Saturday, March 7, 2015

Secret Ingredients

My Grandmother was a great cook. She cooked by feel and sight and taste and seldom used a written recipe. I once asked her to write down some of my favorites and laughed when I saw what she had written. " Use a little of this, a pinch of that and stir till it feels right."

I'm a pretty good cook now, but I didn't start out that way. Ask Rob. One thing I have always enjoyed is baking and I've always been pretty good at it. When I was a teenager, my Mom and I agreed not to use any mixes and always made our baked goods from scratch. It was good training and I think scratch cakes just taste better than mixes.

One thing I have learned over the years is that sometimes one special ingredient can make a dish extra good. It just adds a certain something that makes the smell or taste special. I was making dinner for Rob one day and the recipe called for red wine. I didn't have any wine in the house at the moment and didn't want to run out for it, so I substituted some cola that I had on hand. I expected it to just provide some moisture but I was really surprised when the mixture started fizzing. The spices in the dish reacted to the fizz in the cola and when we tasted it, the spices seemed stronger and more flavorful. Hmmm....

Well, I've learned about some secret ingredients that help in keeping my dogs healthy, too. We've been really lucky to meet Dr B who takes a special interest in nutrition. He's worked closely with us on finding healthy alternatives for our dogs.

Samba had issues with her nails at one time. The nails were cracking and chipping and were much too soft. We treated her with vitamin C and beta carotene, and although they improved, they still were bothering her. Then we added the secret ingredient that made all the difference.... zinc. Soon after adding zinc to her diet, we saw a huge improvement in her nails.

Now I have an aging group of dogs and they are starting to experience some of the age related aches and pains. Each morning every one of my dogs gets fish oil capsules. Actually, I train my dogs to take meds using fish oil because they all like the taste. Every dog gets at least one and those who have joint problems get more. Morgan currently takes five a day and we're working toward giving her eight.
 I always discuss supplements with our vet before giving them and he advises me on dosage and what to look for when  buying supplements. A while ago he told me to always look for fish oil caps that were molecularly distilled. This removes the heavy metals. I now look for this on the label.
After our bout with crypto a couple years ago, my dogs now get a daily B complex capsule. It helps with any number of things including skin and coat. The nice thing is that what isn't used in the body is excreted, so I don't worry about everyone getting it.

When Samba had trouble sleeping we tried melatonin. It didn't seem to do much for her but now Fudge is taking it because of some coat issues. His coat was thinning over his lower back. It seems to be growing in better now since using the melatonin.

Finally, I'm always on the lookout for something to help the pain of arthritic joints, not only in the dogs, but for us, too. I have arthritis in my fingers and Rob has an old shoulder injury that bothers him. Morgan has severe arthritis in her legs and hips. Bailey and Fudge each have some joint pain in their legs and though Tess isn't showing signs of pain yet, she has deformities in her front legs that will probably cause pain at some point. I increase their fish oil when they seem painful but recently I've been reading about tumeric being helpful for joint pain.

Earlier this week when I had Noah at the vet's office, I asked if he was familiar with tumeric for joint pain. He left the room and came back with a bottle of tumeric. He said it could definitely help them and showed me what to look for. We discussed dosage and a couple days ago I started giving it to not only my arthritic dogs but also to those with intestinal issues.

It's too soon to tell if adding tumeric to their diets will help, but it's another possible secret ingredient in my arsenal for keeping my gang healthy and active. We'll let you know what we discover.


Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

Tumeric is supposed to inhibit cancer cells. Someone told us that when Daisy had her tumour...but, it was too late then.

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

It is amazing what the right minerals and vitamins can do.

Anonymous said...

"The Medicine Mom" comes through again with more secret stuffs.....question, are you beginning to say secret chats and burn strange incenses?

We gotta try some of this...Mom copied all down!

The Mad Scots

Mitch and Molly said...

Your dogs are sure in excellent hands, Miss Sue, and we love reading these very informative posts. Thank you!

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

SissySees said...

You are wise! Tumeric is new to us. We'll have to ask about it too.

Nichole Burke said...

I'm very interested to hear how the turmeric works for both the dogs and you. That's completely new to us, but if it works, we'll have to get some. As you know, we've been treating Zeus' arthritis with tramadol and Cosequin. I treat myself with Aleve.

Jed and Abby in MerryLand said...

We snuck in and got on the 'puter while mama was out of the room. We try to check in on you guys as often as we can, but mama just doesn't have much get up and go anymore. Anyway, this post and the prior one were most informative and we've drawn mama's attention to it because it might help us. Abby is positively gray now and Jed has a lot of snow on his snozz, too. Glad Noah's eye is doing better.