By Dr. Bera Dordoni, N.D.
Funny how unexpected events can entirely alter the direction of our lives. There I was, young, healthy, and perfectly happy making a good living as a singer/songwriter back in the late ’70s. I lived the musician’s life, ingesting ice cream by day (to get my protein, since I was a vegetarian!) and caffeine by night with a steady, liberal stream of second-hand smoke blowing onto the stage of the various nightclubs in which I sang. Then, for no apparent reason, I developed an almost-fatal case of pneumonia. Imagine that. And with me living such a healthy life!
The pneumonia simply would not respond to conventional allopathic (Western medicine) therapies. It took a homeopathic doctor to cure me. He also educated me really fast: “Change your lifestyle, or die.” I changed my lifestyle. In fact, I changed my whole career by going back to school to study the naturopathy that had saved my life. I switched from singer to doctor – a helluva leap!
Thank you, thank you to the doctor who not only made me accept responsibility for my own body and health, but also helped me realize how empowering it is to accept that responsibility.
Good for the Human, Good for the Dog
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but all the while I was steadily trashing my body, I was doing the same thing to my dogs. I fed them whatever was handy: commercial vegetarian dog food, processed-food table scraps, cheese, ice cream – whatever was available. I made them into junk-food vegetarians, just like me. And they ate no meat because I wanted my dogs to love animals as much as I did.
The only problem was, I forgot that they were animals. So of course they loved other animals. But while I loved petting them, they loved eating them. Canines were never designed to be vegetarians! Dogs are carnivorous – every single species of modern dog evolved from wolves. What self-respecting wolf ever craved microwaved veggie lasagna? Dogs instinctively crave the same diet their ancestors ate to achieve the optimal health necessary to survive in the wild.
That’s why my poor, protein-starved doggies ended up with dry, itchy patches all over their skin, which they bit at constantly. Veterinarians recommended steroids to solve their skin problems, but I’d already learned enough not to suppress their problems and cause deeper organ damage just to gain some temporary relief.
I also learned that 90% of animals’ health problems are nutritionally based, just like ours. Hmmm. There I was, feeling wonderful from replacing all my junk foods with fresh, raw juices and foods. Wouldn’t my furry companions feel better if they were correctly nourished? Of course they would! In my studies, I discovered that unlike a human’s digestive system, a dog’s digestive system is designed for BARF. That’s right: Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods, a.k.a. Bones And Raw Food.
I immediately started feeding my dogs mostly raw meats with bones, muscle, and organ meats from chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb. I ground up raw, organic vegetables and fruits as well as salmon, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, and essential fatty acids from sources like virgin coconut oil. I topped it all off daily with a huge helping of love.
In less than a week, I noticed they were biting themselves less and running around more. A few short weeks later, their dry flakiness had been replaced by soft, supple skin and fur had grown back over the raw, bitten patches. Their eyes were sparkling. Their energy was abundant. A miracle!
Not a Miracle; a Fact of Life
I’ve worked with many animals over the years since then with the same “miraculous” results. Take the case of one of my clients, whose elderly dog had suffered for years from different food allergies. When I met him, he was on the verge of death. He could no longer eat the commercial dog food his vet recommended; he shook constantly, and he had virtually scratched and bitten away all the fur on his body. After years of living on steroids, he was literally just skin and bones.
I persuaded his humans to give him a thorough 90-day cleansing to ease out the steroids, which had essentially shut down his liver function. We put him on all fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fresh meats, yogurt with live cultures and extra acidophilus, and fresh carrot juice with an extra helping of an immune-building, powdered-greens supplement. We added noni juice and coconut oil to his food.
The result? Soft fur re-grew all over his body. He stopped shaking. He became more energized and active, and now enjoys his golden years free of misery and pain. Not bad for an older dog, huh? Imagine how quickly a younger animal would recover.
Bottom line: whether human or animal, mammals need live foods for optimal health. It’s that simple. And most animals know that instinctively. When a dog doesn’t feel well, he goes outside to eat grass, right? He doesn’t know (or care) that the chlorophyll in grass has numerous healing, even life-saving benefits. He instinctively eats the grass, which makes him throw up, which clears out the ick from his system and makes him feel better. Natural. Simple. Instinctive. We humans should be so in touch with our natural instincts!
A Family Tradition
When I was growing up, dogs were always part of our family. And we always fed them what our veterinarians told us to feed them; in other words, whatever was the latest canned or prepackaged food in a bag. The foods always smelled atrocious to me, but I figured that was normal, because, well, the stuff was for dogs. And since our dogs gobbled the canned and dry foods up, those foods were obviously good for them, right? Wrong.
My childhood dogs’ breath always smelled awful. ”We can’t do anything about that,” the vets always said. “That’s just the way dog breath smells.” No, it isn’t. As with humans, the odor animals exhale is a clear sign of the state of their digestive health. (By the way, so is the strength of our nails, the tone of our skin, the clearness of our eyes – and the furriness of our furry friends’, um, fur.)
I had no idea how wrong “that’s just the way dog breath smells” was until I changed my animals’ diet. Now my canine companions never have bad breath nor smelly poops. Their kisses smell delightful because their digestive tracts work wonderfully. They live long, healthy lives free of the common maladies often found in veterinarians’ offices. As a matter of fact, my 20+ year-old poodle mix is sitting under my feet right now as I write this article. He has more spring in his step than many dogs I know that are half his age.
We are what we eat – and so are our dogs!
But Where Do I Get the Time to Make Healthful Meals?
In an ideal world, we’d get home from work and immediately set about gathering, preparing, and grinding raw meats, bones, vital organs, fresh fruits and vegetables for our animal companions.
In the real world, we often come home far too exhausted after a long day to make a nutritious meal for ourselves, much less for our four-legged friends. The urge to pop a frozen dinner into the microwave and open a can of dog food – or maybe just a bag of dry food – and plop it into a bowl can be almost irresistible. I’m sure you know the drill. That’s why I take an hour or so every weekend to prepare the next week’s worth of “dog food,” so I can just heat up a measured portion when mealtime comes around.
By the way, I always heat the food up on the stove, not in a microwave. In the course of all that studying I did to get healthy, get my dogs healthy, and learn how to help other people and animals get and stay healthy, I also learned that those so-convenient “micro waves” also cause so much molecular damage the Soviet government actually banned their use!
That’s right – research has uncovered an undeniable link between microwave usage and a plethora of ailments, including stomach and intestinal cancers, digestive problems, high blood pressure, migraines, stress, anxiety, hair loss, infertility, hormone problems, adrenal exhaustion, memory loss, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and even heart disease! Even a few seconds of microwave exposure virtually destroys C, E, and B-complex vitamins and renders essential trace minerals useless.
Geez – if I’m going to expose my organically grown, carefully prepared food to microwaves, I might as well go back to eating ice cream all day, drinking coffee and soda all night, and inhaling volumes of second-hand smoke in a stress-filled environment! Not going to happen. I deserve better – and so do my dogs!