Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Warming Alternative to Cooking

I was warned by Vida's holistic vet that if she got more lipomas I'd be advised to go from raw to cooked food for her. This is to relieve the dampness that is behind their appearance.

Well, if you've been reading my blog you can imagine my resistance. It's not that cooked food is bad, I just don't see her as needing that much diet adaptation.

Well, I have a theory that kinda splits the difference. I think that freeze-dried and dehydrated diets warm the food up without going quite as far as full cooking.

So I've been playing around with it, being wintertime (and very wet and relatively chilly here) it's a good time to warm things up a bit. I'm a big fan of mixing and matching food anyway, so I've been mixing regular raw with Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried raw (the Duck Duck Goose flavor), or mixing the freeze-dried with Honest Kitchen. (the warm/hot water to rehydrate it literally warms it too). She eats it up quick, no matter which permutation.

I'm very lucky to have easy access to all these goodies, of course. But really, it's all cheaper than the mainstream advice I was given (further surgery, radiation, etc). And it's way more fun for both of us!

Oh yeah, and I just joined Twitter... tryin' it out!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

If at first you don't succeed...

Does anyone have a dog that will eat anything put in front of them? No matter what anyone says I think that we all experience that trials and tribulations of the food dumped on the floor and the pills spit out.

A month or two ago I tried feeding a food to Vida because it fit the bill for "moving chi," which is the goal right now. Primal Pheasant, with ginger and other plants that together should be a chi-moving delight for any raw-fed dog. Oh no. Not for mine. It was spit out and picked at, even when mixed with the reliable taste-improver of Honest Kitchen Embark. I couldn't just let it go, though, I kept the food.

Now that the season has decidedly shifted to Winter I tried it again. Score! She loves it and eats it up quick as can be, without any special preparation required. It seems that her body has decided that, yes, this is an appropriate food now.

I'm glad I trusted my instincts and hers.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tea for Two

So here's my first tea recipe for Vida. I'm going to take it as well (and my mom too - a household experience). I could use the liver tonifying effects of this blend so I figure why not make just one for us to share.

Dandelion Root and Burdock Root are the main ingredients, plus Red Clover Blossom, Calendula Blossom, and Nettle. In TCM these are all rated cool or neutral - an interesting thing I noted with alteratives. Since she likes the warmer foods like Venison I think this will provide a good balance. While I have stronger herbs that I could use, I deliberately left those out because she's been taking them for a while. I can layer them in if I wish to, or alternate.

Roots and flowers should be cooked differently when making medicinal teas. Roots (with a couple of exceptions) need to be cooked a bit, so simmering for a while is in order (this is called a decoction). Flowers are more delicate, so they just need to be steeped - the water brought to a boil and poured over the flowers, covered and let to sit for a bit (this is called an infusion). Since I'm mixing roots and flowers I'm cooking the roots for about 20 minutes, then turning the heat off and tossing in the flowers (and keeping it covered during these processes - need to keep the steam in!).

Vida'll get a tablespoon twice a day, I'll get a cup (I may add a little flavoring to mine, cinnamom or stevia - I'm fussy). I could put this on a weekday plan, and take the weekends off, but really, these are fine to take every day, especially for the initial use (two months for instance).

For those interested in a few notes on each item, read on:

Dandelion Root - a classic for tonfiying the liver, and thus the blood. the root and leaf (and flower for that matter) really should be a regular part of the diet. Good source of minerals (most roots are).

Burdock Root - Another excellent blood cleanser and nutritive (lots of iron in those minerals). This can be used liberally (you can buy it at health food stores and eat it).

Red Clover Blossom - an alterative with anti-tumour
and waste elimination properties.

Calendula Blossom - a great soothing anti-inflammatory

Nettle Leaf - very nutritious anti-inflammatory. Even has anti-histimine effects.

To learn more about these and other herbs, the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine has an amazing list of links to PDFs and websites with more information. Autodidacticism is a great attribute.

What's in "Max's Formula" anyway?

Since I've been using this blog to track my care of Vida, I thought I'd just write down the herbs used in Max's Formula before I throw the empty bottle away:

  • Angelica (Bai Zhi)
  • Rhubarb (Da Huang)
  • Platycodon (Jie Geng)
  • Astrea (Mu Li)
  • Trichosanthes (Tian Hua Fen)
  • Prunella (ZIa Ku Cao)
  • Scrophularia (Zuan Shen)
  • Fritillary (She Bei Mu)

Of course this doesn't give the proportions, which is an important part of formulating blends, so I'd advise sticking with a pre-made product unless you are an herbalist who knows these plants. This formula is available through vets only. I considered linking each herb listed, but that would limit the information to one source. One should always consult multiple sources when learning in order to get a balanced view of the plant and its uses.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ack! Lipoma?

Just when you think yer makin' headway....

Last night I found what appears to be a lipoma on Vida. In the skin of her left stifle (knee), sort of between St36 and GB34, for those of you familiar with acupoints. I know it's brand new because I did some acupressure on her last week and worked on that area.

It's a Phlegm condition, which is what we've been working at resolving already with the cancer. I guess I'll be contacting Dr. Weingardt for advice on whether I need to get back on the strong herbs (and not take a break as we'd planned). I'll check her pulse a few times first, see if it's slippery again or still firm. I did some Reiki this morning that she was in the room for (she often prefers it that way, less intrusive than hands on). I'll probably do a little energy work tomorrow, maybe offer her the bloodstone.

Some say that lipomas are the body's way of encapsulating toxins. This would make sense, since we've been trying to drive out toxins for a few months now. Having it push out to the skin like this is one way the body could be dealing with it - though of course I'd rather it was removed altogether. I prefer this idea to the idea that the problem is just wandering around her body. [sigh]

Next post will be about tea! Stay tuned!