How about adding aromatherapy to the list of back-to-school supplies? Essential oils offer many benefits to any back-to-school scholars you’re sending out the door this fall – from creative inspiration, Read more …
The immense range of resources available to those choosing to have children in Minnesota right now is exceptional. Options for education, support, and other resources here continue to blossom, while the multitude of providers empowers every family to have the birthing experience they prefer. Read more …
Our Wellness team gets asked for their recommendations on sunscreen and natural bug sprays all summer long. Here is a list of their favorites. Read more …
It’s not at all uncommon for people to pamper their pets, sometimes by way of treats, toys, special grooming, or young children (oh, I already said toys). Among these other ways, our cats are also pampered in their everyday food. When we adopted a pair of sibling kittens just about a year ago, we did some research into what the healthiest and most natural food out there was (and one that would still fit into our budget). It seemed clear to us that the way to go was to simply make our own raw meat cat food at home.
Cats are, by design, hunters—pull out a feather toy or laser pointer or watch them around a bug and you’re sure to see the instincts kick in—but their teeth and digestive tract are set up to process raw meat, and little else. We read over and over that dry-only diets are the worst for cats, and are the leading cause of obesity and other health issues…because they simply didn’t evolve to eat such stuff. Canned wet food is a step up, no doubt, but even the varieties we sell at Mississippi Market have filler and are bound to utilize meat scraps and some form of preservatives, and this highly processed mush doesn’t give a cat’s teeth the same cleaning that chewing into fresh meat does. We discovered that it’s really not difficult to make a simple, chicken-based chow that our kittens really enjoy. And when I say ‘really’, I mean they complain quite vocally if we run out and substitute canned food instead.
The recipe we work from we found online at Cat Nutrition and it’s pretty simple, almost everything is available at Mississippi Market, and all of the meat and eggs are locally produced!
-Raw muscle, bone-in meat: We usually use Kadejan or Schultz whole chickens. We’ve also made a batch using a rabbit from LTD Farms, but that was some costly meat. Dark meat is more nutritious than white meat, so adding in some leg quarters is wise. Essential nutrients are found in bones, and if you don’t grind these in, additional dry supplements will be necessary.
-Organ meat: cats will usually eat their entire kill, and vital vitamins, minerals, and proteins are only found in certain organs. US food laws only allow sale of whole animals after certain organs have been removed, so you’ll need to get some chicken hearts and livers to supplement; Kadajan also offers these, and can be found in the meat freezers or special ordered. Our cat Porter really enjoys a plain heart as a treat, too!
-Egg yolks: we almost always buy Schultz eggs in bulk.
-Water: while cats will drink water from a bowl, much of their hydration should come from food (one reason the dry-only diet isn’t ideal).
-A variety of vitamin and mineral supplements: since skin, hair, and many organs have been removed from the meat we grind, essential oils and other nutrients won’t be present in the above ingredients alone. Of what the website lists, almost everything is either readily available in the Wellness section of our stores or can be special ordered. I think the only part of this recipe we couldn’t buy at Mississippi Market was the glandular supplement, but this is relatively inexpensive to order online.
-Lastly, a meat grinder is necessary. We bought a simple stand-alone unit (as in not a Kitchenaid attachment) for about $120 online, and it has worked flawlessly for us, bones and all, for the past year.
The recipe calls for mixing the yolks, water, and supplements into a slurry, which is then mixed in with all the ground up meat (we use a medium-size grind head). When using whole birds, we remove the skin to cut excess fat out of the recipe when there’s white meat included….and this helps the grinder from getting clogged up. I’ve had friends around during the process who’ve asked what I was making because it looked quite good.
If you’re busy or don’t want to walk through the entire process multiple times a month, it’s simple stuff to store and freeze. We usually make a double batch of this recipe, and that’ll last us right about a month for our two still-young cats. And, what better reason to buy Talenti gelato? The sturdy plastic containers are excellent for re-using for storage (Heads-up – Talenti will be on sale for part of September! Perfect!) Each of these containers is about two days-worth of food for two cats, at two-servings a day.
After our first batch, we cost it out to see if it would be a cost-effective venture to keep up with. Not counting the grinder (which can be used for a plethora of other human-food tasks!) or Talenti, buying all the raw food and supplements works out to be about the same as buying a similar quantity of any of the cans of cat food we sell when they are on sale. And if you snag meat or supplements when they are on sale or otherwise discounted, all the better. The whole process (cutting apart the chicken through the final cleaning) for a batch the size we make is usually a two hour process at most, but we only need to do it about once a month.
Finding the benefits of raw cat food isn’t hard, from helping avoid kidney and weight issues, a healthier coat, a more active personality, to just knowing what’s going into the food this extension of your family is eating. Oh, and they won’t be able to get enough.
*Disclaimers: While cats’ systems are tuned to digest raw food, all precautions should be taken with making sure what they eat is as fresh as possible. Only thaw what they will eat within 2-3 days, and be sure to clean all hands, surfaces, containers, and implements that come in contact with raw meat immediately. Transitioning a cat from a dry-only or canned food diet should be done gradually. There is always the risk of injury from a bone fragment being too big or sharp, but this is nothing that a cat wouldn’t also risk hunting on their own outdoors.
Co-written by Ben & Jess Zamora-Weiss, staff members and bloggers for Mississippi Market’s Eat Local Challenge. You’ll also find Ben at the Selby store keeping the shelves stocked with the best locally baked breads we can find and Jess at the Selby store’s juice bar, making things run smoothly and taste amazing!
I like to run. A lot. I’ve been known to run marathons and the occasional shorter distance, too, and for roughly 7-8 months of the year my boyfriend affectionately refers to my running habit as “the other man.” His logic is pretty sound – I buy Running new shoes, I go out with Running most nights of the week, and on Sunday mornings I have a standing date with Running for 2-3 hours, not to mention how sweaty I am when I return home.
So you see, I am a runner, and contrary to popular belief, being a good runner or athlete depends on fueling just as much as training. I try my hardest to eat pretty well (and to be honest it isn’t too difficult when working at a natural foods co-op) but trying to find clean “sport” products proves to be another challenge entirely. You know what I’m talking about – the electrolyte drinks with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the protein powders with flavors like “orange creamsicle” and “cookies and cream,” and those energy gels made out of….whatever they are made out of! All of these things seem counterintuitive to feed my body, and so when I found out that the co-op, MY co-op, was going to bring in a few “sport lines,” I literally leapt for joy.
Below is a short list of my favorite “sport” products – give them a try, especially if your sport-of-choice has developed into an imaginary friend who takes up all of your free time. Because in that case your imaginary friend deserves something new and awesome like a HFCS-free electrolyte drink!
Vega Sport Endurance Gel – just like all of those other weird gels on the market, but better! These sticky space-food-looking packets are awesome during long runs (runs lasting more than 90 minutes) and are made with dates and coconut oil!
Tera’s Whey Organic Whey Protein – A local, organic, DELICIOUS protein powder in real flavors and colors (I’m looking at you Big Brand orange creamsicle flavor!) I love to add a few scoops to my post-run smoothie to refuel; the Fair Trade Dark Chocolate is so good it tastes sinful.
Trace Minerals Electrolyte Stamina Power Paks – these little packets are the bees knees, small and simple, and not so different from your favorite vitamin-C supplement. Trace Minerals knows their stuff, and so they understand that athletes need electrolytes as well as potassium, vitamin C, and a few carbs and calories for good measure. Perfect for a sweaty summer run!
Zico Coconut Water – I admit it, I was slow to catch onto the coconut water craze. The thickness of its consistency really turned me off, but the benefits that it touted were hard to ignore, so I bought a few and gave them a try. Coconut water is seriously awesome stuff, made from pure water harvested from coconuts and loaded with electrolytes, potassium, and refreshing coconut flavor.
We carry many lovely body care products – many that are good for your skin and the earth. Then there is Alaffia. In the words of Lauren, our Wellness manager, there is no question in my mind that of all the lines we carry, Alaffia is the company that gives the most back in meaningful, real outreach.”