Q & A: May 8, 2011

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.

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

1. Question:  Silpat Baking Mats?

Are Silpat baking mats safe to use? I want to buy one but can’t find much about them online!



I am not sure. I don’t know what the Weston A. Price Foundation says about them. I use them and I have met other WAPF chapter leaders who also use them.

It is not easy to get around using silicone when baking if you want a non-stick surface. Even if you use parchment paper, that is typically treated with silicone. Paraflexx sheets, used in the Excalibur dehydrator, are also made with silicone.

That said, you can grease your pans with butter or coconut oil, and then if you want to be extra the food doesn’t stick, flour them, too. That’s the old-fashioned way of doing things and it works well for cakes, brownies, muffins, and most baked goods.

If you are going to go the butter and flour route, make sure you use stainless steel or stoneware pans for baking — NOT aluminum. Check out my resources page for sources of stainless steel bakeware.

2. Question:  Grain-free Baby?

Is it OK to make foods for a baby with coconut flour or almond flour if you are going grain free? My little one is eight months.

— Lindsay


I suppose you could use coconut flour or almond flour. However, coconut flour is high in fiber, so that is not ideal for a baby. And almond flour is high in phytic acid so you would need to soak it and dry it.

Personally, I really don’t see why babies would need to eat anything made of flour. I don’t really see the point.

When my daughter was that age, I plied her with egg yolks, bone broth, liver and other organ meats, and lots of good fats. I’d also give her blocks of cheese, salami, salmon, soups and stews, and pureed, stewed fruits and vegetables mixed with grass-fed butter or cream or coconut oil. I also gave her fermented foods like kefir, filmjolk (Swedish yogurt), and homemade pickles. And of course, her cod liver oil.

Back then, she would happily eat anything I gave her, so I took advantage of that and fed her duck hearts and sardines with a side of sauerkraut — she lapped it up! I only wish she would still eat like that now.  But at least she still eats her liverwurst once a week.

I do not think it is a coincidence that at age 4, my daughter literally towers over most of her friends. She is sturdy and hardy, not waifish and thin. She is 4 and she wears a size 6/7!

3. Question:  Help for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Ann Marie,

I have 2 people in my life, a friend and a co-worker, who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I understand you’ve been able to do wonders for yourself.  Have you put your story on paper?  I’d really like to share it with my friends.

I’ve been eating a traditional diet for about 4 months now, and have found that I’m much healthier than I was before, but that doesn’t mean much to them.  I’d really like to be able to share a personal story about dealing with RA with them.  Can you help?

— Todd


Hi, Todd!

I have written about my story in a few different places.  You can read about it here on my Reversing Food Allergies class page. (You can also watch the video on that page that tells my story.)

I also posted about it here on my blog: Real Food: A Natural Cure for Arthritis, Allergies, Chronic Fatigue, Melasma, Cradle Cap & Cavities

And here’s another older post where I wrote about it in detail: Candida Detox

4. Question:  Remineralizing Kefir Grains?

I read on another blog that water kefir grains need to be remineralized, but no details about that.  I guess I’ve had mine over a year making kefir pop and don’t know anything about this.

Will they just stop working if you don’t do this, and how do you do it?

— Linda


I just toss in a clean egg shell. I include this in my instructions for my Kefir Soda Pop recipe.

5. Question:  Activated Charcoal?

Could you please tell me more about activated charcoal and its uses?

Thanks, Meg


Activated charcoal, or activated carbon, is used for many things, including:

“…gas purification, gold purification, metal extraction, water purification, medicine, sewage treatment, air filters in gas masks and respirators, filters in compressed air and many other applications.” (Source)

If you think about it, you’ve probably heard of “activated carbon filters” used in water filtration.

We use activated charcoal in our house for food poisoning. I keep it in the vitamin cabinet (haha I never thought about it but we don’t have a medicine chest — just a vitamin cabinet) at all times — just in case.

According to Wikipedia:

“It is thought to bind to poison and prevent its absorption by the gastrointestinal tract. In cases of suspected poisoning, medical personnel administer activated charcoal on the scene or at a hospital’s emergency department. Dosing is usually empirical at 1 gram/kg of body mass (for adolescents or adults, give 50-100 g), usually given only once, but depending on the drug taken, it may be given more than once. In rare situations activated charcoal is used in Intensive Care to filter out harmful drugs from the blood stream of poisoned patients. Activated charcoal has become the treatment of choice for many poisonings, and other decontamination methods such as ipecac-induced emesis or stomach pumping are now used rarely.”

This really works! I got food poisoning once from some bad chicken and instead of vomiting all night long, I took the activated charcoal and it only lasted a few hours. (I think maybe it would have cleared up faster but I didn’t know how much to take at the time.)

We also always take activated charcoal when we go to the dentist if he ever has to do any work such as replacing a filling. Our dentist, Dr. Raymond Silkman in Los Angeles, is a WAPF dentist and he recommends that all of his patients do this.

I have also read that you can take activated charcoal if you are having severe “die-off” symptoms when starting on the GAPS diet.

Please note: if you take activated charcoal, it will chelate anything and everything you’ve eaten, so it’s not a good idea to use it very often — because you’ll also chelate any nutrients you have consumed.

6. Question:  Cod Liver Oil and Vitamin D?

Hi Annmarie,

A couple of questions regarding cod liver oil and vitamin D:

Do you take extra vitamin D (Carlsons?)  If you’re taking fermented CLO already, seeing the ration is just right with the CLO?  Or do you just stick with the fermented CLO?

Fermented CLO ok for babies?  Even the CLO with flavors in them?

Also, you mentioned the Carlson’s Fish oil was synthetic.  Yuck. How do they get away with it.  How about the Nordic Naturals CLO?

My daughter doesn’t like the fermented CLO — I tried to get the one you told me about, the orange yummy one — but they are not making it yet.  Must have been a trial?

Thanks!  Jenny


No, I do not take Carlson’s, and it is not recommended. I only take fermented cod liver oil.

Fermented cod liver oil is OK for babies. If they won’t swallow it, you can mix it in a little apple juice. You can also rub it on their bum or on their feet and it will absorb through the skin.

Carlson’s cod liver oil is not synthetic but it contains synthetic vitamins. This is one of the reasons it is not recommended. (Same goes for Nordic Naturals.) Almost all cod liver oils (except the Green Pasture brand) are heated and refined, and this denatures the vitamins. That is why they add back in the vitamins A and D. But they don’t add them back in at the right ratio.

Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil is the ONLY cod liver oil on the market that is not heated and is naturally fermented.  Since they ferment it in brine (salt water), you also get vitmain K2 when you take the fermented cod liver oil.  For where to buy fermented cod liver oil, see my resources page.

I got the emulsified orange flavor at last year’s Weston A. Price Foundation conference. It was yummy. I’m sorry to see they are not making it anymore. They do have 3 other flavors of the emulsified fermented cod liver oil. I have heard great things about the ginger flavor and plan to try it soon.

7. Question:  Blue-veined Cheese?

Hi there,

I was wondering if there were any miraculous benefits to be obtained through regularly consuming raw blue-veined cheese. I was recently introduced to this type of cheese and I’m in love. In fact, it currently is my favorite of all cheeses. However, I am still uneasy about the idea of eating mold every day. Is the mold in raw blue-veined cheese good or bad for our bodies?  From what I understand it contains both antibiotics and [pro]biotics. To be on the safe side, how often should this be eaten?

Cheers, Rachele 🙂

P.S. I love your blog ^_^


Hi, Rachele,

Raw blue-veined cheese is very good for you! I know the love you feel for artisanal cheese. I named my blog CHEESESLAVE because of my deep, abiding love for French Epoisses.

Yes, mold does grow on many of these artisanal cheeses but they are not bad for you.  Antibiotics like penicillin were originally derived from mold. In fact, molds from the penicillin genus are responsible for the blue veins in blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton.

There are other foods that have natural antibiotic properties, such as garlic, onions and coconut oil.

And yes, raw milk cheese also contains probiotics.

Raw cheese made from the milk from grass-fed cows is extremely nutritious, full of fat-soluble activators A, D and vitamin K2.

I don’t think you need to limit your cheese intake for any reason. Dieticans will tell you to avoid soft cheeses and raw milk cheeses that are not aged, especially when pregnant, but I don’t buy this. Pregnant women have been eating these cheeses in Europe for centuries. As long as you buy your cheese from a farmer you trust who raises healthy animals on pasture, I personally would not worry about it.

8. Question:  Sourdough Starter?

Hello! My name is Bonni and am very excited to make your acquaintance! My husband and I are doing our best live a healthy lifestyle while not sacrificing deliciousness. We were given your information from Maurice Kaehler at the Hollywood farmers market. We are trying to make our own sourdough bread and he directed us to you with the hope that you could tell us were we could find a good place to purchase a sourdough bread starter. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

With Respect, Bonni


Hi, Bonni! I love Maurice! He is the best. Check out my resources page for sources of fermented food starters.

9. Question:  Raw Milk from Cows in Confinement?

The only raw milk I have access to is Jersey milk from confined cows. I’ve been wondering if we should still drink it because of the confined nature of the cows. This is a small dairy (around 80 cows), they grow their own grass but do still feed grains. They live pretty much in the open air and sunshine. The farmer is concerned with cleanliness, saying, “I drink the milk and I don’t want to drink poop.” I know this isn’t as good as the milk you are able to purchase. Oh, do I envy you! 🙂

If this was all you could get, what would you do?

I really appreciate you answering this as it has been causing some consternation of late.

— Jo


I’m confused. What do you mean by “confined”? You say they live in the open air and sunshine and they do eat grass and “some grains”.

If the cows are out on pasture, getting grass, sunshine and fresh air for the majority of the time, weather-permitting, I don’t see a problem with it as long as the farm is clean and the animals are healthy.

Perhaps you can ask a local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader if they purchase this milk and if they think it is good. There is a list of local chapter leaders on the WAPF website with phone numbers and email addresses.

10. Question:  Grass-fed, Pasteurized Milk vs. Grass-fed Raw Milk?

I have access to both grassfed unhomogenized pasteurized milk and grassfed raw milk.  However, the raw milk is more difficult to get and my husband is somewhat but not completely comfortable with the safety of raw milk.  We’ve been having a lot of debates on the subject since I’d really like to start drinking raw milk, but my question is: how much more benefit would we be getting from the raw milk over the grassfed pasteurized milk?  I know there’s a world of difference between CAFO pasteurized milk and grassfed raw milk, but how big (and how important really) is the difference between grassfed pasteurized and grassfed raw?

Thank you!  Molly


Hi, Molly.

There is no question in my mind — grass-fed RAW milk is infinitely superior to grass-fed pasteurized milk.

Two things convinced me of this.

(1) Sally Fallon Morell’s (and Lee Dexter’s) brilliant Powerpoint deck — click here to download it.

This powerpoint goes into great detail about why raw milk is safer than pasteurized milk, and why raw milk is vastly more nutritious than raw milk.

(2) Dr. Ron Schmid’s book, The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated: The History, Politics and Science of Nature’s Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows.

This book will absolutely blow you away and turn you into a raving raw milk supporter. It’s a quick read — I devoured it in a weekend.

After I read both of these, the powerpoint and the book, I felt 100% safe and confident about feeding raw milk to my 5-month-old daughter (in the form of raw milk homemade baby formula). Not only that, but they convinced me that pasteurized grass-fed milk is not even in the same league as raw grass-fed milk.

Sally Fallon Morell also says that when we pasteurize milk, it damages the proteins. So she recommends using pasteurized grass-fed cream and watering it down if you can’t find raw grass-fed milk.

I feel so strongly about this that I do go out of my way to buy raw milk (45 minutes each way to get it from the “hub store” in LA). In fact, we NEVER drink pasteurized milk except for rare occasions (like when traveling). Raw milk is the number one staple health food in our home (OK, tied with cod liver oil).

11. Question:  Corn Syrup vs. High Fructose Corn Syrup?

I have a quick question about corn syrup. Now I understand that sugar isn’t great, and the more processed, the less great it is. Occasionally I will make something that calls for corn syrup (aka Karo syrup). I have noticed in looking at the ingredients that there are those corn syrups that are made with “high fructose corn syrup”, and a few that list just “corn syrup” as their main ingredient. Is there a difference? Would the plain corn syrup be marginally better that those made with high fructose corn syrup? What is the difference?



Corn syrup is a less sweet version of high fructose corn syrup. In other words, they make high fructose corn syrup out of corn syrup.

I would not use either one — high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup. Not only are they both highly processed, but both corn syrup and HFCS are made from genetically modified corn. Avoid!

In recipes that call for corn syrup, I use honey. Honey should work just fine 1 to 1 in most recipes. Here’s my recipe for How to Make Marshmallow Fluff Without Corn Syrup.

12. Question:  Live Blood Analysis?

How would live blood analysis compare between vegan and WAPF diets after each being on their diet of minimum two years?

— Kay


That’s a great question!  You may have already seen this article on the Weston A. Price Foundation website: Pilot Research Study Live Blood Analysis of Adults. The results are astounding. Maybe they could do a similar study comparing vegan and WAPF diets.

Question:  Sprouted Bread and Grains?

How often can WAPF diet followers enjoy sprouted breads/grains if they don’t have any grain sensitivity?  2-3 times per week?

Thank you – you’re TERRIFIC!!!!!!

— Kay


Hi, Kay,

I think if you have no sensitivity, you could eat sprouted grains on a daily basis. Ideally, if you are eating a lot of grains, the grains should be sprouted AND soaked or fermented. In other words, use sprouted flour and ferment it with a sourdough culture. Or buy sprouted brown rice and soak it before eating.

You also want to make sure to include lots of other nutrient-dense staple foods in your diet, such as grass-fed butter, cream and cheese, cod liver oil, organ meats, and seafood, particularly shellfish.

Question:  Grass-fed, Pasteurized Milk vs. Grass-fed Raw Milk?

I read that you are super swamped catching up on emails so I will try to make this brief. I just recently started increasing the amount of milk we get from our cow share to make cream and butter (about a year ago the state health dept here in CO made it illegal for farms to sell products from our raw milk – dangit). I don’t want to waste the skimmed milk that is left after taking the cream off. What can I do with it?!?!? Is it still nutritious enough to drink?

If I leave a LITTLE bit of cream on it (just under a centimeter in half gallon ball jar) should I just use it to make yogurt? We live in a suburb in CO and do not have any livestock (chicken) to give the milk to. I thought you may have ideas. I just can’t stand the thought of pouring it all down the drain (about 2 gallons, possibly more in the future) each week. What do you think?

PS – I love your blog and facebook!!!

Take Care, Meredith


That’s a tough one. I really don’t believe in drinking skim milk.

The only thing I can think of is you could bathe in it. Milk baths used to be very popular, not only because they are luxurious and soothing, but also for health benefits. Read about them on Wikipedia.

Maybe someone else will have some ideas. Too bad you can’t sell it — there are so many people who think skim milk is better for them!

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.