Book Review – Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD

Book Review – Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy


Paleo Dog is a primer for the care and wellness of your dog. However, by following the principles outlined by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD, you might do yourself and your human household a lot of good as well.

Dogs are “opportunistic omnivores,” meaning that they will eat almost anything, but dogs actually evolved eating prey animals. So, what does a modern-day Paleo Dog eat? The Paleo Dog diet excludes all cereals and grains, and processed or synthetic foods. Paleo Dogs eat primarily bones, organ meats, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and fish oils. This is basically the same diet that has become increasingly popular for humans, with names like the “Stone Age” diet or “Caveman Diet.”

According to the authors, approximately 78 million dogs live in US households, with 85% of those dogs eating a typical commercial dog food diet (which closely resembles the composition of a human “fast food” diet). About half of the dogs eating commercial dog food diets are overweight, and about 75% of them have some sort of dental disease by the age of three. The death rate due to cancer is over 40% for dogs under ten years old. Death in dogs typically occurs between 10-13 years of age, and most often from cancer.

Many dogs show early signs of health disturbances that owners and veterinarians might accept as normal. For example, excess weight leads to joint disease, heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes, liver disease, skin and coat problems, decreased immune function, cancer, and a reduced life expectancy. (Sound familiar?) If your dog has “doggy” breath, this is most likely a sign of dental disease. If the dog’s coat is lifeless, greasy, flaky and not very appealing to stroke, this could be another sign of trouble. In addition, smells coming from every pore and a build-up of a waxy substance in the ears could indicate allergies. Your dog’s eyes might also exhibit a build-up of mucous in the corners, or persistent tear production. Dogs with allergies might also have bouts of wheezing or sneezing, or constant scratching of the ears, or scooting to scratch his butt. Doggy flatulence, along with foul smelling and large volumes of stool, may also be present. None of these symptoms are “normal” with a Paleo Dog diet.

The authors suggest that the Paleo Dog diet will address these and many other health-related symptoms or behaviors. Following the guidance in this book should help improve a dog’s digestion and periodontal health, as well as produce healthier skin and a shinier coat. In addition, allergies can be tamed and muscle strength, performance, and stamina can be improved.

The authors include lots of instruction to help transition your pet from a typical grain-based diet to one containing lots of raw meats and foods. While perusing the recipe section for Paleo foods to feed your dog, you might find that the recipes sound appealing for people as well (the Paleo Wraps sounded particularly tasty to me).

Paleo Dog addresses many other health-related topics beyond diet. For example, the authors describe how we expose our canine companions to a whole host of interventions that their wild cousins never encounter, such as vaccinations, spaying and neutering, deworming, and chemicals to control fleas. In addition, our pets face greater exposure to the chemicals we put in our yards and homes. Is it any wonder that they endure less than perfect health?

The book also offers a wonderful tableau of alternative treatments to explore for your dog, or even for yourself. The authors include information on treating your companion with herbs, acupuncture, emotional freedom technique, flower essences, and massage therapy. People who have not sought out these types of treatments before may be pleasantly surprised at the many options available.

Paleo Dog offers many practical tips for ensuring a long, healthy life span for both you and your canine pet. The authors include so many brief (but good) explanations for the dazzling array of choices that you may find yourself going back to it, over and over again, for years to come.

  • Hofve J, Yarnall C. Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books; 2014.
Book Review – Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD 2017-12-14T12:26:03+00:00

Interview with Elena McHerron

Interview with Elena McHerron

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Elena McHerron just celebrated her 80th birthday. She claims that the best thing about getting old is that she has learned so much. Because she is more than willing to share what she’s learned, she describes herself as a motivator – and many of her followers agree.

Today, Elena is active and feeling good, but that wasn’t always the case. When she was most ill, she remembers a voice in her head saying “You will be a part of the transition of medicine,” which has fueled her interest in and passion for solving health problems.

Since the early 90s, this remarkable woman has opened her home to the Candida Multi-Allergy Support Group, which helps people deal with health issues that have stymied the medical profession. Members of the support group bring food to share that must be wheat-, milk- and sugar-free.  But the most important function of the support group is simply to have somebody that believes you. So often, people suffering from health problems that are difficult to diagnose don’t have sympathetic confidants within their own family and circle of friends. They think this person might just be a complainer, or worse, it’s all in their heads. The support group validates their concerns and helps get them on a path to better health.

So, how did Elena get into health activism and become a motivator to others? It built up over many years of personal health problems, including severe PMS. The advice she was given then was to avoid salt! After the birth of her eldest daughter, she suffered with mastitis. She was hospitalized and went through many courses of antibiotics, which was likely the beginning of her yeast-related health problems. Then, after the birth of her youngest, she was hospitalized with post-partum depression. Since she was still having the same symptoms two years later, she was re-diagnosed as bipolar. She had shock treatments and lots of lithium, to no avail. Through the years, Elena collected a lot of personal experience with health-related symptoms, misdiagnoses, and less than helpful treatments.

Elena before . . . and after.

Back in 1952, Elena received a bachelor’s degree in home economics, and she began a career as a home food demonstration agent for the New York State Extension Service. While she agrees that there have been tremendous advances in food science since then (for example, there were no known health issues related to wheat and sugar back then), she is astounded at how much her interest in nutrition, coupled with the hands-on skills she learned about finding things out for herself, served her well in her search for answers to health questions over the years, and still serve her well today. Some of Elena’s personal health discoveries include the following:

  • Elena credits Dr. Steven Bock at the Rhinebeck Health Center in Rhinebeck, NY for a major turning point in her quest for wellness. Elena was in her 50s when Dr. Bock prescribed estrogen and progesterone for her (provided by Women’s International Pharmacy). She remembers asking herself, “Why didn’t somebody do this sooner?” To this day, she remains a strong advocate for bioidentical progesterone cream and plans to never stop using it herself.
  • About that time, Elena also discovered that she was allergic to wheat, and she now adheres to the principles set forth by Dr. Peter D’Adamo in Eat Right for Your Type. Another important discovery came after meeting Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, which helped Elena understand the real dangers of sugar.
  • As Elena continued to explore the relationships between nutrition and her health, she was exposed to Dr. William Crook’s The Yeast Connection and his other books. She wrote to Dr. Crook and began years of correspondence with him. In fact, Dr. Crook was so impressed with her observations that he invited her to join the advisory board for his International Health Foundation. Elena believes she influenced Dr. Crook to write about the importance of thyroid and adrenal hormones in his later books.
  • Elena also found Dr. Steven Langer’s discussion of the hypothyroid connection in Solved, the Riddle of Illness to be helpful in her search for answers to health questions she encountered. She credits Dr. Langer with the suggestion to first explore the possibility of low thyroid function when experiencing any type of depression.

Today, Elena is careful about nutrition, uses bioidentical hormone therapies, and takes probiotics (Dr. Crook advised her to “take as much as you can afford!”). People from all over the world seek Elena out for advice on their unexplained health issues. And, because she walks her talk, it gives her plenty of credibility. Elena says, “I listen to them and I motivate them” to explore possible solutions to their health problems. She motivates them to persevere, as she did, by sharing her wealth of knowledge and collective personal experiences. She believes that “when people overcome their problems, they become experts in solving that problem.”

Elena also writes an occasional newsletter, called Grass-Root Expressions, which is an eclectic combination of information she has gleaned from her research and contacts over the years. Elena has an extensive reference library and now also uses the internet to help people find reliable resources. Who knew, Elena muses, that when she started her degree in home economics when she was 20, it would help her be so useful to so many people today?

Interview with Elena McHerron 2017-12-14T16:04:43+00:00