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: Suggestions For A Safe Crock Pot?
I am starting to learn how to make broth/stock and soups and would like to use a Slow Cooker (Crock Pot). I would like to purchase one but I have been warned about lead poisoning in many slow cookers.
I am hoping you will be able to tell me which slow cooker you have found to be safe and void of toxic materials. It used to be so easy to walk into a store and purchase a small appliance but now it’s become overwhelming trying to find safe products.
If you have a recommendation, that would be great!
There is some controversy around this topic. I’ve heard bad things about Rival. I’ve also read that All Clad is also a no go, because they have a non-stick insert that is made of aluminum.
I have read that the [easyazon-link asin=”B001AO2PXK” locale=”us”]Hamilton Beach crock pots[/easyazon-link] do not contain lead. However, the Hamilton Beach website states:
A Hamilton Beach specifications applicable to all slow cookers and their components (including the earthenware crocks) prohibits the product from containing any measurable amounts of lead. Furthermore, the factories that manufacture the earthenware crocks for Hamilton Beach are certified ceramic production facilities whose ceramic ware is deemed to satisfy FDA heavy metal requirements. Hamilton Beach takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the earthenware crocks accompanying our slow cookers provide safe and satisfactory service to our consumers.
Not sure if that is just legalese or if the crock pots really are lead-free. That said, I own 3 [easyazon-link asin=”B001AO2PXK” locale=”us”]Hamilton Beach crock pots[/easyazon-link] and I use them every week.
Here’s an interesting post I found a while back: The Skinny on Lead in Crock Pots: It May Surprise You. The author said that she had a bunch of crocks pots tested and NONE of them had lead.
Here’s an excerpt from the post:
Determined to get a true and accurate test of the risk of lead leaching into food, I found an inexpensive used Rival crock pot and planned to take a sample from it and have WeeCycle send it to the lab for a leach test (for obvious reasons, I didn’t want to take a chip out of my fairly new crock pot!). I ended up with quite a selection of crock pots, covering four of the five major brands (I couldn’t find anyone with a Cuisinart crock pot for some reason!) in several colors, since each color could have a slightly different chemical make-up. I think the wonderful ladies at WeeCycle were a bit surprised when I schlepped them all down to their office this morning to do the XRF test.
The results absolutely caught me off guard. Not one of the crock pots we tested had any lead in it at all. We tested each crock pot twice and threw a couple of red herrings (a dish made in China and some tiles from Italy that the WeeCycle staff keep in the office because they know they have lead in them) just to make sure that the XRF was working correctly.
Obviously, I did not test every crock pot on the market, nor can testing half a dozen crock pots on a single day account for things like a bad (read “lead-laden”) batch of glaze or a new color that uses slightly different chemicals. Some of the manufacturers themselves certainly seem to be leaving the door open for using lead in the glaze if they need to.
But we tested the following crocks this morning and, again, they showed ZERO lead:
West Bend – black
Rival – black
Rival – dark green
Rival – beige
Rival – white
Hamilton Beach – white
Crock pot – black
From what I have read the XRF test is the best way to find lead. So, maybe we don’t need to worry so much? I’m going to continue using my [easyazon-link asin=”B001AO2PXK” locale=”us”]Hamilton Beach crock pots[/easyazon-link].
2. Question: Amount Of Omega 6 In Coconut Oil? / How Does Coconut Oil Affect Your Gut Bacteria?
I love coconut oil and purchase it by the gallon because we use a lot of it. I have two weird questions about it though.
First, I know that most people tend to have way too high of an Omega 6 fatty acid to Omega 3 fatty acid ratio in their diets, which is one of the reasons why it is advisable to avoid polyunsaturated industrial vegetable oils. I know that coconut oil is an awesome healthy fat, and high in lauric acid which makes it even better, but I’ve not been able to find out what the amount of omega 6 fatty acids are in coconut oil compared to other fats and oils. I’ve just sort of wondered if eating lots of coconut oil might increase the amount of omega 6 fats.
Second weird question: Since coconut oil is antimicrobial (antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial), how does it effect our gut bacteria? I know it helps kill candida, but does it also kill off the “good guys”? (I realize that some candida serves a purpose, but that too much is probablymore common and problematic.)
Thanks for entertaining my weird questions!
It’s true that coconut oil does not contain any omega 3 fatty acids and contains about 3-4% omega 6 fatty acids. It is also true that most Americans eat WAY too many omega 6 fatty acids and not enough omega 3 fatty acids.
However, when we look at what makes up our diet, it’s best to analyze the entire diet, not just one food or macronutrient. In other words, I wouldn’t single out coconut oil, unless of course that’s all you’re eating. If you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet of a variety of foods, you should be fine.
This is another reason I don’t recommend restricting your diet by cutting out certain food groups or macronutrients. In other words, going “low carb” or “low fat” or cutting out all grains. People eating traditional diets tended to eat foods that balanced each other and there was wisdom in the overall makeup of their diet.
For instance, most people eating coconut oil in their traditional diet also eat plenty of seafood. Seafood is off the charts with omega 3 fatty acids. So if you’re eating a traditional tropical islander diet of seafood and coconut oil, you’re going to be fine.
Fats and Oils (per 100g)
Fish Oils (average cod, halibut, mackerel, rockfish and salmon oils)
Ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3
1 to 19.7
Fish Liver Oil (Atlantic Cod)
Ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3
1 to 15.5
Shellfish Oil (Pacific Oyster)
Ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3
1 to 36.1
Regarding your second question, yes, coconut oil is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. And yes, we all have Candida albicans in our gut and it does serve a purpose. In healthy people, Candida won’t hurt you because it’s kept in check by beneficial microorganisms.
These “good” bacteria, however, can be easily destroyed by antibiotics, prescription medications, birth control pills, chlorinated water, etc. When the good guys get killed off, Candida yeast will grow out of control and cause gut dysbiosis.
It’s the caprylic acid in coconut oil that kills the Candida fungus. In addition to caprylic acid, two other medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil have been found to kill Candida albicans.
I’m not sure if these factors in coconut oil kill all the bacteria. I really don’t think they do but I don’t have a source. If anyone has a source, please comment.
That said, this is also an issue of balance. I think it’s a good idea to eat a variety of healthy fats. I use coconut oil, butter, cream, tallow, and olive oil in my kitchen. I’d use lard but I don’t have a good source for it; however, I do reuse bacon fat after I’ve cooked bacon.
3. Question: Recommendations For Adrenal Fatigue?
Hi Ann Marie!
What can I say, I LOVE REAL FOOD! And I just discovered it around April this year. What a change. My husband and I cannot get enough of fat especially bacon and butter! I love the farm fresh eggs… I could go on forever. Needless to say I can never eat the “other way” again.
Let me back up a bit and tell you who I am, briefly. I am Ashley, a SAHM to my 3-year-old little man, Malcolm. I have done nothing more than basically starve my body for the last 3 years. How can that be?
Well, after my son was born, I was exhausted. And we ate out, a lot. Every night for months we had dinner out and sometimes lunch, too. Fast food restaurants mostly, what ever my husband could grab and bring home that was close and easy. And although I used to work at Starbucks, I was not an everyday coffee drinker, that is until after my son was born.
Slowly, coffee started to become my breakfast, which though I love breakfast and always have, wasn’t a part of my day starting back in high school. If I did have breakfast, it contained sugar. So my average routine for the past 3 years looked like this (all things are a progression aren’t they?):
Wake up around 10 am, make coffee.
Lunch, if I was having some, around 2pm.
Dinner, 6:30 or 7 and bed around 10 or 10:30 (many nights I couldn’t sleep so I was up until 2 or so).
Sometimes I would eat lunch out, sometimes I would eat leftovers I could stand, sometimes nothing at all.
All this on top of the fact that I have a fast metabolism and have been nursing for the entire time Malcolm has been alive. When I would eat, I would eat the hog’s share, but only if someone else had made the meal. Slowly, I began to lose my appetite. From what I’ve read on your blog, I think you can relate.
This poor diet/lifestyle has me suffering immensely. I believe my adrenal fatigue to be around moderate on the scale. I only discovered this 3 months ago through a chiropractor I just recently started going to. And I truly do have it. The kicker of it all, is that my husband and I have been trying to have another child for about 15 months now. We conceived our son just a short two months after we married, but now have conceived twice in the last year and then lost the pregnancies.
I am taking Standard Process supplements recommended by my chiropractor, I own [easyazon-link asin=”1890572152″ locale=”us”]Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome[/easyazon-link] by Dr. James Wilson. I also own [easyazon-link asin=”0452285666″ locale=”us”]Eat Fat, Lose Fat[/easyazon-link] and value the health recovery information much more now.
I used to think, because we are Sympto-Thermal NFP-ers, that I had some low thyroid issues. Now I know I do and I know the root cause. I am also hypoglycemic based on the criteria in Dr. Wilson’s book. Like you, I used to crave sugar and I also craved coffee as a boost for afternoon productiveness (since I hadn’t eaten and didn’t *feel* like making lunch).
Now I am hardly productive at all. I’m trying to implement many things and trying to be kind to myself. I believe the poor care of myself has led me to infertility. Where I might have had a possible hormonal imbalance before my son (*minor* PMS symptoms, slight tail-end brown bleeding), I have now created a situation in which I definitely do. And all I did was eat like I was brought up. Now my family isn’t big on coffee, but they eat like birds. My mother and grandmother have both had thyroid issues and other health issues that I think were caused by poor nutrition and adrenal fatigue as well.
So why am I writing you? Well, I just want to talk to someone else who has had some of the same experiences. I read your recent post on magnesium deficiency and almost started crying when you explained your history and mentioned adrenal fatigue. No one in my life “gets it”. My husband does so good to be patient and supportive, but at the end of the day he really doesn’t understand why millions of people can get out of bed every day if 80% of the population has some degree of adrenal fatigue, and I can’t.
And it’s not something that can be explained because it sounds so “normal”. I’m tired. Everyone’s tired. I’m forgetful, sidetracked easily. Anyone who has ever had kids has trouble remembering anything. With the baby went the brain. Right?
But how do you explain that it’s more than that? I’ve never been a good housekeeper, but wow, the laundry swallows me whole. I just don’t get caught up, but I used to. I need some kind of support, like AA for adrenal fatigue, at least that’s what my best girlfriend says. She’s been in AA and though she doesn’t relate to AF, she knows it’s real and sees it. She listens, but can’t understand the complexities of it, the same way I don’t understand her past alcohol or drug addiction. And I need some guidance. My chiropractor just handed me a few sheets of paper, a bag of fantastic, fantastic and expensive, supplements and that’s about it. When I go in for an adjustment, she records how I’m feeling, but offers little else in the way of information and support.
I just don’t know where to go from here. I did really well at eating every two hours and lately I’ve dropped off. I have been waking in the middle of the night, not fully, but enough that my mind starts racing. It’s really frustrating because that just started recently.
I was taking cod liver oil from Garden of Life, but haven’t for a month or longer waiting until we could buy Green Pastures. I try to eat eggs and milk and beef every day. I’ve been incorporating broth into my diet, starting just this week. I bought some magnesium oil and have been using that this week too. I take a ton of B6 and B12, Folate, Niacin, Thiamin, Iodine, Zinc, tuna oil, a tiny bit of vitamin C and riboflavin and a small amount of calcium. These vitamins and minerals are all in combination in the supplements from Standard Process. I will be getting my FCLO on Monday. But I didn’t realize how important vitamin C is. Or magnesium.
I feel like I only have half the puzzle with no one to point me in a solid direction. Do you have any suggestions? Are there any other nutrients you’ve found helpful in your recovery process? I have a hard time going to bed at night and getting outside and walking. I used to play sports. I used to dance. But I don’t do any of that any more. I am involved in my local LLL, but I’m hanging on by a thread.
Since I started eating REAL food in June, I’ve felt a lot better, but I still have so far to go. I know I need some exercise and a positive attitude, but it’s difficult when I don’t feel good, like the normal me. It’s a vicious cycle! You don’t have the energy to organize and implement eating, sleeping and exercise into a new lifestyle, so you don’t, but then it starts all over again. I’ve done well and I’ve done poorly, which is to be expected, but I so much desire to just change it and bam, it’s my new life, and bam, I’m recovered.
If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind making some snack recommendations/ideas? When I was doing well, I would often grab a handful of nuts or a couple slices of uncured pepperoni. I would do carrots or broccoli or green pepper, but I don’t know how or what veggies would be easy for a snack that would be ready every two hours. Something easy to cut up, but I want to expand my horizons. I did do a little salad of red onions, tomato, and cucumber drizzled with olive oil, Real salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. It didn’t keep as long as I had hoped. I just need something more concrete than what I’ve been given. Do you have any hints about any/all of this? I’m sorry to bombard you with my life story.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate it so much. I’m just desperate for someone who understands. I’m desperate to recover. And more than anything, I’m desperate for a new little one in my arms. Thank you again.
Hi, Ashley! Boy, do I ever relate! I know exactly what you’re going through. Been there, done that. We need a t-shirt, “You’re stressing my adrenals.” LOL!
Honestly, just looking at your list of supplements exhausts me. I’ve tried the supplement route in my recovery from adrenal exhaustion and low thyroid but it didn’t do a whole lot for me. I mean, yeah, it helps, and supplements are good, but they don’t take the place of food. Food comes first.
It sounds like you are eating pretty low carb. Would you say that is true? I don’t know that for a fact since I don’t have a food journal for you, but most of the things you listed are either meat or veggies or broth or nuts.
I’m not all the way recovered yet but I’ve come a long, long way. I have a ton more energy now and I actually enjoy going for walks and doing my kettlebell workouts.
Let me tell you what is working for me. In a word, CARBS!
In three words (quoting Matt Stone), EAT THE FOOD!
I never realized how little I was actually eating until last September when I wrote a post with a food log of what I was eating each day. A friend of mine commented that she eats twice as much as I do (and she’s about the same height as I am and similar build).
This got me to thinking. I was still suffering from various symptoms including insomnia, low body temperature, irritability, hypoglycemia, irregular periods with painful breasts and 5-6 days of spotting and then HEAVY bleeding and cramping for 5 days. Plus I’ve started getting these little red pin-head sized spots all over my body. It started a couple years ago and they’ve been proliferating. I had no idea what was causing them.
So in October I started reading more books about hormone health including [easyazon-link asin=”1558746803″ locale=”us”]The Schwarzbein Principle,[/easyazon-link] [easyazon-link asin=”0897934504″ locale=”us”]The Cortisol Connection Diet[/easyazon-link], and [easyazon-link asin=”0975262408″ locale=”us”]Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic[/easyazon-link].
After reading these books, I became convinced that I was definitely not eating enough. At that point, I about doubled my caloric intake. I went from 1,000-1,600 calories per day to somewhere around 2,000-2,800 calories per day. I don’t know exactly how much I eat although I did track it one day recently and I took in 2,800 calories and 43% carbs (over 300 grams of carbs).
I also massively increased my carbs. Matt Stone of 180 Degree Health says that low-carb and restrictive dieting causes low thyroid function and low metabolism. He also says that it causes infertility.
I have been eating this way since October. Amazingly, I have not gained weight. Oh, maybe a few pounds but I don’t know because I stopped weighing myself. I have been measuring myself and I have not added any inches. I’m still wearing the same jeans.
It was a few weeks ago that I read this post by Matt Stone: Thyroid and Nosebleeds, Heavy Periods, Bleeding Gums, Bruising, Anemia, and Low Platelet Count/ITP This was the post that BLEW ME AWAY because he actually said that heavy periods and red spots on the skin are caused by low thyroid function. I had been reading Matt Stone for a while but this post made me realize I needed to go ALL OUT with RRARF (Matt’s acronym for Rehabilitative Rest and Aggressive Re-Feeding).
I’m just trying to eat 3 meals a day, plus snacks if I’m hungry for them. Interestingly, my appetite has really grown over these past few months. I am also eating a LOT more grains, fruit and sweets, which Matt says all help to improve hormone function and raise body temperature.
Here’s a typical day for me lately (compare this to what I was eating back in September):
1 whole-grain sourdough waffle with butter and maple syrup or sprouted toast with butter and jam or a bowl of oatmeal with butter, cream and maple syrup
2-3 eggs scrambled in butter
Decaf coffee with whole raw milk
A piece of fruit or some cheese and crackers
Usually a sandwich on sprouted bread — either peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, tuna fish salad or liverwurst
Sometimes I’ll have some olive oil potato chips or some fruit with it
Either that or I’ll have leftovers from the night before
A glass of milk or kombucha
A piece of fruit or some cheese and crackers
Whatever we’re having — it could be roast chicken with mashed potatoes, or pasta with meat sauce and cheese, or nachos. Maybe it will be a loaded baked potato or a burrito from Chipotle or some homemade mac & cheese.
Most nights I don’t drink wine but I will have a glass or two 1-3 times per week.
Occasionally I will eat ice cream or have a few homemade chocolate chip cookies after dinner.
I try not to drink too much at night. Coconut water before bed has been helping me sleep through the night.
This is NOT a diet — I’m just eating what I feel like and making sure I eat enough. As you can see, it’s NOT low carb. Not by any stretch of the imagination!
It’s still a struggle for me to eat first thing in the morning but I do my best to eat as much as I can as soon as I can when I wake up. Obviously I don’t drink coffee anymore — just decaf — since caffeine is really bad for the adrenals. More importantly, though, caffeine suppresses your appetite.
As far as the supplements, I just try to take them when I remember. I’m still taking my multivitamin, minerals, zinc, and I use the magnesium oil. I take a couple tablespoons of cod liver oil/butter oil every few days. And I take probiotics. But other than that, I don’t worry about supplements. It’s too stressful trying to stay on top of them.
Here are the results I’m noticing:
First, as I mentioned, I’m not gaining weight. Like I said, maybe a little bit but I’m still wearing the same size jeans.
Secondly my body temperature has come WAY up. I used to be in the low 97s and now I’m averaging around 98.2. This is AWESOME! My body temperature has not been this high in years. My body temperature is also starting to stabilize. A few months ago it was up and down every day, wildly fluctuating. Now, it ranges between 97.9 and 98.6.
My period is starting to regulate. This month, instead of having my usual 5-6 days of spotting followed by 5 days of SUPER HEAVY flow, I had 3 days of light flow, then 2 days of heavy flow, and 1 day of very light flow. No painful breasts and while I still have cramps, they are about 50% less painful. Progress!
I am also noticing that my red spots are fading to pink!
I’m going to continue to eat this way and chart my temperatures. I’ll be posting about how to chart your temperatures soon.
For an “AA” group for people recovering from hormonal imbalance, check out Matt Stone’s 180 Degree Health blog. I’ll be continuing to write a lot more about my recovery as well, so you can find likeminded folks here on this blog, as well as on my Facebook page.
Please comment below and tell me what you think. And please keep me posted on what you decide to do and how it goes!
4. Question: Opinion On Bio-Kult Probiotics?
Hi Ann Marie,
I don’t know anything about the Mercola probiotic. I haven’t tried it. I can only tell you what has worked for me.
Right after Kate was born, the doctor put me on a birth control pill. This was before I knew about WAPF. I had no idea this would decimate my good gut flora. But it did (it also slowed my milk flow, but that’s another story).
Once I figured it out, I stopped taking the pill and went to the health food store to buy a probiotic. I took one brand for a whole month. I also cut out sugar and starches. No change. I still had symptoms of abnormal gut flora (runny nose, fatigue, itchy nose and roof of my mouth, thrush on tongue, etc.).
It was at that point that I read Jenny McCarthy’s book, [easyazon-link asin=”B003F76DPG” locale=”us”]Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism[/easyazon-link]. In that book, she talked about how much [easyazon-link asin=”B000F4H5U4″ locale=”us”]Threelac Probiotic[/easyazon-link] helped her son. So I decided to give it a try. I ordered some and within THREE days, ALL my symptoms vanished.
Feel free to give other probiotics a try. The Mercola one might be great; I don’t know. I just know that many of them do not work.
5. Question: Advice On Drinking Kombucha Tea While Pregnant?
I have been doing full GAPS for about 4 weeks now, because I am expecting, I can’t do intro.
I am very anemic and usually don’t feel very well. I have about 6 months of my pregnancy left, and am hoping that I can make a dent in my iron levels and just over all digestive health in time, to have a safe delivery, and give my baby a good gut health start. ( I realize that is a lot to ask of this diet in such a short period of time, and with all the extra demands that my body has with the pregnancy).
I currently am taking one Biokult capsule a day, and it is still making me bloated, so I have been told not to increase that amount until the symptoms subside then to up it a capsule, at a time. I was thinking about starting with a small dose of kombucha tea every day.
I have read that it is safe for pregnancy, but I have also read that kombucha can be damaging to your liver and even kill you, pregnant or not. Now that seems a bit extreme to me, but I thought maybe you could tell me if this is actually possible.
Any advice you can give me in my situation would be much appreciated.
I don’t know where you read this: “kombucha can be damaging to your liver and even kill you, pregnant or not”. That’s just not true.
You should be fine with adding a little kombucha. Just go slow and see how you feel.
Please see a doctor or naturopath about your anemia. I would also get your hormones checked and make sure your thryoid and adrenals are functioning properly. Take your temperature — if it is low, that indicates a problem.
Make sure you eat enough carbs, including fruit and honey and squash, on the GAPS Diet, and make sure you are eating enough. GAPS is not meant to be low carb and low carb is not recommended, especially when you are pregnant, as it can lower hormone function and actually cause anemia.
Other ways to increase carbs on the GAPS diet: homemade ice cream with coconut milk or kefir or sour cream and honey and fruit, coconut flour blueberry muffins, coconut flour banana bread, coconut flour waffles with butter, fruit, and honey.
6. Question: Suggestions For Using Salmon Carcasses? / Advice On Digestions Issues With 9-month Old?
Hello Ann Marie!
Love you, love your blog – THANK YOU! I have two questions.
1) I recently bought several salmon carcasses with the intention of making stock. I just read in [easyazon-link asin=”0967089735″ locale=”us”]Nourishing Traditions[/easyazon-link] where it says to not use salmon as it’s too oily and the oil can become rancid. Guess I should have read the recipe BEFORE shopping. What are your thoughts on making stock with the salmon? If I can’t make stock, what can I do with the salmon carcasses?
2) My son, Benjamin, is 9 months old. He has always had a very sensitive tummy and we are having a hard time introducing solids. He is 22 pounds and thriving… But he likes to eat and we are trying to get some solids in.
He reacts to egg yolk, and most fruits/ veggies (only introduced avocados, bananas, yams so far). Sometimes he gets little red bumps around his mouth, and other times the food comes out exactly as it went in — looking pretty undigested.
He seems to do OK with meats and bone broths, and I am applying cod liver oil topically. Unfortunately I was group B strep positive when I was pregnant with him and received antibiotics during labor. I regret that now and believe that that is a main reason for his tummy troubles.
I give him small amounts of probiotics but some of those seem to upset his stomach as well. What do you suggest? Is there a baby GAPS protocol? I am at a loss since we are apparently starting with a compromised gut. I don’t know that I have the best digestion either. Would he benefit by me doing GAPS?
Thanks in advance for your help!!!
I don’t use salmon bones for stock. I don’t know what to do with them — I just throw them away. Maybe someone will have ideas in the comments.
If you are still breastfeeding, he will benefit from you doing GAPS. He should also do GAPS to help heal his gut. Babies and kids heal much faster than adults, so that’s the good news. Just eat meats, good fats, non-starchy vegetables, fruits. You can make baked goods with coconut flour and almond flour and honey. Stay off dairy in the beginning to make sure you are not intolerant, and then start adding dairy beginning with ghee, then kefir and yogurt (fermented for 24 hours) and then sour cream, then hard cheeses, then soft cheeses and finally raw milk and raw cream.
This is all outlined in the [easyazon-link asin=”0954852028″ locale=”us”]Gut and Psychology Syndrome[/easyazon-link] book.
Make sure you are taking a therapeutic grade probiotic and eating plenty of fermented foods. If you can’t handle a lot in the beginning, start slow and gradually increase the amount of probiotics and fermented foods. See my answer above regarding which probiotics I recommend.
7. Question: Thoughts On Safety Of Milk? / Recommendations For Fat Soluble Vitamins?
I have been a Real Foods diet (more or less) for about 2 years now, and LOVE your blog. However, now I have a question that I am hoping you and some of your readers will be able to help me out with.
We moved a little over a year ago to Saudi Arabia, and while we love being here for other reasons, the real foods situation here is very, very depressing. Forget about getting a hold of organic foods (with a few exceptions), and local is nonexistent (because nothing grows here!).
I was wise enough to bring with me my kombucha culture, so that is one good source of probiotics and other good stuff for us, but we are hard pressed to find anything else we would like to have.
Milk and dairy products are my main concern since I have always fallen back on them (butter, milk, and cheeses, mostly) to provide me and my 4 growing boys with the fat soluble vitamins we are lacking.
I have been able to source raw camel’s milk and raw goat’s milk, but brucellosis is a major concern here, as Saudi Arabia has a very high incidence of the disease AND the raw milk is completely unregulated. I could ask the sellers if their animals are vaccinated, but even if they told me they were, I’m not sure I would believe them.
So, my question is twofold:
1 – How concerned should I be about the safety of the milk? Should I go ahead and drink it anyway? Would home pasteurized milk be better for us than the commercially available cow and camel milk?
2 – What other good sources would you recommend for fat-soluble vitamins?
And, lastly, what general recommendations would you have for a family trying to eat real foods but living SO FAR from sources of such foods?
Sarah, and 4 growing boys!
Wow, how cool! I would love to visit Saudi Arabia!
Your best sources of fat-soluble vitamins will be organ meats. Can you get liver and other organs from grass-fed animals? I’m betting the sheep and goats are probably raised outdoors. I would feed your family liver or other organs at least once a week. If they are not used to the taste, try adding heart to chili. You can also make liver pate. This is a very tasty recipe: Country Pâté. Just use lamb liver instead of pork liver.
I’m sure there are also lots of good local recipes for organ meats. Please share with us if you find them.
Camel and goat milk will have fat-soluble activators, too. But milk does not have as many vitamins as cream or butter. If you can find it, lamb tallow is a great source of these vitamins. Do they make camel tallow that you could cook with? That would be great!
Camel milk is absolutely delicious — I got to taste some last year. Unfortunately camel milk is pretty low-fat — only 2% fat. So that’s even fewer fat-soluble vitamins. So I’d drink a lot of it and use it to make yogurt and kefir. If you can find sheep’s milk that would also be good.
If I were you, I’d visit with the farmers and ask them what the animals are fed and see how they are raised. I’d talk to people who have been drinking the milk for a long time and make sure they are healthy. Then if you feel good about it, start slow and gradually increase it in your diet.
Please keep us posted. I know so many people here in the states (myself included) who would LOVE to have steady access to raw camel’s milk!
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