Foods That Are Dangerous For Our Pets

Foods that are good for us may be dangerous to our pets.

Foods that are good for us may be dangerous to our pets.

As an animal lover, you may think that you are doing good by giving your family pet scraps from the table. But, the truth is, there are many foods that are healthy to us when consumed but can be harmful or even fatal if they are eaten by the family pet.

Here are some foods that fall into that category and their possible side effects. Since you don’t know how your pet will react when he/she is feed one of these foods, best to steer clear of including them in your furry friend’s diet – just to be on the safe side!

Chocolate

While chocolate is a favorite and can even be healthy (when you consume the right kind – dark and minimally processed), our pets can have severe reactions to it when they eat it. Symptoms such as tremors, hyperactivity, high heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea and in severe cases death may be experienced by your family pet.

 Coffee

A staple in many of our morning rituals, for our pets, it can cause tremors, hyperactivity, high heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea and, in severe cases, death when consumed.

Onions/Garlic

These alliums are so important for human health and should be consumed on a daily basis. But for a dog or cat, they may cause damage to red blood cells and/or vomiting.

Alcohol

A glass of wine a day is enjoyed in many cultures as the key to good health. But our pets can experience drunkenness, coma, vomiting or even death when they are indulged.

Xylitol

A natural sweetener and a great alternative to refined white sugar because of its low glycemic load. It is growing in popularity and is used in many naturally made products including gums and toothpastes. However, be warned, our pets can suffer liver failure or seizures if they consume products that contain Xylitol.

Avocado

The healthy fats in avocado are great for us and are important for good health. But, when our pets eat this creamy-fleshed fruit dogs can experience vomiting and diarrhea; while it can be fatal to rabbits and birds.

Raw yeast

If you are gluten-free you may not be eating breads containing gluten. But keep in mind that any products you may eat that contain raw yeast may cause drunkenness and bloating in your pet.

Macadamia Nuts

These are a favorite of mine. I especially appreciate their creamy texture when I soak them and use them for nut cheeses. They contain healthy fats and nutrients. However, dogs can experience temporary hind leg weakness, paralysis and tremors when they consume these nuts.

Grapes / Raisins

While delicious and wholesome, grapes are high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation by us. But they can actually cause kidney failure in animals.

So, the next time you feel guilty eating in front of Fido or Fluffy, remember that you are doing them good NOT to throw them leftovers containing these foods. A snack such as mini carrots, which are good for a dog’s teeth, are low calorie and high in fiber as well as beta carotene/vitamin A. They are also a much safer choice for your pet.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Yummy, nutritious granola bars for breakfast or as an energizing snack.

Yummy, nutritious granola bars for breakfast or as an energizing snack.

I have died and gone to granola heaven! These bars are so easy to make and so packed with good-for-you ingredients, you will feel like you are eating a big huge no-no of a food. But, just the opposite is true. These are packed with whole grains, and protein packed peanut butter and nuts. How can you go wrong.

A bit of a warning though! These are addictive. And, while they are filled with good-for-you fats, they are not low in calories. So, they are not exactly guilt-free. But, you don’t have to feel guilty because you are feeding your family wholesome ingredients that you can identify without any of the filler crap that is so prevalent in processed foods.

I cut my bars fairly large. When you score the bars, you may want to make squares instead of the larger rectangle, as they are very filling. I also crumbled one of my rectangles and put it in a bowl with some almond milk. It made a delicious breakfast cereal!

The key in keeping the granola bars from falling apart is to score them before you bake. And, make sure they are completely cooled down before you attempt to take them out of the pan. If you try to separate them or cut them after baking, they will crumble apart.

Here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350°

Ingredients:

granola bars 001Dry

  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup ground buckwheat grouts
  • 1 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1 cup dried Cranberries (without refined sugar)
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 chopped raw pecans
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Wet

  • 1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Use a rectangular baking dish. I use a Pyrex 11”x7” dish.

Line the baking dish with parchment paper.

Take the buckwheat groats and process in a blender or coffee grinder to a flour consistency.

Be sure to score the bars before baking. This will ensure they hold together.

Be sure to score the bars before baking. This will ensure they hold together.

Place the ground buckwheat, unground rolled oats and remaining dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix until well combined and sticky.

Spread the mixture into the parchment-lined baking dish and pat down evenly into the pan.

Score into rectangular shaped granola bars.

Bake for about 30 minutes until a golden color.

Let them cool before removing from the pan.

Store in an airtight container for freshness. Remember, these are made without preservatives so they do have a shelf life. They should keep for about a week – if they last that long!

Enjoy!!

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

Fresh out of the oven and smells so good!

Fresh out of the oven and smells so good!

Fall is apple time of year! My family loves to get out into the fresh air and go apple picking. It is such a great family event.  But, picking apples leaves us with the need to consume them! Typical apple crisp is full of fatty butter and gluten-filled topping. There is no need to include these unhealthy ingredients in your apple crisp. Apples have such a great taste and consistency on their own. Why cover that up? The beauty of making foods home from scratch is that you control the ingredients and know exactly what you are getting. Plus this recipe is simple to make!

This apple crisp is light, delicious and protein-packed. The substitution of regular wheat flour with almond flour gives this recipe an extra protein punch and transforms it to gluten-free. Almond flour is easy to use and quite tasty. You can actually use it in many baking applications as a substitute for wheat flours that contain gluten.

Since this is a natural apple crisp that is actually good for you, it makes not only a great, guilt-free dessert, but you can also eat it as a breakfast or snack. If you go with the more desserty application, serve it warm with a dollop of your favorite dairy-free ice cream (I make my own or buy Coconut Bliss made from coconut milk).

Nothing like delicious apples, especially in the fall.

Nothing like delicious apples, especially in the fall.

Here is the recipe:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:

Filling:

Ready to go into the oven.

Ready to go into the oven.

  • 4 large apples (I like to mix it up with the types of apple I use), peeled, cored and cut into slices
  • 3 tablespoon agave
  • 1/2 a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

Topping:

  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon agave

Method:

Filling:

Mix together apples, agave, cinnamon and the juice from half of a lemon together until well combined.  In a separate bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with water until it is dissolved. Pour the arrowroot mixture over the apples and combine well. The arrowroot will thicken the liquid and give it a smooth texture.

Topping:

In another bowl, combine the almond flour and sea salt. In a smaller bowl combine the vanilla extract, melted coconut oil and agave. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry one and combine until you have a crumbly topping mixture. Sprinkle the topping over apple mixture and bake covered at 350° for approximately 35 minutes, until apples are soft. Remove the cover for the last 5-10 minutes so that the crisp becomes a beautiful golden brown.

Enjoy!

How to Make Vegan Ricotta Cheese

Making ricotta cheese in the blender!

Making dairy-free ricotta cheese in the blender!

I am always looking for quick and easy recipes, especially around the holidays. This one is quick and delicious – and vegan (always a huge plus for me!) It is ultra clean and will help you create a filling meal that can satisfy your hungry family and guests.

I love Italian foods! Having an allergy to dairy makes it impossible to enjoy all of my delicious cheesy favorites. But, I have learned how to be creative with my cooking and discovering how to make cheeses out of nuts is one of the most exciting discoveries I have found. Yes, sadly, this is exciting news for me!

Anyway, after getting over the feeling of being overwhelmed at such a daunting task, I dug in and have happily surprised myself with just how easy some of these seemingly complicated recipes (like nut cheese) can be.

Vegan ricotta cheese is not only packed with protein and other nutrients, it is easy to make and if you are vegan, it will keep you from feeling left out when everyone else is enjoying that delicious holiday lasagna, baked ziti, stuffed shells, or eggplant rollatini, to name a few.

Here is a recipe for tasty homemade, vegan ricotta cheese.  You can use it in any of the foods listed above or in other favorites where ricotta cheese is a must.

I made gluten-free stuffed shells with Tinkyada shells. Top with your favorite tomato sauce and shredded vegan cheese and viola!

I made gluten-free stuffed shells with Tinkyada shells. Top with your favorite tomato sauce and shredded vegan cheese and viola!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw macadamia nuts (soaked at least 4 hours)
  • ½ cup raw cashews (soaked with macadamia nuts)
  • ½ cup almond, rice or other non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small cloves garlic (I am a garlic lover so I tend to go high on the garlic – you can add more or less to taste)
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 cup of chopped kalamata olives or olives of choice (optional)

Method:

Drain the nuts of the soaking water and place them in a high speed blender or food processor.

Puree with milk, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt until they reach a fluffy consistency. If you are using a food processor, this may take a few minutes and you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the processing.

Transfer the fluffy ricotta cheese to a bowl and fold in the parsley, basil and olives.

It is now ready to use in your favorite recipe!

How to Make All Natural Mouthwash

All natural herbal ingredients for mouthwash

All natural herbal ingredients for mouthwash

I am a big fan of using natural products. I have effectively cut out all of the beauty products in my life that were filled with dangerous chemicals and additives such as lauryl sulfates. I have found that not only are natural products just as effective, they are harmless and even good for you. Take coconut oil for example. I use it as a moisturizer on my skin. It soaks right in and makes my skin look great. Olive oil is another great moisturizer that I use on my face. A couple of drops is all that you need!

Mouthwash is another product that I feel much better about now that I make it myself.  Since I started using my own natural mouthwash, my mouth feels cleaner and fresher. No kidding. It is simple to make and inexpensive. And, as with the olive oil on my skin, little goes a long way. I discovered Dr. Christopher’s X-Ceptic extract,an all natural product made from natural herbs in an alcohol base. Alcohol based formulas have a shelf life of several years and are typically more effective than water-based or glycerin based formulas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of pure water
  • 4 droppers full of Dr. Christoper’s Xceptic
  • A few drops of natural peppermint essential oil

Method:

Swish, swish your mouth clean!

Swish, swish your mouth clean!

Mix all ingredients together in a jar. When ready to use, pour about an ounce of the mouthwash into a glass. Swish around your mouth for several seconds before spitting out. Feel the freshness!