Black Foot Raw

Nature’s Bench

Fermented Purees – Creating Ancient Guts


Long lasting health begins in your pet’s gut!


If our goal is to cultivate optimal health in our pets, then every pet’s parent’s focus must be turned to their pet’s microbiome. Just like us, our pets contain a vast and complex array microorganisms that in-and-of-themselves make up its own distinct system. The amount of genetic information contained within the microbiome is immense. But what is most incredible is the relationship that your pet shares with his / her microorganisms. The microbiome is teeming with bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are essential for the correct and peak functioning of digestion, immunity and brain function.


In fact, there is emerging evident that what we eat, the microbes living in our gut, and our brains are interconnected. The nerves in our digestive tract, also known as the enteric nervous system, communicate with the brain through neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. It turns out that the gut microbes produce quite a lot of these neurotransmitters, which can affect our mood and behaviors. What we eat affects the composition of the gut bacteria, and these bacteria can then communicate back to the brain. This system is known as the gut-brain axis. So yes, fermented foods affect both physical and mental health.



Home Fermentation


Purees are not just super duper nutritious. The microbes help to cleanse the gut of any bacteria, eliminating any lingering doubts as to whether your food might be infested with bacteria. So, other than double freezing, we produce the probiotic supplement which cleanses the gut.


By experimenting with kombucha (fermented organic decaffeinated green tea), raw cultured whey, beet kvass, fermented sardines and kefir, we have created our own category and became one of the first fermented raw pet food supplier in the pet industry. It is not a random thing we are making. Remember, beyond the basic nutrient needs, bacteria is the number 1 missing ingredient in pet foods.


Cats tend to consume the whole of a small prey like a mouse, with its tiny amount of fermented stomach content. I have also seen cats eat the stomach content of a larger prey like rabbits. These natural supplements would be an extraordinary probiotic boost for the cat as the stomach content of a herbivore, such as a mouse or rabbit, contains fermented vegetable matter that is a mix of symbiotic bacteria and volatile fatty acids.


So, for a cat, the consumption of fermented gut content from a mouse or rabbit aids in the management of the cat’s own intestinal flora, including preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and producing vitamins for the host such as biotin and vitamin K. Also, the vegetable material serves as prebiotics for the probiotics to thrive (think of it as prebiotics providing a nice habitat with abundant food for probiotics to thrive in).


But first, to make vegetables palatable, we got to simulate the gut content of a prey. Our approach is to take a vegetable chock-full of vitamins and other nutrients and turn it into a puree. It would certainly become much more appealing to the cat, with the nutrients being much more bioavailable as well.


We understand that since the digestive tract is so short for a carnivore, we need the broccoli to be pre-digested for it to be absorbed into the body so readily. This is where fermentation comes in. We may not have stomach juice as an ingredient but we can ferment broccoli readily by blending it into a puree first and fermenting it.  After fermentation, we can add other good stuff like crushed flaxseeds and crushed black soldier fly larvae. The end result would look like this:



Notice the partly ‘digested’ larvae in the green pulp. This might have taken us a couple of days to ferment the puree but it took Shasha and Anya less than a few minutes to polish everything up.


Shasha and Anya had so much fun eating the food that we came up with more formulae to improve the microbial profile of pets. Using kefir is good, because of all the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains it contains. But a lot of colonies would be eradicated in the highly acidic stomach of your pet. What if we could create a hospitable environment for these microbes to thrive?


Enter bacillus subtilis (Thor, in our previous article), also known as the natto strain, the latest superstar in the realm of probiotics. As mentioned in an earlier post, not only does this microbe convey tremendous health benefits like boosting immune activity, protecting the body from pathogens, it is also associated with longevity. Just look at the Japanese who eat natto every day.



And lest we get carried away, the bacteria also creates an anaerobic environment in the gut so the other beneficial probiotic strains can thrive better. Why not then? I thought. Why not make our cats eat natto? I know, at first blush, this sounds stupid, but if you pause to truly think about it seriously, you’ll realise that it still makes no sense whatsoever. For a start, it would be damn near impossible to teach our pets to use chopsticks. And even if they managed to eat natto without chopsticks, those nuisance sticky strands from the natto would be dragged all over the house. Shasha would take forever trying to clean herself up.


Far better then, to introduce bacillus subtilis into another puree… maybe red cabbage, for its various obvious health benefits. This turned out to be far trickier and it would be weeks before we managed to see some signs of success as we used a unique fermentation process that created natto milk, natto yogurt, natto froyo, natto cheese and, yes, you’ve read this right, natto ice cream, and various other delicacies which we all threw away because they made us puke. But the cats loved the natto red cabbage puree, and that’s the important thing. We’ll never really know that for sure of course.


But I’ve got a gut feeling.