WHAT IS PALEO?
Paleo is short for what archaeologists call the Paleolithic Period or Old Stone Age. The Paleolithic Epoch mostly coincides with what geologists call The Pleistocene Epoch which lasted from about 2,500,000 to 11,700 years ago. It is the period of time when repeated glacial cycles carved vast plains divided by crystal clear rivers and streams. This is the period of time where humans, the dog and the cat evolved as they are found today. It is pastoral evolution. Lush green grass flourished within massive bowls of fertile soil. Plant eating animals evolved and thrived in this post-glacial bounty. Herbivores mastered an efficient digestive tract where a partnership with probiotic bacteria could provide nutrients and energy from what would otherwise be indigestible plant material. The Woolly Mammoth eventually became the most grand of all, the shrew the smallest but most numerous.
All good things come to an end with regards to DNA however. Cellular DNA simply can not be perfectly replicated ad infinitum to replace the multitude of defective and aging cells within a body. Perfect copies of billions of sequences of DNA eventually become blurred and laden with defects over time. Be it a strange new poisonous plant, an infection, severe trauma or plain old DNA, no matter how perfect and Eden-like this pastoral existence – death is a certain consequence. Within a population of hundreds of thousands in a successful herd or colony of herbivores, carcasses inevitably become plentiful.
Scavengers became a necessary janitor of pastoral evolution. A shrew-like animal somehow evolved to consume flesh as well as vegetation. Thus begot the carnivore. These strange new mammals rapidly adjusted to prefer protein and fat as a short-cut to sun-derived plant energy. Competition among these new scavengers ensued and before long certain more highly evolved individuals became hunters of the weak. Some would hunt alone and quietly stalk while others hunted in packs. Survival of the fittest herbivore soon became a necessary response. The new meat-eating mammals hunted and preyed upon the weak or ill of a herd before they would suffer a prolonged and miserable death. The game was on and the bar was raised upon herd health. Certain viral or bacterial infections no longer had the opportunity to infect an entire population. An herbivore weakened by illness was swiftly culled by hunting carnivores before a pandemic had the opportunity to devastate the entire population. Omnivorous carnivores retained the ability to take advantage of the bounty of the sun and be it vegetable, fruits or nuts. Both the carnivore and the carnivorous omnivore continued to consume grass as they do to this very day.
The dog and the cat evolved of pastoral evolution to become the same as we know today. These are the select few animals that mother nature evolved to ensure the survival of only the most fit. Some of this upper hierarchy learned to hunt and capture the weak by themselves. Others evolved to form a cooperative pack to corral and cull the less athletic members of a herd. Together, sun derived energy and flesh derived energy was balanced. Carnivores were the sheriffs of herbivorous health.
Humans were taller and stronger than they are today and canines and felines were at the peak of predator evolution. The Paleolithic Period ended about 10,000 years before the pyramids were built. Canines had already partnered with mankind while Neanderthals were stalking the Woolly Mammoth. The dog is proven to have been a “pet” of humans during the upper or late Paleolithic era. Smaller felines were evolved and looked very similar to the Abyssinian over 100,000 years ago or more.
For humans, Paleo is a hunter-gatherer diet. For dogs and cats, Paleo is a whole-prey diet.
Cats will consume a small rodent or bird whole, in its entirety. A cat’s teeth and jaws are evolved to swallow, not chew. They do not have the flat-crowned chewing molars of a dog or a human. Henry David Thoreau described a domesticated cat as being quite natural and comfortable living full-time in the woods beside Walden Pond. Cats are frequently seen with the tail of a mouse hanging from their mouths after having swallowed it whole, head first. Most any domestic shorthair has the ability to go feral if inclined or necessary. Consider also that a feral cat dining only on natural prey will never get kidney failure, thyroid disease, liver disease, diabetes, dental tartar, nor bladder crystals. The previous conditions are solely the result of carbohydrate disease – where metabolic energy is derived from starch rather than the evolved protein and raw fat diet. In nature there are only a select few specialized and rare mammals that rely only on starch and sugars as energy for metabolism. Even the nectar feeding hummingbird must consume small insects in order to thrive.
The same fat and protein derived energy evolution holds true for a dog. Coyotes and wolves consume the fat-rich belly of their prey first, sometimes avoiding the lean protein remainder altogether.
Compare the nutrition of a whole mouse to a cup of dry cat food in descending order:
Mouse ingredients: 20 to 50% Fiber, Raw protein, Raw fat, Raw organ meats, Raw bones, Intestinal contents (raw enzymes, vegetables, whole seeds, herbs and probiotic baceria), Blood, Nails, Teeth.
Cat chow ingredients: 40 to 70% Starch, cooked meats, rendered fats, 2 to 3% fiber, various natural and synthetic vitamins and minerals.
Some important differences are decoded here. Cat chow uses starch carbohydrates to replace raw fat as an energy source. Raw fat is extremely perishable. It can not be stored in a bag or a can. Therefor, non-frozen pet food must contain an alternate energy source of which starch is the only reasonable storage-able option. Grains, potatoes, legumes and tapioca are all commonly used as outright fat-energy substitutes. To myself, as a veterinarian whom treats the effects of starch in pet food on a daily basis, feeding sugar carbohydrates to a dog or cat is comparable to putting gasoline in a diesel engine. Something is bound to go wrong, and it usually does.
Fiber content in commercial pet food is absurdly low. Drink a glass of apple juice and your blood sugar will abruptly rise and fall like a model rocket. Eat an apple with the same amount of juice and the result is a much more gentle blood glucose span. Fiber is essential not only to help regulate an over-exaggerated blood glucose response, but also for mechanical digestive activity and to provide a home for essential probiotic bacteria.
Meat proteins are cooked or rendered in commercial canned or kibble so natural protein structure and enzymes are destroyed. Probiotic (beneficial partner) bacteria are a component of most every wild canine or feline diet. There are no viable probiotic bacteria in commercial pet food due to preservation regulations. Read the label carefully and realize that “extracts of probiotic bacteria” do not mean that live and essential probiotic bacteria are present.
Paleopet Stage 1 for cats is quite simply how to choose a commercial pet food that approximates a basic evolved meal and what to add to it to make it more complete. Paleopet Stage 2 is how to make an inexpensive and safe raw diet.
Dogs and cats evolved over millions of years to extract energy from only raw fat and protein. Paleopet is the realization that commercial pet foods use starch (sugar) as a source of metabolic energy only because it can be stored in a convenient dry form. Fat and raw protein can only be stored by freezing (not freeze-drying).
In 1941, 95% of the dogs in America ate canned horsemeat which was mostly meat with a smaller percentage of whole grains with vitamins and minerals added. Nowadays 95% of dogs eat dry dog food which is mostly starch. Dogs have only been consuming dry dog food for 60 or 70 years. The original dry dog foods were composed of the less glycemic corn and soy formulations as this combination seemed appropriate by extensive research as the most nutritionally complete. However, corn and soy are now far too expensive for pet food. What you have heard about corn as being a filler or that it causes allergies and is of poor quality is false.
Over the last 15 years, as the less-glycemic corn and soy prices have become unaffordable, commercial pet foods have become dangerously glycemic by using less expensive energy ingredients such as rice, potatoes, wheat and even tapioca. Coca Cola has a glycemic index of 63. Table sugar is 90 according to the Harvard glycemic index. The common pet food ingredient brewers or white rice has a glycemic index of 89, very close to table sugar. A baked russet potato has an astounding 111 glycemic index. Starch does not have to taste sweet to be extremely glycemic. All one need do is ask a diabetic person you may know, and you probably know a few, what foods they must avoid to stay healthy. Where did dogs and cats ever consume starch in the wild?
Dry pet food is usually over 50% starch and contains less than 3% fiber, it is deficient in raw nutrients and vitamins such as essential fatty acids, living probiotic bacteria and vitamins such as PQQ. Paleopet is an awareness that dry pet food is far too glycemic, is deficient in fiber, is lacking essential nutrients and contains zero viable probiotic bacteria. It is no wonder then why dogs and cats are forced to eat grass in order to thrive..
The pyramids were built about 3000 years ago. These great edifices serve to pronounce to the world that a permanent house-based society was the new norm, ending millions of years of nomadic hunter-gatherer/shepherd evolution. This was the beginning of a remarkably insidious decline of human health. The modern lifestyle was enabled by the invention of mass production of the super food - grain. With an abundance of grain the human population exploded in numbers, all living in the same area. Survival of the fittest was replaced by survival of the most resistant to disease and malnutrition. What were once considered rare conditions among nomads were now common maladies. New diseases, such as one where ants would be attracted to the urine of an emaciated patient, were first documented in ancient medical papyrus many hundreds of years after the Epic of Gilgaresh was written. Diabetes, was also called “the thirst” and had no cure. Dental disease, various cancers, certain skin rashes and infections, migraines, chronic gas, painful diarrhea and other intestinal diseases were all originally described by the first non-nomadic, grain-based societies.
Commercial pet food became most popular after WWII. Dog food and cat food have been made for less than 100 years and is still not nor ever will be “complete and balanced”. Dogs and cats eat grass for a reason – they must do so in order to obtain vital nutrients. The Paleopet guide will show you that the major ingredient of most every pet food is the cause of the majority of skin, ear and allergic problems veterinarians see. There are all manner of deficiency syndromes that have been documented over the last 30 years as the result of pet food manufacturers simply “getting it wrong”.
COMMERCIAL PET FOOD IS BASED ON THE WRONG ASSUMPTION BY SCIENTISTS OF MAMMALIAN CARBOHYDRATE METABOLISM.
The PALEOPET HANDBOOK will provide everything you need to know about how to feed your dog and cat what they EVOLVED to eat. It will make it so easy a paleolithic caveperson can do it! Even more important, your dog and cat will actually enjoy it. They will beg for it at dinner time. Their bodies will begin to change and the “broken metabolism” caused by the starchy dried chemically enhanced kibble and the rendered goo that you feed from a bag or can.
PALEOPET IS, WITHOUT QUESTION, 100% NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE.
There are two methods to feed the Paleopet diet.
Stage 1 is adding essential and protective common and inexpensive grocery store ingredients to what is currently being fed. Fiber is essential for dogs and cats and most all commercial foods are astoundingly deficient in this most important dietary necessity. In nature, 20% fiber is the norm, commercial pet foods are most always less than 3% !
Probiotic (good) bacteria provide essential nutrients and protect against bad (pathogenic) bacteria. These living organisms are critical for intestinal immune system functions. Herbivorous prey are loaded with probiotic bacteria and the probiotic-rich stomach and liver are the first things consumed by a mammalian predator. There are NO probiotic bacteria in commercial pet food.
Stage 2 is raw with partially cooked vegetables. It explains how to feed raw meat safely and how to prevent Salmonella and meat parasites. Dogs and cats love certain vegetables, it is the reason so many of them eat grass. Most of my patients go stage 2 because they get convinced after stage 1, simply by adding common ingredients to what is already being fed. You can always go back to the dry or canned for when you leave a pet with someone else – or you can make it ahead of time and store it in baggies.
There is another huge benefit as well: Cost. Making your own diet from products available at most any grocery store will save 30 to 50% or more on your pet food bill!
Fact: Premium dog food is now more expensive per pound than freshly ground beef from your butcher.
Albertsons is selling 73% ground beef for $1.67 a pound. Ground chicken is on sale for $1.29 a pound. Premium dog food is $60 for a 30LB bag – that’s $2.00 per pound… If you mix vegetables with this ground beef or chicken, it will drop the price by another 20% or 30%! So for a little over a dollar a pound you can make your own pet food in less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee.
This is not a BARF diet book! Paleopet is an anti-inflammatory diet that describes how to feed raw safely or to add healthy common ingredients to the current diet. Raw is best and can be made safe to feed but if a dry food is continued, learn how to add ingredients to make it less damaging.