A Few of My Favorite Things (2022)
I spend an inordinate amount of time researching raw materials, and I often come across new supplements, formulations, and products I haven’t seen before. The curious scientist in me who moonlights as a proverbial guinea pig loves to try new-to-me products for my dogs, my horses, and myself. Here are a few of my favorites — and a couple of fails.
Eureka for my thunderstorm dog
I have tried many different CBD products for Crockett, who is one of my Aussies that is thunderstorm-averse. His panting alone has the respiration RPM of a jet engine.
Even BioStar’s own Thera Calm K9 plus an additional CBD product isn’t enough to reduce his anxiety once he hears a rumble of thunder. I tried a thunder-shirt and he did nothing but growl his displeasure.
I have tried a total of fifteen CBD products for dogs. I know it’s a matter of finding the right one for this dog, but after fifteen attempts I had pretty much given up.
Then I found ElleVet
ElleVet, in association with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, conducted the first ever clinical trial on dogs using ElleVet CBD.
Naturally, despite the clinical trial, I was skeptical. I had tried so many other CBD dog products that didn’t help. But hope springs eternal, and I bought the ElleVet CBD + CBDA oil for dogs.
It WORKED! He panted less, and he wasn’t shaking and barking. Crockett is very smart, and if I let him out and he senses there is a storm coming (even though the local forecast predicts no storms), he will not go outside. That’s when I give him the ElleVet, right then and there. Undoubtedly within an hour or so a thunderstorm will arrive, or at least the thunder part. But with ElleVet on board, he can deal with it.
I also tried ElleVet on my Aussie Keen who zigged instead of zagged, and sprained his foot. He held his paw up to me to show me and limped into the house. I gave him the homeopathic remedy Arnica immediately, and that night gave him ElleVet. The next morning, he was totally sound.
Salt blocks with garlic
I’ve been feeding air-dried garlic granules (Bug Off Garlic from Springtime) for at least ten years. It’s a terrific product and it does help with bug control. I never had a palatability issue with it until this spring, when two of my retired horses decided they would not eat it. They would not eat it in alfalfa pellets, not in timothy pellets, and not mixed with Renew Gold.
It was one of those “Oh Crap” moments.
Luckily, my online searching led me to Redmond Natural Salt Block with Garlic.
I first tried the salt block with garlic, and all five horses took turns licking it. I decided it was worth trying the crushed version as well so I could add it to their feed, and I’m happy to report that even the picky eaters are eating it. YEAH!
Stay cool with hibiscus
In Ayurvedic medicine, hibiscus removes heat from the body. In traditional Indian culture, hibiscus flowers are associated with the elephant-headed god Ganesha who is said to grant the realization of all our life goals.
I stumbled upon the properties of hibiscus while researching something else and decided I’d try it. When we had a hot patch of weather in June, I got out my hibiscus tea and made some. It was incredibly refreshing and nurturing.
Tulsi Hibiscus tea is made by one of my favorite tea companies, Organic India. A blend of the stress balancing tulsi plant with cooling hibiscus, it’s perfect for a hot summer day … or days. I make the tea and let it cool, then drink it at room temperature or over a little ice. Sometimes I add a sprig of mint from my garden.
Hibiscus has a long history of use for uplifting the heart, physically and spiritually. It is also rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and anthocyanin.
Now that we are in the dog days of summer, I drink my Tulsi Hibiscus tea every afternoon. The tulsi keeps me balanced and the hibiscus keeps me cool.
Mycro supplements to combat stress
One day while down a rabbit hole, I came across a company called Mycro that blends medicinal mushrooms with raw honey and Ayurvedic plants. Intrigued, I read up on their formulas and decided to try their “Vitality” supplement. This supplement balances mood, increases focus, and helps reduce inflammation.
Vitality includes Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Shatavari and Shilajit in cacao-infused honey. I mean, cacao … how could I refuse?
It is delicious. As in, lip-smacking yummy. The Vitality supplement tastes like a chocolate brownie with earth notes. This supplement is taken by the spoonful (recommended 1 tablespoon per day), but I have felt the benefits just using 1 teaspoon per day.
It has really helped my wonky knee, and for some reason I find a lot more things to laugh about.
My significant other, Peter, loves the “Activate” supplement which is a mood enhancer that also boosts energy and reduces anxiety. It provides Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Cordyceps, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Gynostemma, Shatavari, Elderberries, roasted almonds, raw honey and Cacao butter. I can tell on the days when he forgets to eat it. He also just started the “Calming” supplement, which he adds to his tea at night. He says he sleeps much better.
FOR THE HOME
I love roaming around Kickstarter, and I have purchased a large variety of their entrepreneurial products. There have been some purchases that turned into giant disappointments, but there have also been some real winners.
This spring on Kickstarter, I discovered Spongik: 100% biodegradable cellulose and hemp sponge with a dryer that sanitizes the sponge between uses. Developed in the EU, I have found this sponge to be fun to use, attractive, and although thinner than American sponges, it works great, and I love the sanitization feature and the fact that it is biodegradable.
And then there were the bombs
I tried a powdered whole food blend (I won’t name names) that was designed to be added to water or a smoothie. When I opened the package I was so shocked, and I was afraid to try it. While I understand how traveling through the shipping system can ruin a nicely packed box, this looked like someone just threw in a bunch of packets and said, “who cares.”
The packets were clear, which was nice, but the “look” of the blended powders was horrifying. There really wasn’t much blending. You couldn’t look at it and say “YUM”. I did try one, it mixed poorly, and tasted old, like those powders had been sitting around for a while.
The other bomb was a puppy warming pad I had purchased for a future puppy litter. It didn’t work. We tried it three times with three different electric outlets. I called the company I bought it from to request a return. Customer service said that I had to call the company who made it and get return authorization from them. I said, “Are you kidding? I bought it from YOU.” Customer service said, “sorry, you have to get authorization from the manufacturer.” I said, “Can’t you get it for me?” “No,” was the reply. I chose to support this small company, even though the product was sold on Amazon. I would not purchase from them now if they gave me a gift certificate.
This experience highlighted for me how important customer service is. It’s important to put the customer first, and make returns easy. BioStar takes these elements very seriously, I am proud to say.