AND pitch in to save the world
Today, I will start with a quote that my friend sent me yesterday:
"If your doctor prescribes a medication without first asking about:
Your exercise routine
Your water consumption
Whether you have any physical issues
Or stress in your life
Then you don’t have a doctor, you have a drug dealer."
Strangely, I received this quote only a day after I had dinner with my high school friend, who used to work as a drug rep. She no longer works for the company, but candidly disclosed that she was instructed to distribute hundreds of thousands of Euros to doctors for “recommending” their products. I am very proud of her for quitting, unfortunately I am well aware that there is always someone else willing to fill these posts.
It’s hard for me to describe how I feel about my friend’s disclosure. I knew this was going on, but still, it makes me angry to hear about it. For years, I have wondered why people often take medication, or give their dogs medication, without asking two very important questions:
Health is without a doubt our most valuable asset, yet strangely, society and our elected officials often worry about other areas much more. In my opinion, health and disease prevention should be taught in school, as many people do not have a clue about what healthy choices look like.
Politicians often talk about how much money they will spend on healthcare in order to get elected, but they rarely talk about restructuring healthcare to make it more focused on prevention, reducing costs, and freeing us from the grip of Big Pharma — skillfully enforced by their lobbyists and marketers.
I am not suggesting that all pharmaceutical companies are bad and corrupt, only that many are. However, if we want to change the status quo, we have to grasp the essential knowledge of why using toxic drugs, chemical preservatives, and processed food is harmful and why we need to reduce their use to an absolute minimum.
We also need to be able to ask our doctors the right questions without hesitation. If a doctor is pushing a certain drug, ask if there are any cheaper alternatives, or even better, inquire about whether there are any drug free alternative treatments available.
It is also important to ask for a second opinion, and consult practitioners who specialize in alternative therapies.
I am grateful for some of the meds that are saving lives, but that doesn’t give a company the right to drain our medical system and peoples’ budgets dry. Remember that newer is not always better, but it is often more expensive.
Based on more than 30 years in veterinary medicine, I estimate that we and our pets only require about 20% of the medications we are prescribed.
How to not piss people off
As soon as you are aware of something that others may not yet know, it becomes harder and harder to watch people make mistakes.
Those who know how to naturally prevent health issues often get excited about sharing their knowledge, and try to help others. Unfortunately, their missionary zeal can often have the opposite effect.
Over the years I have come to realize this truth, and I am more cautious about when I choose to speak to others about the medical choices they make, either for their animal friends or for themselves. Today, I have put together a few brief real life stories to demonstrate what can help change peoples’ mindsets.
An old man and his Cocker Spaniel pup
I love going on road trips to get inspired. I see travel, and life in general, as a river; when we get to a fork in the river all we need to do is decide whether to go left or right. Of course, I normally set a destination, but sometimes I decide to take a freestyle route, and I wind up finding beautiful new places and meeting people I would have otherwise never met.
One weekend I decided go to Wroclaw, Poland to get material for writing a blog about dogs in the area. About halfway into my trip, without much thought, I decided to exit the main highway to stop and ask myself: “Shall I go left or right?...Right, feels right,” I found myself thinking.
I drove another mile, and there it was — a beautiful lake, with a beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water that I didn’t even see on the map!
Pax was thrilled to go fishing, and I was thrilled with the result of just “going with the flow.”
We walked around the lake, Pax jetting in and out of the water, loving every second of this adventure. You know how happy we all get when we see our dogs happy…❤️
When we finished the circle around the lake, I saw a man in his 70’s walking towards me with a 10-week-old Cocker Spaniel puppy.
It didn’t take long to start up a conversation, and I learned that he got his brand new puppy from his son. “My son brought a bag of kibble, and told me that the vet said that he should only get one type of kibble. It’s kind of strange because we used to feed our dog meat and table scraps when I was growing up. I don’t understand this kibble,” he shrugged his shoulders.
When it was time to say goodbye, I could see he was genuinely relieved that his gut was right about kibble; he just needed someone else to confirm it.
Swordfish, sushi, and salmon
Not every every interaction is as easy as the one I had with the Cocker Spaniel's guardian, especially when it comes to human food. The other day, I went to a little Italian restaurant, it was a cozy place, run by a man who was very proud of his Sardinian roots.
As part of the menu's intro-spiel, the owner recommended the “beautiful swordfish,” which is one of the most endangered and most toxic mercury-loaded fishes out there!
I kept my mouth shut, but I made a plan to speak with him after I finished eating about how swordfish is problematic, and that he might want to reconsider having it on his menu. I thought, maybe he'll be open to this information, and maybe he won't be…
A similar thing happened when my relative proudly shared with me that she had made a super healthy meal of broiled salmon for her husband the day before. Despite her being a doctor, she wasn’t aware of how toxic and drug/antibiotic-loaded farmed fish is. This is mainly because of the poor quality kibble they feed to farmed fish, and the rampant disease in fish farms, which requires them to also medicate the fish feed.
In this case, I also said nothing in the moment, but later sent a text to her with a video on the topic of farmed salmon, with the note “FYI, I thought you might want to know this.”
Perhaps, this past weekend was supposed to be fish themed, because my partner went to see some very kind and generous friends for dinner, and they also served one of the most mercury-polluted fish: sablefish, also called black cod. Sablefish is buttery and very tasty, unfortunately, it is also mercury heavy.
Would I tell my friends that I don’t eat it? Not if I have already arrived at the dinner table, but I do my best to share with my friends in advance that I eat a plant-based diet. Usually, to not burden them with the need to create a meatless dish, I will suggest that I treat them to a meal out or offer to bring a meal to their place, and possibly make them think about the choices they make with their food.
In the past, I used to be more flexible, but now I simply say that I don’t eat fish or meat with the exception of wild fresh trout. Some might call me picky, but I only have one health, one body, and one life to live.
When it comes to Pax, the same applies. I used to be more permissive about letting others give him treats, now I just say he doesn’t get treats from others for safety reasons. Sometimes, I provide people with my single source dehydrated meat treats to give to him, but I only buy those that are locally made or I make them myself. I never purchase products from China or other countries with a history of tainted pet food and treat production.
A Bullmastiff who bloated😣, and why my veterinarian friend got bitten
One thing that shocked me here in Europe is how rampant stomach bloat is. When I had my holistic practice, I saw only two cases of bloat in 20 years. I believe it was because I taught my clients how to prevent this dangerous problem, but still, I think the ratio of stomach bloat cases is much greater within the EU.
On a weekly basis, I hear my good friend (who is a vet) talking about bloat, and I have no doubt that the main culprit is kibble. There are two major issues when it comes to the connection between kibble and stomach bloat.
Firstly, processed food is more likely to ferment and form gas in the stomach, and secondly, it weakens the stomach’s muscle layer, because the kibble is so soft and mushy when it is mixed with water. The stomach becomes like a person that hasn’t exercised in some time, and it is unable to expel gasses when they build up.
I talked to my friend about kibble and bloat, but because he works for a larger clinic, he is not able to recommend feeding any other food than the veterinary “prescription kibble.”
Isn’t it a ballsy move for pet food companies to brand these products as “prescription diets,” when there is no prescription required in order to feed them? The only difference is that the pet food giants have made these processed foods exclusively available at vet clinics, to create what seems to be an unbreakable bond and income-source for clinics that is hard to resist.
The reality is, many vet clinics would make very little money without selling the food.
Anyhow, last week a huge Bullmastiff came into the emergency clinic when my friend was on duty. He was bloated and nearing collapse, and surgery was the only way to save him. The procedure requires an intravenous induction to anesthesia and then intubation with a tracheal tube to deliver the anesthetic.
Unfortunately, this not-so-little pooch had strong reflexes, and when he was put under and my friend was inserting the tracheal tube the dog bit down, and bit hard.
The dog had bitten his hand right through the centre and blood was gushing from the wound, but since there was no one else on duty, my friend had no other choice but to glove-up and finish the surgery.
He is definitely an every-day hero!
But that was not the end of the story. The visit to the ER to treat his hand wound was even more torturous, based on my friend’s report. The doctor attempted to flush the wound without any anesthesia, which made my friend almost go through the roof. This was followed by a prescription of antibiotics.
Most people assume that antibiotics are necessary, but soaking the injured hand daily in herbal Skin Spray can be just as effective without any of the side-effects or destruction of the intestinal microbiome.
Many people are still too afraid of healing wounds without antibiotics, which leads to their overuse and the rise of resistant bacterial strains, which are the true danger in the wound healing equation.
Did I talk to my friend/colleague about this? No, I didn’t, because it wasn't a good time to lecture him about something that had just happened.
I also didn’t lecture my relatives about the fact that most kids would be better off without antibiotics when they get the common cold.
Most people are under the false impression that medication is always needed when we get sick, which is exactly what Big Pharma wants us to believe. They love our dependence on drugs and do not want us to question if they are truly needed.
Yes, it does require some guts to go without them, but the common approach of “Let’s use them, just in case” leads to more serious and life threatening problems.
I wish you didn’t sell fish oil!
That is exactly the message I got just a few weeks ago. My very dear, and rather outspoken friend who mistakenly assumed my Omega-3 oil was made from fish. "Why don’t you use plant-based oil?!” they inquired.
“It is not made from fish,” I replied, “It is made from calamari, which is sustainable and tested to be free of all major toxins — including mercury. The reason why I have not used other oils is that they are either unsustainable, or made from fish that are no longer safe, the oil is extracted from algae is GMO and phytoplankton based omegas have been known to contain methyl sulphate, which is toxic and teratogenic.”
This time, I chose to mirror my friend’s directness, and also replied:
“I wish you didn’t sell synthetic vitamins through a multi-level marketing company” I replied cheekily.
We are still friends...
Why am I sharing all these stories? I hope that they will make navigating through the complicated world a little easier for you.
We must be flexible, and try to understand why people make choices that, from our point of view, may not be optimal. We also must respect their boundaries.
Sometimes it is best to let things go, and at other times it is better to be feisty — as if someone's life depended on it, because in reality sometimes the information we share can be truly life-saving.
Additional reading and resources:
Natural and fermented supplements for dogs
Stomach bloat prevention
Free natural dog food Recipe Maker
Why to feed raw food: The magic schoolbus through the digestive tract
Wound healing without antibiotics
Mercury free Omega-3 oil
Are fish and fish oils safe?
The best Omega-3 oil for your dog
Does your dog's food contain mercury and arsenic?
What treats are good for your dog
Recipe for dehydrated dog treats
How to keep your dog safe from drugs and minimize side effects