Golden Frog

Panama golden frog Atelopus zeteki

The Altos de Campana National Park is the only place in the world where the famous golden frog, Panama’s national symbol, can still live in its natural habitat.

Panama golden frog Atelopus zeteki
Atelopus Zeteki – Photo by Brian Gratwicke

Gandhi & Bhumi eating Papayas

Gandhi & Bhumi eating Papayas

An Owl visiting our Retreat Center

owl at vida lotus

More than a decade ago we began the construction of our wellness retreat center near Panama’s first national park. The first structure was a temporary one: a rather ugly square box built of marine-grade plywood with a tin roof. Inside was a massage table, a closet rod with hanging robes, a tiny desk and a yoga ball: the humble beginning of our healing center. The idea was that if anyone suffering with migraines visited our construction site before it was finished, we could help them immediately rather than asking them to wait for the completion of our project.

But our first guest didn’t suffer from migraines. Nor did she make a reservation through this Web site. But the visit was memorable nonetheless. It was this cute, friendly, baby owl.

Atrevida the cat eating Cantaloupe

atrevida the vegan cat anxious to eat cantaloupe hearts

Cats are natural carnivores so unlike humans, they have the instinct and all of the tools they need to hunt, kill and consume other animals without becoming ill themselves. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t get most or all of their nutrients from plant sources. In these two videos you’ll see how much our adopted kitty loves eating raw cantaloupe.

Gandhi eating rice and licking his plate clean

Homemade Plant-based Dog Food

The go-to plant-based meal for your pets is rice. It is easy to prepare, inexpensive, and can be used to get your furry friends to swallow all kinds of healthy vegetables that they otherwise wouldn’t care for. Gandhi has a big plate of rice almost every day. Some days he has two big plates of rice. Other days he has one big plate of rice, and another meal of raw fruit or cooked beans or vegetables. In any case, homemade vegan dog food is much healthier than store-bought food, which is normally made with low quality harmful ingredients, such as diseased animals. Even if you buy a vegan brand, it may contain colorants and preservatives, and it may be overly dry. No animal in the jungle opts for dry food, as this causes dehydration and may affect their health in other ways. When humans eat dry food, it accelerates ageing, as the dry food leaches water content from organs such as the skin, the bones and even the eyes, causing brittle bones, wrinkled skin, and vision impairment. In these two short videos, you will see Gourmet Gandhi eating a plate of rice, and licking his plate clean.

How to Prepare your Homemade Vegan Dog Food

Boil some water and add in the rice. Normally, you will use twice as much water as rice. For Gandhi, Bhumi and Tigrito, than means at least five cups of rice and ten cups of water, which requires a fairly large pot or cauldron. This amount will give both Gandhi and Bhumi two large plates of rice each, and one medium sized plate for Tigrito.

Add in your pets’ favorite spices. Our pets love cumin, as it has a sort of meaty stink to it. We also add a bit of Himalayan sea salt to ensure that our furry friends get the 84 minerals* that are found in Himalayan salt. We sometimes use curcumin for health reasons, but in small amounts because they don’t love its taste. You may want to use a mixture of spices such as Italian seasoning or ‘Montreal Steak Spice”, but if you use such a mixture, please read the label carefully to ensure it doesn’t contain Mono Sodium Glutamate or any other harmful neurotoxin.

Next, add in some finely chopped veggies from your fridge, even leftovers, to give them even more nutrients. The smaller you cut them, the more likely your dogs will slurp them up with the rice. If you add bigger pieces, they will pick and choose which ones they like to eat and leave the rest behind. For carrots or beets, we often use a grater or a peeler to ensure they get slurped up entirely.

Some days, we add in textured soy protein, which absorbs some of the water and takes on a texture similar to chicken or beef. Sometimes we add chia seeds or hemp seed hearts to give our pets some Omega 3.

* The 84 minerals found in Himalayan salt are: Oxygen, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Sodium, Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Cobalt, Iodine, Hydrogen, Carbon, Fluoride, Cadmium, Palladium, Aluminum, Chromium, Nickel, Silicon, Silver, Vanadium, Lanthanum, Gallium, Rubidium, Indium, Arsenic, bromine, antimony, ruthenium, rhodium tellurium, scandium, titanium, cesium, barium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, hafnium, tantalum, tungsten, rhenium, osmium, iridium, platinum, gold, mercury, thallium, lead, bismuth, polonium, astatine, francium, radium, actinium, thorium, protactinium, rubidium, strontium, yttrium, zirconium, niobium uranium, tin, neptunium and plutonium.