Q & A: December 11, 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: Recipe For Making Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Hi Ann Marie,

I love your blog! I printed your homemade Marshmallow Fluff recipe and noticed that you said you can make your own homemade vanilla extract if you click within the recipe. It didn’t work for me.  Can you tell me how to make that? Thanks!



Hi, Mary,

I’m so sorry. I’d better go fix that typo.

Here is the link: How to Make Vanilla Extract.

2. Question: What Are Your Thoughts On A1 Versus A2 milk?

Have you heard about the issues with A1 versus A2 milk?  What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you,


As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-issue.

I have not read the book, Devil in the Milk yet. When I get around to reading it, maybe it will change my mind. However, for now, I don’t buy it.

Raw milk dairy farmer, Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures has this to say:

I am very close to this A-2 subject matter and can help clear the air.
Dr. Cowan has privately apologized to me for writing the forward to Devil in the Milk. He said that if he knew then what he knows now he would not have said what he wrote. (Source: Comment on The Healthy Home Economist blog)
It is also still very questionable whether the claims made by A-­2 are accurate. The authors of Devil in the Milk

book claim that cows made a genetic split about 5,000 years ago and that Holsteins and some other breeds were more domesticated because of calmness and other traits (they were to become more A-­1 dominant). We have no way of knowing that this is true or not. No other research confirms these historical concepts.

Also… it is claimed that A-­2 cows (Jerseys) produce milk which is far better than cows that are tested and found to be A-­1 genetics.
We disagree with this analysis and remain unconvinced of its value. If the split occurred 5000 years ago and A-­1 is the source of modern heart disease and makes autism worse… then this does not match up with other researchers at all. Modern diseases began with grain feeding and confinement just 75 to 100 years ago. Modern diseases are much more likely to be associated with modern processing of milk and lack of grass feeding, etc.
When evaluating the “67th amino acid” differences in A-­2 milk, we ask a much bigger question, when pasteurized milk is observed microscopically it is a massive destruction zone. It looks as if it has been hit with a bomb and everything is dead, broken and twisted. Everything is in little pieces and nothing is alive. (Source: Organic Pastures)

David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution and blogger at The Complete Patient reports:

“…last Friday, at a special session on raw milk at the national conference of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, where I spoke, together with Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Michael Schmidt, the Canadian raw dairy farmer, the issue came up again. A woman attending the session, clutching her copy of Devil in the Milk

wondered if the A1/A2 issue was being ignored, or even covered up, by raw dairy farmers and other raw milk proponents. She was concerned about the possibly damaging effects of A1 milk. A few other members of the audience of about 40 indicated they were interested as well, while others obviously had never heard of A1/A2 milk.

Sally Fallon [Morell] explained her view that it’s not yet clear how important the A1/A2 matter is. “Let’s not start blaming the farmers and making their lives more difficult,” she said.
Michael Schmidt said a number of his herdshare members had asked him whether his dairy’s cows are A1 or A2. “My response is to ask them, ‘Have you had any health problems since you started drinking this milk?'” No one has had any difficulties, which he says indicates to him it’s likely not a significant issue.
The questioner seemed satisfied. My sense is that the A1/A2 issue is probably not a major one, at least as far as unpasteurized milk is concerned. But as people’s concerns grow about inadvertently consuming bad food, maybe it’s natural that there will be concerns about issues like this one. (Source: The Complete Patient)

3. Question: Can You Recommend Some Resources For Natural Eye Treatments?


Last week at a routine eye exam, my first in 8+ years, a scan revealed that  I have a tumor in my right eye. The opthamologist assured me that ocular cancer is very rare, though it is very deadly, and he advised me to come in annually to chart the status of my tumor. I am a “health foodie” so I thought it best to start a more eye-focused nutritional program to prevent any future problems in ye olde eyeballs! After searching online I am not  finding any solid nutritional advice for promoting eye health specifically and I am not finding any good books about natural eye treatments. Could you recommend some resources?



As I always say, I’m not a doctor and can’t advise folks on medial issues. If I were you, I’d find a good holistic doctor/naturopath and ask their advice.

Vitamin A is the first thing that comes to mind for eye health. Hopefully you are taking fermented cod liver oil and eating liver.

The other thing I hear recommended for cancer prevention is coffee enemas. Coffee enemas help to stimulate the liver to assist in detoxification. Do a google search on coffee enema to learn how to do it.

Maybe there are some naturopaths or other types of practitioners reading who can advise you in the comments section.

4. Question: Suggestions For Getting Rid Of Old/New Scars From Burns Or Cuts?

Hi Ann Marie,

It seems that traditional cooking has its ups and downs, especially when getting a small burn mark from a hot pot or pan. What can one do to get rid of old and new scars from burns or even cuts?

Thank you,


Aloe is the best thing for burns and cuts. I always keep an aloe plant in the kitchen in case one of us burns himself or herself.

Since we moved, I don’t have my aloe plant (it’s back in California). I bought some aloe from Stockton Aloe which I keep in the fridge. The other night, my husband burned himself and the aloe helped him heal very fast.

I’ve also used aloe on anything swollen.

You can find Stockton Aloe on my resources page.

5. Question: What Is Your Opinion On The Julia Ross Program To Overcome Food Addiction?

Hello Ann Marie,

Would you recommend Julia Ross’ program for overcoming food addiction?  The cost is really high for me and of course I know there aren’t guarantees and my success will depend on my actions.  I would just like to know if you have heard personally of successes with the program.

I have been addicted to sugar, flour and junk food my entire life.  I’m 41 years old.  I have tried to implement a real food diet and going to Overeaters Anonymous.  I have had some success but I always end up reverting back to horrible but familiar eating behaviors.  On your recommendation I have bought and began reading her books. It’s sounds so accurate but I’m afraid it’s too good to be true.

I searched in my area for a practitioner to assist me in taking amino acids.  Unfortunately, none of them had been exposed to her work and all were very dismissive and negative about the amino acid treatment.

I would greatly appreciate it if you have time to share a few thoughts.  Please don’t use my information if you post my question as this is very personal.

Thank you!!

– M


Working with Julia Ross was one of the best things my husband and I ever did. Her books are great but working with her really helps you so much more.

I used to drink 3 glasses of wine every single night and I always craved sweets and carbs and chocolate after dinner. Julia helped me realize that I was starving myself during the day (skipping meals and eating low carb) which was causing me to become hypoglycemic. I craved the wine at night because my blood sugar was so low after not eating all day.

Now I only drink wine occasionally. We don’t keep it in the house. I’ll have one glass (not three) when we go out to dinner. I also don’t crave sweets anymore. I’m eating three square meals a day, plus snacks when I’m hungry. My husband has also benefited. He used to drink whiskey every night. Now  he just drinks kombucha.

If you do work with Julia Ross, you have to travel to San Francisco see her for the first visit. If you have the means, I’d absolutely do it. For us, it was money very well spent. I think if we had not worked with her, we would not have made the changes we needed to.

If you can’t afford to go see her, I’d call her office and ask them if they can recommend someone in your area.

6. Question: What Is The Proper Dose For Taking Maca?


I read your post about balancing hormones naturally. I have been taking maca since the beginning of September (2 months) and I haven’t noticed too much of a difference yet I don’t think. I am mostly trying to balance my hormones because I started breaking out and I used to never. So I am thinking it must have to do with hormones.

Someone at a health food store told me I should try maca. She told me to start with 1/4 tsp. every morning. I am wondering if I should up the amount to get more results? Do you know how much would be right to take or do you know of a source that can help me to figure out how much I should take?

Thanks so much.



I don’t think 1/4 tsp is enough to do anything. I’ve read online that you should take anywhere from 2,000-5,000 milligrams (2-5 grams) per day. 5 grams equals 1 tablespoon.

I stopped taking maca for a long time but I recently decided I really need to be taking it to help me balance my hormones, as I am estrogen dominant.

I am taking anywhere from 1-3 tablespoons of maca per day. I plan to continue doing this for the next few months at least — I’ll post on my progress and let you know how it goes.

Lastly, if you have gut issues (lack of good bacteria and/or a damaged gut), that could also be causing the acne. You might want to look into adding more fermented foods to your diet and maybe a probiotic. Also cut out sweets and starches for a while and see if that helps.

7. Question: Advice On Starting The 4 Hour Body Diet and Spacing Children?

Hi Ann Marie,

I am starting the The 4-Hour Body

diet, after reading about your success. However, I am concerned about the lack of dairy. I did a lot of damage to my health, before discovering WAPF and what real food is and even developed osteopenia. So naturally I am concerned about getting enough calcium daily. Did you take a calcium supplement or any other supplements while doing this diet?

Also, I would like to try to get pregnant soon. My first two children are only twenty months apart, and my youngest is now 14 months old.  I’ve read that this can be detrimental but how so? Is it because your body needs a few years to rebuild vitamin/mineral stores? Is there any way to speed up the process? Am I pushing it by having three children so close together? I actually like having my children closer in age, but worry I would jeopardize their health.

Lastly, what supplements (and brands specifically) do you or would you take while pregnant? I never took a prenatal, just folic acid in the beginning of my pregnancies.

Thanks so much!


If you want to get pregnant, I personally would not do the The 4-Hour Body diet. The diet did help me lose 10 pounds but honestly, I wish I hadn’t done it.

Ultimately I think my problem with extra weight is hormonal. Low carbing can things worse if your hormones need fixing. What I have learned since I did that diet is that I need to eat more, not less, and focus on nourishing myself and helping my hormones heal. I think when my hormones are balanced, my weight will normalize (I’m only about 10-15 pounds over anyway, so it’s not a big deal).

If I were you, I would work on nourishing your body and follow the Weston A. Price Foundation diet. If you are still nursing your youngest, I would follow the WAPF Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers. (If you’re not nursing, I’d follow that same diet but you don’t have to eat quite as much.)

Yes, I think you are pushing it having your children so close together. Your body does need time to rebuild nutritional stores. It is not fair to our children and it is not good for our own health to have children too close together. A baby can only get from you what you have stored, and if you don’t have much to give, that’s all they get.

Sorry, but there is no way to speed up the process. I don’t understand why we are all in such a hurry anyway. I had my first child at 39. I wish I could have started sooner but I had not met the right person yet. I didn’t rush to have a second child right away, because I knew my body wasn’t ready, although we really do want another child. My daughter is 4 now and I am 43. If it happens, it happens, and I hope it does, but I’m not going to push it.

Traditional people all spaced their children. In his book, Healing Our Children,

Rami Nagel writes:

In researcher George Brown’s study of the Melanesians and Polynesians, he observes that if a child is ever weak or sickly, people would blame the parents for poor habits (not poor genetics).
With the Ibos in Nigeria it is not only a disgrace but an abomination to have children closer together than three years. If a child is born sooner than this they fear that its health will be compromised.
The Indians of Peru, Ecuador and Columbia abstain from intercourse throughout lactation to avoid children born too close together. At least two and a half years of space is achieved through this method.
Cattle tribes in Africa use a system of multiple wives to create a child interval of two and a half to four years.
In the Fiji Islands among one of the tribes the minimum spacing was four years

For pregnancy, I recommend taking fermented cod liver oil and butter oil, dessicated liver, and probiotics. You may also want to supplement with extra minerals.

You can find all of these supplements and the particular brands I recommend on my resources page.

8. Question: What Is The Connection Between A Strict Vegan Diet And Fertility?

Dear Ann Marie,

My family are members of a wonderful food co-op. While we follow a  WAPF diet, there are many vegans, even some fruitarians, at the co-op. Our friends have been vegans for a year after watching the film Earthlings, and vegetarians for some time before that. They have been  trying to conceive for two years now.  They deny there is a connection between their radical diet and their infertility.  What is the connection between a strict vegan diet and infertility? How can we help them make the connection?



Good question!

The bottom line is, humans can’t get all the nutrition we need from plants. Women who go vegan commonly lose their periods within a matter of months. For some people it takes longer, but can a diet be healthy when we can’t even maintain a normal cycle?

In one study called “Dieting influences the menstrual cycle: vegetarian versus nonvegetarian diet,” 18 healthy, normal-weight women aged 19 to 27 years who had regular ovulatory menstrual cycles volunteered for a study. Nine women followed a vegetarian diet and nine a nonvegetarian diet. Both groups lost an average of 1 kg body weight/week.
Seven of nine women in the vegetarian group became anovulatory while seven of nine women in the nonvegetarian diet group maintained ovulatory cycles with no changes in cycle length or in the length of the follicular phase. During the vegetarian diet, the average luteinizing hormone (LH) values were significantly decreased during the midcycle and the luteal phase. Estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P) values were significantly lower during the luteal phase. In contrast, the nonvegetarian group did not show significant reduction of LH, E2, and P values during any part of the menstrual cycle. (Source)

In addition, most vegans eat copious amounts of soy. All you have to do is google soy and infertility and you will find lots of articles.

Studies have suggested that eating large amounts of soy, popular with vegetarians because it provides protein, can affect a woman’s fertility.
Researchers at King’s College London showed that a compound in soy called genistein sabotages sperm as it swims towards the egg. (Source)

As far as helping them make the connection, that’s a tough one. If it were me and they were my friends, I’d just come right out and say it. I’d tell them everything I know about soy and veganism and infertility.

I’d say it in a nice and caring way, but I would definitely say it. I would not be able to live with myself if I didn’t.

And if they got mad at me for saying the truth, then so be it. At least I would know that I had done everything I could to help them achieve their goal of having a healthy baby. If they chose not to listen, oh well. You can only do what you can do. But remaining silent helps no one.

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