Eating Raw, Eating Better

Last year, I THINK my New Year's resolution was to take Cabana to a beach at least 10 times. Since I can't really even remember if that was my resolution, it should come as no surprise that I didn't follow through on it. I might have made it to a beach about 3 times. Sorry, Cabana.

Resolutions, goal setting, or introspection of any sort, are not my thing. I'm much more of a do-er. I don't think I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person necessarily--but I'm really not sure what I am, obviously because I don't introspect!

But this year, after being motivated by all the other bloggers who have set goals and made resolutions for themselves, I would like to try to be more conscious of food. I'd like to eat healthier for sure, but even more than that, I'd like to be better at cooking. I'm not a bad cook, but cooking is WAY down on my list of things I like to do. My tendency is to make the same 5-10 things over and over again. Most of my meals are from scratch, but they usually take 15-30 minutes to prepare--fast and simple. I like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. We are vegetarians, so that limits our choices somewhat--or maybe that's just an excuse, since there are so many "new" grains and unlimited veggies out there now. This year, I resolve to break out of my rut and expand my repertoire.

A few months ago, when we were fostering Velveeta, the obese cat, the shelter vet recommended a raw diet to help her lose weight. I felt like I couldn't just buy the good stuff for Velveeta and not buy it for Cabana, so I bought them both some Nature's Variety frozen raw food, which is 95% meat (they have a lot of great meat varieties, as pictured above) and 5% vegetables. Zero fillers, zero grains. I was really impressed with the quality and how easy it is to feed. I had always thought raw diets would be a lot of work and hassle, but I was completely wrong.

Cabana now gets a mixture of raw food and high-quality kibble. She gets 2/3 cup of kibble and 2 oz of raw food for each meal. Nature's Variety has a great online tool that tells you exactly how much of each to combine, depending on what percentages you'd like to feed. Although it would be great to feed 100% raw, not everyone's pocketbooks will allow for that, mine included.

On my last trip to the pet store, I decided to try another brand of raw food. I picked Tucker's because the clerk said her dogs love it. I love how Tucker's patties come individually wrapped, which keeps them from getting freezer burn. Sometimes, the Nature's Variety patties looked a bit freezer burned from sitting in the pet store freezer too long.

Every other day, I let a patty thaw in the refrigerator, then cut it into fourths. When I put it in Cabana's bowl, I break it up into pieces, or else she'll eat the whole chunk in one big bite. When I break it up with my hands, I can feel an oily residue on my fingers with the Tucker's, but I didn't with Nature's Variety. For that reason, I think Nature's Variety might be a higher quality product and will probably go back to it. Or maybe I'll try another brand (maybe I DO fly by the seat of my pants).

I have always struggled to keep Cabana from being pudgy. With the addition of raw food, it's much less of a struggle, and I feel like Cabana looks leaner. Her coat is softer, and she sheds slightly less (still more than I'd like but what can you do). Of course, Cabana LOVES the raw food, but what doesn't this dog love to eat? Picky is not a word that describes Cabana.

Nature's Variety offers a coupon, if you want to give raw food a try and add that to your goals this year!

Dexter  – (January 12, 2013 at 4:54 AM)  

Nice to know I'm not the only one who sees no problem mixing raw with high quality kibble. Dexter gets 25% of his intake as raw. Mostly the Primal turkey and sardine blend. It never occurred to me to branch out. Mango had such a sensitive tummy that once I found something that worked I stuck with it. Now that it's just Dex, I might see what else is in the freezer.

Mango Momma

Raiser Erin  – (January 20, 2013 at 1:39 AM)  

A pair of friends have both their dogs on a full raw diet. I got to talking to them and one dog, the husky will ALL the food allergies and eating problems and stomach isssues, doesn't have these anymore. I've decided that with Hilly's finicky stomach and dry skin that I would put her on a full raw diet when I was done with University and she was living with me. So, I have over a year to get a feeding chart and plan set up for her. :) The raw diet does wonders.

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