DIY Vegan Dog Food Part Two


Hi Again,

This is the second part of my friend Lotte’s letter to me on making my own vegan dog food for my sweet little pup, Pippa. Here’s Pippa with gravel on the nose from our trip to the beach. Pippa is a huge veggie lover!

A funny side note: Pippa will bark at me for snap peas and beg for carrots. She loves red cabbage and English cucumbers. What’s funny is that a friend had bought her a raw bone when he was watching her and she would have nothing to do with it. That’s my girl! 

Pippa with gravel nose

I plan to start making food for Pippa. Dogs, like humans, can also get Cancer and tumor growth and I’d like for Pippa to live the best life possible and hopefully avoid that!

Hi Nina,

This is going to be a long recipe, and I will have to finish it tomorrow. I want you to understand the background because it will save you some of the trials and errors we went through.

We have been making dog food for Ruby now for the last 8 out of her 10 years. We started her on kibble, and we decided early on that she needed to eat three smaller meals instead of one or two bigger ones. RR have a tendency to get a turned stomach, so you don’t want to overfeed dry food which expand in the stomach – a very painful way to die that killed our family German Shepard dog Jaco.

Still both of us thought it was weird to feed your dog the same food 3 times a day- cereal for breakfast, cereal for lunch and cereal for dinner, and the same cereal. It was convenient – no question about it – but 100% processed and devoid of natural enzymes and vitamins.

The first step in introducing live and raw foods was when Brian bought raw meat patties at the local dog food store. For some reason we thought you have to buy her food at a pet store. It was really expensive too. She absolutely hated it. It smelled weird and chemical. Who knows what was in it. She would leave it sitting on the plate for hours and really struggled to eat it. After a few weeks we gave up on that.

Then my friend Garth came by one day and gave me some dog food he had made for his dog to keep the dog from having seizures. It had raw turkey meat, oatmeal, canned tuna, ground flax seed, veggies. Ruby really loved the sample, so then we started making her food with a combination of raw beef and raw turkey, boiled eggs, potatoes, green peas, green beans, zucchini, olive oil, sweet potatoes and rice –and gradually weaned her off the kibble. We did this for quite a while but as we went vegetarian we had a bit of an issue with the meat in the recipe although she kept eating meat a while after we stopped.

The first thing we cut out was the beef. We substituted with grain and more beans. We did this for some months. Then we cut the turkey and we substituted the rice for quinoa which has more protein and seemed to work better for Ruby. Then we cut the tuna and finally we cut the eggs, and Nothing Bad Happened!

I admit I was worried as we have been told that it is tantamount to dog abuse not to feed your dog meat – and mostly meat- and raw at that. When you think about it, it is really quite nuts. Dogs have adapted to human diets and meat was a real luxury in most cultures and still is. I think it is unlikely you would feed your dog meat when you could eat it yourself on those rare occasions if at all. People used to feed their dogs table scraps and dogs used to live to 16 -19 years of age. My guess is that dogs mostly ate vegan food scraps and maybe some raw bones.


It has been 7-8 years of continually altering and modifying her foods as we learn how to feed her by observation. At some point we added turmeric to control the fatty tumors which are prevalent in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. We also cut the processed junk food treats to limit her exposure to additives which we believe causes fatty tumors as the body tries to encapsulate the chemicals it cant expel in fat.   When she started to get too skinny, we cut the rice and added quinoa, and that seem to make the difference so that she is now a healthy weight, but this was just one of several adjustments. I think the key is to observe and find out how much you need to feed your dog based on maintaining a healthy weight, sparkle in eyes, clean ears, clean teeth, lots of energy, joy. We take Ruby to the vet and they think they are looking at a dog half her age and she is almost 10 years old.   Ruby has had one teeth cleaning at 8 years old, when she had to have a tooth extracted because she probably broke it on a bone. Her gums are pink and healthy and her teeth are white. Her breath is great and she smells very clean despite the fact that she hates to be washed so we only wash her once every couple of years.

Where we are today is this:

We take out two frozen foods of prepared food every day, of the size I gave you. We feed her one of them for breakfast. Then we make a bowl of oatmeal for ourselves with some left over and we feed her half oatmeal and half of the second bowl for lunch and dinner with the second bowl of food.

In addition we now give her vegan kibble as snack during the day . We also give her a peanut bone or a meat bone every day. I use the marrow bones that do not splinter. I boil the meat bones after she finish them, fill them with peanut butter and freeze them. I give her frozen meat or peanut bones and she loves it. (She prefers the meat bones J.)

We add rice milk, soy milk or potato/veggie cooking water to her drinking water and she will not drink any water unless I add that.

Your dog is half Ruby’s size, so you could probably get away with one to one and a half container of the size I gave you. (I gave you this container so it would be easier to explain the amount J).

So I felt I had to explain this to you so you know how we got to where we are today. I think that the key to good vegan nutrition is:

Organic vegetables and grains

Some raw and some cooked

Some mashed and some chunky

Great variety – hit all the bases

Add supplements like flax, turmeric etc.

Observe and adjust

Mix it up. No one want to eat the same thing 3 times a day.

Feed 3 smaller meals instead of 1 big meal. (dogs love to eat-spread out the love)

Feed healthy food scraps as a snack or part of the meal–it adds variety to the diet

Forget about the “people foods for people only”. People food is dog food.

Tomorrow, the most recent recipe.


Again, a HUGE Thank You to Lotte for sharing!

DIY Vegan Dog Food


Hi There Dog Lovers, 

My awesome vegan Danish friend Lotte has so graciously shared her vegan dog food recipe with me and all of you! Plus extra tips and a bit of story that, if you’re a dog lover will most certainly appreciate! Here’s a photo of Lotte and her sweet dog/child, Ruby from this winter!


Here’s what Lotte wrote and shared with me:

Hi Nina,

OK so a little time again to finish the recipe saga for you.

We typically shop at Trader Joe’s for best deals on organic produce for Ruby and we make food for an entire months- so approximately 60-65 of the glass sizes I gave you, plus we got a small freezer just for her food.  I expect that number one, you would need to only make 30 –40 for a month supply for Pippa because she is quite a bit smaller. Ruby is 70 pounds.  I also expect you don’t have as much room to store her food or all the containers you would need, so I will give you the recipe for what I would think is the smallest amount you would want to make at a time.

We don’t add salt to Ruby’s food. We buy all organic and get everything at Trader Joe except the oatmeal, dried beans and lentils, the flax and the turmeric which we buy at PCC.

The starches:

One  5 pound bag of TJ organic potatoes – cooked and diced (we don’t peel) – save cooking  water (See tip #1)

One 5 pound bag or TJ sweet potatoes – Cooked and diced (We don’t peel) – save cooking water

One bag of TJ Quinoa – use potato/sweet potato cooking water to cook

1 – 2 cups brown rice – optional but economical– use potato/sweet potato cooking water to cook

4 cups of dry oatmeal – use potato/sweet potato cooking water to cook (See tip #2)

5-6 cans of beans or similar amount soaked and boiled beans. – mashed (See tip #3) (we use combination of kidney and black beans)

1 cup Red lentils –optional –  cooked and blended/or mashed

The veggies:

One bag of green peas – defrosted and mashed

One bag of frozen green beans- lightly cooked and cut into smaller pieces

3-4 zucchini- raw and grated in food processor

1 bag of broccoli florets (the tips) – lightly steamed and chopped.

Juicing pulp- if you juice. – optional (see tip #4)

The supplements:

3/4 cup of flax seed – freshly ground up – for omega 3 (we use Vitamix for grinding)

1/4 cup turmeric (we use because it should help against fatty tumors and potential inflammation conditions.


#1 We found that Ruby loves to drink the cooking water from potatoes and sweet potatoes, so we either mix it into her drinking water or we use it when we cook the rice, oatmeal or quinoa. This way we don’t lose the vitamins etc. that boiled out into the water.

#2 We found oatmeal really easily digestible for Ruby and it sits well with her.  It has a lot of protein. To save space in the freezer, we make the base food without the oatmeal, and then we cook up about a 1/2 cup dried oatmeal a day and mix it into the de-frosted food. (we cook oatmeal for ourselves so we just make extra) . Oatmeal is also a very economical ingredient and I think a really good way to introduce whole foods to a dogs diet when you first start out. You could simply start by giving Pippa a bowl of oatmeal each day- possibly adding flax to it.

#3 Ruby can not break down the skin of the beans and lentils so they come out whole unless we pre-mash the. You could blend them too.

#4 I try to juice carrots right before we make Ruby’s food so I can save the pulp by mixing it into her food. Dogs can not break down these harder veggies – but they can digest pulp and will benefit from the fiber and vitamins left in that.  If you juice regularly, leave the pulp out of her frozen food and add some of it to her food whenever you juice so it is ultimately fresh and nutritious.

OK this is it finally. Let me know how it goes. Remember to transition her unto this food over a period of at least a couple of weeks so her body develops the necessary enzymes to digest it.

Take care,


***Also See Part Two of Lotte’s Letter!


Here’s a link of the containers that Lotte freezes Ruby’s food in:

Thank you so very much, Kære Lotte! You Rock! 

Vegalicious Vegetable Soup


Hello Veggie Lovers,

It has been a while, but I’m back again with new inspiration, stories and recipes!

Lani's Soup 2

Yesterday, I taught a fun class on Plant-based cooking for an audience of 12 at my favorite health food store. I’d been asked to make “comfort food”, so I made “Pete’s Shepherd Pie” (link to recipe is at the bottom of this) and also Lani Muelrath’s “Simple Vegetable Soup” – the template for this is in Lani’s awesome new book, The Plant-Based Journey on page 114 along with so many other delicious recipes. Plus I also made a vegan chocolate mousse. I asked Lani’s permission to share my version of this recipe with you all and she said yes! Thank you, Lani!

The group I taught was 11 non-vegans to one vegan and I wish I’d had extra copies of Lani’s book with me because it is full of excellent advice & tips for how to transition to a plant-based diet! The Plant-based Journey has been recommended by many top-notch doctors and once you read it you’ll understand why!

One participant commented, “The soup was “Da Bomb!” They all loved it! Enjoy, it’s still a bit chilly out!

Here’s the recipe:

Lani’s Simple Vegetable Soup Template

Adopted from Lani Muelrath’s book, The Plant-Based Journey



3 – 5 large root vegetables (ex. carrots, potatoes)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped (red gives more flavor)
1 large bunch dark leafy greens (ex. kale, chard, spinach)
½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms (dried shiitakes for stronger flavor)
1 cup lentils, soaked overnight or precooked to minimum time
2 containers of Organic Vegetable Broth (32 oz. each)
Vegetable bouillon, miso paste, salt, or other soup seasoning and spices to taste.
Adding fresh and finely cut Rosemary gives it extra flavor.



  1. Precook lentils.
  2. Coarsely chop the root vegetables.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth into a large pot and heat. Then add the root vegetables and cook for about 10-12 minutes. Check the potatoes with a fork. You do not want them mushy.
  4. Add the seasoning spices, pre-cooked lentils, shiitake mushrooms and the dark leafy greens. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve.
Yield: 4 – 6 Servings.


Enjoy Pete’s Shepherd Pie too:

Alcoholism vs. Meat Eating


Hello Vegalicious Ones and Happy Halloween,

How does alcoholism and being a meat eater relate? Well, I have been mulling this idea over for a couple of weeks now and this morning, at 5 am after feeding the dog and cat, I just couldn’t go back to bed because of this post…so here are my thoughts on the topic. This is a post that I will be returning to work on because I’m sure I’ll get more insights over the next few days and weeks.


How many times have you heard a meat eater say, “I just could not go vegetarian or vegan because I love “my meat”? vs. the alcoholic who says, “I can’t give up drinking because it relaxes me after work, makes me feel __________ “(fill in the blank) or whatever. If you’re a vegan reading this, you’ve more than likely heard this excuse quite a few times.

man eating turkey drinking beer

The meat-eating addict typically asks, “What’s wrong with eating meat?” vs. the alcoholic saying, “What’s wrong with drinking? Everyone does it! I don’t drink that much. I only drink occasionally…”Ahem! Yea right, you show up red nosed and smelling like alcohol to your VIP job one too many times…and now you’ve lost your job once again, but you complain and tell others that it’s “Their fault …because they are losers!” You also complain that your friends and family are not there for you when you call and beg for money, which would be akin to dumping money into a black hole! Meat eaters say things very similar, like “I don’t eat that much meat or I only eat chicken!” Meanwhile, 56 BILLION farmed animals are killed each year by humans. Tell me again, how you’re not eating that much meat and not addicted, please!

Alcoholics get very defensive about their drinking habits, but so does meat eaters about their eating habits and calf suckling habits. During this cold season, woe those of you who try to say something to a sick coworker…even if it is with the best of intent…and you tell that person to stay away from yogurt or drinking cows milk because it is known to worsen congestion and encourages mucus/phlegm production. Well, you might just be in for someone’s full-on rageful outburst! (I’m speaking from experience, so don’t go there…It’s not worth it! Let them suffer and keep your mouth shut! Mine flew open…in one instance… but trust me, I wish I hadn’t! I wanted to help, but it was taken the wrong way.) Then you come to realize as with the alcoholic friend(s) that…

Young Alcoholics

…you can’t save them! Alcoholics have to reach rock bottom before they want to change. No one can make an alcoholic stop drinking! That’s a fact! I have one friend who is a recovering alcoholic and we’ve had long conversations about another friend with a serious problem. The advice he gave me was to eventually walk away from my friend, which I’ve sadly had to do. Abusive behavior, whether in my personal life or at work, will not be tolerated…especially when you’re just trying to help someone get better! However, they do not see it as such! They see it as an attack! And when you think about it, meat eaters react the same exact way! I truly believe that most meat eaters have to reach their first heart attack, get cancer or develop diabetes before they start looking for other answers and realize that there’s plenty of other delicious, healthier options to eat and drink out there!

AA Meeting

Vegans talk about getting their blinders removed to the truth about factory farming, animal abuse/rights, and meat consumption. Alcoholics talk about similar things, like the photo above so beautifully illustrates – wearing a bag over one’s head and being ruled by alcohol before reaching “rock bottom” and knowing that they must change before they literally kill themselves. Meat eaters, on the other hand, are ruled by flesh-eating and often combine it with alcohol!

One has to ask oneself, “Can I go a day without eating meat? A day without drinking alcohol?” How about two days? If the answer is “No” then there’s definitely addiction going on!

steak eater

One day, I realized what a terrible, gross and absurd thing eating meat was…to eat someone else’s flesh! YUCK! Stop and think about that for a moment!…….You’re not a meat-eating zombie nor a cannibal, right!? Let’s hope not! Yea, I know zombies don’t exist, but one can imagine…and besides, we were not designed for it. Nor were we designed to smoke cigarettes nor drink enormous amounts of alcohol. Common sense would tell you that it is bad for your health…and with so much information out there on the dangers of it – one would assume that most people would “get it”!

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared that hot dogs, bacon, and processed meats are carcinogenic! But will that stop most people from eating it? I seriously doubt it because addiction, whether it is to alcohol or meat, will rule until the individual encounters such a life-altering blow that leaves them with no other options than to stop!

Not alcoholics

What excuses have you heard? What excuses, for still consuming animal products or drinking alcohol, do you have? Are you ready to change that or do you have to reach rock bottom or encounter the words by a physician such as, “You have to stop now or you will end up dead!” This has been told both to a friends mother and to another close friend of mine. One because of diet and the other due to alcoholism! What will it take for you or a loved one to change?

Chained to alchol...or meat?
              Chained to alcohol…or meat?

Further Links to check out:

Hot Dogs, Bacon, and other Processed Meats Cause Cancer…
Meat and Dairy Eaters Anonymous Is Alcoholics Anonymous For Vegans, World Health Organization Declares

Recommendation: The Plant-Based Journey


My friend, author and speaker, Lani Muelrath has a new book out called, “The Plant-Based Journey”…and I’d highly recommend it. This is a really comprehensive book for anyone, no matter where you are on your plant-based journey, whether you are a “newbie” to a whole foods plant-based diet or someone who has been on the path for many years. The advice in this book is sound, practical and thorough, going from “Making the Plant-Based Connection” in the “Awakening” stage all the way to the “Rock Star” and “Champion” stages, where you are already well on the path. Lani guides you through each stage in a practical step by step way that makes making the transition from a “Scout” to a “Champion” easy and accessible. In the book, Lani has included “Reader Tips” from people who have been on this journey for a while…I am one of those people! (You can find me on page 88 in the book!) The book also includes the importance of being fit and exercising, as well as how changing ones mind and thoughts can help one succeed and thrive for a life-time of health and happiness. Lani also gives tips for how to deal with traveling and going to family gatherings – especially dealing with the “food pushers” that we all encounter from time to time.

Lani's Book I

Lani was also on CBS TV recently, giving advice on “Five Ways to Plantify Your Plate”. You can watch the segment right here:

I love how Lani makes eating a whole foods plant-based diet so easy, accessible and fun! Seriously, going plant-based vegan will not only save you money and time, but also you’ll be healthier and happier, so order your copy today and I would suggest ordering an extra copy or two to give away as gifts for a birthday or for the upcoming holidays! I cannot think of a better gift to give someone you love and care about! This is a GREAT book…I LOVE it! Enjoy!!!

Potato, Onion, Leek Soup


Happy September Friends,

It’s been a while! I hope you and everyone around you are doing well! I’ve been working my tail off at work with all 720 0r 730 students…I’m still trying to comprehend the numbers and the students are still coming and going! I have also started my fall Food for Life Cooking classes for Cancer Prevention and Survival. Today, I was supposed to go on a walk for Farm animals in Seattle with my vegan friends, but I’ve caught “a bug” at the school where I teach and felt it best if I stayed home. I’d be lying if I told you I never caught a cold on a whole foods plant-based vegan diet. After all, I am human and happen to work in a “petri dish of germs” – with younger students ranging from five years old to 11. However, my immune system is functioning way better and I’m able to fight off these minor colds in a shorter period of time than in the past, when I wasn’t on this diet! So instead, I stayed home and made this soup that is not only very simple and easy to make, but delicious!

Potato Leek Soup I

Easy Cold Buster Soup by Nina


12 red potatoes cut into chunks

2 Leeks

1 medium size sweet onion diced

6 or more garlic cloves chopped finely

1 32 oz. carton of Vegetable Broth (or make your own)

2 TBSP 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s

Salt and Pepper to taste

Potato Leek CU


  1. Wash potatoes and leeks. Cut the potatoes into chunks and add to Instant Pot (if you have one or else use a medium pot to boil them in). If you do own an Instant pot, then chop up the garlic and onion and add as well. Add some of the washed leeks as well, chop into smaller pieces, and then finally add the 21 Seasoning Salute. Add half a cup of the Vegetable broth.

  2. Cook on Manual for four minutes in Instant Pot or else cook the potatoes first, then mash in after cooking in a regular pot, adding the garlic, onion and spices. Potato Leek Soup

  3. Steam the leaks. Do not overcook these!                                               Leeks

  4. Heat up the rest of the broth and add about half of the water that you used to steam the leaks with. Add leaks, mashed potatoes, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil and you are done. This simple, yet delicious “cold buster soup” is ready! Salt and Pepper to taste.

This whole meal took about 20 minutes at the most to make. It’s very easy, especially if you’re feeling “off”. I have already had two servings of it, but there is plenty more. This would also be a nice soup to have before any other meal and it serves at least four people!

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

If you make it, please let me know what you think of it!

Myths and Misconceptions about Plant-Based Diets


Good morning and Happy Saturday, Vegalicious Ones!

The following article is written by Shauna Schultz, RD. I’ve gotten her permission to share it with you all. Next week, I’m working as a substitute for Shauna as she is moving to California – so I will be speaking and doing a cooking demo promoting a plant-based diet!



Plant-based diets are gaining momentum and for good reason: they’re easy on the environment, kind to animals and help prevent and manage chronic disease. According to the most recent Harris Interactive survey through the Vegetarian Resource Group, 5% (16 million) Americans are vegetarian, with half identifying as vegan. This number has nearly doubled since their last poll in 2009, and 33% state they are eating vegetarian and vegan meals more often. However, even with the increase in plant-based diets and meals, myths still persist over nutritional adequacy (or inadequacy). Below are five common concerns and how you can meet your needs through whole, plant-based foods.

How do you get enough protein?

Gone are the days of protein combining to make “complete” proteins. Eating adequately with a variety of protein-rich plant foods throughout the day will ensure you meet your needs. Protein is abundant in plant foods and most people are surprised to learn they are getting much more protein than required (a 150 pound person needs 61 grams/day). This is equivalent to one cup cooked oatmeal, one cup soymilk, one cup lentils, three ounces tempeh and two tablespoons peanut butter. Include at least three servings of legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy, peanuts) as part of your daily protein intake to ensure adequate lysine.

Surely you aren’t getting enough calcium!

Dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. In fact, plants provide plenty of calcium and promote good bone health overall. Plant-based milks provide a convenient 300 mg or more per cup and plenty of whole foods provide calcium as well. You’ll find 179 mg in one cup cooked kale, 111 mg in two tablespoons almond butter, 88 mg in one tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, 126 mg in one cup navy beans and 200-400 mg in four ounces of calcium-set tofu.

Don’t you worry about iron?

Iron deficiency isn’t more common among vegans and vegetarians than non-vegetarians. However, the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended intake almost two times higher for vegetarians and vegans because the iron in plant foods isn’t as readily absorbed. Don’t let this deter you though–iron is easily found in plants and consuming vitamin C-rich foods at the same time can enhance absorption by up to four times! Sprouting and fermenting also increase bioavailability. Excellent sources of iron include: pumpkin seeds (5.2 mg per ¼ cup); chickpeas (4.7 mg per one cup); blackstrap molasses (3.6 mg per one tablespoon); and iron-fortified cereal can have up to 18 mg per serving.

What about heart healthy Omega-3s?

Adequate intake is easy with concentrated sources of Omega- 3s like chia seeds (four grams per two tablespoons), ground flaxseeds (3.2 grams per two tablespoons), hempseeds (1.7g per two tablespoons) and walnuts (2.6 grams per ¼ cup). Add them to smoothies, cereals, muffins or salads. Vegan supplements with DHA and EPA are also available.

Plant-based eating is too expensive!

Any type of eating plan can be expensive! Pound for pound, plant proteins are far less expensive than animal protein and provide more nutrient-density. Beyond protein, there are many ways to save money, such as buying foods that are local and in-season, meal planning and cooking at home, buying in bulk (dry beans, grains, oats), reducing the use of convenience and processed foods and growing your own food.

Shauna Schultz is a registered dietitian and owner of Catch Your Veggies, where she currently offers nutrition counseling, consulting and plant-based cooking classes. She can be reached at

Thank you, Shauna and Happy Moving!