Spring Mix and Spinach

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Yvonne G

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I never could understand why so many of you talked about removing the spinach from the spring mix...that is, until today.

Yesterday when I went shopping, the store didn't have the large tubs of Earthbound Farms spring mix, so I was forced to buy a smaller tub of Fresh Express. When I went to feed it to my babies this a.m. I see appx. 4 leaves of spinach to every 1 leaf of something else. I think if I were to sift through the box and remove all the spinach I would be left with about an eighth of a box of good greens!

So I guess the moral to the story is, it depends upon what brand you buy whether or not there is too much spinach in it. Earthbound Farms doesn't have much at all...in fact, since the e coli scare last year, there's none in it. I never removed the spinach from Earthbound Farms because there just wasn't enough in there to worry about!
 

tortoisenerd

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I love to get the Trader Joes Spring Mix because it doesn't have Spinach. The Costco one I get has very little Spinach. I tried to buy Spring Mix at Safeway once and all three brands were at least 50% Spinach! Yes, the Spring Mix ingredients vary based on season. Also, what they list is the max of what they put in. They can't put anything else but they list, but just because it is listed doesn't mean it is included. So, you may think what you are buying has 8 greens in it, but it could only have 4. Best to know how to identify the different types so you know what you are feeding your tort, and what you are getting for your money.
 

Madkins007

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Spring mixes contain so much I would wonder if all of it is spinach or if some of it is arugula/rocket or a similar leaf? I'd also bet that since the labels rarely state percentages, that they just mix up whatever they have.
 

Lori J

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Wait a second...I bought Spring Mix..do I have to remove Spinach? Can't RT eat spinach? Im confused here...
 

sammi

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I think just certain mixes contain more spinach than others. That with a combination of it being in season. I don't pick it out unless I see a ton of it.
 

Yvonne G

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Lori J said:
Wait a second...I bought Spring Mix..do I have to remove Spinach? Can't RT eat spinach? Im confused here...

Spinach binds the calcium to it and the calcium is excreted in the feces. So even though its a healthy food, its not good to feed them too much of it.
 

tortoisenerd

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Madkins007 said:
Spring mixes contain so much I would wonder if all of it is spinach or if some of it is arugula/rocket or a similar leaf? I'd also bet that since the labels rarely state percentages, that they just mix up whatever they have.

Learn to identify the leaves so you know what you are getting for your money. Some brands are more "junky" than others--you know the ones with a bunch of spinach, or all romaine, etc. They do just mix up whatever they have, what they can grow that season. Google image search all the ingredients listed on the bag, and then go through and identify them. Great learning experience. I also did this with all the greens I buy so I know for sure I'm getting what it is labeled as (I have seem stuff labeled wrong before and let them know, lol). Or, sometimes, they will just say "greens", and not the type. Best wishes.
 

Madkins007

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tortoisenerd said:
Madkins007 said:
Spring mixes contain so much I would wonder if all of it is spinach or if some of it is arugula/rocket or a similar leaf? I'd also bet that since the labels rarely state percentages, that they just mix up whatever they have.

Learn to identify the leaves so you know what you are getting for your money. Some brands are more "junky" than others--you know the ones with a bunch of spinach, or all romaine, etc. They do just mix up whatever they have, what they can grow that season. Google image search all the ingredients listed on the bag, and then go through and identify them. Great learning experience. I also did this with all the greens I buy so I know for sure I'm getting what it is labeled as (I have seem stuff labeled wrong before and let them know, lol). Or, sometimes, they will just say "greens", and not the type. Best wishes.

Or, do like I do and avoid the stuff other than using it as a low nutrient filler.
 

Tom

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How about just buying two or three heads of whatever looks good, instead of a pre-packaged, much more expensive "spring mix". This is what we did back in the old days, before there was such a thing as "Spring Mix".

If you buy two or three different leafy greens each time you go, you'll get a much better variety anyway. I used to buy a bunch of spinach about once a month or so back before I switched to the free weeds and grass that I use now. Worked for me back then.

If somebody asked me what to feed their tortoise, store bought foods and spring mix would be pretty far down the list. I realize its convenient and sometimes, that's all you've got, but there are much better alternatives.
 

webskipper

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The commissary was out of the organic spring mix so I did get the brand Yvonne mentioned. I use Spring Mix as my staple food and add other various fresh greens to it as the week progresses and there is room in the gallon tupper.

A Restaurant trick to keeping lettuce crisp longer is to keep it in the fridge, soaking in water.
 

tortoisenerd

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I think I get the best variety buy always feeding spring mix as about 50% of the diet (I even rotate brands, so I get up to 10 different greens with this), plus 1-2 heads of other greens a week (rotating through about 10) as about 40%, plus Mazuri or Grassland for about 5%, plus treats like pumpkin, squash, or cactus for about 5%. If I only rotated through the greens, but added some to my list of about 10 since I would then buy some of the greens in spring mix, it would be less variety. The organic spring mix I get from Costco or Trader Joes is actually cheaper than the organic greens per pound! I don't have a yard and tried twice to grow stuff and failed, so yes, this is my second choice diet so I'm trying to do it the best I can. Money isn't as much of an object for me, but waste is, as I tend to throw out way more than half of the bunches of greens I buy, either because it is the stem part, or my tort doesn't eat them. I haven't heard anyone come up with a better store-bought solution than what I'm doing (which was modified from what advice I got on the forum--it's not like I came up with it myself). Trying to grow food was a very expensive endeavor for me between the trays, organic potting soil, seeds, and not getting more than a few handfuls of sprouts out of it after spending all the money.
 

TortoisesRock!

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My Russian, Franklin, doesn't like spring mix. Suprisingly spinach was one of the few things he did eat from it! I've switched to collards and the occassional green bean! And of course, dandelions!
 

tortoisenerd

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So are you feeding only the two greens, collards and dandelions? If so, 1) that isn't near enough variety and 2) both are high in oxalic acid which binds calcium and can cause many other problems like urates and stones. I would keep some of the diet the greens with oxalic acid (collards, dandelion, mustard, radish, watercress etc), and others that are lower (turnip, lettuces). Can you find other chemical free safe weeds besides the dandelions, or grow your own? I'd never feed a tort green beans as they are starchy. What about safe treats like edible flowers, squash or pumpkin, etc? I would try some different brands of spring mix with different greens. I have never heard of a tort not liking the yummy baby lettuces in it so I wonder if you've tried it more than once and/or more than once brand. Stuff like endive and frisee are favorites too.
 

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The oxalic acid content of collards is 0.07 mg per 100 grams of food. The content of commercial (Italian) dandelion leaves is 0.02. These are pretty low concentrations.

The levels of other foods mentioned, in rates of mg/100 grams of food are...
- Turnip greens, 0.05
- Lettuce, Escarole or Endive, 0.03
- Lettuce, Greenleaf, >0.01
- Mustard greens, 0.01 (this is a 'brassica', most of which are low in oxalates)
- Watercress, 0.01
- Spinach, 0.68

Please note that there is a lot of confusion over oxalates. The levels in cooked foods are a lot higher (and are often the posted numbers), and different parts of the plants have different levels, dandelion stems, for example, have that white juice- which is almost pure oxalates.

It should also be noted that one of the top veterinary sources for reptiles, Mader's "Reptile Medicine and Surgery" does not contain any warnings against oxalates and suggests that dehydration is the key to bladder stones, etc. This mirrors the advice regarding oxalates for humans.

This is my favorite article on this topic: http://oxalicacidinfo.com/
 
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