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Park City’s major convinced of benefits of plant-based diet

Park City Mayor Andy Beerman did a 10 day vegan challenge but it didn’t stop there. He and his wife, Thea are enjoying the healthy changes they have made and the positive impact it’s having on the planet. We look forward to working together on what is next for Park City and beyond. Read more of what Andy had to say here.

The Future Is Vegan: Raising Compassion, Interview #5 with Hattie Cole

For the fifth of six interviews on vegan parenting, Lauren Lockey interviewed Hattie Cole, and her baby boy Elliott. See the interview below:

LL: What inspired you to become vegan and what is the biggest change you noticed in yourself?
HC: I became vegan about 6 years ago but had been vegetarian since I was 8 years old. My inspiration has always been the animals! I had an experience at about 6 years old when I went on a field trip to a farm and made the connection of pig = bacon and from that moment on I told my mom I would never eat a pig again. I think children have a very innate understanding of right and wrong and eating animals is wrong. Once I became more educated on the truth of dairy I immediately gave that up.

LL: Do you have cravings during your pregnancy and what are your amazing vegan alternatives?
HC: From time to time I certainly have wanted cheese, particularly on pizza! But Myokos vegan mozz is such an amazing product I don’t even miss real mozzarella anymore!

LL: Did you find it difficult to find vegan prenatals?
HC: I didn’t, Vita Cost actually has lots of vegan options for most supplements.

LL: What has been your biggest obstacle in raising a vegan baby?
HC: I think people hear you’re vegan and assume your child is going to have his growth stunted or be lacking in protein- my favorite! I think people just have a long standing misconception that being vegan means you’re not getting enough nutrients which with just a little research can be disproven.

LL: What foods do/will you feed Elliott to make sure there is adequate nutrition? What about milk/formula alternatives?
HC: I’m so lucky that so far I have been able to exclusively breastfeed my baby! Once he starts eating solid foods I’m looking forward to making him foods I love like sweet potato, avocado, tofu, quinoa etc. I plan on making most if not all of his baby food and I really am excited about that process!

LL: How will you handle the social pressures your child receives about eating meat and dairy?
HC: I truly hope my son grows up as passionate as his mom is about animal rights and is able to answer questions from nay sayers himself! I think because he will grow up knowing cows, chickens, pigs, horses and other animals he will have a very different connection to them than most children.

LL: What will you say when Elliott makes the connection that meat, dairy, eggs and fish comes from animals?
HC: I plan on him knowing this from the very beginning! I will be very honest with him where food comes from.

LL: How do you respond to people/doctors that say “you are hurting your baby”?
HC: I’ve been very lucky that my and my sons doctors are very supportive of my diet! My OB was so impressed with my bloodwork during my pregnancy that she actually was very on board.

LL: What resources/blog/websites/books help you the most?
HC: I’m a huge fan or Erin Ireland, she has a one year old she is raising vegan and she’s totally an inspiration to me! She shares amazing recipes and hard facts about nutrition and raising a healthy, happy vegan baby! I also love Oh She Glows, One Part Plant (Jessica Murnane), and Jenn, mountain mama.

LL: Anything else you would like to add?
HC: If I hadn’t been vegan before becoming a mother I would have after. I have never felt so much sympathy for another being. If someone tried to take away my baby at hours old I would fight them and that is the reality for dairy cows. They are mothers! Being a new mom has given me even more compassion for these ladies. I cannot imagine a more horrible existence, not only are their brand new babies stolen away but then they are hooked up to a pump which I can attest is a miserable experience. I don’t know how mothers can continue the use of dairy! I think people unfortunately would rather ignore or try to forget rather than make a change in their diet unfortunately!

The Future Is Vegan: Raising Compassion, Interview #4 with Jessica Rasekhi

For the fourth of six interviews with local mothers and mothers to be who follow a vegan lifestyle, Lauren Lockey interviewed Jessica Rasekhi, and her baby boy Kasper. See the interview below:

LL: What inspired you to become vegan and what is the biggest change you noticed in yourself?
JR: My husband actually inspired me to become vegan 2 months after our son Kasper was born. He had done a lot of reading and research on the subject, and had experienced many health benefits himself from transitioning to a vegan diet. He suggested that I watch the 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives. I also read The China Study. Though I was reluctant, after learning more about the benefits of eating a plant based diet, it became the obvious choice for me to make for myself and my newborn baby boy. The first thing I noticed when I changed my diet was when I lost 10 lbs after only 3 weeks. I have never gained that weight back!

LL: Did you have cravings during your pregnancy and what were your amazing vegan alternatives?
JR: I wasn’t vegan during pregnancy. I was mostly vegetarian. I became completely plant based about 2 months after my son was born.

LL: Did you find it difficult to find vegan prenatals?
JR: I am not completely sure if the prenatal vitamins that I took were vegan. Again, I hadn’t made that change yet, and I was just looking for organic ingredients at the time.

LL: What has been your biggest obstacle in raising a vegan baby?
JR: It was difficult when close friends and family first questioned our decision to feed Kasper a vegan diet. Some considered it to be somewhat irresponsible and an unhealthy way to raise a growing child. I felt like I was always having to defend our decision to skeptical loved ones.

It has turned out that raising a vegan child has been a lot easier than I had anticipated. I found that early on I, myself, was one of my own biggest obstacles. I would worry needlessly about things in the distant future that would never come to fruition. Things like, “How hard it will be for Kasper to be the only vegan among his class mates.” Or, “How hard it will be to be a vegan kid during Halloween or other candy and treat centered holidays.” Or “We will always be telling him ‘No’ and ‘You can’t have that.'” And “What if he resents being different than everyone else.” But so far, none of these worries have ever been legitimate concerns. Kasper is confident, comfortable, and happy being raised on a plant based diet. Teachers at school have always been respectful and accommodating. Holidays have been wonderful and filled with plenty of vegan treats. Most friends and family have accepted our diet/lifestyle and respect our decision, especially now that they see how well Kasper has thrived being raised as a vegan kid for almost 6 years. 🙂

 

LL: What foods do you feed Kasper to make sure there is adequate nutrition? What about milk/formula alternatives?
JR: We have never questioned whether or not Kasper was getting adequate nutrition from eating a plant based diet. He was always a very healthy (and very chunky!) baby, toddler, and is currently a thriving little boy. He was breastfed past the age of 2, and he never needed any type of formula or milk supplement. He has never been underweight and he hasn’t ever had any nutrient deficiencies. We introduced him to a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables when he started eating solid foods at 6 months old. Now, at age 5, I’ve noticed that he is far less picky, and he eats a larger variety foods than many of his non-vegan peers. I always have parents commenting and saying things to me like, “How do you get him to eat like that?” “Wow! I can’t believe that he will eat raw kale.” “Does he really like sauerkraut and seaweed?” “My kids are such picky eaters and will only eat 3 kinds of foods, none of them being vegetables.” “That is so funny that Kasper actually knows the difference between different kinds of potatoes.” The key for us has been eating a variety foods from a young age.

LL: How do you handle the social pressures your child receives about eating meat and dairy?
JR: Since Kasper was raised from birth on a vegan diet, that is all that he knows. He has no desire to eat meat, or dairy products and they do not appeal to him in any way, whatsoever. Whenever meat is cooking somewhere, or even if we walk by the cheese section in the grocery store, he is so sensitive to the smell and he always mentions to me how “yucky” it smells to him. It is very interesting to observe this reaction in a child who has never had meat or dairy in his diet. He is naturally, almost intuitively and instinctively deterred from eating it. He won’t even touch vegan cheese.

LL: What did you say when Kasper makes the connection that meat, dairy, eggs and fish comes from animals?
JR: We talk very openly to Kasper about the food choices we make and why. We started talking to him about food and where it comes from as soon as he started to eat solid foods. We have found some great reading materials by the vegan children’s book author, Ruby Roth that are age appropriate. We don’t overwhelm him with graphic pictures or videos, but we are very upfront and honest with him about where meat and dairy products come from and why our family has chosen not to consume them.

LL: How do you respond to people/doctors that say “you are hurting your baby”?
JR: I have never had anyone respond to me in that way, luckily! It has been more subtle responses like, “But won’t he need more fat in his diet as a growing baby?” People also express the same concerns about lack of protein, B12, DHA, and calcium. Again, Kasper has never had any protein, B12 or calcium deficiencies. From my experience, people don’t really have a hard time with Kasper not eating meat…but it is much more difficult for them to understand not giving a baby/child any dairy products. Having a diet without cow’s milk, yogurt or cheese in it, regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not, is a really hard concept for some people to wrap their minds around for some reason.

LL: What resources/blog/websites/books helped you the most?

LL: Anything else you would like to add?
JR: I mentioned before that it hasn’t been hard for Kasper to resist the social pressures of eating meat or dairy products, because he simply has no desire to eat those things. But, what has been the most difficult for him is resisting non-vegan products like baked goods, candy, or dishes where things like milk, butter and eggs are easily masked. A lot of baked goods and treats look similar (vegan or not), and sometimes Kasper wants something at a family gathering, event ,or party that he knows he has had before and enjoyed in vegan forms. Things like cakes, cookies, donuts, candy, chocolate, and popcorn. I have to explain to him, “That isn’t vegan chocolate, it is milk chocolate.” Or, “Even though it is hard to tell, that popcorn actually has butter melted on it.” Or “That cookie is baked with eggs.” And the most recent one, “Those fries are fried in animal fat.” Even breads and rice can have dairy hiding in them. Once I explain the ingredients to him, he understands and it is no longer an issue. He has learned that he has to ask questions to find out if something is vegan or not. And if he is unsure, it is best just to say, “no, thank you.” We have been teaching him to look for and recognize certain symbols on packages and ingredient lists, so that he can feel empowered to start identifying the contents of items that aren’t obviously vegan to the naked eye.

Please join in the conversation by leaving a comment or question below.

The Future Is Vegan: Raising Compassion, Interview #3 with Lexi Purrington

For the third of six interviews with local mothers and mothers to be who follow a vegan lifestyle, Lauren Lockey interviewed Lexi Purrington, and her baby boy Sawyer. See the interview below:

LL: What inspired you to become vegan and what is the biggest change you noticed in yourself?
LP: Animals and health were my two main reasons to go vegan. The more I learned the more I realized I couldn’t live with myself supporting such a horrible, sad industry, let alone putting something like that in my body. I noticed almost immediately a change in my energy levels and mood.

LL: Did you have cravings during your pregnancy and what were your amazing vegan alternatives?
LP: I craved a lot of protein! I absolutely love Beyond Meat products but especially craved their burger. I also ate a lot of tempeh BLT’s and tofu scramble.

LL: Did you find it difficult to find vegan prenatals?
LP: Not at all! I was able to buy them through Amazon and Sprouts.

LL: What has been your biggest obstacle in raising a vegan baby?
LP: Unnecessary comments from others. I wish that people weren’t so afraid of the word ‘vegan’ and could grasp the concept that every nutrient found in animal products is originally found in plants and is so much less harmful to get straight from the source.

LL: What foods do you feed Sawyer to make sure there is adequate nutrition? What about milk/formula alternatives?
LP: Sawyer is still breastfeeding but eats everything we eat which consists mainly of fresh fruits and veggies, coconut milk yogurt, tofu, whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa, lentils, beans, and nut butters. We sprinkle nutritional yeast, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds on his meals as well.

LL: How will you handle the social pressures your child receives about eating meat and dairy?
LP: I think we’ll just try to lead by example. If he’s thriving people won’t have many bad things to say but I will raise him educated so he can stand up for his beliefs confidently as well.

LL: What will you say when your child makes the connection that meat, dairy, eggs and fish comes from animals?
LP: We have six rescue animals that my son absolutely loves so I think I’ll try to compare farm animals to our animals at home in order for him to see the connection from a personal point of view. I’ll show him all of the amazing meat/dairy alternatives there are so he doesn’t feel left out.

LL: How do you respond to people/doctors that say “you are hurting your baby”?
LP: So far I haven’t received much negativity but I plan to educate others as politely as possible in hopes of proving that veganism is the best start we can give our kids.

LL: What resources/blog/websites/books help/ed you the most?
LP: I loved the book “The Face on Your Plate” by Jeffrey Mousaieff Masson. Netflix also always has interesting new documentaries that I love to watch and Isa Does It is my go-to for recipes.

Please join in the conversation by leaving a comment or question below.

The Future Is Vegan: Raising Compassion, Interview #2 with Karen Riley

For the second of six interviews on vegan parenting, Lauren Lockey interviewed Karen Riley, another local to Park City, and her baby boy Jack. See the interview below:

LL: What inspired you to become vegan and what is the biggest change you noticed in yourself?
KR: The health benefits!! The physician I work with is plant based. I attended one of his presentations when I first started working with him and have never looked back! The biggest change that I have noticed in myself is that I don’t get ‘hangry’ anymore right before meal times. I also can eat as many fruits and veggies as I want!

LL: Did you have cravings during your pregnancy and what were your amazing vegan alternatives?
KR: I didn’t have any animal product cravings! Though I did eat my fair share of pineapples! Also, I couldn’t/can’t live without ice cream – Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy!!

LL: Did you find it difficult to find vegan prenatals?
KR: I did find it difficult to find vegan prenatal. Many of the prenatals are not vegan. I ended up just taking folic acid (along with my normal B12 and vitamin D) as I was eating a very balanced plant based diet that contained everything I needed!

LL: What has been/what will be your biggest obstacle in raising a vegan baby?
KR: My little guy is just 5 months old right now. He is exclusively breastfed. We will be introducing foods soon, so stay tuned!

LL: What foods do you feed Jack to make sure there is adequate nutrition? What about milk/formula alternatives?
KR: Right now, we are just doing breast milk. He is right on track for growth with mom’s vegan milk!

LL: How will you handle the social pressures your child receives about eating meat and dairy?
KR: I find this to be such an interesting topic! Why do kids have to eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese!? What about the need for social pressure I make sure the child is getting adequate servings of fruits and vegetables and real food! 😊

LL: What will you say when Jack makes the connection that meat, dairy, eggs and fish comes from animals?
KR: 😬 coming from the health perspective, I haven’t formulated an approach to this yet!

LL: How do you respond to people/doctors that say “you are hurting your baby”?
KR: It’s unfortunate that individuals and providers feel that way. It is also a bummer that health care providers get such limited nutrition education in their schooling and therefore are not completely educated on the topic.

LL: What resources/blog/websites/books helped you the most?
KR: minimalistbaker.com, nutritionfacts.org. I also enjoyed reading Skinny Bitch bun in the oven as well as Vegan Pregnancy survival guide.

 

Please join in the conversation by leaving a comment or question below.

 

The Future Is Vegan: Raising Compassion, Interview #1; mother to one, Jennifer Kilcomons

Despite contrary beliefs, a whole food plant only vegan lifestyle is absolutely healthy for you and your baby. Lauren Lockey sat down with 6 local mothers and mothers to be who follow a vegan lifestyle to discuss their experiences in pregnancy and raising their children vegan. These interviews will be shared one by one throughout the next few months.  This was in collaboration with Raise Vegan. See the first interview with Meatless in the Mountains Jennifer Kilcomons, mother to one, below:

LL: What inspired you to become vegan and what is the biggest change you noticed in yourself?
JK: When my family got a dog for the first time, spending time with that little puppy inspired me to become vegan. The biggest change was a feeling of ‘peace’ and that I had figured out one of the meanings of life!

LL: Did you have cravings during your pregnancy and what were your amazing vegan alternatives?
JK: I had cravings for sweets, and my go-to was Whole Foods vegan chocolate chip cookies, they are amazing!

LL: Did you find it difficult to find vegan prenatals?
JK: Not at all – I just did some researching online and could find what I needed either online or at Whole Foods.

LL: What has been/what will be your biggest obstacle in raising a vegan baby?
JK: I truly believe there are no obstacles! It’s very easy!

LL: What foods do you feed Sierra to make sure there is adequate nutrition? What about milk/formula alternatives?
JK: She drinks soy milk and almond milk, and eats fruits, veggies, whole grains, lentils, beans, sweet potatoes, almond butter, peanut butter and avocados. We also give her a multi vitamin and probiotic mixed in her soy milk every morning.

LL: How will you handle the social pressures Sierra receives about eating meat and dairy?
JK: So far it has been easy, she is so young so she is always with me and I bring her food everywhere. It will be challenging when she goes to school and goes to friend’s houses, but as long as we surround ourselves with kind, understanding friends and family we should not have any problems.

LL: What will you say when Sierra makes the connection that meat, dairy, eggs and fish comes from animals?
JK: Right now we’re just teaching her to love animals, when she makes the connection we will explain that she does not have to eat these foods and hopefully she’ll understand because she loves animals, and she’s not used to that food anyways.

LL: How do you respond to people/doctors that say “you are hurting your baby”?
JK: I try to keep it short and just let them know she gets plenty of protein and vitamins from her food, drinks and vitamins. She is happy, healthy, chubby cheeks and smiles, so seeing her speaks for itself.

LL: What resources/blog/websites/books helped you the most?
JK: I enjoyed reading “The Kind Mama” by Alicia Silverstone.

Please join in the conversation by leaving a comment or question below.

 

Tips From A 10-Year Vegan

By: Courtney Pool (guest)

Hello Sage Mountain Friends!

My name is Courtney, I’m a vegan nutritionist and a recent Utah-returnee living in Cottonwood Heights. It’s a funny story how I got to do a guest blog here: Lauren was my yoga teacher years ago in Park City, before either of us were vegan. When I moved back here, I found vegan roommates, one of whom knew Lauren and Sage Mountain very well. Long story short, I got to see her again for the first time in 10 years and here I am on the blog. Also an FYI: I’ll be the speaker at Sage Mountain’s Thirsty First Thursday at Zest on July 7th!

I’ve been vegan for about 10 years, and working as a nutritionist specializing in vegan nutrition, juice cleansing and overcoming overeating for about 8 years now.  It’s an online-based business and I do my consultations over the phone and Skype, which is wonderful because it allows me to have, in addition to local clients, global clients. And I love talking with people about veganism all around the world!

For this blog, I wanted to share some tips from the perspective of a longtime vegan that might be helpful for others. I hope you find it helpful!

1.Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet and minimal junk food.The vast majority of people who end up with nutritional deficiencies or claim they don’t feel as good on a vegan diet are often not getting enough healthy foods and are eating too much junk food. It can also be because there is not enough variety in the diet. Make sure you’re getting a wide array of veggies, fruits, beans, seaweeds, nuts, seeds, oils, etc.

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2.Amass a solid list of favorite recipes/meals. Whether you consider yourself someone who likes cooking or not, you need to invest some time trying new recipes and new meals, and figuring out what you like best. When people tell me they don’t know what to eat now that they’re vegan, that tells me they haven’t gotten any vegan recipe books, haven’t googled any vegan recipes online, and haven’t played around in the kitchen. It is a process of trial and error where we need to try a bunch of things, some of which we will like and some of which we won’t, but it will give us some staples that we can return to again and again. And if you’re not big on being in the kitchen, that’s fine–there are plenty of “simple vegan recipes” and “quick vegan meal recipes” that we can google.

3.Find community with likeminded people.Look for people who are likeminded and share a similar desire for veganism. They can be found through meetup.com in your city, or they may be found in an area-specific Facebook group. It’s lovely to find a local friend that you can frequent vegan cafes with or have over to make a meal, but don’t underestimate the power of being connected to people online. Join some forums and groups, ask questions, connect with people there. Share your fears and your insecurities about veganism, ask for tips. People love to help!

4.Learn about all aspects of veganism.I’d say there are four main categories of truth about why veganism is the ethical, loving, and moral way to live: health/well-being, animals, environment, and other welfare of other humans. If you’re only familiar with the details about one or a few of these aspects but not all of them, educate yourself on all of them. The more you know the truth about all factors, the more you receive that truth into your heart, and you can get to a place whereby because you know the truth so thoroughly, you simply can’t not be vegan.
 

5.Work on your people-pleasing issues.One of the biggest challenges for most people in being vegan is the pressure they often feel to be “normal” and eat like other people eat. We can be susceptible to guilt-trips from others about us being difficult or high-maintenance, or we feel we don’t want to stand up for ourselves and what we need to take care of ourselves within our veganism. This is an issue that is unavoidable to work out if we’re going to stay vegan long-term. There cannot be any circumstance, any guilt-trip, any social climate that would cause us to cave and eat animal products, and the way that we’re going to create that is by working on the emotional reasons why we care what others think of us in this particular way. Don’t people-please with your eating.

6.Examine emotions that may create cravings.It doesn’t happen for everyone, but some people who have recently gone vegan will eventually face something internally that will cause them to be tempted to eat animal products. We’ve already discussed the people-pleasing related emotions that can cause this, but be aware of other ones too. They can be fears about it being unhealthy or apathy about the importance of vegan. Allow yourself to be self-reflective of feelings that may cause you to want to eat animal products.

I hope this helps! If you’re interested in chatting with me about the possibility of coaching, please visit my website -you can email me directly there! I’m also on all social media under my name.

Courtney Pool

A comprehensive article about everything on going vegan can be found here from our friends at Positive Health Wellness.

Oceans: The Planet’s Life Support System

By: Lauren Lockey

 “If the oceans die, we die.”  

Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson

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       Oceans are the planet’s life support system for all uni-cellular and multi-cellular  organisms including humans. They cover nearly three-quarters of planet earth, and hold 97% of the planet’s water. Like trees, they produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and absorb carbon from it. “With every 10 breathes we take, 8 of them come from the ocean…”

Even though we live in the mountainous desert of Utah, the oceans still affect our lives and our family’s lives each and every day.

We all can agree that film is extremely powerful so rather than listing the many reasons oceans are important and how humans are impacting them, let’s take the visual route! The ocean is fascinating with all it’s symbiotic life so please click here and take a journey into a world so deeply connected to our own.

     According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, “80 percent of the world’s fish stocks for which assessment information is available are considered fully exploited or  over-exploited. Researchers are predicting that all fisheries will have completely collapsed by the year 2048 due to loss of bio-diversity caused by over fishing and the many other human threats facing ocean wildlife and ecosystems, such as pollution, climate change and ocean acidification, and the loss of vital habitats.”

    We can no longer turn or run away from the truth that is science. We can’t sugar coat it, say “we will get to it later” or rely on someone else to do it. We can make a collective effort that involves a small shift in our daily lives. Without fresh water, the rain forests, and healthy oceans, WE can not survive.

What can you do?

 Switch out meat, dairy, eggs, and fish for more plant based foods. It really is that simple. Again, we are the lucky ones with a choice. A choice that will impact every organism on the planet. We can either make that impact  positive or negative. What will you choose? Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns regarding the transition to a plant based diet!

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Dog Food For Thought

Dog Food For Thought

By: Dave Swartz

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         I was asked last week about my thoughts on feeding animal based foods to our pets. Its an interesting question with a number of arguments to look at. Here was my initial thought: Since we rescued our two furry pups from an animal shelter, would more animals have to be killed to feed our rescued animals over their lifetimes? If this is the case would it have been better to not have rescued the dogs in the first place? After pondering these thoughts, I came to a conclusion.

        In the scientific community there is a consensus that dogs are predominately carnivores and have all the traits and physiology to back that up. I would also agree that dogs are natural carnivores. However, to say that something is natural does not necessarily mean it is the best. For example, if someone handed me a tube of laboratory made food that didn’t harm any animals, our environment, or humans in its production and this product made me chronic disease proof, extended life expectancy, and made me as strong as an ox while tasting great, I’m pretty sure that I would consume it. This food would clearly not be “natural to humans but it could be much better for us and the planet.

When it comes to dog nutrition if one believes animal agriculture is an environmental disaster not to mention an incredibly cruel industry then how does one justify feeding their dog food from that industry. Luckily there are a number of animal free pet foods on the market. Most of these brands also supplement their pet foods with amino acids that dogs should have in their diet such as Taurine and L Carnitine. I have  found one brand in particular that both of our dogs can’t get enough of, Evolution Diet Food.  I did some research to make sure that feeding dogs a meat free diet is in fact,  safe and healthy. Interesting to find out that not only can dogs thrive on this unnatural diet but can far outlive their meat eating counterparts. Check out this article on the world record setting longest living dog. 

I understand that some may disagree with me on this topic. Thankfully there will be another option in the coming years. Check out Modern Meadow and what could be the future of animal food.

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