Sanae Suzuki combs the Santa Monica Farmers Market for fresh ingredients, as she mentally prepares a menu for herself and her pooches. Sanae's expertise in plant-based macrobiotic nutrition led her to teach macrobiotic vegan cooking around the world as a Whole Health Macrobiotic Nutrition Educator, and for 8 years, she co-owned the popular restaurant SEED in Venice Beach with her husband, chef Eric Lechasseur. Sanae's passion for nutrition and holistic living intertwine with her love for dogs, and her book Healthy Happy Pooch - Wisdom and Homemade Recipes to Give Your Dog a Healthy, Happy Life shares her methods for preparing healthy dog food and caring for senior canines.
SANAE: Today my dogs will eat apples, cooked pinto beans, well-cooked brown rice, raw carrot, raw kale, raw broccoli, tofu, which are all organic. Snacks are nori seaweed and cooked sweet potato. My husband is making their food for this week right now, and the kitchen smells so fresh with organic vegetables and apples.
How did you come around to cooking dog food?
SANAE: After moving to America, my first dog, Sakura, struggled with skin allergies and arthritis. I wanted to help her after I had learned to help myself recover from cancer back in 1993. I studied natural nutrition for dogs and cats and created homemade dog food for Sakura. Her skin got better, her arthritis got better, and she was able to go hiking again.
What have your many years studying human health taught you about dogs' health?
SANAE: I believe dogs prefer to eat non-packaged food without processed additives and preservatives to live healthy and happy lives. Commercial dog foods can be unhealthy, but also dangerous for your dogs to eat. It's little known that commercial dog food companies are recalled or withdrawn from the market every year. They can be worse than junk food for humans.
Commercial dog foods can be made with many harmful ingredients even though they are not recalled. I would like to share what I know of recalled dog food ingredients at the forthcoming lecture event at Tortoise. Here are some of them:
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
- Meat Meal. ...
- Artificial Food Coloring. ...
- Corn Syrup. ...
- Rendered Fat. ... and more
Dogs benefit from eating balanced homemade organic food like humans. For example:
Well-cooked whole grains support dogs' health conditions.
Too much oil is not suitable for dogs.
Sugar is bad for dogs.
Less or no oil is better for dogs.
Dogs do not need to eat meat to thrive and stay healthy.
We love the quote - dogs are not your whole life, but they make your life whole. How has making dog food impacted the behavior and health of your pooches?
SANAE: We have healthy, happy pooches most of the time at home, just like my book title ' Healthy, Happy Pooch'. They are smart and easy to communicate with. We share our lives with our dogs every day.
We eat almost all 100% organic food at home. We share most of the delicious organic food we make with our dogs, and they can share their food with us. The food is bonding us!
We rarely had to take them to a veterinarian except for routine checkups, which saves lots of money, hahaha! When our dogs get older, they still look younger and more graceful. It is not only love and homemade food we give to our dogs. When our dogs have health issues or get older, we first apply *holistic natural medicine and modality, so they have a chance to fulfill their lives, and many die naturally in their sleep.
*Holistic natural medicine and modality are homeopathic medicine, Bach Flower Remedy, animal acupuncture, animal reiki, animal communication, animal massage, moxibustion, etc.