Q & A: August 28, 2011

Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A!Every Sunday, I answer your questions. I’ll answer as many questions as I can each week. If I didn’t answer your question this week, please check back next week.

Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A!Every Sunday, I answer your questions.  I’ll answer as many questions as I can each week. If I didn’t answer your question this week, please check back next week.

1. Question: Finding a Doctor in California?

Hi Cheeseslave- I posted a question your wall but wanted to send you a more detailed inquiry.  I have a very good friend whose sister lives in Los Gatos and is battling breast cancer.  I’m not real clear on all the details, but she was first diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, it was treated, and she was clear.  However, it recently returned and is not looking hopeful.  She has been in the ER and the ICU a couple times in the last couple months (most recently just ended up there), and the current plan is to stabilize her so they can try starting chemo again next week.

I don’t pretend to know everything, and treating cancer involves a lot of hard decisions by the person dealing with it, but knowing how much pain she’s dealt with and how sick she’s been, I have to imagine that her body is pretty wrecked at this point, and the thought of starting chemo again just makes me cringe.

She did recently start going to Stanford, and there was talk of trying to get her into MD Anderson, but it sounds like for now she will be staying in CA.  Her brother and I have talked a little about this, and while they recognize the need to find a great doctor, it’s so difficult to even know where to begin, and to be honest, I have no idea either.  I know that if I were in their shoes I would immediately try to find a doctor who believes in a more natural approach, but again, how on earth do you find someone good?  Especially when the cancer is this progressed and needing to take a very aggressive approach?

I guess I was just wondering if you might have any suggestions?  Thanks so much!!!



There are some oncologists who are saving lives in this country — I don’t know of any in California however. (Maybe someone can comment below.) I have a friend here in California who was diagnosed with breast cancer recently. She chose to work with Dr. Nicholas Gonzales in New York City.

Dr. Gonzales has spoken at the Weston A. Price Foundation annual conference for the past two years (see video clip below). You can order the complete lectures online.

If it were me, I might also look into working with Dr. Burzynski who practices in Houston, Texas. I don’t know much about his protocol but he seems to have great results.

2. Question: Good List of Fertility Foods?


I’ve seen you mention eating lots of fertility foods.  Do you have a good list of the best foods for both mom and dad? (And if I’ve missed a post, I’m sorry!!!)



I’ve been meaning to write a post like this. This is the diet I follow for fertility, pregnancy and nursing: Weston A. Price Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers.

This diet includes:

Cod liver oil
High-vitamin butter oil
Grass-fed butter and cream
Raw, whole grass-fed milk
Pastured eggs, including the yolks
Liver and other organ meats (kidneys, heart, bone marrow, pancreas, brains, glands) from animals on pasture
Bone broths used in soups, stews, gravies and sauces (chicken broth, beef broth and fish broth) — click here for my homemade chicken broth recipe; click here for my homemade beef broth recipe; click here for my homemade fish stock recipe
Seafood, and particularly shellfish (especially mollusks such as oysters and mussels) and fish eggs (such as salmon roe)
Healthy fats including coconut oil.
Fresh and fermented fruits and vegetables
Fermented drinks and condiments (kefir, sour cream, fermented fish sauce) — where to buy fermented drinks; click here for my homemade kefir recipe; click here for my homemade fish sauce recipe
Soaked and/or fermented whole grains — where to buy grains

I also like to include natto with raw egg yolks and naturally fermented kimchi at least a couple times a month. Natto is very high in vitamin K2, and it’s also a fermented food.

3. Question: Best Real Foods Or Supplements That Would Give Us Good Doses Of Vitamin B complex, Zinc, and Vitamin E?


Thank you so much for what you are doing to get out the word about WAPF. It’s because of the information I found from your site that we have radically changed our diets, which has changed our lives. Thank you!

Anyways, my question is about what are the best real foods or supplements that would give us good doses of Vitamin B complex, Zinc, and Vitamin E? The specific vitamin B’s they mentioned were PABA (Para-Amino Benzoic Acid), Biotin (also known as vitamin H), Inositol and Chorine or Choline (I think there was a misspelling in the article).

The last two they said could be found in Lecithin. What is Lecithin, and how do you get it in your diet (or is it even good for you? I know soy lecithin is bad.)?

I read somewhere that these things can help prevent or reverse gray hair and balding. I’m not too concerned about gray hair, as I think it’s a natural aging process, but I am concerned that we might not be getting enough of these vitamins. My husband and I are only in our 30’s, with plenty of white/gray hair, and not sure if this is normal. Do you know anything about this?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this.



It is always better to eat food than take supplements.

Liver contains all of the B vitamins. It also contains lots of zinc and beef liver has vitamin E. (Source)

Whole grains are also a great source of B vitamins. Other sources include: fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seafood and organ meats (see liver above). (Source)

Vitamin E can be found in unrefined vegetable oils, butter, organ meats, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables. (Source)

According to Wikipedia:

Lecithin is a generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues, and in egg yolk, composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipids (e.g., phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylinositol).

Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents. (Source)

Hi Ann Marie,

Do you know if sweet ripe plantains (with brown spots) are GAPS legal? I assume they are because ripe bananas are okay, but plantains seem quite a bit starchier. If so, plantains fried in coconut oil are an absolutely delicious alternate to french fries and are great with homemade guacamole or a spicy honey yogurt dipping sauce.

Thank you for your help!



I am not completely certain but I do not believe that plantains are legal on the GAPS diet. I do not have definitive word on this but I am basing my guess on the fact that plantains are, as you say, starchier than bananas. In my mind they are somewhere between a banana and a potato.

My housekeeper is from Honduras and she told me that if you don’t have plantains for frying, you can use green (unripe) bananas, which of course are not legal on GAPS either. I’d avoid plantains on the GAPS diet.

5. Question: Beneficial For My Baby To Have Cod Liver Oil When He Is Ready To Start Solid Foods?

I have been wondering if it would be beneficial for my baby to have cod liver oil when he is ready to start solid foods. Do you have any information about when it is advisable to start a baby on cod liver oil (I use Green Pastures brand)? What about high vitamin butter oil? I buy the combo for the rest of the family.



It is recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation to start babies on cod liver oil at 4 months of age. The high-vitamin butter oil is a good idea, too.

6. Question: Is It Normal To Gain Weight In The Beginning Since Adding Coconut Oil To The Diet?


I’ve been enjoying your blog especially in the last 2 weeks as I’m trying to soak up all your healthful, wealth of knowledge. Such a great blog you have! I learned about all the benefits of raw milk and coconut oil a couple years ago, but just within in the last 2 weeks I’ve gotten more serious about implementing them into my (and husband’s) diet.

My question for you… Is it normal to gain weight in the beginning since adding coconut oil to the diet? I have jumped quite a few pounds rapidly. I’m about 5 pounds heavier than I was last week and never gained weight like this before.  I’ve never had a weight problem and started out at 135. Now I’m 140. We haven’t cut out all carbs or changed everything in our diet, but we do not eat any processed foods, junk, etc.  We do have a sweet treat here and there. The only thing I’ve changed is add maybe 2 tablespoons a day of virgin coconut oil by eating on spoon and cooking with and also drink raw milk. I’m not a huge milk person so some days I don’t have any. I love all the benefits of coconut and want to continue, but am scared I won’t be able to lose the weight. Any help would be great!

Thanks for your time,


There are a lot of different theories floating around right now about weight loss. Some people would say that consuming an extra 2 tablespoons of coconut oil would make you gain weight due to the extra calories.

For example, the calories-in-calories-out theory would have you believe that eating more calories automatically makes you gain weight. A couple of tablespoons of coconut oil equals about 200-250 calories. A cup of whole milk is another 150 calories. So let’s say you added 350 calories per day to your diet. According to this theory, it takes 3,500 calories in excess to put on a pound. So that would mean it would take you 10 days to gain one extra pound.

Sure, you might be eating other things that you don’t normally eat, like more butter, more cream, etc. But even then, it’s hard to believe that you could have eaten 17,500 extra calories in addition to your normal caloric intake in the past week. Which is what would be required to gain 5 pounds (3,500 x 5 = 17,500) according to this theory. You would have had to more than double your calorie intake. Clearly, there are some holes in this theory.

There are other theories that it’s not the calories but rather the food that makes you gain weight. Tim Ferris, who wrote the new bestseller, The Four Hour Body, maintains that people can eat lots of fat and not gain weight, but drinking milk will pack on the pounds. I followed the 4 Hour Body diet for a couple of months this spring (read my posts: here and an update post here). On this diet, you eat a lower-carb meal plan of mostly meat, fish, beans, and non-starchy vegetables for 6 days a week. Cottage cheese is allowed in moderation but milk and cheese are not. You can eat all the fat you like but you cannot eat grains or other starches (no rice, potatoes, bread, etc.).

For me, this diet really worked to take off the extra pounds. I lost a total of about 15 pounds. One thing that was really interesting to me was that that after my weekly “binge days,” I’d normally gain anywhere from 3-4 pounds. Then I would return to my Four Hour Body diet and then pounds would come right off again in a matter of days. This happened every week. (More evidence that the calories-in-calories-out theory is bogus.)

Was it mostly water I was retaining? I don’t know. Ferris asserts that milk has lots of sugar (lactose) and that is why it makes you gain. He says you can eat as much coconut milk or coconut oil as you like.

Another thing I think about… before I got pregnant and had a baby, I was in my mid-thirties and I was quite thin. I was a size 6 standing 5’5 or 5’6, weighing between 125-130 pounds. In order to maintain that weight of 125-130 pounds, I typically only ate 1-2 meals per day instead of 3. I never ate breakfast unless you count multiple cups of coffee with lowfat milk and the occasional Pop Tart. Lunch was a sandwich or salad and dinner was often just some cheese and crackers. I drank caffeine all day long and I smoked (not heavily; a few cigarettes a day) — both appetite suppressants.

Now, after losing my excess baby weight (the 15 pounds I lost on 4 Hour Body,) I weigh between 140-145 pounds. I still think I am too fat because I can’t get into my old Rock & Republic jeans. But my friends, particularly my old girlfriends I haven’t seen in a while, say they think I look great. They say my boobs are bigger, they say I look more curvy, and they say I look healthier. I also notice since I quit drinking caffeine, I have my hunger back. I am hungry for breakfast, lunch and dinner now. Maybe I was hungry all along and I was just starving myself. I was definitely malnourished:  I had frequent cavities, my teeth were turning brown in spots from decay, I had dark melasma spots all over my face, and I had a chip in my front tooth. (All of those things have since disappeared — the chip in my tooth even filled in and my melasma is gone.)

So, is it worth it to maintain an unnaturally low weight? I don’t think so. I think maybe our idea of what is healthy and what is attractive is what is skewed. I’d rather have a few extra pounds and feel great, enjoy my food and be healthy.

I think my biggest problem now is just overeating. I got in the habit of overeating when I was pregnant (it was the only thing that worked to stop the nausea; I think I was probably nauseous due to nutritional deficiencies). I still overeat. Not anywhere near like I used to, but I still do. I’ll eat dinner and then eat chocolate and drink too much wine. I believe this is also due to nutritional deficiencies, particularly neurotransmitters in my brain. I’m currently following Julia Ross’s amino acids protocol outlined in her book,
The Mood Cure, to eliminate the cravings and urge to overeat. I’ve been following her plan for a few weeks now and so far it’s working — I’ve cut my wine intake down by one-half to two-thirds and, while my cravings have not yet gone away, I’m making progress.

7. Question: Advice On Children’s Swollen Tonsils?


Thank you for all the work you do in posting yummy, nourishing recipes and helpful, health information.  I have learned a lot through all your posts but especially by reading your Q and A’s.

My question is: My two daughters (ages 6 and 4) have enlarged tonsils that practically touch each other in the back of their throats.  Their tonsils never get infected or bother them other than some snoring by the 6 year old and serious snoring by the 4 year old.  We have been on our Nourishing Traditions eating journey for less than a year and have seen great progress in the 4 year old’s health like her eczema going away, less seasonal allergies and some good growth in inches and pounds!  I do believe her taste buds have acclimated to healthier food!

Anyways, we have recently taken out all pasteurized dairy out of their diets because I read somewhere on the Weston Price website about some people having success with shrinking enlarged tonsils that way. We still do raw dairy. I am wondering if baking with a little raw milk or whey in a recipe will ruin my efforts. They miss melted cheese and I was wondering if melting cheese on a pizza denatures the milk proteins or whatever it does to make it hard to digest.

We have noticed a slight improvement in size of their tonsils and degree of snoring and they have been pasteurized-dairy-free since July 4th of this year.  How long do you think I should try this for based on your reading and experience?  My 4-year-old still experiences some seasonal allergies (runny or itchy nose) and so I was wondering if we should try to take gluten out of her diet or just give this healthy eating a few more months first?  Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this, I appreciate it!



While pasteurized milk is never recommended, pasteurized cheese or butter or cream are okay if raw cheese, butter or cream cannot be obtained, or if budget is an issue. Avoiding pasteurized dairy is not necessary (with the exception of milk) unless there are digestive issues, in which case it is necessary to heal the gut. Also, melted cheese is not the same thing as pasteurized dairy. It’s totally fine to eat raw cheese that has been melted.

According to my dentist, Dr. Raymond Silkman, DDS, the problem is not that the tonsils are too big but rather the face and jaw is too small:

As I mentioned, the soft tissues of the body grow to their genetic size, even when the bony structures do not. The skin, the tongue, the tonsils and the nasal tissues grow to their genetic size but when the nutrition is missing, the bony structures are compromised. So the face will have an excess of skin and musculature, the tongue and tonsils will be too large for the mouth. (Source)

Silkman goes on to say that while in most cases, tonsils are not too large but rather the face is too small, tonsils can become swollen due to allergies:

About 85 percent of the children I see in my practice have extremely large tonsils and do you think they can breathe very well? It is not possible to breathe very well when tonsils, which are typically supposed to be almost unnoticeable, are so inflamed that they are almost touching and practically closing off the airway in the back of the throat, right where air is supposed to pass on its journey towards the lungs.
These structures also become swollen due to food allergies, especially allergies to pasteurized dairy. Every time I’ve had a kid and a mom convinced that they should stop everything pasteurized and processed and then eventually go to raw dairy products I have seen some reduction in tonsillar size, although this doesn’t happen overnight.

The fact that your 4-year-old is experiencing seasonal allergies, that is most likely due to a damaged gut and abnormal gut flora. That said, it is not enough to remove gluten and pasteurized dairy. She needs therapeutic-grade probiotics and fermented foods to restore good gut flora, plus lots of bone broth to help rebuild the gut lining. I recommend the GAPS Diet. This diet would help your older child as well, as it not only helps to reverse food allergies, but it will also improve absorption of nutrients. It is also important to do an elimination diet (i.e. the GAPS intro diet) to determine exactly what we are allergic to. If it turns out that your daughters are not allergic to any foods, then you will find that out very quickly. If you reintroduce foods and they do not react, there is no reason to avoid them.

That said, there are two necessary steps here. The first is healing the gut (which will improve absorption,) and the second is to increase fat-soluble activators and minerals in the diet. It is the fat-soluble activators, vitamins A, D & K2, as well as minerals like calcium, that will give the body what it needs to build strong bones and teeth.  I would increase their intake of fermented cod liver oil, high-vitamin butter oil (when tolerated,) organ meats, fish and shellfish (particularly mollusks,) healthy fats like grass-fed ghee and coconut oil, lots of fermented foods (and a good probiotic) and bone broth.

Lastly, there is a third step I’d take if I were you. I would find a holistic dentist and see if he or she recommends a palate-widening expander appliance to assist in widening your children’s jaws. (See the question below about widening palates using dental appliances.)

8. Question: Thoughts On Agave Nectar?

I have a question about agave nectar. From what I’ve read on many real food blogs and the Weston A. Price Foundation website, agave nectar is something to avoid. However, I have a friend who uses it and when I questioned her about it, she said that as long as you buy the cold-pressed, unrefined agave nectar, it’s safe. Is she right?



You are correct that most agave nectar is bad for you. I emailed Annette Fischer, owner of Wilderness Family Naturals on Friday to ask her this question, because I know she told me once that they do still sell agave nectar, but that theirs is made differently, which is why they sell it.

From what I understand, the problem with most agave nectar on the market is that it is highly refined. This is not the case with the Wilderness Family Naturals brand agave nectar.

I figured Annette wouldn’t be online over the weekend but I will update this post when I hear back from her.

9. Question: Is There A Way To Test Raw Milk For Disease On My Own?


First off, thanks for all you do. Also, I am so sorry to hear that your LA WAPF Leader was arrested due to selling raw milk — it is truly sad that it is turning out this way.

I have finally found a lead on farmer that has raw milk in my area (Norway) and might sell to me. So to my question… is there a way to test the milk for disease on my own. I know that the animals are taken care of well since my friend has a farm near there and tells me so, but would like to test for TB or other things that could show up in the milk. Do you know of anything like this?


Med vennlig hilsen,


I don’t know about doing testing on your own. I’m sure Norway requires certain testing. Perhaps you could call and ask what the tests are that are required?

Also, click here to see a list of questions you want to ask a raw milk dairy farmer.

10. Question: Supporting Seeds Of Change?


I am curious why you and the other members of Real Food Media support Seeds Of Change even though they are now owned by M&M Mars. Are they still responsible enough to be considered trustworthy? With so many wonderful small localized organic seed companies, why list them on your resource page?




I personally oversee the advertising on Real Food Media blogs and I approve all advertisers. The listings on our resources pages are paid advertisements. We choose to work with companies we believe in. We do have other organic seed companies as sponsors, including Terroir Seeds.

Seeds of Change seeds are organic. Seeds of Change is committed to organic gardening and their mission is to help promote more organic gardens, which is why we chose to work with them. These facts don’t change just because they are now owned by M&M Mars.

If you know of some reason why we shouldn’t be working with Seeds of Change, or any of our other sponsors, please let me know.

Hi Ann Marie,

I’m wondering if you can help me with a question I have been seeking the answer to no avail.

All my life I’ve had straight teeth. I never had braces or retainers. I have had a few cavities in my life, which I know now is related to nutritional deficiency. But in the last couple of years my teeth have started moving — my two front top teeth have moved back and my bottom front teeth are crooked now. They’ve moved so much so that I find it uncomfortable in my mouth!

Anyhow, do you know if this is nutrition related? Do you know of any good resources to find out more about this? And finally, do you think it’s reversible without having to get braces or a retainer?

Maybe related: I know I have gut dysbiosis and candida. My son is on GAPS now and I plan on it too when the timing is right. Could this condition actually move my teeth?

Anyway, thanks for any insight!


My first reaction was to say I don’t think your teeth would move based on what you eat as an adult. If your teeth were straight as a child, it does not seem logical that they would move as an adult. I then wondered, perhaps you had dental surgery such as tooth extraction? That would cause your teeth to move.

But then I remembered my father-in-law. For decades, he suffered from GERD, which is a sign of abnormal gut flora. He also had osteoporosis, which has since lessened to osteopinea (which is not as bad as osteoporosis) since he is on raw milk, cod liver oil, high-vitamin butter oil, vitamin B12 and other supplements, and is drinking kefir daily (since he started drinking kefir daily, he was able to get off all of the GERD medications).

If our spinal bones can become crooked when we are adults, why couldn’t our teeth also become crooked? Crooked teeth are the result of a narrow face. The body, in its infinite wisdom, conserves where it can in order to send nutrients where they are most needed.

Here’s a statement from Dr. Theodore Belfor, DDS, Chairman and President of OrthoSmile™, Inc.:

Modification of the craniofacial region is possible. A significant amount of growth potential resides in the craniofacial system throughout life. Dentofacial orthopedic therapies amount to growth guidance. Rapid maxillary palatal expansion in children is a common event producingchanges in maxillary size and shape which has been shown to affect the airway. Less common is slow palatal expansion in adults. The Homeoblock™ removable orthopedic/orthodontic appliance using slow palatal expansion can provide an environmental stimulation resulting in an epigenetic response, namely maxillary morphogenesis. Morphogenesis is defined as “the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape”. (Source)

And yes, you absolutely need to get your gut healed. A leaky gut causes nutritional deficiencies because when your gut is leaky, you can’t absorb the nutrients.

I do think it is reversible — you can help the teeth and jaw move into alignment as an adult. I am not sure if it is possible without an expander appliance. I think nutrition absolutely helps but if I were you, I’d do both.

I’ve read about a couple of different appliances: one is called the the Homeoblock and the other is the Damon Braces system.

I’m going to be researching these appliances further, as my husband suffers from sleep apnea and uses a CPAP machine. I have read case studies in which people were able to stop using the CPAP after widening their jaw using an appliance (I would also, of course, eat a nutrient-dense diet — lots of raw milk, bone broth, organ meats, cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil).

Here’s one blog post about the Homeoblock with lots of interesting comments.

I know Nourishing Nancy is also using the Damon Braces. Here are a few videos from her:

Hopefully she will post a video update soon! I’m anxious to see how she’s doing.

I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 19. I now wish they hadn’t removed them because I’m sure it made my face narrower. Although I have straight teeth and did not need braces, I am considering an appliance for myself for purely cosmetic reasons: to straighten out the couple of slightly crooked teeth in my lower jaw, and to help give me more noticable cheekbones and less wrinkles as I age.

By the way, thanks for asking this question. It’s so sad when you think about all of the unintended negative consequences we face when we abandon our traditional diets. When we don’t eat the proper vitamins and nutrients growing up, our bodies become deformed. When we feed our children properly, they grow to their genetic potential, live pain-free and disease-free, look gorgeous, and age gracefully. This is what compels me to get up and do what I do every day. I want more people to wake up and realize that they can make a difference for their children.

12. Question: Any Dangers To Consuming Eggs From Chickens That Are Fed Soy?

Hi Ann Marie,

I find it very hard to get pastured eggs that come from chickens who haven’t been fed soy. Are there any dangers to consuming eggs from chickens that are fed soy? Should I just avoid eggs altogether because of this issue?

Thank you,


It’s very hard for farmers to get soy-free chicken feed because most (all?) varieities of chicken feed contain soy. Soy is high-protein, and since most chickens are not pastured, they don’t get enough protein without it (pastured chickens get protein from eating bugs and earthworms).

If your farmer feeds the chickens soy, just be sure it is organic. It’s not ideal to feed soy, but it won’t hurt you unless you are allergic to soy. I have heard of some people with compromised digestive systems who react to eggs from chickens that are fed soy.

13. Question: Best Parts Of A Goat To Save?


We are about to have a goat slaughtered.  We also raise calves each year. When I take them in, what special requests should I make about what to save?

Obviously we keep the meat.  Last year they offered me soup bones and I said yes, but that was it.  I suspect it would be a good idea to request hooves for stock.  I think I should also request this goat’s horns (although we don’t plan to have horned animals in the future).  Maybe I should also ask for the liver.

Is that all?  Are there parts that are amazing that I should really be having them save because they are actually precious and harder to get?  What do you think? Amazon suggested a book to me that is called “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal” (it comes out in September), so I am sure there are a lot of ways to cook almost everything, but what is most worthwhile?  What would you ask them to save?

Thanks so much for the jello recipe.  I’ve been making a lot of it.



I don’t know how it works with your processor — I know a lot of processors won’t give you everything you ask for. I would definitely ask for the liver and kidneys, as well as the heart, and any glands you can get (if they’ll save them for you) such as thyroid, thymus, and adrenal glands.

I wonder if you can get the head. There are lots of recipes using a goat’s head online. Here’s a recipe for Indian Goat Head Curry:

However, I wouldn’t recommend using a pressure cooker like he does. Sally Fallon Morell says pressure cookers are not good because of the high temperatures — they denature the food. I would slow cook it.

Got a Comment?

I don’t claim to have all the answers.  And I love hearing from you guys!  If you have feedback on any of the above questions and answers, please share your thoughts n the comments below.

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Please submit your questions to questions AT cheeseslave DOT com. I’ll answer your questions every Sunday in the order I receive them.