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.
UPDATE: YIKES! I am now VERY behind in answering questions. The past few weeks have been crazy!
For this reason, I am going to do double duty and I will answer more questions than usual in this post, and in the coming weeks. I may even post a couple more Q & A posts over these next few weeks so I can catch up a bit.
Due to the increased questions, my answers will be shorter. (In other words, I’ll try not to run my mouth and just get to the point!)
Submit Your Question
If you have a question to submit, please email it to me at questions AT cheeseslave DOT com.
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1. Question: Making Raw Goat Cheese?
1.) I made basic goat cheese for the first time, using raw goat milk, lemon juice and sea salt. It turned out lovely — and versatile because the mild flavor can be taken in either a salty, savory direction with herbs, or one that’s more sweet, say, with berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
My question is regarding the temperature. All online recipes I found say to bring the milk to around 170-185 degrees before taking it off the heat and adding the lemon (or apple cider vinegar) to curdle it, but I’m wondering if it’s possible to do it at a lower temp to preserve some of the enzymes. Also, I’d be curious to know if the resulting whey, heated to ~180, has the probiotic qualities of other types of whey — my assumption is not, but that it still has a nice protein content and can be added to smoothies, etc.
Sorry, I’ve never made cheese before so I can’t answer this question. Maybe someone can answer in the comments.
2. Question: Kefir and Glutathione?
2.) I read Chris Masterjohn’s article in a recent Wise Traditions article that raw egg whites contain glutathione, a potent detoxifier. I also read recently that kefir, if left to ferment for a second day, creates glutathione. I can’t remember where I read this about kefir, though, so I’m wondering if you could verify this and if you or your readers have the source for this.
Beth – You have stummped the chump! Two questions I cannot answer. I did try to email Chris but haven’t heard back.
Can anyone answer this in the comments?
3. Question: Bean Flours?
I was just wondering what your thoughts are on bean flours? We are gluten free and have come across recipes using a mix of bean flours and starches such as tapioca and potato. I looked on the WAPF website and found some info on starches — apparently they are not that nutritious but not too bad in small quantities. I’m guessing that bean flour should come from soaked/sprouted beans, but I also know that blanched almond flour doesn’t need to be soaked cause the skins have been removed. Any chance bean flours don’t need soaking or sprouting? I can’t seem to find any info on using bean flour in a healthy manner (sorghum, fava, garbanzo etc).
Thanks for your time!
Bean flour is made from beans. Beans need to be soaked. So yes, bean flour should be made from soaked beans.
If I had gluten intolerance and were trying to heal my gut, I would use almond flour or coconut flour.
4. Question: Japan and Radiation?
Hi Ann Marie,
What are your thoughts on how to eat in the aftermath of the events in Japan? I’ve heard from multiple sources that European NGOs are advising pregnant and breastfeeding women and children limit or avoid exposure to rainwater, milk, soft cheese, and leafy green vegetables – the thought being that radiation is in the rain, which falls on the grass & plants, and cows eat the grass, and it becomes concentrated in their milk. Since Europe received significantly less fallout than the U.S., this advice holds for us as well – especially those of us in California.
Here are some links to info, in case you haven’t seen them already:
As a breastfeeding mom, raw dairy, pastured meats, and lots of (fresh & fermented) veggies make up the bulk of my diet. So… if they are not longer safe to eat — what can we eat? I’ve recently included seaweed and miso (traditionally fermented) for the iodine content, but adding a few extras is no problem compared to eliminating whole food groups for the next, what, 50+ years?
I kind of feel like we need to just keep living our lives, but it is scary to think what’s really in that glass of milk. Do you think the benefits outweigh the risks? What are you doing (if anything) to protect your family? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this.
Thanks & keep up the good work!
Andrea in San Diego
I would worry if we were closer to Japan. But we are 5,000 miles away. Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Raw Dairy, announced recently that they had their milk tested since the accident and it was found to have no contamination.
If you ever were in a situation where you were exposed to radiation, I would take lots of iodine. We have stocked our cupboards with extra iodine just in case we ever need it. Clay baths and seaweed like chlorella and spirulina are also recommended. I believe this is what helped the Japanese people rebuild so quickly after they were bombed so heavily in World War II. I think if it hadn’t been for all the seaweed, it would have taken them a lot longer to recover.
Also, I should note that we are all exposed to radiation every single day via television and computer screens, x-rays, airplane travel, etc. So again, iodine is a good idea. I still supplmenet with Lugol’s — I take some every so often (not every day).
5. Question: GAPS While Breastfeeding?
I have a baby who seems to have either an allergy or intolerance to dairy, soy, wheat, sugar, citrus and many other random things. I’m thinking about trying the GAPS diet but wondering if (1) it’s safe to do while nursing? and (2) would it help my baby’s gut simply by nursing from me while I do the diet?
Yes, the GAPS diet is safe to do while nursing. It will be much easier to help your baby now, rather than waiting until s/he is older. It is recommended that nursing mothers start out on the Full GAPS Diet (as opposed to the Intro Diet).
Yes, your baby will be helped by nursing if you are taking probiotics and eating more fermented foods, since the probiotics you are adding to your system will end up in your breast milk. Go slow, though, with the probiotics. Too much too fast can cause “die off” reactions which will dump toxins into the milk. Just start with a very small amount of probiotic and very gradaully increase over several weeks.
Also, you can take a capsule of powdered probiotic and sprinkle it on the breast when the baby goes to nurse. I recommend Biokult, but there are a couple others that are decent — most probiotics don’t work at all though so choose carefully.
6. Question: Are Grapes GMO?
Are seedless grapes a genetically modified food?
No. They are sprayed pretty heavily with pesticides, though, so look for organic.
7. Question: Reusing Lard and Tallow?
How many times can you reuse lard or beef tallow for frying and how do you dispose of it?
Hi, Sue! I typically use my tallow or lard 3-5 times. It depends on what I am frying and how long I can use it. For example, if I am making carnitas or something like that without breading or flour, then I can use it up to 5 times. If I am using flour, particularly coconut or almond flour which does not stay on as well, I may only use it 2-3 times because it turns very dark.
It’s important to strain all the meat and flour and any other food particles from the fat after you use it — otherwise it will spoil.
8. Question: Is Edamame Healthy?
I’ve been reading all I can about real food and have been practicing it for years without knowing what it was called. I just had a quick question about soy, actually about edamame.
So I totally get that industrial soy, like tofu, and fake chicken is awful, but what about something that guises as a nice mix of green bean and green pea? I figure that edamame is just about as natural as many other foods, but what I don’t know is if it is actually some modern fast food invention or if it is actually traditional.
Can you help?
Conscientious eater in LR
Soy is not really a traditional food. It is really a modern food. Traditionally, people did not eat it because it made them sick and made their animals sick.
According to Dr. Kaayla Daniel in The Whole Soy Story:
Soy has been a food in China for a little more than 2000 years. Farmers grew soybean plants only as “green manure” — as a cover crop plowed under to enrich the soil. Soy was a fertilizer, not a food.
The Chinese figured out how to ferment soy in order to make it edible. Dr. Daniel writes:
The ancient Chinese originally developed the technique for making soybean paste (best known by the Japanese term miso) to preserve protein-rich animal foods. This process was first applied to soybeans and grains in the second century BC at the earliest and appeared in Japan around 500 AD. Legend holds that tofu was invented in China in 164 BC and came to Japan in the eighth century AD. Natto entered the food supply around 1000AD and tempeh no earlier than the 1600s.
Soy must be properly fermented (which takes month or years) in order to make it edible. Otherwise it’s too hard on the digestive tract, causes gas and bloating and cramping, and it is full of phytic acid and other anti-nutrients that actually block mineral absorption in the body.
So, it’s fine to eat soy as long as you eat naturally fermented soy products including natto, soy sauce, tempeh, or miso. Check the label and make sure they are naturally fermented. And I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat more than a couple tablespoons per day, which is the amount that people traditionally eat in Asia.
Also note that people in Asia traditionally eat a lot more iodine-rich foods than we do. Iodine nourishes the thyroid gland, and soy blocks iodine (it’s a goitrogen). So if you’re going to eat soy, make sure you incrase your idoine intake in the form of traditionally made Japanese bonito broth (dashi), which is made from whole tuna, dried and flaked, or fish broth made from whole fish including the heads (where the thryoid is, which conatins the iodine), and/or lots of seafood and seaweed.
As far as edamame, I think you could eat it every once in a while — but again, only a small amount. If you go to a Japanese restaurant, they give you a small bowl and they don’t eat it like popcorn like we do. And it’s always served with miso soup (made with bonito broth and seaweed) plus lots of fish and seaweed.
I personally never eat edamame. I don’t see the health benefits since it is not fermented. And frankly, if I’m going to snack on something, I’d rather eat potato chips (made with a healthy fat like beef tallow or lard — or the ones I can buy in the store, avocado oil).
I do, however, love natto and eat it typically about once or twice a month. It’s very rich in vitamin K2, which is lacking in most people’s diets. I like it with raw egg yolk and a little fermented fish sauce (my preference over soy sauce), plus some kimchi or Japanese pickles. I also love fish broth and bonito broth, and I eat a lot of seafood.
9. Question: Kombucha vs. Water Kefir?
Hi! My husband and I already bake with sourdough bread and I make my own homemade raw viili yogurt, but if that wasn’t already enough, we’d like to start “brewing” our own probiotic beverage. I’ve never had water kefir but hear it tastes wonderful, and I love Kombucha tea, but my husband isn’t a huge tea fan (but he can tolerate it).
My main question, rather than our likes/dislikes (because we can really eat anything and learn to love it if it’s good for us!), is which one is better for you in the long run? I’ve heard Kombucha has amazing health benefits, but long term use isn’t so wonderful, and I’m a little worried about the repeat brewing needed for the water Kefir (we don’t want to do milk Kefir since I already make yogurt and raw milk ice cream).
Also, if I wanted to take a break on either, can you store the cultures somehow so that they don’t die (say, we go on vacation or something). And is either safe to drink every day? I know, a lot of questions… but they’re all related, and I’ve had a tough time finding info that doesn’t have some slant for one vs. the other. Thanks!
I brew both kombucha and water kefir and I have a strong preference for kombucha. Not because I don’t like water kefir — I do. In fact, I love it. And I do think most people can acclimate to the taste of water kefir over kombucha. It tastes more like soda pop. You can even make root beer!
That said, I find kombucha to be easier to make over the long haul. The culture is a lot tougher and less finicky. In fact, I haven’t made water kefir in so long, I think I’ve probably killed my grains. Meanwhile, I’ve had my kombucha scoby for years and I can go long stretches without making kombucha and it is sill thriving.
I have never heard anyone say that drinking kombucha over the long term is not healthy. It is very healthy!
I also like the fact that I can brew larger batches of kombucha. With the water kefir, I can only brew a quart at a time. I suppose if I bought more grains or worked dilligently to help them grow I could produce more water kefir at a time. That would make it easier and I would enjoy making it more. I am just too busy to make something every single day. I’m more of a once-weekly yogurt making person than an every-day kefir making person. Actually, let’s be honest — I’m a once or twice monthly kefir making person. Kefir grains are also very hardy and don’t go bad on you — which is also why I like kefir.
If your husband doesn’t like the taste of kombucha, try adding fresh fruit or fruit juice for a second fermentation. My family loves ginger kombucha and other fruit kombucha flavors.
10. Question: Should We Do GAPS?
I first want to say “thank you” so much for your amazing website and all the wonderful information you share! I LOVE reading your posts and have learned so much!
Very long story short, my 3 year old daughter I believe is suffering with “an allergy” of some sort. She is a happy thriving little girl…loves to drink her
raw milk.:) I follow WAPF diet as much as I can. She suffered with constipation while I nursed her (from birth until 15 months) and while it’s much improved it’s something I constantly have to keep in check. The latest is she suffers terribly from a red rash around her anus and sometimes it’s up around her vagina too.
I give her a probiotic daily (this is new in the last 2 weeks), but I can’t seem to get a handle on it. Her pediatrician suggested oil of oregano and or
grapefruit seed extract… thinking it could be possibly yeast. Well I’m not sure about that one.
I’m at a loss..want to cry about it sometimes because it’s painful for her. SO… I’ve been reading about GAPS but honestly it’s very intimidating to me. Can I do it??:) Oh and she also has eczema on her hands… which flares up and goes away… for no reason. Again, can’t pinpoint it.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my email and would love to hear your
thoughts. Thank you again!
My short answer is YES!
I can’t tell you what to do with your family’s health decisions but I can tell you that if I were in your position I would absolutely do GAPS. It is not enough to add a probiotic — you also have to avoid foods that she cannot digest.
I know it seems hard but trust me, it will be a LOT harder for her when she is older if you don’t do it now.
Also, remember, when someone has a leaky gut, they are not absorbing their food properly. Until you heal that gut, she’s not going to be absorbing all the nutrients you are feeding her.
11. Question: Sweeteners and the GAPS Diet?
Hi, I have a question about sweeteners and the GAPS diet. I know that Natasha McBride recommends honey as the only sweetener to be used.
I am wondering if she has reviewed coconut palm sugar as an option as well. I am not sure that this product was available at the time of her writing her book. I have a friend who finds that she is more senstive to the highs and lows of honey and finds palm sugar as works better for her body. I know that coconut products are often considered healthful, could this be true of coconut sugar? Thanks for your feedback on this subject.
I don’t believe palm sugar is allowed on the GAPS diet.
In addition to honey, you can use date sugar (made from dehydrated dates). I find date sugar to be a great substitute, especially for baking. I made some delicious GAPS-legal brownies last week with date sugar. My daughter loved them!
That said, we need to of course limit the amount of sweetners we use on the GAPS diet. An occasional treat every once in a while is fine, but brownies and sweet muffins and pancakes every day is not a good idea.
I personally do not crave sweets most of the time anymore. Every once in a while I like to have dessert — maybe once or twice a week at the most. And I never eat sweets for breakfast — it doesn’t taste good to me. That said, I do like chocolate every once in a while and I let myself indulge.
I think as you avoid sweets for a period of time you lose your craving.
12. Question: Vitamin D/A Ratio?
Here is my question. I have been taking high doses of vitamin D. (9000IU daily during the winter, 7000IU during the summer, I live in Northern MN). My last 25 O(HD) was 89.
Recently I have read about the correct ratios of vitamins A andvitamin K with D. I believe I may be experiencing some vitamin A deficiency symptoms… seborrheic dermatitis. If I get my vitamin A tested what are the recommended values? Also what would be the best way to correct my ratios for proper skin health (i.e. supplement with vitamin A, cod liver oil, etc.? I have stopped taking my vitamin D).
This is one of the main reasons it is not recommended to take vitamin D on its own. Vitamins A and D work together and having the right ratio is very protective.
I don’t know about getting tested for vitamin A. But I agree, 89 for vitamin D seems very high. I think the last time I had mine tested I was at about 30, which I thought was great.
I really recommend taking the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture (See my resource page for sources). It has the right ratio of vitamin A to vitamin D. It is not a supplement really, but a food. Unlike other cod liver oils on the market, they don’t take out or add any of the vitamins — it is just as nature intended.
I think if you start taking 1-2 teaspoons of that each day (assuming you are not pregnant or nursing — if so, take more), your levels should normalize in time.
13. Question: Soaking Flour without Dairy?
I just came across your blog today and so far from what I have read I love the
details and information. Thank you for sharing such underful information with us
I have a question about soaking flour, I read on your blog the best medium for
soaking flour/grains in order to reduce phytates is kefir, whey, or butermilk. I have a little one alergic to dairy and am wondering if using lemon juice or apple cider vinegar works as effectively as the other products used?
I would appreciate if you could let me know your thoughts
I personally would not feed my child any grains if they had food allergies. I would try the GAPS diet which helps to reverse food allergies.
You can still eat bread on the GAPS diet but it is made from coconut flour or almond flour.
You can learn more by reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome
by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
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.