San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

"Big or small, we feed them all!"

Member Profiles: Christine Emery & her “superstar naturel” Beauceron Hogan!

leave a comment »

 

hoganMember Christine Emery, has been feeding raw since 2008 and joined SFRAW January of 2013. She does herding and agility, plus mud and obstacle races with Hogan, her 4 year old Naturally Reared/Raw Fed (+ natural ears) Beauceron.

hoganelliotHer family also includes, Sammy 13 year old Havanese, and Elliott 11 year old Catalina Macaw.  She feeds a mostly prey model style diet, with the addition of supplements such as our “Vitality Blend”, probiotics as necessary, and the occasional piece of fruit, nuts, seeds, etc. Her dogs are completely healthy, enjoy exceptional vitality and balanced bodies, minds & temperaments thanks to their 100% raw diets.  She is committed to purchasing exclusively truly pastured, grass-finished and/or organic ingredients and foods for herself and her animals – becasue it is so much healthier and tastes better, too!

Hogan is a beautiful ambassador for Natural Rearing/Raw Feeding and has accomplished so much by the age of 4 years including these amazing current titles:

  • AKC Agility Excellent Standard
  • AKC Agility Excellent Jumpers
  • AKC Herding Started Sheep Master
  • AKC Canine Good Citizen
  • ASCA Started Sheep
  • ASCA Started Cattle

WOW! Go Hogan!!! We are in awe and so impressed by Christine & Hogan’s beautiful realtionship. Christine uses force-free handling/training techniques – and it has seriously paid off with how well they work together to achieve such amazing results!  What a team!

hoganchistine

Check out this YouTube video of them doing agility to see them in action together!🙂

 

 

 

Written by sfraw

November 25, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Q&A: Recommendations for healing after major abdominal/intestinal surgery?

leave a comment »

Q: hello smart raw feeders- my beloved dog had a big health scare this weekend.  he had a blockage in his gut and needed to have 30 inches of his intestines removed.  the vet has put him on a diet of baby food for a week.

my question is how should i handle his diet moving forward now that his intestines are compromised?  i wonder if this will affect the peristaltic action in the future and make digestion more difficult?  i winder if i should stay away from bones now and feed only ground with perhaps extra calcium supplementation?  also what probiotics if any would you recommend when the course of antibiotcs are over to restore his gut flora?

thank you!

A: I am so sorry to hear about your pup’s emergency surgery and removal of the this vital organ (well, part of). I hope he will recover as soon as possible without any complications.  He may or may not have residual issues from this event, but it’s great you are reaching out to do whatever you can to support his recovery and help him heal faster.  Hopefucap-lglutplly, he can heal up quickly and be back to normal soon!

I’d highly recommend the following supplements during this period of recovery:
1) L-Glutamine (best in the powdered supplement format). This amino-acid reduces rates of infection, reduces inflammation, improves gut barrier function, and improves immune function. It is an amino-acid that repairs the lining of the gut so it’s a great choice for this scenario.

Daily dosages for dogs: 1-25 lbs=250 mg; 25-50 lbs=500 mg; 50-100 lbs=1,00 mg; cats: 125 mg. Best if fed in water or broth before meals and at bedtime, but may be added to food.

660599201020_12) SeaCure is a nice supplement to promote/speed healing; it is an especially easy to absorb protein. I recommend it in cases such as this.

3) Probiotics! Please do not make the mistake of waiting to give probiotics after the antibiotic treatment is completed — you can, and should, start probiotics right away. In fact, it is the best way to counter the side-effects of taking antibiotics (more here – see references he provides – I do not suggest your dog take resistant starch at this time). You should start giving probiotics the first day of oral antibiotic treatment and continue them for at least an additional 2 weeks after the completion of antibiotic therapy. It has not been proven but it has been suggested to take probiotics and antibiotics at least 2 hours apart to reduce the possibility of the antibiotic killing the probiotic organisms. However, I have found that giving probiotics 10 minutes after the dose of antibiotics is the MOST effective way to reduce digestive upset, vomiting, inappetence and diarrhea in dogs and cats. Timing really can make a big difference here to curtail these unpleasant symptoms, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, a probiotic “chaser” given 10 minutes after the antibiotic, can be incredibly effective.msb-bottle
As for which probiotic product to choose: MegaSporeBiotic, Primal
Defense
(we carry both) or PrescriptAssist probiotics are all very stable, high quality choices for dogs and cats (and people!) that have chronic or mild issues with allergies or auto-immunity resulting in skin or gut problems, or for those that have never taken antibiotics or probiotics before.

However, if your animal has taken probiotics in the past without a dramatic improvement in their symptoms, I’d recommend one of the follo11-strain-50-gram-no-scoopswing products, which are expensive but very good:

The Gut Institute BIFIDO|MAXIMUS Histamine-Free and D-
Lactate Free Probiotic Blend 200 B CFU Daily for Microbiome Management
  or Custom Probiotics brand 11 Strain Probiotic Powder

 

 

The diet during this healing period should include lean, yet nutrient dense, easy to assimilate, high protein/meats from truly pastured animals. Sourcing is important here as high quality truly pastured meats are higher in beneficial fat/omega-3s, CLA, carotene, vita A/E/D — and larger quantities of all of these nutrients are needed/very helpful during this healing period.

Also important now is the inclusion of adequate levels of zinc to speed healing and support the immune system — which you can provide through the diet by simply feeding zinc rich foods such as (listed in order of zinc content and also digestibility): fresh/frozen raw, steamed/sautéed or canned oysters; braised calf, beef or lamb liver; raw organic tahini; freshly ground raw organic pumpkin seeds/pumpkin seed butter.

13963_shelled_oysters

My suggestion would be to make stews or cooked meals using beef, bison, venison or lamb muscle meat (ground or stew meat) + bit of liver and spleen. Do not feed many vegetables right now and certainly no grains or legumes at all — those will be hard on his system and increase inflammation. For calcium you can choose one of the following supplements: 1/4 TBS of Now Bone Meal powder, 1 tsp. of Seaweed Calcium or 1/2 tsp. of eggshell powder added to every lb of food. This is a necessary balancing supplement (not optional) – it can be added either before or after cooking – the minerals hold up to the heat of cooking ok.

Servings of bone broth made from these same meats (bones, tendons, ligaments, feet, heads, skin) will also be very healing; remember no onion and little to no salt (if you do use salt, be sure to use a natural salt, not regular table salt, please).  Feeding additional gelatin – I like Great Lakes Beef Gelatin – would be helpful, too.

parsley_leaf-product_1x-1403633255Ginger and a small amount of garlic will support healing/reduce the chance for infection, too. You can season to taste with culinary herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, chervil, cumin, turmeric, chamomile, mint — all will be beneficial for a variety of reasons. Just use what you have/can easily find, and what he seems to like best.  Organic, of course!

Bromelain in conjunction with quercetin is an excellent supplement to help speed up healing of the gut; as is Slippery Elm Bark Powder or Marshmallow Root Powder mixed with a bit of raw honey and raw, organic fresh tahini or raw/organic fresh pumpkin seed butter (whatever he likes best – you can make/roll into little balls to eat as treats) — these will sooth an inflamed GI tract and reduce digestive upset.

So long as he heals and starts to feel better and elimination becomes normal again, in about a week or two, you can start to feed less cooked foods/more raw. Usually by 3-4 weeks after this surgery, you should certainly be able to return to his normal raw diet — even including raw meaty bones, if this was normal before. I had a senior Great Dane that needed emergency “bloat” GDV + gastropexy surgery once. Even with some initial unusual/unexplained complications during the first 24-hours afterwards, he was back on raw meaty bones and his normal diet in under two weeks — despite his age, he recovered very quickly with homeopathy and TCM — you will just have to see how your dog does and let his progress guide you. Just remember to proceed slowly as it’s better to be conservative and cautious, rather than bold/daring, in these situations.🙂

This last part is not specific to your situation, necessarily, but I think it is important to provide this information, as it is related to the topic being discussed, and I hope it may possibly prevent an animal from going through this traumatic and life-threatening crisis. I hope the below information may be of benefit to others:

BE AWARE OF THIS RISK

Please be aware that if he is taking a NSAID (pain/arthritis medication: list of drugs in this class used in veterinary medicine can be found here) or corticosteroids (for allergies or other autoimmune diseases – list of commonly used drugs can be found here) for any reason, one of the most common side-effects of these drugs (no matter what diet he is eating) are gastrointestinal including the very serious issue of bleeding, intestinal blockage, and perforation.  Whenever I have a consultation to discuss diet/nutrition, I always ask about medications the animal is taking, as these types of drugs carry this risk as a common side-effect. If they are planning to continue the drugs, this informs my suggestions for putting together a safe diet for that individual.

So, if your dog is taking either of these types of commonly prescribed drugs, I would reconsider the feeding of whole raw meaty bones while on these medicines, simply because he will be at a higher risk for these possible side-effects.  It may be safer to feed ground meaty bones instead, but the risk remains — even when they eat kibble, canned or cooked purees/baby food. It’s just a side-effect that comes along with these drugs. Of course I know people who are aware of the risk, and yet have decided that the benefits of feeding whole meaty bones outweighs the risk. It’s just important to me that people know so they can make informed decisions.

Alternatively, (of course, it is my recommendation:) you can just completely reconsider using these drugs and move to the use of safer medical options/treatments to manage inflammation/pain or chronic illnesses. A skilled and experienced holistic veterinarian will be able to better manage whatever chronic health issues your animal may have through the use of alternative modalities – chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, herbs, etc. This way, you can not only eliminate the risk of the side-effects of using these drugs, but also continue to feed raw meaty bones for the many health benefits they provide!

Hope this helps and that your god boy is on the mend — with many happy, healthy days of meaty bone meals ahead!🙂

 

 

 

Written by sfraw

November 16, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Posted in Q & A, Uncategorized

Q&A: Plastic in Your Raw Pet Grind?

leave a comment »

Occasionally, we have (rightfully) concerned raw feeders send us photos or bring us in samples of worrisome bits of plastic-looking material that they found in their pet’s food.

While it has only happened a few times in all the years we have been selling and making raw foods, we take each and every one of these concerns very seriously. Thankfully, this has happened only twice with our own food, and a few other times with other products that we sell. Fortunately, the mystery object was immediately and very easily identified as either fish scales, part of an animal’s organs, or pin-feather quills – all 100% edible and perfectly safe to feed.

Question: Hi Kasie, I wanted to ask you about something I found in the EcoPawz food.  I’ve noticed it a few times and was wondering if it’s plastic?  I had a photo of one next to a dime, but couldn’t find it now.  The few times I saw it, it looked like a flattened straw.  There could possibly be times when I missed it and fed it to the dogs.  Anyway, it felt like plastic to me, and I didn’t know what part of an animal it could be if it wasn’t.  Please let me know if you have an idea of what it could be.  Thanks so much!  Christine

Answer: Hi Christine, Thank you for asking. Yes, I DO know what that is!  Rest assured, these odd looking bits are not plastic! These are just feather quills/shafts – also referred to sometimes as pin feathers – 100% natural and a part of the turkey, duck or chickens (any bird); they are just a natural part of the bird that is found in the skin.  Totally edible and completely safe to feed. No worries! Cheers, Kasie


 

At SFRAW, we put an enormous amount of effort and care into each and every product that we provide to our dear members. As the founder, I genuinely love, admire, and an inspired by the obvious concern SFRAW members have for their animals well-being. The intention and work they put into ensuring they are feeding the safest, healthiest foods to their beloved animals is, after all, a shared interest, important responsibility, and common goal we all have as part of this wonderful community.  I am humbled to know that all the work and research we do to provide the very best possible for our members, is not only relied upon, but also appreciated by our most conscientious and observant members.

 

We had some bits presented to us yesterday, and it was definitively determined, with the help of meticulously and carefully reviewing the product in question with our production staff, to be a sardine fish scales.  The sardines we have right now are a bit bigger than in the past, and the scales looked like this (top is of the fresh scale, bottom of the one brought in to us):

fishscale

sardine fish scales can certainly resemble a piece of plastic to the uninitiated! 

We encourage people to inspect all food & treats that you provide to your animal before feeding – examining edible items upon serving and smell for freshness. Be sure anything you give to your animals looks and smells as expected/normal, to make sure it is safe to eat.

If you see anything questionable – please, take the time to report this to the manufacturer/butcher/producer where you got the food. Give them a chance to examine your findings – it may be something problematic, or you may be surprised to learn about odd bits that look a lot like plastic, but are really just edible parts of your animal companion’s fresh raw natural meals!

Ever noticed unusual colors like green or rainbow tint to your raw or frozen meat? We were once delivered a few bags of green tinted beef cuts, but it’s been many years since that happened. Thankfully, we learned that it was not a safety or quality issue in that case – we contacted the producer to determine the cause, and they were even kind enough to replace the product to ensure we were comfortable feeding it to our animals. Learn more about the different colors that may be found in your raw/frozen meat & poultry and what they may indicate/if they are safe to eat or not here.

Written by sfraw

November 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Posted in Q & A, Uncategorized

Seaweed Blend for the cure: every single body is unique & finding the right remedy/dose for the individual

leave a comment »

Wanted to share this interesting story about one of our members who had been struggling with a coat & skin condition issue in her black Great Dane, Miles. This story provides a fine example of how supplementation is sometimes necessary to correct imbalances in individual animals. It also illustrates how sometimes nutritional imbalances may occur even in animals eating a fresh food diet, from stress or an unknown cause, even when provided a “balanced” diet that others would thrive on and not show the same imbalances.

It is important to remember that every individual animal/person is unique when it comes to how they tolerate, digest and metabolize foods; health and nutritional needs will change over time or during periods of stress/illness. We must be willing to consider and analyze every diet/menu on an individual basis to find what is most helpful for that particular being at the period in time.  Nutrition and health is never really a “set-it-and-forget-it” done deal – it’s a dynamic journey that we partake with our animals over many years (if you’re lucky!)

What you feed now and what you may feed a year from now is likely to change based on your animal’s individual needs, new information we gather from ongoing research/new understandings about nutrition or health, and our experience/comfort level with preparing and feeding our animals fresh foods (for example, you may only feed ground bone now, but eventually change to become more comfortable in feeding whole meaty bones/prey model; or feed raw now but eventually decide to switch to a home-cooked diet in your ailing or older animal).  It is important to always remain open to making necessary changes, and to let your animal’s symptoms guide you along the way; their physical and behavioral symptoms/expression of health or dis-ease is how our animals communicate with us about what’s working (or not). It is important to pay attention, and be open to trying new things.

Many of you know I am generally resistant, or at least initially hesitant, to recommend or use even the highest quality supplements when first approaching an imbalance or problem. I prefer to focus on simply providing excellent nutrition using the highest quality, wholesome ingredients to address any challenges or imbalances -“letting food be thy medicine” and giving the body a chance to bring itself into balance when given the tools and circumstances to do so.

I am inspired and amazed on a daily basis with what our animals can do if just simply given the opportunity (removing chemicals, stress, routine “preventative” treatments, providing them with adequate mental and physical exercise, access to a clean, healthy home environment, etc.), TIME (patience), and species appropriate fresh, wholesome foods to heal themselves.  Oftentimes, doing less will provide the most dramatic gains and turnarounds.

Miles has been raw fed since being adopted many years ago. He has always enjoyed a beautiful, healthy shiny black coat up until a sudden change that occurred during a period when he was boarded (with a raw feeder) in the spring. Miles’ glossy dark coat had turned reddish/light brown and become very thin/balding – he had a black mohawk of fur along his spine, but the rest of his coat was a very thin and had turned a brown/reddish color.

img_09541

Miles’ coat went from black, thick, glossy to dry, thinning and reddish-brown in color. It happened very quickly and was quite alarming to all involved! This is a photo of his hip area, but this change had occurred all over his body with the exception of his spine (he looked like he had a black mohawk).

There are a number of medical conditions that can cause this type of change including hormonal/endocrine disorders, non-endocrine and seasonal pigment/coat & skin disorders. However, as time went on and the veterinary visits/lab tests revealed he was completely healthy, we ruled out those common possibilities. We do not know what caused the change in his coat condition, but we thought for sure after a few weeks that it would return to normal with a few minor tweaks to the diet.

Miles was eating a diet recommended by his holistic veterinarian of 50% cooked carbohydrate (rice) and 50% raw lamb, beef and pork meat/organs along with a daily serving of consumable raw meaty poultry bones plus supplements including SFRAW Seafood Medley few times a week, egg few times a week, canned sardines in water, Halo Dream Coat, Healthy Powder with Bone Meal (on days he does not get the RMB) and Vitality Blend – not every supplement was given every single day but these were used in rotation.

While I have concerns over including carbohydrates in our dog’s diet: especially in this particular case, for the phytates/phytic acid content in the grains may have been inhibiting mineral absorption; his diet had been composed with the advice of his veterinarian and agreement from his person that this was best for Miles, so I was wanted to respect this choice.

Over the years I have known Miles and his person, we had made modifications to the diet including the elimination of certain foods that were causing issues, and the inclusion of others to address his dietary needs, maintain an ideal weight, and balanced overall health.

With the sudden coat condition issue he was experiencing and not resolving, we added additional White Gold, kelp powder, digestive enzymes, and red palm oil.

Eventually, we swapped the kelp powder for my Seaweed Blend. I would not normally recommend additional kelp or the Seaweed Blend when Healthy Powder was already being used due to a concern of over-supplementing with iodine and possibly impacting healthy thyroid functioning.

As the months passed, discouragingly, the conditon would not fully resolve. He went though a period of very flaky skin with copious dandruff production and shedding. My suggestion was to curry comb and massage the coat/skin to help aid his body “detoxify” as his body worked to get back into balance; allowing for a healthy new coat to return (I hoped). As I had expected, the dandruff resolved rather quickly, but the coat pigment issue and thinning remained a problem – especially on his hip area. It was perplexing.

While we saw glimpses of improvement here & there (the red fur started to look shiny instead of dry, and small patches of thick black fur began to grow, but just small patches and it was taking too long), his condition never fully resolved to the point where we were both satisfied with considering him 100% back to normal.

By this time I felt that we had given his body adequate time to resolve the issue on its own or with the gentle nutritional aids we had incorporated, and that we needed to make a dramatic move with his supplement routine — we decided to increase the Seaweed Blend dose by more than 4x the recommended amount (!!)  It was a little scary, but we set a short time limit for how long we’d use this dosage, just to see what we might be able to achieve and how his body would respond.

Miles responded beautifully! In just two short weeks, his coat went from being sparse and lightly colored to thick, rich, black and glossy again! He has improved completely to the point where we feel he is totally normal and he is, fortunately continuing to maintain a beautiful, healthy skin & coat condition.

This was the right choice for Miles; we made a bold move to supplement with a potent combination of seaweeds that in another dog could have actually even been harmful.  But for Miles, this dose was just what he needed to regain his health.

We have tapered off the megadose, and settled into what his body communicated was the right amount for Miles with good results: he feels and looks wonderful and has been given a clean bill of health from his veterinarian.

As a side, but related note: Miles was a rescue that had a difficult start. He has been on a long journey with his incredibly dedicated person to address rather challenging behavioral health issues. This also has improved so much recently/along with the skin/coat health, that the below video of him interacting with other dogs brought us both to tears.

Miles and Shana have come so far together — this video would have never seemed possible just a few short years ago. This is truly a beautiful moment in time to see him interact with not only one, but two strange dogs (and the second dog came out of nowhere — normally a major trigger for Miles, but he handled it pretty well!) and boy, look at that gorgeous coat he has now, too!

Thank you to Miles and his dedicated person, Shana for allowing us to share your story.  It is an honor to know you both and to see how far Miles has come with your good, intelligent, responsible, compassionate, wise, and loving care!

Written by sfraw

November 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm

*WINNING* Weekend for SFRAW Members + Oct Member Referral $100 Shopping Spree Winner!

leave a comment »

We were amazed to see all the cool posts on Facebook/Instagram over the weekend from our members doing outstanding things with their dogs.  Please join us in celebrating and congratulating the following SFRAW members that had these impressive achievements made by our members over this past weekend:

14656274_10154790422662089_7655521283440085212_n

Hurrah for Halley our new Champion, and to Susan for whom Halley will do anything. Photo credit: Gary Ellis

Joyful news from our dear friends and long-time SFRAW members, Gary Ellis and Susan Schroder, who finished their gorgeous Halley who was winners bitch at the SCOA Regional and GSFSC (Saluki) Specialty in Pleasanton, CA!

 

 

Juliette Noh’s dog, “super” Cooper won his championship in agility — very well done Cooper!

14700807_1194681617241687_6513762983641467441_oZero (the *blind* Aussie) and Dianne Morey achieved 2nd place at the Splash Dogs National Championship Finals in Las Vegas, NV!

14724554_1030050143760274_8822900434408774356_nDonna Highstreet’s beautiful, Naturally Reared Logan earned his ASCA Agility Trial Championship (ATCH) at the NNASC trial in Carson City, NV.

We are so impressed with all these people and their dogs doing such cool things – we recognize that all of these various achievements are attainable only after a great deal of hard work and dedication.  Hats off!

SFRAW Member Referral Card Drawing Winner! Speaking of winners, congratulations to SFRAW member, Betty Wong for being the lucky winner of this month’s SFRAW $100 shopping spree (chosen via random monthly drawing).

Our referral card program is a great way to spread the word about SFRAW and raw feeding and you get a chance to win our monthly drawing, too!

And good luck to Stormy and Betty this coming weekend when they will be competing again after their volunteer shift at SFRAW. As you can see below, Stormy and Betty have had some very impressive wins already! Hope the winning streak continues!🙂

10477633_10204518365109219_2918433919034126825_o

SFRAW MEMBERSHIP REFERRAL CARDS: PICK SOME UP NEXT TIME YOU’RE IN!

All Current SFRAW Members are eligible: simply write your name on the card, give them to friends as an invitation to shop at SFRAW for a one-time 30% off discount.

When we get the card from your referral at the point of purchase, we will enter your member card into a monthly drawing for a **$100 credit** to shop at SFRAW!

Many of you have dogs/cats that are incredible ambassadors of raw feeding & living endorsements of the power of raw feeding – this prompts conversation about raw feeding or SFRAW with friends and acquaintances. To support this, we decided to also include a listing of the “Benefits of Raw Feeding” on the back of the card.

Thanks to our members for spreading the word about raw feeding, helping animals to get healthier by eating whole, fresh, REAL foods, and supporting SFRAW!

Written by sfraw

October 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Seasonal Nutritive Herbs: Seasonal Herbs used in our SFRAW Formulas, Vitality Blend & sold seperately

leave a comment »

SFRAW’s Seasonal Nutritive Herb Blends are balancing nutritional food supplements – for everyday use! We add our seasonal herb blends into our SFRAW Formulas, Vitality Blend, and we sell them seperately so you can add them to your own foods/meals at home. Complements any commercially-bought or home-prepared diet.

Our Seasonal Blends were developed for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall – a different blend for each season, helps to keep your dog or cat’s body in harmony with nature’s seasonal changes. The herbs used in our seasonal blends have exceptional balancing and nutritive qualities. Beneficial seasonal herbs are blended with wholesome food herbs, and the result is a healthy, balanced, systemically strengthening whole food supplement.

We use clean, fresh, 100% certified organic, properly harvested, nutritious leaves, grasses, seeds, roots, flowers, and berries that animals have foraged in the wild for centuries. These balancing and nutritious plant foods are not readily available to most domesticated pets. Try our seasonal herbs for a month; you’ll soon notice the difference in your pet’s overall health!

After incorporating the use of nutritve herbs as part of a natural raw foods diet since 1989, our founder, Kasie devleoped our Seasonal Nutritive Blends in 2002. SFRAW has been offering these 100% organic/wild-crafted seasonal herb blends for over a decade with great success. The following blends are available seasonally:

Available December-February
Winter: Alfalfa, Red Raspberry Leaves, Chamomile, Mullein, Burdock Root, Rosehips.

Available March-May
Spring: Nettle Leaf, Dandelion Root, Dandelion Leaves, Milk Thistle Seed, Oregano, Rosemary, Vervain.

Available June-August
Summer: Alfalfa, Oatstraw, Fennel Seed, Hawthorn Berry, Barley Grass.

Available September-November
Fall: Nettle Leaf, Irish Moss, Thyme, Parsley Leaves & Root, Coriander Seed, Marshmallow Root.

Fall Blend is a combination of the following 100% certified organic ingredients:
nettle_leaf-product_1x-1411395549

Organic Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica)  Nutritive food herb (abundant in vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, silicon and sulphur), alkalizing, rich source of minerals, antihistamine, good for allergies and skin conditions, blood cleanser, nourishes and strengthens the kidneys, aids with diarrhea and dysentery, digestive aid and cleanser, relieves fatigue.
irish_moss_21831-product_1x-1429306846-1Organic Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)  Nutritive seaweed (contains protein, polysaccharides, carrageenans, beta carotene, iodine, bromine, iron, minerals, vitamin A and B1), traditionally employed as an excellent restorative herb to speed recovery from debilitating illnesses, anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant (used for stomach ulcers), anti-viral, demulcent, expectorant, excellent for restoring proper lung function, soothes the digestive system, stomach and urinary tract, tones and strengthens glands, has been used as a food for diabetes patients.
coriander_seed_powder-product_1x-1403631121Organic Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum)  Nutritive food herb (contains linalool, geranial, vitamin C and potassium), reduces flatulence, digestive aid, stimulates appetite. Traditionally used for all gastric and digestive issues including hernia, nausea, diarrhea, and bowel spasms. It has been used to treat measles, hemorrhoids, toothaches, worms, and joint pain, as well as infections caused by bacteria and fungus.

thyme_leaf-product_1x-1403634331
Organic Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)  Expels worms (especially hookworms) and gas, excellent for digestive and respiratory tracts, fights gingivitis, helpful for asthma. Traditionally used for a variety of ailments including bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bedwetting, parasitic worm infections, and some skin disorders.
marshmallow_root_powder_m11144-product_1x-1423001701Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis)  Nutritive food herb (high in calcium and vitamin A), soothes, lubricates and protects internal tissues and mucous membranes, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, soothes urinary and gastrointestinal inflammation, aids in removing toxins from the body, lowers blood sugar, stimulates the immune system. Marshmallow can be used for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract; for dry coughs, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, constipation, urinary tract inflammation, and urinary stones.

 

Parsley Leaves and Root (Petroselinum crispum)  Nutritive herb (rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K, A and C, as well as calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, boron, fluorine, niacin, zinc, potassium, copper, manganese and iron), high chlorophyll content acts as a natural breath freshener, this cleansing herb has a carminative, tonic and laxative action, but is primarily used for its diuretic properties, used traditionally as a liver tonic and as a means of breaking up kidney stones, alleviatives hives and other allergy symptoms, the roots carminative action can relieve flatulence and colic. The Vitamin K in parsley promotes bone strength, but it also has a role in the treatment and possible prevention of Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain. Parsley helps to relieve conditions such as colic, indigestion, and intestinal gas; as well as helping to purify the blood and fight cancer, and detoxify the system of harmful compounds like mercury.

 

RECCOMENDED USE:
Please use each Seasonal Blend during the specified season, as rotating herbs is essential to their conscientious use, nutritional balance, synergistic healing and strengthening effects. We do not recommend feeding a single seasonal blend for more than 4 months.

For best results, we suggest combining with SFRAW HEALTHY POWDER  (or Standard Process Whole Body Support) + SFRAW RED GOLD, SFRAW Seafood Grinds, or fozen fish, mussels, clams or oysters, as the perfect whole food supplement protocol.

HANDLING: Store in a cool, dry place.

FEEDING: 1 Tbs. per pound of food. Use directly from the bag (dry, mixed in or sprinkled onto food) or steep 2 tsp. in 8 oz. of hot water for 15-20 minutes or until room temperature, then strain and add suggested amount to the food as a tea/infusion. Store unused tea in the refigerator and use within 2-3 days. Most dogs love the flavor of the seasonal herbs – consider them to be a tasty, healthful seasoning.

Rotating herbs is essential to their conscientious use, nutritional balance, synergistic healing, and strengthening effects. We do not recommend feeding a single seasonal blend for more than 4 months. We strongly recommend a fresh, whole foods diet for optimal health – feeding raw or home-cooked meals are best. Feed herbs 4-6 days a week or cycle the feeding of herbs for 3 weeks on/1 week off to achieve best results.

28d8ae28deccc4bd0f244a34025edc1d

One of Kasie’s favorite books from a true wise woman, hero, and visonary – originally published in 1955.

Not recommended for pregnant animals, or for puppies or kittens under the age of 12 weeks. Please use as directed unless advised otherwise by a licensed veterinary health care provider. Individuals may experience negative or allergic reactions to any product. Should this happen, discontinue use.
Rara Avis products and information have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA or any other governmental agency. Our products are not meant to diagnose disease or replace licensed veterinary care. Our products are not pharmaceuticals or drugs intended to treat, prevent, mitigate or cure disease.

 

Written by sfraw

October 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ethical, Humane, Sustainable Meat? Let’s Talk About Standards (or “the reason why I started SFRAW!”)

leave a comment »

Sustainable, ethical, humane, organic, pastured, local…

These are just a few of the descriptors that you will find when seeking out the best possible food for you and your family members.  We know that it can be incredibly confusing and also that it takes a lot of research and effort to source foods REALLY produced in a manner that honestly reflects these ideas and concepts.

It can be confusing to know if these labels actually mean anything at all — is that label or phrase defined, regulated or established by third-party certification and auditing? Perhaps it is part of a state or governmental program; or designed by private or industry certifications?

No matter how a product is labeled or described, it IS possible to find food that is in alignment with what your own values and standards are for ethical, humane and sustainable — it can be certified and verified or not — being certified does not always guarantee it is in alignment with your own personal values for what you want to support. The best you can do is to know your producer — visit the farm, learn about what they do and how they do it. This is not always possible, however, so most people need to rely on online or local guide/rating system or suppliers that you can trust to do this research for you.

One of the best places to learn more about these issues and the meaning behind these words is the Sustainable Table website. Their page titled, “These Labels are So Confusing” is a great place to start to better understand the various catch-phrases used within the food industry. The website is dedicated to the larger issue of sustainability and all this encompasses; doing a fairly good job making an incredibly complicated and complex number of issues related to sustainability and our food system in the US, understandable and digestible (pun intended!) Two related websites are the “Eat Well Guide” and “The Meatrix” (check out the original Meatrix video below):

When I first started SFRAW in 2003, my primary goal and focus was to seek out meats and related animal-derived ingredients that were raised humanely, outside of the unhealthy and cruel industrialized food system (“factory framed”) in order to provide species appropriate nutrition to the carnivores under my care.

At the time, it was very difficult to source a variety of proteins that were in alignment with my personal values for sustainability, animal welfare, and wholesomeness. Certifications and industry programs that related to these issues were not nearly as abundant as they are now. For example, in 2003, grass-finished beef and pastured lamb were not difficult to source but pastured poultry or truly pastured eggs were not commercially available in CA yet; pastured pork was just getting started here — thanks to Liz Cunningham — and because supply for this was so limited, the best option was Niman Ranch’s pork products from the mid-west.

I was on a constant hunt for suppliers and the industry was experiencing a lot of change (mostly for the good; but also included a lot of small operations not making it – saw many come & go – reliability was – and to some extent, continues to be – a serious challenge).  Over time, I developed relationships with small-scale producers that were putting in a genuine effort to bring food to market with far more care and consideration for the animals, environment, and people involved throughout the supply-chain and from “farm to table”.  Some foods I could find locally, others I had to get from a distance (and consider the carbon-footprint and economic impacts of making such a decision).  It was (and still is!) vitally important to support those producers doing things differently — they are working incredibly hard to change, and do things in a better way. These producers are brave, dedicated, and resilient visionaries that are dedicated to producing wholesome, healthy foods  in a manner that aligns with their ethics and ideals — they are in it for the love of the work, the animals/environment, and to provide a better, healthier future for all, not for greed or financial gains at any cost.

My goal continues to seek out sources that allow for me to:

  1. honor the animals under my care for their true nature and nutritional needs; food raised in this manner are typically much more nutritious/nutrient-dense, wholesome and safer.
  2. honor the animals being raised for food in a manner that was respectful to their true nature, in how they were allowed to live & how they were handled and cared for during their lifetime;
  3. honor the environment and health and well-being of the entire planet (air & water quality are local issues that have a global impact!);
  4. honor the human beings involved with producing these foods for us; this includes every person involved along the supply chain: the workers that raise their animals with care and kindness (doing this work 24/7 with a lot of inherent challenges associated with food production and working with living beings/ecosystems: draught, floods, illness, etc.);  those working in the processing plants; and the local independent wholesale distributors that bring these products to market and make them available at your local grocery/butcher, restaurant, and yes, your freezer at home! Supporting the local economy, and the health and well-being of the people involved in this industry is a part of the sustainability landscape when it comes to food – this aspect is never overlooked.

Over time, the options available to me here in California broadened and the standards of my suppliers/producers have not only maintained (for the most part) but a few have even continued to improve upon their already fine programs! Those that have succeeded in doing so have earned my respect — these companies or individuals are willing to look objectively and critically at what they are doing, identify opportunities where they could improve and have worked hard to make things even better.

For example, non-ruminant animals being certified as GMO-free, soy-free or corn-free were much harder to find than they are now — while still not easily available, change is happening! More and more producers are making efforts to elevate their practices and improve what they are doing every single year. While it is heartbreaking to learn of yet another small-scale producer that is doing a beautiful job with the food they produce not making it/shutting down or struggling to survive (trust me, the struggle is real for every single producer doing things in a way that falls outside “the norm”); from my vantage point of focusing on these topics and sources for over 10 years, it has been an encouraging and hopeful experience to see how much special individuals within the industry as a whole has pushed for change, and how much we continue to learn about sustainability over the past decade.

The first place I went to find sources for SFRAW, was Jo Robinson’s Eat Wild site. This website continues to be an excellent resource for learning about pasture-based food production, and for sourcing excellent grass-finished, truly pastured meat and poultry.

logo

If your goal is focused on sourcing meats raised humanely to specific animal welfare standards, the Humaneitarian website provides good information and suggestions on sourcing “humane” meat/poultry.

Another place to find a great collection of resources that focus on a variety of food related concerns, check out the CivilEats website.

IT’S OUR MISSION

As a vegan for close to 35 years and raw feeder for over 25 years, the troubling and ethically difficult aspect of sourcing when feeding raw was the number one reason why I started San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW) — to source meats/ingredients that had been raised and produced in a manner I consider honorable (honoring the animals for their true nature; treating them with dignity and respect).

Since 2003, these objectives have remained unchanged and our focus has stayed true to our founding principles:

SFRAW’s Mission
1) To give thoughtful consideration to and conduct business in a manner that honors the health and wellbeing of all species (human, wild, farm and domestic animals);
2) To be a discriminating purveyor of high-quality, ethically produced, truly wholesome & pure, genuinely natural foods & lifestyle products;
3)  To develop and produce the best wholesome raw pet foods and truly natural pet products with a focus on using pastured, organic, local, sustainable, wild-crafted ingredients;
4) To provide these products and services at a fair cost to both the consumer and supplier;
5) To support outstanding ranches, farms, small businesses and individuals that work hard to produce products with integrity and honor;
6) To unite a diverse community that share a common interest in wholesome foods & Natural Rearing;
7) To cultivate a compassionate and informed community that educate, inspire, and support one another;
8) To mentor through education about feeding whole fresh food diets to pets and Natural Rearing principles.

OUR RATING SYSTEM: SFRAW STANDARDS

The vetting/rating system I’ve developed for SFRAW is vigorous and my personal standards are high — not many producers “meet the grade” to be represented by SFRAW. I take sourcing very seriously. Each new supplier is given very careful consideration and involves the building of strong personal relationships because trust and KNOWING your producers personally is, in the end, our best insurance policy for buying from those doing things we can support and feel good about.

One of our favorite producers has a saying, “my animals have just one bad day in their entire lifetime” — it is, of course, sad to think about the harvest/slaughtering of sentient beings, but he makes sure this is handled with reverence, respect and in as stress-free a manner possible up to the very end (they personally walk with their animals and handle them up until their last breath), and every single day of their lives leading up to that point are VERY good days for the animals raised under his excellent care.

These producers are rare and may not be easy to find. It takes a lot of work and diligence to establish mutually beneficial programs that are sustainable for all involved, and to maintain these relationships, because things inevitably do change over time.

It is upsetting for those “in the know” when companies green-wash their products or use catch phrases that do not translate to the reality of what is actually happening on the farm/ranch or at slaughter.

For example, in stark contrast to our Gold Standard producers, I was once proudly assured by a potential supplier that all of their beef was, indeed, “100% ranch raised!!!” — yep, “ranch raised” was the best he could provide to describe the beef he wanted to sell to me.

Oh my goodness…after that, I can only remember after that call just laughing to tears for about an hour! Ranch raised!? Seriously? Where else is beef being raised? On the moon? In the ocean? As if that phrase meant anything at all and was going to really impress me to want to work with them?!

“Ranch raised” (and I have actually seen this used/promoted by raw pet food producers!) is an utterly meaningless term with regards to domesticated livestock (for wild game meats, it may possibly lead to a discussion and further exploration about their program with a lot more Q&A…but tell me that your beef is ranch raised and I’ll promptly lose all interest!) Phrases such as this do not provide anywhere enough information at all about the standards of a supplier’s program — we want to know a lot more about the operation of that ranch to determine the quality of your program.

TAKE AWAY: “DO BETTER” BY DOING THE BEST YOU CAN

There are a number of standards in the US created by industry, by federal agencies and also by third-party organizations that can help consumers “do better” by looking for specific certifications that are meaningful.

Of course there is also a lot of misleading marketing catch-phrases (“ranch raised”) that do not necessarily translate into anything meaningful about how the ingredients or meats are being produced/raised at a genuinely higher standard.

In the end, everyone must do their best to procure and provide healthy, wholesome unprocessed food to our loved ones. It is not always easy to find producers that do everything you would hope for, and it usually costs quite a bit more for food provided by those that do.

For me, the most valuable thing for any person buying and eating food (for themselves or their loved ones) is that they at least give some thought and consideration to where the food is coming from/how it was raised. That’s a start and it can make a difference!  Even big national retailers like Whole Foods now have standards that consumers can use to help guide them to making better buying choices.

But don’t stop there, keep on digging, and keep on learning – soon, you will be amazed at how much you know and that you actually CAN find foods that are in alignment with your unique values.

Do the best you can with eyes wide open, be mindful of what you are supporting with your dollars, and aware of what we’re putting in our bodies and how we are nourishing our loved ones. Efforts made on a daily basis really do make a difference on the larger scale,  I have seen it happen in the agriculture industry and I know change is possible – it all starts with you!

Believe me, I know it is not easy and compromises sometimes need to be made to acquire certain foods with availability or budget constraints, but it is important to at least know what you are really buying = what you are voting for with your dollar, what actions and practices you support when it comes to food, animals, people, and the environment. And from a producer/supplier viewpoint, it is just as important for those in the industry to be as transparent and truthful about the standards of whatever they are selling/producing/representing, as possible.

IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND SUPPORT THE HEALTH OF THE WORLD THROUGH FOOD!

As consumers, we have a choice every day to make a vote for what we want to see more of in the world through our purchases in the marketplace. Food/eating is something most people/animals do daily and so it provides a unique and profound opportunity every time we attain or provide sustenance to do the best we can with regards to this, whatever our circumstances are.

As providers, we’re all just doing the best that we can to care for our loved ones to the best of our abilities.  The big companies that use marketing to “green wash” and misrepresent are doing their best to make as much profit as they can by appealing to consumers’ concerns and exploiting the good intentions most people have; to acquire greater and greater market share for the health of their company, whatever it takes.

But you can counter this through knowledge and informed purchasing decisions.  Utilize the resources listed above to do your homework and find great sources for food. Don’t get overwhelmed – just take it one choice at a time. Soon you will become an informed consumer — create your own standards that align with what you care and value most!

 

 

Written by sfraw

September 21, 2016 at 2:25 pm

%d bloggers like this: