This Might Be The Quickest ‘recipe’ that will ever grace the pages of our website. It is more of a daily ‘BE WELL’ ritual than anything else, designed to be used as a BOOST to your dog’s and your own health.
Very simply put, after our Bear finishes his breakfast & his dinner I give him 'dessert' in the form of a spoonful of Extra Virgin Olive Oil poured right into his bowl. I have to hold him back with my leg as I pour because he can’t get to it fast enough and as he laps it up I swallow a spoonful of it myself.
Here's what the process looks like at our house...
Girl takes her daily dose of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (forgive the selfie)...
Dog wanders into kitchen after hearing clink of spoon for olive oil...
Dog can't eat enough extra virgin olive oil because he loves it so...
Dog watches Girl take away spoon and looks at spoon longingly wanting more...
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The numerous stories being written about the many benefits of eating a Mediterranean Diet are hard to ignore and we will focus this one on one of its fundamental ingredients; Extra Virgin Olive Oil which has been proven to be a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Why is this a big deal?
Because reducing inflammation in our bodies can help prevent joint pain & chronic illnesses like cancer, stroke, heart disease, reduce the risk of diabetes & possibly prevent dementia related illness. By consuming Extra Virgin Olive Oil on a regular basis, we stand a chance of helping ourselves and our dogs to lead healthier, higher-quality lives.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains a natural anti-inflammatory compound called oleocanthol. Have you ever swallowed an ibuprofen pill and had it stick to the back of your throat? Remember that stinging sensation it left behind? The cause of this stinging is the compound that helps to soothe pain and inflammation in your body. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania (www.monell.org) have determined that the anti-inflammatory compound oleocanthol found in olive oil and the anti-inflammatory agents found in ibuprofen act in a very similar manner; helping to calm inflammation in the body. Thereby small, when we feed ourselves small, regular doses of Extra Virgin Olive Oil we stand a chance of calming inflammation in our two-legged and four-legged bodies as gently and naturally as possible.
The next time you use your Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) in the kitchen, take a little spoonful yourself and swallow. The stronger the sting at the back of your throat, the more anti-oleocanthol inflammatory compounds your olive oil contains. Sometimes the sting happens right away and other times the sting may take a few seconds to arrive. If the sting does not happen at all, your olive oil has lost some anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, ‘No Pain, No Gain’ and if the sting doesn't happen at all use that olive oil for cooking and find another bottle that has some sting in it for therapeutic use. The more practice you have at this and the more testing you do with different brands and varieties you will find favourite brands and varieties.
Not all olive oils will have a stinging property. The best chance of finding an olive oil with a sting is to choose one that is labelled as 'extra virgin', meaning it was harvested using a cold pressing technique. Once heat hits olive oil during its production process, the oil can not be called 'extra virgin' and with the heat the oleocanthol loses some of its punch...and its anti-inflammatory effectiveness. Look for the words ‘Extra Virgin’ on the label as this makes a big difference in how much oleocanthol it contains.
The fresher the oil is & the less exposure it has to light the more likely it is to contain active oleocanthol. If you can find a date of harvest on the label try to choose the most recently pressed batch you can find. In addition, a darker bottle will let in less light so try to select a glass bottle that isn’t clear if that is an option at the market.
If we are what we eat, consuming EVOO should be a daily ritual for the entire family, including those who bark and those who do not bark. In fact, just this morning I woke up with a bit of a scratchy throat. I took a big spoonful of my favourite stinging olive oil and let it work magic...which it did. With regular use and consumption and a bit of great luck our shiny coats, fluid joints and smart, sharp minds will thank us for our devotion to extra virgin well into our senior years.
TIPS for Buying and Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil Therapeutically
- Cook with One and Drizzle with Another:
As mentioned above, once extra virgin olive oil hits a high temperature heat source it looses some of its therapeutic effectiveness. Use one olive oil that may or may not be extra virgin for cooking and save the extra virgin oil that has a sting for finishing and drizzling over your own & the dog's food and for your daily ritual spoonfuls.
- Buy in Dark Bottles:
Exposure to light degrades the quality of the oil so if it is an option, at the store choose a bottle that is darker in color as it will let in less light as the oil sits on the shelf.
- ‘Extra Virgin’:
For the best chance of finding a 'stinging' quality to your olive oil, choose the oil labelled as extra virgin. The cold production process that is required for the oil to be labelled as such preserves the oleocanthol content in the oil.
- Buy organic:
If it is in your budget and available at the store choose a certified Organic olive oil product or one grown & produced as close to certified Organic as possible. It seems rather counterproductive to use oil grown with chemicals & pesticides for the purpose of in filling your body with anti-inflammatory goodness.
- If You Don’t Do It for Yourself, Do It For Your Dog:
The Beauty of Wellness for Dogs is that if you find yourself filled with inspiration to create Wellness in your dog, it might just rub off of you as well. If the dog receives EVOO each day, you might find yourself indulging as well...if not everyday then perhaps a few times a week which may just help you along!