Q & A: February 5, 2012

by Ann Marie Michaels on February 5, 2012

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Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A!

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1. Question: Suggestions For A Safe Crock Pot?

Hello Cheeseslave!!

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 Hamilton Beach crock pots 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 Hamilton Beach crock pots 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 Hamilton Beach crock pots.

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 Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James Wilson. I also own Eat Fat, Lose Fat 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 The Schwarzbein Principle, The Cortisol Connection Diet, and Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic.

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

Snack (optional):
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

Snack (optional):
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’m wondering why Bio-Kult Probiotics are considered the best? Are there any other close contenders, maybe Complete Probiotics by Mercola? I haven’t tried Bio-Kult but am considering it.



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, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. In that book, she talked about how much Threelac Probiotic helped her son. So I decided to give it a try. I ordered some and within THREE days, ALL my symptoms vanished.

After that I read about Bio-Kult. I had a very similar experience with the Bio-Kult several months later when I had an airborne infection from standing near a feedlot. The Bio-Kult worked fast.

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.



Hi, Katie!

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 Nourishing Traditions 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 Gut and Psychology Syndrome 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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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber February 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM

@Sarah in Saudi Arabia. My husband and I are chapter leaders in Egypt…contact me and maybe we can help you out on the milk/meat. I’m not sure where you’re located, but I do know as far as organic there is this store http://www.bio-best.com/ there. here’s our contact on the WAPF page http://www.westonaprice.org/local-chapters/find-a-local-chapter#egypt (ps- we do drink raw camel’s milk here in egypt :)


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 1:33 PM

AHHH thank you Amber! Don’t you just love the World Wide Web?

SOOOO jealous of the camel’s milk.

Can I come visit you BOTH? I really want to go to Egypt, too.


Sarah Zitterman February 5, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Thank you so much Amber! I WILL be in touch.
And, yes, you can both come and visit me ANYTIME. We live in the center of Jeddah, so you can really get a feel for the chaos of Saudi life, BUT, we’re just a few miles away from the desert to the east and the beaches to the west. . . nice!
Gonna try to get in with some friendly farmers here for the camel’s milk. We were drinking it for a while when we first moved here, by DH (who is a physician in a local hospital) became freaked out by the many cases of brucellosis seen here. I wish we could find a certified (lol) ranch so that we could know for sure that the animals were vaccinated.
Thanks so much for your tips!


Amber February 6, 2012 at 3:52 AM

LOL! I know, it is amazing how people can connect so easily on the WWW :) I always read your blog. Egypt is an awesome trip :)) Anytime you want to come I’d be happy to give you tips :P My contact is always on the WAPF page!


Sarah Zitterman February 6, 2012 at 2:02 AM

Amber, have you found a good source of brucellosis-free milk? Do your farmers vaccinate, or test their milk?
We are still pretty new to the Middle East, and the world of unregulated food-stuffs is still uncharted waters for us.
Thanks for all the info.
Oh, and by the way, we have a great store for Organic things here in Jeddah as well (the one you posted a link to is in Riyadh). Abazeer is the name http://www.abazeer.com.


Amber February 6, 2012 at 3:58 AM

@ Sarah- well someday I hope to do hajj so MAYBE I’ll come to the KSA :) I’m thinking of starting a WAPF Middle East facebook page or something to chat about these issues as another lady in Saudi emailed me asking about real food sources there so maybe you can connect. In Egypt its completely unregulated too- we are actually starting an organic farm here (we own a lot of land) so we’ll get our own animals and obviously we’d test. At this point we’re drinking raw camel’s milk from a reputable raw milk store. It’s sort of a chance, but we usually just use it for cooking and occaisonally drink it plain. You have to buy it frozen, so it’s not that tasty (like it would be fresh). I’m waiting for our farm to get producing raw milk, as there is organic pasteurized (non homogenized) available here in store, but I don’t do well with pasteurized milk. Anyway, email me and we can chat :)


shaqeel July 28, 2012 at 5:19 AM

@Amber. Interested to know about drinking raw milk in Egypt and the necessary precautions. Have been drinking raw camel’s milk in Saudi for years now but picked up Brucellosis a few months back which wasn’t too nice. Apparently it is endemic here.


AmandaLP February 5, 2012 at 12:59 PM

For salmon carcasses, try googling “salmon head soup.”. It is a traditional soup in Asia, and looks delicious. I am getting some heads next week to try it. Hank Shaw also had a blog post about other “salmon bits.”


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Thank you, Amanda!

I absolutely love Hank Shaw. One of my very favorite blogs.



Paula February 5, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Or you can make traditional Stink Head ;)


Kirsi February 6, 2012 at 10:08 PM

You can also try burying the carcasses in your garden (if you have one). It can provide nitrogen and phosphorus to your plants. Just dig a hole deep enough to keep any animals from digging them back up :)


Amanda February 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM

So, I keep coming back to this question. If I’m on GAPS and can’t tolerate legumes, what is a good way to increase carb intake? I don’t seem to do well with any coconut products, either. If I could eat grains or starches (like potatoes) I would be doing that, but I have severe pain when I do. Going on GAPS has been great for me. I’ve been doing it for a year, but I also have low body temps/hormone issues and want to work on that as well. I just don’t know how to do it while on GAPS. Any advice?


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Why can’t you tolerate legumes? Are you soaking them overnight?

What happens when you eat coconut products?

What about almond bread and muffins? Or other nuts?

What about fruit and honey?

Are you on a good probiotic?


Amanda February 5, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Yes, soaking and doing the whole NT thing. They bother my gut.

I can eat coconut oil, no problem, but coconut flour I seem to be sensitive to. Really messes with my gut as well.

Can’t eat nuts. Within minutes I’m itchy, and later gassy.

I can eat fruit and honey, and do so in moderation, right now.

I am taking Garden of Life Primal Defense probiotic.

As you can see, my options are limited….


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM

I’d take Biokult or Threelac. I don’t know if Primal Defense works or not.

No worries if you can’t do coconut flour or beans or nuts. You’ll get there. Your gut is still healing, sounds like. Very normal.

I’d up your fruit and honey. Do coconut milk ice cream.

Can you do dairy at all?


Amanda February 5, 2012 at 8:23 PM

I can eat butter, definitely. I make our own kefir with fresh milk, and I think I’m fine with that, but I’ve recently had some strange body issues and I’m trying to figure out if kefir is the cause. I’m going to do another sensitivity test…. otherwise, if it’s not dairy, then I can eat kefir, yogurt, and harder cheeses like cheddar, but I can’t yet tolerate straight milk, I know that one for sure.

Forgot to mention that I can’t do coconut milk either. Don’t know why, but it has the same effects as coconut flour on me. Wish I could though, I’d be all about the coconut milk ice cream! We even have an ice cream maker!

I’ve looked into biokult, perhaps I’ll switch. I definitely can feel a difference with the Garden of Life. Haven’t heard of Threelac, but I’ll check them out. Thanks.


Jill February 6, 2012 at 5:44 AM

I have noticed Primal Defense Ultra as recommended/sold on the Australian GAPS site (gapsaustralia.com/au), along with Bio-KUlt. We are doing GAPS and have found PDU to be more economical from iherb.com (large bottle) than bio-kult, and I know it works because my daughter has had similar die off from both Primal Defense Ultra and Bio-Kult. All the same, I’ve thought that, even with consumption of probiotic foods, it is probably a good idea to occasionally purchase a bottle of Bio-Kult, simply because although there is a lot of overlap in the strains of BK and PDU and both high potency, there is also some difference in strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. My thought is that there are so many different strains in a healthy gut that it is a good idea to get as many beneficial strains as possible, as each has different benefits.


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:23 AM

@Jill Good advice!


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:23 AM

I would make kefir ice cream with honey. I have a recipe: http://www.cheeseslave.com/vanilla-kefir-ice-cream/

You can also make it with sour cream, or a combo of sour cream and kefir.


Tiffany @ The Coconut Mama February 5, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Eat plenty of fruit, honey, squash and juices (fresh juice). These will help you keep your carbs up.


Natalia February 5, 2012 at 1:44 PM

@ Rachel. Your story with your nine months old is identical to mine with the exception that I was strep negative but my son still got the round of antibiotics for the first two days because he had an apnea episode 8 hours after he was born and they gave him antibiotics in case he had aninfection. I am still blaming myself for allowing that.
My son has been exclusively breastfed (he only got formula several times in NICU) and we started solids around six months. We did baby led approach. I have discovered GAPS several months ago and started implementing New baby protocol. So currently my son has raw egg yolk with 1 tsp of CLO and some banana with kefir or yogurt in the morning, chicken or meat with steamed veggies (we tried carrots, broccoli, zucchini, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, string beans, snow peas, butternut squash, not sure if I am forgetting anything) for lunch and dinner and some veggies in between (pears, papaya, avocado, apples). He loves kefir, but has been refusing to drink broth recently. I tried introducing pancakes with almond butter, zucchini and eggs, he sure liked them, but they gave him terrible constipation.
I know his gut is compromised because he is still pooping “salad” out and he has tiny pimples on his face. I am not sure what to do at this point. I have tried going on full GAPS for several days, but I can’t do without grains. I am less constipated if I have soaked oatmeal in the morning and some sourdough bread or pastries for lunch or dinner (I’ve been suffering from constipation since after the delivery). I’ve tried GAPS milk shakes, some days they work, some days not so much. I am drinking broth everyday and eat a lot of fermented foods (sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, water kefir, kombucha, all home made). Coconut flour gave me bad bloating so I stopped using it. I would love to go on Intro diet but can’t do it right now because I am still breastfeeding.
Long story short, I am completely lost a this point. I think my next step will be to try Bio-kult


Rachel February 5, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Hi Natalia! WOW – so similar!!! You mention a GAPS baby protocol… Where did you find info on that? We are going to try Bio Kult as well. Good luck to you!


Natalia February 5, 2012 at 8:36 PM

This is GAPS guide to weaning. i tried to incorporate as much as possible except for juicing. For some reason my son doesn’t like juice and he cried both times I tried giving him sauerkraut juice. We do need to try proboitics. I was taking some brand before but got extremely constipated. Maybe it was die off reaction or they were too strong. Maybe we could exchange emails and keep each other posted on the progress. Our situations are so similar!


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:26 AM


I’d get on the BioKult

If you can’t get off grains, you can still recover with enough fermented foods and probiotics. I would absolutely exclude the gluten however to see if that helps your son


Natalia February 6, 2012 at 7:58 AM

I am so confused about all this. Should I also give Baby Biotic to my son? I haven’t find any reviews on it, so I am not sure how effective it is.
As to going gluten free, I think I’d give it a try. However, once I started eating sourdough bread and pancakes and soaked oatmeal in the morning (this is a far as my grain consumption goes), I am more regular now.


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 8:08 AM

I don’t know anything about Baby Biotic. I recommend Biokult or THreelac. You can give it to him and/or just take it yourself and he will get it via your milk.

Try just eliminating the gluten and just eat oatmeal, rice, corn, buckwheat and rice flour waffles, etc. If he’s allergic to gluten he will get it via your milk.


Natalia February 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

From what I understood from the description (http://www.shop.gapsdiet.com/product.sc?productId=20&categoryId=6) Baby Biotic is like, but specifically Bio Kult for babies. I have read THreelac reviews on Amazon and 30% are negative 1 star. Maybe bio Kult would be a better option.
Wow, I did not know that gluten passes through breast milk, and I thought I did my homework.


Susan February 5, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I’m fairly certain one of the speakers at the WAPF conference in November mentioned that Kombucha can damage the liver in some cases, but I do not remember the details about why.


Cultured Mama Dawn February 5, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Oh wow. Ashley’s email could have almost entirely been written by myself. And has prompted a LOT of questions of my own. I know I am hypothyroid (and my mother suspected this was the case from the time I was 12 years old, but docs didn’t diagnose me until I was in my 30’s.) Based on your adrenal posts (and some hints from Adrienne Urban in our conversations as well) I also suspect adrenal fatigue. I KNOW I do not eat enough, and in fact that was something that always puzzled my parents when I was growing up, because I was a skinny kid who ballooned as soon as I hit puberty, despite the fact that I didn’t eat a whole lot. I’ve been overweight since I was 12 year old, inexplicably.

A further complication is that I contracted Lyme Disease in 2000. Many of my symptoms can be attributed to thyroid, adrenals, OR the Lyme, and it’s so hard to know which is causing which– it’s like some crazy oroborous of symptoms and problems. The fatigue, lack of appetite, cold all the time, unexplained pain, and just… not able to function.

Just prior to my latest pregnancy, I developed fibromyalgia, which I am pretty sure is symptomatic of the Lyme, and I started GAPS. Due to the fibro, I was eating even less (it was too painful to eat) and started losing weight. About that time, I got pregnant, and the weight loss continued, to the point where I lost 40 pounds by my 6th month. I was down to 250, and at that point, began gaining again, but also started craving lots of sugar and white flour. I was trying to stick to the modified GAPS that is advised for pregnant and nursing moms in the book and so was trying to satisfy the carb craving with sourdoughs and soaked grains, etc. but I still ate a lot more junk (fast food, store bought breads and pastries) than was normal for me (I don’t TOUCH that stuff usually.) Since I gave birth to Darcy-James a week and a half ago, I have gotten back down to 265 (I had topped out at 290 just before I delivered!!)

I know the weight is a symptom. My husband and I are talking about going full GAPS soon (once stuff calms down from having just given birth :-P) I just don’t know how much diet can help, considering the Lyme complications. My midwife (who also happens to know Sally Fallon Morell– insert fangirl squee right here) says it could help, but I feel like I am wading through a complicated morass of symptoms and issues… I’m not sure if I should do some kind of modified GAPS, or try something else entirely…

I just don’t know. All I do know is that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, and that my labor was a WHOLE lot worse than it needed to be, and that it was directly impacted and compounded by the fact that my body is NOT at optimum health. I have a blog post sitting in my queue with my birth story and thoughts on this, but I am finding it very difficult to write.

I just feel like I need a plan and a direction… And maybe a support group. :-P

BTW, I found the Matt Stone article you linked to be very interesting– my sister has ITP, and was just diagnosed with some kind of stomach disorder as well– I keep trying to convince my family to change their diets… I gave everyone Nourishing Traditions for Christmas one year… lol


amy February 5, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Matt would probably say just eating a lot more would help. He has some other thoughts on healing your gut (he healed his own) and is not a huge fan of GAPS.

From what I understand, when your own system is balanced and strong, your body can fight off lyme properly. Eating enough is probably one. I read this Mercola post today on lyme, and it’s interesting, but some of the comments are even more interesting so I would recommend reading them – a lot of people have found their own solutions to lyme. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/05/dr-dietrich-klinghardt-on-lyme-disease.aspx?e_cid=20120205_SNL_Art_1


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Yes, I agree that Matt would probably say to eat more.

I asked Matt about GAPS and he said he thinks GAPS is OK if people eat enough carbs (fruit and honey).

There was a really interesting lecture about hormones and Lyme at the WAPF conference the year before last. Dr. Rind uses something called teasel weed root.

You can listen to it here: http://www.fleetwoodonsite.com/product_info.php?products_id=9373


Shelby February 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

I was noticing your symptoms Anna Marie you listed in a question/answer above. I couldn’t help but think that you need to look into DIM which helps with estrogen dominance. I have not tried this yet but have been doing research on it and it sounds incredible. Here is a link that may help you to read up on it and also be able to listen to the educational audio part. Hope it helps. And then you could write a blog about it? :)


Andrea February 5, 2012 at 2:29 PM

About the adrenal fatigue, I just listened to a pod cast by Underground Wellness featuring Dr. Bryan Walsh that BLEW MY MIND. I look at adrenal fatigue in a completely different light now. I used to focus on it as a problem, but Dr. Walsh pointed out it is merely a SYMPTOM 99% of the time. The adrenals regulate the body on info received from the hypothalmus. They only receive info, not “make decisions.” He really encouraged getting extensive testing done to discover the root problem (often gut issues). His analogy was something like this, “If your girlfriend was speeding around in your car, making sharp turns, burn outs, and slamming on the brakes and your tires wore down after a month, would you just keep replacing the tires, or actually go to the root of the problem, the person controlling them, your girlfriend?” He said our adrenals are like the tires, they only do what they’re told to do and taking a ton of vitamin C and adrenal glandulars won’t remedy the real issue. This made so much sense to me because I have been working on my adrenals for 2 years with no results, taking all the right supplements, eating well, and getting plenty of rest. I hope you get a chance to listen to it. Just search Underground Wellness and it will pop right up!


Csilla Bischoff February 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM

This makes sense. Thank you for posting it.


Cristin D. February 11, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Interesting. Hope to listen to it. I was diagnosed with AF 12 months ago and have been on a ton of supplements which have been helping slowly but I have had setbacks that have put me back at square one a few times. I ready to be well again!


Jen February 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Speaking of Matt Stone, what do you think of Matt Stone’s recent post on breakfast cereal?


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM


I’m didn’t like the sarcastic tone, but I get the point he is trying to make. He’s trying to show that grains and sweets don’t make you fat or make you diabetic.

He’s also trying to help people not be so freaked out about what they eat:

One of the big objectives at this site is to help health fanatics who have found me in the sauerkraut-scented bowels of the alternative internet health scene to overcome their irrational food fears and phobias.

I agree with him that so many people are making food their religion and it’s way more stressful than it needs to be.

I’m not a fan of packaged cereals and I don’t advocate them. I agree with Sally Fallon Morell that they should not be eaten because the grains are extruded (and obviously not soaked or sprouted).

I never really liked cereals much anyway, even before I found traditional food. In my mind, life is too short to eat food like that. Why waste a meal?

I do love oatmeal or waffles in the morning, with butter and maple syrup, or toast with butter and jam.


Lori February 5, 2012 at 6:57 PM

I actually have a hard time reading his posts. I want him to get to the point–too much extra talking that doesn’t do much.

I like the idea of not being freaked out, but I so don’t think those foods are good for us. Yes, maybe once in a while as a treat. I know that I need to chill a bit myself, but when I do start eating processed food, I gain weight and feel like crap! I’m afraid some of his posts could do more harm then good. I did read his cereal post, but I didn’t look at the research which I’m curious to do because I wonder if there is some faulty cause and effect going on. Maybe these people have other things in their lives that are keeping them lean. Maybe they eat one bowl and everything else is healthy.

It’s hard, however, not to make food a “religion” when you have health issues going on. It’s hard to relax sometime.


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 7:34 PM

And that’s exactly Matt Stone’s point. Stressing out about eating right is worse for you than eating bad food.

Sally Fallon Morell says the same thing, actually.


Dutchie February 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM

I suffer from adrenal fatigue too and I’ve got so many issues,a lot mentally about ‘food-addictions’,how to handle this ‘nutritious lifestyle'(haven’t really done a strict GAPS protocol),what I’d like to do for a job,exercise issues/anxiety. I already posted a lot of my ramblings on Matt’s site :

“Dear Mr.Stone,

My story is very long&complex but I hope you (all) maybe could help me.
As a kid I’ve always been chubby,was always ‘the best friend’ kinda person but never the one the boys would go for. I never found myself really pretty bc I had somewhat of a male body pattern (fat stomach,hairgrowth on places it should not grow etc.). So years ago I decided I could only become lean if I’d start to exercise. At first it was,3days a week of cardio,which over the years derailed into obsessive-compulsive 6days a week!(Also out of fear bc I couldn’t stop eating desserts,bread,pasta etc.) I kept yoyoing and became more&more critical of my food; I’d live on (sugary) lowfat products,microwave meals etc. and lived for dining out with friends!
So,finally my mom decided enough is enough and sent me to the doctor….whom sent me to a dietician. He ‘taught’ me how much carb (from whole wheat,lentils,rice,potatoe etc.)&proteine I needed and very little fat,no sugar,without exercise. That’s when things got really out-of-hand bc I needed to constantly calculate/weigh/measure stuff (which I before didn’t do despite all my OCD behaviour regarding exercise). I began to get really tired and sometimes after certain meals I felt like I’d about to pass out….

So after a detour I discovered I have chronic Lyme for at least 10years now,with gut dysbiosis and other parasites,mold,viruses etc. Due to my food intolerance testing about a year ago,I came upon Paleo. At first it was great,but then I got into trouble by reading all kinds of blogs/messages etc. about exercise,IF,eat when hungry,weight gain on Paleo etc.
Recently I also found a horoscope,made when I was about 8years old,which clearly stated that ‘non-stimulating food’ is the best for my health. I’m constantly struggling in my head about what foodgroups are meant by this,whenever i get food binges: is it sugar,gluten/grains/bread,dairy? ….i know for sure msg.

I feel totally derailed,concerning feeling like I have a normal eating pattern of healthy 3meals a day,because I’m constantly fearing I’ll get fat again,feeling like I’m never doing/moving enough without exercise so I’m constantly searching for things to do/keep moving. I’m constantly breaking my head/worrying about what to eat/how to incorporate it in daily life when I actually have a job. This is also an issue bc I just don’t know anymore what I’d like to do with my life….I feel like I’m drowning in an endless sea with no land in sight.
I kinda have a love/hate relationship with exercise,bc I really feel resistant towards joining a gym again or joining a club having to be somewhere ‘on the clock’. Yet I also don’t feel good doing nothing or if I have to do something by myself like I’m not really (vigorously) exercising/doing enough.

The last two weeks I’m derailing and eating various kinds of stuff which I probably shouldn’t but they make me mentally feel good,yet I also worry/have the feeling that I’m becoming ‘addicted’ again on the wrong foods. Especially bc I also read so many posts about the bad (gut) bacteria steering one towards eating the unhealthy foods and controlling ones feelings (so I always get the feeling,that whenever I enjoy foods/feel good it’s actually not ood at all!). On Paleo/GAPS I still keep fearing the amount of fat (now also in relation towards carbs as a fatgainer),yet I also know what I’m doing is a crutch ’cause the stuff I’m bingeing on now is higher in carbs and probably fat too! (probably mostly unhealthy ones).

My adrenals are stressed…..my energetic therapist urged me to eat 6times a day. At the moment I don’t even eat 3meals a day anymore,partially bc I feel that once I do I start to gain (I actually need a little upper bodyfat&boobs) I still won’t feel better and keep having all these food related issues.

I’m constantly going over in my head,what caused me to gain weight,yet disrupting my body internally, that much…..lack of nutrients,carb/gluten/sugar addiction, eating too much,lack of exercise in the past and too much the last couple of years,food toxins which store as fat,bad gut bacteria steering me this way while giving me a ‘good/happy feeling”,too much vegetable oils,all kinds of stressors in life (while also not knowing of the chronic illness)….?!
I’d like to become a balanced person eating healthy and not wanting to derail anymore and if I ever indulge in some situations that it’s ok,that I’ll not totally binge on all kinds of food bc ‘they taste that good’ or “i miss them so much’ but being moderate with eating it,feeling satisfied and not get addicted again!:’( ”

“I really wish it would be that easy…..However some food does something to my brainchemistry,which makes me not want to eat healthy or at least keep most of it healthy anymore and I easily become ‘addicted’. Plus there’s the Lyme and other parasites who love to feast on those foods!

In my OCD Cardio period I was quite lean,apart from the stubborn bellyfat,however I wasn’t eating really nutritious&healthy foods.So,I was lean yet all these ‘wrong’ foods messed up my internal organs (spleen,pancreas,gut,thyroid,adrenals,brains)&hormones badly and led to lots of inflammation,gut dysbiosis etc. Although I like the comment of fukitol (yes,I own the book of Fuck it! too) and the ‘free ride’ it’s giving me,I don’t think it’s a more complicated situation for me than just eating whatever I love (pizza,various desserts,bread etc. aren’t that healthy,sugar in general and I’m afraid I’d become too addicted to it all again and not being able to kick the addiction anymore:( ).

But the problem’s also that I don’t really care for various healthy foods such as potatoes,rice,legumes,nuts&seeds,fruits,(the only time I used to eat fruit,is when it comes in a cake or as a side to icecream.),milk,olives/olive oil,avocado,Tuna.
I recently saw a post by Cheeseslave combatting her adrenal fatigue on whole foods,that’s what I would love to do.(Yet it might also be a crutch bc I want bread,which still probably not healthy for me.That’s my problem,I always crave/want what turns out to be not good for me…but that’s how addiction works I guess,giving one a ‘high”happy feeling) However all the preparing of food is what always worries me,how I’m gonna be able to pull it off once I’ll have a job again (though on the other hand I don’t feel like working in a company anymore,all those stressy environments.)
Overall I’d like to get past my fear of carbs,fat,proteine especially combined together.”


susan February 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM

when i fry up my grass fed hamburgers patties from us wellness meats, is the fat that is left over good for using like beef tallow? wouldn’t it be the same thing except for the little pieces of meat mixed in with it? i put it a glass container, little pieces of meat and all, and freeze it, and cut out big chunks when needed. also, palm shortening is so much cheaper than grass fed butter, tallow, or coconut oil. i bought a gallon of it and have been using it to fry in, etc. however, is it as nutritious as the other oils?
thanks so much for all you do! god bless.


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Yes you can use the leftover beef fat — it is beef tallow so you can use it in any recipe you would use beef tallow. If you want you can just strain it through a coffee filter and toss the leftover bits of meat (or give them to your dog). That way you don’t have to freeze it — it will keep at room temperature, or, if you want to keep it a long time, in the fridge.

Palm oil is not as nutritious as butter, tallow or coconut oil. However, it’s still very good for you. The most nutritious kind of palm oil is the red palm oil which you can find at Wilderness Family Naturals — they are on my resources page http://villagegreennetwork.com/marketplace/fats-oils?pid=1” target=”_blank”

I also like the Wilderness Family Naturals expeller pressed coconut oil. I’d recommend buying that in bulk — I get the 5 gallon buckets. It’s a lot cheaper than regular virgin coconut oil and has no coconut flavor or odor.


Lori February 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM

I did not know that about the beef fat! I’m glad to know it now, though. What really sucks is I made bacon and I didn’t use all of the fat and it got thrown down the drain. : (


Paula February 5, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Salmon works just fine for stock. Salmon Fish head soup is great as well, as long as you cut the gill plates out.
They key is, to only make enough to eat fresh. That way the broth does not turn on you.
Course, if you were Native Alaskan, you would wrap your fish heads in grass and bury them for a couple months, then dig them up and eat them ;)


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Thanks, Paula!


Lori February 5, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Hi Ann Marie,
Can you direct me to a post on temperatures. I’m curious about this. This morning I took mine and it was 98.06. Then I took it this afternoon–not sure of the time–and it was 98.11. I’m on day 18 of my cycle. I know a normal temp is 98.6. Is my temp anywhere near decent? What about before I ovulate? What range should it be in?



cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 7:32 PM

I need to write a whole post about this.

Your temp is low but not as low as some people. It should be around 98.6, and higher when you ovulate.


Lori February 5, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Do you mean higher between Day 1-14 or just about day 14 when I ovulate? Usually it’s lower then.


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Sorry it should be higher after you ovulate.

But it should never be lower than 98.6


Lori February 5, 2012 at 7:51 PM

My preovulation temps are a lot lower than that. 97.2-97.5.

The problem with writing…I’m thinking you’re saying my preov temps should be 98.6. Yikes!


Kimberly February 9, 2012 at 2:16 AM

NFP charting guidelines say to investigate low thyroid if ANY pre-ov. temps are below 97.5. This is when I discovered my hypothyroidism after baby 2. The day I started supplements it was back up from 96.9 – 97.3 and has never again plummeted that low (past 5 years).


Susan February 5, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Ashley- You have found the right place to find friends with adrenal faitigue. You’ve also found the right place for many tips and ideas for recovery. You are not alone!!

I have had adrenal fatigue terribly for the past 3 years. The first year of that, I was in bed by my doctors orders. I am still pretty much house-bound now, but I can cook and do some light cleaning. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but compared to a couple of years ago, it is huge. One day at a time!

I know how desperate you must feel. I’ve been there; searching for answers, searching for a cure, and searching for someone who understands that I am not out of my mind! With much research -and retrospect- I now realize that I have suffered from adrenal fatigue my entire life, but after 17 years on the pill, living on sugar and caffeine, and many stressful events in the past 10 years, my adrenals just crashed. I can only imagine how difficult this has been for you with a 3 year old at home!

I know you want to have a another baby, but please heal first, or you will be subjecting your new little one to adrenal problems, as well, if you get pregnant now. Why? Because your adrenals are so desperate for what they need, that they will rob it from your fetus, therefore making your newborn destined to a life of weak adrenals themself.

I have to agree with Ann Marie, you are taking a lot of stuff. All very, very good stuff, but some may be too energizing at this stage. Especially the B-12. Your adrenals are like a devoted old horse: They will go and go and go as long as you request them to until they just stop. And when our adrenals stop, we die. They need to be given the message that you won’t push them right now, that all is well, and that it is time to re-coup.

Eat and sleep, eat and sleep. These things have helped me the most. But I know sleep can evade you in adrenal fatigue. Don’t give up! There are things out there to help you sleep. Relaxing supplements are the only thing I take after 3 pm. I take GABA (great for racing thoughts) at dinner and melatonin before bed. Most nights I sleep well, but you will have to find the thing that works for you. Some people do well on tryptophan or 5-htp or seriphos. I have them all in my cabinet and I had to play with all of them to find a fit. But sleeping at night is crucial, so make that your goal right now to find something that knocks you out -naturally.

There will be times of frustration with loved ones. Last year I had to explain to my mother why she couldn’t come over for Christmas. But I knew I had 2 options: clean the house and kill myself, or just say no. I’ve missed graduations, parties and other events because I knew I just can’t handle it. My husband is patient, but I know he wants the wife that could carry 100 pounds of concrete while working in the back yard. I couldn’t even pull the garden hose right now! But I am getting better. At least I’m out of bed finally! You’ll get there too! Just don’t push yourself or you will crash harder.

You can do this, Ashley! You are NOT alone and we all understand. No go eat and sleep! :)


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Thank you, Susan!


Tana February 5, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Ann Marie I am on Gaps and have been about a year. I have many long term health problems and a compromised gut. I do feel Gaps is helping, albeit slowly. After reading your answer to Ashley regarding carbs, I am wondering if you think the Gaps diet lowers thyroid and metabolism, which is a big concern for me. Thank you so much for all your good work- Tana


Andrea February 5, 2012 at 7:11 PM

ditto, Tara! I have adrenal fatigue, but I have yeast/digestion issues that require a low carb diet. Am I hurting my adrenals while healing my gut?


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

I have come to believe that low carb lowers thyroid and metabolism.

However, Dr. Natasha has said that GAPS is not low carb.

The GAPS Diet is meant to be a short-term diet that helps people heal. I definitely think the GAPS Diet can be very healing for the adrenals and the hormones, but you need to make sure you eat enough food and enough carbs.

I am working on a post RIGHT NOW called GAPS Diet Myths. If I can, I’ll have it up by tomorrow…


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 9:11 PM
Tana February 5, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Wonderful!! Can’t wait! I eat lots of honey and fruit and squash, as well as other gaps allowed vegetables. My dessert that I eat regularly is a baked custard made with squash or pumpkin, coconut milk,honey, 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks. Top that with a little raw cultured sour cream- delish!


Andrea February 6, 2012 at 5:51 AM

Caution on the carbs if you have candida (as many GAPS patients do) which feeds on them…


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:28 AM


Candida does not feed on carbs. It feeds on starches and sugar.

If you react to honey and fruit, eat more nuts and squash and continue on the probiotics until you no longer react to honey and fruit.


Lori February 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I’m a little confused. Don’t most grains, etc just turn into sugars? So when you say that Candida doesn’t feed off of carbs, how can that be true when carbs turn into sugar or am i missing something.

Talk about being confused and equally stressed!!!


amy February 5, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Ashley, I feel for you! What a tough situation. I totally agree with Ann Marie that if you have, in fact, been eating low-carb that you need to add carbs (lots of them) back in for your adrenals to heal. It’s important to note, though, that doing so after being low-carb is not easy. You will feel worse before you feel better. This is because low-carb (like coffee) juices the adrenals. When you eat the carbs and let them rest, you will crash a bit. But, soon enough that will stop and you will begin to get better. According to Matt’s theory (which I think is pretty good), when healing, carbs should be the bulk of your diet and fat should be low-moderate, and protein fairly low.


rebecca February 5, 2012 at 7:40 PM

hello! I’m pretty sure I’m suffering from adrenal fatigue. I think you went on GAPS before, do you think this is necessary, or can eating like you are now with grains heal this?


rebecca February 5, 2012 at 7:45 PM

nevermind! Just read your other comments!


susan February 5, 2012 at 7:54 PM

one more quick question. i never hear the real food bloggers suggesting stevia as a white sugar replacement; is that because it is bad for you. i had heard it was really good for you. thanks!


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 9:17 PM

The green leaf stevia (dried green leaves) is fine. The powdered white stuff or liquid stuff is not recommended.


Beth Stowers February 5, 2012 at 7:57 PM

This Q&A is incredible! Thank you for the post! Referring to the topic of adrenal fatigue… I have some problems there (with adrenals) and maybe with my thyroid. I’m reading “The Diet Cure” right now (after that, “The Mood Cure”) and the information inside is interesting.

My doctor (just a regular doctor) says my thyroid is fine according to my blood test, but I wonder if that is contributing to some of my fatigue and issues. I have Fibro too, which has made life interesting. Like one of the other commentators, I want to have another little one, but it would be too much for me. We haven’t started trying (because of the stress a pregnancy would put on my body), so I don’t know if I’m having fertility issues or not.

I’ll start taking my temperature and treating my adrenal glands, as soon as I get a thermometer.

Another thing is that eating low carb seems to make me feel better. And I get a lot of calories with eating a substantial amount of fat in my diet (good fats). And lately, my appetite has been a bit low.

A few years ago, after the birth of my first child, I was running half-marathons, eating pretty healthy (not preparing my food properly, but eating organic). I was very skinny, had a lot of energy, and ate a lot of food, higher carbs, but plenty of fat and some protein. It’s amazing how a few years can change things so much!


Beth Stowers February 5, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Hi again! Ever since I started having health problems 4 years, I worry a TON about food. It drives people around me batty, bless them. I am working on stress issues and getting more sleep (which will help).

I keep reading about Matt Stone over and over again (and have recently read some posts on his blog, as well). Do you have a link to his blog post about how he healed his gut? Thank you so much!


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Most doctors will tell you your thyroid is fine but the tests don’t show what’s really going on.

I don’t recommend low carb if you are trying to heal your hormones. See the post I just wrote: http://www.cheeseslave.com/gaps-diet-myths/

The half-marathons after the baby was born probably really did a number on your hormones!


cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 9:23 PM

I don’t know how he healed his gut; not familiar with that post.


Beth Stowers February 6, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Thank you! I’m reading your GAPS post right now.

I think all the running did a number on my hormones, as well. Last year, I was training for another half marathon. It was about at the same time I started to really feel fatigued. One day, I just stopped because my body was so worn out and I just couldn’t run anymore.


Lisa C February 6, 2012 at 12:01 AM

You know, I don’t think I was eating enough food before. I would crave chocolate after a meal. Then I noticed if I just ate peanut butter or fruit (or both) I didn’t crave chocolate. My new snacks are definitely more calories than eating a few pieces of chocolate was. And for a while I had to force myself to eat two eggs instead of just one, but now I’m used to it and I can tell it helps keep my energy up. It seems so silly now, to think I was depriving myself of energy because I simply did not eat enough.


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:30 AM

I see this with a lot of people. They don’t eat enough — and especially not enough carbs — and then they have to eat chocolate every day. I think it’s partly a magnesium deficiency.

I used to have to force myself to eat 2 eggs in the morning instead of just one, too! Now I eat 2-3 eggs PLUS a bowl of oatmeal or a waffle or toast. Isn’t it amazing?


Lisa C February 6, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Yes about the magnesium. My new snacks usually include nuts or peanut butter so I can get the magnesium I’m craving.

You know, I’ve never really tried to restrict calories (like so many people do to try to lose weight) but I think in the back of my mind I was thinking I shouldn’t eat too much, so then I didn’t eat enough. This wacky American food culture digs its roots deep.


Sarah Zitterman February 6, 2012 at 2:03 AM

I was just looking at the pate recipe mentioned, and it calls for Brandy. Any ideas for substitutions for this ingredient, or can I just skip it all together and still come out with a great pate? I have used high quality apple cider vinager in small amounts to substitute for wine in other recipes. . . do you think this would work? Alcohol is unavailable here, and we don’t cook with it anyways as Muslims.


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Just leave the Brandy out.


Julie February 6, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Thanks so much for including my crock pot post in your Q&A this week. I love your blog and am glad that mine helped you answer a question :)


cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Hi, Julie and thanks for commenting!

I actually might like to do a bigger post on this.

Would it be OK if I interview you via email? I’d like to know more about the testing you did.

Ann Marie


Julie February 6, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Absolutely! I would be happy to :) Email me any time!


Debbie February 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Hi Anne Marie,

Just before I read your questions and answers I read this in the book Eat Fat Lose Fat.
I think it answers Jill’s question about how coconut oil affects good gut bacteria:

Colds and Flu
Sally personally attributes her own escape from the flu the last few years to the addition of coconut oil to her diet. Flu is caused by a virus that has a lipid coating, and coconut oil makes this type of pathogenic virus disintegrate. (Good bacteria have a coating made of sugar molecules and are impervious to the effects of coconut oil; in fact, coconut oil encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria.)

Take care,


Jill February 6, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Very cool and interesting! Thanks so much!


Laala February 6, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Why can’t I use SPICES?! as in sage and rosemary dried?!! do they have to be fresh herbs for making bone broth for intro?! 

Also–is coconut sugar allowed on FULL gaps?! what about coconut aminos?! 

i also read on the official question cite that nutritional yeast is allowed—is that a full GAPS item or can I introduce it sooner?! (I have a vegan chicken broth powder that is amazing that uses the nutritional yeast and lots of spices…which would be the key to getting my husband to do this diet and eat the broths


Amy B. February 7, 2012 at 6:40 AM

For Jill — regarding the amount of omega-6 in coconut oil.

Coconut oil is over 90% saturated. Of the remaining ~10%, between 6-8% is monounsaturated (oleic acid, to be specific — the same one in olive oil). The rest is polyunsaturated (mostly omega-6 linoleic acid). So the total amount of omega-6 is very, very small. I would dare to say it’s negligible. If you’re concerned about your omega-6 intake, coconut oil is *not* the thing to be worried about. The oils to be concerned about in terms of very high amounts of omega-6 are the industrial veg/seed oils: soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, etc. (Basically all the ones you see on the labels of processed foods.)

We *do* need some omega-6 in our diet. Linoleic acid is an *essential fatty acid.* We need *some,* but not a whole lot. The problem comes when we consume way too much, particularly in the absence of enough omega-3.


Laala February 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM

reposting my questions since I am really searching for an answer and want to start intro a week from today. 

Why can’t I use SPICES?! as in sage and rosemary dried?!! do they have to be fresh herbs for making bone broth for intro?!

Also–is coconut sugar allowed on FULL gaps?! what about coconut aminos?!

i also read on the official question cite that nutritional yeast is allowed—is that a full GAPS item or can I introduce it sooner?! (I have a vegan chicken broth powder that is amazing that uses the nutritional yeast and lots of spices…which would be the key to getting my husband to do this diet and eat the broths


Cristin D. February 11, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Just becoming acquainted with your blog! Thank you for your insight to the question posed by Ashley (?) regarding Adrenal Fatigue. I too am a mom of 2 kids (ages 5 and 2) and was diagnosed with AF in Feb. 2011 after 6 months of clinical depression and anxiety and wondering what the heck was wrong with me. I have only just begun to read/learn from the Nourishing Traditions book and whole food eating and am in the process of trying to learn how to incorporate it but also feeling extremely overwhelmed with it all. There is still so much for me to learn and it is definitely more difficult with AF sucking all the brain power/energy out of me. I have been seeing a Naturopath for the past year and am on a boatload of supplements. Needless to say it’s been super expensive. I would love to be able to figure out how/what to eat differently to help speed my recovery along. It has been VERY slow. Anyways, it’s so good to know that I am not alone because I too feel totally alone in what I am going through. Thanks for the suggested daily meal schedule you posted. I think I may need look at increasing my caloric intake.


Amy February 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM


If you have a garden, you should try burying the salmon carcasses in it! Once when I was a kid, my dad came back from a fishing trip with a ton of fish. My mom eventually realized we wouldn’t be able to eat it all before it went bad (small freezer, picky children, ha), and we were starting our garden for the year… So they just buried a bunch of fish before planting anything, Native-American-style. Mom always says the following few years were the best garden yields she’s ever had! We didn’t get to eat the fish, but they provided tasty veggies :)


Ashley S February 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Thank you so much for answerig my question! I loved your tshirt idea! Here’s one, “Don’t be an Energy Drain!”

Since I emailed you, I’ve fallen off the supplement wagon. It is just too hard to take so many day in and day out. So I too take them when I remember as well. I will stick with iodine, zinc, and I’m looking for a multi, probably do the Catalyn with SP. I take a probiotic that also has Magnesium Citrate in them now.

My chiro was having me do low-carb, but I didn’t follow through after a couple months. Lack of discipline I suppose, but when I would peel my son an orange, it would look so good I would eat one too. And bread. And potatoes. And tortilla chips. Who could truly resist that? Not this girl. So I did just eat. Plus it was near the holidays and that would have just been torture.

I am still not eating enough, but I am trying and my success fluctuates. Essentially, I have been eating the food. I just eat what sounds good, but still need to eat more of it. Since I’ve been eating REAL food and especially since I’ve been avoiding low-carb by accident or rather “bad” choices, I have noticed increase in my once low body temp, I have gained weight which is good for me (I am short and petite and really did myself a disservice by not eating. My weight has always been appropriate for my height, but I’ve experience infertility for the last 18 months with two miscarriages in the last 9 months. My weight is indicative of my health status.), I’ve noticed that my hypoglycemic cravings have waned if not completely vanished, I am sleeping better, I am growing new hair when I used to lose a decent amount of it, and I have an appetite when I used to never feel hungry.

I need to work on eating more, exercising and getting more sleep. I have two red spots on my chest that recently appeared, maybe in December. I look forward to those going away. I finally bought FCLO and take that each day with a glass of raw milk. My first meal of the day is the hardest when my sleep isn’t restful and I still feel drained. I did find that coconut water aided in sound sleep for me as well, but I’m not too consistent with it. It’s obvious to me my thyroid is improving though, through my own ignorance and having low thyroid passed down at least two generations, I have a bit of an uphill battle to fight.

Thank you for your examples of what a day of eating looks like for you. It really helps me ground the kind of things I should be eating and in what amount I should consume. I don’t and never have counted calories, so your detailed explanation helped me see what “enough” might look like. It inspires me to find a rhythm to my eating habits as well. It is a struggle and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. Thank you again and I look forward to reading about your progress. Maybe I’ll do an experiement of my own calorie counting to gain an even clearer picture as motivation. Thank you!


Catherine March 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Confused about the hamilton beach crock pots being lead free. You and others have tested them and they show up lead free. I called hamilton beach and they tell me that there crocks contain lead particles. How can I be sure? I am so leary of using these things.


Catherine March 14, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Here is a copy of the email they sent me–
Thank you for contacting us.

As crocks are earthenware vessels, lead and cadmium may be naturally present. HBB crocks are porcelain enamel coated to create a barrier between food and earthenware. The porcelain enamel coated crocks are evaluated using ASTM C738 extraction test procedures as measured by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy. This test method has detection limits of 0.1μg/ml for lead and 0.01μg/ml for cadmium. In HBB crocks, the amount of lead or cadmium present in the extractant is below the test’s limits of detection. Additionally, the factories that manufacture HBB crocks are certified ceramic production facilities whose ceramic ware is deemed to satisfy FDA heavy metal requirements in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and China. HBB takes all reasonable steps to ensure that our crocks provide safe and satisfactory service to our consumers.


shaqeel July 28, 2012 at 5:18 AM

@Amber. Interested to know about drinking raw milk in Egypt and the necessary precautions. Have been drinking raw camel’s milk in Saudi for years now but picked up Brucellosis a few months back which wasn’t too nice. Apparently it is endemic here.


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