Gingerbread cookies for dogs and humans.

4 Dog-Friendly Holiday Recipes That Humans Can Eat, Too

These dog-friendly holiday recipes for Turkey Stew, Cranberry-Apple Crisp, Sweet Potato Casserole and Gingerbread Cookies are something humans can eat, too.

Samantha Meyers  |  Dec 17th 2017


The holidays are a time for friends, family and food. We can think of no better way to get into the spirit of the season than by making these dog-friendly holiday recipes. that humans can eat, too.

Dog-Friendly Turkey Stew Recipe

Create a Holiday Meal for Dogs and Humans

Thick, hearty, and packed with vegetables, this warm and versatile winter stew is a dish that will quickly become a tradition for you and your dog. Use up your holiday leftovers with this great recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds cooked turkey meat, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 1⁄2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 pound white or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 sprigs each, rosemary and thyme, leaves removed from the stem
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen green beans

Don’t have one of the veggies listed? No problem! You can use any dog-friendly veggie you have in your fridge.

Directions

  1. Put potatoes, carrots, squash, and herbs in a large pot and cover with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  2. Add frozen peas, green beans, and chopped turkey and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool and thicken before serving to your dog. For humans, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dog-Friendly Cranberry-Apple Crisp Recipe

Cranberry-apple crisp for dogs and humans.

Fruit can be hard to come by this time of year and eating plain apples can get a little boring. Cooking apples brings out their natural sweetness, and the tang from the cranberries will add a little zing and color to your holiday table.

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 6 medium apples, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup honey

Topping

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ginger

Directions

  1. Place all sauce ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. You can eat the sauce as is, but if you want to take it to the next level, add the topping.
  2. Mix all ingredients for the topping in a small bowl. Scoop sauce into ramekins and sprinkle the oat mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 10 minutes, until topping is brown.
  3. Cool before serving to your pup, but humans can eat it warm and add a scoop of ice cream.

Dog-Friendly Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Gingerbread cookies for dogs and humans.

Nothing puts the feeling of holidays in the air like the smell of gingerbread baking. These cookies will delight your dog’s senses!

Ingredients

  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour l 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1⁄2 cup molasses
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Mix flours and spices in a bowl. Add the molasses, oil, and water. Mix until combined. Add additional water or flour as needed so the dough comes together in a ball and is moist, but not sticky.
  2. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  3. For the humans: Dogs don’t need much sugar, but for yourself a little icing will add the perfect sweet touch.

Dog-Friendly Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

A classic holiday treat, this version celebrates the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes and the rich, creamy flavor of coconut. This recipe smells heavenly while it’s baking!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, baked with skins removed
  • 1⁄2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons maple syrup l 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1⁄2 cup shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Place the potatoes in a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Add cinnamon, ginger, coconut milk, maple syrup, and eggs. Mix well.
  2. Spoon mixture into a baking dish or pie plate.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with coconut.
  4. Cool before serving to your dog.

Short on time? Leave out the eggs and skip the baking for a rich and delicious mashed sweet potato.

Stop Calling This Russian-Popeye A Bodybuilder Who’s About To Get His Arms Amputated

Being a student of fitness sciences and bodybuilding, what infuriates me the most is the fact that how everyone who goes to the gym is labeled as a body builder. People don’t think twice before equating weight training with a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger. To bust your stupid bubble, this is not how it goes! Weight training is a means of exercise and different people use it to achieve different goals.  Bodybuilders use it as a means of getting bigger and better at their sport and athletes use it to get faster and get better at their sport. So first, just because your friend goes to the gym, it sure as hell doesn’t make him a bodybuilder. In fact, if he has a good physique and isn’t competing, he still can’t be called a bodybuilder.

Now, this leads me to a recent story of some crazy guy who is being hailed as the Russian-Popeye ‘bodybuilder’. This is what he looks like.

Stop Calling This Russian-Popeye Who's About To Get His Arms Amputated A Bodybuilder© YouTube

He’s Just A Synthol Crazed Idiot, Not A Bodybuilder

Now, the media is calling him a bodybuilder just because he has big arms. Typical media stupidity at its best!  The guy simply took synthol, a site enhancement oil and injected copious amounts of it in his biceps. That’s about it. Look at his overall physique and it’s not hard to tell that he doesn’t have an ounce of muscle on his frame.

Stop Calling This Russian-Popeye Who's About To Get His Arms Amputated A Bodybuilder© YouTube  

Just look at the pictures above and ask yourself- is it right to call him a bodybuilder? Absolutely not! Not only does calling him a bodybuilder disgrace the sport of body building but also paints a bad image in the minds of the people who don’t understand the nature of bodybuilding.

What Is Synthol And How Does It Make The Muscles Look Bigger?

Stop Calling This Russian-Popeye Who's About To Get His Arms Amputated A Bodybuilder© YouTube

Synthol is 85% MCT oil, 7.5% lidocaine and 7.5% benzyl alcohol.  The oil is injected in between muscle fibers, where it is encapsulated between the fascicles. Now what this oil does is that that it makes the muscle fibers move up and out wards to make space for itself. This makes the muscle look bigger.  This is in no way muscle hypertrophy. 30% of the injected oil is metabolized by the body while the rest is metabolized over the next 5-7 years at a very slow pace.

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Nutrition Lentil Vegetarian Pescatarian Tasty Health Diet Salad Winter Hearty Veggie Option Dinner Lunch

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Nutrition Lentil Vegetarian Pescatarian Tasty Health Diet Salad Winter Hearty Veggie Option Dinner Lunch

Being a strict pescetarian, I try to find different ways of working in varied, exciting protein-rich plant foods to my dishes, wherever possible. This salad ticks the protein box thanks to the lentils and that delectable ‘grilled halloumi’ topper. Combined with thyme and honey-roasted veggies, it tastes just a little reminiscent of something ‘Christmassy’, and absolutely delivers a hearty, filling experience that few salads can match.  I dare you to take up the challenge of whipping this up for dinner during the coming week; get the full recipe by clicking MORE!

HOW TO?

  1. Add the lentils to a pan of boiling water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly al dente (but not mushy, you ideally want a bit of chew-resistance to the texture).
  3. Once the lentils are done, drain and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, add the finely chopped carrots to a bowl with the thyme and honey. Pop the ingredients on a baking tray and let them roast for circa 5 minutes.
  5. Once the lentils have cooled, combine them with the vegetables.
  6. Chop and add the rest of the veggies and plate up.
  7. Having griddled some halloumi, place your preferred amount on top and top with a sprig of parsley.
  8. Consume voraciously, yet always responsibly!  Enjoy x

Weight loss might make you healthier but it probably won’t make you happier, according to a new study

Posted at 11:55 am , on 10 dec, 2017

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Getting skinny will solve all our problems, right? We will be unconditionally loved by all, be able to run marathons in under three hours and, of course, be able to wear bikinis and heels to any occasion, including black tie events. As one does. At least that’s what all the diet ads say. But a new study says that not only does losing weight not make people happier, it can actually increase their risk of depression two fold.

Well this is uncomfortable. Confession: Even though I no longer diet or exercise with weight loss as a goal and I eat intuitively and exercise gently and I love and accept my body way more than I ever have in my entire life — even with all that, I still believe with all my heart that if I weighed 15 pounds less I’d be happier. I hate that thought still lives in my brain. I don’t act on it but it’s still definitely there.

But the worst part is that both intuitively and from past experience I know this this isn’t true. Losing weight has never made happier. Did I feel prettier, more confident, successful, relieved, or even more popular? Yes. Happier? Not really. It doesn’t seem like that would compute. I mean, doesn’t feeling prettier, more confident and popular automatically make you feel happier? It didn’t for me and I think it boiled down to two reasons. First, I was never skinny enough. No matter how much weight I lost it wasn’t ever going to be enough. I started out just wanting to be my “happy weight” but then I decided I couldn’t be happy there unless I had a “buffer” and then… a death spiral of insanity ensued. Part of that was all the eating disorder voices in my head but part of that was also the very loud segment of our society that equates thinness with perfection and sees the new 000 size as a goal instead of a number that you will find nowhere in math. Second, I was terrified that if I regained the weight I’d lost (and I always did eventually) then I would no longer be pretty, successful or loved. All things that aren’t true but nevertheless thwarted any happy-skinny frolicking.

And I’m not alone in my experience. Researchers at University College of London followed 2,000 individuals who were overweight or obese but otherwise healthy for four years. All participants had been instructed to lose weight to improve their health and at the end of the four years 14% had lost 5% or more of their body weight while 15% gained more than 5% of their body weight and the remaining 71% remained at their original weight. (The fact that 71% remained at their original weight even though they were trying to actively lose weight is a topic for another day.)

The researchers then measured the participants’ depression, overall well-being, blood pressure and triglycerides to get a picture of both their psychological and physiological health. The results were surprising to say the least. As one would expect, losing weight lowered subjects’ blood pressure and triglycerides. Yet even though most people report thinking that losing weight will increase their happiness, the people who lost weight were twice as likely to be depressed as those who gained weight or remained stable. They also reported lower well-being. This held true even after they accounted for demographics (like race and income), health conditions (like a cancer diagnosis which would make anyone depressed) and psychological variables (like a recent traumatic life event).

So why would someone be sad if they were healthier? I got to interview Sarah Jackson, PhD, the lead author of the study, for an article for Shape and she says that while they can’t determine cause, they can look at correlation and it appears that something about the act of losing weight makes people unhappy. She speculates that the people became depressed because of how notoriously hard it is to maintain a weight loss. We might feel happier when we’re losing weight but the thought of living with that level of deprivation forever is, well, depressing.

But the researchers had several other theories as well:

– Perhaps the subjects were exhausting their self control resisting tasty food and so other areas of their lives were suffering – i.e. their social lives and becoming more isolated can definitely be depressing.

– There’s also the idea of unfulfilled expectations – perhaps the people became depressed after realizing that losing weight hadn’t had the effect on their lives that they’d hoped it would. They weren’t happier because… they weren’t happier.

– And all the biological factors.  Maybe their bodies wanted to replace the lost fat and therefore made them feel hungrier which made controlling their weight increasingly difficult. Or perhaps the drop in carbohydrates dropped their serotonin levels. Also, when you diet you alter your microbiome in your gut and as I was very surprised to learn before, over 80% of our serotonin is produced in the gut, meaning that those gut bugs can have a powerful effect on our mood.

For me, the interesting part was that not only did the subjects not feel happier but they felt more depressed than they had at baseline. So while their physiological health markers improved, depression and stress are known to have a very negative effect on health. And I don’t think this dissonance will be resolved until we can remove the cultural assumption that thin=good, pretty, righteous and fat = bad, ugly, sinful.

Of course there are plenty of people who do say they are much happier after losing weight.  But from my experience, the ones who seem to be the happiest with their weight loss are those who feel like it enabled them to better do things that they love, like playing with their kids or riding their bike along the beach or travelling. The people who diet as a punishment and try to ratchet themselves into too-small pants every week don’t seem to be as happy because we will all eventually “fail” and eat the cupcake and there are always going to be smaller pants.

And then there’s the fact that giving weight loss the power to make us happy means that we’re giving weight gain the power to make us sad. I’ve had to learn the hard way that the things that make me happiest in life have absolutely nothing to do with my weight: My family, my work, helping other people, petting my cat, talking to my sisters, hiking – and as long as I’m healthy enough to do those things well then the actual number on the scale is irrelevant.

Jackson stops short of saying we should stop telling people to lose weight as the subjects did show marked improvements in their health but rather she hopes that doctors will take this information and use it to offer more resources like support groups and counseling along with their healthy diet and exercise advice. Which I think is a great idea – anything that helps people increase their physical and mental health is a good plan and I don’t think they have to be an either/or proposition.

I’m curious about your experience though – Heaven knows I have enough dieting baggage to make me unhappy no matter what my weight does (sigh) so I’m wondering if this rings true for anyone else? Or did it make you very happy? Why do you think losing weight contributed to these people’s depression?

How I Got Insanely Long Eyelashes With Oil From the Grocery Store (Seriously)

Posted at 11:55 am , on  10 dec, 2017

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So a few months ago, I had this unexpected tender moment with Jelly Bean:

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She had told me that she just wanted “to snuggle for a minute” and then she promptly fell asleep on my lap. My all-grown-up do-it-myself six-year-old didn’t want to admit she still needed a nap (or her mom!) — but she did. And I love it. Unabashedly. Plus, she’s the only kid who will even fit in my lap to sleep anymore. So I had to document it, right?

But when I posted the pic to Facebook, I was surprised to see that many of the comments focused on my eyelashes. “Are those all YOUR lashes?!” said one friend. It’s been over a week since I posted that picture and I’m still getting questions about my eyelashes.

Here’s the thing: Yes, they are all my real eyelashes (i.e. no falsies but I am wearing mascara) and no, I was not genetically blessed in the lash department. Like the hair on my head, my eyelashes have always been thin and sparse. Sigh. But a couple of months ago I lucked into an awesome trick and since so many people have asked me about it, I figured I’d share it here.

Let me start by saying I certainly didn’t invent this trick. In fact, it’s been around for centuries and been on Instagram and Pinterest for years now. I’m just the last person to know about it. So what is this amazing not-so-secret? Coconut and castor oils. Yep, that’s it.

Awhile ago I was trying to take off some stubborn waterproof mascara without completely denuding my poor eyes and tried using coconut oil. It worked like a charm and didn’t sting like normal makeup remover (I have crazy sensitive dry skin) so I kept using it. After a week or two I started to notice my eyelashes looked amazing – fuller and a bit longer. So I googled it. And it turns out that people, who are not babies, putting food on their face is A Real Thing Women Do.

After reading through a bunch of sites, I decided to continue my experiment with a mixture of about 3/4 castor oil and 1/4 coconut oil. I don’t measure it because lazy. I just pour a bunch in a squeeze bottle and use an old eyeliner brush to put it on every night.

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Super high tech, here! (That’s a valentine Jelly Bean “made” me… and my one attempt at “staging” a pic ahahahahaaa)

Since coconut oil is generally solid at room temp, I melt it and then add it to the castor oil. Once mixed, it all stays liquid. Then I use the eyeliner brush to put it on the base of my lashes (don’t coat your lashes, doesn’t help and makes it hard to see!). I just do the upper lashes and when I close my eyes it kind of rubs off on the lower ones too.

After a couple of months I started to see real results. I wish I’d taken a before picture without mascara so you could see how seriously stubby my lashes were. But honestly I didn’t really expect it to work as well as it has!

Now, here are my eyelashes today with NO makeup:

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Pretty amazing, right? (I was standing in front of my curtain trying to get a consistent backdrop. It worked. It also made my hair really staticky!)

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Oh HAI internets, here is my completely bare face. This feels awkward.

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Obligatory scary close up of my peepers!

Now look what happens when I add my usual mascara (Maybelline “the falsies” in black, nothing fancy):

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This is just two coats of normal mascara (no fibers or primers or anything) on my top lashes and nothing else. I’m also not wearing eyeliner or shadow. But I did put on lipstick and brushed my hair. Just for you guys. YOU’RE WELCOME.

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See? They even touch my eyebrows in some places! And the effect is even more pronounced when I go all out with eyeliner, eyeshadow, and fiber mascara on the top and bottom. It’s crazy! Although they can look a little spidery, especially since the oils seem to mainly make them grow longer, not thicker.

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Second scary close up. 

And it’s official, I’ve spent way too much time looking at close ups of my face and I’m starting to freak myself out! Anyhow, here are my tips if you’re interested in trying this yourself:

1. Buy quality. The great thing is that even the nicest castor oil is stupid cheap. I got a 16 ounce bottle for six dollars at the grocery store. And I already had a tub of virgin coconut oil. Normally I eat my food products but sometimes I wear them, as one does. I got organic because I figured if I’m going to blind myself with it might as well be organically blind.

(Note: there are lots of “recipes” for eyelash serum online that use these oils plus other stuff like essential oils and herbs but I am nothing if not lazy and the oils seem to work great just themselves. But knock yourself out if you’re feeling crafty and/or you like your eyes to smell like lavender and Pinterest.)

2. You will blind yourself. And it will be scary. The first time I used waaay too much and it got on my eyeball, clouding my vision and forcing me to run around my house yelping like a cat with glaucoma. (Can cats get glaucoma? Or does my cat just have the cRaZy eyes naturally? Mysteries.) I tried to rinse it out with water but since the rules of chemistry are legit, water doesn’t do much to oil. But! It didn’t really hurt and after a few minutes I blinked it all away and I can only hope it made my tear ducts lusciously supple.

3. Put it on at night, with a clean brush. Use an old eyeliner brush and wash it thoroughly. (You’re sticking it in your eye!) Then put a tiny drop of oil on it and brush it on the base of your lashes, just like you would eyeliner. Note: The oils will take your makeup off so I recommend doing it at night after you’ve washed your face.

4. Be patient. This is the hardest part. I think I began to see some difference after one or two weeks of doing this every day but it was subtle. The results pictured above are after two months of daily application. It’s not a quick fix and I’m pretty sure you have to keep doing it if you want to keep having butterfly lashes.

5. Feel free to rub it other places too. Lots of the sites I read also recommended using castor oil and/or coconut oil on your hair roots to help it grow. In the past I would have thought this ridiculous but since it worked so well on my face I am now trying it on my head. Using the same squirt bottle, I put it all over my scalp. After massaging it in and appreciating how well I rock the greasy hooligan look, I leave it on for… a while. Some sites say overnight but I can’t sleep smelling like salad. So I leave it on for at least a half an hour and sometimes several hours. I’ve only been doing it for a week and I have a feeling it will take a very long time to tell if it’s working. All I can tell you for sure now is that it is a b*$%& to wash out. But I’ll let you know how it goes.  (Here’s a good tutorial on how to use it on your hair, by a woman with the most adorable accent ever.)

Have any of you ever tried using oils to grow any of your hairs? Any tips for me?? What other cool beauty tricks have I been missing out on?