Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Einstein Reviews the Purina Garden Recipe Bird Diet

Purina has recently come out with a new line of parrot/bird food.  They sent me a PetSmart gift card to pick up a bag of the Parrot and Large Conure Mix and asked me to write a review. 

There are 4 different mixes in the line. 
Canary and Finch
Cockatiel and Lovebird
Parrots and Large Conure

Marcia had a hard time finding it on the shelf.  She had to look at a picture of the bag on her cell phone to identify the product on the shelf.  The sales person couldn't find it either and didn't even know it was new.  The 4 pound bag of food cost $18.39, including sales tax.

She brought it home and opened it up. Inside the bag was sunflower seeds, various pellets of different sizes, shapes, and colors and peanuts in the shell.  She poured about a 1/2 cup into my bowl.  I immediately began eating the seed and didn't stop. I ate every single seed, all the pretty little pellets were left in my bowl and I climb up on my perch to take a nap.  

Getting me to eat a new pellet could take weeks, if not months.  So, she was not surprised that I didn't eat them. I normally eat an organic pellet and the rest of my diet consist of fresh veggies, fruits, grains, and beans.  You can find more info about my diet here.  

Several things bothered Marcia in the list of ingredients.  

1) The amount of seed.  A small amount of seed in the diet is fine, but, this was just way too much and to convert a parrot to this diet from basically a whole food diet would be a step in the wrong direction.

2) The peanuts.  Peanuts in the parrot diet is very controversial and lets just say, I am not a peanut fan and would much rather have an almond or a pecan.

3)  These 3 ingredients:
       Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product
       Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract
       Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product
From the research Marcia did, these ingredients are used in dog food.  They are added to assist with digestion, they help simulate the natural bacterial and enzyme content in a dogs natural diet.  Excuse me, I'm a parrot!  I don't eat the same things that a dog would eat.  Why would I need this in my diet?

4) Menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite (source of vitamin K) - This ingredient is banned in human food. If humans can't eat it, I'm certainly not going to eat it!  I get my Vitamin K from leafy greens like spinach, collards, and kale.
5) Color Added (FDC Yellow #5, Blue #1, Red 3#, Red #40, Yellow #6) - No thanks, I prefer NO artificial color.
Here is the list of ingredients in the mix:
Safflower, Red wheat, White millet, Red milo, Rolled corn, Oat groats, Black oil sunflower seeds, Black stripe sunflower seeds, Whole corn, Soybean meal, Shelled peanuts, Wheat middlings, Split green peas, Ground corn, Whole peanuts, Flax seed, Calcium carbonate, Dehydrated carrot, Chili peppers, Dehydrated banana chips, Buckwheat, Salt, Dicalcium phosphate, Coconut oil, Soybean oil, L-Lysine hydrochloride, Algae meal, Potato protein, Ground oats, Wheat flour, dl-Methionine, Fructose, Ground raisins, Wheat germ, Dried egg product, Ground coconut, Ground dried papaya, Ground dried apricot, Ground dried banana, Ground dried sweet potato, Ground dried pineapple, Ground dried apple, Ground dried spinach, Ground dried broccoli, Ground dried carrots, Ground dates, Cane molasses, Choline chloride, Vitamin E supplement, Ascorbic acid (source of Vitamin C), Isoleucine, L-Threonine, L-Tryptophan, Biotin, Yucca schidigera extract, Zinc oxide, Manganous oxide, Calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, Niacin, Copper sulfate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Riboflavin supplement, Magnesium oxide, Ferrous sulfate, Vitamin D3 supplement, Beta carotene, Active dried yeast, Brewers dried yeast, Rosemary extract, Mixed tocopherols (a form of Vitamin E), Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Menadione bisodium sulfite complex (source of Vitamin K), Calcium iodate, Menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite (source of vitamin K),Thiamine mononitrate, Citric acid, Sodium selenite, Zinc sulfate, Cobalt carbonate, Cobalt sulfate. Color Added (FDC Yellow #5, Blue #1, Red 3#, Red #40, Yellow #6).
You can read more about the product on the Purina website.

If your parrot is currently on an all seed diet, I highly recommend you convert to an organic pellet and supplement with a whole foods diet rather than a pelleted diet full of seed. 

Rated: 2 Toes Down

* Disclosure: I received a free gift card from Purina to try their new Purina® Garden Recipe® bird food and treats. All opinions given are my own.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bibi the Bird Visits Einstein

A very special visitor stopped by the nest for a little visit!

Bibi the Bird!

I was so excited!  Bibi is a friend who lives with humans Greg and Kelly in Illinois. That's a long way from Texas! I found Bibi on the internet a long time ago when I started watching her web cam. See for yourself!  You can visit Bibi Here!

Not long ago Bibi and her humans decided it would be fun to take a Road Trip across the USA! They did a fundraiser on Kickstarter, bought an RV, loaded it up with a cage and perch and headed out for fun and adventure!

Bibi and I have a lot in common.  We are both African Grey Parrots and we love to talk and entertain humans!!! Just like me, you can find Bibi on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!
We had some Texas Bar-B-Q for lunch.  We both had chicken!  Yum!  and we had lots of Berries too!  Nutriberries!

We got along very well and had a lot to talk about.  I'm on my white perch and Bibi is on her purple perch.  Camera's were perched EVERYWHERE!  Can you count how many cameras are in the room?  1, 2, 3, 4!

We engaged in a lot of "Parallel Play"!  This is what human children do at the age of about 2-3 years old.  We observed each other and was aware of what the other was doing, but didn't we didn't play with one another.  We played independently!  I played with my bell and Bibi ate and played with a toy.   We were good Birds!

After lunch we relaxed and watched the the Life with Alex DVD.  Alex was our hero and our inspiration.  We miss Alex and this is a lovely movie about him.  Go here for more information and to purchase the DVD.

I really enjoyed Bibi's visit and I hope she comes to visit  again!  Watch this video and see how much fun we had together!

Safe Travels Bibi!  "I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!"

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Show business? or Monkey Business?

Recently I received an email from a reality TV show!  They wanted to talk about me being on their show! A cooking competition reality show!  OK! I'll bite! 

Marcia gave them a call. She spoke with one of the producers of the show. They had watched my video on YouTube of Marcia and me in the kitchen making a salad and thought it was very good.

Marcia had never watched this reality cooking show, named MasterChef, but she had heard of it. They discussed the idea of a "home video" of  us in the kitchen. Something to incorporate into the regular show. They wanted Marcia to come to Dallas for an interview and talk some more!  Marcia loves food and loves to cook! AND they were interest in ME!  What a perfect opportunity to talk about parrot nutrition, cooking for parrots, and parrot safety in the kitchen! (i.e. Teflon fumes, etc.) She was being invited to an open call audition with VIP status! WOW!  Let's Goooo! Weeeeeeee!

Marcia was required to bring a dish that best represented us. She prepared a Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Dressing.  It's sweet, nutty, and a little spicy! Just like us! Perfect!

Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Dressing
Recipe adapted from here.

1 cup white or red quinoa, cooked according to package. Let cool.
Add the following:
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped (may substitute any favorite nut, or hulled pumpkin seed or sunflower seed).
2 T. dried currants or raisins.
1 small apple, sliced into 1/8" wedges.
1/4 cup mint or arugula leaves, coarsely chopped.
For the dressing, combine:
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
1 T. finely chopped shallot
1 tsp. curry powder
2 T. lemon juice
Fresh ground pepper
Whisk in 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Toss into Quinoa mixture and stir.

Taste Tested and Approved!
Served on a Wing Plate!

Off to Dallas! 

Marcia arrived, salad packed and with an 11-page application in hand. She plated her dish along with about 40 other applicants all competing to get on the show.  A couple of people walked around the room tasting the dishes and asking questions. The two people who talked with Marcia seemed to be more interested in ME, than Marcia's cooking.  Then the interviewers made their decision. Marcia and only 4 other people were asked to stay and have a second interview! Everyone else in the room was sent home.  WOW!  YAY! Great Job Marcia!!!!!

The Second Interview

Marcia had to stand in front of 2 more interviewers and answer questions about food, and more questions about me were asked! Questions like, "What kind of food do you like to cook?" "Does Einstein always cook with you?" "Does Einstein learn words easily?" "What is your style of cooking?" "What does Einstein say?" "What does Einstein say about your cooking?"  She was dismissed and was told to wait for a decision in the hallway. The interviewer entered and told Marcia to come back the next day for an "on camera" interview! At this point, Marcia became very curious and decided to play along. Yes! She will do the camera interview!

Lights! Camera!
The on-camera interview went well.  Marcia was asked some food and cooking questions, and A Lot More questions about ME!!!  They told her she did a great job and were interested in her doing the next assignment.  They gave Marcia instructions to do the "home video".
BINGO! Great, she thought! Finally getting down to business!  But then... were we? It seems this was just another part of the "casting" process. Others who came that day for camera interviews were given the same assignment. Marcia was excited but confused? Something didn't seem quite right. This bothered her and she thought about it most of the night.

The next morning
Marcia and I decided to get on the internet and do some investigating.  She found this show's website and discovered they had some of their episodes on YouTube.  We began to watch. The first episode involved a lot of people preparing special dishes for a panel of judges. Based on how much the judges liked their food determined if they would move on to compete in the show that season.

As we watched, it quickly became clear that there were some amazing people! Some of them cooked amazing dishes, some of them had amazingly inspirational stories, some of them had quirky and bazaar behaviors or "props".

Mmmmmm, interesting we thought! Suddenly it all became very clear! They were interested in Marcia and me, but only as a gimmick! This is not what Marcia and I are about! It's bad enough that parrots are so misunderstood as companion animals. This doesn't represent who we ARE at ALL!!!

My mission statement
"To entertain and bring joy, to foster the human-parrot bond, and to convey that parrots are deserving of immeasurable amounts of patience, nurturing, and companionship."

Perhaps the first part "to entertain and bring joy" is fitting, but at what expense? We decided that nothing of value would really come of this experience. We sent them a nice email thanking them for their time and gracefully took our bow.

All in all, it was a fun and exciting experience, and one that reminded us of several life lessons.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
Trust your gut and that little voice inside of you!
To thy own self be true!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bubba and the Sweet Pea

Bubba and the Sweet Pea is a children's book, written by Gladys Bourtros who lives in Australia.  It is about her Sulfur Crested Cockatoo, named Bubba. Bubba was hatched with PBFD, (Psittacine beak and feather disease). He was a beautiful little guy with a personality and a zest for life like you couldn't believe!  In his 4 1/2 short years on this earth he took a wonderful journey and inspired his owner, Gladys Bourtros to write a book that will help so many.

"Bubba, a beautiful and magnificent cockatoo, is the show’s star attraction! But something very strange is happening…Bubba is losing his feathers!  With hope and courage, Bubba sets out on an unforgettable journey in search of Uriah the great Eagle, who has the power to grant any wish.  All Bubba has to offer Uriah is a humble sweet pea.Join Bubba on his amazing adventure in quest of his feathers, as he learns through his struggles and fears, what it means to be truly beautiful."                                                          ~From the Website
Gladys and Bubba battled this awful disease together. A disease that currently has no cure.  Their story is not about PBFD, it is a story about inner beauty and the power it has. This book and its message can help children who are challenged with issues of self worth. With so much emphasis on outward appearance, our children are rarely taught the importance of self esteem and inner beauty! In addition, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to raise awareness and funds for further research of Beak and Feather Disease and hopefully a cure.  

The book is illustrated beautifully by Andras Balogh. This book can be enjoyed by young and old alike, and the book makes a wonderful gift too! I just purchased a bunch to give as gifts to many of my young friends!  You may order the book here. Gladys can also be found on Twitter and Facebook, send her a "Like", and tell her Einstein sent you!