July 31, 2013

Vacay Pawt II: Barkday Brambleberry Banana Split

by @winecountrydog Jackie Nippers Corgi

Wot did you doo on your summer vacay? ... Did you nom frozen desserts?

On mywoofself's barkday, Staff (aka Mum) served Brambleberry Banana Split. Organic blackberry ice cream with organic banana slices and sprinkles of probiotics.

Our Ani Meezer loves blackberry ice cream too. Hermewself does not eat ta banana.

Ourwoofselves are not only ones eating ice cream in July -- "National Ice Cream Month." Ta ice cream biz is over $10 billion a year in the States. Mostly industrial farm dairies, not humane dairy farms where cows are treated like special, honored furriends.

Blackberries get high rating as antioxidant and have got other health-confurrin' properties as well. Smart wild furriends such as foxes, coyotes, deer, and birds love nomming ripe wild berry fruits in season. Humans like picking berries from wild bramble bushes or buying 'em at markets wot sell local organic berries. If your Staffs like to pick berries, tell 'em to avoid bushes by roadsides. Tis not good to eat berries wot have been sprayed with agrochemicals or berries wot have absorbed pollutants from motor vehicles on roadways.

A bowl of homemade real blackberry ice cream is a wonderfur treat. Dependin' on howl much dairy food you are allowed to nom, you could enjoy ta blackberries in ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sherbet. Or if no dairy at all, have ta sorbet or fresh berry ice treat made in blender.

Sometimes our Staff serves frozen dessert wot is homemade. Sometimes not. Staff likes wild blackberries on pre-made organic vanilla ice cream. On myself's barkday, Staff got organic blackberry ice cream. Howly berry! No icky synthetic stabilizers or preservatives!

Ta furry idea of ourwoofselves and Meezer eating dairy or sugar does upset some pet owners and vets. Not to worry, pawleeze. Our bodies doo fine with bit of organic dairy foods. Our weights are normal. Our digestive systems are strong 'cuz our daily homemade diet is fresh whole foods. Ourselves doo not have problems with ta allergies or ta insulin or lipid metabolism or hyperlipidemia.

Ourwoofselves (not Meezer) doo eat fruits a few times a month -- more often in summertime -- with no ill effects from ta fruit sugars. Ourwoofselves and Meezer get food treats wot have refined cane sugar only a few times a year. You doo know occasional bowl of organic real ice cream with sugar is better 'n most pet snacks. There is nothing healthful 'bout "treats" like pet jerky or many of ta other packaged snacks. Furriends, you be better off eatin' tablespoon of organic ice cream! Our woofly ancestors 'ave been eating ice cream since ta first British ice cream recipe twere published by Mrs. Mary Eales in 1718.

Tis fine for healthy, normal-weight dog or cat to have high-calorie, high-dairy-fat treat like organic ice cream once in ta while. Howlever, ourselves not suggesting ice cream for furriends who are overweight or insulin-troubled or who have got skin problems, candidiasis, or ta chronic unidentified digestive problem.

Doo ask your Staffs to give you only homemade or organic brands wot contain no synthetic or artificial ingredients. Make double-doggone sure is ice cream sweetened with organic cane sugar, fruit, or honey. And ask Staffs to add some good probiotics such as ta Pet Dophilus.

Ta caveats:
~ Doo not serve ice cream to pets with history of dairy intolerance. Non-dairy sorbet and fruit ices would be good alternatives. ...
~ Doo not confuse berry types: Raspberries, red and black, or even blueberries or strawberries would be OK substitutes. But elderberries are toxic to cats. ...
~ Doo not ever feed xylitol-sweetened frozen desserts to pets! Xylitol, an artificial sweetener common in many foods, is extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

Tis helpful for Staffs to talk to vets whose pet feeding experience includes diets that go "beyond can and kibble." Also, Staffs can learn a lot 'bout wot foods agree or doo not agree by observation: Watch a dog's or cat's behavior for a period of time after he eats diffurrent foods. Reactions to foods should not cause lethargy, hyperactiveness, urgency to doo the doo or to pee, and certainly not diarrhea.

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Comments from Mum:
Buying pre-made ice cream? Ice cream is a subject that involves much discussion about food politics and food technology. The ice cream learning curve, in terms of how it's made and the range of ingredients that can be used, is rather steep -- an icy, slippery slope, if you will.

When you've got to choose a commercial ice cream, stick with brands containing only the following ingredients:
  • Organic milk and cream;
  • Cage-free egg yolks as primary emulsifiers;
  • Organic cane sugar, honey, or real fruit sweeteners;
  • "Natural flavors" from extracts or essential oils of fruits, vegetables, or other plants; 
  • "Naturally-derived" emulsifiers and stabilizers (citric acid, guar gum, gum from carob or locust beans, tapioca starch, pectin, soy lecithin, xanthan gum).
Some of the ice cream stabilizing and emulsifying ingredients are added in very small amounts. Does this make them all safe for people or pets? Maybe not. After reading about the emulsifier carrageenan in research cited by Dr. Weil, I decided to avoid ice creams and other foods that contain it.

Generally, the imported gums and other extracts are neither organic nor fair trade. When they're used in a certified USDA “Organic” food product, they cannot make up more than 5% of the total ingredients, and also they must appear as "Allowed" on the USDA-approved “National List" -- as substances that can't be sourced organically but are "needed" in food processing.

I like making most of our frozen desserts from scratch. But I'd like to find a commercial ice cream with 100% organic, fair trade stabilizing ingredients. If you know of one, please let us know the brand!

July 16, 2013

Vacay Pawt 1: Wine, microbrews, SOLA lavender + farm-to-bowl noms

by Tilin Corgi @winecountrydog

Mid-July summer 2013 travels -- Hotter 'n a dog on a grrrrill. Just as worryin' for us dogs who gotta watch out for wildland fires ... 'specially in da Siskiyou mountains areas where we doo travel furrequently.

Howlever, dogspite da high temps and wildfire worries, ourwoofselves + Ani Meezer dooin' wonderfur back-country vacay. Ourselves + Meezer luv road travel 'cuz Mum does stop along da way for fresh foods -- pastured humane meats and organic veggies and fruits from farmers markets. Meezer knows there is nothin' nommier for a carnivore than farm-to-bowl raw bisons and beefs.

'Ere you doo see mywoofself, right, chillin' with furbro in a roadside garden.

If yourself's chauffurr is thinkin' about driving up Highway 101 north all da way past Crescent City, California, then your chauffurr best stop in Illinois Valley ... 'cuz there be one arfully interestin' winery there. Mum sez "The viticulture of the Rogue Valley region is very interesting. They're producing better and better wines, especially the Viognier, Tempranillo, and Merlot."

Soon after wine tastings, there was LOTTA LATTE LUV for chauffurr (aka Mum). BOL

Anywhere not be wine country these daze?? Da wine grapes are growin' effurrywhere. You be ridin' down some mountain valley road far outs in da countryside, and suddenly da ranches and farms turn into vineyards like this one on Humbug Creek.

Yourself likes lavender? Then you will like da annual So OR lavender festival. Mum did 'ave her nose workin' offurrtime smellin' many different cultivars of L. angustifolia and lavandin.

Ourselves rode out to Goodwin Creek Gardens -- a furry famous and knowledgeable lavender grower! Mum so happy to visit their gardens. Mum has done lotta researches and writing about da species and cultivars of Lavandula, and also da medicinal applications.

At Goodwin Creek, da lavenders are furragnant. And da family members of all generations are fun. They are savvy 'bout herbs, farm-fresh foods, craft beers, and so much more!

Yourself likes organic local veggies or meats for supper? Yourself likes craft beer on tap? Then yourself likes da little restos and cafes in da middle 'o nowhere wot got freshest local foods and regional microbrews! Mum enjoyed big dinner + microbrews. Ourwoofselves got wee sippies 'o Walkabout pale ale.

Some 'o da rural fresh-food + brew cafes got da live musics and local-tourney pool tables too. Not your granddogdaddy's dive bars. BOL ...

(Ourwoofselves doo keep some 'o these pawlaces on "the QT" ... meanin' that ourselves doo not woof 'bout ALL da pawlaces where ourselves hang out. Soundin' snobby? Howl no. Jus' like to travel indognito sometimes. BOL)

Wot a crazzzy fun long day. Hotter 'n howl. But ourwoofselves did lotta cool water-soaked bandanas and ... awww ... da coolin' paws in ice waters. 

End 'o day on da trail. Ride back to camp.

Paw-script: In high-risk wildfire areas in summertime, ourwoofselves doo always travel with emergency evacuation readiness supplies, includin' lotta water and alternate-route maps. Pawleeze, furriends, doo not count on internets or simple road exits in da fire-pawrone back country eh.