self-care plans. Self-care is making sure you are addressing your basic needs. That includes your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness.  What are you doing to practice self-care? Are you eating real food and drinking clean water?  Are you supporting your digestion and adrenals? Are you getting enough sleep?  Are you experiencing joy and playing? Are you mindful of any toxic and negative thoughts and doing something to process and change them? How are you showing up in the world? 

Are you an animal advocate that needs help with creating a self-care plan?  Do you need help with knowing how to eat to support your body while working in a chaotic and stressful environment?   Feel free to reach out to me and we can chat about your needs.  info@freespiritwellness.net

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!  There is help, all you have to do is reach out!  And here are some great resource for help and support. 

My dear and brilliant friend Jessica Dolce, offers amazing webinars, online classes, and resource on dealing with compassion fatigue.  You can find her  HERE

Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project

Mental Health Information

 Suicide Prevention

Healthy Body, Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit

Good-bye’s, I Love You’s and everything else in your heart…..

One of my very dear friends passed away a few days ago.  He had been battling cancer for a while, and I had the opportunity to see him when he was sent to the hospital near my work a month and a half ago.  We live 5 hours away from each other, and our lives went in different directions many years ago, when he got married and I moved away.  But we still kept in touch via Facebook and over coffee dates when I was in town.

The week before he passed away, he had been on my mind a lot.  So I sent him a message just to say I was thinking of him.  A few days later I got a garbled message back from him, telling me, he was in hospice care and he would write later.  I immediately wrote back letting him know I was praying for him and how much his friendship had meant to me all these years. But he didn’t write back.  Thankfully Facebook tells you when someone has seen your message.

I also got to say the same things to him in the hospital that day I paid him a visit.  It had been at least a year or maybe even longer since I had see him.  But at that visit we reminisce about old times, movies nights, driving around northern Maine listening to Jimmy Buffett for hours, taking the class to get our motorcycle license, the time I helped him move and clean out his apartment…. I should have gotten the “Friend of the Year” award for the gallons of change I had to carry!  I got to tell him how grateful I was for the time he stayed with me after a break up with a crazy ex-boyfriend, whom I had to get a restraining order on.  And how if not for his generosity, I would not have been able to attend a semester of college, which I’m sure had I left then, I would not have completed my degree.  He always had my back when I worked as a Humane Agent.  Whenever I had concerned about some place or someone I received complaint on, he was always there to look them up and let me know if I should go with law enforcement.  And he always checked in to make sure I got home safely.  I have a lifetime of precious memories of this amazing man, that I am so grateful for. 

Although my heart is burdened with such great sadness from the loss of my sweet friend, I feel amazingly blessed to have had someone like him always having my back, protect me, and be an unconditional friend.  The world was a better place because he lived.  I am a better person, because he was my friend.

I am so very grateful that I had the chance to say good-bye and tell him what was in my heart.  I have suffered the loss of MANY important people in my life.  Most of them suddenly. And death of a loved one is so hard to navigate, especially when its sudden or unexpected.  I was reflecting today on the losses I have suffered, and two that I have the most “peace” with, is his and the passing of my mother’s mother.  

In both of these losses, I have experienced a sense of closure.  With his, I got to tell him how I felt and what he meant to me.  The same with my Gram.  I was there with my family surrounding her with love until her last breath.  And I was there to bare witness when her soul left her body.  The weekend before she went into the hospital, with what we thought was the flu.  I was suppose to cut and perm her hair as I did every other month.  I promised her when she was home I would do her hair.  But she didn’t go home.  I kept my promise though.

One of the most humbling, sacred, spiritual and magical experience I have ever had, was doing my grandmother’s hair for the funeral.  To be completely honest, I was TERRIFIED of doing it.  Our society makes death a very scary and dark thing.  But once I got over the fear of walking into the funeral home and with the kind support of the funeral director, it was a beautiful experience.  One that had such an profound effect on my life and the way I view death.  

What I have learned about death, is that it’s not something to keep behind closed doors.  It’s not something to be feared. It’s inevitable. Death is something thing to be discussed and by doing so, it will feel less awkward and frightening. It’s hard not knowing what to say, worrying about saying the wrong thing or upsetting someone.  Be gentle with yourself, be open to have the conversation, and say what’s in your heart.  

Death is SAD and HEART WRENCHING.  Losing a loved one, is hard, REALLY hard.  Don’t suffer with the regret of not having the chance to tell those you love how important they are too you, and how much you love them. No one is promised tomorrow.  

 

Healthy Body, Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Mind, Healthy Pets, Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized

What Self-Care Really Looks Like

The one thing I love about Facebook (and probably the only thing), is the memory feature.  I do enjoy being reminded of what I was doing on the same day years before.  Today I didn’t need reminding.  

Seven years ago today, I said “good-bye” to the Animal Welfare Program which had become my identity, and my passion, or I should say obsession.

There is a fine line between passion and obsession.  Passion fulfills, energizes and gives you joy.  Obsession is ego driven, drains your energy and leaves you feeling depleted.

After leaving my position as a Humane Agent, I stayed in the animal welfare field by taking a job as a kennel manger at one of the largest shelter in Maine.  I LOVED working with a team and being connected with those that had the same mission I did.  But I hadn’t dealt with the trauma I had suffered from the years of conducting animal cruelty investigations.  At the shelter I had experienced a whole other level of trauma, and most of it ended up crated in my living room, kitchen, and bedrooms night after night.  

I pushed through 2 more years in the animal welfare field, a year at the shelter, then another year at IDEXX Laboratories,  until it became too unbearable and I really feared for my well being. 

I HAD to learn the art of Self-Care.  

During my time working in Animal Welfare, if someone told me that I needed to practice self-care, I would have told them to “go pound sand.” I did not have the time or the finances to get a mani/pedi, nor would that be practical in my line of work.  My hands were bitten, scratched, bleached and smeared with the joys of parasitic poop every day.  (so maybe a manicure would have been helpful).

The bottom line is, self-care is NOT getting manicures and massages. That can be part of you self-care practice, if that is something you ENJOY! Self-care is much deeper than that.    

Self-care are the practices and activities you do to take care of your physical, emotional, and mental well being.  Practicing self-care reduces stress and anxiety. If you can’t afford a massage or manicure, or are repulsed by the idea of being touched by a stranger, it will only add to your stress.  You have to find what feels right for you. And for most of us, we NEED to put it on our calendars!!!

For me, the most important practice I incorporated was being still. Call it mediation or what have you, just sitting in silence and checking in to see how I was feeling, was extremely helpful. For years, when I wasn’t working 50-60 hours a week, I would find things to keep me busy, especially when I felt anxious.  Instead of checking in with myself to find out what I was anxious about and addressing it in a healthy manner, I ignored it with “busy” work.  

The foundation to self-care is boundary setting.  This include setting boundaries on how we interact with others, but more importantly how we interact and treat our self.  How can you set boundaries when you don’t even know how you feel or what you want? So being still, checking in with yourself, and allowing time to process your experiences and feelings, really helps you identify where you need to create boundaries.  

For me it looked like this:

  • I got a good therapist, which really helped me stay accountable to my bullshit. So no excuses, created plans, and worked through the emotions and feelings of all that I witnessed. My first experience in therapy in was a disaster.  I basically ended up spending most of our sessions teaching the therapist how to train her dog.  My next time around, I did my research and asked a lot of questions.  It’s really important to feel safe with the person you are working with.  
  • For every negative thought I had about myself, I needed to find 3 things about myself that were positive. When your job requires you to always be responding to disasters, it’s really hard to feel accomplished and/or successful because you know there’s another disaster waiting for your attention.  There were a lot of times those disasters couldn’t be saved.  This left a dark emptiness in my heart most of the time and feeling like a failure. 
  • I create the space for more alone time, to check in with myself and process what I was feeling.  Most of the time I was just reacting to the world around me without thought or intention.  My alone times included a long drives, walks, hot baths or anything that didn’t require me to be taking care of someone or something.  
  • I didn’t say “Yes” right away, and said “No” if that was immediately how I felt.  I am a people pleasers, and I genuinely like to help people, but I have a tendency to say “Yes,” without looking at my schedule.  Leaving me overwhelmed, exhausted and angry, trying to accomplish all that I had committed too.
  • Healthy nutrient dense foods and lots of water.  In struggling with my weight my whole life, I reached a point that  realized I order to have a healthy body, I needed to support a healthy body. Starving myself, binging and purging, eating food in wrappers – laced with gmos and chemicals, and going to drive-thru was not self-care.  This required getting rid of processed foods, sugar, gluten and eating organic foods. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals also helps with relieving anxiety and depression.  
  • Movement everyday, even if it was simple stretches.  Movement was the key to pushing the trauma I experienced, out of my body.  There were days I couldn’t get out of bed and face the world, but I would lay in bed practicing yoga poses.  Now I find dancing is most healing for me. 
  • Journaling.  I can sometimes spend hours writing.  But when I first got started I would just write everything that came to mind.  Even if it didn’t make sense or sounded silly.  A lot of the time I would just grab a piece of paper, write down the a list of things I didn’t get done, or perhaps a “To Do List” that I knew wasn’t humanly possible to complete in the day, then light it on fire.  There was something powerful in not only releasing those thoughts from my mind, but then burning them up.  Plus, no one would ever see it! 
  • Getting good quality sleep!  During my time as a cruelty investigator, I slept maybe 3 hours a night if I was lucky.  Lack of sleep can quickly lead to mental health issues, especially anxiety and depression. Sleep should be a priority in your self-care plan.  
  • Practicing creativity.  For me, this could be dancing, writing, painting, sewing, drawing, baking, whatever sparks my interest. It felt healing just to create something.  
  • Spending time with people I LOVE.  Working in Animal Welfare, I saw the scum bags of humanity most days.  I forgot that most people are really good, kind, compassion, caring folks.  If you work in a field where you are always encountering challenging people, it is so important to surround yourself with good people. Even if they don’t “get” your work. This is were I failed.  I was so consumed by my own misery that I felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone, or they wouldn’t understand what I did or how much my heart hurt.  The truth is, unless you live in a rainbow bubble your whole life, EVERYONE experiences trauma at some point in their lives.  Though the experience of our trauma is individualized, the feelings of anger, loss, mistrust, violation, sadness, despair, and so on, are intensely felt.  And it’s not a contest of who’s trauma is worse or more important.  We are ALL hurting, and it’s extremely healing to share our story with others that are safe, kind and compassionate. 

Self-care is NOT a luxury.  IT IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT! By not practicing self-care, you rob others of experiencing the best version of you. 

I am still sorting through some of the trauma I experienced while working in Animal Welfare. There were also some REALLY AMAZING memories as well.  I am thankful for the experiences because it taught me what self-Care really looks like, and now I am better equipped to show up in the world as my best self. I’m so grateful for that.

Be well my friends, 
~Jen~ 

Healthy Body, Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized

Seven Years after Weight Loss Surgery: The number on the scale doesn’t equate to health

One month before weight loss surgery.

Seven years ago today, I took an extreme measure to what I thought would regain control of my health.  What I thought would be the cure to my increasing weight and what I thought would bring me to a place of self-love.  That was NOT the case.  Up until 5 years ago, I had always equated my weight to my health.  And up until seven years ago, I was considered morbidly obese. = UNHEALTHY

Seven year ago I had gastric bypass surgery.  I entered this world of weight loss surgery (WLS) on April 26, 2011 after attending an informational meeting explaining how the surgery was done, what tests and other specialist I would need to see and in about a year’s time, I would be having surgery.  From the time I was sixteen, until I was 34 I had used every diet plan, work out program, hours at the gym, ran 2-5 miles a day, tried every weight loss supplement and drugs on the market to try to control my weight. I was also hiding a very serious eating disorder.

I met with surgeon the week following the informational meeting and was scheduled to see the dietitian, do a sleep study, have an endoscope, and meet with a psychologist.

At this point in my life,  I was vegan and for several periods of time, I was a raw vegan.  I which meant I only ate plant foods in their raw form.  I thought by eating a vegan diet, I was being healthy.  But most vegan diets consist of eating processed food, lots of grains and lots of fruit, which is a whole lot of sugar! I was really missing some essential nutrients by following this diet for several years.

Since I had no comorbidities, what was usually a year long wait for surgery, turned into less than 4 months.  It was at this time I began my dive into learning about holistic health to treat the other problems I was having.  Not only was my weight an issue, but I was battling anxiety, depression, insomnia, along with a host of other symptoms. I began researching ways to help with the laundry list of aliments I had.  I believe at that time they were related to my weight, and by losing weight they would go away.  I now know that my weight was just another symptom, and these problems were cause by the enormous amount of stress from my job, as well as the lack of nutrients in my high sugar vegan diet (mostly smoothies and juices).

At the time I had WLS, I was working as an animal cruelty investigator.  I was on the road for about 10-15 hours a day, many times knocking on doors of violent criminals with no way to protect myself, eating in my truck, not sleeping, suffering from panic attacks, binge eating and purging. I was a mess!

The first few months after WLS was a real struggle.  Nothing prepares you for the physical or the emotional challenges you face.  From the moment woke up, I knew this was the wrong choice for me.  I knew my weight wasn’t a health condition, it was a symptom of something much deeper going on in my body.  But the surgery was done and there was no turning back.  I just needed to figure out how to heal my body and get my health back.  I knew this surgery was not going to be the answer to heal myself.

Almost 1 year after WLS at 145 lbs

The first year after WLS I lost weight, A LOT of weight.  I lost over 100 lbs.  My highest recorded weight I was 290 lbs, which is when I went for my first appointment with the WLS surgeon .  I know the year prior to that I was over 300 lbs.  It’s shocking to me to think about, and even more terrifying to share.  After the surgery I was down to 145 lbs, which for my large 5’7″ frame, was really too thin.  I was sick all the time and had no energy due to the lack of nutrients my body was able to absorb. I was a mess physically and emotionally. I felt guilty and ashamed of having the surgery.  Feeling as though I was a failure because  I couldn’t get my life and health under control.  As the years went on, and I became a health coach, I felt like a fraud.

I followed the “rules” that the dietitian had given me for the first year, but after studying and researching, I quit the low fat, high protein, low carb diet.  The biggest improvement I saw was after incorporating lots of good quality fat into my diet. My skin, nails and hair improved.  I had more energy, my mood swings diminished, and overall I felt better. This help with vitamins absorption.  Having a compromised digestive system that struggles to absorb nutrients, then taking fat out the diet, really makes it a challenge to absorb fat soluble vitamins. I began implementing an ancestral diet, asking myself what would my grandparents or great grandparent eat?

My diet became simple: locally source grass-fed meats, organic produce, raw dairy, non GMOs and Gluten Free foods. I learned how to fuel my body and because of that, I was able to heal my gut and maintain a healthy weight for the past 7 years.  I have had my challenges with weight gain after surgery, but when I practice self-care, which the first practice is good nutrient dense food, my weight is not an issue.  Will I ever be posing in the next Sports Illustrated? Haha, NOPE!  But I am happy with my weight and comfortable in my own skin.  That for me is true wellness.

3/08/08 to 11/14/08 Weigh-ins from my doctor while I was on phentermine.

There very few studies providing data on the long term weight loss success of WLS patients.  All the studies I have read, report that more research is needed.  I can tell you of my personal experience, along with working with others that have had WLS. WLS is not the answer.  Most of the people I know, including myself that have had WLS, after 2 or more years, regain some of the weight.  Many of them regain it all and then some.  For myself, I no longer have any kind of restriction as I once did for the amount of food I can consume.  Believe me, I can eat a whole Otto’s Gluten Free Pulled Pork and Mango pizza all by myself.  What has been the key to my success is putting my health first, by feeding my body with nutrient dense food, checking with myself, spending time in nature, with loved ones and moving my body in ways that I enjoy, advocating for myself and knowing my limits, and the biggest thing of all setting boundaries. That includes with others, myself, the hours I work do, what I put on my to-do list, and so on. Boundaries keep us healthy.

Meeting Steve Brown of Trixter, 2010. One year before WLS

Meeting Trixter again, 2012. One year after WLS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As anyone that has undergone any kind of weight loss surgery knows, it’s NOT the easy way out.  It’s not a decision I regret, but a decision that if I had to do over again, I would make different choices.  I would have first found a functional medicine doctor to get to the root cause of my weight gain and inability to loose weight, to treat my adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance, my sleep issues, and anxiety, which were ALL related.  I would have run a complete thyroid panel, tested for parasites, viruses and gut infections.  I would have nourished my body with nutrient dense foods, stopped working out like a maniac, and incorporated gentle movement.  I would give my body time to rest and recover from the constant flow of adrenaline and process the trauma I was witnessing on a daily basis from my job. I would be gentle with myself… All the things I practice now because of what I have learned  from this journey, so for that I am grateful.

In Wellness and Magic
~Jen~

Today, August 3, 2018. Seven years after WLS. It has left me with physical and emotional scars. But it has made me stronger and made me take responsibility for my health and wellness.

Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Pets, Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized

Supporting Your Aging Dog: Diet and Supplements, Part 3

*Disclaimer* This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

**UPDATE- some reason this post was deleted from my blog, so I am reposting.  Sadly since the first post of this blog, Daisy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge**

Diet: As your dog ages, his/her diet needs will change. He/She may become less active, weight gain is always a concern with older dogs.  Extra weight can cause tremendous issues on old bones and joints.  Making my sure my dog’s diet is clean and nutrient dense is extremely important to me.  It also helps me manage her allergies.  I have been making her food for the past 7 or 8 years, with great success.  Be sure to speak to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

  • Bone broth.  This has been the key to encourage my girl to eat some days. And so easy to do. I usually give Daisy about a cup of warm bone broth every morning with her breakfast.
  • Steamed veggies.  A great source of vitamins and minerals.  Steaming them is best for older dogs, because it aids in easy digestion.
  • Organ meats. Be sure they are from grass-feed, antibiotic free animals.  Organ meats are the most nutrient dense part of any animal.  Again with older dogs, it’s best to boil the organs before they eat them, unless your dog has been on a RAW diet all along.
  • Wild Game: A great addition to a dog’s diet at any age.  Most wild game, depending where it is hunted/fished  will be the cleanest source of proteins and healthy fats you can feed your dog (and yourself).  Again, the organ meats from wild game is a great additions.
  • Collagen and Gelatin. I use Collagen every day in my coffee, “healthy” lattes or smoothies.  I also using it in Daisy’s dog food.  Collagen and gelatin helps maintain healthy joints, tissue, skin and can aid in skin allergies.  Collagen can be given at any stage of a dog’s life, and the sooner it’s given, the better.  My favorite brand is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides and Vital Proteins Gelatin
  • Grain free foods. Dogs were not designed to consume grains. Just like humans, grains can cause inflammation in a dog’s body. This can be especially harmful in an aging dog that may have arthritis. Many times grains can cause itchy skin and yeasty ears.  This is the case for my girl.  For most of her life, I have either made her food or choose a grain-free dog food.
  • Turmeric Paste aka Golden Paste: Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, an effective anti-inflammatory, can help prevent and even treat cancer and protects the liver from toxins, along with many other benefits. Here’s a link to the recipe I use Turmeric Golden Paste for Dogs

Herbs: Herbs are a great way to assist in supporting your aging friend.  A group of herb known as Adaptogens, which are a diverse group of plants that contain substances that help the body adapt to various life stress.  Some examples of adaptogens are Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Schizandra, Siberian Ginseng, a variety of mushrooms, and many others. Again be sure to do your research before giving you pet any herbal supplements.  I would strongly suggest working with a Holistic Veterinarian or a veterinarian that is trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Cannabis Oil: I was never a strong believer in the healing power of cannabis oil, until I has suffered extreme flank pain.  I thought it was kidney stones, I had x-rays, MRI, blood test, chiropractic adjustments, nothing helped.  I did not want to take pain killers or antibiotics, because the source of the pain was unknown.  So I tried cannabis oils.  My pain went from a 10 plus, to a 2 within the matter of 15 minutes.  Since this worked so well for me, I thought it would help Daisy and began researching it. I have used it in small doses when her pain is really bad.  Since her mobility has declined dramatically over the past several weeks, I’ve been using it on a regular basis, with great success.  Be sure to be working with your veterinarian before giving your dog cannabis oil. This is a great article explaining the use of cannabis oil on dogs Cannabis Oil for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know .  And this article list places to purchase cannabis oil, along with another great explanation of how it works Cannabis For Your Dog: How it Can Help.

Epsom Salt Baths: I added Epsom Salt baths to this part of the series, because magnesium is a mineral that is missing from not only our pet’s diet, but ours as well.  A great way to get magnesium into the body is through Epsom Salt.  Epsom Salt baths are just as beneficial for your dog, as it is for you.  When Epson Salt is added to water, it breaks down to magnesium and sulfate, which is absorb into the body via the skin. Epsom Salt Baths aid in arthritis pain, swelling, sore muscle and helps cleanse and soften the fur.

Some dogs, won’t be so excited for this one. However my girl doesn’t mind taking baths.  Be sure the water is warm and the tub full enough so that the water covers most of your dog.  Allow your dog to soak 10-15 minutes.

For Small Dogs under 10 lbs: 1/4-1/2 cup of Epsom salt
For Dogs 10 lbs-40 lb: 1/2 cup-1 cup of Epsom Salt
For dog over 40 lbs: 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt

Rescue Remedy: Is a liquid of flower essences that can be given to your dog, via a dropper into the mouth, in your dog’s water, applied to their gums or even rubbed on their paws.  The most common brand is Bach’s Original Flower Remedies.  Bach’s brand contains the essences of 5 different beneficial flowers.  It assists with their emotional support and is helpful for dogs that are hypersensitive, fearful and have a hard time adjusting to new situations.  I’m not sure how helpful this has been for Daisy? I haven’t seen a dramatic change in her behavior during stressful situations, but each animal is different.  You might find this very helpful for your pet.  I know when I was the kennel manager at a Humane Society, we used in every dogs water. I found with some dogs it was super helpful, while others it had no effect on them.  For more information: Rescue Remedy for Pets

Check out my other post in this series. Supporting Your Aging Dog: Body Work Modalities and Supporting Your Aging Dog: Using Essential Oils

 

Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Pets, Healthy Spirit

Supporting Your Aging Dog: With Essential Oils, Part 2

*Disclaimer* This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

 

Essential Oils (ESOs) are used everyday in our home.  I have been using ESOs for well over 15 year, and use them on my girl regularly.  Be sure you do your research before using oils, and talk to your vet or an aromatherapist about using oils on your pets. When using ESOs, be sure to dilute them in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut or olive oil, or diffuse them with an ESO diffuser. I don’t ever recommend having animals ingest ESOs, although you will find a lot of Wellness Advocates with ESOs businesses that advise otherwise.  Make sure your information source or the person your getting advice from is well trained, preferably an aromatherapist.

Animals metabolize ESOs differently than humans, therefore some ESOs that are safe for humans to use, may not be safe for your pets.  And always take extra precautions if using ESOs on cats.

The other thing to be aware of is being sure when using ESOs is that you are using a therapeutic grade, that does not any contain synthetics, additives, or artificial ingredients of any kind.  Organic is always best, so the oils are not from plants exposed to pesticides and/or herbicides or grown in soils containing toxins.

I like to diffuse the following blend next to my dog’s crate. It’s not only beneficial for dogs, but for their humans as well.

Daisy’s Dream Blend

20 Drops of Frankincense: Healthy Cognition, Reduces Sadness
20 Drops of Lavender: Reduces Stress, fear and sadness
10 Drops of Ylang Ylang: Reduces Anxiety
10 Drops of Bergamont: Reduces Sadness and Stress, Calming
5 Drops of Vetiver: Supports Cognition and is calming

This blend should give you approximately 3-4 mls, which you can add 1-3 drops to a diffuser.  You can also as 3-4 drops to a 4 oz glass spray bottle of distilled water and spray on blankets and throughout the environment.

One of my favorite sites that has great resources for ESO use for pets is The Dog Oiler.

Many times I will just put a drop or 2 of Lavender oil in my hands, and give Daisy a good massage.

Check out the other blogs post in this series:

Supporting Your Aging Dog: Body Work Modalities

Supporting Your Aging Dog: Diet and Supplements

In Love, Light and Magic
~Jen and Daisy~

 

Healthy Body, Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Pets, Uncategorized

Supporting Your Aging Dog: Body Work Modalities, Part 1

My Daisy has been by my side for the past 12 1/2 years.  She is truly a gift from heaven. Even though I rescued her, her mother, and her siblings from a horrible place, I was the one rescued that day. We’ve been on many adventures together, several moves, boyfriends, the loss of our beloved Great Dane, a pregnancy and so many other milestones.

This past year has really been hard on my old girl and I know her time on this earthly plan is limited; as it is for all of us.  I am so blessed to have this girl grace my life with her companionship, devotion and deepest love. This past few month has been extremely hard watching my best friend struggling through the day.  I know her time to enter the spirit world is drawing close, but until she takes her final breath, I will support her any way that I can. I have created this blog series to provide the details of how I am supporting my sweet aging girl.

*Disclaimer* This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

Supporting Your Aging Dog with Body Work Modalities

Body work is a form of alternative medicine using manipulative or energy work.  There are many forms of body works and most are used on both humans and animals.

This blog outlines some of the most common forms of Body Work used to support aging dogs and what I have been activity doing to assist my own girl.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is the use of thin needles inserted into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body where there are areas of high concentration of small blood vessel and nerves.  The needles stimulate the nervous system and causing transmission of signals through the nerves, spinal cord and into the brain with the result of changing the neural output to the body.

Benefits of  Acupuncture helps restore normal blood flow, which in turn caries oxygen, nutrients, hormones and neurotransmitter throughout the body.  In dogs, acupuncture is extremely helpful in treating arthritis, hips dysplasia, intervertebal disk disease, weakness, paralysis, seizures, kidney failure, inflammatory bowel disease and skin problems.  It can also be used to aid in the treatment of behavior disorders, urinary disorders, upper respiratory infections.  It’s also a wonder adjunct to cancer treatment.

Acupuncture Laser Therapy: Laser Therapy is another great options, especially for dogs that might not be able to lay still with needles for an extended period of time.  Laser therapy uses light to stimulate healing at the cellular level by increasing blood circulation and decreasing nerve sensitivity and pain.  The laser is applied to the acupuncture points. Some of the benefits of Laser therapy are it aids in healing wounds, decreases inflammations, and reduces pain.

Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic care addresses various physiological and biomechanical aspects including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, and vascular. Spinal adjustments are used to correct these misalignment and restore proper function to the nervous system, helping the body to heal naturally.

Some signs that chiropractic treatment may be beneficial for your dog are back or neck pain, joint stiffness, poor performance and an altered gait. Benefits of Chiropractic care are aids in correcting alignment, addresses joint degeneration, pain reduction, and improves neurological function.

Hydrotherapy:  Hydrotherapy is great way to exercise your aging dog. The buoyancy and resistance of the water make it a safe and effect method of exercise and rehabilitation.  The use of an underwater treadmill or swimming can be extremely beneficial to your dog.  The warmth of the water if using an underwater treadmill helps to increase the flexibility and mobility of muscles, tendons, ligaments that surround the joints as well as enhance circulation.

Some of the benefits of Hydrotherapy are  provides comfortable movement, muscle strengthening, increased Cardiovascular stamina, Neuromuscular Re-Education and weight loss.

Exercise: As Daisy has aged, we can no longer go on our 5 mile hikes.  Walking down to the mailbox, can sometimes make her lame for the rest of the day.  Exercise is important for old dogs, gentle and appropriate daily exercise helps keep an older dogs joints, ligaments and muscles strong and supple, improve blood flow, reduce pain and/or inflammation, boosts mood and improves overall quality of life.  Swimming is a great exercise for older dogs, it’s low impact exercise and can be used for both cardiovascular benefits as well as muscular development/maintenance.

I am not currently using hydrotherapy for Daisy, but during the summer months, we do swim.

Massage: Massage utilizes soft tissue manipulation to achieve different goals such as relaxation, stimulation, and relief of muscle problems. Massage increases circulation bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Benefits of massage are increased circulation & oxygenation to the cells of the body, decreases pain, soreness & stiffness, restores muscle tone, improves muscle function, increases flexibility & range of motion and relaxation and stress reduction.

I usually spend 10-15 minutes a day doing a massage and Reiki session, which I have found to be very helpful for Daisy’s mobility and reducing her anxiety.

Reiki: I was introduced to using Reiki on animals when I was a kennel manager several years ago.  The humane society had several practitioners that would come in to work on the animals on a regular basis.  I saw first hand how it calmed down stressed dogs, lifted spirits, and just added to the dog’s overall well being.  In 20015, I became a certified Reiki Master.  I practice Reiki on my girl regularly.

Reiki is an energy healing modality that aids in the reduction of stress and promotes relaxation and healing. The technique was developed in Japan and is administered by the laying on of hands. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. It is based on the idea that all living things have a special energy flowing through them called life energy.

My girl really enjoys Reiki sessions.  I’m not so sure if it’s for the healing properties, or more for the touch.  But either way it’s a great way to connect with you dog and really tune into their body.

A dog at any age can benefit from any combination of these modalities and so can YOU!!! Creating a wellness practice for you and your pets can have powerful benefits to on your overall health and well-being.

 

In Love, Light and Magic
~Jen and Daisy~

Healthy Family, Healthy Home, Healthy Pets, Healthy Recipes

Turmeric Golden Paste for Dogs

Daisy 2009

My little Golden Healer Daisy, will be 13 this year.  Over the past year she has been really slowing down.  In her prime, she loved to do agility, nose work training, hiking, swimming, running, pretty much anything as long as she is with me. (It’s amazing to be adored so much.) With age, has come some serious arthritis.  I do a lot of supportive modalities to help ease her pain and keep her comfortable.  One of the things I do to help support her aging body is give her Golden Paste.

Golden Paste is a concoction of turmeric, water, fresh ground pepper and coconut oil.  Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial plants that grows 5 to 6 feet high in the tropical regions of South Asia.  It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wound treatment, for well over 4,000 years.  It’s well known for it’s powerful antioxidants, effective anti-inflammatory properties, study have shown it is helpful in preventing and even treating cancer, aids in protecting the liver from toxins, and so much more.

When turmeric is ingested on it’s own it has poor bio-availability in the body, which is believed to be a result of being rapidly metabolized in the liver and intestinal wall.  Studies have shown that combining turmeric with black pepper increases the bio-availability of turmeric by 2,000% in humans and 154% in rats, according to the October 1992 issue of the journal Clinical Pharmacokinetics. 

How To Make Turmeric Golden Paste For Dogs

Australian veterinarian Dr Doug English has seen great results with a turmeric recipe he developed called Golden Paste.  His website provides a lot of supportive documentation on the benefits of turmeric. Here is his recipe:   Dr. Doug English

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup of Organic Turmeric
1-1 1/2 Cup of Filtered Water
1 1/2 Teaspoon of Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup of Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

Directions:

1. Add turmeric and water in a pan (Start with a cup of water, add more if needed)
2. Stir on medium/low heat for 7-10 minutes, or until paste consistency (if too watery add more turmeric)
3. Add pepper and coconut oil, stir well
4. Allow the mixture to cool, then store in an air tight jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

*If the mixture doesn’t mix well, you can put it in the blender for 1-2 minutes and it will incorporate the mixture.

Giving  Golden Paste To Your Dog

You can add the Golden Paste directly to your dog’s meals by mixing it with some water, raw goats milk or kefir. Some may even lick it off a spoon. Most dogs don’t mind the taste at all, however my girl does!  Mixing it with goats milk or bone broth, has been helpful to get her to eat it.

Start with about ¼ to ½ tsp, depending on the size of your dog. You can increase the amount from there, up to about a Tbsp for larger dogs.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making the Golden Paste, Primal Pet Foods carries a Golden Raw Goats Milk that offers the benefits of the turmeric, and probotics from the goats milk, along with good health fats.

In Love and Magic,

~Jen and Daisy~

*Disclaimer* This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.