Category Archives: Pets

How We Adjusted Raw Feeding For Our Dogs

After years of trying out various foods and diets, here’s how we have adjusted raw feeding for our dogs to fit our budget and convenience. Recipe and our favorite raw food brands included!

Raw Feeding For Our Dogs

When I recently talked about how we choose raw feeding for our dogs on Instagram, I got several questions requesting more details on their diet. I’ve talked about the benefits of raw food for dogs in this post and how it changed my dogs’ health, so I would start there if you want to learn more about it.

What is raw feeding?

Raw feeding is based on the guideline that our pets should eat the closest diet to that of their ancestors for optimal health. For dogs, that would mean eating like how wolves do in the wild. While wolves are omnivores, their ideal diet is based on raw meats, bones, and organs. You can also supplement with some veggies and fruits but they should be only a small percentage of their diet.

Raw Feeding For Our Dogs

Why we adjusted raw feeding for our dogs

When we first started out feeding our dogs raw, we used the BARF method (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods), with a high percentage of meat, some bones and organs, and very little veggies and fruits. It worked really well for a while and my Frenchie’s skin allergies went away and my Shih Tzu’s hair got so healthy and shiny.

However, both of them were losing weight rapidly with raw feeding and we were realizing that in order for them to stay a healthy weight AND eat like how they are doing, we would have to feed them way more and it would be way too expensive for us to keep up with all the meat we were buying.

A more balanced approach for our family

So we’ve been switching up their food for a few years to find something that would work for all of us: A healthy diet for the dogs with the convenience, both financially and physically, for us. This meant switching it up quite often to see what would work best for us: high quality kibble, prepared raw food products, homemade meals, etc.

In the past year, I finally landed on a more balanced approach that’s been working really well. I’ve been raw feeding them, but with some cooked veggies and a different ratio of components to keep their weight up. Upping their carbs with veggies helps them not lose weight, and cooking them makes them more digestible.

Raw Feeding For Our Dogs

If we are too busy or we forget to make their food, we purchase prepared raw food. Luckily, we live close to a pet store called Pet Food Express, that has some amazing raw food options and they even have homemade raw food as well!

However, if we are traveling and have to leave them with a sitter, we feed them freeze-dried raw food or high quality kibble. We don’t want the sitter to worry about wet food while we are gone (not everyone’s comfortable handling raw meats and organ meats), and the dogs do great on them for a short time.

My personal raw feeding guideline

Most of the food that I prepare for our dogs consists of raw meat. I use chicken or turkey, because I’ve found that fattier cuts of meat will upset their stomachs. Every 2-3 days, I’ll add raw bones to their food, such as cut up chicken wings or bones leftover from cooking (ALWAYS RAW, cooked bones can splinter).

When I can find organ meats, I add a bit of it to their food. If I can’t, I just sprinkle some Perfect Supplements’ powdered desiccated liver to their food, which is grass fed and packed with nutrients.

You can get 10% off desiccated liver and other Perfect brand supplements with code: GREATGRANDMA10!

Raw Feeding For Our Dogs

With veggies and fruits, my guideline is this: however much meat I give them, 20% of that will be veggies and fruits. This is all in weights. I have a cheap kitchen scale to measure everything out. I measure the weight of veggies and fruits when they are raw and then cook the veggies afterwards.

For example, if I’m preparing 5 lbs of meat for the dogs, 1 lb of that would be veggies and fruits.

Raw feeding recipe for our family

Raw Feeding For Our Dogs

Of course, this is more work than feeding them kibble, so I make a big batch of their food about every 2 weeks and keep the food in the fridge. Here’s my exact recipe that our dogs love:

Our Personalize Raw Feeding Recipe for Our Dogs

Author: Jean Choi

After years of trying out various foods and diets, here's how we have adjusted raw feeding for our dogs.

Print

Ingredients

  • 8 lbs raw meat usually turkey or chicken
  • 1 1/4 lbs organ meats liver, kidney, spleen
  • OR 4 scoops Perfect Desiccated Liver Powder Use code GREATGRANDMA10 for 10% off your entire order
  • 1 1/2 lbs raw veggies and fruits make sure they are safe for pets!
  • Small raw bones chicken wings or thigh bones

Instructions

  1. If the raw meat and organs aren't ground up or in small pieces, cut up into smaller pieces or pulse several times in the food processor.

  2. Measure out the veggies and fruits. Fruits can be eaten raw, but for sensitive tummies, steam the veggies until they are soft. I like to use the Instant Pot to cook veggies easily and quickly.  

  3. Cool the veggies and place in the food processor with the fruits.

  4. Pulse several time until they are in small pieces or ground up.

  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the meats, veggies, fruits, and Perfect Desiccated Liver Powder, if using. 

  6. Store in the fridge and feed the dogs during their feeding time. The quantity is different for all dogs so try different amounts until you find what's right for them.

  7. Add raw bones to their food every 2-3 days.

Recipe Notes

I have 2 dogs and one is 12 lbs, and the other is 25 lbs. This amount lasts me about 2 weeks for both of them.

Here are some of my favorite veggies and fruits to give my dogs:

  • carrots
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • sweet potatoes
  • plantains
  • apples
  • green beans
  • pumpkin
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • brussels sprouts
  • cantaloupe
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • mangos
  • oranges
  • pears
  • spinach

Raw Feeding For Our Dogs

Raw feeding may not be right for every dog.

Just like humans, not one diet works for every dog, AND THAT’S OKAY. I know many people who tried raw feeding for their dogs, but their dogs had a bad reaction to it. Some dogs may have evolved too much that they can’t stomach raw meats.

I definitely think it’s worth trying raw feeding for every dog because it truly has improved our dogs’ health dramatically, but I understand that it may not be right for everyone. In that case, you can feed them quality kibble or freeze-dried food instead.

If you want to try out raw feeding but don’t want to make your dog’s food or you are just too busy to, below are some of my favorite store-bought options, both frozen raw products and freeze-dried products!

High quality frozen raw food brands

Because these are frozen raw meats, you’ll have to see if your local pet store has them. However, a few do ship and deliver to your house.

High quality freeze dried raw food brands

There are some great freeze dried options as well, and these are great for when we are traveling and don’t want the dog sitter to deal with raw meat and bones. You just add water to them and they bulk up into wet food that our dogs love.

High quality kibble

We do feed our dogs high quality kibble when we are traveling as well, because they are much easier to find and really convenient on the go. There are so many brands out there, and we are still experimenting with what works best for our dogs. I’ll update with another blog post when we find one that we really love!


Hope this post helped you answer any questions about how I’ve been feeding my dogs. Again, this may change in the future depending on how my dogs react. Just like humans, our dogs need individual nutrition which may change overtime. I highly recommend you experiment with different meats, ratios, and veggies to figure out what works best for them!

Humankind Food for Dogs

Tracking PixelDisclosure: This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links for Humankind, 100% human quality food for dogs. I was compensated and received a product to try. I fully stand behind this product, and the opinions are 100% my own.

humankind food for dogs

I’ve talked before on the blog about how much research I do when it comes to feeding my dogs. They are the loves of my life and I want them to have the healthiest nutrition possible so they can live long, happy lives. Several years ago, I started both of them on a raw food diet because I believed that that is the best way for them to eat. While Radley (French Bulldog) saw drastic improvements in her skin allergies, Sally (Shih Tzu) actually started having digestive issues with plain raw meats. Just like humans, all dogs are different and have individual nutritional needs, so I’ve been switching up Sally’s food for the past few years to find one that’s best for her.

I really wanted to find something that’s:

  • Grain free
  • Filler free
  • Minimally processed
  • Free of artificial preservatives and coloring
  • Sourced from the highest quality ingredients with no low quality meat

So when I learned about Humankind, 100% Human Quality food for dogs, I was so excited because it checked off all the boxes. Not only that, all ingredients and production processes comply with the highest FDA regulations for human edible food. This is why they are labeled as “human quality” food which I haven’t seen on any other dog food on the market.

humankind food for dogs

One of the factors that sold me right away about Humankind was that they use whole, real foods and dehydrate them to preserve the nutrients. Most kibbles are processed at a high temperature which can strip away the beneficial vitamins and minerals, while potentially creating dangerous carcinogens. This is why I always like to choose minimally processed (or raw) when it comes to feeding our dogs.

Besides that, Humankind doesn’t use GMO ingredients or animal digest, and the meat is never sourced from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals. This is one of my top concerns with most pet foods no matter how “clean” they are. I love that Humankind is completely transparent about how they source and process their products.

humankind food for dogs

Most importantly, Sally has been loving her new food and she cleans her bowl every time, when she used to always leave some food behind when she was on kibble. Also, her digestion has been great and her coat has been extra shiny so I know I’m giving her the good stuff! I’ll definitely be keeping her on Humankind because she seems to be thriving on it and she enjoys it as well.

Discount Code: Treat your dogs with Humankind!

Now that I’ve talked all about why I fell in love with Humankind, I bet you want to give your dogs the best quality food for them as well! Use the code WGGA10 to receive 10% off your order when you shop HERE. They only have food for dogs right now, but they’ll have cat food as well in the near future!

humankind food for dogs

Thank you for reading this review! This is a sponsored post and I was received a free product to try to give my honest review. I hope that you give Humankind® a try if it’s something that works for your dog! Use an exclusive 10% off coupon by following THIS LINK and entering the code WGGA10!

9 Ways to Use Sauerkraut Juice

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

Do you throw out sauerkraut juice after finishing your sauerkraut? If you do, you are throwing out a nutrient-dense and health-promoting (and delicious!) liquid that you could be using in so many different ways! Before going into all the various uses, let’s talk a bit more about sauerkraut, and how to get the best quality.

If you are a fermented food lover like me, you probably know the amazing health benefits of a properly made sauerkraut. Not only is it chock full of vitamin and nutrients, it has a high dose of fiber and probiotics to feed your healthy gut bacteria to improve your immune and digestive system. I love what a huge difference incorporating sauerkraut into my diet has made in my digestion and overall health, and I highly recommend you try it out. It has actually been the best remedy for my candida symptoms because it doesn’t contain sugar like kombucha or yogurt that can feed the yeast.

I always prefer making my own sauerkraut because it’s so cheap and easy, and contains way more gut healing nutrients and probiotic strains than the store-bought kind. However, if you do decide to purchase it, always buy it from the refrigerated section and make sure it has the words “fermented” and/or “live cultures” on the label. The ingredients should also be pretty simple, usually just cabbage, salt, and water, without sugar or vinegar. Bubbies is one of my favorite brands that makes quality fermented products.

If you regularly enjoy sauerkraut, you are probably left with a varying amount of sauerkraut juice or brine, and you may not know what to do with all of it. Don’t let it go to waste! These are 9 of my favorite ways to enjoy sauerkraut juice:

1. Drink it straight as a gut shot

Have you ever walked around a health food store and come across “gut shot” products by Farmhouse Culture? That’s just sauerkraut juice that’s been bottled up!

If you don’t mind the sour tangy taste of the sauerkraut juice, this is one of the ways to get a healthy dose of probiotics very quickly. Since the juice contains just as much beneficial nutrients as sauerkraut, but in a more concentrated form, drinking it straight can be a really healthy supplement to your diet. I love taking a “gut shot” first thing in the morning and before going to bed, instead of taking probiotic supplements. Remember: probiotics in food form is much more absorbable by your body  (and cheaper!) than trying to get it from a pill.

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

2. Use it in salad dressing and other sauces

I love using sauerkraut juice to make dressings and various sauces. Almost all dressings and sauces need some kind of acid to make them tangy and more flavorful, like lemon juice or some kind of vinegar, and you can just substitute those ingredients with the same amount of sauerkraut juice. Not only does it give it a delicious flavor, it’s also way healthier!

3. Splash over cooked vegetables and meat

One of my favorite cooking tricks is, when you taste your food and you think it needs more salt, try adding vinegar instead. It’s an instant flavor boost, and your veggies and meat just taste so much better with a bit of acidity. Using sauerkraut juice as a vinegar substitute is a delicious and probiotic-rich way to elevate almost any savory dish and I do this for almost every one of my meals.

4. Make the next batch of sauerkraut or pickled veggies

Normally, you use cabbage, salt, the water “sweat out” from the cabbage, and/or a bit more water to make a new batch of sauerkraut at home (you can see the detailed instructions here). However, you can also use a bit of sauerkraut juice to mix into the new batch to give the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.

This helps the sauerkraut ferment faster, and helps ensure success if you ever failed at making sauerkraut in the past.

5. Add it to your favorite dip recipes

Another favorite method of mine! I love a good dip and they are usually so addicting because they have a delicious balance of salty and tangy. If you love salt and vinegar potato chips, you know what I’m talking about.

The next time you make a yummy dip like Caramelized Onion Bacon Dip, Paleo Pumpkin Hummus, or Dairy Free Salmon Cream “Cheese,” use sauerkraut juice instead of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for a fun, healthy twist!

caramelized onion bacon dip

paleo pumpkin hummus

Dairy-Free Salmon Cream Cheese

5. Give it to your pet

The probiotics and the nutrients in sauerkraut juice are just as beneficial for our pets as they are for humans! Just like us, we commonly administer medications and antibiotics for out pets starting at a young age, which compromise their digestion. Also, a typical store-bought kibble is quite dehydrating and deficient in necessary nutrients that are necessary for their optimal health. Supplementing with sauerkraut juice gives our pets enzymes and healthy nutrition, while repairing and restoring their gut, especially if they suffer from food allergies.

You can start by starting out with a teaspoon of sauerkraut juice splashed over your pets food (or even less if they are especially small) and increase the amount as necessary. My dogs looked a bit confused when they first tasted it, but they now enjoy it regularly without a problem.

6. Use it as a pickleback or in a cocktail

If you don’t know what a pickleback is, it’s when you take a shot of liquor and chase it with a shot of pickle brine. I know, I know… This isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to use sauerkraut juice, but hey, if I’m going to enjoy a drink now and then, might as well keep my health in check by replenishing my body with nourishing and healing nutrients. Am I right, friends?

You can also add sauerkraut juice to a refreshing, savory cocktail like a Bloody Mary or a Michelada. Again, if you are going to indulge in an unhealthy habit, this is the to do it in the healthiest way possible!

7. Marinate meat with it

You’ll commonly find some kind of acid (vinegar, wine, citrus juice, or tomatoes) in a meat marinade recipe because it tenderizes the meat faster and cuts down on cooking time by breaking down the protein bonds. Try using sauerkraut juice instead next time and you’ll find that it brings out a delicious flavor to the meat. I especially love using sauerkraut juice when cooking pork as they complement each other really well.

One quick note about using sauerkraut juice as a marinade: you won’t get the same healthy benefits after heating up sauerkraut juice so this is for the flavor purpose only. For its full benefits, enjoy it in its raw form.

9. Use it as a facial toner

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

You are probably thinking, ” What the f—??” But, it’s true! Sauerkraut juice makes a really great toner because of its acidity level, along with it beneficial nutrients.

The main purpose of a toner is to restore the pH level of the skin, which can be disrupted because of poor diet, stress, environmental toxins, and conventional skin products. Our skin should be on a slightly acidic side, but typically becomes more alkaline because of these disruptive factors. Using toners that are more acidic than our skin normalizes the pH level of our skin to where it should be.

Typical store-bought toners are filled with toxins and hormone disruptors that do more harm than good. By using naturally acidic sauerkraut juice, which is also filled with beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, it gently exfoliates the skin and can be quite helpful for skin conditions like acne and eczema.

I suggest you start out diluting 1 part sauerkraut juice with 4 parts water and building it up to 1:1 ratio depending on the sensitivity of your skin. Store this DIY potion in the refrigerator.

As you can see, there are so many different ways to use sauerkraut juice! The next time you have some leftover, I hope you save it to use in 1 or more ways listed above. It’s a delicious and health-promoting nutritional powerhouse! 

9 Ways to Use Probiotic-Rich Sauerkraut Juice