Posted by: Ingrid | April 17, 2009

The Conscious Cat has moved!

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Posted by: Ingrid | April 15, 2009

Taxes and gratitude

Over the last few days leading up to Tax Day, I’ve been hearing a lot of people complain about having to write a check to the IRS, about how much they have to pay in taxes, and about how everything just keeps getting more and more expensive.  This seems to be the prevailing “story” and it makes for good conversation around the water cooler and in social situations, because it’s something everybody can agree on, right? 

Well, maybe you should rethink how you think and talk about taxes and money in general.  Thoughts and words carry energy and send a vibration into the world.  The vibration you send out guides what you attract into your life, so by thinking and talking about money from a place of lack and scarcity, you will only attract more of the same into your life.

Why not change your story and think about money from a place of gratitude?  If you didn’t have to pay taxes, it would mean you’re not making any money.  Write that check to the IRS from a place of appreciation!  I know – it’s a leap in consciousness, but shifting how you view money really works. 

The following is an excerpt from an Abraham Hicks workshop set to beautiful music and lovely images from nature.  It’s a wonderful explanation of how your money situation can’t change unless you change your vibration.  The music and images enhance the message by reinforcing Abraham’s core teachings of allowing things into your life by being in a state of appreciation.

Posted by: Ingrid | April 13, 2009

Eating gluten free

I recently read an excellent book on the topic of eating gluten free:

glutenfreeIn Eating Gluten Free, Shreve Stockton, author of “The Daily Coyote” and a professional photographer, presents a unique blend of information and recipes, including helpful cooking and preparation hints.   Stockton was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2003 and has devoted herself to sharing all that she has learned about living well, and eating well, with this prevalent condition.

 

From the book:

“The wheat-free/gluten-free diet is one of the fastest growing nutritional trends in this country. …  Gluten intolerance causes an auto-immune reaction in the body, which means that the body basically attacks itself.  … The resulting damage can be physical or neurological, and symptoms can range from gastrointestinal distress to depression, anxiety and fatigue.  …  In its most severe form, celiac disease, damage shows up in the small intestine.  When even the smallest amount of gluten is ingested, it triggers the body to attack itself, a process that inflames the lining of the small intestine, which makes it impossible to absorb nutrients.  … Gluten intolerance is frequently misdiagnosed and symptoms are often ascribed to numerous other conditions.”

“Many people who are not gluten intolerant are nevertheless discovering the health benefits of a wheat-free/gluten free diet.  …  Grains containing gluten are difficult to digest, they compromise the body’s ability to maintain maximum health, and they can even have an adverse effect on brain chemistry.”

While I’m not gluten intolerant, I found the book inspirational in general as far as healthy eating and making changes to one’s eating habits is concerned.  I’m intrigued with the health benefits a diet lower in or free of wheat and other harmful grains and plan to investigate further.  The book may even get me to start cooking, since the author makes getting started sound fairly manageable.  As a confirmed non-cook (my stove currently serves as an extra desk ….), that’s saying something! 

Many of the recipes sound absolutely delicious, from the hot cakes made with sorghum flour and applesauce to the buckwheat banana bread to the creamy cauliflower soup to the hippie bars (part cookie, part cake).  A wide variety of smoothie recipes is already getting me out of my protein powder/banana smoothie rut.

Humans are not the only species who can have problems with digesting grains.  Our pets also do better on grain-free diets.  See my previous posts “Amber is on a diet”  and “How to choose healthy foods for your pet” for more information about healthy and grain-free diets for your pets.

Posted by: Ingrid | April 12, 2009

Grape and raisin toxicity in dogs

The Conscious Cat cares about all animals, not just those of her own species, so this is a post about a dog health issue that keeps popping up in e-mails forwarded by concerned pet owners with considerable frequency.  Some pet owners think it’s true, others disregard it as yet another internet hoax.  Are grapes and raisins really toxic for dogs?

Miami veterinarian Patty Khuly, VMD, is the author of a veterinary blog titled “Dolittler” which contains a wealth of pet health information you can trust.  Dr. Khuly also writes a weekly pet health column for The Miami Herald and serves as regular contributor to Veterinary Economics, The Bark and Veterinary Product News in addition to her role as reporter for the Veterinary News Network.

Her blog post “Beware the Wrath of Grapes” provides accurate information on something every dog owner should be aware of.

Amber thinks dogs should know better than to want to eat grapes.

Posted by: Ingrid | April 11, 2009

Keep your pets safe at Easter

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Keep your pets safe and happy during the Easter holiday celebrations.

1.  Pass on poisonous plants. Some popular plants-including Easter lilies-are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if ingested.

2.  Resist giving animals as Easter presents.  Bunnies, chicks, ducks and other animals are adorable, but people often forget that these cute little animals grow up into adult animals who require a commitment to provide daily care for the rest of their lives.

3.  Get rid of dangerous decorations.  Easter basket decorations-including plastic grass-are dangerous to animals if ingested. The grass can become twisted within a pet’s intestines and can be fatal if not caught quickly enough. Candy wrappers, plastic eggs and small toy parts can also pose a danger to pets.  Use tissue paper instead of plastic grass and do a thorough clean-up after Easter celebrations.

4.  Give your pet some peace.  Loud noises, erratic movements from children and crowds of people can be very stressful for animals. If your pet isn’t up for the chaos of an Easter egg hunt or family dinner, put her in a quiet area of the house when guests are visiting.

5.  Keep your pet out of the Easter baskets and away from candy, including chocolate. Candy can be harmful to pets, and chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs.

Amber and I would like to wish you and your furry family members a very Happy Easter filled with joy, happiness and treats!

 

The Internet has opened up a world of cheap, fast, and easily accessible data.  With little more than a point and click, pet parents can access vast amounts of information about anything and everything related to pet health.  The sheer amount of information can be overwhelming, and it’s often hard to separate the hype from the truth.  For every site that touts a new cure, there’s a site that talks about the dangers of said cure. 

I’ve found the following sites provide reliable and well-researched information about pet health topics:

VeterinaryPartner.com  VeterinaryPartner.com provides up-to-date animal health information from the veterinarians and experts of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), the world’s first and largest online veterinary database and community.

HealthyPet.com  The American Animal Hospital Association, an organization of more than 29,000 veterinary care providers committed to giving you excellence in small animal care, has created this site for pet owners.  AAHA knows that your pet is an important member of your family and is dedicated to help you make the most of the relationship between you and your pet.  Among other items, the site contains an extensive pet care library, including articles on behavior issues.

The Cornell Feline Health Center  of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine is a specialty center devoted to improving the health and well-being of cats.  The site has a wealth of information on feline health topics, including a series of educational videos.

While the above sites provide reliable and accurate information, your veterinarian is always your best source of information regarding your pet’s health and should be your first contact whenever you have any questions about your pet’s health.

Posted by: Ingrid | April 8, 2009

Lessons from Party Cat – courtesy of Abraham

Abraham is a collective consciousness speaking through Esther Hicks.  To Wayne Dyer, they are “the great Masters of the Universe”, Louise Hay has called them “some of the best teachers on the planet today”.  A veritable who’s who of speakers, teachers and authors continue to publicly acknowledge and praise the immense value of the wisdom that is pouring forth through Esther.  They’ve been a major influence in my life over the past two or three years.

One of my favorite pieces is this video on the lessons the animals (or “beasts”, as Abraham lovingly calls them) teach us, as demonstrated by “Party Cat”:

Posted by: Ingrid | April 7, 2009

The power of laughter, and kitty mayhem

Yesterday I talked about how smiling can shift your vibration.   Today, I thought I’d talk about laughter.  Statistics show that the average kindergarten student laughs 300 times a day, yet the average adult only laughs 17 times a day.   The benefits of laughter have been proven in multiple research studies conducted at major universities.  Laughter reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, provides pain relief (the endorphins released while laughing are more potent than equivalent amounts of morphine!), and helps integrate both hemispheres of the brain.  It’s even equivalent to a small amount of exercise as laughing massages all the organs of the body.

A sense of humor provides the balance we all need to navigate the inevitable turbulence of life.  Everyone loves a person who can make them laugh.  Why not try a dose of laugh therapy today?  Exchange jokes with friends or co-workers, watch a funny movie, send someone a funny greeting card. 

To get you started, I’ll share this recent entry from a friend’s blog with you.  She lives with seven cats, and Morning Mayhem describes a recent morning when all the kitties went a little nuts.  It’s one of the funniest pieces of cat writing I’ve seen in a while.  I’m sure parents of multiple cats can relate!

Posted by: Ingrid | April 6, 2009

Shift your vibration – smile!

We are not just physical beings in a physical universe, we are vibrational beings in a universe made up of energy. We naturally attract what is in harmony with our state of being. Vibrations are the signal that we send out to the universe, and the universe responds with manifestations that match that signal. So it makes sense that we want to try and maintain our vibration at a level that allows us to receive the joy, abundance and happiness we want to attract into our lives.

However, we all have those days when joy seems like it’s not even in the same solar system as we are. When we feel frustrated, angry or depressed, changing our vibration can seem like an impossible task. When we’re in that kind of a vibrational state, even a minor shift in vibration can make a difference.  One way to do that is with a smile.  Even if you really don’t feel like smiling, the mere physical act of smiling will shift your vibration gently into a better feeling direction.

And if you need a little bit of help to find that smile, check out the kitten photos on cuteoverload.com – I dare you to look at some of the photos on the site and not at least crack the beginnings of a smile!

Posted by: Ingrid | April 4, 2009

How to choose healthy foods for your pet

The overwhelming array of choices when it comes to pet food makes it difficult to determine which foods are best for your pet.  In addition, many pet owners stopped trusting commercial pet foods after the massive pet food recall of 2007.  Pet owners began preparing home-made diets for their pets or jumped on the raw food bandwagon.  How do you know what food is best for your pet?

I am not a proponent of raw food diets.  While I acknowledge that there are numerous benefits to feeding raw, unprocessed foods, I believe that the risks for animals outweigh the benefits.  Unless you can be one hundred percent sure that the meat you’re feeding your pet is pathogen and parasite free, you should not be feeding raw meat.  If you want to feed a homemade diet, feed your pet a cooked diet and make sure it is properly balanced.  Petdiets.com provides recipes created by veterinary nutritionists for healthy pets as well as pets with special medical or dietary needs.

Most pet owners still prefer to feed a commercial diet, but they want to feed something that’s “natural” and free of preservatives.  But how do you know whether the food that’s advertised as “natural” really is?  Often, foods are labeled “natural”, but once you check the label, you find that the food really isn’t so natural after all.  A look at the ingredients might show that the conventional brand’s “natural” food is still of pretty poor quality.  Maybe the primary ingredient was changed from poultry by-products to chicken, but the food still contains corn gluten meal, soy meal, and wheat gluten meal, ingredients that are high on the list of culprits when it comes to allergies or digestive problems.  This is why it’s important to not fall for the marketing hype of a “natural” label but read the ingredients.

Another common misconception is that veterinary diets are high quality, healthy foods because they come from a vet’s office.  Unfortunately, when you look at the ingredient list on the veterinary brands, you often find the same things you find in the cheap grocery store brands. Most veterinarians receive very little training in nutrition.  Veterinary schools typically offer only a few weeks of training in nutrition, and the instruction is often sponsored or provided by the same companies that make these veterinary diets. 

Many pet owners are unsure of what makes a food natural, healthy or holistic.  The best way to determine this is to disregard tags such as “all-natural”, “holistic”, “veterinarian approved”, “chosen by top breeders”.  Ignore the cute photos of happy dogs and cute kittens and wholesome looking ingredients on the labels, and look at the ingredient listing instead.  Manufacturers are required to list ingredients in descending order, i.e., the ingredient with the highest amount is listed first, the one with the smallest amount last.
Quality Ingredients to Look For:

  • Animal proteins – identified by name (e.g., chicken, beef, lamb). 
  • Organic ingredients – meats, vegetables, grains and fruits – these are certified free of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Check for the USDA Organic seal on the package.
  • Whole unrefined grains like barley, brown rice, or ground oatmeal for dogs.  For cats, it is best to look for grain-free foods.  Most cats can’t digest grains, and grain-free foods also help alleviate or eliminate hairballs.
  • Human-Grade ingredients – human grade meats tend to be better quality.
  • Whole vegetables and fruits – the less processed the better (for example, whole potatoes are much better than potato starch). These are important sources of natural plant-based nutrients (phyto-nutrients) and antioxidants.

I recommend the following brands:

Wellness, Innova (especially the grain-free EVO line), Merrick, California Natural

These brands and more are available at Only Natural Pet Store and other online retailers.

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