There are good grains and there are bad grains, just as there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates.
So often we hear the lay person warning against the intake of carbohydrates. Most fruit and veggies are carbohydrates. In essence, the warning should be against refined, poor quality carbohydrates, bread, refined wheat and corn, cereals, gluten, etc.
Commercial processed pet food is mostly carbohydrate, with little meat content at all. Thus, high gluten grains and cereals are used to push up the protein composition. Gluten is however a cheap protein ingredient and is especially unsuitable for obligate carnivores like cats. Gluten-sensitivity is associated with a host of illnesses arising, in part from the ‘leaky gut’ syndrome and intestinal dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance). These illnesses include allergies, chronic skin and digestive problems, malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies, Addison’s disease, and epilepsy.
Perhaps, this is why, when speaking generally, grains sometimes have a poor reputation.
That said, there are also some fantastic grains and pulses, and their nutritional values are unsurpassed. The addition of these healthy grains into your and your pet’s diet can only enhance the balance and health aspect of the nutrition. They are a must in everyone’s diet.
INCLUDE: Grains/pulses that positively promote a balanced diet and health:
Brown Rice, Millet, Buckwheat, pearl barley, split peas, lentils, raw oats, quinoa, etc
AVOID: Grains/pulses that are allergenic and unhealthy:
Wheat gluten, corn gluten, refined wheat and corn, brewer’s rice (left-overs from the breweries), soya meal, etc.
Our companions over thousands of years have evolved to eat a balanced home prepared diet. Our dogs can no longer digest copious amounts of raw meat but prefer a diet
that is rich in vegetables and nutritional pulses, together with reasonable quantities of quality meat. In fact, many people believe that their companion animal can live on an exclusive diet of vegetables and grains.
The discussion as to whether our pets evolved from a wolf or dingo is of no consequence at all. The modern dog cannot be considered as a derivative of a Wolf. This is an antiquated belief and certainly presenting nutrition based on this ideology is incorrect. Our companion animals are our children and they should be treat that way and certainly fed the same.
Herewith a list of some of the ingredients we chose and the value that they bring to the diet:
Brown rice is a great source of healthy carbohydrates and energy. The Chinese believe that it has the perfect balance between Yin and Yang.
Millet is high in Protein and is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B17, B 6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Millets contain NO gluten.
Lentils also contain high levels of protein and essential amino acids. They are also one of the best vegetable sources of iron. Health magazine has selected lentil as one of the 5 healthiest foods.
Peas are also high in energy and rich in Vitamin B1, B3, B6 and B9. It is also very rich in Vitamin C and Phosphorus.
Barley contains all eight essential amino acids. Considered a whole grain, dehulled barley still has its bran and germ, making it a healthy and nutritious food.
Wheat germ is a concentrated source of several essential nutrients including Vitamin E, folic acid, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium… It also contains essential fatty acids.
Whole oats is an excellent source of thiamine, iron and dietary fiber. Fiber is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Oats also contain beta-glucan which helps to control blood sugar levels and and stimulate the immune system to fight off bacterial infections.