Last article I wrote about a new emerging field of medicine for humans called Functional Medicine. You can find my article here. It's also published in my monthly column for May 2016 of TheRider.com.
Dr. Mark Hyman, at the Ultra Wellness Centre defines Functional Medicine as:
What that means is that this medicine treats the body as a whole instead of specialists only treating their field of speciality and referring you to others. (ie. working independently and not as a whole).
It also means using very nutritious food which is our natural way of eating as medicine. There are many proven studies out now that show that many of our modern day diseases like diabetes, cancer, auto immune, ADHD, autism, etc.. can be cured with 'what our Grandma ate'.
Staying away from sugar can have a HUGH positive impact on your health. Especially fatty liver disease.
What About Horses?
As I was doing my research, I was surprised to see a website talking about functional medicine for pets including horses. The website is by AcraNutura on functional medicine for pets found here.
To quote them: "Functional medicine essentially provides your pets with holistic, alternative healthcare options to treat the cause of their ailments rather than just the symptoms. " They also make reference to Dr. Mark Hyman.
What Does All This Mean?
It means that medicine and food for horses or humans should be as close to natural in it's natural or whole state as possible. For us to benefit with the nutrition. Again, as most of our diseases are due to lack of nutrition in our food.
Whole foods like greens for humans and grass for horses. And no sugar for humans or for horses.
Grass feed meat (animals fed on pesticide-free pasture) for humans and pesticide-free pasture for horses. Pasture fed eggs - and you guessed it, pasture for horses.
What's In Season
It also means no grains or sugary grains for horses. Horses were not naturally meant to eat that much grain or seeds from plants. Only when in season.
Just like humans, we only ate whatever was in season. So humans generally ate fruit like strawberries and rhubarb in spring and other fruit in the fall. Horses started to eat grasses. As the grasses grew taller, the horse's digestive system was used to the grass. Horses of course, would eat fruit in the fall.
According to Eleanor Blazer, equine nutritionist and owner of
HorseCoursesOnline.com: "Horses are meant to eat mostly forage. That is what Mother Nature intended them to eat. At least 80% of their diet should be in forages."
We as horse owners have seen an increase in human-like diseases like Crohn's disease and diabetes like diseases in horses. Perhaps it is from the grain or concentrates we feed them. I would bet on it.
It's proven in humans that food containing GMO grains like corn and soy and wheat are what causing the modern day diseases. I put forward that idea that this is also what is causes the modern day diseases in horses too.
Food for thought.
Putting my spin on pasture for horses.
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. "