Thursday, July 1, 2010

Whole Food Diet

Back when I adopted my cat, Hallee, the vet I saw mentioned trying some whole, raw foods for her, either as a supplement to her dry cat food, or instead of it.  This was a completely new concept to me.  I tried a few raw things for her, but she had no interest in them.  So that was the end of that.

When we took Molly, our 4 month old Labrador/Golden Retriever mix puppy to her first vet appointment, he really started telling more about the whole food diet.  And it made sense.  Think about it - take Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy kibble.  Its made with chicken, eggs, fish oil, grains, and some vitamins.  And its also processes, and preserved.  And dried.  Why not just feed our puppy fresh chicken, pure fish oil, and a supplement?  Isn't non-processed food without preservatives better for her?  Just like it is for you and me?  Josh and I debated long and hard on whether or not to fully enter into this diet.  After all, its a lifestyle change for all of us.  I talked to some people who have their dogs on a whole food diet, and I heard rave reviews.

So, we are making the switch.  Just last night, I made the first batch of what our vet calls "Crock Pot Dinner".  Here's what I did:

The recipe called for a 2.5 - 3 lb. whole chicken, but I could only find a 5+ lb. chicken.  So I doubled the recipe.  I started by boiling the chicken in a pot of water for about 10 minutes, and then simmering it for about an hour.

I bought some cheap plastic containers that I could dedicate solely to Molly's food, since sometimes we will be feeding her raw food, and I didn't want to have to worry about the plastic being contaminated and then storing cookies or something in it (I'm OCD about that stuff).  I washed and labeled them with her name while the chicken was cooking.
Still cooking...
This is what it looked like after 1 hour.
After cooking the chicken, I removed it from the pot and placed it on a plate to cool. 
I then added 2 lbs. of brown rice to the water in the pot, and allowed it to cook on a low heat for about an hour.  The vegetables in the picture will be used later in the recipe.
I got bored waiting for the rice to cook, so I decided to label the lids to the containers as well, to make them easier to find.

(I'm missing four pictures here, as I accidentally forgot to transfer them onto my flash drive from my laptop, and I'm posting this from work!  I will update this later tonight.)

I removed all of the chicken from the bones, and shredded it into small pieces.  Right before the rice was done cooking (about 15 min.), I added all the chicken back into the pot, along with a bag and a half of the frozen vegetables.  I then let that simmer for the remaining 12 min. or so.

I then scooped 1 cup portions into each container.
I let the containers cool for a few minutes, and then popped the lids on and stuck them in the freezer.  The recipe made a lot more than would fit into the containers I had, so I put the rest of it into a large bowl and into the refrigerator.  We'll feed her portions of that this week and weekend, and then start pulling containers out of the freezer one or two at a time.

I couldn't believe how many meals I got out of the recipe for $10!  And the best part was watching Molly eat it.  She loved it!!  She was licking the bowl afterward, and kept giving me this look like, "Mom, can I have more?!"  We go back to the vet next week for her last set of shots, and we'll talk more with the doctor then about portion sizes for her as she gets older.  It may seem like a lot of work initially, but it really wasn't difficult, and seeing how much more she enjoyed it than her normal dog food sealed the deal for me.