Tag Archives: dogs

Naturally Generous: This Year’s Donation for Little Shelter

I mentioned a few times on here that I donate financially and also handmade jewelry to Little Shelter.  It’s almost time for their annual masquerade ball.  I created this piece especially for this event.

Little Shelter Auction

Click on image to see the full-sized photo.

This necklace is made with sodalite, sterling silver, blue lace agate and Swarovski crystals in an “alexandrite” finish.  These crystals have a little surprise!  They change color depending on the light.

The Masquerade Ball will take place at Water Mill Caterers in Smithtown on Thursday, October 29th from 6 to 11 PM.  Call 631-368-8770 ext. 26 for more information.  Please consider purchasing a ticket to the event or making a donation to Little Shelter.  Check out http://littleshelter.com for more information.

Many Blessings,


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Naturally Regular: The Scoop on Poop

I don’t remember how the conversation about bowel movements started.  It was one holiday or some family event.  I do remember my sister, Denise, arching an eyebrow at me and saying:

“You’re a vegetarian.  You must be like a goose now.”

“I don’t know if I am as loose as goose but I’m good for about a three day.”

“What!  That’s too much.  That’s not normal!” exclaimed another family member, whom I am sure would prefer to have her identity remain private.

“How often do you poop?” I asked.

“Once every five days or so,” she said.

I am not sure if I said anything at the time but that sounded a little constipated to me… Turns out, there is no normal range of exactly how often one should move their bowels.

The major determinate of whether your bowel movements are regular is, well, what comes out.  Guess what?  There is a chart for that!  It’s called the Bristol Stool Chart.  (Go ahead, Google it right now… I’ll wait.)  There are seven types of stools, ranging from Type 1, separate hard lumps, to Type 7, completely fluid.  The normal range is Type 3, resembling a cracked sausage and Type 4, looking like a smooth, soft snake.  So, if your poo is too hard or too soft, you’ve got work to do!

What to do if you are on the low end of the chart:

  • Drink more water.
  • Get more fiber in your diet like fruit, veggies, greens, seeds (like chia and pumpkin seeds!) whole grains and legumes.  (Special shout-out to my dad, Hank Lenz, who is a long-time proponent of psyllium husks!)
  • Eat less meat.  Animal fat is a lot harder to digest and will hang around, putrefying in your bowels until some nice leafy green or grain brushes it through.
  •  Get regular exercise.  Moving your body will make everything work better including your bowels.  Yoga and stretching can be especially effective for helping with digestive issues.
  • Try a probiotic.  Probiotics will help restore the digestive flora in your gut. Gut flora can be compromised by illness, poor nutrition or even medication like an antibiotic.
  • Avoid commercial laxatives if possible.  Chemical laxatives and stool softeners will weaken your peristaltic muscles, making it more difficult for your body to evacuate on its own the longer you use them.
  • Change your position.  Technically, it’s better to squat than sit when moving the bowels.  If you find that you are straining, it’s advisable to get your knees up higher than your waist and lean forward.  You can keep a stool or squatty potty near the toilet for this purpose.  If you are feeling exceptionally limber, go ahead and squat right on the toilet by drawing your knees up and placing your feet on the seat.

What to do if you are on the high end of the chart:

  • Drink water.  Although, it seems counter-intuitive at that moment, it’s important to keep your fluids up especially if you have diarrhea.  You are losing fluids quickly and they must be replaced or you risk becoming dehydrated.
  • Avoid meat and dairy.
  • Follow a BRAT diet if you have diarrhea until your condition improves.  BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
  • Charcoal capsules can also be used for diarrhea to absorb toxins and excess fluid.
  • Rest! Diarrhea maybe a symptom of food poisoning or infection.  So, it is important give your body time to heal itself.  (You’re probably not going to want to stray too far from the bathroom anyway!)
  • Eat pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!!!) Pumpkin flesh is great for diarrhea because it contains electrolytes, potassium and soluble dietary fiber.  (By the way pumpkin is also excellent to give your canine buddy if he or she has diarrhea.)
  • Diarrhea can also be the body’s last-ditch effort to deal with constipation, by liquifying the contents of your colon in a “blazing lights and siren” emergency sort of way.  So, if you find you tend to get diarrhea after a bout of constipation, take a look at the first set of suggestions above.

Make sure that if you are on either extreme of the chart for an extended period of time, you get examined by a qualified healthcare professional.  Diarrhea and constipation can be indicators of a serious illness and should not be ignored.  Diarrhea can cause dehydration.  Prolonged constipation can lead to fecal impaction.  Contact your health care provider if you notice blood or abnormal colors in your stool.   Similarly, if your stool has an unusually foul odor, you also want to get that checked out.

Do be sure to give your excrement at least a once-over before you flush!  It’s an excellent indication of what is going on with your health in general.

Many blessings to all,



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Naturally Fit and Kind: Walk ‘dem Puppies!

You know, I am hard-pressed to think of another activity that has more benefits than walking dogs. Yet, I haven’t had the best track record for doing it.

Chauncy and I walked twice a day, every day, back when we lived in my apartment. It was necessary. My yard was small and not fenced well enough that I was comfortable leaving him alone in it. When I moved in with family after Hurricane Sandy (and had to stay after the accident) I tried to keep up our walks for a while, now joined by my parents’ Bichon Frise, Lucy. I had to stop while I was healing. Since my folks have a fenced-in yard; the daily necessity wasn’t there. Other excuses like time, my long commute to work, snow and having the energy, also came up regularly.

Lucy and Chauncy do both love their walks! They actually cry and shake with happy excitement when the leashes come out after a long stretch without a constitutional. I would try to at least get them out on weekends but I knew it wasn’t enough. Then when I noticed that picking them was like hefting two big sacks of potatoes, I knew I needed to make sure they got more exercise. Quite frankly, I knew I needed to get more exercise!

Discipline, once more, has gotten me to arrange my schedule and organize my time in order to get them out every morning like clockwork. We’ve been at it for just over a week. Let me tell you, it may take humans up to 60 some odd days to form a new habit but it takes dogs less than five! As soon as I am done meditating, I now have two sets of dark eyes boring into me, imploring me to get my sneakers on faster.

Do you have a dog? If you don’t already do it; I would strongly encourage you to walk him, her or them daily. They will be fitter and healthier. You will be fitter and healthier. They will appreciate the opportunity to have a life outside your property. You will feel great about taking such good care of your furry kids. Atop of all that, there is something really wonderful about an early morning walk. It’s quiet and peaceful. You feel more attuned to nature. It’s an excellent opportunity to clear your mind or maybe count your blessings… starting with pets who give so much but ask for so little!

When was the last time you took a stroll with your pooch? Do you think you might try a daily walk? Please let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you!

Chauncy and Lucy at the ready!

Chauncy and Lucy at the ready!

Many blessings to all,



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Naturally Beneficial: Behold The Mighty Dandelion!

Today, winter turns into spring but it’s snowing… So, it seems like a good time for you and me to discuss dandelions. That’s right, dandelions. Before you decide to kill them again this year, I implore you, let them live. Let them live!

I don’t know who convinced the American public- at-large that we all need lawns that look like pristine, lush, green carpets – probably some brilliant but evil marketing genius at a chemical company – but that person should have been sho- ahem, given a stern talking-to!

Anyway, however it happened, it’s a damn shame because the dandelion, and other so-called weeds with wonderful health-benefitting properties, went from friend to foe in the space of a generation, when all they ever wanted to do was heal us and the rest of the planet. That’s right! Those lovely, little yellow flowers are really nature’s medicine. Dandelions are meant to nourish us and many other species.

The bees, for example, rely on dandelions for food in the spring before many other flowers are blooming and again in the autumn, after less hearty blossoms have long been spent. Much has been made recently about the declining bee populations and the dire consequences that stem from their loss. You can help the little buggers out by leaving the dandelions alone! I mentioned in an earlier post that you may have noticed your dog or cat eating dandelions. They do this because instinctively they know that dandelions will clean them out and improve their health. Dandelions are a mild diuretic and they are high in vitamins and minerals. *

Guess what? Dandelions will help get you healthy and clean you out too! I can hear you now. “Oh Cynthia! You’re being weird again! There is no way I am picking dandelions from my yard and eating them!” Well, you don’t have to eat them straight from the yard. Bring them in the house and wash them first for Goodness’ Sake!

Early spring dandelion leaves are quite tender and delicious in a raw salad. I have also put them in smoothies. A lovely herbal tea can be made from fresh or dried dandelion leaves. Wildman Steve Brill has several interesting cooked dandelion root recipes on his website. You can even make the flowers into wine! (I gotta try that… one of these days!)

Have I convinced you not to poison or rip out and discard this misunderstood herb yet? Are you impressed by all the health-improving benefits offered by the mighty dandelion? If you still feel weird about picking these beautifully abundant plants, you can always go to Fairway and pay several dollars for a bunch instead of allowing them to grow in your own backyard!

What’s your take on dandelions? Friend or foe? Leave a comment and let me know!


*A somewhat decent but by no means complete list of dandelion’s beneficial properties:

  1. Food for animals and insects
  2. Diuretic
  3. Eases indigestion

Good source of:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Biotin
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorous
  • Inositol
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D

Love and Blessings to All,




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Naturally Generous: Giving in a Handmade Way to a Worthy Cause

One of the things I’m proudest about, that I started doing while I owned Chickyrhumba, is donating the jewelry I make to worthy causes to be auctioned off at their fundraising events. Although, I no longer sell my jewelry; I do still make it when time allows; and I still donate it as well. One of the places I donate to is Little Shelter in Huntington, NY.

Little Shelter is a wonderful no-kill, non-profit, animal rescue and adoption center. I am donating the Sterling Silver and Rhodonite Necklace and Earrings Set, pictured below, to be auctioned off at Little Shelter’s 7th Annual Masquerade Ball at Watermill Caterers in Smithtown. Please check out Little Shelter’s website, www.littleshelter.com, to learn more about what they do. There are so many ways you can help the animals there through donating time, money, food and other needed pet items.

Rhodonite NecklaceRhodonite Earrings

heart box

heart box in bag


My donation to Little Shelter for their Masquerade Ball

Gift box 2

Love and Blessings to All,




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Natural Pets: Eat Your Veggies Fido!

I couldn’t figure out why the tomatoes kept disappearing right as they were ready to be picked. No one in my family would admit to taking them. Then one day I was standing at the kitchen sink, looking out the window and I saw Quincy, our faithful mutt, throwing his body against the pots. As he knocked the ripe tomatoes down, he would gobble them up as soon as they hit the ground.

You’re not a carnivore and neither is your dog. There I said it. I can just imagine all the immediate protests that statement might instigate. “Polite: you are mistaken my dog is a carnivore.” Outrage: “Are you out of your $#@%^^& mind, Woman!”

It’s true though. My Dad LOVES read meat. He considers himself a carnivore. I suspect he knows that he is really an omnivore but he won’t admit it. If my mom let him, he would have red meat at every meal. (You should see what the guy orders on pizza! You can’t even see the cheese.) If I had my way he would be an herbivore. Alas, Dad is an omnivore and so is his bichon frise, Lucy.

Lucy loves veggies so much that she will sit on the floor by my feet while I am cutting them and whine for me to throw her a treat. Her favorite is the stems from kale. (My dog Chauncy enjoys these as well.) The best way to get her to eat her whole dinner is to include steamed veggies in the mix. One of their other faves is cut up pieces of the stalk from broccoli.

Why do some many people believe dogs are carnivores then? Some of the obvious reasons would be that dogs have long, sharp teeth that would seem ideal for ripping flesh and hunting. They are also closely associated with wolves, who many would agree are carnivores but there have been arguments made that wolves are omnivorous as well. Although, physically they are built as carnivores, dogs appear to have adapted over thousands of years of hanging with humans and are now suited to a more varied diet. Dogs are capable of metabolizing carbohydrates.

Dogs may have always been a bit instinctually omnivorous anyway. Have you ever noticed your dog eating grass and dandelions in your backyard? They are not being weird. They are smart. Dogs know what humans have forgotten. Many weeds are natural cleansers for the body. Dandelions are especially wonderful because not only do they act as a diuretic, clearing the body of waste, they are also rich in many vitamins and minerals. (More on that in a future post.)

Dogs, like humans, benefit from a varied diet including fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. (There is some debate about whether or not dogs should eat grains. There is also debate over whether humans should either. It’s beyond the scope of this blog but it is worth investigating on your own if you choose.) Some vegans believe that dogs (and cats) can maintain good health and feed their pets meatless meals and supplements. Personally, I am not comfortable omitting meat from my dog’s diet. He seems to thrive on well-balanced diet of meat, raw & steamed veggies and some grains.

Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores. Although, they do eat grass to cleanse their systems like dogs do, they are biologically built for meat consumption. They have sharp teeth and nails, short digestive tracks, heavy-duty acids to break down raw meat. A vegetarian or vegan diet contains no taurine, an essential amino acid for cats but one they cannot produce on their own. Although, it is possible to supplement a cat’s diet to include taurine and other essentials that would be absent in a vegan diet, I do not think this would be the NATURAL choice for a cat. I respect nature… thus the name of my blog.

Does your dog eat his or her veggies? Let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you!

Love and Blessings to All,




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