Q & A: June 5, 2011

by Ann Marie Michaels on June 5, 2011

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"Yes! Even Goggle Hasn't All The Answers"

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1. Question: MSG, Corn & Soy Allergies?

Hi,

I found your site. I am SEVERELY sensitve to MSG and CORN and SOY. There is nothing left to eat. It just happened overnight.

I have no moisturizers. I am wondering if coconut oil and palm oil are hydrolyzed. Anything hydrolyzed turns right into MSG.

I just used Tropical Traditions moisturizer cream and don’t seem to be having a reaction. My first reaction is usually heart pounding.

I’m just wondering if you know or where I can write or e-mail the co to find out if these oils are hydrolyzed. I know I’m spelling wrong. I’m just miserable.

Thank you,
Mamie

Answer

Hi, Mamie,

I’m sorry to hear that you are suffering.

I sincerely doubt that any of the oils from Tropical Traditions are hydrolyzed. Email me back if you have experienced anything different, but I’m guessing you are OK using their lotion.

Food allergies are almost always due to a leaky gut, which is caused by a lack of good bacteria in the digestive tract, caused by everything from antibiotics to the birth control pill to chlorinated water, and a damaged gut caused by soy and unfermented grains, nuts and seeds, which cause a great deal of damage to our intestinal lining.

The good news is, this is reversible.

I strongly recommend that you look into starting on the GAPS Diet. GAPS stands for The Gut and Psychology Syndrome, a book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride . This diet is powerful — it reverses food allergies and heals conditions from arthritis to asthma to autism.

I would also recommend using natural moisturizers. I use grass-fed ghee as a moisturizer, and plain coconut oil.

Best wishes to you.

Ann Marie

2. Question: Melting Raw Cheese and Butter?

Hi, I have a question for you, which may be kind of stupid… just wondering at what temperature do raw cheese and raw butter stop being considered raw? For example if you melt them are they still considered raw? Or are you destroying stuff at that temp?

Thanks,
Vanessa

Answer

There are no stupid questions!

Raw milk butter and cheese is not heated above 104°F or 40°C. Butter melts at 90-95°F or 32-35°C. I am not sure about cheese — it depends on the type of cheese.

When milk is pasteurized, what gets destroyed are beneficial enzymes, milk proteins, vitamins C, B12 and B6, and beneficial bacteria or probiotics.

There are lots of nutrients in butter and cheese that do not get destroyed with heat. The fat-soluble activators, vitamins A, D & K2 are heat-stable.

That said, drinking pasteurized milk is a bad idea. Mainly because of the milk proteins. So for milk, we always drink raw, grass-fed milk (except for the rare occurrence when we are out to eat or traveling and my daughter wants milk). For cheese and butter, I will buy pasteurized but I always try to get grass-fed. In fact, I like to buy large quantities of butter in the spring when the cows are on green grass — and I store it in my freezer.

My general rule of thumb is this: I buy grass-fed, raw milk. I don’t drink pasteurized milk if I can help it. I am fine with pasteurized cheese and butter as long as it is grass-fed.

I really wouldn’t worry about melting butter and cheese — you’re not going to do that much damage. But make sure your milk is raw!

3. Question: Tibicos (Water Kefir) and Candida?

Hi! Could you please tell me if Tibicos would work to get rid of Candida? That is what I am using them for, however my recent research has shown me that they are actually made up of yeast and Candida, of course, is a problem of TOO MUCH yeast. Now I am confused. Thank you!

Fondly,
Louise Duhamel

Answer

Everyone has yeast in their gut, but having too much yeast is bad. Candida or yeast overgrowth is a sign of abnormal gut flora. If you have adequate numbers of good bacteria (probiotics), the good guys will keep the yeast in check.

So you don’t really want to “get rid of” candida. You just want to increase your good bacteria in your gut so that you have normal, balanced gut flora. The best way to do this is to eat a variety of naturally fermented foods, including kefir, kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, salsa, pickles, etc.

If you don’t eat fermented foods with every meal, I recommend taking a therapeutic-grade probiotic. Or, ideally, do the probiotics AND the fermented foods. From my personal experience, most probiotics on the market don’t work at all. I have had good luck with Bio-Kult and a few other brands.

Also, I really think dairy kefir is one of the best fermented foods to help heal the gut. It has a lot more strains than say, yogurt. If you can’t do dairy, I recommend making coconut milk kefir. You can eat it just like plain yogurt, eat it with grain-free granola, add it to soups (add it at the end when the soup is not too hot) or add a little honey and make ice cream. If you can eat dairy, just eat kefir — you can add more cream to the kefir to make it thicker and more like sour cream.

4. Question: Verboten Green Smoothies?

Wow — this article has shocked me to the core!

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2010/10/think-raw-veggies-are-best-think-again/

I am making a daily green smoothie with raw spinach and thinking I am doing a good thing for my body. Is raw spinach, kale, etc. really a health concern???

Blessings,
Elizabeth

Answer

Yes, this is correct. Raw green vegetables like spinach and other leafy greens block minerals like iodine and iron and therefore they are not good for you. It is best to eat cooked spinach, kale, chard, etc. I really love them cooked with bacon grease, lard, or duck fat.

If you are trying to detoxify your body (like while on the GAPS diet) then it is OK to juice leafy greens along with fruits and other vegetables as part of a detoxification protocol for a limited period of time. Otherwise, it is not recommended to consume raw green veggies.

5. Question: The Mood Cure and GAPS?

I read that you recommend reading The Mood Cure which I had already done but dismissed much of it as I am a GAPS fan. I was having trouble reconciling her information which make is sound as if these moods can be fixed by amino acids alone (well, with healthy foods too but not with a GAPS healing diet).

I know that that cannot be true. So how do you put this all together?

I understand a person can do GAPS and aminos but I guess I’m saying can I trust her advice in light of knowing what I know about healing the gut? I’m extremely interested in this because my husband is “bi-polar” and abuses alcohol when he gets depressed. He has been on GAPS for 10 months (for depression as have I) and cheats a whole lot and as the cheating got worse so did his symptoms. No room for error here!

Thanks for all you do!
Ginny

Answer

Actually the diet that Julia Ross recommends in The Mood Cure is very similar to the GAPS Diet, as well as the WAPF diet.

Julia recommends a balanced diet of traditional foods. She recommends eating 20-30 grams of protein at every meal, in the form of meat, dairy, fish and/or nuts, along with good, traditional fats like egg yolks, butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, and olive oil. She also recommends eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. She only recommends whole grains like brown rice, and she discourages eating white flour and sugar. She counsels people against eating soy.

So you can see that this diet is very similar to the WAPF diet. The GAPS Diet is also similar to this diet — but it is more strict due to the allergies that people have. As you know, there are no grains, starches or sugar (except honey and date sugar) on the GAPS Diet.

Julia does recommend taking amino acids, but only for a short time, for people who need them. And the amino acids are to be taken in conjunction with a traditional food diet. Many people find that they cannot refrain from sugar, starchy foods and junk food, caffeine, alcohol and other drugs. She says these people are lacking the neurotransmitters they need, which is why they reach for the drugs and junk food. Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids, which is why it helps to take them for a period of time.

I don’t know if amino acids are legal on the GAPS diet and I don’t know what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s position is on them. If it were me personally, I would read Julia Ross’s book and I would consider consulting with her or with another doctor or practitioner who is trained in her methodology. She has been very successful working with alcoholics and people who are bipolar.

6. Question: GAPS Diet, Eczema & Schizophrenia?

Hi Ann Marie,

I am a regular reader of your blog – and I have greatly appreciated some of the things you have written!

I write to you not in hope of receiving answers in medical terms, but because I gather you yourself have experienced healing with food and because I know you are in contact with many people who have experienced healing through food as well — and that you might therefore be able to say whether there is a possibility of healing in the cases I am about to present to you.

I have at this time already tried writing to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, but, understandably, she is too busy with her patients to be able to answer.

I am a young man from Denmark who was introduced to the concept of real food through the work of Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation last year, and since then I have educated myself on matters of healing through food, especially in regards to the GAPS Diet. I am now looking to help someone I love, my mother — and if possible, my aunt, whom I will get to in a moment.

I have a mother with a lifelong eczema which continues to be, with varying severity, debilitating. Throughout her life she has been sick with infectious diseases, which have established themselves as latent, chronic disease, regularly showing their ugly faces. My mother is also affected with various allergies, especially to gluten and casein.

After reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome I have been thinking that all of those problems (which, it seems, all have to do with a compromised immune system) stem from a chronic gut dysbiosis.

The medical establishment, however, has been of no help in terms of the eczema (except for steroid topical creams), the infections and the allergies.

My mother has a younger sister who was diagnosed as schizophrenic during adolescence. This has in the succeeding years been joined by diagnoses for depression and anxiety. In the case of my aunt, the medical establishment has only one answer: anti-psychotic drugs, which help control symptoms somewhat, but, of course, does not bring about healing. This has been supplemented with limited attempts at psychotherapy, all to no avail, and my aunt has since been deemed incurable by the establishment.

Of course, it is pretty clear that the possibility of an internal physiologic and biochemical imbalance in the body causing the mental symptoms has not been considered.

I should also mention that all of my mother’s siblings, including my schizophrenic aunt, have skin problems to various degrees.

I cannot help but think that the problems my mother has been living with for many years, as well as those in her family, has to do with what Dr. Natasha speaks about: a gut and psychology/physiology syndrome.

Having knowledge of the intricate connections in the body, including the way gut health relates to health everywhere in the body, makes it very hard for me not to want to help my immediate family.

I have introduced my mother to the theory behind GAPS, and whilst she is hesitant to believe in any healing these days (as a consequence of many unsuccessful tries) it is gradually settling with her that this might, indeed, be able to help. I think just the thought of diseases such as allergies and schizophrenia not being the result of some evil spell, but having to with inner chemistry makes for relief (not because healing imbalanced inner chemistry is easy, of course, but because it longer appears inexplicable).

I truly would like to help my mother as well as her sister heal, but I am a little tentative whether doing the GAPS protocol has the ability to heal
diseases and disorders this old and therefore also severely complicated and deep-rooted in the body — my aunt has been sick with mental symptoms for as long as I can remember (I am 21). Even believing these ailments to be curable, let alone attempting to heal them, seems daunting.

If you can give me any word of advice — of course, here again, I do not expect anything medically specific, but sound, personal advice — I would greatly appreciate it. A word of encouragement — whether you have knowledge of others, dauntingly, attempting to, with the help only of loving families, heal disorders similar to ones I have described.

I want to thank you in advance, Ann Marie.

Best regards,

Aske Tøgern Wissum,
Copenhagen, Denmark,
May 16, 2011

Answer

Hi, Aske,

I absolutely do believe that these disorders can be helped by following the GAPS diet. The skin problems are classic with people who have gut dysbiosis, as are mental problems.

Skin problems usually clear up pretty fast on GAPS so I would start there. If you can help your mom with her eczema, it’s likely that her sister will be encouraged enough by this to also do the diet.

It’s not easy to do the diet in the beginning, since it requires a lot of change and you have to do a lot of cooking. So they have to really want to do it.

You may have heard that I am teaching an online cooking class, Reversing Food Allergies. I created it to help people learn how to cook on the GAPS diet, so that may be something you are interested in. The class started in April but it is a self-paced class with lifetime access, so people can join in at any time.

Once you master the basics such as making bone broth, making fermented foods like kefir, yogurt and sauerkrat, making coconut milk and coconut flour, making roast meats and learning to cook fish, it’s quite easy to follow the diet.

7. Question: Probiotic Recommendation?

Hi, you mention taking a strong priobiotic however I didn’t see a name or source — care to elaborate on this? I take PB8 however I think I can do better and I’m looking for a recommendation. Thanks in advance!

Best,
Charlotte Polizzo

Answer

I take Bio-Kult.

8. Question: GAPS Diet and Back Pain?

Hi Ann Marie,

Here’s another question I’ve been pondering — whenever you get the chance.

I understand how the GAPS diet heals the body by resetting the digestive tract and immune system and removing toxins. I’ve heard people say that it helps alleviate back pain. How does it do this? Is it a matter of inflammation and fixing the way the body repairs tissues?

Thanks,
Beth

Answer

I had very bad joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis when I had gut dysbiosis in my 20s. By doing a diet similar to GAPS back then, I was able to alleviate all my pain within a few weeks.

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a disorder in which the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Back pain can also be an autoimmune disorder (so can fibromyalgia or other painful, crippling disorders).

As you know, immunity begins in the gut. If we have a “leaky” or damaged gut, our immunity suffers. When our gut is extremely damaged, we end up with an autoimmune disorder, which can manifest in a variety of ways — and the pain is just a symptom.

9. Question: Weight Loss Diet?

Hello!

You mentioned the non-dairy ice cream you use during the week since you were trying to lose weight. What diet do you follow to lose weight?

I came across your site on one of my nutritional searches. I am looking forward to trying your gluten-free brownie recipe. Thanks for posting. I am gluten-free for the most part.

Thanks for your time!

Laurie

Answer

I am following The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman.

I started in March and I have lost 14 pounds and dropped 2 dress sizes.

I’m pretty happy with my current weight so if I don’t lose the last 10 pounds, it’s OK with me. My husband and I are also trying to conceive so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll do this diet.

Although it is very nutrient-dense — pastured eggs cooked in butter every morning, lots of meat and fish and good, healthy fats, plus lots of fresh and fermented vegetables. I think I’m probably eating better on this diet than I when I wasn’t on it!

10. Question: Storing Flour?

When considering storing would it be not advisable to freeze flour to avoid rancidity because it is thought to damage the phytase content of flour.

Phytase being I believe a beneficial component in battling the effect of the anti-nutrient phytic acid.

If so, would a refrigerator be a better choice?

Thank you for your terrific site.

Best,
Chris Curley L.Ac.

Answer

I don’t recommend buying whole grain flour that has not been sprouted. Whole grain flour goes rancid and most stores let them sit on the shelf for a long time. It really is best to use freshly ground flour that has been sprouted.

Best: Soak and sprout whole grains, grind your own sprouted flour and use it right away or freeze it.
Second Best: Buy sprouted flour online and store it in the freezer.
Good: Buy whole grain flour as fresh as possible and store in the fridge, then soak or ferment it — but use it as soon as possible.

Right now I buy my sprouted flour online (see my resources page), but I just bought a grain mill and plan to start sprouting and milling my own flour and making sourdough bread at home.

I’m currently doing the 4 Hour Body so I’m not eating a lot of bread — but once I get pregnant, I plan to eat my fill of sourdough with lots of butter and cheese — I love it!

11. Question: Dry Eyes?

I’ve been dealing with severe dry eyes for a few years. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions as to how to remedy this?

I eat a primal diet (similar to Ferriss’s Slow Carb Diet).

Can we have a moment for some Tim Love? My husband and I already owned 2 copies of The Four Hour Work Week in print, plus the audio book on CD, not to mention we both followed his blog. Then he came out with The 4-Hour Body and about put me over the edge. OK enough about that. I take Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil every day and exercise regularly.

My eye doctor used the word “hellacious” to describe the dryness. I prefer to treat things naturally, but I’m pretty desperate at this point! Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Lindsay

Answer

Dry eyes can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin A.

Here is a list of the best sources of vitamin A (per 100 grams) from the Weston A. Price Foundation website:

* High-vitamin cod liver oil 230,000
* Regular cod liver oil 100,000
* Duck liver 40,000
* Beef liver 35,000
* Goose liver 31,000
* Liverwurst sausage (pork) 28,000
* Lamb liver 25,000

It should be noted that these amounts can vary according to how the animals are fed. Weston Price noted a huge variation in vitamin-A content of butter according to the season. In addition, absorption of vitamin A varies according to the food. Research carried out during the 1940s indicates that vitamin A is more easily absorbed from butter than from other foods.

I wonder if increasing your intake of cod liver oil and liver would help? It’s worth a try.

12. Question: Granola Bar Recipe Redux?

Hi AnnMarie,

I have this recipe for granola bars that my family really likes, and I wanted to share it with you, partly because it’s good, and partly because I was hoping you could help me make it a little healthier.

The recipe is as follows:

–The Glue–
1 10 oz package marshmallows
2/3 c peanut butter
1/4 c corn syrup
2 t vanilla

–Dry Ingredients–
4 c oats
1 c Rice Krispies
1 c mini chocolate chips
1/2 c coconut
1/2 to 1 c seeds
1/2 to 1 c nuts
2 T wheat germ (I omit, as I am GF)
2 T sesame seeds

Mix glue and dry ingredients thoroughly, press in to a 9 x 13 baking pan, bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Currently, I have soaked and I am drying the oatmeal. I am not overly worried about the marshmallows, but I’d like to sub the corn syrup for something else. And if you have alternative ideas for the marshmallows I am definitely open to that. I am going to use Rice Krispies, because they really help lighten up the bar, but perhaps next time I’ll use Rice Chex so I can eat them too. I usually use regular size chocolate chips, because I don’t usually buy the mini ones, and I find that even the large ones melt quite a bit when you put the glue in.

Thoughts?

Thanks

Jill Chapin

Answer

I’ll be honest with you — I don’t think this is a very healthy snack. For starters, it’s more of a dessert than a snack. Too sweet!

I think better snacks are hardboiled or deviled eggs, soaked nuts and seeds, cheese, leftover roast meat, or homemade crackers with soaked nut butter.

That said, if you want to make this every once in a while, it would be OK.

The marshmallows are probably made with high fructose corn syrup, which is made from genetically modified corn — a definite avoid. If you want to make a healthier version, you can use my recipe for Homemade Marshmallow Fluff. It’s mostly honey with a little egg white.

Corn syrup should also be avoided. For corn syrup, you can substitute raw honey 1:1.

Commercial peanut butter is high in phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. Here is my recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter, which is soaked and roasted, and made with coconut oil.

Use organic vanilla extract (not the fake vanillin stuff) or you can make Homemade Vanilla Extract.

Oats – soak and dry them, as you are already doing. Ideally, get whole raw groats and flake them at home and then soak them overnight. Almost all store-bought oats are heat-treated which deactivates the phytase, and therefore soaking really does not reduce the phytic acid.

I would definitely skip the Rice Krispies and the Rice Chex — both are made from extruded rice which is toxic. They are also devoid of nutrition. You can substitute soaked nuts or seeds instead.

For the chocolate chips, I’d substitute carob chips, which you can find at the health food store.

Nuts and seeds are fine to use as long as they are soaked and dried.

Got a Comment?

I don’t claim to have all the answers. And I love hearing from you guys! If you have feedback on any of the above questions and answers, please share your thoughts n the comments below.

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