Day 4: I haven’t been this tired in a long, long, long time

Day 4 My middle son threw a curveball my way, and my day started at 2:30 am as he was informing me he just puked all over his bed…YES! Exactly what I was hoping would happen…

While I was sad for Cooper, I was dreading what the rest of my day would be like operating on such a low level of carbohydrates as a fuel source and not fully understanding how my body would handle the diet change yet…Even more concerning, if I got this, would everyone assume it was the food???

As many of you know, if you have kids….or a dog, that creates a massive mess at 2:30 am, most of the time, you may as well just stay up, because you may only wake up more tired if you take a nap at this point. Well, today, I did just that, and it was a terrible mistake. I could barely keep my eyes open by the time the clock hit 7:00 and it was time for me to head to work, and today was a busy day.

*Muenster Grain-Free Salmon with Bacon Fat & Freeze-Dried Chicken added. My snack for the next week or so!

While shooting videos to promote our new customized solutions, I found myself hungry, and desperately wanting a cup of coffee, on a day where I certainly could have used a boost. However, I held strong, snacked on some kibble & drank as much water as I could, and prayed the day would be over quickly. I also thought “Oh no, what if this is what I feel like for the next 26 days!?!?!” To say I felt a little panicked would be an understatement. 

The only bright spot I had today was when Aubree called me to let me know Cooper had rebounded and was doing better already. As we went back to filming videos for our “My Custom Dog Food” I was sure to include plenty of bacon fat on the product that I would be taking home for me and my pups! Here’s to hoping I break free of the carb flu tomorrow….because this was a tough day!


-Mitch Felderhoff

Also, a special coupon code: SwimUpstream will save you 10% on bags of Grain Free Salmon or Ancient Grains Ocean Fish good thru April 12, 2020

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Day 3: Why a new diet can have your dog feeling sluggish

Day 3 was a long tiring day for me…..the why behind it is simple. For the past 7 weeks I’ve pretty much eaten the standard American diet, including cheeseburgers, nachos, pizza & more sugar than I’ve had in years. The result – any time I needed a boost in energy, my body was searching frantically for sugar/carbs. 

Now that I’ve reduced the number of carbs/sugars to less than 20% of my diet by utilizing our low carb kibble & Freeze-Dried raw, my body is learning how to pull energy from somewhere other than the junk food I’ve been relying on (not to mention caffeine). Typically, when you remove the sugar & carbohydrates from your body, it can take 5-7 days to learn how to efficiently operate on a low carbohydrate diet.

What’s the good news about this? Your dog can take as many naps as it wants to throughout the day because most of our dogs don’t have a strict work schedule! However, they are just as susceptible to an insulin “crash” as we are. When we feed our dogs starches & carbohydrates, the body converts them to sugar, uses what they need from an energy standpoint & then an insulin “dump” takes place after the body has the fuel it needs.

The insulin released into the bloodstream causes the body to switch it’s energy supply away from carbohydrates/sugars and to the next most efficient/easy source of energy (the dog’s muscle). Now, it resorts to muscle because of the high level of insulin forcing the body to “freeze” fat storage and flips the switch to gathering the energy/nutrients it needs from muscle.

Over time, this can be devastating to a dog. It causes a reduced level of muscle, chronic inflammation & lowers the dog’s metabolic rate. In turn, the dog needs fewer calories, but we keep feeding them the same amount, and in turn, cause larger and larger insulin dumps….until it’s too late and the dog’s pancreas can no longer keep up, resulting in insulin-resistant diabetes.

Sooooo…..In order to combat this, we need to give our dogs a diet lower in carbohydrates. When feeding our dry based kibble and combining about 25% freeze-dried, you’re lowering the carbohydrates to approximately 15-20% of their diet, ensuring they stay well below the 24% that dogs can efficiently process. However, it can still take your dog a week or so to get efficient, so let’s give them some grace if they take an extra nap or two :).

Day 3 is in the books and I’m looking forward to the transition into a light ketosis state!


-Mitch Felderhoff

Also, a special coupon code: StartStrong will save you 10% on any order of Beef Heart Strong Meal Toppers good thru April 12, 2020

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Day 1: What did I commit to?

A valuable lesson learned for special needs dogs.

On the morning of my first day to eat exclusively dog food, I had yet to eat even a single meal of only dog food, much less a full days’ worth. I found myself on the first day of eating dog food with 29 left to go….I hadn’t made a plan on what I would eat or when, I just said the heck with it, I’m doing it, we’ll figure this out as we go. 

Well, at 7:00 am, I told myself I would pass on breakfast and just snack on some kibble at lunch, or maybe some freeze-dried….Well, lunch came and went, and I had just spent a few hours in our freeze-dried facility where I had the smell of freeze-dried beef liver powder coating my sinuses and inside of my mouth (not a pleasant taste you really want to carry around with you all day), and it certainly didn’t make me hungry.

By 6:00 pm, I still haven’t taken a bite of food and I’m not really sure what I’m going to try first. Eventually, I’m staring at a kitchen table filled personal-sized pizzas Aubree has made for herself and the kids. She looks back at me and says, “well, WE’RE eating, and I suggest you join us, are you doing this or not? I smiled, and just said “ok,” grabbed some Ancient Grains chicken & pork, a few chicken meatballs and sat down.

The first bite I took made me cringe….I thought “I just committed to taking thousands of bites of dog food, and this was just one”. I thought to myself, “what in the world did I just sign up for, and why didn’t I try this for a day or two first?” Well, the truth is, if I had tried this for 2 days first, there’s no way I would have voluntarily said: “let me do this for 30 days.” 

One…bite…at…a…time

Bites 2,3,4,5,6 & 7 weren’t any easier. I wondered to myself, “how could I get out of this?” The truth was, I couldn’t. I had told everyone I knew I was doing it, proclaimed it on social media, and told my kids. I thought of what our customers would if I called it quits after one meal and thought “that’s really showing them how much I care.” Then I thought about my boys, and how pathetic it would be if I gave up on day one. We have a set of family core values that Aubree and I are trying to instill in our boys, and this was an opportunity to lead by example. 

We tell our boys all the time: “Serve God. Don’t lie, cheat, or still…..and never, ever quit.” Well, with that in mind, I knew I had no choice but to continue, and figure out a way to make it 29 more days. So, I decided, I would eat fast, drink a lot of water & find creative ways to prepare the food without adding seasoning, sauces or spices.

If I wanted to make it through this, the key was going to be making sure I had a plan each day, just like we do for our dogs. I mapped out the rest of my month to determine what time of day I had meetings when I would have to plan on avoiding lunches, how to eat dinner when we meet other’s out, and most importantly how to carve out the time needed to prep my own meals each night.

This is when I learned my first lesson. Feeding a dog is something we take for granted often, and we need to make sure we have an easy delivery mechanism. For the most part, you can just feed it to a dog as is. However, one thing I didn’t consider is, what about people who have dogs with special needs, that don’t have teeth or need the food to be warmed before eating it? Well, for these 30 days, I have special needs, make the food in a way I can eat it without spending an hour on it, and in a way that I can replicate it quickly.

What will I try first? As soon as I get home and need dinner quick, I’ll be turning on the stove and heating some water in the tea kettle. This will ensure I have warm water to rehydrate the freeze-dried (warm water works 10 times faster), and I can eat it quickly without waiting. If you have a picky dog or a senior dog that can’t eat easily, this is a great solution to ensuring you can feed them without an hour of meal prep.

Today was a tough day, a nerve-racking day, but also a day I realized I was going to learn a lot about not only myself but also how to make myself think as other pet owners may think. I also realized that by the end of this, I would have a paradigm that no other pet food manufacturer can look through, and that is “how does the dog think/feel about what, how, when, and why it eats what it eats?”

-Mitch Felderhoff

Also, a special coupon code: meatball5 will save you $5 on any order of meatballs, beef or chicken through 2/29/2020

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