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‘Optimal Health’ and ‘Normal Health’. Don’t know the difference? You should!

What is Optimal Health and what is Normal Health? Aren’t they the same thing? During this clean and lean stream, Rowan breaks open the differences between the two, explains how this applies to your dog and gives you his expert opinion on the supplements your dog should (and should not) be taking! As always be sure to join the conversation on Instagram and Twitter @BellaAndDuke and make sure to join our growing Facebook community!

Rowan: OK guys, good afternoon. Welcome to Wednesday. As promised and please indulge the delay from yesterday, today we’re going to do a very quick Facebook live on optimal health — what is optimal health versus normal health and supplementation.

And also there is a question which has been percolating a lot in the group, which I think we need to address as part of this — see what I did with the hand movement there I don’t know what that means to be honest — is, is raw enough? So before I jump in, let me just make a little confession to the pack. I always get a bit nervous before these Facebook lives and I think the reason for this is, one I’m used to having Mark as my foil, which makes it a lot easier, rather than just staring at my mug on the video. And two, I’m also used to having Mark being able to edit and cut out large swathes of our chod. So the moral of the story is I’m going to keep this clean and I’m going to keep it very lean.

So let’s just recap what we’re going to cover today — optimal health versus normal health, is raw enough and why supplement, what is supplementation?

So the first thing to understand is that optimal health is very different to normal health. What we often say in our human practice at The Modern Sensei, is that normal blood tests are never enough. Why? Because the parameters that were used by labs to ascertain what’s normal and what’s not are taken from, one, people who was sick and need testing, and two part an ailing population.

So it’s really important when you are judging yourself compared to others or your dog’s health compared to others, it’s really important that you choose the correct demographics. So normal blood tests are never enough. Normal blood tests… When your doctor says or your vet says, “your dog is normal,” all that is saying is, yes amongst all the other sick dogs that come in and get tested your dog kind of fits in the middle. That’s not what we’re about at Bella & Duke. We’re about leading glorious lives and living up to our genetic potential.

So what does that mean? Optimal is, are your dog’s devoid of symptoms? Are your dog’s rarely sick? Are they consistently full of vibrant energy? Are they just generally healthy? And the next point with this is, do they have any symptoms? Because people often accept that symptoms are very normal. Now, there’s a huge, huge difference here, symptoms are common but they are never normal. So this segues into our next point. But before we do that let’s quickly recap. Optimal versus normal, normal is dead to you. Wave goodbye. Nobody wants normal. We’re looking for optimal. This is the whole point of what we’re trying to achieve here is not just save dogs lives, but improve the quality of dogs lives so that their health span matches their life span. Mark and I have also got sneaky agenda to actually drag you guys along the journey as well, just saying.

Next point. Is raw enough? Well, that depends. On what? Well where is your dog on its own health journey? When we’re often in our human clinic, people ask for a single line of advice — what should I eat? What do I need to do to lose weight? I’ve got IBS, what do I want to do?

Well, that just totally depends. If I’m here in Spain and you’re in Perth, for instance, Scotland, not Australia and you say I want to get to Paris. I need to know where you are before I can give you directions. Because if I give you directions from where I’m standing, you’ll end up somewhere totally in the middle of the Atlantic saying, “that was all nonsense.”

So before you decide on where your dog is on its health journey, just take a little note of, does it have any symptoms? Is it coat looking glossy? Is it consistent with its meals? Does it have itchy skin? Any of these things? Because if it has any symptoms, this is a key, these are not normal, they are showing that basically there’s something going wrong at a biological level and your dog is failing to adapt. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s serious, but it means that you are now in a position to take some action. And how you going to take action? Well quite often, supplementation. So is raw enough? Yes, if everything is stable, but occasionally your dog might be in a bit of health debt. The quickest way of getting it out of health debt is some intelligent supplementation.

The other time that you might want to use some supplementation, and this is totally dependent on one, your appetite — see what I’ve done there? That was a cunning pun — and two, your budget, as you might want to preventatively use some supplementation knowing the disposition of your breed. So it might be that you say — hey, this breed is predisposed to arthritis, so I’m going to be super careful about getting lots of essential fats in there and making sure they never get inflammation.

So let’s just recap what we’ve covered so far, because I do have a tendency to waffle. One, optimal is what we’re shooting for, rather than normal. OK, normal just means you’re in the middle of a load of sick dogs or a load of sick people, that’s not somewhere you want to be. Goodbye. Optimal means that you are living up to your genetic potential, you are devoid of sickness, you are devoid of symptoms, you are vibrant, full of energy and people say – “hey, your dog’s looking good or you’re looking good”. Fabulous, that’s where we want to be.

Next is raw enough? In lots of cases, yes. Raw is enough. Why? Because it’s no longer a stressor to the dog’s system, it is supporting it from an evolutionary perspective. At Bella & Duke we are super assiduous about keeping as many allergens out of there, at sourcing our ingredients, at trying to maintain optimal fat ratios, at getting good quality proteins. But it might be that your dog just needs a little bit of extra support to getting out of health debt. Why? Maybe it’s being exposed to loads of chemicals. Maybe it’s being exposed to loads of other stressors that you’re not aware off? Maybe you live near electric power lines. Maybe he got exposed to pollution is as a puppy? Maybe it’s been fed on kibble? All of these things can work against the dog’s health equilibrium and supplementation… Ooh I like what I was doing there, that little hand action. Let’s pretend this is a see saw as opposed to me being a chad. And all of these things can work against the dog’s healthy equilibrium. So yes raw helps us redress the balance, but supplementation used intelligently could do that a little bit quicker.

So next point. When to supplement? Two places really. If your dog has got any symptoms whatsoever or secondly, if you just want to preventatively head off anything you think your dog might be predisposed to. Because preventing a fire or getting insurance is always a lot cheaper and a lot more efficient than dealing with a fire or having to pay for the aftermath yourself. And that’s the way I look at it. When people say to me — you spend quite a bit of money on supplements. Yes I do. Let me be honest, yes I do. I’d like to deny it. Yes I do. I do so because I know what genetically my family are predisposed to and I wish to avoid it. The end.

So going on from there, is raw enough? Yes it can be, if your dog’s free of symptoms and you don’t think it’s going to get anything, then yes raw is fabulous. If your dog has some symptoms and you want to get it out of health debt quicker, think about some supplementation. Now this, I apologize if it’s repetitive and everybody’s heard this, my top go to supplements every time for dogs are as follows, you can almost say it with me, maybe we should have a tune, digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes just improve the dog’s digestion no end. It helps minimize food allergies, it helps dog recover from food allergies, it helps improve absorption, it can decrease pancreatitis, it can help mitigate all amounts of auto immune disease. Just get onboard. It’s super easy. And also you can actually pulse this so you could maybe do it for three months, see how the dog’s getting on, take it off. They can also be used systemically, we’ve covered this before but a lot of people have asked me about this. They can be used systemically to improve repair of joints, if your dog’s got arthritis for instance, we’ve mentioned this before along with the red light therapy. That link’s just gone up today, you can get 5% off on any red light products from Daintree health with the Bella & Duke code. You’re welcome. I’m very excited about that. I’ve been using Red Light by the way and both myself and my dog, you’d never realized I was 96. The end.

Next, so digestive enzymes used as systemic enzymes also really good probiotics and obviously the prebiotics in the fiber. There’s no end of supplementation we can get in to, however let me end on this then. There is one supplement that lots of people using that you don’t need to use anymore and that’s chondroitin. Why? Chondroitin is great for joints, but its money that you no longer need to spend, because chondroitin only works by binding to lectins in food which would otherwise attack the joints of your dog. So if you’re using a supplement with chondroitin in and you are now using Bella & Duke raw food and the snacks we provide you can stop using chondroitin, because our food is virtually devoid of lectins, so there is nothing that will attack the dog’s joints.

So there you go. I’ve suggested a few supplements that you should buy and hopefully you will save some money to purchase those with supplements you no longer need by following a hypoallergenic diet.

As ever a pleasure. Please come back to me with feedback, however fabulous that is. Please. And never hesitate to have some questions let’s keep it rolling. The next Facebook live that I’m going to do is going to be on Friday and I will be covering some of the benefits of red light therapy, because it’s something we should all get into for longer, happier lives.

So let me wish you a wonderful evening from here in Spain. Thank you for watching. Thank you for being a force for positive and thank you for caring about your pet’s health. Good night.


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2 responses to “‘Optimal Health’ and ‘Normal Health’. Don’t know the difference? You should!

  1. Hi, having read your blog I thought I’d checkout Daintree health. Couldn’t find a UK website selling doggie products/supplements at all! and what are the “red light” products( 5% off) please. I have an itchy dog and thought they might have something to help. I’ve tried many sprays, supplements, creams.. etc you name it I’ve probably got it, none of which has worked. Resorted to predisolone (steroid) which may be working (early days) but do not wish to have to administer long term. Dog is a yorkie and only 2kgs!! Any suggestions please?

    Also, do you do a raw package that doesn’t have such “large” pieces of bone…. I say large because to a small yorkie ( I have 5 yorkies that range from 2kgs to 3.5kgs) small can be quite large. At present I sort through the meat and take out any pieces that are approximately small pea size and any sharp bone. Is the bone in the”Puppy” food ground a bit smaller/finer perhaps?

    Many thanks in anticipation of a reply.


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