Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Atkins Editorial Rejected

This is being posted all around. I've copied this from Regina Wilshire's blog, but it's also available on Dr Vernon's, Jimmy Moore, and lots of others.


Five heathcare professionals - Dr. Stephen D. Phinney, MD; Dr. Mary C. Vernon, MD; Dr. Eric C. Westman, MD; Dr. Jay Wortman, MD; and Jacqueline A. Eberstein, RN - recently penned and submitted an editorial response to the recent media attention concerning the A to Z study published in JAMA. It was rejected by JAMA, Newsweek, Time and others. Here it is, in its entirety:

More Science and Less Zealotry, Please.

The controversy over which diet is best for all has again made headlines with the publication of the Stanford University study in the Journal of the America Medical Association March 7, 2007. Since the results are favorable to the low-carbohydrate atkins diet, the usual criticism can be expected to follow.

Predictably, Dean Ornish has launched a tirade in which he manipulates the study findings to find fault with the low-carb approach and to deflect criticism away from his ultra low-fat diet which did not perform well in the study. Unfortunately, this is an argument based on dogma and not on science. The science speaks for itself.

As scientists and clinicians, we believe that no one dietary approach is going to be ideal for everyone. There is no doubt that, for some, an ultra-low-fat approach may be appropriate. Unlike Dr. Ornish, we recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the enormously complex problem of obesity and related conditions. Unfortunately, other authoritative sources like the US dietary guidelines also recommend a single lowered fat high-carbohydrate diet approach and have been doing so over the decades that this epidemic has grown.

Gratuitous attacks on the Atkins diet that imply it involves abandonment of wholesome vegetables and fruit for “bacon and brie” are simply wrong. Even in the most restrictive phase it meets the recommended daily guidelines for vegetables and fruits. As one advances through the phases, low-glycemic fruits, more vegetables, legumes and even whole grains are introduced based on an individual’s metabolic tolerance for these foods. One survey found that people who follow the Atkins plan over the long term eat more vegetables than they did before. Another study found that rather than increase the intake of fat and protein to compensate when carbohydrates were reduced, people simply ate less.

The unfortunate reality of today is that too many Americans are eating potato chips and fries and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. We support the idea that wholesome foods such as meat, fish, cheese and eggs along with vegetables and low glycemic fruits constitute a healthier diet than chips and fries and sodas.

While this study examined four popular dietary approaches, what is clear is that whatever approach one takes to healthy eating, success will depend on how well you can stick to it. In this case, and in many earlier studies, it is clear that the Atkins diet is the one most people can maintain. On the other hand, the extremely low-fat diet advocated by Dr. Ornish is very difficult to follow. In this study, the subjects who were supposed to reduce their fat intake to his recommended intake of 10% could not reach that target.

Another important aspect of this and earlier studies is the beneficial effect that reducing carbohydrates has on metabolic markers. In his criticism, Dr. Ornish states that the LDL-cholesterol level fell in response to his diet, but does not mention that none of the differences in LDL-C in this study were statistically significant. This is therefore not a scientifically valid criticism. On the other hand, it is widely recognized that elevating the HDL-C, the good cholesterol, is an important factor in reducing cardiovascular risk. In this study there was a highly significant 10% rise in HDL-C in the Atkins group but no such change among those who followed the very high-carbohydrate Ornish diet.

In the same vein, the Atkins group demonstrated a significant (both statistically and clinically) greater reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure than the other three diets. A difference in mean arterial pressure of 5 mm Hg is about the response we would expect to see with a first-line pharmaceutical in the clinical setting. Any objective observer would acknowledge this as a major beneficial effect of the Atkins diet.

Dr. Ornish suggests that the positive findings of research such as this that supports the Atkins diet will cause problems, and that “many people may go on a diet that harms them based on inaccurate information.” This is a wildly irresponsible statement, given the consistency with which a reduction in important metabolic and cardiovascular risks are achieved by lowering carbohydrate consumption. It is simply preposterous to suggest that an approach that leads to significant risk factor reduction is unhealthy.

The seriousness of the accelerating epidemic compels us to think outside the box to find new solutions where the status quo has failed. The only approach that will be successful is one that people can actually follow. This study adds to the mounting evidence that the Atkins diet is a healthy choice which should be supported as a viable way to lose weight and improve metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors.

The Real Atkins Lifestyle

Before there was research on the Atkins diet it was commonly criticized in the belief that it would elevate cholesterol, ruin one’s kidneys and bones and cause heart disease. None of this has been borne out by the research.

What is clear from this JAMA study, and others like it, is that cardiovascular risk factors actually improve when controlling carbs. The scientific studies of this approach have shown numerous times that a pattern of rising HDL-C and falling triglycerides is the hallmark of carb restriction and that this benefit occurs even in the absence of weight loss.

Research also shows that rising HDL-C (good cholesterol) and falling triglycerides is correlated with larger LDL-C particles which are less likely to cause heart disease. Even the much touted statin drugs do not deliver this kind of improvement in LDL-C particle size. On the other hand, the research shows that eating a high-carb diet and cutting fat intake results in small dense LDL-C particles that are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Importance of Fat

There are other problems associated with extremely low fat diets, as well. Cutting fat intake can lead to deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins, depletion of essential fats such as EPA and DHA, and decreases in the absorption of nutrients. Studies also show that people with cholesterol levels that are too low become prone to depression, suicide and cancer and have higher overall death rates than those who have higher cholesterol levels.

When all is said and done, it behooves us to remember that the diet debate is not a horse race where there is only one winner. We know there is a great variability in metabolic and genetic factors that will determine what dietary approach is best for each individual person. Although, in this and many other studies the Atkins diet worked better for more people, it is also evident that other dietary approaches will work for some people as well. The most important thing we have learned from dietary research is that people need to find the approach that will deliver healthy outcomes for them individually. And, just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of a diet's effectiveness is whether it can sustain those benefits over the long haul. Hopefully, the weight of the evidence will now allow the Atkins diet to be recognized and supported as a legitimate option for people who want to improve their health through better nutrition.

On a final note, Dr. Ornish’s repugnant attempt to undermine Dr. Atkins’ credibility by perpetuating the myth that he had heart disease is unconscionable. It is unbecoming of any honorable person to make ad hominem attacks on those who are departed. Enough is enough. Dr. Atkins died of a head injury. He is no longer with us, but the line of scientific inquiry that he started continues to vindicate his dietary approach. And no amount of unfounded criticism will alter the fact that this study, and the 60 others before it, clearly demonstrate that what Dr. Atkins had been telling us all along was right.

* Jacqueline A. Eberstein, R.N. Co-author, Atkins diabetes Revolution, President, Controlled Carbohydrate Nutrition
* Stephen D. Phinney, M.D. Ph.D Emeritus Professor, Department of Medicine, UC Davis, Elk Grove, Cal
* Mary C. Vernon, M.D., CMD, Co-author, Atkins Diabetes Revolution, President, American Society of Bariatric Physicians
* Eric C. Westman, M.D. M.H.S, Associate Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center
* Jay Wortman, M.D, Department of Health Care & Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Sunday, March 25, 2007



Well, I went to the doctors, an urgent care center, for severe pain in my right ankle. His first impression was gout. Or a strain. Kept asking me if I'd injured it, and I kept repeating, no....not that I can remember. But a strain is exactly what I thought it felt like. I also mentioned that I have 2 fairly good sized dogs that I frequently walk with on uneven ground, so there may have been a minor pull at some point.

Do I have gout? Who knows, time will tell. If I have another "attack" I will have a joint aspiration done, and that will prove positive or negative. I doubt it's gout, simply because I don't really fit the profile. Recently I've had a lower protein intake than normal for me, I've not had a big massive gain or loss, have no family history and the symptoms don't match. This feels like a pull. According to what I've read, gout feels like there are needles or broken glass in the joint....and that is not what I felt. This was an ache. The more pressure I put on the joint and the more I flexed it, the more it hurt. The area was red and a bit swollen, but not like "typical" gout.

The first doc was fairly young, and I guess an intern or something, as he had to talk to another doc before prescribing. He immediately said gout. Now I know my age was a factor in his diagnosis, but I can't help wonder if my weight also was an influence. I didn't dare tell him I followed a low carb diet! Of course, he never asked. Never asked about "purine intake", which is supposed to increase chances of developing gout. He never asked about menopause, which is also supposed to increase risk. He did have my blood pressure, which was very normal.....120/82, and he did ask about kidney function....I'd had a creatinine level done recently and was fine. But he never asked about alcohol intake. (See The "risk factors" for developing gout here)

OK....so he knew my BP was normal, and I am "obese" (but only a couple more pounds until I'll be "overweight"....but they didn't check or ask my weight). He knew I was a woman, but did not know my menopause status. Now I am completely grey, so I am sure to a young kid the assumption is that I'm well past menopause, despite my age of 53. He also knew I had, per my report, normal kidney function. I was never asked about diet, exercise, alcohol intake, other diagnoses other than for the meds I mentioned I was taking. I was never asked about thyroid function, or if it had been checked, nor was I asked about family history.

As I sit there, obviously very confused, the doc said he had to run things by the other doc (can't remember how he referred to him, but he was obviously in training). After a few minutes, the second doc came in. An older man, he also examined my foot and said he didn't think it was gout, but just an inflammation. He did say he wanted an Xray, and that if it didn't get better or if it came back I should be tested for gout (joint aspiration), but at this point didn't think that was the diagnosis.

I had an Xray, which was normal, and got a prescription for a "stronger" NSAID, nabumetone. I'd taken ibuprophen and tylenol with no little effect. I was hesitant about the prescription at first, the latest NSAIDs seem to be more dangerous than the older ones, but when I found it was one that is indeed older, figured I'd give it a try. I did, and the pain was gone within 15 hours or so. I only took 2 doses of the prescription (I got 20).

So....is it gout? Who knows. I have been having a problem over the past few months with joint pains. One joint in my body will just ache like crazy....it might be my right elbow, or my left wrist, or one of my ankles, or a shoulder. Sometimes the pain last 3-4 days, but most of the time it's gone within 36-48 hrs. I think this was just another "attack" of this pain. I'd still suspect gout, but the joints involved are all over. My jaw, my back, knee or wrist. Never fingers and toes...and according to the literature it's more often seen in distal joints, meaning joints farther away from the body core.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I love my furkids!

You know what it's like when your dogs get to that certain age? A friend in work and I were talking about this today. When you get a dog as a puppy, it's cute and furry and you play with it. Then it gets bigger....and maybe not as cute.....and doesn't seem to grasp the idea of things. But, you keep at it, and next thing you know, they're great.

My dogs are at that point. They're still young enough (about 3 yrs old, litter mates) that everything new is something to check out. And boy, do these 2 have energy! But they behave.

If a stranger comes to the house, they bark....but when my son or I come home, not a sound.

No more accidents in the house!!! Can't even remember how long ago that was....and it was totally my fault!

And cute? Well, let me tell you, there is nothing more fun to watch than the interaction between 2 dogs, or 1 or 2 dogs and their humans!

My pups are crate trained, but sometimes stay in the house alone, out of their crates. No worry about accidents, no trash turned over, no messes! Today, I even left doors open, or simply pushed closed, and they didn't venture where they weren't supposed to. Even my bed went untouched! Of course, I was only gone for about 30-40 minutes, but still.

Lately we've been working on stopping certain behaviors that are annoying me. When someone arrives at the house, they surround the person, sniffing and tail wagging. I've been making them stay put until the visitors (even my son) are in and settled they get called over.

The other behavior that I think we got licked is Daisy barking when Brian and Duke play. Brian loves to play tug with Duke. There is 1 rope, no matter what, when Brian picks it up and starts waving it around, Duke will grab onto and play tug-o-war! He really enjoys it, as does Brian, and it's exercise for him. However, Daisy tends to bark. She's trying to tell Duke that this is unacceptable behavior, I think, but she's annoying. Well, I've started using Cesar Milan's method of disciplining her, and it's working!

These are MY dogs. They are not my son's, and they know it. They will come to me over anyone. They follow me more than anyone. And they protect me. If I go in my room, I guarantee I have at least 1 pup on watch in my doorway!

When we went on vacation last year, up to Massachusetts, the pups were belted in the back seat together. They were very well behaved, and at all times at least one of them was awake and on watch.
That's Daisy on watch, Duke napping.

Here's some random pictures:
Duke sleeping

Daisy Sleeping
Miss Daisy
Mr Duke
At Karen's in MA
Two peas in a pod!
Aren't they cute? LOL

The closest we can figure, they are a mix of Doberman, Shepherd and some kind of hound. They are litter mates, having been abandoned together when they were about 5 months old. They've never been apart for more than a few hours.

Week 2 weigh in!

Down another 3 pounds! Whoo Hoo!!!

Went out to lunch today with some co-workers. A burger joint. Great meal! They have a "Cheeseburger salad", so of course, I ordered it, but I did ask for the meat on the side (didn't want the lettuce all wilted).

What a great lunch! Good quality meat, cooked perfect, 8 oz patty. The salad part was a plate of lettuce with either tomato and cucumber or jalapeno and banana peppers. I had the tomato and cucumber....not much for peppers of any kind.

The restaurant itself is kinda cool. The owner has pretty much dedicated the place to firefighters. There's all kinds of equipment and other memorabilia all over the place. Their delivery truck is an old fire truck!

Here's their web page. If you live in the area, Cary NC, stop by and get a great burger!

Got a nice surprise today. About a month ago, after reading about it in someone's blog, I registered at the DLife site. Apparently when I signed up, I also agreed to have them send me a free glucose monitor!

So I now have a glucose monitor, and of course I'm going to be checking my levels.

2 readings so far:

This AM, 90 minutes after breakfast: 86. Breakfast was 1/2c yogurt, 1/4c blackberries and 1/4c chopped walnuts.

This evening, 90 minutes after dinner: 80. Dinner was a low carb wrap with taco meat (beef) and cheese along with a little bit of sour cream and salsa. I also had a wedge of cantaloupe, a SF soda, and 2 SF Popsicles. Oh and 4 pieces of SF gum. All this eaten within 45 min. Testing done 90 min after last eaten.

Tomorrow I'm going to check what I am fasting. Until I get more strips, I'll probably only be testing in the AM. I'm rarely hungry in the AM, so I'll probably get "perfect" numbers. Later in the week I'm also going to have my poached eggs on toast and see what my readings are.

So now I guess I'll check EBay for testing strips!

3/20/07 14:34 - Edited to add last night's reading. CM

Friday, March 16, 2007

Heart attack? Forget the mouth-to-mouth: study

Interesting article I saw today. Can't wait to hear the experts views on this.

Heart attack? Forget the mouth-to-mouth: study

Thu Mar 15, 8:03 PM ET

PARIS (AFP) - The chances of surviving a heart attack outside a hospital double if a bystander performs chest-compressions but omits the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation widely regarded as part of standard rescue procedure, according to a study released Friday.

Nearly everyone has witnessed the scene dozens of times on television, and perhaps a time or two in real life: someone, mostly likely a man getting on in years, collapses to the pavement clutching his chest.

A take-charge passerby drops to his side, pinches the victim's nose and begins mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, alternating this treatment by pushing repeatedly and vigorously on his chest.

But there is something wrong with this textbook picture of CPR -- shorthand for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation -- according to the study, published in the British journal The Lancet: it does more harm than good.

Not only is there "no evidence for any benefit from the addition of mouth-to-mouth ventilation," writes Ken Nagao, a doctor at the Nihon University hospital in Tokyo who led the study of more than 4000 heart arrest cases in the Kanto area of Japan.

The chances of surviving with a "favorable neurological outcome" are twice as high when would-be rescuers skip the mouth-to-mouth and focus exclusively on trying to revive the heart by rhythmic chest-compressions.

"This finding ... should lead to a prompt interim revision of the guidelines for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest," wrote Gordon Ewy, director of the University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center, in a commentary.

Read the article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070316/hl_afp/healthheartjapan_070316000322

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Texans Still Opposed to Perry's HPV Plan


Here's an update on a previous post.

I saw this on ABC News:
Texans Still Opposed to Perry's HPV Plan

HOUSTON, March 13, 2007
When Texas Gov. Rick Perry decided to request state funding for the HPV vaccine, many were surprised. It seemed an unlikely move for the conservative governor.

The decision immediately became controversial, and now the Texas House of Representatives has voted 119-21 to pass legislation to overturn Perry's executive order requiring school age girls to get the HPV vaccine.

The uproar over Perry's decision was almost instantaneous.

Since cervical cancer is sexually transmitted, some feel requiring vaccination might lead to young girls becoming sexually active sooner. Others believe the vaccine is too new — not enough is known about it to make it mandatory. (Emphasis mine)

Rest of the article here:

My whole problem with My Perry's executive order is this:

1. Forcing any medical treatment, protocol, procedure, ET ALL on the people, for whatever reason is not right. Pure and simple. If there had been discussion and this was the popular vote I could accept it. But this was one man's decision. One man with his hand in the pocket book of the drug company that is about to make millions in his state alone!

2. This vaccine hasn't been tested enough, in my opinion, to promote it as widely as it is. Coinciding with the drug company's ads, the push by state government's to get this vaccine mandatory, is to me, suspicious at best. There are many who will vaccinate their girls. And that's their right. There are many who won't, and that should be their choice. After a few years, let's look at the data again. If there is NO doubt this vaccine is safe, fine, introduce legislation if you want. But let's get some more data first.

3. We are not in the middle of an epidemic of cervical cancer! Yes, it is a terrible disease, and yes, many women die of it every year. But we need to promote PAP smears and other tests to find it early! I'd rather see an education program promoting PAP testing, funding for free testing, and even home testing rather than funding a vaccine that hasn't been proven safe and effective in the long term.

4. HPV Does NOT cause ALL cervical cancers. It does seem to cause about 70% of the cases, but this vaccine does NOT protect against all strains, not even all that are believed to be a risk for cancer!

5. This has turned into a sexist issue. Men can be infected, and can spread HPV, sometimes without even knowing they are infected. So, shouldn't the boys be vaccinated also?

6. This is a personal issue. If you want your child to get this, fine. If you want your child to wait for whatever the reason, it should also be fine. The bill apparently allows parents to "opt out" of the vaccine, but they should, instead, have to "opt in". This, to me, is the most important reason that this bill needs to be overturned.

Here's some screen shots of the ads for Gardasil on Merck's home page.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Week 1 Weigh-In & more

Oh boy!!!

I lost 4 pounds this week!!!

Been staying on plan, lost a lot of fluid.

Blog Roll: I would like to point out some recent blog posts that I think are excellent:

1. Regina Wilshire. Remember the study that was in the news last week? Atkins vs Ornish vs LEARN vs The Zone? The study that I notice is not in the news anymore? Well Regina, as always, has posted an excellent essay on the study. Check it out here. And be sure to take a look at her batch of quotes about said study.

2. Dr Michael Eades. Same study here and an excellent article on anti-oxidants and the importance of saturated fat here.

3. Suzique. If you have a recipe for veggies, or want a recipe for veggies, check out Suzique's Veggie Recipe Contest. There are several links, so be sure to check out all the recipes! Submissions for the contest is March 14.

4. Dr Davis. Excellent, but long article on Vitamin D.

5. Sherrie. A disturbing post about cholesterol, alcohol, and pregnancy. I've done a little research and it seems the women on statins were not put on them during their pregnancy, but were on them and got pregnant. Makes me feel a little better, but not enough.

6. Suzique again. Another disturbing post, this time about the lack of medical care available in New Orleans.

7. Dr Vernon. Ask Dr Vernon. She does answer. She has responded to various questions personally and in her blog.

My take on The Study?

It's interesting in how poorly everyone did in following their plans. I am also getting a chuckle about how all the "experts" are tripping over themselves saying how it's a bad study.

I can see good and bad. People didn't follow their plans, none of them did from the looks of it. Why? We don't know. Lack of support I would imagine is one factor. Lack of motivation I think is a major factor.

I also wonder about exercise. Were the participants told to exercise? If not, then I don't think they were doing any plan "properly". They certainly weren't doing Atkins!

I'd like to see a second study:
1. Allow people to decide which diet they want to try. Give each one the books, or at least a print out of a summary of the plans, and let them decide which one they feel they can live with.
2. Give more support, in weekly meetings or online support. Something to keep them motivated and to have a source to clarify things.
3. Have experts in each diet teach the classes. Personally I think longer classes over a shorter time, with more followup would be better.
4. Get people that not only want to loose weight, but also improve their health.

That's about it. I'm going to leave you with some pictures of wild dafodils that are in my front yard.

3/12/2007, 11:32PM EST: Edited to add Dr Vernon's column!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Low carb for your dog!

Raw feeding your dog

I posted a response to a comment and decided to create a post on raw feeding your dogs.

Raw feeding is commonly referred to as feeding a BARF diet. BARF stands for Bones And Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Diet.

I came across raw feeding as a result of trying to figure out how to treat a severely overweight cat I'd adopted. Georgie was at least 18 pounds...and this was a cat that should only have weighed, at most, 9 or 10 pounds! After I adopted him I started doing research on cat foods, trying to find a good, nutritious food that would allow Georgie to eat, but still loose weight.

In the middle of doing Internet searches one day a friend called and we were talking about what I was doing. I'd already started low carbing, and I knew that all the carbs in the packaged cat food couldn't possibly be good for Georgie, and all the "diet" cat foods were even higher in carbs! Now, remember cats are true carnivores! Cats in the wild eat meat.....and only meat. they don't eat veggies, or grains, they eat meat!

I remember commenting to my friend that I wished I could find a low carb cat food. She laughed and said something to the effect that low carbing may be good for people, but probably not for cats and dogs. After hanging up the phone, I did a search on carbs in cat and dog food and found a bunch of articles promoting raw feeding!!

Well, that was the start. I read article after article and found so many web sites I was amazed! It seems that there are people all over the planet promoting a raw, meat based diet for not only cats, but dogs also.

Cats are carnivores. Many experts call them "true carnivores" because they eat meat. Just do a search on lion, tiger, cougar, or any large cat and you will find the same thing. These animals eat meat. They don't eat grass, they don't eat berries or other fruit, they don't dig for root veggies, they eat meat! Depending on the size and location of the cat, they may eat deer, or antelope, or even rabbits, but whatever the animal, they eat meat!

Dogs are also carnivores, although they will be omnivores if it suits them. In the wild, by preference, dogs will eat meat. They will, if necessary, eat almost everything, including vegetation, which I guess makes people think they could do well on a vegetarian and/or grain based diet. BUT, in the wild, they prefer meat, just like their ancestors the wolf.

I don't think anyone disagrees that dogs are descendants of wolves. The controversy is what wolves eat in the wild. Wolves will eat meat. They hunt in packs and the leader gets the choice. The controversy comes with the stomach and intestines. It seems that wolves have been filmed eating the stomach and intestines of animals they kill, however, many people say that the wolf will shake out the stomach and intestinal contents before eating the organ.

OK....so I'm researching all of this and find that there are actually sites that give instructions on raw feeding your dog (and cat, but to a less extent). I start reading this information and find that, when fed meat and bones (and to some extent veggies and fruit), dogs will have stronger and whiter teeth with little or no decay and fresher breath, less poop that isn't as foul smelling, less body odor (including "wet dog" smell), more resistance to disease, healthier and shinier coats and a host of other things.

Hmmmm.....now this sounds good. So I start to research more and decide to start feeding my 4 critters (2 dogs, 6 months old and 2 cats, 8 & 10 yrs old) raw meat and bones. I decided at first to try toe veggie feeding too as it seemed that most experts in this area recommend veggies and a tiny bit of fruit for dogs, but not cats. The only problem with fruits and veggies (other than watching the ones that are NOT good for them) is that these have to be "pulverized" as dogs are unable to digest whole ones, but can digest ones that are pulverized like they would be found in the gut of the animals they eat (hmmmmm...this sounds unnatural, but OK, let's give it a shot.)

So.....I go to the store and stock up on meat for the puppies and cats. I buy ox tails, beef heart, cheap pieces of beef and pork, chicken of various cuts and a bunch of veggies as per the instructions in the raw feeding sites. I also joined a raw feeding group on Yahoo.

When I get home I start preparing the veggies....put everything in a blender and blend until it's well pulverized, and then put in smaller containers and freeze. I also separate the meats into individual servings and freeze all but a couple days worth.

Dinner time!!! I give each dog a few pieces of meat along with a couple of chunks of beef heart and a good dollop of "veggie slop". I also give each of the cats a good amount of meat. (Cats and puppies were kept separate, as they didn't get along at all!).

So....what happened? Well, the cats flatly refused to touch their dinner, and Georgie proceeded to cry and howl. I gave in and fed them their kibble. I tried several times with the same effect, and finally gave up, but did feed them canned cat food over dry.

The dogs on the other hand, were in heaven!!! They loved it! Well, except the veggie slop. That they pushed aside and ignored. The next day, the same thing. Meat? yes. Veggies? no!!!

After reading more, and talking to other raw feeders, I decided my pups probably don't need veggies. They do get my leftovers on occasion, especially if they are buttered! Some people insist on veggies, but I personally figure if I have to prepare it, it's probably not crucial for their health

Today they pups (now 3 1/2) are still being fed mainly raw food, although because of financial considerations they also get canned food and occasionally kibble. I hate that I have to do this, but money is tight, and I just can't justify the expense involved in the amount of meat these 2 eat. They are both around 60-65 pounds, and can easily eat close to a pound of meat each! I do insist on buying canned food that doesn't contain rice or other grains, but I just can't afford the amount of meat they would like.

My two dogs are perfectly healthy. Neither of the dogs has ever been sick. They have no immunization, except for rabies (required by law) and they receive only heart worm prevention and flea/tick medication. They both have the whitest teeth I've ever seen in dogs, soft shiny coats, and are energetic and perfect weight. On every check with the vet (yearly) they are declared "perfect". They're friendly, well behaved and so much fun to have around.

To feed your dog RAW:
1. Don't worry about bones, as long as they are RAW. Cooked bones are brittle and can splinter and cause major problems, but raw bones shouldn't be a problem. If you are nervous, you can either buy a grinder or ask your local butcher to grind the bones for you. You can also buypre-packaged (usually frozen) BARF food that contains ground bone.
2. Always keep an eye on your dog when they are eating. If they start to choke, you want to be close by. After a while, if you are confident your dogs are OK, you can leave them alone, but always be aware that they may need you!
3. Make sure the pieces you give the dogs are big enough that they don't try to swallow them whole! You want them to eat them slowly, chewing (and crunching) the bones before swallowing. Gulping can lead to choking. Within reason, the general rule is the bigger the better.
4. Buy human quality meats, although you can buy meats that are older and probably not good for humans to eat. Dogs can handle the bacteria better than us and seldom have a problem with meat that's a bit old. Remember, in the wild, dogs will often eat meat that is downright rotten!
5. If you choose to feed your dog veggies (and a little bit of fruit) be sure to completely pulverize them before feeding. No need to cook.
6. Give a variety of meat and bones. Chicken quarters, oxtails, organ meats are all great for dogs. Too much bone can cause constipation, so watch your dog's poop until you get the hang of it. All meat and no bones isn't good either, as they need the minerals in the bones and the fat in the marrow. Be careful with large marrow bones as they can be too hard for some dogs. Ask your butcher to cut them into large pieces if necessary. Also, be aware that some dogs cannot tolerate the high fat of marrow, and may get diarrhea. If this happens, limit the amount you allow them to have at any given time.
7. Be sure to give organ meats a couple of times a week.
8. Look for balance over the long term, not daily. If the dogs have chicken several days in a row without organ meats, that's fine. Variety is usually the best, but some dogs are picky and have favorites.
9. If possible, get yourself a freezer and find a butcher. Most butchers will order meats for you. Often there are raw feeding groups that will buy in bulk and share with you. Freezers make it easy to take advantage of good finds. Some stores will also sell you scrap meat and bones, but the ones in my areas won't.

Be aware also, many people will think you're strange, including your vet! My first vet was never told I was raw feeding. I found him fast, due to the way I adopted the puppies, and really didn't like him. (How I found my puppies, click here) When the pups were only 8 months old, even tho he said they were "perfect" weight, he told me to change them over to "senior" food! Now, I understand large breed dogs can sometimes grow too fast and too big on puppy chow, but to go to senior food at their ages??? His reason was that it was lower in fat (sound familiar low carbers?!?!) and would prevent problems "down the road". I never went back to that vet. (They also wanted to vaccinate against every known disease, regardless of risk of the pups being exposed!)

I have a new vet that I love. She is very accepting of my way of feeding, and completely understands my views on vaccines. She sees them once a year, checks them out and has so far declared them healthy. She also gives me a prescription for the heart worm so I can buy it online (I lost a dog to heart-worm, so that is a must!).

Some of the "weird" things I feed my puppies:
Oxtails. They love them, but are often too expensive. Once in a while I'll see them marked way down at the store and when I do, I always buy them.
Pork neck bones. Personally I wouldn't feed my dogs beef neck bones (not that I've ever seen them in the store) due to fears of "mad cow" disease.
Beef heart. Not weird, but what I do is cut the heart into large chunks and put them on a cookie sheet. I think freeze them. Once frozen, I place them in a zip lock freezer bag and give them out as treats. I do the same thing with chick hearts and giblets.
Pigs feet. Mostly meat and fat with a little bit of bone. The dogs love them! I usually feed these with a little extra meat.
Chicken feet! Yep, chicken feet. They are popular in some stores, depending on the ethnic makeup of the area, and are usually available from butchers. These too I put in the freezer and give out as treats. They're pretty gross looking, but the dogs love them!

Here are a couple of pictures of my dog's food.

Pork neck bones with a pig's foot and some beef heart.

Pork neck bones

Discarded pig's foot

Daisy with a pig's foot.

Beef heart, pork neck bones

Give raw feeding a try! Your dog will be happy and healthy and less likely to develop heart disease and diabetes, like so many dogs are developing today!

Do some research. Google "BARF", "raw feeding" and see what you find! Of course you'll find some that are totally against it, but you'll also find people that have been feeding raw for many years and have healthy dogs to show for it. Even some reputable breeders feed raw!

Feel free also to ask any questions, either in comments or by email. I'm no expert, but I'll be glad to try and help you find answers!

A note about cats. I no longer have my 2 cats. Georgie ended up being adopted due to the constant battle with him and the puppies. The other cat has since died. I've been told it is harder to switch cats and there are a few precautions you have to take with cats. Be sure to get all the info before you try to switch your cat! You may have to just leave them the food for several days before they'll "give in" and eat it. But most say once switched, the cats never want to go back. If you do feed commercial products, be sure to get only food that is 100% meat and fish! (One ingredient, I believe it's taurine, will be added to canned food, and is essential for your cat)

Friday, March 09, 2007


OK....as promised, I've made up my mind what I'm going to do about exercise.

At least once a day, I'm going on a walk, at least 20 minutes for now as I'm still recovering from a chest cold. I'm going to work up to at least 30-45 minutes. My dogs are going to love it.

Also, my son doesn't know it yet, but we're going to move my weight bench out of his room into the front room so I can use it!!! I'm going to use the Body For Life program (the resistance part), at least for now, for my routine. I really want to check out the Slow Burn program, but I have no money to buy the book, and my local library doesn't have it right now (but I'm going to request it, once I figure out how).

Here's my new ticker:

This is not my total weight loss, but just for my new goal.

My weigh day is Monday.

My measure day is going to be the first of each month.

I am going to walk daily, do resistance training at least 3 days a week, and stick with my low carb plan!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Back from the land of Binge

Yes, that Binge, with a capital B.

I can't believe I did this, but I fell headfirst into a lot of garbage carbs! I'm not going to go into details....partly out of embarassment of what I ate. Let's just say Easter is around the corner, and the stores are well stocked!

Anyway I'm back. I decided I had to start this out with a fast, so I'm fasting today and part of tomorrow. I'll start eating again tomorrow at lunch.

I know lots of people will fron on this method, but for me it works. I'll fast for 24-30 hours, then start eating again, keeping to "intervention" level carbs for a week or so, then moving to "transition", where I'll stay until I get to maintenence.

Fasting breaks the cycle for me, especially when I go on a bad binge like I did this time. It's been a tough day. Telling myself that I'm fasting....then wanting to have something. But, I stuck with coffee, tea and water and I'm good now. I probably won't even be hungry tomorrow, but lunch will taste soooooo good! I'm thinking Caesar Salad at my favorite place near work, Baba Ghanoush (Cary, NC).

I've also set a new goal. I'm trying to get up to Massachusetts again this summer. One of my "adopted" daughters (my DD's friend) is getting married and I want to see it happen!!! I also want to have ankles that I want to show off. I want to get a sexy summer dress to wear. I want to look GOOD!!!

So here's my goal. Today is March 5, 2007 and by August 6, 2007 I want to loose 50 pounds. That sounds like a lot, but it's not too bad. That's 5 months to loose 50 pounds. That's 10 pounds per month. If I stick with my plan and do my exercising, I should be fine.

Not sure just yet what I'm going to be doing for exercise, the first few days after a binge I'm usually not good for much. Right now, stick with walking the dogs, and I'll figure out what else by the end of the week. I have to get my weight bench out of my son's room so I can get back into my strength training.

I'd really like to set a size goal, rather than weight, but I have NO idea what size I'll be when I get to goal. I know I'll at least be a size 14, but no idea if any lower. I'm 5'8" and good size build, so I know I'll never be a size 2. And if I ever DO get down to a size 2 there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with the sizes they sell today! LOL

I'll post my weight ticker and exercise goals later this week. I wanted to commit to this and now I have to get to sleep!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Special Comment By Keith Olbermann

For those that are unaware, Keith Olbermann is the host of Countdown on MSNBC (8PM and 12A EST).

Keith has been making "Special Comments" on his show lately.

Keith's latest Special Comment can be found here.

This comment was prompted by this:
On "Fox News Sunday" Feb. 25, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paralleled World War II with the state of Iraq when discussing what would happen if Congress were to revise the Iraq authorization:
I highly recommend also checking out Keith's other Special Comments!

Friday, March 02, 2007

No more collar!!

Brian saw his doc again today and can now take off the collar he's worn for the past 3 months. He can put it back on if he needs to, if he gets sore or tired, but he's essentially out of it.

He has to see the doc again in 4 weeks. They will do additional films then. If he has any numbness, pain in his shoulder or arm, or any other problems he's to call the doc ASAP. The doc is actually surprised. He said that if he looked only at his films, he'd recommend surgery, but the fact that Brian has no pain or other problems, he just can't recommend it now. If Brian develops any pain or other symptoms, he of course will rethink surgery.....and there's also a real possibility that when he gets older he'll end up having to ahve surgical repair.

Anyway, he's thrilled. The doc told him ne exercising the neck yet, and he can work up to his regular activities as tolerated. In a month, if all looks good, he'll be seen by a physical therapist and given an exercise program.

So, here are a couple of pictures of my boy, finally collar free.

He's a bit crooked. That should change soon.

He didn't want me to take his pic, and figured
I'd stop trying if he stuck out his tongue.