HOLISTIC LIVING FOR PETS AND PEOPLE
A Holistic lifestyle
animal kingdom depends entirely for its existence on the plant
kingdom. Animals need to consume plants for sustenance. Even carnivorous
animals depend on plants by eating animals which have eaten plants.
The evolution of the animal kingdom reflects the evolutionary
changes in the plant kingdom. As plants became more complex so
the animal kingdom developed. The most highly developed animal
is man. Man has the most sophisticated nervous system and is the
most adaptable species on earth and is capable of surviving in
the widest habitat of any creature.
The macrobiotic view is that this
has come about because man evolved through eating the most complex
plants, namely whole cereal grains. Eating cereals plus the ability
to cook have given man the pre-eminent position at the top of
the evolutionary tree. As recently as a few hundred years ago,
man relied on a diet based on whole cereals and vegetables with
meat and other foods forming only a minor part of the human diet.
In the West, the change to a diet
based on meat, dairy foods and refined foods high in sugar has
taken place as recently as the Second World War.
Our affluent Western society has
largely overcome the problem of infectious disease. This is due
as much to improved public health measures as the role of medicine
in developing vaccines and antibiotics. Similarly, our pets rarely
die of infectious disease (unlike farm animals which suffer epidemics
due to poor hygiene and overcrowding).
But although we have largely seen
off infectious disease, our hospitals and mental health clinics
are swamped, veterinary clinics are busier than ever and our society
is fragmented and ill-at-ease. We have replaced the problem of
infectious disease with that of degenerative disease.
Many people believe that a return
to a more holistic, inclusive lifestyle offers a solution to many
of the ills of modern society. To begin that process we have to
define and understand what we mean by the word “holistic”
which has become one of the most used (and abused) terms in present
“Holistic Medicine” is
defined as “a system which treats the whole person physically
and psychologically, rather than simply treating the individual
While this may seem self-evidently
desirable, that is not how modern medicine is structured or practised.
We have experts who specialise in the different organ systems
e.g. specialists for skin, kidneys, gastro-intestinal system and
so on. Veterinary Diets extend that process into nutrition tailored
to specific ailments.
My view is that nutrition is fundamental
to the practice of Holistic Medicine. Correct diet underpins all
therapies, whether conventional or complementary and may even
make them unnecessary. Some companies market additives or supplements
which they describe as “holistic” but a holistic lifestyle
involves much more than correcting a deficiency or providing a
It is beyond the scope of this section
to set out a comprehensive prescription for a holistic lifestyle
but it does seem sensible that if we try to provide a holistic
life for our pets we would wish to do the same for ourselves.
Common pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health Management