It’s not easy raising a Paleo dog today, especially when canines are forced to live within the confines of modern society. The struggle is very, very real. And if you’re a part of the Paleo Mafia and own a dog like me, you know exactly what I am talking about.
The other day I was taking my dog Grizzly for a walk. Just a walk, at first, for a warm up. I kind of laughed as I saw other people taking their dogs for a jog. A jog? Steady state cardio? Are you freaking kidding me?
The Type of Exercise Dogs were meant to Do
We all know that dogs were not meant to do low intensity steady state cardio (LISS), or even moderate intensity steady state cardio (MISS). 30,000 years of canine evolution tells us that the common ancestors of dogs and wolves were hardly marathon runners. They would sprint to make a kill and feast on their prey. These short bursts of intense cardio are what dogs were meant for. This is the reason I do things like hill sprints with Grizz instead of jogging.
So as Grizz and I walked to the park to do our sprints, the type of exercise he was meant to do, I just let out a little internal chuckle at the folks jogging with their dogs, but at the same time felt sorry for the sore canines.
I could only imagine the poisonous foods these people are eating and poor lifestyle habits they are leading. Being that they are participating in such unhealthy activities as slow jogging, I assume that their fuel for such activities might include the usual modern toxic substances such as oats, rice, corn, and even worse, wheat. What really gets under my skin, however, is the notion that these same people most-likely mindlessly feed their poor powerless pets commercial dog food with grains. It’s one thing if you would let your own ignorance contribute to the demise of your health and well being, but to do that to your dog is just cruel.
When we arrived at the park for The Workout of Today (TWOT), my senses were quickly aroused by the sight, smells, and sounds of a family barbeque. I have to admit that I got a little hungry being that ol’ Grizz and I were on hour fifteen of a sixteen-hour fast. On the TWOT plan this time was 15 run/walk hill sprint intervals, then a walk back home to feast, just like our ancestors would have done thousands and thousands of years ago. Fast. Sprint. Kill. Feast. That’s the Paleo way. Only that day we left the killing part to Tim over at Tim’s Grassfed Meats.
I took Grizzly over to a slope away from the other park goers. We passed yet another pet and its owner participating in MISS. Once we found our own little spot, I let Grizz off of his leash. “C’mon Grizz!” I yelled as I took off and accelerated up the hill. He chased behind and eventually ran out in front of me, galloping with his ears pressed back against the wind. How exhilarating it was! A fasted cardio high! We walked back down the hill for round two. “Ready Grizz? C’mon boy!” We took off again up the grassy incline in a race toward the shining sun in the distance. After reaching the top we headed down again. I envisioned myself as a homo sapien from the Upper Paleolithic era, and Grizzly as my tamed wolf. I with a spear in my hand, Grizz with snarling teeth, we got ready to attack a wild animal together as our prey. In my all-too-real daydream I lost track of the dog.
When Paleo Dogs Misbehave
“Grizz!” I said sharply. Where did he take off to in a split second? He never runs away from me. I looked back up the hill. “GRRRIIIIIZZZLLLYYY!” I yelled as I looked around. Then I saw him making a beeline toward the people having a barbeque. I sprinted after him. “Grizz!!!” Man, he can run fast!
He ran all the way over to the barbeque party. I could see him sniffing around under the park bench and tables. By the time I caught up to him I noticed he was chewing, scarfing down some sort of something. “Your dog snagged a hotdog dude,” some guy with a beer belly and a Hawaiian shirt said laughing. “He must of been hungry. No big deal bro.”
“What? No big deal? Was it a hotdog, or bun, or both, or what?” I said confused and baffled by the situation.
“Frank, bun, and all, dude. Ha ha,” said Mr. Hawaii.
“What kind of bun? Was it gluten-free? Or sprouted grain, or wheat?”
“Just a regular white bun, man, I don’t…”
“Oh no!” I cried out.
“What’s wrong dude?”
‘Why does this guy keep calling me dude?’ I thought. “You don’t understand ‘dude.’ My dog is Paleo!”
“Your dog’s name is what?”
“No… nevermind. C’mere Grizz!” I put the dog back on his leash and got him out of there. “Bad dog. BAD DOG! No wheat. No GRAINS! No grains Grizz. No grains!”
30,000 years of canine evolution down the toilet in a matter of seconds. I could hardly believe it. It just did not make sense. Why would Grizzly, a canine with a common ancestor to wolves, even think to eat a hotdog bun? It’s so far from his genetic code and heritage, and I know he doesn’t fully understand all of the inflammatory compounds and negative effects of wheat and grains, but I would think that his instincts would steer him clear of such poison. Could it be that the big food corporations put chemicals in their wheat that is not only addicting to humans, but also addicting to dogs?!!! I shook my head in a whirlwind of dismay, disgust, and disbelief.
What do You do when Your Paleo Dog Eats Grains?
When we got home I contemplated what to do next. I thought if it would be wise to continue his fast. The hunter-gatherers of yesterday, and even wolves of today can go for long periods of time without food. Perhaps going another day without food would allow his body to naturally rid itself of the harmful wheat. Then I thought about letting him have a steak. Maybe having some food from his Paleo diet would let his canine body function properly and thus push the wheat out of his body sooner.
Ultimately I decided on a happy medium. I continued Grizzly’s fast about 6 more hours. In that time I took him outside to take a dump. Boy, did it stink. Bad. Total wheat shit. Now that I knew his system had cleared out, it was time to feast on some red meat! And in case you are wondering, yes, I stuck out the fast with Grizz. I didn’t eat until he did. We both thoroughly enjoyed our steaks that night. After that we just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the rest of the evening; just me, my Paleo dog, and my vegan cat.
When I wrote the article “My Vegan Cat” I actually received some responses asking if the article was satire. I’ll give you one guess.
I’ll be the first to admit that I suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome, even when it comes to eating. I’ll do just fine with my diet of mostly healthy foods with the occasional beer (or two, or three) and ice cream, but then I’ll see some sort of diet breakthrough and say, ‘Oooh, I’ll try that.’ In my quest to get ripped I’ve tried all kinds of diets. Honestly, each of them have worked to some degree. Carb cycling leaned me out pretty good. I dabbled into Veganland for a minute, and I actually got really lean with that, but I think I sacrificed some muscle gains and strength gains in the process. I’ve counted calories, counted macros, and all that. A few years ago I heard of this Paleo diet everyone was talking about. SOS set in and I gave it a go.
I bought one of the Paleo books so I could learn all about how to eat like a caveman and learn the research/science behind it. One of the things that struck me about this particular book was all of the footnotes and references in it. WIth all of these citations and stuff, this stuff has got to be true, right? The author of one particular book pointed out that the Harvard Nurses Study of hundreds of thousands of people found that a diet high in fat had no negative effects on health. Wow! What a contrary to the common belief that we need to eat more grains and less fat.
But then I went and read the book by Dr. Willett from Harvard who headed the second round of the nurses study. Turns out that the same study the Paleo or Primal proponents champion for saying fat is okay also says that whole grains have health benefits as well. I guess the Harvard research on grains was bullshit, but the same study’s research on fat was spot on. Go figure.
When the Paleo diet lost its shine, I moved on. I am happy to say that recently I beat SOS. I spend most of the year eating mostly healthy following the 80/20 rule, maybe even 90/10. No need for any fad diets. And I’m not trying to offend my Paleo friends with this article. I’m all for a civilized debate over whether or not the Paleo diet is good or bad. If you would like to debate it with me, stop by my town and I’ll even buy you a beer… oh… wait… beer for me, I’ll buy you an herbal tea.