Have you jumped on the turmeric bandwagon yet?
It seems to be all the rage right now, and I’ll admit: I’m late to the party!
Well, I think it’s my natural desire to push back, to rebel. I read a ton of cancer stuff online–which I need to stop doing–but I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen someone post about a personal struggle and some stranger replies, “You should really add turmeric to your diet.” In my head, I’m screaming, “YOU SHOULD REALLY MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! YOU’RE NOT THE ONE WITH CANCER!” It’s not helpful. It’s not productive. It’s not supportive, though I suspect the person making the recommendation thinks they’re being supportive when really they’re inserting their unproductive opinion. Unless your friend specifically asks for your suggestion, keep it to yourself! They have enough on their plate.
End unrelated rant. Sorry ’bout that.
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Over the last six months or so, it’s really hit home that Coop is cresting that middle-age point. He’ll be nine this summer, and while he’s still high-energy and pretty fit, we’ve seen a few signs of aging: his increasingly-white fur, a slight stiffness after a strenuous hike, longer recovery times after his runs, and–for that matter–a little less stamina for the longer runs. He’s by no means done with any of that but rather slowing down on occasion or taking longer to recover. He’s still a lunatic who acts foolish without enough mental or physical exercise each day, and he’s at a healthy weight.
That said, I’ve been researching ways to aid him as he ages, specifically with his muscles and joints, and my research kept turning up the same thing: golden paste. So, I decided to give it a whirl. Before I share my super-simple recipe, let’s address what it is and why it matters:
First, what is golden paste?
“Golden paste” is just the name of the concoction. It’s a mix of turmeric, pepper (more on that below), water, and a healthy fat like coconut oil. Also called “turmeric paste,” it’s indicated for use in people, dogs, horses, you name it. But I’m forever a skeptic when it comes to health food claims, so I turned to the scholarly research. In a journal article posted by the National Institutes of Health:
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a yellow pigment present in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) that has been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and antibacterial activities as indicated by over 6,000 citations. In addition, over one hundred clinical studies have been carried out with curcumin. …
Extensive research over the past 30 years has shown that it plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of various pro-inflammatory chronic diseases including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and malignant diseases.
So, yeah. The research is there. This particular article, and why I chose to cite this one instead one of the other over one hundred studies, is that it highlights one of the key problems with turmeric: bioavailability. Basically, our bodies don’t do a good enough job absorbing the ingredient to really maximize its benefits. You could take turmeric daily and not benefit one bit. In that paper, they examine a number of studies that looked at different ways to administering turmeric–everything from intravenously to mixed with natural ingredients–and the most realistic pairing for our purposes was adding black pepper (you’ll see this in my recipe below). Piperine is a major component of black pepper and does the job of increasing the bioavailability, but do note that the studies that showed the biggest increase were in humans, not small mammals. Take that with a grain of turmeric, I suppose.
Second, how does turmeric help dogs?
Well, all the studies cited demonstrate a whole host of benefits BUT it’s super-duper important to note that these studies are largely conducted on rats and on humans. We’re extrapolating similar benefits for dogs.
Anyway, turmeric has been shown to do all sorts of things even, yes, potentially helping cancer patients. (Still, don’t suggest it unless you’re asked!) The key benefits of turmeric for dogs, people, horses, etc. include (links go to the studies that demonstrate the benefits):
Those are big benefits for anyone, of course, but serve aging pups (and people) particularly well. So, I’m on board! Let’s do this!
How to Make Golden Paste for Your Dog
You can share it, too!
If you search for this online, you’ll find a crazy number of recipes. They all contain the same foundation: turmeric (buy it in bulk, y’all!), water, black pepper (per the note above to help absorption), and a healthy fat like coconut oil. Tons of other versions contain all sorts of other things like freshly-ground ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and so on. TBH, most of those spices are added just for flavor and aren’t at all necessary.
Golden Paste Ingredients:
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup turmeric powder
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1.5 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
How to Make the Golden Paste:
- Combine the water and turmeric powder in a sauce pan. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until it thickens. It generally takes six or seven minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coconut oil and pepper. (If you want to throw in any of the other, optional seasonings, now’s the time. Aim for about a teaspoon each.)
- Let it cool, then pour it into a glass jar for storage.
Serving Golden Paste for Dogs:
This amount makes enough to fill a regular-sized mason jar (I like these ones) a little more than halfway. If you share it with your pup, like mixing it into your coffee or oatmeal or whatever, have multiple dogs, or love really big dogs, it’ll probably last about a week. OR if you have a small dog, don’t share it with your dog, or use it sparingly, it can keep in your fridge sealed in a glass jar for about two weeks.
As far as quantity/dosing, start small. It’s a strong flavor. A minuscule spoon mixed into your pup’s food is a great way to start. I’ve seen recommendations that generally fall in the range of 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per 10 pounds per day, so Coop weighs 50, which means he’d get upwards of 1.25 tsp per day. It doesn’t seem like much, does it? The flavor, though is super strong, so I’d recommend working up to that amount then dividing that total between meals.
One final note: It stains. #learnedthatlesson
Ta-da! Now you have a nice batch of golden paste for your dogs (and for you!)
Have you tried this? Or, if you haven’t, are you considering it? Did I leave you with any questions? Any experiences you’d like to share? I’d love to hear in the comments below!