A Holistic Vet’s Guide to Pet Food, Part I – Who’s in Charge?

In 2007, when thousands of pets were sickened or killed by pet food contamination, and the recalls went on for months, the pet food industry claimed that it was highly regulated and therefore trustworthy. Clearly, that was then and still is not true. There are regulations that apply to pet food, but nearly all of them apply only to the post-production period-that is, labels, marketing, and advertising. What goes into pet food and how it is made is virtually unregulated. And yet, the labels can provide a great deal of information about that very process, tell you about the quality of the food, and help you decide which ones to avoid and which are the best and healthiest food for your pets.

Despite all the “small print” and vague terms on the average pet food label, the rules governing pet food labels are actually quite simple. Once you know these few basic rules, you’ll be scanning the label like a pro and actually understanding what it says, what it means, and whether it’s good for your pet.

First, let’s take a look at who makes the rules. There are two primary groups involved: state governments and the federal government. At the federal level, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are involved. At the state level, the state agriculture department in most states (a different department in a few states) designates one or more of its feed control officials–the folks that inspect all animal feed, including pet food–to participate. The body to which these representatives belong is called the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO is not itself a regulatory body and does not do any tests or enforce any laws.

Every year, AAFCO has meetings to discuss potentially needed changes, and publishes a book containing everything an animal feed or pet food maker needs to know: what nutrient levels are needed in a food, the rules governing labels, and how to conduct tests. These are “model” regulations that can then be adopted by the states, where they then become law. Only about half the states have actually adopted the AAFCO rules; and several others have something similar on the books. However, in order to ship nationally, all major pet food companies follow the AAFCO guidelines in order to avoid problems when the inspectors check out their foods.

There is a lot of confusion about AAFCO, and many writers have accused the organization of being “the fox guarding the henhouse” because their book lists not only the government officials, but also a long list of “advisors” from the industry, including many pet food companies. However, these advisors are basically just lobbyists; they do have some influence with the officials, just like any government lobbyist, but they don’t make the rules. The state and federal representatives are the only voting members with power to change the rules. AAFCO takes its consumer protection role seriously and has rejected many attempts by the pet …

5 Kitchen Tools That Make Life Easier

Want to cook like the professional chefs you see on TV? It starts with having the right tools for the job – and in this case the job is cooking. Every cook needs a core set of utensils to use to prepare his meals But, in addition to this core set, there are other items, that while not mandatory, make life easier in the kitchen.

Basting brushes – these are used to baste meats, cooked vegetables, and so on with fat, stock, or some other liquid. This is not a necessary tool because you can baste with a spoon – as many home cooks regularly do. A brush does, however, let you baste with the liquids in a more even fashion. In addition, a bush lets you "paint" the liquid into places that would be hard to reach with a spoon.

Vegetable brush – nobody likes to eat dirty vegetables. Many cooks like to clean vegetables such as carrots and potatoes by scraping off their skin and rinsing them under water. But some cooks that are really into healthy eating, use organic vegetables and hate throwing away what they consider to be an essential part of the vegetable. In many vegetables the skin has more nutrients than the other parts of the plant. In addition, it contains roughage which is good for you. These cooks will simply use a vegetable brush to clean the dirt off the skin.

Tongs – old time cooks do not need these, they do just fine using forks. For the less experience cook, however, tongs will make it easy to remove those pieces of chicken from the fryer. You'll find them very helpful as a reasonable replacement for your hands. When a piece of food has cooked on one side, instead of using your hands and fingers to turn the food, use your tongs instead.

Kitchen shears – are a very under appreciated utensil. These are simply heavy duty scissors and they are especially adept at opening electronic products that seem to be always sold in those rigid packages that are almost impossible to open by hand without injuring yourself. But they're also good for their primary purpose in cutting chicken bones and the like. But buy ones that are ergonomic in design. You'll find that they're a lot easier on your hands.

Food Mill – this is a fun utensil. It's ideal for making foods like sauces, jams, baby foods, and even mashed potatoes. You place foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, and so on in the top bowl, turn the handle. The food is ground down into fine pieces, pressed through a base sieve, to produce a lump free product. Everything you can do with a food mill, you can do using other tools, but you probably will not have as much fun.

As you can see – none of the items on this list are absolutely mandatory. And yet, millions of each product are sold every year in the stores. That's because, even …

Pet Natural Health Care – Try This For Hot Spots

According to Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM, hot spots, or Acute Moist Dermatitis, are on the rise with more and more dogs, cats and various other species of pets needing help with hot spots. Dr. Jones verifies that the most common cause of re-curring hot spots is allergies. Weeding out the cause of the allergy can often take some time leaving behind the problem of hot spots. In the field of pet natural health care, this new natural remedy just may do the trick.

Dr. Jones has been testing out this rather new hot spot natural remedy, putting it to the test and finding it’s potential one to be shared with all pet owners particularly those of dogs and cats.

First, lets start with the basic pet natural health care for hot spots, how to care for the wound, and an already known natural remedy so that all readers can benefit from this information not only those who have been down this road before.

It is important to know that when it comes to natural remedies whether for you or your pet, you may need to try several different remedies, and there are usually more than just one, as nature is full of medicinal valuable qualities. Each pet in it’s breed is unique and what works for one may or may not work for another. Therefore, always try more than just one remedy if the first doesn’t take hold.

Signs Itchy, oozing, red painful area on the skin that has an odor.

Causes A local area of bacterial infected hair follicles that mostly form in the summer months. The skin can become infected by any scratch or wound causing the hot spot to form. Most common cause is some type of skin allergy.

PET NATURAL HEALTH CARE SOLUTIONS

Remove hair

Removing hair on and around the hot spot should be your first step. It is very important in order to let the skin breath, helping the hot spot to heal. Be sure to use a blunt end scissor such as nose hair scissors. Be as gentle as you can, because the hot spot area is painful and your pet will feel discomfort just from the hair being cut.

Clean the Wound

It is very important that you clean the wound by using a MILD, non perfumed antiseptic soap to clean. Use a cotton ball and gently dab the wound with the cleaner. Be sure to rinse well and not leave any soap residue behind.

Tea and Aspirin

The key to healing the hot spot is to get it to dry out and there are some very powerful natural aids that can do this and are probably already in your kitchen. One of them is black tea and the other is aspirin. Make a strong cup of black tea and dissolve an aspirin in it. Immerse a clean cloth in this solution and apply it to the hot spot for minutes. Do this four times a day.

The New Remedy – Apple

Keep Your Fruit Fresh With a Vacuum Food Sealer

When you are paying so much for fruit, you want to keep them as fresh as possible. You may not know how to do that or what kinds of equipment you may need for it. Why not try a vacuum food sealer.

When you want your veggies or fruit, you may not think about keeping them good for a longer period of time. This is because you are just thinking about what you want to eat right now and not about what you could be in for later. If you do not think about this, you could be in for a lot of money going down the drain in the end.

A good way to start is to put your vegetables in their own bags for vacuum sealing, this way they will stay fresher better and you will have some kind of system. Once you have each different kind of vegetable in its own bag, you are free to use them without hurting any other kind of veggie in the bunch. You will be able to keep the nasty stuff out of your vegetables and that will help them to stay good.

If you want to keep your fruit tasting good, then a vacuum sealed bag is going to be a great idea as well. This is because you are keeping all of the air out of the bag so that your fruit stays good and you will be able to eat them later on down the road. You may want to think about keeping your fruits separate from each other so that you are not letting them all get into the air and getting bad at the same time. A vacuum sealing system is a great way to keep your fruit and vegetables tasting good for the long haul.

A vacuum sealer is something that anyone can use for their fruits and vegetables keeping needs. You may not think that you are going to be able to use it for your fruit and things, but it really is easy and great to do. If you are not sure about these vacuum sealers, then you can try one that runs on a battery system instead of a plug in one. This way you will not be so intimidated by the process of vacuum sealing. Take some time and find the one that is good for your needs. That way, you will have fun even as you are keeping your food fresh. …

What Stable Equipment Do I Need To Care For My Horse?

When you own a horse, there’s some basic equipment you need to have around. Most of this is designed to keep your horse’s stable clean, tidy and safe. You’ll also need containers for food and water. This article looks at some of the essential equipment required to keep your horse’s stable clean and tidy, and the basic feeding equipment you’ll need.

Stable Equipment

In terms of maintaining your horse’s stable, you’ll need:

  • A Wheelbarrow – With endless uses around the stable and yard, but perfect for mucking out and transporting stuff (make sure you get a reasonably big one!).
  • A Metal Fork – For mucking out and fluffing up bedding. If you use shavings, make sure you get a shavings fork as they’re specifically designed for this job.
  • A Stable Broom – Essential for tidying and cleaning. You’ll also need a scrubbing brush for thorough stable cleans.
  • A Rake – For cleaning out stables, metal ones are more resilient than plastic ones.
  • A Shovel – Again for mucking out, sometimes a fork alone is not enough!
  • Buckets – Like wheelbarrows, these have many uses. For example transporting water, bathing wounds, and carrying things like grooming kit.
  • Disinfectant – It is essential to maintain a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness in the stable for the health of both horses and humans. Specialist cleaning detergents and disinfectants that have been developed for this purpose are widely available.
  • Hooks, Rug Rails, Racks and Saddle Racks – With all the equipment required to care for a horse, it’s sensible to have storage in place to ensure everything stays tidy.

Feeding Equipment

  • Water and Feed Buckets/Troughs – These can be pretty much any buckets, barrels or tubs. If they’re to be left in the stable, plastic or rubber flexible tubs are ideal as they are soft and won’t break if knocked over or trampled on. You’ll probably need at least two for water and two for food.
  • Hay Nets and Haylage Nets – Available in a range of sizes, these can be hung up in your horse’s stable, so they can help themselves as and when they fancy. Haylage nets have smaller holes than hay nets, to encourage your horse to feed at a slower pace.
  • Feed Scoops & Stirrers – For measuring, mixing and serving up feeds, these are really handy to have around.

This article covers the basics of what is required in terms of stable equipment. As with all horse equipment, it’s always a good idea to speak to horse owners to get their views on what they use, and what they’d recommend. Good stable management is essential for both your horse’s and your own health and safety, and having the right tools for the job will definitely help with that.…

The Best Diet For Diverticulitis

What Are Diverticula?

As humans age, they often develop increased pressure in their colon. This pressure is often caused by increasing episodes of constipation. As the pressure is applied to the colon, over time, small tissue pockets or sacs develop outward from the wall of the colon. These sacs are called diverticula. The singular is diverticulum.

The diverticula most commonly occur in the lower 1/3 of the colon, in the area known as the sigmoid colon.

There is no known, specific biological purpose for diverticula. They are simply an anomaly that occurs with age and increasing colonic pressure. The biological reason for the development of diverticula is merely the weakening of the colon as a person ages.

The development of diverticula in the colon is known as “diverticulosis.” When they become inflamed, the condition is called “diverticulitis.”

What Causes The Diverticula To Become Inflamed?

When small particles of difficult to digest food become trapped in the diverticula, they tend to rub on the walls of the colon and develop a very small lesion or ulcer. This small ulcer becomes inflamed and can often react unfavorably to bacteria, which is highly populous in this area.

Once the bacteria enters the picture, the diverticula become very inflamed, swollen and painful. When inflammation occurs, the next step is rupture. If a diverticulum ruptures, the result can be peritonitis or infection of the interior gut, causing severe abdominal pain and tenderness, vomiting, fever and diarrhea, as well as some other serious symptoms.

The ultimate result of this diverticulitis is often serious surgical intervention. This surgery, called a “colon resection”, is the actual “cutting out” of affected diverticula. Once this surgery is performed it is essential for the patient to avoid further episodes as the next step is often the application of a colostomy or the removal of a large portion of the colon and the production of an abdominal “stoma” or hole in the gut from which defecation occurs.

The most effective and widely used preventative treatment for diverticulitis is the diverticulitis diet.

What Is A Diverticulitis Diet?

A diverticulitis diet is simply one that seeks to accomplish two tasks:

1) It prevents the further introduction of foods that have small, difficult to digest particles such as fibrous fruits or vegetables.

2) It lowers the pressure on the gut and allows the colon to rest as much as possible.

What Are The Most Common Diverticulitis Diets?

The most common diet used during acute episodes of the condition is what as known as a “low residue” diet. With this type of diet, fiber is reduced as much as possible because fiber particles can get into the diverticula and cause additional inflammation. The elimination of fiber allows the gut the flow and rest. It rests because fiber causes the bowel to move. Without much fiber, the colon tends to have less peristaltic action, which is the undulating movement that causes feces to move along through the colon. The lack of peristaltic action, unfortunately often leads to …

Best Grilling Times For T Bone Steak

Ask every meat-lover you know and steak will definitely be one of their favorites. True enough, steaks such as porterhouse or T-bone captures the heart of every carnivore due to its rich taste and great flavor. On the other hand, eating and enjoying steak is different than actually cooking one. In fact, many people are having a hard time grilling that perfect steak at hand. With this problem in mind, we are about to reveal the best grilling times for T Bone steak as well as other tips for every known enthusiast.

Indeed, there is no satisfying meal than mashed potatoes and a huge piece of steak. Add some gravy and you are bound to one gastronomical feast. With regards to proper cooking, all you have to remember are the following:

First, to grill that perfect and juicy steak, you have to equip yourself with the right and proper cooking equipment. Be it a charcoal or electric grill, the key to having the best steak in town always starts with preparation of materials and ingredients. As for the grilling times for T Bone steak, here is a simple guideline. For T-Bone steaks that are 3/4 inches thick, the best cooking time would be from 10 to 12 minutes. As for the 1″ thick T-Bone, the suggested grilling time would be 14 to 16 minutes.

These suggested times are great tips for beginners, especially if you are not that skilled in cooking. It is also best to concentrate on cooking your steak separately before adding other ingredients such as vegetables. In this case, you do not have to focus on two things at once and multi-task. When following these grilling times for T Bone steak, remember that 1-1/2 inches thick meats are supposed to be placed on racks that are about 4 inches above the heat. It is also recommended to allot 2 to 3 minutes per side of cooking to achieve desired doneness.

Another great tip is that you have to make sure that your coals are medium hot. It is also best to use tongs in turning meats to avoid eventual loss of juices. Marinating the meats beforehand is also preferred, as this helps in adding flavor and taste. Suggested grilling times for T Bone steak, meanwhile are also helpful reminders to avoid overcooking of desired meat pieces.

As a general rule, a beginner should remember to prepare his materials, ingredients and food items before grilling. Estimated times are usually interpreted by grilling one side of the steak until brown if not half the suggested time for grilling. From there, you can now turn the meat over and continue cooking. Grilling times for T Bone steak can definitely help you in perfecting the art of cooking steaks. And while many tips and suggestions are welcome, using your own judgment is still necessary in achieving what seems to be the perfect, juicy and delicious T Bone come dinner.…

The Advantages of Using Plastic Cups

Nowadays, plastic products are the most commonly used product not only in our household but also in one-stop shops, food chains and other business establishments.

Considering the extensive use of cups everywhere, most utensils have already been replaced by plastic products. Because of its convenience and simplicity, it is one of the most important products that everyone can rely on. People from all walks of life make use of plastic products since they are easy to carry and transport even in big bulks.

Because of its growing and increasing demand, plastic cups are the most preferred commodity of those engaged in commercial business because it is inexpensive and no need for additional maintenance. Compared to glass or porcelain cups, using it will lessen your worry for possible breakage and damage.

Plastic cups are no longer limited to simple and plain forms but they come in different designs, colors and sizes and even personalized. Aside from various and attractive designs these plastic cups go with a top cover to avoid coffee or any beverage from spilling. Most especially for those people who have hectic schedules who want to have a grab of their favorite beverages or hot coffee they can now have it in cups. With big events and special occasions such as birthday parties, picnics, outings and even with wedding celebrations, plastic cup is the ultimate, choice. This can save them time and effort and most of all it is very affordable.

During birthdays, parents opt to use plastic cups for their young ones. The fact that they are safe, convenient and practical to use they are also on the guard of any injury that may harm their kids if they use breakable items for the party. It would also be alarming that these breakable items will lead to serious injury for elder people who at their age are not strong enough to get hold of such breakable items.

The use of these cups is not only intended for the young generations of today but also for the young and old alike. They are most convenient to elder people because they are not difficult to hold.

There are business establishments who are producing personalized cups. Customers can ask the assistance of the plastic cup manufacturers to help them create their own style by putting some messages or other designs that may best suit their needs. They can also use this as items for give away or for gift giving during special occasions. This is also their way of strengthening their business and encouraging other people to patronize and support their product and uplift their company.In this way you are helping the company boost their sales and in the same manner helping you with your important event. Lastly, plastic cups are safe, hygienic and practical to use. We also reduce the risk of having contagious diseases that may come from the use f breakable items.

What a practical way to have your party supplies.Order now for a better and practical way …

Restaurant Service Training – Teach the Host How to Greet the Customers Properly

A moment of truth is an opportunity whereby a customer forms either a good impression or a bad impression about the restaurant service quality. Millions upon millions of “moments of truth” occur out there in the restaurant customer service world, but the successful businesses register the highest percentage rate of good impressions. It means everything to their image and reputation. This concept must be taught in every restaurant service training program.

The host is such an important part of the “dining room service experience” as he or she is the first person the customer sees and the last person the customer says goodbye. Great first impressions are great lasting impressions.Therefore, the host must dress nicely being neat and clean. The host must always be upbeat, friendly, and helpful to customers. The true purpose of guest seating is to make “every table seem like the best table in the restaurant!”

More concepts that must be taught in every restaurant service training program are as follows:

The telephone must be courteously answered stating the restaurant’s name and asking, “May I help you?” Whenever taking a dining reservation, one must politely ask for the name and the number of people in the party, date and time of the reservation, and the contact telephone number. Also, special requests should be noted, such as birthday guests, high chairs, customer food allergies, or the need to be seated at a specific table or location in the restaurant (for example, far from the window on a cold night; close to the window on a beautiful day). This information must then be recorded in a Reservation Journal that eventually will be transferred onto the Daily Reservation Sheet.

During busy hours, the customers waiting for an open table in the lobby or sitting at the bar can be offered menus to pass the time. In some restaurants, hors d’oeuvres are served to customers who have been waiting a long time for an open table. All ways and means must be exhausted to prevent customers from leaving to dine at another establishment-even if it means offering some complimentary items.

If the host is not busy seating customers, they can purvey the dining room for customers in need of service and relay such information to the waitstaff. This is up to the discretion of the host, for they should never stray too far from the Front Door.

So you see, the host who does the greeting at the front door is extremely important as the reputation and the bottom line are affected by the host’s restaurant customer service performance.…

Are Gift Cards the Best Gift?

January’s retail sales strength is reflected in people redeeming their Christmas gift cards. The average adult received 3.2 gift cards this holiday season, up from 2.5 gift cards last year. Gift cards are more popular and this also moves spending into January. Consumers are also interested in receiving gift cards at other times that just at Christmas.

A survey by Deloitte & Touche USA found:

  • 80{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} of adults received at least one gift card to an apparel or food store
  • 33{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} received at least one gift card to a restaurant
  • 14{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} received one gift card to a mall or shopping center
  • 10{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} received a gift card that could be used at a variety of stores (e.g., an American Express gift card)
  • 5{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} received at least one for a personal service such as a manicure or massage
  • 5{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} received at least one gift card for an Internet site (e.g., ebay, Amazon)

Price ranges for gift cards ranged from $78 for an American Express card, while the lowest was for a $32 restaurant card. Bank gift cards are more likely to be used in January. Nearly 74{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} of these gift cards have been redeemed or partially redeemed by the end of January.

People were more likely to buy full price retail items with their gift cards. Many analysts believe the “gift” aspect allows consumers to treat themselves to new full-priced merchandise.

Retailers also benefit when consumers redeem a gift card, nearly 62{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} spend more than the face value of the card. This is an opportunity for retailers to increase sales, as sales cannot be reported until the gift card is redeemed.

Consumers also expressed an interest in receiving gift cards for other holidays. For example, a gift card for an “experience” is widely received as a result of people being time-pressed. Getting a gift card for a trip to a restaurant or massage or even a weekend getaway seems to be a trend people are enjoying.

Teens enjoy gift cards because they are more eager to shop with their friends and are more apt to redeem their cards quicker than adults. The survey showed teens redeemed 76{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} of their gift cards vs. 61{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} of adults.

Gift cards keep on giving, after the holidays, especially for retailers. Gift cards are here to stay. Consumers enjoy using them and retailers enjoy getting them. Gift cards are an appropriate gift for all occasions.…