Q & A: July 24th, 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.

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

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I LOVE your series and thought of a question after reading today’s post.

My 16-month-old daughter and I are on the GAPS diet and are progressing slowly (I guess as expected) but I know some adults take large doses of cod liver oil. My family practice doc has told me to give her 1 teaspoon a day. Is there any benefit for doing that much or more for a child? Would it help her gut healing/or mine for that matter to do larger doses?

Thanks again for your help; love everything you do!



Increasing your intake of cod liver oil will not help to heal the gut. Well, that’s not exactly true… if you are taking the fermented cod liver oil, that does actually help because it is a fermented food so you’re getting extra probiotics.

That said, healing the gut takes time, and while it is a good idea to continue to increase the probiotics you are taking, and it will help speed the healing, it’s not an overnight cure.

For a 16-month-old, the standard dose of high-vitamin or fermented cod liver oil is 1/2 teaspoon. It is a good idea to take more if you are recovering or healing. People with damaged (“leaky”) guts also have trouble absorbing nutrients.

While I’m not a doctor and can’t give advice on treating any kind of ailment, personally if it were me, I’d probably increase the amount to at least 1 teaspoon per day and maybe more, especially if she is low in vitamin D (you can do a finger prick test with an online kit — or see your doctor to get tested). If she can tolerate the high-vitamin butter oil, I’d add that, too, as it works synergystically with the fermented cod liver oil.

2. Question: Benefits between Raw Milk and Pasteurized? / Dosage of Cod Liver Oil for Kids?

Quote from CHEESESLAVE: “I would not buy raw milk from cows that are not on pasture. If I couldn’t find raw grass-fed milk, I personally would buy pasteurized grass-fed milk and only drink it as kefir or yogurt — and/or I would buy pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) grass-fed cream and water it down.”

Okay I am not exactly sure what the difference is… Why would raw milk from grain-fed cows be unbeneficial or less benefical than pasteurized milk from grass-fed cows?

Also, I am trying to figure out the doses of cod liver oil… should I be using just straight cod liver oil for my kiddos ?? I have been giving them the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures at 1/2 teaspoon per day but I think I am confused as to if this is enough… My friend said that I need to take the straight cod liver oil for myself to help with cholesterol issues… (doctor advised to take a bunch) and she said not to take the fermented cod liver oil/high vitamin butter oil mixture too often to not get to many vitamins..?



Cows are not meant to eat grains. Feeding cows mass quantities of grains such as corn and soybeans is a modern invention that has only been in practice for the past 50 years or so. When cows are fed corn and soybeans instead of grazing on pasture, they become sick. When they become sick, antibiotics and other modern interventions are required. Obviously, you don’t want milk from sick cows being treated with antibiotics. When a cow lives on a diet of primarily grass and hay, they are healthy and they produce higher quality milk.

Not only that, but grass-fed dairy products are much more nutritious. Grass-fed dairy is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in cancer-fighting CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). The fat (milk and cream) is also richer in fat souble vitamins A, D & K2.  For more information on why grass-fed dairy is so much better than grain-fed, read this article on Eat Wild.

As far as the cod liver oil goes, 1/2 teaspoon per day of the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures is right on target for kids aged 12 and under.  Adults should take around 1 teaspoon, more if they are recovering from something or trying to regain health.

3. Question: Is Bone Broth from Storebought Chicken Dangerous?

Ann Marie,

A little background on our situation… Our family is just learning about GMOs and their harmful side effects.  We’re trying to slowly change our diet, but we don’t want to throw away the food we already have in the house.  We’re wanting to finish things up and replace them with healthier options as we clear out our pantry and freezer.

My question deals with bone broths.  I have approximately 10 whole chickens in my freezer.  I want to cook them up and use them for bone broth, but they are regular grocery store chickens, meaning I have no idea what they were fed or injected with.  Is bone broth from these chickens dangerous or is it better than running out to the store and buying canned broth until I can get my freezer transitioned to pastured poultry?




Just as it is recommended to eat wild fish instead of farmed fish, or grass-fed beef and dairy instead of grain-fed, it is also recommended to use chicken bones from pastured or at least free-range organic chickens for stock. As you mentioned, factory farm animals are fed GMOs (genetically modified organisms including corn and soybeans) which have been treated with toxic pesticides. In addition they are usually given antibiotics and/or synthetic hormones.

So in an ideal world, it is best to purchase chickens that are pastured, allowed to eat bugs and roam around outdoors. Second best is free-range organic (chickens that have access to outdoors but probably never go out — but are not fed pesticide-treated GMOs).

The worst is battery chickens. They are put in cages stacked on top of each other, never see the light of day, fed GMO grains, and are so sick that they are pumped full of antibiotics.

That said, if I were you, I would go ahead and make the broth with the chickens you have. If I were poor and could only afford to shop at the regular grocery store, I would still make broth from chicken bones. My daughter eats lunch every day at ther daycare, run by a Peruvian grandma. They make soups a few times a week for lunch made with chicken bones. I’m sure these are not organic or free-range chickens. But I feel that the benefits of the broth outweigh outweigh the other issues. Especially because my daughter eats a nutrient-dense diet the rest of the time.

Likewise, I will order soup on the menu if I am in a restaurant if I am sure they have made it from scratch (I always ask if they make their stock from scratch — if not, I don’t eat it since it will have added MSG). I had the most delicious beef and barley soup the other week in a hotel restaurant; it was made from homemade beef broth. Was it made from bones that were from organic or grass-fed cows? Surely not! At home, I make my stocks from bones from pastured animals, but I do the best I can when I’m eating out.

Do the best you can, and don’t worry about being perfect.

4. Question:  What’s this Gelatinous Goo on My Chicken Stock?

Hi Ann Marie,

I just made some chicken stock from a 100% organic, pastured heritage chicken from my local farm. It was the first time I used this type of chicken and I have found something quite strange in my bowl! After refrigerating my stock, I opened the container, expecting to peel off the layer of fat, strain the broth, etc., but to my surprise I found a big bowl of gelatinous goo.

It smells and tastes delicious, but what happened? I did add about 8 chicken feet to this particular broth – could that be it? Did that add extra fat? Anyway, it seems okay to cook with and drink (once warmed and thinned out), but what gives? Any thoughts?

Thanks SO much,

P.S. LOVE your blog and Real Food Media! Huge blessing in my life.


Gelatinous goo is great! This is why I love chicken feet.

Chicken feet are some of the boniest parts of the bird (chicken necks and heads are also very bony), and they produce the most gelatin.

Gelatin is essentailly collagen, which when heated becomes gelatin. It’s what helps things GELL (hence the name). This is also where the words jelly and JELL-O come from (JELL-O is made from gelatin which comes from the bones and skins of animals).

Collagen is what helps to give us strong bones as well as beautiful skin. Collagen fills in and plumps up your skin so that you don’t get wrinkles and saggy folds. Check my blog later this week for a post about how broth can cure cellulite.

Gelatin also helps to heal the gut lining, so for people who are suffering from intestinal disorders or food allergies, consuming lots of gelatin-rich stock is essential for recovery.

Hey! I just found out that there is a farmer at my local Sunday market who is selling chicken feet AND heads. I think I’ll drop by there today and pick up a few heads to go in my broth along with my chicken feet.

5. Question: Can I Use Kefir Instead of Buttermilk?


I’ve been following your blog for about a year and really appreciate all that you do! I am your age, have a three year old daughter, and am also passionate about traditional cooking, grassfed raw milk and grassfed meats — yum!

Anyway, recently you did a post on kefir ice cream, and it got me thinking about this recipe I found but hadn’t tried yet. I am wondering if it could be done with kefir instead of the buttermilk?

I make my own grassfed organic and raw butter, and I always have buttermilk as a by-product, but I am thinking this recipe calls for the cultured buttermilk found in the store.  Kefir would be very similar to the consistancy of cultured buttermilk, but with more bacteria cultures. (However, baking the pie below would probably kill those cultures I am guessing) Still, if the pie below was made with a raw type of sugar, grassfed raw butter, buttermilk, and pastured eggs, it would probably still be healthy. Almond flour could even be used for a gluten-free crust if needed.  (I prefer to use fresh ground wheat berries or even sprouted fresh ground wheat — yum!)

Just wanted to pick your brain on this to see what you thought!

Buttermilk Pie

1 1/3 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 (9 or 10 inch) unbaked pastry shell


Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes without opening door.




I use kefir as a substitute for buttermilk in recipes all the time. If you do a blind taste test, kefir and buttermilk taste very similar. For example, kefir works great in this recipe for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. (It was my Uncle Mike’s favorite; he just passed away this week. God rest his soul.) I also use kefir to marinate my chicken for Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

6. Question: Thoughts on Radiation in Our Food?

Hi Anne Marie:

I am really piqued by the bone broth challenge but then thought about how radiation from the recent Japan fallout finds its way into the fat, tissue and bone of animals. What’s your thoughts on this… should we be concerned of consuming too much radiated fare?



I really don’t think this is an issue unless you are living very close to a contaminated site.

Organic Pastures Raw Dairy in Fresno, California had their milk tested this spring and they found no detectable levels of radiation. Click here to download the statement.

7. Question:  Benefits of Raw Goat Milk?

Hi Ann Marie,

I know all the reasons to take butter oil and fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures… I am always looking for ways to save money and make things myself. I have dairy goats and finally just got a cream separator.

I’m wondering if my raw goat cream products and raw goat butter can have the potential same health benefits as the “x factor” butter oil and spring butter? Goats don’t exactly eat spring grass, they forage for leaves and brush like deer. Also they are more efficient at converting beta-carotene to vitamin A than cows.

My question is what did/do traditional cultures do that only relied on goats for dairy products? Surely they didn’t order cow butter oil online?




Hi, Annabelle! I’m glad the goat farming is still going well!

I’m sure there have been plenty of traditional cultures who subsisted on goat milk (as well as camel milk, buffalo milk, yak milk, etc.)

Here’s a great post from The Healthy Home Economist: Is Goat Milk Healthier Than Cow Milk?

I love your question about raw goat cream/butter. I think this is a question for Dr. Weston Price himself! I bet he would be intrigued by it. If only he were still alive today; he could do some tests in his laboratory. I think that would be the only real way to find out if pastured goat butter is as nutritious as butter oil from grass-fed cows.

I say, make the cream and butter and use it liberally in your cooking. If you want to save money and you want to get enough fat soluble activators (vitamins A, D, and K2), it is not necessary to order butter oil online. Just eat more grass-fed liver and other organs. Organ meats are much less expensive than butter oil.

8. Question: Have a Homemade JELL-O recipe?

Hello I wonder if you have any recipes for homemade JELL-O made from gelatin.



You’ve probably already seen it, but I published this last week: Homemade Jello.

9. Question: Advice on a Safe Crockpot to Use?


I use my crockpot a lot. If you’ve posted a blog about why some crockpots are not safe to use due to lead content, and which ones are lead-free, please post a link to it for me and others who missed the info the first time. If not, please tell us where to get such info or what you’ve learned about this. I saw you make mention of this topic in your “how to make broth” video.



I use the Hamilton Beach crockpot. Here is the article I read on the Weston A. Price Foundation website that talks about heavy metals and crockpots: Mad as a Hatter.

10. Question: Do You Have Any Diet Advice for Weight Gain?

What do you suggest diet-wise for someone who needs to gain weight? I am 5’7″ and about 102 lbs. Been trying to gain weight for about 8 months now, but have actually lost a little more. We eat WF/NT and yet I have very serious health issues, including major stomach problems. Gaining weight is not as easy as it sounds, especially as I can’t eat but so much at a time because of my stomach. So if I can’t eat a large quantity of food, what foods should I be focusing on? We get raw 100% grassfed butter (cultured) and milk, eat grass-fed meat and good quality eggs, organic veggies, etc. I try to eat every 2-4 hours throughout the day until dinner.

Thanks for your help!


Hi, I’m not a doctor so I can’t really advise you on a medical condition such as this. It would be irresponsible for me to do so since you may have something serious going on. Hopefully you are working with a doctor or some kind of holistic practitioner.

One thing I would suggest looking into is food allergies/leaky gut. Many people who are gluten intolerant or have other food allergies have the symptom of the inability to gain weight. This is because a leaky or damaged gut inhibits absorption of food and nutrients. I recommend reading The Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Another thing that can cause the inability to gain weight is intestinal parasites. You can work with a doctor or naturopath to test for parasites. This goes hand in hand with leaky gut issues (parasites don’t thrive in a gut with adequate probiotics or good gut flora). Again, read The Gut & Psychology Syndrome.

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