Category Archives: Resources and Links

Glossary of Terms

When reading the posts here on Pack Lunch you may come across terms you’re not familiar with, or maybe would like a refresher. If you clicked a hotlink in an article and this page opened it’s because the word is here in the glossary. Click on the ‘+’ to get the definition. If you have a recommendation for the glossary please use the comments or contact me. Listings are alphabetical.

80/10/10 rule

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The commonly subscribed-to theory that the edible part of a natural prey animal is 80% muscle, fat, and connective tissue, 10% edible bone, and 10% organs, and that this proportion is how an appropriate raw diet should be formulated. 

Bioavailability

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“The degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into a living system or is made available at the site of physiological activity.”
Source: Merriam-Webster

Biomagnification 

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The increase in concentration of a substance that occurs in a food chain. 

Carnivore

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An animal that derives most or all of its essential nutrients from animal sources. Canids (dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes), felids (housecats, lions, tigers, lynxes, cougars), and mustelids (ferrets, weasels, badgers, wolverines) are carnivores. 

Corticosteriod

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A class of pharmaceutical drug that imitates a naturally occurring hormone produced in the body. (Not to be confused with anabolic steroids, the hormone that athletes take as a performance enhancer.) Corticosteroids are used in drug form to reduce inflammation and decrease immune response, and have a wide variety of applications in conventional medicine, from skin problems to cancer. Common corticosteroid drugs are cortisone, prednisone, and prednisolone. Corticosteroid use comes with many side-effects, both short and long term, notably liver and kidney damage. Corticosteroids are not used so much to “cure” diseases or conditions, but used in the maintenance of disease and can have a snow-ball effect on declining health. 

Essential & Non-Essential nutrients

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Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the body, or not in amounts high enough to meet requisite amounts for good health. These nutrients must come from food, and include certain vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids.

A non-essential nutrient can be synthesized in the body. It’s important to note, however, that the right ‘building blocks’ must be present. These might be sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, or another outside source. Often non-essential nutrients are still very important to the diet as a more efficient way to ingest what the body needs for growth and maintenence.

Interesting note: Essential nutrients are not absolute! i.e., Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for humans, but it is not for dogs or cats. Arginine is an essential amino acid for dogs and cats, but not humans. Taurine is essential for cats, but not dogs or humans.

Functional Food

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A food that is endowed with attributes beyond nutrition. Usually foods that contain substantial amounts of substances linked with preventing or curing disease states. Synonymous with “nutraceutical”.

Herbivore

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An animal that eats mostly or only vegetation for sustenance. Bovids (cattle, bison, oxen) and cervids (deer, elk, moose) are herbivores. 

Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA)

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A polyunsaturated fat that is essential to the diet, as it’s not manufactured in the body. The significant dietary O-6 EFAs are “linoleic acid” and “gamma linoleic acid”. O-6 is abundant in grains and vegetable oils. Humans and pets eat these things directly, and indirectly in the form of meat that was fed grain instead of grass, which is also very high in O-6 EFAs. O-6 EFAs are overrepresented in the average North American diet both in quantity and in balance to O-3 EFAs. A 1 : 1 O-6 to O-3 ratio is thought to be ideal.

Medicine

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a: “A substance or preparation used in treating disease”
b :”Something that affects well-being.”
(source: Merriam-Webster)

Omnivore

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An animal that is designed to utilize both animal sources and vegetation for sustenance. Examples of omnivores are humans, bears, and pigs. 

Physiology

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The organic processes and phenomena of an organism or any of its parts or of a particular bodily process. In other words, how a body’s systems work to produce functionality of the whole being. (source: Merriam Webster)

Process(ed)

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To alter the raw natural state of food either physically or chemically. This can be an everyday technique like puréeing or baking, or more complex handling and manipulating, e.g., hydrolysis. Goals of food processing are usually preservation, palatability, and/or increased nutrient availability. The term ‘processed’ can refer to actions on single ingredients, or food items made from many ingredients. Some food items are processed in many ways before a final product is finished. This gives rise to terms like “minimally processed” and “highly processed”. 

Ruminant

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A classification of herbivorous animal that has a chambered stomach including a “rumen” where grasses and other roughage are fermented. The fermented mass is called a “cud” and is usually brought back to the mouth and chewed before being formally digested. Ruminants include cattle, sheep, goat, deer, and bison, among other animals, and make up the mainstay of prey animals for wolves and other apex predators.

Supplement

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Something that is added to something else in order to make it complete.
(source: Merriam-Webster)


 

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What Is Raw Feeding?

Raw feeding is just what it sounds like: Feeding biologically carnivorous animals (which includes the domestic dog, cat, and ferret) a species-appropriate diet of meat, bones, and organs, and — as the name implies — not cooked or heavily processed.

Why Feed Raw? Commercially prepared dry and wet pet foods are processed, and have the same pit falls of processed food for humans. Commercial kibbles and wet food have to be formulated for not only the nutrition of the animal eating it, but also ease of transport, shelf-stability, function, profit, and palatability. (You can’t sell something a pet won’t eat!) To achieve these qualities they must (or simply do) include ingredients that are unnatural to the pets eating them. Sourcing of ingredients is often done in a way to maximize cost efficiency for the producer meaning low-quality protein and fat sources, industry by-products, and inappropriate use of plant-based foods. All of this can contribute to a range of health problems over time, including but very much not limited to rapid tooth decay, highly fluctuating blood sugar levels (leading to hypoglycemia and diabetes), kidney trouble including “stones”, food allergies and intolerance, cancer, obesity, and behavioral problems.

A fresh/frozen raw food diet reduces and/or eliminates the processing and the need for unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. In addition, when pets are allowed to eat food in a more natural form (which includes chewing meat off bone and crunching bone-in hunks of meat) they are getting a more complete experience whereby food not only delivers nutrition, but a work-out for muscles and brain.

What Is Raw Feeding? (image: Meridian eats chicken)What?  Raw fed carnivores eat a combination of meat, bones, and organs. All of these elements must be present in the diet for complete nutrition. The short and sweet (and not entirely complete) explanation is that meat delivers protein and fat and associated vitamins, organs confer essential vitamins and minerals in concentrations muscle meat does not have, and edible bone is crucial for it’s calcium content. (For more read Terminology: The Prey Model.)

How? In the process of becoming domestic carnivores, our pets traded hunting and scavenging for a place in our lives and homes and it became our responsibility to procure food for them. Somewhere along the line (in North America this was the 1950’s) the trend became for this food to be the processed pet foods we rely on today. Raw feeding can take on several different forms. The author adheres to a do-it-yourself type of diet, consisting of chunks, parts, and pieces of meat, bone, and organ that can come from the plain old meat section of the grocery store. Of course there are as many potential meat sources as you can dream up — farm-direct, 4-H club, wild game, restaurant suppliers, reptile feeder producers, etc. While one of the beauties of raw feeding is getting away from commercially prepared formulas, there are a number of frozen raw foods on the market. These meet the pet owner half-way with the benefits of a fresh/frozen diet of minimally processed food, but with the “convenience” of pre-formulated meals. These foods are usually ground and come in patties or medallions. There are pros and cons to these products, but they are there, and a reasonably viable way to feed a raw diet.

Sounds great, how do I start feeding raw to my pets? Reading more about the specifics of the diet and “how to’s” written by vets and other experienced raw feeders is a great place to start. Concurrently you can donate that last bag of kibble to your local animal shelter or wildlife sanctuary, go shopping for “real food”, and get on the road to better health for your pet and more conscious consumerism overall. There is a vast amount of information in books and on the internet. I don’t presume to write a “how to” guide for beginners as part of Pack Lunch (yet), but my favorite resources for learning more about how to start feeding raw are listed in the Books and Websites page. There’s also a page of Frequently Asked Questions.

*** Update Fall 2017 — The time has come for a Pack Lunch how-to guide, and the work has been started. Keep your eye on the website and social media for updates and announcements! ***

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