Q & A: December 4, 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.

Submit Your Question

If you have a question to submit, please email it to me at questions AT cheeseslave DOT com.

Emails about link exchanges or requests to promote products will be deleted!

If you have an URGENT question that you can’t wait to get answered, please post it on my Facebook page.  I tend to get on Facebook pretty much daily.  I can’t promise to answer all the questions on Facebook, but I try!  (Note: Please do NOT email me on Facebook — I can’t get through my email on there!)

1. Question: Help Finding A Good Source For Lard?

I’m  in the LA area and I’m searching for a good source for lard. I’ve asked at Heathy Family Farms and they only carry it intermittently. They suggested I look on-line and do mail order, but I’d much rather order from a local farm. Any suggestions?


I’ve yet to find a good source of lard in LA. And believe me, I’ve looked. When I asked, most farmers told me their pigs were too lean. I heard somewhere that modern pigs are being bread leaner. Such a tragedy!

This may have changed since I haven’t looked for lard in LA for a while, so if somebody knows something I don’t, please post in the comments.

I have found pig fat (which I rendered into lard) on Local Harvest. It wasn’t local; I believe I got it from a farm in Oregon.

I don’t know what you’re making with lard but expeller pressed coconut oil is a pretty good substitute for most things. Expeller pressed coconut oil is the kind I prefer because it has no coconut flavor.

I make tamales and tortillas with the expeller pressed coconut oil, and you can fry most things in it. I also use expeller pressed coconut oil to make my carnitas (sometimes I will add part leftover bacon grease, since I tend to have a lot of bacon grease lying around).

Click here for sources of expeller pressed coconut oil

For pie crust, beef tallow is just as good or, in my opinion, even better than lard. Many local LA farmers sell beef fat (which you can render into tallow) including Rocky Canyon and Lindner Bison.  Beef tallow is also fabulous for French fries, tortilla chips, etc. (Coconut oil doesn’t get quite hot enough for decent French fries.)

If you don’t know how to render lard and tallow, it’s very easy — just read this: How to Render Lard and Tallow.

As you can see, I’ve found ways to live quite happily without lard. Tallow and expeller pressed coconut oil fill most of my needs.

2. Question: Information About Steel-cut Oats And Grain Grinders?

Hello Ann Marie,

My wife said that you recommend the Norpro Grain Grinder. In your experience, will the Norpro Grain Grinder produce coarse steel-cut groats, rolled oats, or both? If it cannot produce steel-cut oats, do you know of a mill that will?



I don’t think it will produce steel cut oats, since it just has one setting for oats.

From what I have read, the Marcato Atlas Grain Mill will produce steel cut oats. It has 2 different settings for cereal, so maybe it’s true. You might want to call them and double-check.

The oat flaker I really want is this one: Tribest Wolfgang Komo FlicFloc Manual Oat and Grain Flaker.

I don’t know if it does steel cut oats but I still want it. I have the Komo grain mill (which does not do oats) and I love it. The design of these machines is just gorgeous. I bought the Norpro because it is a lot cheaper and it also functions as a back-up non-electric grain mill (in case we ever lose power).

3. Question: Suggestion For Helping Friend Transition To Whole Food Diet?

Hi Cheeseslave,

I was hoping you can give me some general advice for a friend, since you were so helpful for me before. I introduced Weston Price/Nourishing Traditions to a friend, as well as your blog and several others. She’s fascinated and inspired, which is great!

However, I’ve been transitioning to WAP/NT foods fairly easily, as I already ate a mostly whole food diet. She eats the standard American diet, and has some general poor health indications as well. She has signs that she may have thyroid or adrenal issues and various deficiencies, like magnesium, which you just wrote about.

She keeps asking me for advice on what to do first, and I’m not sure what to tell her. I’m not sure if I should tell her to go straight to GAPS, or if that would be overwhelming for someone who eats frozen pizzas and rarely cooks. I’m not sure if I should tell her to work on certain things first, like her thyroid or to simply start integrating WAP/NT foods.

The only thing I’ve recommended so far is the fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend, although I’m not sure how much to tell her to take, or how to work up to the doses you’ve recommended. I think it’s great that she’s interested in real food, but she seems overwhelmed, and I’m still fairly new to WAP/NT. I at least already cooked from scratch and ate somewhat organically. I don’t even know where to start in helping her overhaul. It’s like the blind leading the blind!

Any advice I can pass on to her? Any step-by-step transition instructions I should give her? Or would going full GAPS be the best option, even if it will be rough at first? Does she need to do GAPS before addressing her thyroid and adrenals?



I usually don’t recommend GAPS for people unless they have food allergies or other signs of imbalanced gut flora. It can be daunting to start with GAPS, and unless the person has a strong need to do GAPS, like gluten intolerance or bad eczema, it may not be necessary. Not everyone needs to go on GAPS.

I recommend that she get a copy of Nourishing Traditions. That’s how I started. There’s lots of recipes in that book that anyone can cook.

I haven’t completely healed my hormones but I’ve come a long way. For instance, I used to have melasma (dark patches on my face — which I have since learned is caused by adrenal fatigue) and that has reversed 100%. It took a few years of eating this way. Eating more fat helped a lot, as did avoiding refined flour, sugar and junk food. I think the fermented cod liver oil and butter oil helped a lot as well. I also think getting enough sleep and quitting caffeine really helped.

I really think you can’t recover just by doing one thing or another. It’s the whole approach.  And remember, I didn’t do EVERYTHING at first. I was still drinking coffee until last year.

If I had to put some first steps out there, I’d say:

1. Start making your own salad dressing. There are easy recipes in Nourishing Traditions

2. Stop drinking sodas and diet sodas. Instead, drink kombucha or herbal tea, or mineral water.

3. Eat more fat. Use real butter (Kerrygold is grass-fed butter which you can find at most supermarkets), add cream to your oatmeal instead of milk, eat eggs and bacon for breakfast. Avoid modern vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil. Coconut oil is particularly helpful for the thyroid.

4. Avoid unfermented soy foods like soy milk, tofu, etc. This is especially important for hormone health.

5. Take cod liver oil.

For hormone recovery, I really recommend getting a hormone panel done. I got mine on CanaryClub.com. She could also work with a naturopath or holistic doctor who could do a panel for her. Just make sure she finds someone who is WAPF-friendly. I see a lot of people consulting with naturopaths who are steered in the wrong direction (just met a lady who said she drinks soy milk and eats low fat because her naturopath tells her to).

I also recommend getting a $10 Vicks thermometer and start taking your temperature 3 times a day. I try to take mine 3 hours after I wake up, again 3 hours later, and again 3 hours after that. I don’t always accomplish this but I try. Then you can take the average of your 3 temps and take note of it every day. A normal temperature is 98.6.

If your temps are low (averaging below 98.0) and steady, that indicates low thyroid. If they are up and down every day, that’s low adrenal. If they are low AND up and down, that indicated low thyroid and low adrenal.

Once you know where you are with your temperature, then you can start to supplement and make other lifestyle changes to help balance your hormones. Taking your temperature every day will allow you to chart your progress.  I truly believe that a $10 thermometer is one of the simplest but most important health tools we should all be using. (And yes, I carry mine in my purse!)

4. Question: Suggestions For Taking An Iodine Supplement?

Hi Ann Marie-

I remember you writing that you are taking an iodine supplement. Why did you decide to? Could you suggest dosages? Or any written material on it?  I was hoping to find that info in... that I just read but no mention. I have a feeling that it would be a good thing for me to try.

Thanks for all your work!


I took iodine for a while back in 2007-09. I did an “iodine loading test” with Dr. Jorges Fleches and I was low in iodine, so I supplemented for a couple years. I’m not currently taking it. I have it in my cupboard but I have so many other supplements I’m taking right now, that one is on the back burner. I’m also taking a multi-mineral supplement and adding minerals to our water.

A good book to read is Iodine: Why You Need It, We You Can’t LIve Without It

by Dr. David Brownstein.

5. Question: Your Experience With No Poo And Curly Hair?

Hi, Ann Marie!

I’ve seen your posts before about no poo and how it didn’t work for you.  I had a similar experience.  My hair was greasy, dry, and frizzy all at the same time.  It was a disaster.  About six months ago I was trying to figure out how to get my semi-naturally curly hair to curl on the top layer instead of just the bottom layer and I ran across... by Lorraine Massey.

Enlightening! She advocates conditioner-washing for people with curly or wavy hair. Curly hair needs TONS of moisture and it also acts like a sponge, absorbing SLS and all the other junk in shampoo much more than straight hair does. From your pictures it’s pretty obvious you have some natural curl, or at least wave, in your hair.  You should really check out this book.

I haven’t used shampoo on my hair in 6 months. I just wash with silicone-free conditioner (so it doesn’t build up) every 3-4 days and my hair is never greasy.  (I’ve been using the “Yes To …” brand, without tons of junk or parabens, with good success).  When I used to wash with shampoo my hair became greasy in 2-3 days.  Lorraine also has a lot of recipes in her book for natural, homemade hair treatments.  Since using conditioner to wash my hair it has become so much more curly!  I had no idea I had so much curl – my hair just needed moisture! So exciting!  I highly recommend the book!



Hi, Kaylin!

I’m glad you wrote to me because I’ve always been sad that I could not do “no poo”. After 3 months of trying, all I had to show for it was greasy, limp, lifeless hair.

My hair gets greasy if I don’t wash it every single day. What I had read about “no poo” (and this is when I abandoned my efforts) is that it may not work for people who live in areas with very hard water. I know LA (where I used to live) had very hard water. I think the water in Vegas (where I live now) is just as hard as LA.

After reading your email, I decided to look around online. I searched for “hard water” and “no poo”. And voila! Check this blog post out: Shampoo Week 11: Hard Water Epiphany.

Apparently, if you have hard water, all you have to do is boil the water and add baking soda. I’m going to give it another try.

When I first did my no poo experiment in 2007, this information was not out there. So thanks for writing!

Regarding the book you recommended, I just looked at the preview of the book and it does look excellent for people with curly hair. I do have a slight wave in my hair, but it’s definitely not curly. So I am not sure if this book would work for me.

However, it would help my daughter who does have curly hair. I’ll download a copy of the book and check it out. And I’m sure it will help others out there, so thanks for mentioning it!

6. Question: Suggestions For Helping My Son Restore His Gut Flora Balance?

Unfortunately, I had to give antibiotics to my son because of a severe infection.  I really don’t like antibiotics because of the harm they do to the colon, but I do feel like they are occasionally necessary.  What can I do to restore his gut flora balance in his colon?  I’ve been giving him lots of water kefir.  He had a milk sensitivity/allergy, so I can’t really do milk kefir or yogurt.  What else can I do???



My daughter was given an antibiotic when she was about a year and a half because she had an ear infection, and she just had to take antibiotics again a few weeks ago when she got bitten by a dog. Both times, when she was done with the antibiotic, I gave her BioKult. I’m still giving her BioKult every day for the last round of antibiotics — it can take a while to repopulate the gut flora.

Not all probiotics work — in my experience, most don’t work at all. But Biokult is very powerful.

You can find BioKult on my resources page.

7. Question: Suggestions For Milk Replacement For My 15-month Old?

Hi Ann Marie,

I know you are super busy, but would love your suggestion with regard to a question that I have.  I have a 15-month-old baby girl that I currently nurse. For health reasons, I am trying to wean her on to wonderful raw milk that I buy, but she acts like she doesn’t like the milk at all.  I know it may be because I still nurse her that she wants nothing to do with it, but I’m afraid if I further wean her, she will continue to dislike it and I’m concerned that she won’t have the nutritional components that she needs to grow healthy and strong.  Do you have suggestions as to other items to give her to replace milk?  We live a real foodie lifestyle and I personally do drink the milk but not everyday.

Thank you!


I weaned my daughter when she was 9 months old because I could not produce enough breast milk. I had already been supplementing with the raw milk formula since she was about 6 months old — again, because I didn’t have enough milk for her. When I weaned her, I just gave her the raw milk formula instead. I continued to make the raw milk formula for her until she was almost 2 years old.

I don’t know if it is necessary to do what I did. Some may disagree with me but I think 15 months is plenty of time to breastfeed. By 15 months of age, your daughter should be eating plenty of solid food. It’s possible that she may be nursing mostly for comfort.

When my daughter was 15 months old, I fed her lots of grass-fed raw and fermented full-fat dairy foods (milk, cheese, cream, butter, kefir, yogurt and sour cream), grass-fed meats, seafood, homemade chicken and beef stock, coconut oil, liver (until she rejected it at around 18 months old), plenty of pastured eggs, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles. She also got some fresh fruit and cooked vegetables, always served with good fats like butter, cream and coconut oil. I also gave her cod liver oil every day. I did not introduce grains until she was about 18 months old, and they were soaked/sprouted.

Got a Question?

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