Pumpkins - to carve or to eat… How about both?
We all know how excited kids (including full grown ones) get as we move into the last week of October with the impending fireworks (more on that in our next blog) but first it’s time to plan those dressy up outfits and to decorate your place ahead of Halloween. One of the highlights is getting creative and coming up with a design which we then carve into a pumpkin.
According to history.com this tradition originated in Ireland where large turnips or potatoes were carved to commemorate the folk tradition of “Stingy Jack”, and as Irish communities migrated to the burgeoning United States of America they encountered an alternative harvest in the form of pumpkins - bigger, brighter and easier to carve! Today we see all manner of images from the classic goblin face to iconic horror movie characters and increasingly complex scenes played out under the skin of humble gourds.
All of this is moderately diverting information for those working from home or simply surfing the web, but as we’ve reached paragraph three without mention of pets perhaps now is the point at which we need to explore the relevance of this large squash to our furry companions. As regular readers will know, here at whole we believe in going beyond the obvious and traditional sources to find ingredients which bring something truly special to your pet’s plate (and palate). Pumpkin is no exception - featuring in the Superfood blend in our English Country Duck recipe which has fast become a popular choice since it’s introduction this summer. Let’s look a little further into why, and what this Superfood’s super powers are.
The Superfood for Dogs range features a special blend specific to each product, with ingredients chosen for their complementary benefits in terms of both flavour and nutrition (yes we’re guided first and foremost by what’s best for your dog or cat but like Michelin-starred chefs our team are always looking to find the most mouth-watering combinations of taste and texture at their disposal). In the case of our English Country Duck recipe pumpkin features alongside parsnip (rich in Vitamin B3 which helps utilise energy), beetroot (a source of folic acid and dietary fibre to help the digestive system - see below), orange (with the potent antioxidant Vitamin C to support immune function) and asparagus (which provides iron to support the circulatory system).
Alongside sweet potato the inclusion of pumpkin provides a rich source of Carotenoids (including Lutein) which can help provide protection to the function of skin making this diet a great choice for dogs with sensitive skins (Duck is often chosen as a less likely protein source to cause allergies, sometimes referred to as hypoallergenic although this claim should be read with care in most cases).
Lutein, along with Vitamin A and Zeaxanthin also support healthy eyesight in a similar way to Beta Carotene which again features in this food thanks to sweet potato. Multicentre studies have demonstrated the efficacy of carotenoids in preventing ocular (relating to eyes) conditions including glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration in humans, suggesting the equivalent benefits are almost certain to be observed in pets. Research suggests that this protection occurs as a result of the capacity of these antioxidants to reduce the production of reactive oxygen species (otherwise know as free radicals which can be thought of as hyper excited oxygen atoms which careen around cells in the body causing damage including disruption of DNA) and inhibiting the production of harmful compounds including inflammatory markers which relate to cellular damage1.
The combination of soluble fibre (which can dissolve to form a gel in water) and insoluble fibre (which doesn’t dissolve) in a pet’s diet provides a number of key benefits2, hence our combinations of vegetable and fruit ingredients alongside high quality animal proteins are optimised to keep your pet happy and healthy. Soluble fibres can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels helping to reduce the likelihood of metabolic disease which is showing parallel increases in pet and human populations. Insoluble fibre (often known as “roughage”) helps stabilise gut transit time which may in turn reduce either constipation or diarrhoea, and as per our recent poo post help normalise stool formation which in dogs is essential in maintaining healthy anal glands (and trust us nobody likes having to deal with problems there!).
As you will see our pet food recipes are all grain free and feature a high proportion of animal ingredients which are largely freshly prepared, as we’re all aware dogs and especially cats love the taste of meat and across the ranges we’re confident you’ll find at least one suitable combination to suit your pet. However, healthy pet nutrition goes beyond simply providing plenty of meat and our formulations ensure a significant amount of plant-based goodness also goes into each product. Both the Grain Free for Dogs and Cats ranges include delicious mixes of fruit and vegetable ingredients, and with the Superfood for Dogs brand we have taken this to a peak with the extra special added extras carefully chosen to provide the very best food for dogs we can create. Not only have we combined theoretical knowledge with practical skills in making the products, we’ve tested them on our own and friends’ and family members’ dogs to ensure that lips are smacking and tails wagging when the kibble hits the bowl with that distinctive sound, borne out by customer feedback3.
We really hope you’ll let your furry friend loose on a bag soon - don’t forget we’re so confident they’ll love it that your first purchase is risk free thanks to our money back guarantee. We’ve really seen a difference in Noah and several of his friends, all of whom were fed on premium diets (including both wet and dry brands) from household names before settling on whole.
Have a happy Halloween and here’s to the power of pumpkins to both nourish and entertain!