Step Three: LifeExtend Method Nutrition


How can we reverse the dwindling spiral? Start feeding REAL food. I call REAL food anything that is less cooked, purchased at a grocery store, and still bears a resemblance of its former self. That means not processed. Saying that, I understand that everyone’s life may not allow the time needed to do home cooking, or the money to buy good packaged raw or dehydrated food. Then where does that leave you? Shopping for a BAKED kibble or good ingredient list of canned food.

I will stroll with you through some basic information that can help you in making better choices. One thing to keep in mind. The money you don’t spend now on good food you will spend later on veterinary bills. Why? Because you love your animals. And when that time of illness arises, you will spend mega dollars to try to save his or her life. So, let’s do that starting NOW!


The majority of kibble (dry food) is cooked through an extrusion method. Similar to the microwave, the extrusion process greatly reduces the nutritional value of the food. It cooks at a high temperature and steam for a short period of time in what is called an expander. Then the dough is forced or “extruded” though small holes called “die” which cut it into kibble pieces. This has to be done while the dough is still compact from the high pressure – otherwise the dough would puff up (like puffed cereal).
After the pieces are cut, they are dried, after which an enrobing process applies a fat/oil and then sprays on synthetic nutrients to replace those lost in the processing.

The early stages of this process are the same for baked dog foods. The ingredients for the food are mixed together. However, baked dog food does not use an expander and it is not cooked with steam or under pressure. Pet foods that are oven baked are typically baked more slowly in an oven. They are cooked for a longer period of time than extruded pet foods. They do not use steam or high temperatures.

Pet Food Processing – Transformations in Starch during Extrusion and Baking

This research article lays out why extruded diets (all kibble except where label explicitly says “baked”) add to the inflammatory state of dogs and cats. I have summarized it here but encourage you to read the entire article.


Gelatinization is an exothermic reaction of starch that occurs when it is exposed to heat and moisture at time intervals. This reaction causes a disruption of the crystalline structure, absorption of water, swelling, and raises the accessibility for digestion by enzymes like amylase. This increases starch digestibility but when eaten also raises glucose in the blood. This can be a factor as to why dogs and cats fed diets in this form over years, especially in excess, become obese and diabetic.

There is a unique phenomenon that occurs with the cooking or processing of starch that makes it potentially indigestible and it is called Amylose-Lipid Complexation (A-LC). The A-LC is a function of heat, moisture, content, type of starch, type of lipid, and degree of gelatinization. In processing, amylose traps lipids. Starch gelatinization traps lipids to amylose, reducing free fat availability. This can be good for the product, as it lowers rancidity and extends the shelf life, but not for the body.

When fresh meat versus meat meal is used in the food there is a much lower the A-LC score. Fresh meat will produce only 0-20% A-LC. Un-rendered fresh meat may be protected from thermal and mechanical conditioning, thereby preventing A-LC formation.

The extrusion process of making kibble raises the A-LC 90-100%, while baked kibble tested was less than 60%.

Diets high in starch are a nutritional problem for our pets. Excess starch erodes a pet’s health in subtle ways, including blood sugar spikes, digestion issues & dermatitis.

“Grain free” kibble can also have starch. Kibble using pea protein, sweet potato and quinoa may be termed “grain-free” but can also have high starch content. Raw diets and freeze-dried raw are one-sixth the starch content of kibble.

All but less than 10 brands of bagged dog food use what is called EXTRUSION processing. This type of food does several less than optimal things:

  • The high carbohydrate starch content drives obesity
  • The easily emulsified stomach gruel changes the normal digestive signals to liver, gall bladder, stomach, and intestines, altering absorption, intestinal lining continuity, and the microbiome
  • Many ingredients have been exposed to glyphosate. Here is a brief synopsis about round-up. [INSERT – Glyphosate in the Food Chain]. Shopping for organic ingredients will help reduce the presence of this chemical.
  • The end results are potential to become obese, develop pancreatic malfunction, endocrine disruption, indigestion, diarrhea, gas, leaky gut, immune dysfunction, inflammatory conditions, allergies, skin issues – over and over again

Sound like any pet you have known? If you are still certain that kibble is right for you and your dog, here are the 2020 top baked food brands. Not in any order but I have used and sold the first two.

  1. Lotus Oven-Baked Dry Food
  2. Stella & Chewy’s
  3. AvoDerm Oven-Baked Original Formula
  4. Leonard Powell Signature Series Oven-Baked Dinner
  5. Evolve Lamb & Rice Maintenance
  6. Cloud Star WellMade Baked Chicken Meal, Peas, & Lentils Recipe
  7. I and Love and You Baked & Saucy Beef & Sweet Potatoes
  8. Wellness TruFoods Baked Blends Adult 


The benefits of home cooking is key to those pets with digestive, immune, and skin problems. Eliminating additives, preservatives, chemicals, natural flavorings, reducing potential allergens, and selecting the ingredients you like to shop for can be the FIRST step toward a healthier body. Often reducing the need to use chemical drugs to abate a body reaction.

I can customize balanced recipes for your dog or cat. I can test for food allergens and you select from those safe ingredients which you know your pet likes best. There are many sites on the internet where you can find recipes as well. But in looking, some are good and others not so good, often leaving out the importance of an oil and a good multi-vitamin-mineral supplement. For those reasons I have included here a link to a veterinarian who has a great method of providing home cooked preparation meals.


The Original CrockPET Diet

What’s behind the science of The Original CrockPET Diet?

There are so many reasons homemade dog food and cat food is the healthiest option, the most important being that you know exactly what your pet is eating. The basis of your pet’s health begins with the food they eat, and ingredients truly matter. Controlling the ingredients of your pet’s food not only assures the quality of their diet, but their health as well.

While the importance of which ingredients go into your pet’s food is of the highest priority, it’s also vital to keep certain things out of their bowls. And it’s not just mysterious ingredients you’re protecting them from, it’s harmful chemicals, bacteria and other dangerous contaminants. Home cooking guarantees that you know what is in your pet’s food, but also what is not.

The food our pets eat can be the very best medicine, or a slow poison. Changing an animal’s diet can bring about a significantly positive change in their health, and their overall quality of life. Homemade pet food can actually function as true food therapy, and allows pet parents the opportunity to activate this healing lifestyle for their pets, right from their own home.<.
If you don’t have time to cook and are uncomfortable with raw, but would like the benefits that they offer there are several companies now providing home delivery on dry ice of whole food prepared diets, ready to serve. One company I like serving human-grade ingredients, lightly cooked then frozen so you can serve fresh, is They offer some coupons and discounts for first time orders. Look for the brand

Step One: LifeExtend Method Nutrition


Nutritionally we want to start with the water. Sounds simple. Fill the water bowl daily with fresh water from the faucet. Spoiler alert! If you didn’t already know, that water is contaminated. A friend of mine has dedicated his life to researching water all over the world. Please take some time to visit and The bottom line here is get a water purification system, not reverse osmosis and get better, safer hydration.



Increasingly, treatment for a host of conditions and ailments is based on electroceuticals rather than pharmaceuticals. Instead of prescriptions for chemical molecules, some doctors are prescribing specific frequencies, waveforms, and amplitudes for their patients. This is not science fiction—it’s happening right now.

It’s not really a stretch to see how this can be. Every day, car engines are started and doors are opened from a distance using a fob. This is made possible by matching frequency signals (waves) that are programmed to initiate a ligand–receptor type of reaction, allowing people to enter a warm space and be on their way. Photos and messages are relayed daily by the millions from one phone to another. Images and videos (waves, frequencies) travel through space, not getting crossed with others and reaching their intended destinations intact.

What Are Electroceuticals?

Simply, electroceuticals, which are sometimes called bioelectronics, are electric waveforms that stimulate the nervous system electronically and modify bodily functions. Waveforms, frequencies, and microamperes—collectively called microcurrent electrical therapy (MET) and cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES)—are being used to stimulate cell regeneration and treat injuries, acute and chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.1-6

MET and CES work because the nervous system and tissues function electrochemically and can be modulated readily by electrical intervention. Low-frequency current effectively targets cell receptors, activating them through frequency matching in a manner similar to that of chemical ligands.

The Pioneers

Robert O. Becker, MD, an orthopedic surgeon known as the father of electromedicine and electrochemically induced cellular regeneration, began studying electric current therapy in 1970. Fifteen years later, he demonstrated that electric current is the trigger that stimulates healing, growth, and regeneration in all living organisms. Signals come from an electric control system that he called the current of injury, which is conducted through Schwann cells and the myelin surrounding neurons.7

In 1980, Candace Pert, PhD, published her research on ligand–receptor binding, providing a new understanding of cellular physiology and the connection between mind and body.8 Bjorn Nordenstrom, MD, proposed a model of biologically closed electric circuits analogous to closed circuits in electronic technology. He postulated in 1998 that mechanical blood circulation is closely integrated anatomically and physiologically with a controlling bioelectric system.9

Taking the research findings of these and other pioneers, neurobiologist Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS—whose mentor was Dr. Becker—patented a unique waveform. He collaborated with engineer Raymond Chan to design medical devices for implementing pain and stress control technologies into clinical systems. His Alpha-Stim technology was the first dual electromedical device (MET and CES) to be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to market in 1981. Dr. Kirsch remains at the forefront of research in this field.2 Today, the Alpha-Stim and Fisher Wallace Stimulator (formerly Liss Cranial Stimulator) are the primary electroceutical devices on the market.

How Electroceuticals Work

Cells throughout the body manufacture peptides that act as ligands to surface receptors on other remote cells, communicating via the extracellular fluid and circulatory system. Cells within a specific organ or tissue system communicate through specific frequencies in the microamperage range, activating the current of injury and causing the system to tend toward homeostasis. Neuromodulation imparts an electric signal with a frequency that perfectly matches the receptors in the body to resonate and activate intracellular responses.

MET can act similarly to ligands in activating receptors to send their messages into cells and produce effects resembling a wide range of chemical messengers. MET can be viewed as a catalyst in initiating and sustaining the numerous chemical and electrical reactions that occur in the healing process. An effective biphasic, squared, long-pulse-width waveform in the microamperage range (1000 times less than that of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device and below sensation threshold) will use resonant frequencies to activate central pain modulatory mechanisms.

Early Research

As for many drugs, early research on MET and CES was conducted using animals. Once safety was established, the focus turned to human studies and clinical trials. Because the current is subsensory, it lends itself well to double-blind placebo-controlled crossover studies.

Animal studies in neurophysiology and electromedicine continue to yield new discoveries on the efficacy of this therapeutic approach. Measurements have shown that CES current across the head sends electric impulses through every area of the brain. CES directly stimulates the brain’s neuromatrix, including the limbic area, or emotion center, of the brain.10,11

Results of an experimental study in rats with CES documented as much as a 3-fold increase in beta-endorphins after only a single CES treatment.12 Results of a double-blind study looking at 33 behavioral traits in horses treated with CES showed that all the changes were highly intercorrelated and strongly indicated a reduction in the horses’ state of arousal following CES treatment that was not noted in the sham treatments (Box).13

Neurosurgeon C. Norman Shealy, MD, assessed beta-endorphin and serotonin levels in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) following a 20-minute session of CES and found that beta-endorphins measured 98% higher in plasma and 219% higher in CSF. Serotonin levels were 15% to 40% higher in plasma and 50% to 200% higher in CSF.14

Results from further research have shown the effectiveness of CES in treating fibromyalgia, posttraumatic stress disorder, spinal cord injury, cancer pain, and dental anxiety in humans.15-17 Results of low-resolution electromagnetic tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that select waveforms can reach most cortical and subcortical areas of the brain, thereby altering the brain’s emotional centers (ie, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, reticular activating system, cerebral cortex, and limbic system) where the amygdala controls the strength of emotional responses, especially for fear and anger.11

The sensation of pain is transmitted through the body along billions of nerve cells that are designed specifically to transmit messages through electrochemical signals. Physics controls chemical reactions in the body, and most bodily functions can be normalized electrically. It is the application protocol that affects the peripheral pain site directly and accesses the central nervous system by directing the current through the spine. Combining MET and CES addresses all 4 pain pathways: transduction, transmission, modulation, and perception.

The resultant central and peripheral effects of CES include calmness, relaxation, reduced agitation and aggression, stabilized mood, improved sleep, and reduced pain. Results will vary with the exact technology used, the pathology of the disease being treated, the overall health and hydration of the patient, and owner compliance. Patient history, prior medical interventions, previous injuries, and surgical scars can affect overall outcome as well.

Waveforms can be used effectively to activate the body’s natural electric impulses.

Use In Animals

CES and MET have been used extensively in the clinical setting for nearly 2 decades to initiate cellular regeneration and control not only acute and chronic pain situations, such as arthritis, spinal injury, nerve conduction deficiencies, cancer, sprains, strains, wounds, and surgical pain, but also such stress-related conditions as anxiety, insomnia, cognitive dysfunction states, noise phobia, and depression. Prescription MET and CES devices are long lasting, cumulative, safe, effective, easy to use, portable, and nonaddictive, and have no known tolerance concerns. Adverse effects are minor and self-limiting, primarily consisting of skin irritation.

Treatments can be applied in clinic by the technical team, and devices can be prescribed for use at home with a short in-clinic training session. Initially, the best results will be achieved when treatments are applied twice a day, but in-clinic treatments administered 2 to 3 times per week will also be beneficial. Follow-up patient assessment includes clinical observation, range of motion, change in posture, use of extremities, calmness, improved sleep, appetite, attitude, and behavior.


As an aid to endogenous bioelectric currents, electroceuticals can accomplish miraculous things. They may in fact work better in the absence of any interference from factors based on our previous, limited, chemical-dominant view of physiology. Today and in the future, disorders of both the body and mind might be better treated using a range of frequencies that have the potential to treat a variety of pathologies effectively without the risk of harmful adverse effects.

Dr. Frick is a leading authority in the application of microcurrent therapy for animals. Her focus on physiotherapy has spanned over 20 years and her research has been published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, Innovative Veterinary Care Journal, and the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.


  1. Frick A, McCauley D. Microcurrent electrical therapy. J Equine Vet Sci. 2005:418-422.
  2. Kirsch DL, Marksberry JA. The evolution of cranial electrotherapy stimulation for anxiety, insomnia, depression, and pain and its potential for other indications. In: Rosch P, ed.  Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2015: 189-211.
  3. Tan G, Rintala D, Jensen M, et al. Efficacy of cranial electrotherapy stimulation for neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury: a multi-site randomized controlled trial with a secondary 6-month open-label phase. J Spinal Cord Med. 2011;34(3):285-296.
  4. Taylor AG, Anderson JG, Riedel SL, et al. Cranial electrical stimulation improves symptoms and functional status in individuals with fibromyalgia. Pain Manag Nurs. 2013;14(4):327-335. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2011.07.002.
  5. Winick, Reid L. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES): a safe and effective low cost means of anxiety control in a dental practice. Gen Dent. 1999;47(1):50-55.
  6. Barclay TH, Barclay RD. A clinical trial of cranial electrotherapy stimulation for anxiety and comorbid depression. J Affect Dis. 2014;164:171-177. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.04.02.
  7. Becker RO. The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company; 1985.
  8. Pert CB. Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-body Medicine. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster; 1999.
  9. Nordenstrom BEW. Exploring BCEC-Systems (Biologically Closed Electric Circuits). Stockholm: Nordic Medical Publications; 1998.
  10. Jarzembski WB, Larson SJ, Sances Jr A. Evaluation of specific cerebral impedance and cerebral current density. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1970;170:476-490.
  11. Feusner JD, Madsen S, Moody TD, et al. Effects of cranial electrotherapy stimulation on resting state brain activity. Brain Behav.2012;2(3):211-220. doi: 10.1002/brb3.45.
  12. Krupisky EM, Katznelson YaS, Lebedev VP, et al. Transcranial electrostimulation (TES) of brain opioid structures (BOS): experimental treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) and clinical application. Presented at: Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting; November 10-15, 1991; New Orleans, LA.
  13. Clark N, Mills D, Marchant J. Evaluation of the potential efficacy of the Alpha-Stim SCS in the horse. Lincolnshire, UK; 2000.
  14. Shealy CN, Cady RK, Culver-Vehoff D, Cox R, Liss S. Cerebral spinal fluid and plasma neurochemical: response to cranial electrical stimulation. J Neurol Orthop Med Surg. 1998;18(2):94-97.
  15. Kolesos ON, Osionwo HO, Akkhigbe KO. The role of relaxation therapy and cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the management of dental anxiety in Nigeria. ISOR J Dent Med Sci. 2013;10(4): 51-57.
  16. Yennurajalingam S, Kang D-H, Hwu W-J, et al. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation for the management of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and pain in patients with advanced cancer: a preliminary study. J Pain Symptom Manag. 2018;55(2):198-206.
  17. Hare JP, Misialek LH, Palis K, Wong C. Using cranial electrotherapy stimulation therapy to treat behavioral health symptoms in a combat operational setting. Mil Med. 2016; 181(11):1410-1412.

Spud, A Dog Story – by Dr. Ava Frick

Spud, A Dog Story – by Dr. Ava Frick

Many of the animals I see are presented to me by their owners as a “last hope.” Because of the longevity in which I have practiced, not only as a traditional veterinarian but also in the arena of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, I can say my track record of being able to help and restore their hope is well above average. But then there are the times when even I am skeptical.

So, it was on October 24, 2017 when I see Spud for the first time. His folks had driven two hours with a desire to at least give him a shot at getting better. Their vet had suggested euthanasia because of his situation. Spud was only two years old and had recently suffered a T12-13 fibrocartilagineous embolism. FCE for short, at his 12-13th vertebral area. This is basically a stroke to the spine. The stroke happens fast leaving a dog unable to walk. Initially there is pain, but within a few days that dissipates and the dog does not worsen. They either start getting better, or they don’t. Often the injury is one-sided. In Spud’s case however, a 117 pound (not obese) energetic red Labrador mix, he was totally unable to use either rear leg.

He came into the clinic in burrito mode on a big blanket. His eyes were bright and he displayed a smile that went from ear to ear, but only half of his body would permit him to make a greeting common to this fella. Spud’s mere size presented a challenge not only to himself, but also to the ones needing to lift and shuttle him around. Fortunately, his Dad was in his forties and strong with a good back and we were hoping it would continue that way.

My focus was 2-fold:

  1. Get circulation directly to the traumatized area, reduce inflammation occurring to the nervous system, and help the body resorb or break up the fibrous tissue obstructing normal nerve function. My “secret weapon” for this, based on published research and my twenty years of using it, is Alpha-Stim® microcurrent therapy.
  2. There are not enough specific nutrients in any food these days to support organ and system function in the presence of stress, disease, injury, or toxins. Supporting the body and nervous system nutritionally becomes a key component to my success over the years with similar cases. Also, as Alpha-Stim microcurrent therapy is applied to the body, physiological changes will occur at the cellular level, and I want to be certain his cells can respond appropriately and with gusto, enabling optimal healing.

His folks agree to my recommended treatment plan. My technician shows them a video on how to do the Alpha-Stim treatment to his back and legs, then demonstrates while doing therapy and instructs them exactly how they will be applying this at home. Yes, Spud’s best chance to every walk again is with twice a day home treatments. An hour later they are leaving with a new plan and hope.

Nine days later I see them again. His improvements are minimal. Now I am a bit disappointed, but I remind them that we have not hit the 14-day ramp up time with the microcurrent. Everyone agrees to stay the course another fourteen days. Added to what they were already doing is an exercise program to stimulate peripheral awareness, tone, and paw extension in order to prevent the dreaded flexor tendon contraction that can happen when the feet are not being utilized.

I see them November 17th and now there is strength appearing and some effort to move the legs, especially the left one. They elect to do more home exercises but not continue the microcurrent treatments. When he returns December 22nd it is an early Christmas present. He was walking (of sorts) and could actually position his legs under his body to sit! The persistence of his folks to do what was prescribed along with their disagreement to believe that he could not get better and should be euthanized had paid off. They were ready to advance to a new exercise program and continue his road to recovery.

I did not see them again. But last week, 3 years later, I had a phone call from them regarding something else with Spud. I asked how he did navigating. Her reply was that he walks normally and the only time they are reminded of his early injury is if he gets really tired from a long weekend of play. There is always hope. And when you don’t give up you often find the answer you were looking for, “Yes, I can make him better.”