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News from Optimum Choices, LLC

October 2003

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Oil of the Month

Sources for raw food for pets

Upcoming Classes
Book of the Month
Contact Us

Oil of the Month

This month we feature the "Animal Scents" product line by Young Living Essential Oils for animals. Young Living offers these all-natural health and grooming products for pets to reduce the harmful effects of environmental pollutants, harsh chemicals and drugs.

The Animal Scents Shampoo cleanses animals thoroughly and gently without the harshness of sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients often found in pet care products. Sodium lauryl sulfate can damage the immune system and is a potent carcinogen when contaminated with nitrosamines. The shampoo cleans an animal's coat without stripping it of essential vitamins and minerals. Ingredients include saponified coconut and olive oils, aloe vera, rosemary extract and essential oils of citronella, lavandin, lemon, geranium and spikenard.

Animal Scents OintmentThe Animal Scents Ointment is a soothing ointment enhanced with nature's most antiseptic essential oils. Instead of possible harmful drugs and antibiotics often prescribed, it combines nature's antiseptics found in Melaleuca alternifolia and myrrh, skin soothers such as rosewood, palmarosa and patchouli essential oils and additional natural ingredients such as mink oil, lecithin, beeswax, lanolin, sesame seed oil, wheat germ oil, carrot seed oil and rose hip oil.

To purchase these products and other essential oils online, go to http://oc-yleo.younglivingworld.com/. For more information, contact us at info@OptimumChoices.com or phone: (303) 271-1649 or 866-305-2306 (toll-free).

Sources of raw food for pets

If you are in the Denver area, we invite you to attend our October 4th workshop on Natural Pet Care which will include how to feed your pet a healthy diet based on raw meat, bones and vegetables. See the Classes section below for more details.

Most holistic animal practitioners are now in agreement that a diet of raw meat and bones is the healthiest way to feed our cats and dogs. Cats and dogs evolved in the wild as carnivores that eat raw, whole animals so this is what their bodies are designed to digest. If we can approximate their wild diet, they will live in optimal health, with increased happiness, fewer behavioral problems and decreased vet visits.

Since many pet owners don't have time to prepare a raw diet from scratch (which involves grinding meat and bones and mixing with pureed vegetables), many companies are now offering premade frozen raw diets that we can give our pets. This may not be affordable if you have a large dog but we certainly recommend this for owners of cats and small dogs who are pressed for time. This is what we feed our cat Connie and dog Mikki. Our dog Mikki will eat anything we give her but our cat Connie is old and quite finicky so I've noted below our successes and failures with feeding her various brands.

Following are some of the many companies offering premade raw diets. You can generally find at least one of these brands at holistic pet supply stores in large cities or you can order some of these over the Internet (though shipping can be quite expensive):

Amore Pet Foods

We have tried numerous brands of premade raw foods over the past year and this is our favorite for cats. (They also make raw food for dogs). We just recently found this at a local pet store and tried it on our cat Connie, who we are still trying to shift to a raw diet. She likes this brand and will eat it straight, unlike many other brands or homemade food. Also, since it has few ingredients, she tolerates it well. Some brands, which make a single food for both dogs and cats, have a large number of ingredients in them that can be difficult for cats to digest. We found that Connie had difficulty digesting the raw food made by Nature's Variety because it has so many ingredients in it. She became sick on it and we had to switch back to canned food until we found this brand.

We also like the fact that the meats in this brand are free range and hormone free, unlike typical supermarket meats, so it is much healthier for your pet. The cat food is garlic-free, which we like. Many companies put garlic in their food mixes but there is some debate as to whether garlic is safe for cats or can cause hemolytic anemia, as does onions.

Amore's cat foods are conveniently packaged in small plastic sealed bags that are approximately the right size for one day's worth of food for one cat. This makes it more convenient than many other brands that package their food in large amounts that may need to be defrosted, repackaged in smaller amounts and then refrozen (thus decreasing nutritional value).


This company, like Amore, also uses human grade, organic whole meats and vegetables. They produce dog food only, not cat food. We have started using this food with our dog Mikki.

Nature's Variety

You can order it from our website here: www.optimumchoices.com/Natures_Variety.htm

Nature's Variety makes frozen raw, freeze-dried raw, canned and kibble for both dogs and cats. We particularly like the freeze-dried raw lamb patties which we use as training treats for our dog Mikki. They are extremely tasty yet also very healthy, so we don't have to worry about damaging Mikki's health when we use these for training. We break the patties up into pieces and put them in a treat bag for use on walks and at agility class. This is far healthier than buying a typical training treat that often contains poor quality ingredients like propylene glycol (to make it soft).

In addition to full-sized patties, Nature's Variety offers their frozen raw food in bags of mini patties, which are an ideal size for small animals. Instead of having to thaw a 1-pound "chub" (the usual packaging of other brands) and then repackage and refreeze it, you can just thaw out the number of mini patties needed for the next meal. We feed these mini patties to Mikki for meals but as noted above, they don't agree well with our cat Connie. The patties also contain garlic, another reason to use caution with cats.

While we don't recommend feeding kibble to dogs or cats (particularly cats, who are not designed to eat carbohydrates), if you must feed a kibble, we think Nature's Variety makes the healthiest brand on the market and it is also very tasty. Our cats go nuts over it on the rare occasions that we use it.

Oma's Pride

This company makes a huge variety of raw meat, bone and vegetable meals for dogs and cats. The company is a division of Miller foods which has been producing meat for the restaurant industry for 50 years, so the pet food is human grade meat. It is not organic but you will find a wider variety of products than most other brands of raw pet food. Our cat Connie likes the raw turkey/bone/vegetable mix made by Oma's Pride but she refused ground rabbit and bone. Many cats love rabbit so it's just a matter of trial and error to see what your cat will eat.

Steve's Real Food

Steve's makes frozen and freeze-dried raw food, with separate products for dogs and cats. Our cats turned up their nose at the frozen food though they will sometimes munch on the freeze-dried cubes a little bit. It contains salmon so if your cat likes salmon, you may have good success with it. This brand contains less ground bone than other brands but they do carefully balance the calcium and phosphorus ratios and add bone meal if needed. Like Oma's Pride, the meat is human grade.

Aunt Jeni's Home Made

We have not tried this brand since it is not available in local stores but it may be available in your area or it can be ordered on the Internet. All the food contains garlic.

Dr. Billinghurst's BARF Diet

We have not tried this brand since it is not available in nearby stores but it may be available in your area. Dr. Billinghurst is an Australian vet who pioneered the concept of feeding raw meat and bones to dogs (BARF=bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw food). This company makes frozen and freeze-dried raw food products for dogs. See the book section below for Dr. Billinghurst's pioneering book "Give Your Dog a Bone".

Upcoming Classes

Add Years To Your Pet's Life With Natural Pet Care

Saturday, October 4, 10:00-2:00

Panera Bread, Grant & 13th Avenue, Denver, CO

This workshop will show pet owners how they can play an active role in extending the life expectancy of their pets through optimum nutrition and complementary wellness therapies. We will present many natural options for pet owners including the raw foods diet concept, natural shampoos, aromatherapy, Reiki, Bach Flower remedies, and canine massage. Participants are invited to bring their pet food package labels for a free analysis and to receive recommendations for necessary diet modifications.

The cost is $22 per person with advance registration through Saturday, September 27 and the price includes lunch (the price is $27 after September 27). A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Table Mountain Animal Center in Golden.

Add Years to Your Pet’s Life will cover topics on how to:

  • Design an optimum nutrition program for your pets
  • Avoid the dangers of today’s pet fast-food diets
  • Properly read pet food package labels
  • Boost your pet’s immune system
  • Wash coats and treat wounds with natural shampoos and ointments
  • Improve your pet’s health with massage, Reiki and flower remedies

To register, contact Optimum Choices at (303) 271-1649 or Russell@OptimumChoices.com.

Beyond Aromatherapy — The Wonderful World of Essential Oils

Saturday, November 22, 12:00-3:00 PM    $20 through Nov. 15 ($25 after)

Journey Books & Gifts, Lakewood, CO

Essential oils have been around since the beginning of recorded history. Ancient Egyptians used essential oils for medicinal purposes and to cleanse the emotional body. Come join us as we rediscover the therapeutic value of essential oils. The class will include hands on use of oils for physical conditions, emotional release and clearing mental blocks for a fully integrated mind, body and spirit.

Call Journey Books at 303-239-0382 to register.

Living the Ancient Tao in a Modern World

Saturday, December 6, 12:00-5:00 PM    $65 by Nov. 26 ($75 after)

Journey Books & Gifts, Lakewood, CO

Could you be good at playing tennis without ever using a backhand stroke? Would you like to have double the amount of options in figuring out a problem at work? Would you like to go through life without ever being disappointed? Answers to these questions can be found in this ancient Eastern philosophy of life. Students will be introduced to the Tao with a comparison between today’s modern Western ways of life. Readings will be done from the Tao Te Ching. Emphasis will be on how to make this ancient Taoist knowledge practical in every day life including the corporate world. Come discover the Universal Truths inherent in all religions and spiritual practices. Come learn the basis for most metaphysical principles and see how the new age thought is not so “new.”

Call Journey Books at 303-239-0382 to register.


Book of the Month

Give Your Dog a Bone

by Dr. Ian Billinghurst

ISBN: 0646160281

Click picture to order from Dogwise

This book, by Australian vet Ian Billinghurst, came out in 1993 and was a major factor in persuading breeders and pet owners to begin feeding raw food to their dogs. Dr. Billinghurst was a pioneer in using raw diet with dogs to resolve health problems. This book is now the "bible" for raw diet for dogs. It is not available on Amazon.com but can be ordered on the BARFworld website www.barfworld.com, which describes the book as follows:

"Give Your a Bone deals exclusively with feeding dogs their natural or evolutionary diet. This book contains vital information for all dog owners. It is a must for the owners of new puppies. Its 320 pages are packed with practical authoritative dog feeding advice that will drastically reduce vet bills. It shows that a dog’s diet, which is based on raw meaty bones, is simple to produce, promotes health and is inexpensive. “Give Your Dog a Bone” explains why processed foods are the major cause of growth, reproductive, dental and most of the degenerative diseases including problems such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, cardiac disease, the auto-immune diseases etc."

You can also find other books by Dr. Billinghurst and a video on raw diet at this website.

Contact Us

Click here to give your pet
the fountain of youth today!

General Information: Russell@OptimumChoices.com
Webmaster: info@OptimumChoices.com
        Newsletter Editor, Margaret Auld-Louie: Editor@OptimumChoices.com
        866-305-2306 (toll-free)
Location (call first for appointment)
416 Plateau Pkwy
        Golden, CO 80403-1533

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