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Try reverse to make your horse go forward…

Aloeride aloe vera steamed soaked rolled oats
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A very dear friend of mine used to keep me on my toes with quotes like “il faut reculer pour mieux sauter”. Literally this means that one must draw back in order to make a better jump. Figuratively it could mean that you go back to older ways to get better results. Try reverse to make your horse go forward… be surprised at how much there is to gain.

Walk into your feed merchant and marvel at the vast array of horse feeds available. Imagine what was available to your grandparents and great-grandparents. Ask yourself if any of this proliferation has resulted in fewer gastric ulcerations/year, in fewer colics/year, in fewer cases of laminitis/year, in higher speeds at the racecourse, in higher jumps at showjumping… Galloping along in our busy lives, we assume that new is better, that ‘researched’ new is better still. But who is the winner? Is it your horse, is it you or is it follow the money, that catchphrase popularized by the 1976 drama-documentary motion picture All The President’s Men. Sure, you’re a winner in as much that scoops of feed save you time… If horses were the winner, the Royal Veterinary College of Surgeons statistics would show that interventions/year decreased because feed is getting smarter at preventing stuff.  That’s not the case.

You

Walk into your supermarket and marvel at the vast array of foods available… again, spoilt for choice and being advertised to, to an inch of your life. When you are not doing well on modern food and present with symptoms, consider reverting back to a simpler diet like a Paleolithic diet. You limit foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago i.e. dairy products, grains (wheat, oats, barley), refined sugar, table salt, potatoes and legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, peas). You include lean grass-fed meat or wild game, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and oils from fruit and nuts (olive oil or walnut oil). It may be a nightmare diet for vegetarians or vegans but, for health-challenged omnivores, a test period of simplifying food intake can reveal huge benefits. It is a sustainable diet providing the emphasis is not on the meat/fish quantity and, for better results still, add the clever smoothies that we advocate. When you are not doing well on modern food and present with symptoms, you also have the luxury of choice to do or not do Intermittent Fasting. Not so for your horse because its continuous gastric secretion prohibits any fasting.

Your Horse

When your horse is not doing well on modern feed, revert back to oats (Avena sativa). Simplify your horse’s diet by abandoning compound, cooked feeds. It is safe to do so, two generations ago this was the norm. Manufacturers of compound feeds unfairly associated oats with excessive excitability, equine rhabdomyolysis syndrome (ERS), colic and laminitis. Such criticism ignores that traditionally oats were fed alongside good quality hay, haylage, grass or alfalfa. Given the array of calmers sold annually, it is a fair observation that compound feeds do not prevent horses going fizzy… nor do compound feeds prevent experiencing colic, nor do compound feeds prevent developing laminitis. As my dear friend would say “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing). Oats have the highest fibre content and lowest energy of all the grains. Their grains are easy to chew properly thus mixing with saliva well. Sure, compared to compound cooked feeds, the shelf life of oats is not ideal when galloping along in our busy lives (we know, looking after horses is hard work) but, is not your horse worth a trial?

Digestive issues

I wrote this article because at Aloeride we receive many questions about horses that struggle with their digestion. During such calls we may discuss the timeline i.e. symptoms, intervention, response, change of feed, supplements and so on. Often one compound feed was swapped for another to little avail. Imagine feed-sensitivity and trigger A being in feed 1 and trigger B being in feed 2. Swapping from feed 1 to 2 would make no apparent difference to your horse. Desensitisation (Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy) is costly and not always successful. Hence the advice ‘Try reverse to make your horse go forward’, take diet back to basics and observe. If there is a clear improvement, then you have it confirmed on a shoestring that there is a food trigger. Then a choice is to be made in respect of future feed and – like in human food sensitivity – adding Aloeride provides a very useful digestive support via a wide range of nutrients.

Oat Couture

Pure oats are considered safe for those with gluten intolerance, a surprising angle perhaps until you hear vets talk about horses with IBS. Raw, whole oats have a 2.3-8.5% beta-glucan content which reduces the risk of Obesity and type 2 Diabetes. Both horses and people can get Insulin Resistance, but horses do not go to the next step of Diabetes 2. As you know, horses do have total carbohydrate load issues (hence low cal, low GI, laminitic and super cool feeds). Beta-glucan increases the excretion of bile acids (good detox) and binds with cholesterol-rich bile acids. Normally, bile acids are re-absorbed in the digestive system, but beta-glucan inhibits this recycling process thereby seeing bad cholesterol (LDL) out of the horse. Beta-glucan also causes a reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels after a carbohydrate-rich meal (thus less spiking). The major protein in oats is called Avenalin (80%) – not found in any other grain – which is similar to legume proteins, a minor protein (i.e. not much of it) is called Avenin which is related to gluten in wheat. Raw oats are the only dietary source of powerful antioxidants called Avenathramides and these have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-itch, anti-irritant, and anti-atherogenic activities. Raw oats are high in many vitamins and minerals: Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Iron, Selenium, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin E (total tocols ranged from 19 to 30.3 mg/kg; α-tocotrienol & α-tocopherols combined account for 86 to 91%). In human patients with type 2 Diabetes and severe Insulin Resistance, a 4-week dietary intervention with oatmeal resulted in a 40% reduction in the insulin dosage needed for stabilizing blood sugar levels. When your horse is not doing well on modern feed, why not do a raw oats trial with your horse for 4 weeks with a gradual entry into a (soaked) oats + good quality hay/haylage, grass or alfalfa diet. You may discover that this is one of the ‘old ways’ that may have the edge over ‘new ways’.

Feed values of oats and dehulled oatsIn a transition from modern feeds to one of oats (with grazing/hay or haylage/Aloeride), you need to remember that scoops give volume i.e. measure litres or quarts. An equine stomach is relatively small – made for ongoing grazing with small amounts going in as small amounts pass to the duodenum – so supplemental meal size should be limited to no more than 4 lbs (1.8 kg) for an 1,100 lbs (500 kg) horse. A horse assumedly going hot on oats may happen for no simpler reason that the scoop feeds more oats than the feedroom scale would issue. As a reasonable starch intake per meal is 1g per 1kg of live weight, a 500g horse should get 0.5kg of starch per meal which equates to 1.1kg of oats (calculating on starch content being some 460g/kg DM = 46% x 1.1kg = 0.5kg of starch). Feeding should mirror workload and not all oats have the same nutritional value. So, as always, observe how your horse responds.

By weight, raw oats are 66% carbohydrates, 17% protein, 7% fat (unsaturated fatty acids) and 11% fiber. Oats contain more soluble fiber than other grains, leading to slower digestion, increased satiety and suppression of appetite. Oats are very low in sugar, with only 1% coming from sucrose. The starches in oats are different than those in other grains, it has a higher fat content and higher viscosity (it binds water better):

  • Rapidly digested starch (7%) which is quickly broken down and absorbed as glucose
  • Slowly digested starch (22%) that is broken down and absorbed more slowly
  • Resistant starch (25%) which functions like a type of fiber. It escapes digestion and improves gut health by feeding the friendly gut bacteria i.e. prebiotic

 

Many compound feeds contain wheat, barley and/or rye, all three contain gluten. When your horse is not doing well on modern feed it may well be reactive akin to non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. Rather than swap one compound feed for another compound feed via the trial and error method, why don’t you eliminate triggers by feeding your horse the traditional single feed. Take note of the following:

“Gluten may not be the culprit when it comes to wheat sensitivities, according to a new body of research presented at the United European Gastroenterology Week 2016. Instead, a team of scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany discovered a different protein in wheat known as amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) may be what triggers the stomach-sickening inflammation and other symptoms.”

“For the study, the team stopped focusing on gluten — a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye — and shifted their attention to ATIs because it appears to cause inflammation and worsen other chronic health conditions. Although ATIs only make up 4 percent of proteins found in wheat, they are responsible for a lot of damage throughout the body. Not only is the stomach at risk for dangerous inflammation, but so are the lymph nodes, kidneys, spleen, and brain as well. ATIs may also contribute to the development of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.”

To soak or not to soak

Soak whole oats in cold water for approximately 12 hours. A benefit is that dust will be and chemical residue from sprays may be washed away. It may make oats softer but frankly, the huge molars of a horse will masticate unsoaked whole oats perfectly fine (toothless veterans being the exception). During the transition period you may noticed a few oats in your horse’ droppings, but only for about a week.

“If 9kg oats and 3.5kg hay are fed then the likely fat intakes will be between 490 and 525 g/day, up to 1.5x that consumed from forage alone (312 to 437 g/day from 12.5kg dry material say grass hay). If naked (hull-less) oats are substituted for traditional oats then the fat intake from the basic ration would nearly be 1 kg/day. Thus, horses fed conventional diets can consume between half and one kilo of plant fat per day, all of it unsaturated! It is clear that the horse is well adapted to dietary fat when it is a component of plant material.” Dr. Derek Cuddeford (RIP), Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh

Does soaking make oats a ‘living enzyme’

Most of the metabolically active proteins, mostly enzymes, in oats are in the water-soluble albumin fraction. Among the enzymes, presence of proteases, maltase, a-amylase, lichenase, phenoxyacetic acid hydroxylase, phosphatase, tyrosinase, and lipases have been reported (Osborne classification). Some suggest that oats during soaking start to self-digest and, having been ‘pre-digested’ overnight, require fewer digestive enzyme resources from a horse. Well, if you sprinkle an enzyme complex (amylase, protease, lipase) on porridge you will see its consistency change within 15 minutes… porridge goes fluidy/slimy. The surface of oats does not appear surface slimy by overnight self-digestion (i.e. it is softer because of being wetted only). If you must soak oats then drain them overnight or for a good hour prior to feeding. BTW the water in the soaking bin will contain some of the inorganic minerals from the oats. Why soak if not absolutely necessary?!? In light work feed approximately 2lbs – 3lbs of oats twice a day with alfalfa and good hay. In hard work e.g. eventing or racing feed approximately 6lbs – 7lbs of oats twice a day with alfalfa and good hay. As always with any feed, observe how your horse responds.

Scientific information on oats: Journal Food Science Technology.

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What Do Smoothies Do

What do smoothies do advice from Aloeride aloe vera
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What do smoothies do for you? Well, one single smoothie is not going to do anything much, irrespective of what you put in it. The same goes for the optimistic 3-day detox in a 365-day year… In matters of natural healthcare it is not the ‘incidentals’ but the ‘what you do repeatedly’ that shapes the outcome. When you use smoothies consistently (minimum 1 pint 3 times a week, maximum 1 pint 3 times a day every day) then your body – almost without exception – will respond favourably: from digestion, to hormones, energy levels, physical movement, skin complexion, pain levels, with improved laboratory tests to quantify positive change… Because making smoothies takes elbow grease, I recommend that you keep things simple and thus sustainable. The smoothie below is what I made for my family last Sunday, another easy-peasy example of ‘open the fridge and let’s see what we’ve got’. Of course thanks to a clever, one-woman buying department, I found that I had quite a choice…

Ingredient How Much What Effects Its Benefit
Milk Kefir 200 ml Boosts gut microbiota with a far wider spectrum of bacteria than yoghurt would and is fine even for those who’re lactose-sensitive/intolerant; microbiota specific functions are host nutrient metabolism; xenobiotic and drug metabolism; maintenance of structural integrity of the gut mucosal barrier; immunomodulation and protection against pathogens
Organic Sour/Tart Cherries stoned 1 cup full Next to vitamin C and Anthocyanins they contain Perillyl alcohol (POH) Limonene and Ellagic acid which are particularly protective against breast lung liver skin and colon cancers; anthocyanins and bioflavonoids slow down the enzymes Cyclo-oxyygenase-1 and -2 and this helps inflammatory conditions (laboratory tests at Michigan State University found that tart cherry compounds are at least 10 times more effective than aspirin in reducing inflammation–without any of aspirin’s side effects); you need to put them in first with that ½ pint as they’ll rattle around before everything becomes smooth then you can add the next ingredient
Sliced Curly Kale 1 mug full Vitamin A/K/C/B6; Inorganic Minerals Mg-Ca-Cu-K-Mn; Omega-3 alpha linolenic acid; 45 different flavonoid antioxidants including Quercetin and Kaempferol; Isothiocyanates inhibit growth of abnormal cells and fuel detox via Glutathione S-Transferases
Carrots 4 left in fridge scrubbed and chopped Carotenoids in carrots not only help prevent oxidative damage inside our body they prevent oxidative damage to their Polyacetylenes (Falcarinol and Falcarindiol) that inhibit growth of abnormal cells in the colon; also 50-75g/day reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease; vitamin A represents highest % of vitamins; inorganic minerals Mb-K-Mn-Cu-P
Apple 1 washed quartered and only pips removed Significantly alters colon microbiota (notably the amount of Clostridiales and Bacteriodes); apple polyphenols ease the regulation of your blood sugars (Quercetin inhibits alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase); malic acid improves hepatobiliary flow i.e. fat-soluble detox
Avocado cut lengthwise twist to open use ½ and peel High levels of monounsaturated fat i.e. Oleic acid (polyunsaturated omega3:omega6 ratio is about 1:10) increase absorption of lipid-soluble vitamin ADEK and lowers risk of Cardio Vascular Disease; most phytonutrients are in the dark green pulp on the peel so scrape and include in smoothie
Freeze Dried Cherry Powder 1 heaped table spoon Anthocyanins and bioflavonoids (e.g. Queritrin and Isoqueritrin) -but not as many as in the sour/tart cherry- of course they give your smoothie a lovely flavour
Organic Goji Juice Powder 1 heaped table spoon Increases subjective feelings of general well-being and improves neurologic/psychologic performance and gastrointestinal functions; its antioxidant Zeaxanthin is a powerful vision protector that accumulates in the macula (the prominent bright yellow spot in the centre of the retina that allows you to distinguish fine detail)
Turmeric 1 heaped table spoon Among the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world and has benefits also for depressive disorder (MDD) and Diabetes Mellitus Type 1; kindly note that, without the milk kefir buffer, a heaped table spoon (soup spoon) full of turmeric would make this smoothie completely unpalatable
Water Kefir Top jug up to the top similar to milk kefir but not nearly as broad spectrum, very easy to make yourself

As I was making this smoothie, I noticed that our Moulinex jug blender seemed to struggle a teensy bit. Before I proffer the easy solution, let me say this: the single most important thing when buying a smoothie maker is not its revs per minute, or its blades, or its pre-programmed settings, but how often you use the ruddy thing. Just like in other aspects of life, it’s not what you’ve got but what you do with it that counts. Let’s move on! The deep whirring of our Moulinex meant that my smoothie was getting thick (there’s avocado for you!) which is why I added the water kefir that we make ourselves from water kefir cultures. This sorted things out for the dyed in the wool, hardened smoothie aficionados section of this family (honestly, we’re not as hardy as Tom and Barbara in the ‘Good Life’).

Our youngest daughter however complained that my smoothie had ‘too much taste’. Despite me watering it down with water kefir to ameliorate its consistency, she wanted a rescue ingredient. When it comes to smoothie rescue remedies nothing tops ‘banana to the rescue’ and, for those fretting about Glycaemic Index, just think how fabulously well a ripe banana compares to a Mars bar or a glass of Fanta… As a rule of thumb you should aim to keep smoothies at the bitter end of sweet. The bottom line is, that all the above nutrients found their way in meaningful quantities into each family member. Well worth the elbow grease it took, considering that it much increases their chance of making their life’s journey unimpeded by health issues (notwithstanding trauma or injury). A never failing array of reasons why one should make use of raw nutrients is found in research published in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed and other peer reviewed sources.

Why smoothies and not juicing

One of my heroes in Medicine is Dr. Max Gerson MD, a German physician who treated critically ill patients with a dual approach: clean up serum, extracellular and intracellular environment and simultaneously bombard the body with known-to-be-useful nutrients so it can stand up for itself, fight back and conquer. Next to one particular detox method, Dr. Gerson only used juicing and this is because in his protocol absolutely everything that was ingested by mouth had to be filled with nutrients. Throughout 24hrs in any day, nobody on the Gerson approach would drink water, they’d drink freshly pressed juices. His is the extreme end of nutritional intervention (called hypernutrition) and the frequency of fluid ingesting dictated juicing rather than smoothies (for how much fibre can anyone tolerate). Optimally juiced raw vegetables (grinding followed by high-pressure pressing) create a fluid that is as swiftly absorbed into the blood stream as alcohol is i.e. it completely bypasses the digestive system and any shortcomings thereof. That is why Max Gerson advocated hypernutrition juicing. For preventative, run of the mill looking after your health, smoothies are great. Excellent equipment for smoothies (we bought a Nutribullet after the aforementioned jug blender died) is a lot less expensive than excellent equipment for juicing (Norwalk). Horses for courses.

Beyond the obvious Dr. Max Gerson nutrients bombardment benefit, I like smoothies for these reasons: this affordable-to-all approach provides fibre that helps prevent colorectal adenoma, helps protect against breast cancer, helps lower blood cholesterol levels, helps your stools be softer. My goodness why did I say that? Because it’s statistically worrying quite how many heart attacks and strokes occur during defeacation and this happens, in most cases, as a result of straining. Because raised inter-abdominal pressure to get things out the back door proves too much for the vascular pipework in either the heart or the brain. So sad because constipation is utterly avoidable with clever smoothies so, logically from there on, you should be able to meet your Maker under happier circumstances than whilst visiting the porcelain.

Guidelines for smoothies

Below are the guidelines Han van de Braak BSc LicAc MCSP MBAcC (Retd.) uses for making smoothies. Nothing particularly fancy, just common sense with the objective being improving and maintaining health:

  • We put ingredients into the nutribullet in such a sequence that the smoothie becomes as smooth as it can be (hard veggies or those with lots of fibre invariably make a smoothie bitsy).
  • We offset very bitter vegetables with the sweetness of fruit, be mindful to keep the overall concoction to the bitter end of sweet i.e. keep your smoothie low glycaemic index
  • When we add a significant amount of spices (a heaped tbsp turmeric in VDB’s case) or herbs (dandelion or stinging nettle – doesn’t sting in a smoothie) or use very bitter veg (arugula), we offset this with Nourish milk kefir (to taste e.g. 150-200mL in the 1.6 pint -32oz- nutribullet jug). This is similar to using a cucumber raita with a spicy Indian meal.
  • We never use protein powder (in smoothies or otherwise) nor chocolate powder (Nutribullet provided a sachet of the latter when we bought the machine, it tasted weird if not awful in a vegetable smoothie).
  • At the height of VDB’s auto-immune disease problem we added 1 tbsp of C-Reactive Protein lowering powders each: Organic Sour Cherries 500g (Sussex Wholefoods), Freeze-Dried Cherry Powder 100g (Healthy Supplies), Organic Goji Juice Powder 150g (Sussex Wholefoods).
  • We never use ice in smoothies.
  • We use food rotation i.e. we rarely use the same ingredients in a smoothie two days running, the obvious advantage is that one gets a wider variety of nutrients entering the body.
  • We exercise a sense of humour when it comes to our smoothies… not all qualify for a Michelin star.
  • We do smoothies most days but definitely not all days, we just don’t manage it every day (e.g. fridge content unappealing, or in winter it’s too cold and we’ll have porridge, or we got out of bed too late and need to dash to the avalanche that is working life)
  • We have Juice Plus Premium every day which helps to bridge a gap between what we eat and what our bodies need.
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Way too much rain!!!

Way too much rain!!! Aloeride aloe vera helps to protect your horse from rain and damp.
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It is Valentine’s Day today and the Met Office predicted another ‘terrible day’ of storms. Way too much rain!!! As if we needed any more… The weather’s been horrendous and our heart goes out to all who found their property submerged in rainwater. Many horses had to be rescued and relocated and it is in these circumstances that our telephonists find themselves busy answering queries from owners with horses in trouble. The obvious things to give out with this much precipitation and dampness are coat and hooves. Mud fever, rain scald, itching, hoof rot, brittle hooves and many callers are already doing all they can, yet aren’t getting on top of it. You can’t change the weather, you can’t change the dampness but what you can change and should change is your horse’s ability to stand up to it. Follow the example of Barbour who changed a permeable cotton coat into the trusted Land Rover of weather protection. ‘Wax’ your horse!. Barbour’s waxed-cotton stockman’s coat has kept countrymen dry for decades. That is precisely one of the ways in which Aloeride aloe vera for horses offers HUGE support to your horse. Its resilience to the wet is the fat content and fat quality of its coat. Its resilience to bugs is very broad spectrum nutrition to fuel fighting back effectively. This is what I call Safer By Sebum. This is explained in Coat Health and Natural Coat Shine and if your horse too needs help, then choose which is the best purchase option for you and your horse.