Mashing Up An All Natural Food Supplement For Dogs

While I was washing my dog Trixie with the Shampoo Bar for Dogs, by the Southampton Soap Company, I realized that I needed to get on my own soapbox and share with you a recipe for an all natural food supplement that I developed for my dog Trixie. "What are we feeding our four-legged friends? Shouldn't the same amount of concern to our own health and nourishment be given to our furry family members?"

In March of 2008, my husband Chris and I adopted our dog Trixie from a high-kill shelter in Kentucky. Rescuers and volunteers from states as far away as New Jersey were working together to save these animals. Trixie was placed on a flatbed truck with a group of other lucky dogs and transported to their foster families in hopes to find a forever home. It was a rainy Saturday, March 8th to be exact, and I remember the drive from New York City to Atco, New Jersey where Trixie was being cared for. I grew up with: cats, dogs, birds, fish and even snakes, but it never occurred to me the responsibility we were about to undertake. The closer we got to our destination the more I thought about becoming a parent to this furry fellow; I guess this is how someone would feel when adopting a child. The list of concerning items were rambling off in my head, particularly “What should we be feeding her?”

Left: Rainy Saturday, March 8th, 2008 we adopted Trixie. Middle: Driving back to New York City. Right: First time at the dog run and first family photo

As we pulled up to the house the barking was most alarming. Chris said, “I hope that is not Pixie [now Trixie as we renamed her] howling on the top of her lungs.” When we walked into the home there was a family meeting their new dog for the first time, and three dogs in the backyard who were insistently barking. As I looked more closely across the room into the kitchen area, I finally saw Trixie, who was wiggling and yelping her way out of the crate to meet us. Thankfully, Trixie was not the barker, but she was and still is the jumper; any opportunity to give you a sloppy kiss she will. Before we drove back to New York City, I was given a bag of low-grade kibble that was being fed to Trixie (foster families do the best they can to provide shelter and food for animal rescues so this is not a judgment on their heroic and thankful efforts) and it was noted that we should find a better diet for her.

Since then, with a little bit of trial and error, Trixie’s diet has evolved. My formula has been to use organic, pasture-raised, all natural products whenever possible, just as I would do for myself. In fact, one thing a veterinarian and a nutritionist would agree on is a balanced and wholesome diet that is not filled with chemicals and words you cannot pronounce.

For the first few years, Trixie had bouts of gastroenteritis; an irritation of the stomach and intestines, usually resulting in diarrhea and vomiting. For us folks who live in New York City we are required to pick up our dogs poop; a law that I feel is a blessing in disguise, to closely analyze how our dogs are feeling.

Depending on who is walking Trixie the conversation between my husband and I go like this, “Chris, how did Trixie’s poop look?” “Perfect”, says Chris. When you become dog parents, it all comes down to analyzing dog poop.

I don’t know about you but Trixie inhales her food. I said to myself, “If she is swallowing un-chewed food I am sure she is not getting the proper health benefits, which is causing havoc in her digestive system." Three years ago, I started to experiment; making a vegetarian based puree, called DOGMASH™ for optimal nutrient absorption. This is not a meal replacement but a supplement that is added to Trixie's food; her digestive tract has improved considerably, not to mention a shiny coat.

All natural wholesome foods contribute to a healthy life for us humans and for our four-legged friends. Next time you are shopping for dog food, take a look at the ingredients; if you cannot pronounce half the words you may want to leave it on the shelf.

The recipe below is one of a few DOGMASH lines I am developing. Here is a list of dog friendly foods for you to experiment with. 

Green DOGMASH

ingredients

  1. 1 bunch of organic parsley, roughly chopped

  2. ½ cup of Bob’s Red Mill organic brown flaxseed meal

  3. 3 large organic carrots, chopped in chunks

  4. 1 large head of organic broccoli, chopped in chunks and fibrous stalks peeled.

  5. 1 organic apple cored, chopped in chunks with skin

directions

  1. In a food processor or blender place the parsley, flaxseed meal, apple and broccoli stalks. Pulse until the consistency is smooth and green.

  2. In a medium pot steam the broccoli heads and carrots until just tender. Do not over steam.

  3. Let the steamed carrots and broccoli cool for 5 minutes; then place with the green mixture and pulse until it is puréed.

    note: If the mash looks dry add some of the steamed water; 1 tablespoon at a time. The consistency should look slightly wet.

  4. Yields 4–6 cups. Refrigerate for up to 5 days and freeze for future use; up to 1 month.

    note: I mix 1 heaping tablespoon of DOGMASH™ with Trixie’s food in the morning and once again at night.

 

Southampton Soap Company's Sudsy Craft

Deborah Lukasik and Chris O'Shaughnessy, owners of the Southampton Soap Company

"All soaps are not created equal. Do you know what is in yours?" This is Southampton Soap Company's philosophy and I think they are onto something.

Nowadays many businesses actively initiate a move towards greater sustainability. Food and beverage are an integral part of this equation, described as: local, organic, GMO-free, pasture-raised, naturally grown, biodynamic and farm-to-table to name a few. These terms are an indelible imprint on my mind, a personal checklist when purchasing and consuming edible products. But when it comes to skin care (I have to admit) my checklist is not as robust.

You are what you eat, but what about what you put on your body? Considering that the skin is the largest organ, and greatest protector of our being, shouldn't we be nourishing our skin with the same amount of care as we do when ingesting food and beverages?

12 years ago, Deborah Lukasik, co-owner of the Southampton Soap Company did just that, she began making soap for herself due to skin sensitivities—learning this craft from two very good friends who live and make soap in Florida. Her need to make soap became a passionate hobby, giving them as gifts during the holidays.

In 2010, Deborah organized —at her now soap studio in Southampton—an Artisan Market during the holidays where 25 local artists would sell handcrafted gifts. "The idea was to buy local and handmade gifts that have soul", says Deborah. While she was selling her soap a friend asked, "Why don't you sell your soap all the time?" When Deborah mentioned this to her husband Chris, he recalled a story his father shared him when he was a child. "My mother worked at a beach club in Long Beach, New York and became friendly with the chairman of the board. He had invited my mother and father to his house and in the foyer at the bottom of this grand spiral staircase was a giant taxidermy polar bear. My father said, 'All he does is make soap, you should make soap Chris.' "

If a major corporate soap company can do it — so can they. 

In 2012, Deborah and Chris heeded this wise advice and together they officially launched Southampton Soap Company. For the past two years the couple has been boosting people's spirits with their all natural artisanal soaps that are made in small kettle batches. Their soaps are 100% vegetable-based, scented with essential oils, adorned with herbs and botanicals and then cut by hand. They also use local and organic additives whenever possible.

"The history of artisanal soap has been a guarded craft", says Chris, who is a carpenter by trade and the technical / scientific craftsman behind their handcrafted molds and recipe calculations. According to Deborah, making soap is part science, part art, part sensual and part ritual. "Working with my husband has been magical, we compliment each other so well", says Deborah, who is the creative genius behind her sudsy craft. "I love to make jam, which is similar to making soap; a soothing process, an ancient ritual of stirring the kettle."

Chris' handcrafted soap molds.

Soap ready to be cut.

The couple has three children and their youngest Griffin who is nine years old helps stuff the soap sachets for their gift sets. He showed me his stuffing technique but that is top-secret. Southampton Soap Company creates gifts for weddings, corporate events and for his and her. For the gentlemen an Old School Smooth Shave Kit that comes with brown windsor clay soap in a reusable mug and a brush. For the ladies a Soap Gift Set  with hand picked shells, driftwood and sea glass from the Southampton beaches and for everyone a Relaxation Gift Set of mineral salts, soaps, a loofah, beeswax filled glass votive candle and a hand dyed silk lavender eye pillow. Deborah emphasized her love for making custom natural soaps for the home or business. Her process is very similar to the way I would approach a branding challenge for a client; researching the obvious and obscure: concept, color, texture, functionality, and senses.

Sachet that Griffin Stuffs with soap. Soap Bars: Top - Calendula, Middle - Seaside Spa, Bottom - Oatmeal Almond

Deborah, Chris and their Son Griffin looking for sea glass for their gift sets.

Sea and beach items that Deborah hand collects for her gift sets.

"When the mood strikes we make soap", says Deborah. Sometimes finding the time happens in the middle of the night. They call this "Midnight Kettles", I would like to call it "Midnight Magic" as their soaps have nourished and healed individuals suffering with acne, psoriasis and eczema. 

I tried my hand at making felted soap that I found to be therapeutic; a long and respected process wrapped with sheep's wool. The end product is a textured, easy to handle slip resistant soap that acts as an exfoliating scrub for the skin.

Deborah demonstrating how to make felted soap.

Felted Soap with Sheep's Wool

And don't our dogs deserve the best? Our four-legged friends were not forgotten. They created a Shampoo Bar for Dogs that come in wilderness, herbal and citrus; all of which contains essential oils such as neem to help keep pests at bay. My dog Trixie stayed in the tub the entire time — which is rare — and I lathered her up with the wilderness blend. Double bonus: her coat is soft and so are my hands. 

Shampoo Bar for DogsL Wilderness, Herbal and Citrus Blend

My dog Trixie getting a bath with the Southampton Soap Company's, Shampoo Bar for Dogs - Wilderness Blend

Their soap blends are a treat for the senses; luxurious as a spoonful of Spy Coast Bee Farm's honey and as aromatic as Koppert Cress' Shiso Green Cress. If I can eat their soap I would. And I am happy to say my skin care checklist is now synonymous with my sustainable food and beverage cohorts.

Southampton Soap Company Soap Blends

"Being a part of someone’s daily wellness routine and creating a product that I know is renewing their spirit from the day is exciting", says Deborah. "Once you see how different you feel you want to feel like that again and again." 

Southampton Soap Company has been developing a new skin care line that will be announced very soon. You can inquire about their all natural soaps by calling their Southampton office at at: 631.259.3898 or email: southamptonsoaps@gmail.com 

Visit: www.southamptonsoapcompany.com.  Interested in buying soap visit here.