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  #1  
Old May 25th, 2006, 12:52 AM
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Raw food for pets - BARF diet

Those of you who feed RAW, tell us everything you know about it, how to go about it, how to prepare, store and whatever else may need to be done to the food in order to serve it to our dogs!! Where to buy it, what to look for and whatever else you can think of we may need to know! I'm sure I'll have dumb questions even after all your info is here!

This is my new thread about RAW so my other thread about cheaper dog food(http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=26579) didn't get hijacked with all this new info!!

I, myself, don't like touching raw meat because it just grosses me out , but if it's good for my babies, then I'll do it for them! I'm not a big meat eater either, so my knowledge of meat preparation and storage etc. is minimal - ok so are my overall cooking skills but hey, that's what take out is for!!!!! LOL

Let the lesson begin!!!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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there is so much to tell, yet so little! All i can say is that, after doing it for over two years now and knowing plenty of other folks who do, too - man, is it ever eeeeaaaasyyyy. all that hoopla about bacteria and veggie mush and storage and mess? it's just that: hoopla!
i started out with the BARF model and not only was it time-consuming, it gave my boy the runs: it was too complicated. He unfortunately was one of the 5% or so of dogs who just does not like raw food, so he's been on kibble for 6 months now and you know what? his coat is crappy, his teeth are yellow, and when the summer rush is over he is going back on raw whether he likes it or not.
So, i have now adopted (loosely!) the prey-model diet, my 7-mth old girl loves it and in fact i cannot get her to eat a fruit or a veggie no matter what i do to it, LOL! she just looks at me like but moooom, i'm a carnivore!
Storage: a little chest-freezer, and a plastic bin in the fridge for the defrosted stuff. i clean it every couple od days when i think about it. no big deal, no human food touches it.
Buying meats: i found a couple of butchers who have good prices on staples like beef heart, organ meats, ground beef, & goat. Green tripe i buy from holistic petstore. I check the weekly sales flyers for good deals on turkey, chicken and pork. Eggs are always cheap and i stock up on canned fish at the dollar store. My dogs rarely like raw fish, so i've stopped buying it. I also add plain yogurt, cottage cheese, olive oil, canned dog food, etc to the diet. And because i believe variety is the key to a healthy diet, my girl often gets a frozen whole-wheat bagel or slice of bread to snack on, sometimes with peanut-butter or cream cheese. Both dogs looove this oh and a couple times per week they get plate leftovers like pasta, soup, meat bits, cheese etc mixed in their dinners.
some dogs like their meats lightly seared, or room temp, or semi-frozen, or completely frozen. The warmer the weather, the colder they like their food. really up to you to experiment in what your dog likes, it's really fun too.
And for those who think all this is time-consuming... Once per month, it takes me 30 mins for a round-trip to the butcher's, and another 2 minutes to dump everything in the freezer. About 4 times/ week, before going to bed, i pull out stuff and let defrost in a big bowl on the counter overnight. Breakfast = select a piece of meat/ meaty bone, drop in dog's bowl, put bowl down, store the rest in the plastic bin in the fridge, wash hands.
OK i'm sure you have questions, i don't have time right now to write a book, LOL - ask away!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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I just started raw a little while ago, so I'm still lerning. I've read about 8 books and 20 websites on it, but I stil have sooo much to learn. I'm pretty similar to technodoll, except that Layla adores fish, so I include raw fish in the diet, most of the time you can find this pretty cheap from a fish monger, but a month or so out of th year, prices do rise, so stock up when there are sales! (having a deep freeze is an asset!) I also give Layla veggies, but that is because she looooooovves them! zthey are by no means a major source of calories, more of somethig to chew on.
Layla doesn't do that well on chicken beef or pork (what is interesting, is that commercial dog fod with these meat in it gives her a HORRIBLE allergic reaction, where as these meats when served raw, only give her a minor reaction) So I stick to fish, lamb, duck, rabbit, venison and of course eggs. These are deffinately more expensive meats than chicken pork and beef, but it is still cheaper than kibble. (I get my food from a couple of butchers and mongers depending on the meat). I don't grind my bones, 99% of the time, bones don't need to be ground, only if your dog has certain medical conditions.
I keep a small rubbermaid container in my freezer with the portioned meat/fish in it. Then I have another one in my fridge, set up so that there are two of the same size stacked up (no lids). The inside container has small holes punched in it so that if the defrsoting meat leaks any liquids, they fall into the second container and the meat isn't sitting in a pile of liquid. This makes it a little easier to deal with.
I don't eat a lot of meat either, so I really only work with Layla's meat. So long as you keep your counters, fridge and freezer, dishes and hands clean, you shouldn't have to worry about pathogens.
While I was researching, I found this product http://www.bravorawdiet.com/ which is prepackaged raw. I see no need to use it because Raw is so easy. But if you're really squeamish about the meat, it might be an idea.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:00 AM
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Everything they said! Oh and check out ethnic grocery stores and China town for variety and good prices. Variety is key, don't get stuck in a rut of feeding the same thing all the time. Green tripe is an excellent source of nutrition and it is cheap cheap cheap. I get my green tripe from http://www.poshnosh.ca as I do my harder to find meat/bones/carcasses like bison, venison, quail, pheasant etc. I like to use white vinegar in a psray bottle to clean, it is all natural, inexpensive and kills everything. I also feed more of a prey model style, in that I tend to feed carcasses w/meat and organs and not really many veggies etc. Although the dogs do get treats and food from the table all the time.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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very interesting thread!

How do you keep your dogs from dragging their food everywhere? The minute I give Buster a bone, he runs away with it...I can't imagine what he would if I gave him a whole carcass

Also, do you clean your dogs face after he eats, so he doesn't kiss you with his bacteria tongue? (sorry if these are stupid questions...)
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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you can feed your dog in his crate, or designate a "feeding area" with a mat, for example, some feed outside and some feed in the kitchen, up to you to show your dog where he is allowed to eat

and no, i do not wash my dog,s face after she eats, her mouth takes care of any bacteria... she's free to kiss me anytime and nobody has ever gotten sick. (don't you know... dogs love to lick their privates, their dirty feet, the floor etc when you'Re not looking and then they come and kiss you? THAT is worse, LOL)
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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I have a bunch of old towels that I throw down and the boys are used to having to stay on them now. Of course they still try to make a quick get away once in a while, but I catch them and put them back. They rarely try anymore. I don't wash their faces after, butI don't get too close after either - especially after tripe!!! heehee..I'm not worried about their bacteria kisses.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technodoll
(don't you know... dogs love to lick their privates, their dirty feet, the floor etc when you'Re not looking and then they come and kiss you? THAT is worse, LOL)
LOL!!!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:20 AM
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Not stupid at all Meb! Funny you should ask about the dragging the food around, as just a few days ago, I started a thread on that one. (Eating on my carpet). Layla would take mouthfulls of food over to my carpet and eat it there Technodoll made a great suggestion that solved the prob entirely: go buy a couple of those carpeted door entrance mats (the big ones), put her bowl next to it, and it has become her area to eat the food. I have a couple so that I can rotate (one is in use, one is being washed/dried, one is clean).

I've only ever had to wash layla's face when she first started out, and she would get juice all over her. I usually give her paws a good wipe after, but we usually go for a walk shortly after, and she goes for a swim and cleans herself off.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
don't wash their faces after, butI don't get too close after either - especially after tripe!!! heehee..
oh my gosh!!! OK yes, that is the one exception!! after eating tripe: stay. away. from. me!!! why does it have to smell so bad, LOL!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:33 AM
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http://www.greentripe.com/yvettegottripehappydogs.jpg
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:40 AM
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ROTFLMAO!! oh my gosh where did you get that?
booooooaaaaaaaaaahahhahaha!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:48 AM
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ok, a few questions:
1)How do I know how much to feed each dog - so I know they are full, but not being over fed??
2)Do you think they will be happy being fed RAW once a day and then maybe having kibble down for later in the day?? Because of my work schedule, I can only feed RAW in the morning/early afternoon time(I can't count on anyone else to feed them RAW). I work afternoon shift and don't get home until midnight and they usually like to stay in bed or just cuddle when it's that late. They never eat that late!!
3)What about rice? Do you feed them rice?? What kind of rice??
4)You really don't cook the meat?? I don't think they will be to particular on their food temperatures IMO, but i won't know until i try it!
5)So I can go to the grocery store, buy a bag of chicken thighs or legs and they can eat them the way they are???? Except of course, I'd rinse them well first! Even the bones too right - as long as they are NOT cooked??
6)Can they eat RAW liver??? I thought I heard it had to be cooked, but i don't remember the reason why.
7)Do I have to worry about supplements for them??

Ok that's it for now!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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1)How do I know how much to feed each dog - so I know they are full, but not being over fed??
Dogs will eat about 1.5-2% of their body weight in raw food per day. some eat more, some eat less, depends on metabolism, age, activity level, etc. After a few weeks of raw feeding, if your dog looks thin: feed more, if he looks fat: feed less.

2)Do you think they will be happy being fed RAW once a day and then maybe having kibble down for later in the day?? Because of my work schedule, I can only feed RAW in the morning/early afternoon time(I can't count on anyone else to feed them RAW). I work afternoon shift and don't get home until midnight and they usually like to stay in bed or just cuddle when it's that late. They never eat that late!!
Any raw is better than no raw at all, so yes this would work. just don't feed both at the same time or you will have gaaaaas to deal with, LOL!

3)What about rice? Do you feed them rice?? What kind of rice??
sure, if you want. any kind of rice. some raw-feeders add grains, some don't... the beauty of this diet is it's all up to YOU what to feed your dog, and you know exactly the quality & quantity going down the hatch.

4)You really don't cook the meat?? I don't think they will be to particular on their food temperatures IMO, but i won't know until i try it!
a raw diet is just that... completely raw. some dogs don't know what a raw hunk of meat is, so you might have to LIGHTLY sear it to get the juices flowing, then wean off this practice when doggy knows what to do with that chicken leg or pork butt.

5)So I can go to the grocery store, buy a bag of chicken thighs or legs and they can eat them the way they are???? Except of course, I'd rinse them well first! Even the bones too right - as long as they are NOT cooked??
exactly, yes. JUST like that. perhaps at first trim off most of the fat (too much can cause loose stools), eventually when doggy has nice solid small odorless stools, you can increase the fatty parts. it all depends on the dog!

6)Can they eat RAW liver??? I thought I heard it had to be cooked, but i don't remember the reason why.
absolutely. that is the better way to feed organ meats. however mine haaaaaate raw liver & kidneys, so i have to bake them half-way, sigh. even frozen they hate the texture. but some dogs go crazy for it.

7)Do I have to worry about supplements for them??
not really. i add a daily Esther-C and Vit E as well as Fish Oil capsule, sometimes kelp & alfalfa, but many raw-feeder's don't add a thing.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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for everyone who switch to raw from kibble : How long was the 'detox' period? I've heard it can be up to like 8 months I don't know that I could deal with 8 months of diarhea?!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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with my boy (aka mister fragile-gut), he often had diarhhea and mucousy stools, NOW i know it was all MY fault for not feeding him correctly from the beginning (too much variety too soon, too many veggies, too many supplements, etc). with my girl, from day 1 we switched her cold-turkey from cheap kibble to prey-model raw and not ONE single soft poop. no gas. perfection all the way
so know your dog's gut (iron stomach, fragile, or somewhere in between), forget BARF and go for prey-model raw, go slloooowwwwly and everything will be fine!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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HAHAHA!! That is soooo funny!
Marie Eve, When I switched Vegas around 2 1/2 yrs ago now he had a detox period because, like technodoll, I rushed into too much variety too fast. With all my other dogs (Monty, Olive, Dudley) they switched cold turkey with zero detox! No runny poop at all. They were pros from the start. Actually Uncle Monty started himself on raw, lol. I left him home alone one day with a bag of lamb bones thawing in the sink (I thought they were safe there...so naive!). I came home and he had eaten them all. Lol, he was still my foster dog at this point but I think that's when we decided he was staying with us.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 01:29 PM
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I have a few questions!

My GSD is 70lbs, so she would eat about 1.4lbs of food. Is this just raw meat, or does the 1.4lbs include veggies and whatever else we throw in there? Does it also include the bones that they wont beable to eat? (thigh bones etc)

When we go on vacation is it OK to feed kibble for that time? It would be very tough to feed a raw diet at someone elses house or in the car!!!

Im sure I will think up more question s shortly!!!

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Old May 25th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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My GSD is 70lbs, so she would eat about 1.4lbs of food. Is this just raw meat, or does the 1.4lbs include veggies and whatever else we throw in there? Does it also include the bones that they wont beable to eat? (thigh bones etc)
the 1.4 lbs you calculated (round it up to 1.5!) includes *everything*, as long as you remember that a proper prey model diet is:
-10 to 15% bones
-60% meat
-10% organs
-the rest is "other stuff" ie fish, eggs, grains & dairy if you choose to feed that, table scraps, etc

and a GSD is more than capable of eating all the bones in chicken, duck, rabbit, quail, cornish hen, etc - what you want to watch out for are the weight-bearing bones of large ungulates, as well as thick pork leg bones. too hard to break & they can actually chip teeth, so supervise if given to the dog as a chew-toy. Many dogs power through a whole turkey but my big boy has trouble with the wing & leg bones, he breaks them into chunks and swallows whole, they come out of his butt in a mess sooooo i don't offer those to him. he has no problems with the neck, back & ribcage bones though.

btw, bones that don't get broken down into paste in the strong digestive stomach juices (it happens sometimes) usually come up the next day, we call them the "urka gurkas", very efficient digestive system those dogs have!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technodoll
the 1.4 lbs you calculated (round it up to 1.5!) includes *everything*, as long as you remember that a proper prey model diet is:
-10 to 15% bones
-60% meat
-10% organs
-the rest is "other stuff" ie fish, eggs, grains & dairy if you choose to feed that, table scraps, etc
Just to add to that: To make it easier, from my understanding you don't have to feed that percentage at every meal, you just have to ensure that overall, that's what they are eating. You could even break those percentages over a week (for your dog, about 10 lbs a week, so 1 to 1.5 lbs of bone, 6 lbs of meat, 1 lb of organ, whatever...) it's not an exact science. Technodoll, am I right? (this is not my area of expertise...)
I probably should move in that direction. I have 130 lbs of dog to feed though, that's a lot of freezer space. Right now I do about 1 in every 3 meals is raw. I stock up on chicken backs and when legs go on for less than 69 cents! Once in a while our farmers market people have lamb rib cages which are big favorites around here. But my guys won't eat raw organ meat either. Weird!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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yes phoenix, you are right except that i would caution with special-case dogs (pregnant or lactating bitches, dogs with a medical condition, etc) one should seek professional advice from the raw-feeding forum or a holistic vet. also for growing puppies, i would feed a little bone every day for regular calcium intake, but for the rest, variety over time will make a complete diet. who ever invented this "every meal needs to be complete and balanced" crap? oh yeah... the petfood companies, LOL!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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Thanks! I have always wanted to feed raw but I felt like I didn't know enough about it.

Couple more questions! Where is the best places to buy these meats and parts, and organs! and how much in general does it cost? I find grocery stores quite expensive. I have 3 dogs but the other 2 are really small so they wouldnt be a problem. ah yes, and I live in Calgary and do have an extra deep freezer that we dont use!

Last question for now, is there any good, easy to read and understand books on raw diets? I like to know everyting possible before I start something new. Im a research maniac!!!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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http://lepusreg.tripod.com/NRS.html
There's a reading list at the top of this page. And if you scroll down you can find farmers that are "raw friendly" as well as some premade raw companies (but those can get pricey and I'm not a fan of premade. Although I love http://www.poshnosh.ca because they are not premixed, they sell big chunks of meat and carcasses, their prices are not too bad and their stuff is always super fresh) The "BARF" forum on http://www.boxerworld.com is very very helpful (even if you don't have a boxer!) and it's not strictly "BARF" method.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 03:32 PM
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everything you need, in one place....

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rawfeeding/

do join, it's 4000+ members with a wealth of experience!!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 03:56 PM
SarahLynn123 SarahLynn123 is offline
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Thanks! Theres a place right down the road from where I live!!!!

I talked to my boyfriend and it looks like we may give the raw diet a try!

Im getting all excited! I heard that it is cheaper then feeding kibble to! If thats the case, that would be great as we are on a tight budget.

Thanks for the info!

Sarah
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Old May 25th, 2006, 04:13 PM
SarahLynn123 SarahLynn123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technodoll
everything you need, in one place....

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rawfeeding/

do join, it's 4000+ members with a wealth of experience!!

I signed up, but how long does it take to get approval to join?

Thanks
Sarah
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Old May 25th, 2006, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahLynn123
When we go on vacation is it OK to feed kibble for that time? It would be very tough to feed a raw diet at someone elses house or in the car!!!
Very good question that I'm interested in seeing someone answer. I can't feed RAW now, until I move into a house that has space for a decent size freezer.

If I decide to do it, I have to take into account that there are two weeks a year that without fail Harley has to be boarded at her vet's. If I fed raw all year round, what would happen for those two weeks? Will kennels feed RAW? Somehow I doubt it, where would they have the space? Do you have to basically detox your dog back on to kibble, leading to these boarding times?

Harley is super-sensitive to food changes, as my carpet can attest to (may it rest in peace!).
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  #28  
Old May 25th, 2006, 07:18 PM
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BoxerRescueMTL BoxerRescueMTL is offline
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I signed up, but how long does it take to get approval to join?Thanks
Sarah
You should have approval within 24hrs, sometimes quicker.
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  #29  
Old May 25th, 2006, 07:43 PM
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technodoll technodoll is offline
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ok so you feed raw, but you're going on vacation and doggy has to be boarded... a simple solution is to purchase a freeze-dried raw diet for these occasions (such as http://www.naturesvariety.com/conten...F596Pvp149EA32) and voila, problem solved.

when we travel with the pooches, we fill a cooler with frozen meat chunks and pack with ice, and when we get to our destination it all goes in the fridge or freezer. takes a while to thaw, and we supplement with canned fish, pasta, we buy local meats... where there is a will, there is a way
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  #30  
Old May 25th, 2006, 09:44 PM
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This is a GREAT thread....
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