Of Guinea Pigs and People
Poor Bingley, the geriatric guinea pig, was suffering from chapped guinea pig lips. I suppose they're called lips. It didn't seem to be affecting his ability to eat too much as he was still one fat guinea pig. However, we'd tried the home remedy of Manuka Oil but it needed something more than Level One attention. Off to the vet we went.
It turned out his teeth were about 2/3rds longer than what should be and he couldn't close his mouth properly. The vet got out his snippers and corrected the length of his incisors somewhat. Nary a squeak from the cooperative piggy. (I wish a visit to my dentist could go as painlessly).
What followed was an interesting discussion on the merits of pellets for guineas and rabbits. It turns out there are few merits; only good for putting on weight, it seems.
The pellets are too rich for them and they will become unhealthy and sick. They will do much better on fresh grass, straw, veggies and fruit. Just the day before I contemplated buying pellets for Bingley but decided against it. My reason wasn't about food value but for economics. Simply put, I was too mean to buy them. Why spend the dollars when there is grass to be picked, puha to be plucked and the odd reject fruit and veggie to give him? (He likes a bit of bread, too.)
The interesting thing was my perception that processed foods, the pellets, were better because nutritionally, they were precisely made. Sigh. Not so. I had once again fallen for the powerful marketing machine.
I reflected how the same thing applies to us. We spend large amounts of money on processed food, fast food, packets, powders and fancy drinks. All along the superior food was not too far away but often passed over in favour of the factory version. How many times have I bought a 'treat' for my children (or myself :-)) when it was better value for money and better for our health to buy The Real Thing? Fresh fruits, especially sweet with their natural sugars, perfectly designed for our enjoyment.
It really is a mind game, isn't it? We have to retrain the way we think - yes, even those of us who've been at this for a long time are still caught out when choosing food.
Just like the guinea pig, if we buy mostly processed food we will have increasing poor health. Unlike the guinea pig it might take longer for us to recognise the symptoms; or have we become so immune to the symptoms we think they're a normal part of modern life? Dull hair, brittle nails, disease, weight and skin problems. All hassles Bingley would be suffering if he was on pellets.
Funny how the advice given by the vet should be the advice given to people, too.
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