Q & A: January 30, 2011

Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A! From now on, every Sunday, I will be answering your questions. I’ll answer as many questions as I can each week.

Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A! From now on, every Sunday, I will be answering 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 @ cheeseslave .com.

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: Do NOT email me on Facebook — I can’t get through my email on there!)

Cod Liver Oil or Krill Oil?

I was wondering if you could tell me if I begin taking cod liver oil, should I take something like krill oil (Dr. Mercola’s site) also? Also, is there any particular company that makes a cod liver oil that is easier to give to babies/children?

— Jessica

Jessica, I know you had some other questions but I did not include them. They would be better answered by a medical practitioner. I can’t diagnose health problems, or prescribe treatment.

In regard to your first couple of questions, I don’t see any reason to take krill oil if you are taking cod liver oil.

I recommend Green Pasture Products for cod liver oil. Green Pasture is the only company making unheated, unrefined, naturally fermented cod liver oil, the way it has always been traditionally produced. Other oils are heated, refined, and denatured, and most have added synthetic vitamins. I can’t recommend any other cod liver oil.

If your babies/children won’t take the cod liver oil on the spoon or in a little juice or milk, you can also rub it on the skin. It will absorb through the pores.

Palm Oil or Palm Kernel Oil?

I seem to remember either palm oil, or palm kernel oil, is the good one. Can you help straighten me out on this?

— Susan

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, both palm oil and palm kernel oil are good for you. According to the American Palm Oil Council:

Palm oil is found in the fleshy portion of the fruit (mesocarp), whereas palm kernel oil is found in the kernel or the seed of the fruit. These two oils have very different fatty acid compositions. Palm oil is 50% saturated fat and 50% unsaturated fat. More specifically palm oil contains approximately 44% palmitic acid, 5% stearic acid, 39% oleic acid (monounsaturates), and 10% linoleic acid (polyunsaturates). Myristic acid and lauric acid are negligible.
Conversely, the fatty acid composition of palm kernel oil resembles coconut oil, or what one generally thinks of when the term ‘saturated fat’ is used. Approximately 82% of palm kernel oil is saturated fat with the main contributors being 48% lauric acid, 16% myristic acid, and 8% palmitic acid. Approximately 18% of palm kernel oil is unsaturated fat with 15% oleic acid (monounsaturates) and 3% linoleic acid (polyunsaturates).

The real issue is how the palm oil is sourced (see last week’s Q & A) and how it is produced.  According to Wilderness Family Naturals, a company that sells “red palm oil,” which is palm oil (not palm kernel oil):

Natural Red Palm Oil, sold by Wilderness Family Naturals, is produced from the fruit of the oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. This palm tree can be found in the wet, rainy areas of Africa, as well as the tropical rain forests of Asia. Our Natural Red Palm Oil comes from Malaysia which is considered the “Palm Oil Capital of the World”. More palm oil is produced and exported from Malaysia than any other country. Most importantly, the trees used for the production of our Red Palm Oil have been on plantations for many, many years. The rainforest around them remains intact and no new rainforest is being destroyed. The company providing us with this oil has won a number of awards for their environmental consciousness.
There are very few natural red palm oils available in America. Most palm oil in America has been refined, bleached and deodorized. RBD palm oil has a bland flavor and is completely colorless because all the antioxidant vitamins have been stripped (carotenoids, tocopherols and tocotrienols). However, our Natural red palm oil still contains these substances, giving it a dark red-orange color not found in the refined products.
This particular Natural Red Palm Oil has been allowed to cool to room temperature causing many saturated fats (predominantly stearic acid) to solidify and fall to the bottom of the vat. When the top liquid faction is then decanted, its fatty acids are higher in fat soluble vitamins, stronger in color and lower in saturated fats. This yields a fatty acid profile with a similar saturated fat to unsaturated fat ratio as found in olive oil, and a richer red-orange color much deeper in hue than standard crude red palm oils.. Most other red palm oils available in America are not like Wilderness Family Naturals’ Natural Red Palm Oil. Instead they are crude palm oils that contain lower levels of carotenoids, tocopherols and tocotrienols, and higher percentages of stearic acid (an 18 carbon chain saturated fat).
Another way that Wilderness Family Naturals’ Natural Red Palm Oil is different from crude palm oil is in taste. In our Natural Red Palm Oil thefree fatty acids have been removed. By doing this, the taste of the palm oil becomes very mild and its shelf life is greatly extended.
Wilderness Family Naturals’ Natural Red Palm Oil is rich in natural carotenoids (vitamin A), is a good source of tocopherols (natural vitamin E) and contains tocotrienols. It contains about 50% naturally occurring saturated fats and 50% unsaturated fats.

By the way, I have bought WIlderness Family Natural’s red palm oil and also purchased another brand of red palm oil. It was like night and day. The other brand had a very unpleasant taste and the WFN palm oil was mild and pleasant.

I believe the red palm oil they sell is a lot richer in nutrients than other palm oils, since it is unrefined. That said, you could buy palm kernel oil that would still be good for you — it just wouldn’t be as good for you.  But you do want to find out how the palm oil is manufactured and if it is sourced in an environmentally friendly way.

How Much Vitamin D in Lard?

How much vitamin D does a tablespoon of lard contain?

— Erica

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:

There are 2,800 IU of vitamin D in 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of lard

100 grams = about 7.812 tablespoons

So there’s about 358 IU vitamin D in 1 tablespoon of lard.

Now, that data is from the USDA database.  More than likely, they are not using lard from pigs who are allowed to roam outdoors in the sunshine. I believe that lard from pastured pigs would have significantly higher levels of vitamin D.  So this number is probably low if you are eating pastured lard.

Grain-finished or Grass-finished Beef?

We know that beef from cattle fed mostly grains is something to avoid.  I had always heard that grain-finished beef was not as good as grass-finished, and also was something to avoid.

I found in the Nourishing Traditions book in the chapter entitled Beef & Lamb, pg 329, 4th paragraph, that is it a good thing to grain finish beef.

I’m guessing it doesn’t unduly distort the omega 3/6 ratio while providing more of the fat that’s so good for us.  Personally, I like well marbled beef. Grass finishing doesn’t seem to promote that.

What is your understanding on this?  Which is better grain-finished or grass-finished?

— Robert

While cows were meant to eat grass, not corn or soybeans, it is okay to finish them on grain for a few weeks.

Sally Fallon Morell’s exact quote in the passage you referred to in Nourishing Traditions says:

"Cattle and sheep should spend most of their life on the open range.  However, it is entirely appropriate for these animals to be fattened on grain during their last few weeks.  Such practices imitate natural processes, as ruminant animals get fat on seeds and grains in their natural habitat during summer and fall."

Grass-finished beef is great.  However, if a farmer raises his grass-fed animals on pasture for most of their life, and but allows them to eat grain for a few weeks prior to slaughter, I’d be OK with that. You also want to make sure that the grain they are eating is organic and non-GMO.

As far as the taste of marbled beef, that is something we get used to. My taste buds changed after I started eating grass-finished meat. You also need to learn how to cook grass-fed beef, since it does handle differently in the kitchen.  You can destroy grass-fed meat if you try to prepare it the same way you cook conventional beef and lamb.  I recommend Stanley Fishman’s excellent book, Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat.

Where to Get Whey?

Where do I get whey from in order to soak my grins or make fermented foods? Do I have to make my own yogurt cheese to get whey?

— Heather

It’s easy to get whey from yogurt.  You can also make whey from raw milk.  Click here to read my instructions for how to make whey from yogurt or raw milk.

You can often buy whey directly from many small farmers.  Ask your local farmer if he or she sells whey.

Iodine Supplementation?

Hi, I was wandering if you have any updates/new info about iodine supplementation. After reading your post about how we all really need to supplement iodine I was ready to buy some right away. Then I read more information and found conflicting advice. I settled on cooking with seaweed rather than using the Lugols or other drops.

Of course, do I really cook with seaweed that much, no! Now I’m thinking of taking the plunge, but I’m terrified of the possibility of exacerbating my acne. Do you have any more thoughts about this? Is seaweed enough if I truly consumed it daily?

— Hannah

There is a lot of controversy about this issue.

I supplemented with iodine for a year after my baby was born. I actually got tested with an iodine loading test to see if I was deficient. When I found out that I was, the doctor recommended 50 mg of iodine per day for one year. I haven’t gotten tested again, but I really should to see what my iodine levels are now.

I haven’t been taking iodine for the past couple years, but I think, to prevent breast cancer, I should go back on to a very low maintenance dose of iodine. Maybe just a couple drops of Lugol’s per week (not per day).

My reason for this is because we get very little iodine in the foods we eat.  The soil is very depleted of iodine and other minerals.  Also there’s a lot more soy in our food supply (soy is a goitrogen that blocks iodine absorption).  There are many other things in our food and water supply and our environment that prevent proper iodine absorption — like fluoride and bromide, for example.

There is evidence that the people Dr. Weston Price studied supplemented with things like dried fish eggs, so they (paraphrase) “didn’t get big necks like the white man”.  According to his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration:

“The Indians of the high Andes were willing to go hundreds of miles to the sea to get kelp and fish eggs for the use of their people.”

This makes me think that unless we are eating a diet very rich in iodine (i.e, lots of fish, seaweed, and fish broth), it makes sense to supplement.

If you do supplement with iodine, how much should you take?  That is a tough one.

According to Dr. Jorges Flechas:

Japanese women living in Japan consumed a daily average of 13.8 mg total elemental iodine and they experience one of the lowest prevalence (risk) for breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.

One pill of Iodoral contains 12.5 mg of iodine.  Based on these two facts, many doctors recommend a maintenance dose of 1 Iodoral per day.

However, I found this conflicting bit of information:

The idea that Japanese people consume 13.8 mg of iodine per day appears to have arisen from a misinterpretation of a 1967 paper. In that paper, the average intake of seaweed in Japan was listed as 4.6 g (4,600 mg) per day, and seaweed was said to contain 0.3% iodine. The figure of 13.8 mg comes from multiplying 4,600 mg by 0.003. However, the 4.6 g of seaweed consumed per day was expressed as wet weight, whereas the 0.3%-iodine figure was based on dry weight.  Since many vegetables contain at least 90% water, 13.8 mg per day is a significant overestimate of iodine intake.  In studies that have specifically looked at iodine intake among Japanese people, the mean dietary intake (estimated from urinary iodine excretion) was in the range of 330 to 500 mcg per day, (7,8) which is at least 25-fold lower than 13.8 mg per day.

So, based on all of the above, I personally think it’s good to supplement with iodine (unless you are already eating seafood every day with fish broth at every meal, like the Japanese).  I do wonder if an Iodoral every day would be too much, though.

I think it’s a good idea get tested and see if you are deficient.

Regarding your acne:  It is my understanding that acne, like eczema, is a way that the body is attempting to detoxify.  If you have acne, that is a sign that you most likely have abnormal gut flora (in other words, not enough good gut flora). Most of the detoxification in the body occurs via the gut, and if your short on those good guys, the body tries to detoxify in other ways — like via the skin.

Iodine is a powerful detoxifier — it helps to kick out heavy metals like fluoride and mercury.  If a person started taking iodine and acne got worse, most likely that would be a sign that the gut flora needs to be improved.

Sickle Cell Anemia?

My daughter’s best friend has sickle cell anemia. Her mother is the carrier, the father is fine, but all 3 kids have.  Naturally, the first thing I did when I found out was search the WAPF site.

In their library they have a book called Back To Our Roots Food For The Gods by chef Dawud R. Ujamaa, which I ordered. It seems to have a lot of good info in it re: supplements and healing through nutrition, but it’s very heavy on the limited fat intake dogma, and it recommends canola oil and margarine.

Is this an instance of taking the good and discarding the bad? Do you know about anyone in our real food realm who would know how to direct me? I don’t want to just give the parents the book because even though the mom makes lots of delicious traditional food, combined with a giant snack cabinet (the best and worst of both worlds) she uses canola and margarine galore.

I was actually hoping to have an impact here at some point. They know nutrition helps a bit because they buy the kids ginger ale with molasses. Any info would be greatly appreciated!


You might refer them to a WAPF-friendly doctor — someone like Dr. Thomas Cowan. If they don’t live near him, I know he does phone consultations.

Here is some other info that might help:

In Sally Fallon Morell’s Traditional Diets presentation, she lists sickle cell anemia as a result of vitamin B6 deficiency.

Pasteurization destroys almost 40% of the B vitamins in milk.  Just switching to raw milk would help greatly.

The Weston A. Price Foundation website says this about B vitamins:

“Vitamin B Complex: All the water-soluble B vitamins work as a team to promote healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, muscle tone and cardiovascular function; they protect us from mental disorders, depression and anxiety. Deficiency of the B vitamin complex can result in the enlargement and malfunction of almost every organ and gland in the body. The best source of B vitamins is whole grains–refinement thus wastes this essential source. They are also found in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seafood and organ meats; they can also be produced by intestinal bacteria.”

Fermented foods such as kefir also really help to increase B vitamins.

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.

Got a Question?

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