Top 5 Most Poisonous Human Foods for Dogs

By: Jake Briski

            Dogs are very selfless animals that love their owners more than they love themselves. Unfortunately we can’t share everything with them even though we wish we could. There are many dangerous human foods that can cause minor and major issues with your dog. I myself have two dogs that I treat like family and know how fun it is to share my food with them. Even though I do my best to be careful about what I give them, there have been a few instances where they have gotten into something they cant have. I have researched the top 5 foods that create harm to your favorite furry friend. Many of these foods cause a dog’s body to change certain substances within the food to a toxin after its metabolized. These toxins can then trigger cardiac arrest, low blood sugar and organs to start shutting down. The severity of these issues is based on weight, type of dog, and amount consumed so always contact your vet if you think your dog has consumed any of these foods.

1.  Raisins/ Grapes

            Even a small amount of Raisins or grapes can cause the kidneys to start shutting down.  Raisins are more poisonous than grapes since the drying process creates an increase in the level of the toxic substance. When consumed, this substance, once metabolized, attacks the kidneys in rapidly. Unfortunately I have had a terrifying situation with my dogs eating raisins. They both got into a half eaten granola bar that included raisins.  At first I didn’t think much about it until I started researching toxic food for dogs. Raisins were always high on the list, which made me panic. I ended up calling the local emergency pet hospital for advice. I didn’t know which of the dogs or if both had gotten some of the granola bar. I have one medium dog (Buddy) and one small dog Bella so it’s possible that the large dog didn’t share any of the granola bar. Either way I was advised to induce vomiting to look for the raisins and even after that to call our vet the next day to get a blood test done. To induce vomiting hydrogen peroxide is used based on the dog’s body weight. Even if symptoms are noticeable, kidney damage could already be taking place. With the help of a vet this damage can somewhat be reversed so that the kidneys don’t completely shut down.  Thankfully neither of my dogs had harmful levels of the substance in their system. This was a huge relief but now I know how dangerous raisins can be.

2. Snacks with Xylitol

            Many snacks and dental products include this dangerous substance called Xylitol. The most commonly known product with this ingredient is chewing gum. Others include cereals, sugar-free candy, peanut butter, and fruit snacks. Some people may be wondering about peanut butter being on that list but it’s true. Many manufacturers use this toxic ingredient to sweeten their peanut butter flavor. Make sure you check the labels because there are many options that are in fact a healthy and tasty treat for dogs. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver damage.  I know this blog is about dogs but this substance, in particular, is more dangerous to our feline friends so be careful with all pets.

3. Macadamia Nuts

            Many nuts are ok for dogs to have but this one specifically is very dangerous. A substance in the macadamia causes damage to a dog’s nervous system, which could be permanent. This one, unlike the others, seems to be less researched since we don’t know exactly what happens and why this nut causes so much damage. This is a very good reason to simply keep this snack far away from dogs and other fur friends.

4. Onions

            There is a substance in onions and onion powder that when consumed by a dog causes a decreased ability for the red blood cells to carry oxygen. This triggers a process of red blood cells breaking down which could cause anemia. If anemia becomes acute a blood transfusion may be needed to help replace the bad blood cells. Being a dog owner I know that they are little vacuums so make sure when cutting onions that bits and pieces don’t end up on the floor for your dog to get.

5. Chocolate

            This one seems obvious but I feel it’s worth mentioning. The darker the chocolate the more toxic it is to dogs. It creates a toxic substance that raises heart rate and can even lead to cardiac arrest. Very small amounts may give your dog an upset stomach and diarrhea. Even though milk chocolate is diluted of this substance, dogs shouldn’t have any type of chocolate regardless of its type.

            I didn’t mention the symptoms that come along with eating these foods but many of them include vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, seizures and lethargy. If your dog ever seems out of the ordinary always consult you veterinarian to make sure things are ok. If left untreated many of these toxic foods can cause permanent damage and even death.

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Doughnuts Worth the Drive in Montana

Keilan Sayer

Most people wouldn’t think a simple glazed doughnut could be something worth writing about. But those people haven’t tried Windmill Village Bakery doughnuts.

Nestled on highway 93 between Missoula, Montana and Flathead Lake in the small town of Ravalli, the outdated windmill exterior serves as a disguise for the drool-worthy goodies being baked inside.

As soon as you walk through the bakery doors, you feel at home. It’s not flashy by any means, but there is a hum of activity that comes from the tiny kitchen behind the counter. That hum is Nancy Martin, the brains behind the infamous doughnuts. She makes all the doughnuts by hand, sometimes up to several dozen a day depending on the demand. A recipe that was passed down from her mother to her, her doughnuts are something that Nancy’s bakery has become renowned for. And for good reason.


The doughnuts are as big as a softball, but still remain light and fluffy on the inside. They offer the perfect level of sweetness with a gooey center and a crisp crackly exterior. What could possibly make these doughnuts so crazy good? Potatoes. Thats right, POTATOES! The best part? Each doughnut only costs $2.00. Delicious and cheap, what more could you ask for? If doughnuts aren’t your thing, they offer tons of other delicious baked goods, such as huckleberry pie or soft warm melt in your mouth cookies.

If you want to try these out for yourself, better get there early, because they sell out fast. Everybody needs to try a potato doughnut! I promise you, its worth the trip. You’ll be left with sticky fingers and happy stomachs.

Photo credits:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g45322-d2072875-Reviews-Windmill_Village_Bakery-Ravalli_Montana.html

Ser un viajero, not a tourist

 

 

As college students, we talk a lot about traveling the world, experiencing different cultures, and expanding our worldview. How can we do this in a way where we can truly begin to understand a culture? To me, this means to be a traveler (ser un viajero in Spanish), not a tourist. I prefer to travel in a manner that separates me from the typical tourist and allows me the opportunities to experience the types of connections with people and place that begin to foster a deeper understanding.  Here are a few tips that will help you see the true nature of a new place in short time.

Put away the travel guides.

Sorry, Rick Steves and Lonely Planet. Yes, you can find a wealth of information about any city or country in these books. Peruse them for details on must-see sights, but don’t use them to decide where to eat or sleep. You will be directed to places where you will encounter more tourists than locals, and miss the places that carry the true vibe of a city. Depending on a travel guide is like dipping your toes in the surface of the lake, compared to jumping off the dock and diving in!

Moclín, Andalucia, Spain Photo Credit: Rafael Olieto

Use public transportation – and your own two feet.

Taxis are expensive, but even if your budget allows, you will learn more about a place and its people on buses and in the subway. You will need to study maps and the layout of a city, the names of the streets, instead of placing your navigation in the hands of someone else. And allow free time in your schedule to wander and explore by foot, getting lost in the true sounds and smells and colors of the local culture. The best memories I have of Marrakesh are the streets that weren’t full of tourists, walking in the heat, smelling the food being cooked in the homes nearby. Or in Granada, climbing up and through the twisting streets, never knowing where one would end up.

Granada, Andalucia, Spain Photo: Vickie Rectenwald

Talk to strangers. Learn at least a few phrases of the local language.

You don’t have to proficient in another language, but knowing a few key phrases will allow to you to connect with the random person on the street who will send you to his uncle’s corner bar where you will eat the most amazing tapas, or to the quaint little café where no one speaks English but you will fall in love with the pastries and rich coffee. I have been fortunate to have made some great friends just because I was willing to ask a few friendly questions.

Let go of expectations.

You will encounter everyday things that are so different from what you are used to. Paying for the use of a toilet, the lack of wi-fi in every corner, no to-go cups for coffee, and nudity in advertising are just a few examples I encountered in Europe. Suspend your judgement and let go of the attitude that what is familiar to you is the best way. Smile, enjoy the things that force you to slow down and reflect.

Moclín, Andalucia, Spain Photo Credit: Rafael Olieto

Eat the local food.

Even if you do not completely understand the ingredient list, or how to pronounce it, give it a try. American food has found its way into most corners of the world, and you will have plenty of chances to have pizza and burgers when you get back home. But you will regret not giving your palate the chance to explore.  When I was in Spain, I was hesitant at first to try caracoles (snails). I took a deep breath, probably closed my eyes, and hoped I would not make too gruesome of a face in front of my hosts. Surprisingly, I was delighted with the salty, earthy taste. Caracoles became one of my favorite Spanish delicacies, and I definitely cannot find them in Montana!

Caracoles in Linares, Andalucia, Spain Photo: Vickie Rectenwald

I plan to continue to travel to new places and gain insights into other cultures. I hope my list of favorite foods grows and expands. But most of all, I plan to continue making friends around the globe that enrich my life.

I hope you find these tips useful, and I also hope that you can travel and learn in whatever corner of the world pulls at your heart. Thanks for reading, and please share your own travel tips in the comments below!

Vickie Rectenwald studies Marketing, International Business, and the world around her. She lived in Granada, Spain for a year, and has also traveled to Morocco, France, Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii. She will try any food once and can always find something in common with the person she is speaking to. Follow her travels on Instagram @montandaluz.

Lactose Intolerant Forever, Ice Cream Scooper for the Summer

About 75% of the human population is lactose intolerance. Whether or not they chose to accept it or not is their own business.

 

As a part of the 75%, I usually cringe at the sight of people eating straight pieces of cheese. There are other times I try to forget that I’m lactose intolerant so that I can enjoy a slice of pizza after a late night out like a normal college student. I’ve grown up reminding my dad daily that I am still unable to eat cheese but appreciate the thought of him making lasagna for dinner. Unfortunately for me, awkward first dates always seem to end up being made even more awkward when I’m taken to the guy’s favorite pizza joint or out for ice cream. Pizza parties and ice cream parties in middle school were misery. I’ve poisoned myself by forgetting to ask for a milk alternative in my latte or no cheese on my hamburger because the waiter was hot. And let me tell you Oreo’s dipped in soy milk is not the same.

So you’d think that knowing that I am lactose intolerant that I wouldn’t dare succumb myself to the torture of being surrounded by ice cream during the most popular time of year. However, needing cash and a summer time job, I decided to be an idiot and surround myself with the poison that is for me ice cream.

So behold, Scoop Handmade Ice cream; delicious, unique, local and a lactose intolerant’s living hell. Six out of the seven days of the week you could find me hanging out the window of a small little red food cart passing out ice cream cones in downtown Portland, Oregon or driving the ice cream truck from various events in the city.

When I first started working I never let on that I was lactose intolerant. Instead I became very skilled at explaining a flavor of ice cream I had never tried. I shocked people when they asked how I stayed so thin working around ice cream every day and answered with “by eating it for lunch” or that “the gas gage on my ice cream truck is broken so I sometimes have to push it home”. However, on the rare occasion that I let it slip, most of my customers found it very amusing that I was the lactose intolerant ice cream girl. In fact, sometimes having that tid-bit of knowledge slip, made a customer buy more ice cream to eat in my honor or an extra buck was added to my tip jar out of pity.

Although I could never indulge in the delicious handmade ice cream I surrounded myself with all summer long, I still enjoyed my job very much. I was able to meet tons of unique people, and make a lot of people happy with a sweet scoop of ice cream on a freshly handmade waffle cone. The other great thing about working in an ice cream truck is the fact that it attracts dogs and babies, two incredibly cute things. From working that job I learned to parallel park an ice cream truck on the busy streets of the city. I also never went home after a shift smelling like anything but vanilla and waffle cones. I developed one very toned right forearm and I made way better tips than I ever did being a barista. Overall, the good of the job outweighed the torture of being surrounded by ice cream almost every day. I also believe being able to parallel park an ice cream truck is a valuable skill that everyone should have in their back pocket and I would have never learned that working at a pizza joint.

 

Clean Eating Habits For The Lazy And Broke

I have always dabbled in finding the right food habits for my body.  I have had serious medical issues my whole life that have restricted my personal control in many aspects of my own life.  I had limits on how much school I could go to, how much time I could spend active, and how much independence I had from my parents. The only place I had control was in my eating. I ate a strict vegan diet for 2 years, but upon getting a job at an indoor farmer’s market and specialty cheese shop, I relaxed my diet to include some dairy products and eggs.  The tiny food shop had one rule: they didn’t carry any foods with ingredients that your great-grandparents couldn’t recognize. That means no fillers, no chemical preservatives and no food colorings.  Even though I left that job 4 years ago, I kept the values that shop taught me and I have eaten clean ever since.  It seems like it is hard and expensive to eat a diet free of processed and pre-made food, but certain easy food habits keep both me and my wallet happy, healthy, and full.

Follow a 90% rule at the grocery store

Have 90% of the food bought when grocery shopping contain only one ingredient.  An avocado only contains avocados, eggs only contain eggs, and so-forth. This makes you 90% sure you know exactly what you’re eating. As for the other 10%, I love pasta and good dark chocolate too much to ignore that longing.  No one is perfect.

Always have sautéed veggies on hand

If there is one thing in my fridge at all times, it is a container of any/all types of veggies already sautéed with no specific spices. It is simple to make in bulk and the veggies will last longer than if they are just sitting fresh.  It’s the perfect filling addition a quick burrito, scrambled eggs, or quinoa stir-fry. This makes it super easy to be healthy and lazy at the same time.  

Be a whiz at lazy food prep

I have never had the dedication to truly meal prep and make cute little containers to eat once a day.  First of all, who has that many leftover containers, and second, who has enough willpower to not eat three of them for dinner? This is where the freezer comes into play. I am all about taking a free Sunday morning to whip up 40 homemade veggie burgers or a big pot of soup to freeze and save for when I don’t want to cook. It is always a small blessing when I have my protein prepared and ready to go.  The key is to be productive so you can be lazy later.

Embrace the trashcan soup (and have a broth bag handy)

Some of the best meals I have ever made came out of desperation-turned-creativity.  When I have a ton of vegetables that are slightly (or very much) past their prime, I will make trashcan soup. Old veggies, any type of beans, quinoa, and broth makes for a pretty awesome meal.  This is where the broth bag comes into play… any part of vegetables you usually throw away can be put in a large ziplock bag in the freezer. It keeps for months and once it’s full, you have all you need to create a broth for your soup! It’s the circle of life.  

Try to make what you usually buy (at least once)

I’m not about to waste my time trying to make my own butter, but so many things you usually buy are much cheaper and tastier when you make them.  Why buy 2 small cans of black beans when you can make a whole pot full for the same price? Same goes for hummus, broth, pasta sauce, and so many other things we usually don’t second guess buying.  Maybe some of the foods will be preferred pre-made, but maybe you will find a new favorite homemade staple.

Yes, it takes average amounts of dedication and willpower to thrive while eating clean, but it takes a lot less than most people believe.  Treat your tummies well, people!