Merry Christmas, everybody!
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.
Be sure to sign up for my email updates so you never miss a post:
1. Question: What To Do About High Cholesterol?
Hi Ann Marie,
I come from a family of high cholesterol. Before I found Sally Fallon Morell and real food I was on a lowfat, low cholesterol diet. My cholesterol at that time was around 253. It didn't come down much from the diet, but I lost a ton of weight. My GP naturally wanted me to take a statin. I had been resisting but when my brother had quadruple bypass surgery, I gave in. I only took them for 2-3 days and then stopped. I don't believe in drugs.
Now after a good 2 years of eating real food, fermented cod liver oil, fermented foods, milk kefir, and kombucha, as well as coconut oil and butter, I went back to my doctor for blood workup. I didn't care or want to know about my cholesterol. I wanted to check my Vitamin D level and other things, but of course they want to check everything. When I got the results back I was kind of in shock over my cholesterol. The total is 558, LDL is 353, and LDL is 111. I have never been this high! I thought being on a real food diet would regulate my cholesterol to some sort of decent level.
I looked at an article on the WAPF website, but they don't talk about numbers this high. I did read that stress can cause higher numbers and I was definitely stressed that day since I hate going to doctors. I have read that high cholesterol is a made up disease and I think Sally Fallon once said there is no bad cholesterol, it's all good.
So am I worrying for nothing about this? My GP wants me to come in so we can talk about this. That means I need to take statins and go on a lowfat, low cholesterol diet. I said no thanks. I appreciate anything you can tell me about this.
From what I'm reading, high cholesterol is caused by inflammation. It's not the high cholesterol that is the problem. High cholesterol is an indication that there is excessive inflammation in the body. Sally Fallon Morell said “…blaming cholesterol for coronary heart disease is like blaming the firefighters for the fire.”
Cholesterol has long been seen as the key culprit in cardiovascular disease. But nearly half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels, which suggests that another factor is at work.
Researchers have identified cholesterol's partner in crime as inflammation — the flood of white blood cells and chemicals that our immune system unleashes to ward off damage or infection.
“Inflammation is the common denominator in nearly all of the diseases we deal with,” says James O'Keefe, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. “Heart disease, diabetes, dementia — they're all tied to inappropriate, low-grade, chronic inflammation.”
Studies show that a substance known as C-reactive protein (CRP), one of the so-called markers released by cells during the inflammation process, may be more effective than cholesterol in gauging the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular events. (Source)
So the real issue is, what is causing the fire (the inflammation)? It's not that you shouldn't be concerned about high cholesterol. You should. But the high cholesterol is not the problem. The inflammation is.
There are a number of things that can cause inflammation. Leaky gut and food allergies, parasites, nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar issues, stress, environmental toxins, etc.
I think you really need to work with a holistic doctor or practitioner (a naturopath or nutritional counselor) to get to the root of the problem. I'd work with someone to test your blood sugar, test for vitamin deficiencies, and do a full hormone panel because I suspect you probably have hormonal (thyroid/adrenal) issues as well. When they thyroid is not functioning properly, the bad cholesterol goes up. Low thyroid function causes a host of other problems, and low adrenal function often goes hand in hand with low thyroid.
Good luck to you!
2. Question: Can I Reuse The Salted Soak Water For Nuts?
Hi Ann Marie,
I am wondering if you can reuse the salted soak water for pecans (or any nuts for that matter) to soak the next batch? I typically buy a large amount of organic, raw nuts to be soaked/crispied and process them one batch right after the other. I am wondering your thoughts on the matter.
I am not sure about this. I think it would be best to change the water, as the water is full of anti-nutrients. Then again, I do re-use my soaking water when I soak rice.
Maybe someone can post in the comments. If we don't get any good answers in the comments, I will email Sally Fallon Morell and ask. However it is Christmas so I'll wait until next week.
3. Question: Recommendation For Toddler Not Eating?
My son is 3.5 years old and he has no appetite whatsoever. Looking back it has been like this since he was about 2.5 years old. Before that he had the most amazing appetite and would eat EVERYTHING and lots of it.
At first I wasn't worried about it and figured he “would eat when he was hungry” but now I'm starting to get really worried. We've tried everything from letting him tell us when he wants to eat (he never did), rewards, punishment (taking away TV or toys), making him very kid friendly meals, fun plates, force feeding (bad idea) etc… everything.
If he could chose he would literally take one bite of his sprouted toast in the morning, sip of his milk, maybe a grape or two for snack and maybe half a strip of bacon for lunch and no dinner. He hates rice, potatoes of any kind (even French fries) he'll eat a tiny bit of rice pasta. He doesn't nearly get as much protein in him as he needs. The only vegetable he'll eat is cucumber; he used to eat all kinds.
When I do give him food I try my best to get nutrient dense food in him like raw butter, raw milk, sneak egg yolks (he hates eggs all of a sudden too, he used to love them) and liver in whenever I can but he never eats a lot of it.
Thankfully he'll take his 1/2 teaspoon of cod liver oil every day without much of a fight. Everything seems to make him gag and he has even thrown up when I've tried to force him to finish his food which makes me feel terrible. The only things he will willingly eat are sweet things like homemade cookies or fruit, which I limit.
He is really starting to look so skinny, pale and his eyes looks sunken in, basically just looks malnourished. He is only 30 pounds. He must be deficient in so many minerals. I don't know what to do and I am wondering if you have any suggestions on what I should do or if you could lead me in the right direction. Are there any supplements he could take to increase his appetite or replenish him? Do you think there is a specific reason why this is going on? Do you think we should see a holistic doctor? If so can you recommend any? We are in Los Angeles. Other than the food problem he is a very happy loving little boy.
Thank you for your help.
He sounds like a GAPS kid. Kids with abnormal gut flora commonly refuse foods and typically only want sweet foods and/or starches.
He could also be low in zinc. One of the symptoms of zinc deficiency is a loss of appetite. Zinc deficiency is common among GAPS patients, as they are not properly absorbing nutrients.
I'd definitely start him on the GAPS diet. If you can, work with a GAPS practitioner. Here's a list of GAPS practitioners.
The good news is, his appetite will come back as his gut heals on the GAPS diet.
4. Question: Recommendation For Daughter With Constipation Woes?
I've been following your blog for a while now & always look forward to the questions on Sundays! I haven't had one to ask until now… would welcome your opinion on this unique situation.
My daughter is 5.5 years old and has profound special needs (microcephaly, dwarfism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cortical visual impairment, blah blah blah!) & has always had issues with constipation/difficulty pooping. She strains SO VERY HARD to poop, it almost seems dangerous at times. I blame constipation, though her poop fluctuates from very hard to quite soft/watery at times. And she strains just as hard to pass watery poop as she does solid poop???
Her diet has remained consistent for the past 3.5 years due to MANY food allergies (eggs, cow's milk, bananas, avocados, etc.). The ONLY thing (besides breastmilk — she nursed 25 months) she has been able to tolerate is the Nourishing Traditions goat's milk raw formula recipe. I have used that with her since she weaned, as eating more solids has increased her reflux and made her tummy upset and her extremely fussy (not to mention barfy!).
I am still trying different fruits/veggies with her, but it's been a struggle! She eats them just fine, but they don't always agree with her, and normally I see her reflux increase.
So… thoughts about homemade broths for constipation/soothing her digestive tract? Any other ideas come to mind? I obviously know dairy products in excess can cause constipation, and it has always been an issue, but with LOTS of straining & pushing (obviously the stiffness/cerebral palsy in ALL muscles of her body, including digestive tract, complicates things…), she can get the job done, though only maybe twice weekly.
I'm upping her water intake as well, even though the formula is 50-50 water/raw milk. I also use Baby Calm Magnesium supplement with her, and the NT formula has TONS of healthy oils, including coconut oil. I doubled the molasses to help with constipation, but so far, no dice.
Any other supplements or gentle, easy-to-digest foods come to mind for you to help ease constipation woes?
If this isn't fitting for your Q & A Sundays, I understand but would totally LOVE a response back via e-mail. Your ideas are always good ones!!! Obviously I know you're not an expert on this type of situation, but I swear people who study/know/understand nutrition know WAY more than any doctor I could go see who'd just suggest a medicine, which she cannot tolerate! And we do live a more natural life — she is on NO MEDS even though docs wish she were… just not how we roll!
Oh, and I know some have dairy allergies that can occur after a period of time, but honestly, I'm 100% truthful when I say I have NO CLUE what she'd eat/drink if not this formula. Everything else (unless in TINY quantities) makes her vomit!
Years ago I did make some broth, but she only had wee amounts of it — though I'm willing to try that again if you think it would be helpful!
THANK YOU for any tips you can throw my way… I'd SURE appreciate it!
Gwen, mom of Lola (and Cal & Claire!)
Since she has food allergies and abnormal defecation (constipation alternating with diarrhea), I would suggest the GAPS Diet. If she can't eat solid foods, I'd feed her GAPS soups made with bone broth with healthy fats added.
If I were you, I'd work with a GAPS practitioner. Here's a list of GAPS practitioners.
5. Question: What To Eat When Trying To Get Pregnant?
Hello Anne Marie,
I have been trying to get pregnant for over a year with no success. I am currently under treatment with an acupuncturist who believes that my body will be ready by next spring to really try again. However, I want to make sure I am eating/not eating the right foods as my body prepares to become pregnant.
I prefer to avoid prenatal vitamins if possible. Currently I eat mostly veggies and meats with some white rice and sweet potatoes every 1-2 days. I try to eat at least one fermented food a day (my own kimchi, water kefir or kombucha). I started drinking bone broth on a regular basis about a month ago and around the same time I started drinking raw goat milk. I eat fruit/nuts/dark chocolate a few times a week and I usually have a glass or two of wine a day.
P.S. My partner is also getting herbal treatment from the acupuncturist since he has “lazy” sperm. We are the 40% of couples who both have infertility issues. Mine is “unexplained.” Ohh and I have non-autoimmune hypothyroidism.
If I were you, I'd follow the WAPF Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers.
You should increase your intake of fish, particularly shellfish, and organ meats. Organ meats should be eaten 1-2 times per week and fish (ideally shellfish) 2-4 times per week.
I'd work with a holistic doctor to help treat the hypothyroidism. I'm not a doctor but you may need to be taking thyroid gland and/or other supplements. Coconut oil is also really nourishing for the thyroid. I would take at least 1 TBS per day, but preferably more, like 2-3 TBS per day.
I'd get a full hormone panel done if you haven't already. If you have low thyroid, chances are you also have low adrenal function. The adrenals produce a lot of our sex hormones, and if they are not functioning properly, it can cause problems with fertility.
Your husband should have a hormone panel done as well, as he may have hormonal issues such as low testosterone, which can negatively impact his fertility.
Also, are you taking fermented cod liver oil/butter oil? That's really important as well.
It wouldn't hurt to cut down on the wine and chocolate. I used to drink 2-3 glasses of wine every night and with the help of nutritional supplements (most notably amino acids) I was able to cut down to 1-2 glasses per week. Read my post: How I Kicked My Wine and Chocolate Cravings.
6. Question: Is There A Way To Soak Popcorn That Would Deal With The Phytates?
Hello Ann Marie,
I just read your Q&A for today and was wondering about soaking popcorn (I read your info about the need to soak corn and left a comment there as
well.) Do you eat popcorn? Is there a way to soak it that would deal with the phytates? I just found info on the internet about soaking popcorn stating it helps it to pop better, but am wondering if it would help with the phytates.
I left info about fibromyalgia there as well since one of your readers asked about that. I have been battling what appears to be fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue and I am seeing a lot of progress and heavy metals coming out in my hair. I am working with someone whom I found out about through WAPF. I'd be happy to share more with you if you are interested.
And just as a side note, thanks for your work. There are clearly so many people struggling w/ so many health issues. It is hard to balance everything and find out what to focus on.
Thanks in advance,
I do eat popcorn, but not every day. Maybe once a month or once every other month.
I don't know if soaking popcorn would help to reduce the phytic acid. I kind of doubt it, because it's not like you are sprouting the popcorn.
I think it's OK to eat popcorn on occasion.
Can you provide me the link to the post where you commented about the fibromyalgia? It's hard for me to keep up with all the comments lately.
7. Question: Recommendation For Dealing With Menstrual Cycle?
I love your posts/blog and really love your Sunday Q & A.
I know you're not a doctor, but what have you read about dealing with heavy menstrual bleeding and severe menstrual cramps? Have you seen recommendations other than nutritional/supplements? What about nutrition/supplement recommendations? I am talking to my doctor about this, but am also trying to glean input from the blogosphere. I was on a the birth control patch for a little over a year, but am trying to read about non-prescription and non-surgical remedies, if they're effective.
I'm actually working on correcting this in myself right now. From what I'm reading, menstrual disorders are caused by imbalanced hormones. Imbalanced hormones are caused in part by nutritional deficiencies. They are also caused by environmental toxins and stress.
Progesterone is the raw material for producing cortisol. With adrenal fatigue, the body shunts progesterone to the adrenals to support cortisol production. With low progesterone, women experience symptoms of estrogen dominance: PMS, hot flashes, night sweats, migraines, fibroids, heavy bleeding, breast tenderness, weight gain.
I'm doing a whole bunch of things to try to balance my hormones. Most of these things I have only implemented in the past month so we'll see how it goes.
Here's my list (I've included links with more information):
1 TBS of maca every day
Dr. Rind's protocol for progesterone cream for estrogen dominance
2 quarts per week of nettle/oatstraw infusion
Sleeping in total darkness and sleeping on an earthing sheet to help decrease stress and inflammation and lower cortisol
Plenty of good fats (about 40-50% fat in my diet) including coconut oil, cream, butter, and whole milk
Avoid all cosmetics, lotions and other personal care products that are endocrine disruptors.
Avoid using the microwave and storing food in plastic
Cut out coffee and all caffeine as this stresses the adrenals (which produce a lot of our sex hormones) — I cut out coffee over a year ago
I'm also supplementing with vitamin C, zinc, a multivitamin, a multi-mineral complex, and magnesium.
If you have food allergies and/or leaky gut/gut dysbiosis, this can also cause hormonal problems. Inflammation stresses the adrenals, which are responsible for producing a lot of our sex hormones. It is important to look into food allergies/abnormal gut flora as a root cause. I have heard of people eliminating cramps by doing the GAPS diet.
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.
Photo credit: Sirwiseowl on Flickr