I’ve spent the past few days at the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association conference, listening to some of the best holistic veterinarians in the world lecture on treating different diseases seen in pets in today’s veterinary practices. I’ve learned about herbal formulations, supplements, medications, TCVM pattern differentiation, and other healing modalities. It’s been a great experience.

But there was one common thread in every conversation. Even though the lectures centered around using herbs and medications to treat disease, each and every teacher mentioned that food was the most important focus for prevention and treatment of disease. One lecture focused on herbal treatment for Cushing’s disease and diabetes. I took copious notes and photographed the power point slides on the screen. But I couldn’t help wondering how the treatments would change if the veterinarian changed the diets for the pets.

Interestingly, at the end of the lecture, almost as an aside, the teacher informed the audience that none of the herbal formulas would solve the problem without also changing the diet being fed to the pet. Sort of…”Oh, by the way, the pet needs to be taken off high carbohydrate, processed, kibble-based diets. No amount of herbs in the world will solve the problem if you don’t change the diet.”

Hmmm….seems like maybe we should have started with that statement. Don’t get me wrong; these teachers are the best in the world. I learned a ton of great, useful information, that I will utilize as soon as I return to the clinic. But it certainly substantiated my feeling that food is the basis for all health and healing. Without a species-appropriate, high quality diet, we cannot possibly expect to achieve maximal health.

The pillars of good health include good diet, exercise and mobility, and low stress. Since my diet isn’t too bad and I do get some exercise, I think I need to focus on low stress. Based on that…I’m off to the pool!