Quest for Healing, Episode #43: A Truly Holistic Approach to Pet Health with Dr. Jeff Feinman (Part 1 of 2). Aired August 11, 2021.
Welcome to this awesome and information packed podcast! Dr. Feinman, who is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, also holds a degree in molecular biology, and is on the faculty of Holistic Actions!, was recently honored to participate in Kerstin Ramstrom’s Quest for Healing podcast. Kerstin is a Holistic Health Coach, Medical Medium follower, and during this two part recording of ‘A Truly Holistic Approach to Pet Health with Dr. Jeff Feinman’, he was able to explain what Holistic Actions! is all about, the framework behind their idea, and how to view our pet’s health holistically to support longevity, health, internal balance, and happiness. Listen below, or you can check out Kerstin’s podcast on her website or Apple Podcast. Listen to part 2 here.
Overview: Dr. Feinman’s, and Holistic Actions!’, ultimate goal is to balance the inner terrain, and by doing so, keeping your pets happy and healthy. There are many tools you can use, like taking into consideration your pet’s BEAM (Behavior, Energy, Appetite and Mood) or using HMDM (Holistic Medical Decision Making) to help you decipher what imbalance your pet may have. Dr. Feinman explains this decision making process.
The ultimate goal, as Dr. Feinman states, is focusing on balancing your inner terrain as opposed to just focusing on removing the symptoms. Of course, diet (feeding fresh, vital foods), and the Happiness Protocol also play a huge role in staying healthy! Find out what your pet absolutely LOVES to do, whether it be playing fetch, training sessions, walks, playtime, whatever it is, bringing forth joy and happiness is a huge factor in internal balance and the healing process.
Check out the full podcast transcript below.
Kerstin Ramstrom: This transcription below was provided to you for your convenience, please excuse any mistakes that the automated service made in translation.
I’m Kerstin Ramstrom, a certified Holistic Health Coach, and welcome to the Quest for Healing Podcast. Whether you’re just starting out on your health journey, or you’re farther down your path, I’ve created this podcast to inspire and inform your health journey through first, some extraordinary healing stories from real people. Second, an exploration of some intriguing healing modalities. And third, through conversations with enterprising people who are making a difference in the health of our world.
Welcome to Episode #43. Before we get started today, I wanted to let you know that I’ve started an email list so that I can better reach all of you. The social media algorithms have become so limiting that I know that many of you don’t always see what I have going on for you. And I don’t want you to miss a thing. So if you want to sign up, just go to my website at CarefullyHealing.com and scroll down to the box at the bottom. I promised that I won’t be filling up your email. I only plan to send an email once or twice a month when I have something great to tell you.
And with that, let’s get to this week’s episode. My guest is Dr. Jeff Feinman. Dr. Jeff is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and also holds a degree in molecular biology. He is on the faculty of Holistic Actions!, which is an online platform focused exclusively on teaching people about integrating conventional and holistic veterinary care for their pets.
You may remember Dr. Jeff’s name as he was the veterinarian that Anthony William, the Medical Medium, mentioned in his Pet Health radio show from 2017. And if you missed that episode, it’s available for free on SoundCloud. And I’ve put a link to it in the show notes as well.
This week, Dr. Jeff and I talk about how to view our pets’ health holistically. And he has a great framework for helping us out with that. We also talk about how diet and supplementation fit into the picture as well. We covered so many helpful topics here that it really made me wish that I had known all of this years ago, when my soul-cat Mr. Felix was still in this life. He made it to the ripe old age of 18. But he did struggle with quite a few health issues in his later years. And I know that this information that you’re going to hear today would have made a big difference in how I approached his care.
I’ve received so many pet health questions from people in our community that I’ve asked Dr. Jeff to come back again next week, when we’re going to do a Q&A and delve into how we can best support our pets when dealing with some common health concerns such as allergies, UTIs, diabetes, and more. So don’t forget to tune into that.
And so if you’re looking for a more holistic way to care for your pet, this episode is for you. And with that, let’s dive right in.
Dr. Jeff, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I really appreciate it.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Thank you, Kerstin, this is great, thank you. Thank you, thank you, and thank all your listeners for listening.
Kerstin Ramstrom: I know how much everybody in this community loves their pets, they’re such an integral part of our lives. I don’t have my Mr. Felix anymore. He’s been gone for a few years. But I know how much comfort he gave me. So they are so critical for our health too. And I know everybody wants to take such good care of their pets. And so I’m so excited to have you here today because I know everybody in our community has so many questions about that.
So first off, there are a lot of us that are on this Medical Medium focused journey. And we spend a lot of time focused on pathogens, viruses and bacteria, in our own bodies, and how to get rid of those and how to heal our bodies from those. But I know you take a different approach, you take a much more holistic approach to looking at pets’ health. So why don’t you kick us off by telling us how you think about the overall health of our pets?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: What a great way to kick off. Yeah, that’s that’s how…. I would love to start there. And I guess it’s the context that we need. The context is that animals are more the closer to nature, the natural world. And we’re looking at the outer environment, natural environment. And the way with the context that we approach animal disease from is it that the inner environment, what’s called terrain, the inner terrain, the balance of that is more important than the germs. So the germs like viruses, bacteria or other infectious agents, definitely definitely caused disease or they can trigger disease. They may not be causing the disease, but they’re often triggering the body with the terrain to unbalance in such a way or get into dis-ease in such a way that we call it a strep infection or Epstein Barr infection or, when cats get a lot herpes infections. When the reality is, at least what my reality is based on your observation, is that even two dogs or cats exposed the same exact pathogen, one gets sick, one doesn’t get sick, the difference is the inner terrain, the balance of the inner terrain. And just quick story about the terrain theory and the backstory of that. I grew up along with the germ theory, the germ theory is the theory of Louis Pasteur, pasteurization and, you know, all infections. And as he was getting older and dying, that discussion of balance, of homeostasis, of it’s called the inner terrain was beginning to come out. And at the end of Louis’ life, he said well, you know, I think the inner terrain is more important than the germ. Some people quote it as, you know, the germ is nothing, the terrain is everything. The germ isn’t nothing, as we all know. But it’s it’s secondary.
Kerstin Ramstrom: So the real idea here is if we can keep the body – whether it’s the human body, or the pet body – healthy, and in homeostasis and balanced, that even if the germs come along, they shouldn’t cause a big issue.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Exactly, exactly. And even if they do come along and trigger a problem, if we focus instead of on the problem, which is symptoms, and we’ll get into what that means, if we focus on the terrain, the germ become becomes unwelcome and goes away.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. And I’m even as you’re saying this, I’m thinking about this in terms of sort of Medical Medium protocols, and a lot of the things we do to make sure that we have more nutrients in our bodies, and we get heavy metals out of our bodies. And all of those things just make our bodies more inhospitable to all these germs when they show up. So I love how you think about this.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Exactly, because, you know, described in a nutshell, what it’s really all about, you know, the the methods that Anthony says, all support the body while it heals, while it’s able to heal and balance. So thank you.
Kerstin Ramstrom: So why don’t you take us through your Holistic Medical Decision Making method and obviously, this is focused on pets, because that is what your background is in. But you have laid this out pretty clearly. And there is a handout that we’re going to put in the show notes so that you can download this. So you can see more about this. But you do have this HMDM – Holistic Medical Decision Making method. And so why don’t you take us through that a little bit?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Well, thanks for asking, because that is the foundation of the three protocols. You know, that’s the HMDM protocol that informs everything else that we do. And it’s basically just making a method, a simple three step method, for making mindful medical decisions for your pets. The first step may be the most important one, or it’s one of the most important ones. And that is, what is your goal? Step one is – what is your goal? So if it’s an emergency, if your animal is having a horrible trauma or collapses, your goal is save his life. So you rush to the ER and let them do whatever they need to do to save a life.
But the vast majority of my work is with chronic diseases. Where there is no immediate… may not be an immediate health challenge, but rather lots of little ones that have been going on for a while. The goal is not to get rid of the symptoms of that challenge. But the goal may be rather to improve balance, improve the terrain to get rid of the symptoms secondarily. The model that we use is also the model that people use in positive psychology, where you don’t focus on depression or anxiety or the disease. You focus on being happy and wellness and the diseases all go away.
But the other goal that a lot of people have, the majority of our medical community has, is to get rid of the symptoms. We have lots of great ways to support the body while symptoms get better, which is what Anthony teaches. And of course drugs do that very effectively, in that thing get rid of symptoms within a couple days or hours or right away. But does that help long term health? So that’s the first step, the goal. Second step is, you’ve chosen your goal, let’s do research. So the second step is research, what is available to support the body? To fix the underlying problem? And the third step is to implement your decision. You make a decision based on research. And then you need to implement this. So it’s really just a decision making process that we use for any decision. You go to the Best Buy, you know, you don’t buy the first TV you see. You do research, and you look around, and then you implementing and buy it.
Kerstin Ramstrom: That’s a wonderful example. Yes. And so, when doing this research, one of the things that’s become so hard is…. when I think of research, I think of getting online and trying to find information. And there’s so much conflicting information out there these days. And that can become paralyzing. But I know you have some suggestions of ways to do your research. So why don’t you talk to us about that a little bit.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: So we start or we recommend starting with the most important research that you can do, is into your animal’s symptoms. So what are the symptoms that are unique to your animal? Versus symptoms that may be from disease? And in order to know the difference, you might want to build a good animal healing team, which is hugely veterinarians, specialists, homeopaths, holistic vets, online research, word of mouth. Definitely what Anthony has to say, and a lot of it applies to animals, some it’s you know, it’s more human specific. But then that gives the symptoms, your most important research, a little bit more context. And context is really key in making a wise decision. So you’re looking at the context of the symptom in your individual animal. You’re consulting with the vet care team or an animal healing team, about what can be done, what’s available to be done. And your research also involves what is being done, what can be done conventionally. No, are the only options “anti” biotics or “anti” inflammatories, or things that work against the body? Is there any way to deal with this by working with the body. If that is your goal from step one. So that keeps it a little bit more context. And it also helps you interpret the symptoms in a more holistic context. You want to look at the context of quality of life, not necessarily getting rid of the individual symptom, unless that is your goal. So when you look at the context, and interpret the symptoms holistically, that does help empower everyone to make a mindful medical decision.
Kerstin Ramstrom: I also think it’s so important. We are the ones who know our pets the best. We’re around them every day, we know what normal behavior is. And I felt like when I would take Mr. Felix to the vet, I was able to give them context about what his normal behavior was. And if he was displaying an unusual behavior and why I was concerned, I know there was one time when I brought him in. He was literally just standing there, basically screaming-meowing at me, trying to tell me what was wrong. And I was like, Okay, I hear you, you never do this, you’ve never done this. I understand. And he finally gave me some really clear keys about what the problem was, and that whenever I would go to the vet, they would say you’re really in touch with your pet. But I think it is really important for us to pay attention to that. Because it does, it gives us a lot of context. And that can be really helpful to your animal care team too.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: That it’s actually the most important context because that is the information that the veterinarians often roll their eyes at or don’t know what to do with, but those are the clues that something is going on. And you know, we can implement a change at that stage, even if the tests are on normal. Even if everything is unexplained, the symptoms are… there’s a class of symptoms called MUS or medically unexplained symptoms. Well, you don’t need to have an answer to know that an upgrade in diet, for example, might be now the trick to supporting the body to getting rid of symptoms.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. Step Three of implementing a holistic action. You talk about your ASC method – do you want to expand on that alittle bit more?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: I would love to! ASC is basically ask what you can do, you know, ASC – it’s an acronym for Avoid sickness or avoid the trigger of the problem. So avoid an allergen. Avoid a pathogen. S, which is support the body while it heals, which is the vast majority of medicine, or at least of holistic medicine. Because supporting is with fresh foods, supplementation, good lifestyle, things that you…. massage, reiki, flower essences, all these great things. All of Anthony’s great information. Support the body while it heals, which is what you said earlier. And then let’s C part is cure. And this is theoretical, because cure applies to the underlying energetic imbalance, that we believe is the fundamental cause. That is the cause of disease, not necessarily the trigger. The trigger can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We’ll talk about susceptibility and why some animals have more triggers and others, or lots of lots of allergens, for example, than others. But think of it I guess, conventionally, more like a cure of the physiologic imbalance that we know is underlying every symptom. Because a symptom is just a clue that the body is giving us that cells are not doing their job properly. That imbalance is what needs to be cured, not the symptom that is the clue to the imbalance, cause those changes and behaviors Mr. Felix was showing you, were early clues to what we call… they’re part of the research, an important part of the research, called the Early Warning Signs. They allow us to detect diseases before they show up on blood tests or other diagnostic tests. And that is often the key to successful outcomes, is early detection.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. And so what are some of the imbalances that our pets can have?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: This is the hardest thing to grasp, I think, is that the imbalance is just that energetic physiologic imbalance. It can manifest in lots of different ways. And the ways that ita manifests is the symptoms that we then classify as diseases. So we’re really just treating one thing, we’re treating that imbalance. And the way you address the imbalance will depend on the context of the symptoms. I’ll give an example I had. A dog that was having recurring urinary symptoms or a urinary imbalance. Well, it turns out that the dog was tied up all day when the owner… and I’m not even call a guardian, because a guardian would never tie up their dogs all day. But when she let the dog do what he wanted and be happier, the symptoms, the imbalance went away.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Oh, interesting. So some of that is even emotional with the pets.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Mental, emotional and physical are the three levels that triggers can occur at, or come from.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Okay, so in the interest of doing the best we can for our pets, to find the best quality of life and the best balance for them. What are your recommendations for sort of a preventative or even maintenance approach to that?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: That’s a great question, because that health maintenance, that proactive prevention that you’re talking about, is what is going to allow animals to have a healthy life of freedom, flexibility, longevity, and live as long as their genes and cosmic karma allow. And you touched on the answer earlier. You pay attention to early clues, just like Mr. Felix showed you at that point. And those earliest clues are often clues given by the symptoms that we call BEAM, as in a beaming smile, as in a laser beam, as in a tractor beam, as in the balance that we find on the balance beam, you know, when you’re a gymnast, the Olympics just finished.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Yes they did.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: BEAM stands for Behavior, Energy, Appetite, and Mood. And if the BEAM is down in any way, then you know that there’s imbalance going on in your animal, it may or may not be reflected by other symptoms, by physical symptoms, but something’s going on. And you know, maybe it’s time to act. Or maybe it’s time to observe a little longer. You know, again, it depends on the context of the individual. In a 14 year old dog, you may not want to wait very long. But a one year old kitty that’s having a bad day? Let’s see how he is tomorrow.
Kerstin Ramstrom: And that makes sense. If you’re looking at their behavior, energy, appetite and mood, how do you find the context for the different things that are going on in those? How do you think about that so that people can know when to take the next step? And how big the next step should be? Because I agree with you a one year old kitten. Yeah, they may not feel so great one day, and that’s probably not a big deal. We’ll see how they look tomorrow. But yes, when when you have an older pet, and when Mr. Felix got older, I was much quicker to take him to the vet when something was going on. Because he, at that point did have quite a few things going on. And I wanted to be careful. So what is your recommendation for people on how to analyze those things? And when to take more serious action?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Well, I guess it’s all based on a change. You know, so what is the degree of the change? Okay, we focus on… we characterize changes based on the four P’s. You know, is prominent, is it problematic, is it persistent, and is peculiar? If you have a one-off weird event of coughing or vomiting, and everything else is fine and never happens again. It’s probably not cause immediate aggressive action. Is always caused for examination for… you know, for recording, for observing? Yes, it is. But I don’t know that, you know, that animal needs necessarily to be rushed to the ER. So home, as in some context, you know, that may be appropriate, you know, you could see a one-off symptom and go to the vet or call up somebody and find out what what they would do.
Kerstin Ramstrom: I think that’s great. I think that’s a great way to think about it too, because it does give people some context for how to prioritize that. And, of course, that falls right into your your P theme there with the four Ps. But in terms of thinking about how severely you want to react to something, so I think that’s very helpful. In terms of early warning signs, what are some of the most common early warning signs that you see that people should pay more attention to? But they don’t necessarily?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Awesome, awesome, awesome question. And it’s a distinction between what’s commonly accepted and what’s abnormal. So early warning signs often fall into that common but abnormal, so if you go to the vet and your dog has or your kitty has, you know, discharge that comes out a bit every day, oh, it’s normal. No, not normal. Um, normal cats don’t do that. It really helps to know what all the early warning signs are. And I’ll give a plug to this book, which is Dr. Christina’s journal, because at the end of the journal is a little, a little card that you can click off. That’s a whole list of early warning signs.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. And Dr. Christina is part of Holistic Actions, correct?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: She’s my partner in Holistic Actions, that is correct.
Kerstin Ramstrom: I’ll put a link in the show notes where people can find that.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: There is a copy in the Member Area and there’s the blog article that lists a lot of early warning signs and that just focuses on early warning signs. And that might be actually the best place, because I believe there’s a link in that to buy the journal.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Okay, so we will put a link to the blog in the show notes. And through there people can find the journal.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: That would be awesome.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Perfect.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Common but abnormal symptoms, which I think you want to go into further because they’re so so important. Think about what a normal dog or cat looks like. And anything that’s different than that, you know, it doesn’t gain weight, they’re itchy, they have red ears, they have a little eye redness or eye discharge. Kitties that drink water – if they’re on a species-appropriate diet, cats don’t drink water. Cats are desert dwellers, they evolved as desert dwellers. And when they’re on a fresh food, species- appropriate diet, they don’t drink. If your kitty is on fresh food diet, and he’s drinking, that’s an early warning sign. Cats that vomit all the time. Dr. Pitcairn calls vomiting cats, you know, their hobby, you know, cats vomit as a hobby. But if their vomiting hairballs all the time, or over grooming or, you know, aggressive…. those can be early warning signs.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Oh fantastic. And I’m really looking forward to this because in our second episode that we’re gonna tape, we’re gonna go into some of the things like that. And so many of these are things that Mr. Felix dealt with, so I’m so looking forward to digging into those. But we’re going to do that in the second episode, where we do a lot more of the Q&A. So perfect.
So one of the things that I wanted to dig into now – because this has been super helpful – so the idea is, the more we can get our pets into homeostasis and in balance, the less chance that they have to essentially succumb to anything that is coming at them. But when they already have symptoms…. in our Medical Medium community, we deal with symptoms all the time, right? So much of our focus ends up being on dealing with the symptoms and not on this sort of higher level homeostasis in our bodies. And our conversation is definitely going to make me start thinking more on that bigger picture, homeostasis picture, because I think it’s so important, but we are very used to focusing on the symptoms. And so…. do pets get viruses and bacteria and infections and things like that like us humans do?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: They do they have their own, you know, their own classes usually. You know, bugs are often species-specific, depending on the virus or bacteria. The same strategy still does apply, in that if they have a virus, if we can get them as well balanced and as vital as possible, then the effects from that virus are either minimal or the virus actually goes away, or the bacteria actually is no longer present. And we frequently where, you know, for example, diarrhea is diagnosed this Campylobacter or salmonella problem when that’s actually a secondary Campylobacter or salmonella problem. And if we balance out the GI tract and the underlying imbalance, then the second follow up is frequently negative. You know, there’s no more Campylobacter. That’s no more diarrhea, there’s not more salmonella. Because the body did its job. Its job is to remain in balance, which is why what we teach is called Vitality and Balance System. Because it’s based on building vitality, which is life energy, lifeforce energy, and balancing it out, as you know homeostatic mechanisms, as you described, homeostasis is balance.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: And I just want to say one more word about symptoms and what do you do when they’re there, the bad ones? Can I and…. is it okay if I talk a bit about myself and my own symptoms?
Kerstin Ramstrom: Of course, absolutely.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: I, myself, this all….. my approach came about, or I discovered the approach, which actually is the approach of balance, homeopathy, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine. Because of my own genetic disease, that was a mystery disease for, gosh, 40 years almost. When I was 14, I started showing abnormal symptoms. And there was no diagnosis, no way of some mystery disease. And the strategies that we’re talking about still work today. I still have symptoms, as you know, last week I had flare up of one of my life limiting symptoms. And instead of focusing on the ‘anti’s’ that would get rid of symptoms at that moment, I’ve been focusing on my terrain building and getting outside, breathing fresh air, during my breaths of joy, you know, lots of yoga. And I’m pretty much back to that state of balance. And that’s the same approach to help we are recommending for animals, that we focus on balance and not the individual symptoms, even when there are adverse ones. And never be scared of symptoms. Symptoms in our book are always, always, always to be embraced, like, good friends, symptoms are clues to what’s going on in the body.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic, and they can be so foretelling of bigger problems to come if we ignore them. And it is nice that pets bodies and our bodies give us a heads up before things get too bad, right?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: They almost always do. But the one thing I do want to mention is that symptoms can be both external and internal. So your animal may look fine to you, but on examination, t palpation, or blood tests or other diagnostic tests, something may be going on – high liver values, for example, is very common in the ett world, or a heart murmur or, you know, something abnormal internally, that you wouldn’t see externally. And that can be dealt with by same exact strategy. We see blood counts going from anemia up to normal. We see liver enzymes going back to normal, pretty much all… we see even blood tests, diagnostic tests, normalizing, just by focusing on the inner terrain. I’ll give you an example: a 10 month old kitty that the people contacted me a couple days ago, and he’s got a very high white count, and a very low red count. And it’s about to go to an internist, which is great idea. But at the same time, we’re gonna be focusing on building the inner terrain, because it’s very possible by the time they go to the internist, that those bloodwork abnormalities will have resolved just by focusing on, you know, supporting the body while it does its job.
Kerstin Ramstrom: And so ways that we support that inner terrain, it sounds like food would be one of them, supplements or something else I’m hoping we can talk a little bit about. But before we delve into food, you were just saying that in your own case, getting outside doing yoga, getting grounded, things like that are very beneficial to you. What are some of the things on that level that are helpful for our pets?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Well, those are the other two protocols that we teach at HA!, as far as we start with the HMDM protocol, then launch into the Happiness Protocol. And then there’s something that keeps our pets in tip top shape called the Terrain Optimizing Protocol or TOP. And the Happiness Protocol is just like it sounds: it’s based on positive psychology, the model of balance. And it’s not just psychological, it’s using the power of happiness, the power up breathing, the power of connection, the power of engaging with people, engaging with the environment and pets to help them heal. And it’s very, very easy…. It’s much easier to do in pets than in people. They don’t have the cognitive baggage for the word about their diagnosis or the word about the disease. 99.9% of dogs and cats I know go outside and the first thing they do is they’re like (sniffing), they start doing their own puppy pranayama. And that’s what you want to promote, you want to promote as much sniffing as possible. You want to promote as much engaging with the environment or connecting with the environment as possible. And those things all scientifically raise the body’s ability to heal. The Terrain Optimizing Protocol is just, you know, the things that we that we’ve been talking about – as far as fresh food versus processed food. Appropriate supplementation when necessary, supporting organs… all things in the Anthony teaches are all part of Terrain Optimizing Protocol.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. So why don’t we dig a little bit into food. With Mr. Felix, I had him on prescription food most of the time I had him, because he had had UTI issues and kidney issues. And the doctors always said, you gotta just give him this food. Food was…. it was such an issue for us, because he didn’t like this, and da, da, da, da, da. Sometimes they would tell me, try to feed him some fruits and vegetables. He had no interest in those whatsoever. And so what I want to know from you is, what is the best diet that we should be feeding our pets – and we’ll use dogs and cats as the example here. I realized people have a wider variety of pets than that. But for the general audience, we’ll just stick to dogs and cats. What is the diet that they’re supposed to have? What is sort of their optimal eating?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: That’s great question. And it’s so easy to answer. And Hippocrates told us that ‘Let food be our medicine’. Well, let nature be our guide to the best food to eat. What is species-appropriate? What did a dog evolve to eat? What did the cat evolved to eat? The answer, of course, isn’t processed foods but rather fresh foods that they, you know, kitties hunt, and eat bugs, small critters, you know all kinds of meat-based items. Dogs are mainly meat based, but they can often eat, you know, veggies and things they forage in the wild, but the best food is what the species is meant to be eating. So for people, you know, you really should be vegan, you know, we should be more plant based. Herbivores should be more plant-based. They are more plant based. I don’t know too many horses that, you know, that like meat. But yeah, sorry, sorry for all vegans. But yeah, they should be….. dogs, cat species-appropriate diet is meat.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Okay, so if the dearly departed Mr. Felix was still with us, what is an example of a meal that I could put together for him?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Oh, well, that’s a great question. And very important, because it depends on the context. If you have time to prepare the meal, there are all kinds of different ways of doing that. But the easiest is just get one of the raw, frozen kind designed for dogs or cats. They frequently have muscle meat, mixed with organ meat, mixed with glands, bones, all the things that make up an animal. And that what you feed them. if you can pour it out of the bag, just like you pour kibble out of the bag. It’s very convenient, but it seats in the freezer.
Kerstin Ramstrom: So that’s frozen fresh cat food, essentially, that you get at the grocery store. That’s essentially all meat.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Usually there are a few grocery stores carrying it now in freezers department. But it’s usually one of the pet stores, even some bigger chains now are carrying frozen raw diet for dogs and cats.
Kerstin Ramstrom: So it’s frozen raw. So that’s good to know. And that contains… it even contains the bones, hunh?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Because the biggest issue with preparing your own diet, often for a dog or cat, is often their higher calcium requirements than we have. And they develop calcium deficiencies, but ground up bone, and other calcium supplements can actually, you know, balance out the diet. That becomes more of a problem for people that are feeding muscle meat only, that does contain the bone. Then you need to add supplemental calcium, you know, along with other ingredients that balance out the diet. I mean, that’s the one and only virtue of a commercial diet, is that it’s balanced. We’re taught that dogs and cats are fine with eating the same food every day for all their lives. Well if you feed that way, then you want that food to be balanced.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Right, if you’re going to feed him that every day it has to be right.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: But that would be like us, eating Special K, feeding Special K every day. It’s complete and balanced nutrition. But it’s not very vital. And this is not…. the focus of everything we do is to build vitality. The highest vitality of highest, you know, amount of energy in food is fresh food.
Kerstin Ramstrom: And if you wanted to make that yourself, if you had the time and the energy to make it yourself, how would you recommend doing that? Do you have any tips for that?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: There are…. there are tons of recipes on the website. Dr. Beck has a wonderful book on doing that yourself. There’s a bunch of books out there. Raw natural nutrition talks about how to deal with raw. But about 10% of people I work with, don’t really want to do a raw diet, no matter what. But they can still do a fresh food diet. Even if you go for a dry, dry food, which is perhaps the lowest energy food out there, to a canned food, which is more meat based, and ad 25% of fresh food to that, then you can do a big service to improving vitality and healing ability of your dog and cat.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Okay, I noticed in your Holistic Actions! Academy, you have a free class called “Fun-damentals”, with a hyphen between “fun” and “damentals”. And one of the things they have in there is a Fresh Feeding Guide, which looked like a great resource for people who are trying to add more fresh food to their pets diet. So that would be another great resource for people. And that is contained within this wonderful five-step course that you have in there.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: And those those are five keys to building health. That free course, Yeah, it’s another great, great way to learn the Fun-damentals. And yes, there is a hyphen. Because we try to make everything fun, because this goes back to the Happiness Protocol. That the goal for our dogs and cats, as perhaps it should be for us, is to have fun and be happy.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Amen to that.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: My favorite pose in yoga is happy baby.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Perfect. I love it. And so in terms of dogs, for cats, we’ve established that most of what they should be eating is essentially meat. Is that the same for dogs?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Pretty much. They can survive on and they do fine with fruits and veggies and other ingredients. Dogs are a little bit more omnivorous. You know, a lot of dogs in the world today are scavengers. They eat and they survive by eating out of the garbage can, what they find in the garbage and back. Maybe they eat the bun along with the leftover burger or maybe…. you know. Being Archie… we rescued a dog three years ago named Archie. He is super food motivated. So he’s become our compost heap. We don’t compost anymore, he just gets it all. And talking about preparing healthy food, my wife loves love’s loves her Instapot. Because whatever veggie she’s making, some extras go into the Instapot. And that becomes part of a stew that Archie gets as part of his raw food, every once in a while, based on the balance of his poops. Because fruits and veggies can loosen the poops.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Yep. Awesome. This is a question I have for you. Lots of pet food contains liver, which as we’ve all learned from Anthony William, is the filter for the body. And so for ourselves, we don’t want to eat liver because, I mean for goodness sakes, we’re all trying to clean out our livers because we know they’re a mess. And the assumption that we’re all making as most other animals’ livers are a mess too. Is liver safe for our pets to eat?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: It is safe and the key word to what you said this filter. In the filter, pretty much things often go through the filter. It’s much more harmful for a pet to have extra weight on them because that fat holds on to the toxins. And overweight pets are exposed to all kinds of health conditions. I’d much rather see an overweight pet eating liver and getting his weight down. But liver is among one of the dirty organs in the body. And we do strongly recommend, if you’re able to, stick with organic liver. But yes we do recommend a feeding of liver, which is highly nutritious for dogs and cats. And that’s going to bring me to the other thing I hear almost every day…. which is a really, really important part of the cat and dog diet, and that’s eggs.
Kerstin Ramstrom: I was gonna go there next too.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Eggs are among the best food for dogs and cats, in my opinion. And not just yolks, not just the whites. They are in balance. It’s not feed one versus the other, but feed both together. That could be raw, they could be lightly scrambled, anyway that your pet likes it. But just like the liver, and actually even more important than the liver, and perhaps, you want it to be from good eggs. The energy of the animal that laid the eggs, you know, if they’re unhappy, if they’re caged, unhappy birds, you probably don’t want to be using those eggs. Organic free-range, happy chickens that are laying eggs because they want to, cause this love because these are their little babies, then that’s an awesome source of vitality.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Okay, fantastic. And so, you think that the nutritional benefits for our pets from eggs overwhelms any opportunity that those might have to feed any of the bugs, pathogens, anything else in this case?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: For dogs and cats, for sure.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Okay, fantastic. I appreciate you answering that, because that’s a question that’s definitely out there. I know one of the things that you recommend to people is a wild blueberry and kale smoothie, which I believe is just for dogs, correct?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: No, dogs and cats. Cats may or may not eat it. But yeah, that is our biggest bang for the buck, whenever there is some slight imbalance, and especially allergic and arthritic issues respond really well to the wild blueberry and kale smoothie. Which is just one-to-one, you know, wild blueberries with chopped organic – and you want kale to be organic is so contaminated – but chopped up and then blenderized, straight at them one to one in the blender. And you can add about a quarter or half cup to dog’s food for each meal, that will help support the body, well balanced healthy immune system means because it’s chock full of goodness.
Kerstin Ramstrom: That would be easy to make as we’re making our heavy metal detox blueberry smoothies in the morning too.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: For sure. And they can share that with you as well. Your heavy metal smoothies or we’ve got our celery juice, ongoing celery juice challenge. Now the last couple of years of experience in it can help dogs and cats the way it can help people. But in my experience, a good number of dogs and cats…. not so fond of celery juice. I think I know one out of 10 cats that will will drink it. And on an empty stomach? You know, mixed in with the food, they might. But by itself. That’s hard.
Kerstin Ramstrom: So if your pet will drink it, that’s really good for them?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Correct.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. And in terms of supplementation. I know that Anthony has said that there are some supplements that are beneficial for our pets, do you recommend supplementation like that?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: It depends. It depends on the diet. It depends on the context of the whole individual as to get older, probably. Um, it’s great to support them with a wide variety of different kinds of nutrients, vitamins, B vitamins, methyl donors, antioxidants. But the key there is variety. So the more variety they’re getting in their diet, the less they need supplementation. But if you’re supporting a health challenge, it often pays to supplement. We focus on a lot of whole food based supplements because our approach is all based on energy, the energy to heal. And artificial anything requires energy by the body process. And food based nutrients don’t require the same energy.
Kerstin Ramstrom: So are there supplements that we should focus on for our pets?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Well, it depends. Um, vitamin D, zinc, you know, B vitamins, are all wonderful things to focus on to begin with. But again, it depends on the source, depends on the individual. Everything really depends on the context of the disease of the individual. Um, usually will use things like a multivitamin that’s food based to try and keep them healthier as they age. A rotation of antioxidants… the blueberry smoothie, the blueberry kale smoothie will provide a bunch of that. But there are specific ones that we can use, depending on the organs that need the most support. But it really all depends on the individual. There are some great…. now Peter Dobias has some great channel support, as far as food-based nutrients, minerals, you know, antioxidants. So it’s gonna also depend on the source. It’s like you mentioned at the beginning, frequently we do our research mainly on the internet and based on reviews. Well, that’s a piece… an important piece of picture. That will reflect that is that we need these important pieces. But they’re not the answer. Just like conventional medicine is really, really important piece of the bigger holistic picture of quality of life that we define as freedom and flexibility. Our animals should be able to live a good animal life, without fears, without the restrictions of their inability to meet people, meet other animals, or do anything.
Kerstin Ramstrom: And so would you recommend that if people are considering supplements like this, that they consult their vet first, and talk about…. essentially establish the appropriate context for their pet?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: That would be wonderful. But it depends on the framework that the veterinarian is couched in. You know, if you go to a carpenter that only has a hammer, everything, is gonna look like a nail. So yeah, it would be awesome to check with your holistic vet or another vet that may have experience with supplementation, because supplements are becoming a part of mainstream veterinary medicine, the way they are in people as well. And largely because of people like you, Kerstin. So thank you, I appreciate it. When I started practicing, there was not a single supplement on our vet shelves. In fact now, things like fish oils, or glucosamine…. all these things are no mainstream supplements that are on veterinarians’ shelves. So yeah, they can often help.
Kerstin Ramstrom: I feel like it’s sort of the same as when we are trying to establish our protocols for ourselves. Sometimes it can be helpful to work with a practitioner or health coach to determine what are the most appropriate supplements that we should be taking. So I’m thinking that working with your holistic vet and trying to find one that’s of the same mind as you, can be really helpful in trying to target that for your pet as well.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Absolutely, sure. So a really, really important part of research, you know, as far as research that can help support the healing of the individual. Part of the issue, though, is that many of the holistic vets are focused only on support. You know it would be great to support and try and cure at the same time.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Absolutely.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: The better the balance becomes the less you need support the healing.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Absolutely. Well, I want to wrap up here. I’m so excited that you’re coming back for the next episode, because we’re gonna do some Q&A on some of the specific things that pets deal with, some of the issues that they have. But this as a wonderful overview has been so helpful. Thank you so much, Dr. Jeff, I really appreciate this.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: You’re welcome. It really truly is my privilege, pleasure and so, Thank you. getting the word out is so, so important. You’re so welcome.
Kerstin Ramstrom: And if people want to find you online or on social media, where should they look?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Well, the best places HolisticActions.com. We also have a member group on Facebook. But I don’t spend a lot of time there. Most of my time is spent on the Holistic Actions! Forum, which is not on Facebook. And that’s accessed through HolisticActions.com. When you join the membership as an All- Access member, you get access to the Forum, where anyone right now can search the Forum for the kind of advice that we give and that’s just https://www.HolisticActions.com/forum.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. And I know you have the Holistic Actions! Academy on there, which we mentioned a couple minutes ago because you have the free Fun-damentals program on there. But why don’t you tell us a little bit about the other subscription based programs that you have on there?
Dr. Jeff Feinman: Sure, it’s my pleasure. We started five years ago, by trying to give, you know, affordable access to all the wisdom of the holistic vets that are out there, that are part of our faculty, and adjunct faculty. And right now, we have around six faculty full-time, around 20 or 30 adjunct faculty, and they’re all accessible via what’s now called the All-Access Membership. All-Access provides people with the ability to ask questions on our forum. We have webinars that support people once a week, and they get a 15 minute free HMDM Holistic Medical Decision Making call with myself or one of the other vets or professionals every month. Because that provides the answers to a lot of the holistic vet questions. And that’s all available, you know, through the All-Access price. But for many people, $50 a month is a big chunk. Premium membership is $14-$15 a month and that provides recorded access to all of our weekly webinars for the past number of years. So a bunch different webinars with holistic vets all over the world. For example, this week, we have one coming up with Dr. Dodds, we have another one coming up with Dr. Igor Beskow, who’s an expert in traditional Chinese medicine and mushrooms and other supplements and dogs and cats. It really changes week by week but it’s all focused on diseases and symptoms. So this, for example, is our blood month so we’re focusing on things like immune mediated hemolytic anemia and blood diseases from vaccines, and that’s what, you know, Monday’s webinar is going to be about. But you know, then there’s the ones every week after that until September starts to focus on eye symptoms. And we just tried to gather experts in different areas to talk about holistic ways to help heal various diseases and symptoms, which is how we think about or classified disease.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Fantastic. That sounds like it would be really helpful for people.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: One more thing which I forgot is the Premium also gives digital access to anything that we produce. We put it in the Member Area. So there are ebooks, there are reports, there are full books. You know, there’s a cat care book, a wonderful cat care book from one of our adjunct faculty, Dr. Gene Hovey, who is wonderful. So there’s a lot of… lot of good stuff. And that’s a great way to do your research. There are courses on Lyme Disease, courses on hospice care. You can watch any of this, you can do it any of this for as long as you’re a Premium member. So you can join for a month and watch everything. And that’s it.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Perfect. My goodness, I wish I had known that there were resources like that out there when I was a pet mom, because that would have been so helpful. So thank you for doing all of that.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: You’re welcome. And thank you for asking.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Well, thank you so much for being on This Week. I really appreciate it. And we will look forward to next week when we go through our q&a.
Dr. Jeff Feinman: It’s my pleasure. Thank you. Thank you again, and I can’t wait to see ya.
Kerstin Ramstrom: Thank you.
Please remember to tune in again next week for part two of my conversation with Dr. Jeff, where we’ll dive deeper into a whole variety of specific pet health issues like arthritis, fleas and ticks, and allergies.
I hope you found this episode helpful. For a free download of Dr. Jeff’s Holistic Actions Holistic Medical Decision Making Guide or the HMDM, go to podcast.carefullyhealing.com/HMDM.
Also Dr. Jeff has kindly offered $10 off the first month of an All-Access Membership for the Holistic Actions! Academy. Just go here and use the discount code HAPPYPET10. If you’re looking for additional support in your own health journey, you can learn more about how we can work together directly by going to my health coaching website at CarefullyHealing.com or by finding me on social media on Instagram at @CarefullyHealingwithKerstin or on Facebook.
If you’ve been enjoying the Quest for Healing Podcast, please leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.
Thank you for joining me today on the quest for healing podcast. These discussions are not intended to provide medical advice, but rather to give you examples of methods and modalities that you may find interesting, informative or helpful. Please work with your doctor as you undertake your own health journey.