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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1. Question: Healing Acne with Probiotics?
I was wondering what your thoughts were on healing the gut without the use of a probiotic pill. I have mild acne, but every time I try to take Threelac, BioKult or any other probiotic supplement my face erupts in angry, itchy cysts and pimples that last for weeks. I am currently on the GAPS diet in order to try to heal my skin and so this reaction is extremely frustrating and disheartening.
Thank you in advance,
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. I was just talking to a young woman the other night about her persistent acne. She has the same experience whenever she tries to take probiotics.
I’ll preface this with my usual disclaimer — I’m not a doctor so please don’t misconstrue what I tell you as medical advice. You should find a doctor you can work with you can help you (I worked with a naturopath when I was healing my gut.)
I will tell you the same thing I told her. If I were you, I’d try the GAPS Intro Diet. I know you are already doing the GAPS Diet, but perhaps you skipped over intro too fast? I am wondering if perhaps there are still some things you are eating that you are having a reaction to. (I feel the need to mention this as it is a common culprit.)
Now, you may be on the GAPS Intro or perhaps you did it and you very painstakingly reintroduced foods and there is nothing you’re eating that is causing a reaction. If so, then proceed as you are. Be sure to continue to avoid all starches and sugars (including honey and fruit, at least for a time, and then they must be eaten in strict moderation) as these foods feed the pathogenic bacteria.
And yes, it is important to start taking probiotics and fermented foods in order to heal the gut. The fact that the acne gets worse when you take a probiotic is likely a sign that you are having some sort of “die-off” reaction. When we introduce probiotics to the gut and there is an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, these pathogens get killed off by the good guys. They get killed and are sent off for detoxification.
Anytime you have an overload of pathogenic bacteria or other toxins in your system, your body tries to detoxify in one of 5 ways: urine, feces, mucus, perspiration, or vomiting. This is why diarrhea is a common die-off reaction, as is excess mucus/sneezing, or skin rashes or acne (perspiration) or even vomiting.
There are two ways to deal with this. One is to GO SLOW with the probiotics and fermented foods. You may have to start with as little as 1/8th of a capsule and slowly, gradually work up to a full capsule. Be aware that coconut oil and fermented cod liver oil can cause die-off reactions (coconut oil is antibacterial and FCLO is fermented).
The Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, goes into great detail about how the body detoxifies, and how to help the process along. Dr. Natasha recommends the following to aid detoxification: warm baths with either epsom salt or baking soda or clay; enemas; and drinking freshly juiced vegetables and fruits. There are other things she recommends as well including fresh parsley, cilantro, onion, and garlic.
2. Question: Thoughts On Combining A Healthy Eating Plan With Weight Loss?
I’m a big believer in raw milk (we get a gallon a week) and eating food straight from the earth. I’d like to hear your opinion, though, on maintaining a healthy weight with the high fat content of this type of diet. I noticed that you implemented the Four Hour Body and have had to eliminate some of your usual food options from your diet.
What happens when you add the fats back in? The fact that you had to eliminate it to lose weight makes me wonder if it’s smart for a middle aged woman to eat so much coconut oil, whole milk, and avocado. Won’t those fats add weight??
I need to lose about 25 pounds and I’m having a really, really hard time. My “regular” whole foods eating plan isn’t working. Five weeks on a vegan diet didn’t do it. Any thoughts on combining a healthy eating plan with weight loss?
I was able to lose 15 pounds this spring by following The Four Hour Body diet. Interestingly, the Four Hour Body diet does not require you to limit coconut oil or coconut products or avocado. You can eat as much as you like. Tim Ferris, the author of the book, says he added beans to the diet because most people eat a lower fat diet, but if you want to eat more fat instead of beans, that’s fine.
So that’s what I followed. Meat, fish, and lots of fat (butter, cream, sour cream, avocado, coconut oil, coconut milk), lots of green vegetables, fermented vegetables, and some beans. I also added a lot of broth to my diet. I ate some cottage cheese, which is allowed in moderation.
The foods to avoid are whole milk and cheese (due to the sugar content — milk sugar, or lactose), fruit (high sugar content), sugars and starches.
I found it was very easy to lose weight on this diet. When I went off the diet in May, I didn’t gain any weight back. I think the biggest thing with the 4 Hour Body for me was just learning to eat more slowly and not stuff myself (I got in the habit of overeating when I was pregnant; a hard habit to break.)
I’m now following a fertility diet (I’m currently trying to conceive) and also following the Julia Ross Mood Cure diet. I’m donig the Mood Cure diet because I have had evening cravings for wine, carbs and sweets for years (most likely due to years of skipping meals, drinking coffee and Diet Coke and smoking — the caffeine and cigarettes were appetite suppresents which caused me to skip more meals) so I’m trying to wipe those out.
So far, so good. I used to drink 2-3 glasses of wine every single night. Now I drink no wine most nights, or if I do have wine, I drink 1 or 2 glasses at most. However, I’ve noticed that if I don’t take all of my amino acid supplements each day, or I don’t take enough, or if I miss a meal during the day, the cravings come back and I find myself snacking on chocolate or drinking wine at night.
I’m also still having trouble with skipping meals. I get busy working and I’ll skip breakfast for example, then I’m ravenous by 2 pm and I overeat. Or I skip lunch because I don’t take the time to stop working and I end up overating at night. So, in the process of this new diet, I have gained a few pounds. It’s due to this rollercoaster learning process of trying to relearn how to eat 3 meals a day.
3. Question: Food Suggestions For Tonsillectomy Recovery?
Hi Ann Marie,
I am going to have a tonsillectomy in a couple of weeks, and I have noticed that I either can not or will not eat many of the foods recommended during recovery. For the record, I am allergic to corn, gluten, MSG, food dyes, coffee and cinnamon. I will probably not be able to swallow anything more than soft foods for about two weeks.
In addition, I have a cracked tooth so I have a low tolerance for things that are very cold. It has been recommended that I chew a lot of gum, but I won’t chew sugarless gum, and I can’t have food dyes. I would like to keep my diet as traditional as possible during this time.
So here are my questions. Can anyone think of a chewing gum or another option that is either unsweetened or has regular sugar and no food dyes. Even doublemint is colored now! The chewing action is supposed to help build saliva and keep the throat moistened and also to help get and keep the jaw and throat muscles in shape.
Any ideas on nourishing foods I could try? I plan to make some chicken broth, and perhaps some raw milk kefir and/or yoghurt — any other ideas?
Thanks to all,
I can’t imagine that gum would be good for anyone ever. I don’t know of any good brands of gum. They all have colors and either HFCS or aspartame. Maybe someone will have an idea in the comments.
Chicken broth, kefir, and yogurt are all good ideas. You could eat make cottage cheese, soft cheeses, liver pate or liverwurst, soups, and smoothies.
4. Question: Recipe For Jams With Fruit Juices Only?
Do you know, or have you seen, how to make jams and jellies sweetened with fruit juices only? That is what I buy for “pbj” sandwiches, so I am sure you can do it somehow, but I cannot find a recipe.
I don’t know how to make jams or jellies — I’ve never done canning. It seems pretty easy to do though. I do buy jellies and jams that are sweetened with fruit juice — you can find them at health food stores.
5. Question: Recipe For Cream Using Raw Milk?
Hi, Ann Marie,
How do I come up with WAPF friendly cream, whipping cream, extra heavy cream or half-and-half?
We buy raw milk — but the only cream in the stores is ultra-pasteurized. I think there are some legal restrictions here in Indiana on types of cream that are available for purchase. I have no idea what to do with recipes that otherwise seem very healthy, but then have these ingredients in them. I don’t know what the difference is between all of them — but I don’t know what kind of healthy options I have.
You can’t buy cream from the farmer who sells you raw milk? That is how I get my cream. It’s fine to buy cream that is pasteurized; you just need to avoid ultra-pasteurized (UHT) cream. Also, you want cream that is from grass-fed cows.
If I couldn’t find non-UHT cream, I would separate the cream from raw milk and use that. If they don’t sell non-UHT grass-fed cream in your state, you could also drive out of state and buy grass-fed pasteurized (but non-UHT) cream and bring it back in coolers and freeze it.
6. Question: Advice On Being An Older Mother?
In our society, any woman who decides to have a baby and who is 40 and over or even 38 and over is considered an “older mother”. In the mainstream media we are always cautioned about the health risks to the mother and risks to the baby, like increased risk of Down Syndrome, in the case of an “older mother”.
You and I are both in this age category, and we are both planning on having a baby in the near future. It seems to me that in previous generations, women did have healthy babies at this age, and that women in other cultures still do.
What things have you learned that can help us to reduce our pregnancy risk and to reduce the risk of Down Syndrome, autism and other problems in the baby? Is it simply a matter of eating the WAP way, or are there other factors involved?
There’s a lot of misinformation out there (mostly coming from mainstream medicine) about how long women can have children. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, as we are experiencing an epidemic of infertility in younger women.
I really think a lot of this infertility is due to the trend in vegetarian and low-fat diets.
There was a study done recently that showed that women who ate more than two portions a day of low-fat dairy foods were 85% more likely to be infertile than those who only ate low-fat dairy foods less than once a week.
Conversely they found that women who ate full-fat dairy foods, including ice cream, more than once per day had a 25 per cent reduced risk of infertility due to ovulatory disorders compared to those who ate full-fat dairy foods only once a week.
Here’s a link to the story: Trouble Getting Pregnant? Improve Fertility with Butter & Ice Cream
There are other issues as well that negatively impact fertility, including an increased consumption of soy foods. Another thing I’ve seen that causes infertility is a damaged gut. When our gut is damaged, we can’t absorb nutrients properly, and either don’t ovulate or can’t carry a baby to term.
Anecdotally, my housekeeper says the women in her country, Honduras, have babies until they are 50.
We just really started trying to conceive. I don’t think we’ll have any issues, since my daughter was conveived when I was 38 with no trouble at all (on the first try). Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. Please keep me posted on your progress!
7. Question: Advice On Working With Cultures
I don’t know if you can answer this.
Background: I want to start making crème fraîche , and I have looked at several recipes. It’s hard for me to get unpasteurized cream or even unpasteurized buttermilk. Thus, I will probably use yogurt as my starter. Or I may buy some commercially available cultures, which they say you can keep in the freezer. Either way, the articles I’ve read say that once you get a culture going you can use it to start the next batch.
Question: I’m afraid I can’t keep a batch going indefinitely. If I freeze a few tablespoons from the end of one batch, will it still work to start the next one? I would think no, except for those commercially available products that say you can freeze them (e.g. https://www.cheesemaking.com/store/p/145-Creme-Fraiche-DS-5-packets.html or https://www.groworganic.com/cr-me-fra-che-culture-ds-5pk-frz.html)
I don’t see a problem using pasteurized buttermilk as a starter. It’s fine to consume pasteurized butter, buttermilk, and cream. You don’t want to consume pasteurized milk because the pasteurization renders the milk protein toxic.
Correction: I was assuming buttermilk was made the traditional way — the liquid left over from making butter.
But I looked it up and found that buttermilk does indeed have protein. This puzzled me because butter has no protein, so how can buttermilk?
It turns out that the way they make it now is a cheat. They just take 1% or 2% milk and add a lactic acid culture to it.
So, if you’re using REAL buttermilk, made from the leftover process of making butter, it does not have any protein. If you’re using commercial buttermilk, it does have protein, which would be denatured.
So, if you want to avoid the denatured proteins, you want to use real buttermilk. Or you can use some creme fraiche as a starter culture.
8. Question: Is Wine OK While Healing My Gut?
While you were healing your gut during your 20s, I know you avoided all processed sugar/grains. Did you indulge in any wine?
Yes, I did drink wine. Not every night, but I drank it here and there. Wine is allowed in moderation on the GAPS diet.
9. Question: Suggestions For A Picky Eater?
I have a daughter who was born through surrogacy and has been fed raw milk formula since breastfeeding was not an option. She was always underweight and never really took to the bottle well so we started feeding her an egg yolk everyday (with her pediatrician’s blessing) from about 4 months of age. She loved eating food so we added banana and smashed avocado daily, too.
She gradually gained weight and, by 6 months old, was eating 3 meals a day of egg custard, liver pate, veggies pureed with coconut oil, fruit pureed with grass-fed butter and meat pureed with homemade bone broth. She went from the 5th percentile to the 25th in weight. We were ecstatic!
Then, a couple of months ago, our little girl decided she didn’t want anything off a spoon. She wanted to feed herself. This was around the same time she was getting 4 top teeth all at once. So, we started giving her chunks of avocado, sliced olives, berries and small pieces of grass-fed cheese and meat.
Lately, though, she only wants avocado and fruit and will leave the cheese and meat on her plate. She won’t eat eggs or vegetables in any form anymore. We tried to stop giving her the foods she wants which resulted in full-blown tantrums for “nana” and “boo-berry”. She’s even gone to bed a few times without eating anything at all.
What do you suggest as high fat, nutrient dense finger foods for a picky eater?
Congratulations on your daughter’s growth! That’s wonderful.
I’m not sure how old your daugher is now, but the first thing I thought of when I read your letter is that it is possible that she has food allergies. It’s very common for kids with a leaky gut to exhibit extreme pickiness. When there is an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, kids crave sweets (including fruits) because sweets feed the bad bacteria.
Since she was born to a surrogate mother, you may not know the condition of the mother’s gut flora.
If I were you, the first thing I’d do is try the GAPS Diet with her to determine if she has food allergies. As part of the GAPS diet, I’d give her a therapeutic probiotic such as Bio-Kult.
Here is an article on this subject on Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s website: Picky Eaters and Failure to Thrive
I would withhold all fruit and just feed her soups made from broth, meats, good fats, and non-starchy vegetables. It takes a bit of time and dedication, but the pickiness does go away on the GAPS diet.
10. Question: Ok To Take Probiotics While Pregnant?
Can you take probiotics while pregnant? If so, which kind/brand do you recommend? I think I might have Candida.
Yes, you can take probiotics. I would absolutely take probiotics and do the GAPS diet (do the full diet when pregnant, not the intro diet). The more you can do to heal your digestive tract and rebuild your good gut bacteria before the baby comes, the better off your baby will be after he or she is born, as s/he will inherit your gut flora.
I recommend Bio-Kult. You can find it here on my : resources page.
11. Question: Resources To Find Raw Milk?
I came across your blog and found it very helpful. I am currently making kefir from local, hormone-free milk, but I was hoping to find raw milk instead. Do you have any resources for finding raw milk? I have looked online, but without much success. I live in the Flathead valley in Montana.
Thanks so much,
I looked on realmilk.com and there are no listings for Montana. Raw milk sales are illegal in Montana.
However, I do see that you can get raw milk in Wyoming via cow shares. Looks like there’s a farm in Lovell which is not far from the border. You could also drive to Spokane, WA (you can buy raw milk in stores in Washington) but it looks like Lovell is a shorter trip (5 hours vs. 8).
I know it may seem extreme to drive for 5 hours to get raw milk, but if you’re like me, it’s worth it! Of course, the FDA does not want us to transport raw milk across state lines — see this article on The Bovine.
Personally, I don’t give a rat’s a** what the FDA thinks I should or shouldn’t do. I know we need raw milk for our health and I will go to any length to get it.
I’m moving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas this fall. It’s hard to find raw milk in Vegas (there are some sources but it’s the desert) so I plan to drive back to LA every couple months to get raw milk and will bring it back in coolers and store it in a chest freezer.
12. Question: Is Tofu In Stores Traditionally Fermented?
Hi Ann Marie,
In the beginning of her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why, Nina Planck writes “Real tofu is made from fermented soybeans, which are more digestible.” I’ve been avoiding industrial soy since learning about its dangers. Do you know if any of the tofu you find in stores these days is traditionally fermented? Do you consume it?
No, I don’t believe the modern tofu you find in stores is naturally fermented. I don’t eat it. (Never liked it anyway.) The only soy I consume is natto, which is naturally fermented. I don’t even use soy sauce anymore, except when I go to restaurants. I prefer to use fermented fish sauce in place of soy sauce at home.
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Please submit your questions to questions AT cheeseslave DOT com. I’ll answer your questions every Sunday in the order I receive them.