Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A!
Every Sunday, I answer your questions. I’ll answer as many questions as I can each week. If I didn’t answer your question this week, please check back next week.
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1. Question: Thoughts On Sublingual B12 Tablets / Cod Liver Oil And Fish Oil?
Ann Marie, I need your advice!
I have been on the full-GAPS diet since the end of March 2011 to heal from severe reflux and a host of other issues. I have made tremendous progress, but I have some lingering issues, so I have decided to start the Intro diet in late January.
I also recently switched to a doctor who is holistically-based (I do not have a GAPS doctor nearby). For one thing, it was time for me to do that, and for another, I knew that candida overgrowth is one of my issues, and I needed some support with that. He did some bloodwork, and then made several recommendations. For one, my B12 was 256. He feels it should be over 800, so he recommended 5000 mcg sublingually. Additionally, he recommended fish oil for EPA and DHA.
Here are my questions. First, the sublingual B12 tablets all have some form of sweetener in them (like xylitol). I know these aren’t allowed on the GAPS diet, but I don’t know how to dramatically raise my B12 in another way. Although the doctor supported my eliminating foods to promote healing, I’m guessing he thinks the benefit of the B12 outweighs the damage (this is where it would be really helpful to have a GAPS physician nearby). What are your thoughts?
Also, I am taking fermented cod liver oil, but he felt I needed the higher doses of EPA and DHA in fish oil, with a higher ratio of EPA to DHA. I’ve read that there are concerns about the quality of fish oils, but Nastasha Campbell-McBride actually recommends supplementing with cod liver oil AND fish oil in the GAPS book for the same reason as my doctor (revised edition, page 272). What are your thoughts on this?
Thank you so much for all that you do! So much of what I have learned in the last year has come from your site and others like it. I am really looking forward to the day when I am healed and can enjoy some of the foods I enjoy so much. Cheese will be one of the things at the top of the list!
I personally would not worry about the sweetener in the B12 supplements. If you are low in B12, I’d take the supplements.
For the fish oil, there is a good brand at the GAPSdiet.com store — you can find them under supplements on my resources page.
2. Question: Recommendations For UTIs, Yeast / Bladder Infections?
I love your blog and sincerely appreciate all you do to promote real, whole, nourishing foods and educate your readers on how to best care for our bodies!
I have a new sweet teenage stepsister who is really suffering right now and I feel that the “treatment” she is receiving is only making her situation worse. She has a long history of getting UTIs, yeast infections, and bladder infections that have gotten increasingly more painful and frequent in the last year.
Her doctor keeps putting her on different antibiotics, one after another, and then prescribes her another medication for the yeast infection that will come as a result of all the antibiotics, plus a pain killer to ease the pain of her bladder spasms. She also drinks a lot of cranberry juice, which is sweetened and I imagine the sugar in that just feeds the bad bacteria and makes things worse.
She is absolutely sick of feeling this way and is fed up of constantly being medicated — especially since it never even cures the issues! I know there must be something she can do with her diet or natural supplements or some alternative way of trying to manage this besides antibiotics — but I’m not sure what. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for dealing with UTIs, yeast infections, and bladder infections?
I know you are not a doctor, but she and I would greatly appreciate your advice!
Of course you know I am not a doctor and can’t diagnose or treat anything.
UTIs, yeast infections, and bladder infections are all caused by a lack of good gut flora. Taking antibiotics is only going to make matters worse (as she is experiencing). That is a road to nowhere. It is unfortunate that most doctors do not understand the importance of probiotics.
If it were me, I’d stop the antibiotics and get on a therapeutic grade probiotic. Not all probiotics are the same and the vast majority of them do not work.
I recommend Biokult, which you can find at the GAPSdiet.com store under supplements on my resources page. I also like ThreeLac, which you can find on Amazon.
In addition to that, she can consume homemade kefir and yogurt (fermented for at least 24 hours). Applying kefir and yogurt to the vaginal area helps a lot as well.
Just be careful and go slow with the fermented foods and probiotics or else she will have a “die-off” reaction and feel worse before she feels better.
3. Question: Thoughts On Taking CLO / Sunscreen With Us On Vacation?
My family and I will get the opportunity to spend a few weeks in a tropical location and I have a couple questions:
1) Do you recommend me traveling with our Cod Liver Oil/high Vitamin butter blend? We plan to soak up lots us vitamin D while we are there, so I am not sure if it is “necessary” to take along.
Also 2) do you recommend wearing sunscreen at all, if so what kind?
When my husband went to Hawaii a couple years ago, we packed our cod liver oil capsules. We took a lot of capsules each day in an effort to avoid getting sunburned. Amazingly, we did not burn the entire trip, and I normally always burn. We drove around the island all day in a convertible with our skin exposed and went snorkeling for a few hours and no sunburn. Read about it here.
I think the other thing that helped was we were eating seafood for 2-3 meals per day. Click here to read about what we ate. Both seafood and cod liver oil are very rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to reduce the risk of sunburn.
I don’t recommend wearing sunscreen unless you are starting to burn. Why? For one thing, most sunscreens are carcinogenic. Also, sunscreen actually blocks the absorption of vitamin D. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack a natural, non-toxic sunscreen in case you are starting to burn and want to protect sensitive areas such as your nose and shoulders.
That said, I think it’s better just to cover up with a hat and cover-up. But if you have kids, for example, who don’t want to get out of the water, a non-toxic sunscreen is a good thing to use if they are starting to get too pink.
You can look for safe sunscreens by searching on the Skin Deep website.
4. Question: Is There A Technique To Help With Gag Relfex While Oil Pulling?
My holistic dentist recommended oil pulling. She said either sesame oil or olive oil. I have tried it a few times (with each oil) but I have a real active gag reflex and after about 2 minutes I feel like I am going to throw up and have to spit it out (is it good to have it go down the pipes or will it clog it?). I am supposed to work up to 20 minutes.
I feel like I am never going to make it. Is 2 minutes better than none? Is there a technique to help with the gag reflex? Help!
If you don’t enjoy doing it, I would not do it. There are other ways to detoxify, such as coffee enemas or juicing.
And yeah, I’d say 2 minutes is better than none. But I would not do it if I didn’t like it. Life is too short to suffer for the sake of your health.
5. Question: What Is The Best Way To Build Back My Gut Lining?
I’ve been GFCF since 2004 and on GAPS for 11 months, really still sort of on the intro diet as I still can’t do raw veggies except in juice, and I can’t tolerate any fruit/sugar. I just got test results through Diagnos-Techs that show I have essentially no intestinal secretory IgA / gut lining, which probably explains the psoriasis that came on a month or two after my daughter was born (at home, in August 2010. Same thing happened after my son was born via c-section in March 2006 and lasted until he was two – more on a blog post I just put up at http://crunchychewymama.com/index.php/my-gut-she-leaks/ )
Anyway, my question is, in addition to L-Glutamine, what is the best way to build back my gut lining? I have been strict to GAPS in terms of excluding stuff, but I have slacked on the organ meats and lard, etc. Baby is still nursing (17 mos) and still waking some in the night. Test also showed some bacteria but no parasites, and very low pancreatic enzyme activity. Oh, and Casein and Gliadin Ab SIgA — no surprise.
Colostrum but if you are allergic to dairy, sounds like you can’t do that. Perhaps you could try fermenting the colostrum and see if you can tolerate it. Bone broth and gelatin powder are the other things that will heal and seal the gut lining.
I am curious if you have had your thyroid tested. Also curious about your body temperature. Psoraisis is quite common for people who are hypothyroid. And it sounds like you are eating a super-low carb diet, which would exacerbate hypothyroidism.
What are you eating? I think 11 months is way, way too long to be on the intro diet. What kind of symptoms do you get when you eat fruit? Dr. Natasha recommends that we keep pushing through and keep introducing new foods instead of avoiding them for extended periods of time.
Please comment with your answers below.
6. Question: Recommendations For A Nourishing Oil To Use On Massage Patients?
Hi Ann Marie,
I am a sports massage practitioner in the UK. Having recently converted to traditional food, I am now concerned about finding a nourishing oil to use for massage patients.
My concerns are:
What is the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio or the supposedly good oils for massage (sweet almond/ blend oils)? Understanding if this is important when just massaging with oil and not consuming it?
For my baby I use cold pressed organic olive oil. But the smell would be too ‘edible’ and cheap for my work.
In England we have this supplier: http://www.nhrorganicoils.com/products.php?category_id=762 Would you recommend anything they have on offer?
Thanks for your time with this.
Thanks also for the hard work you do.
The skin does absorb the oils we use.
I would use coconut oil. Coconut oil is the healthiest option. Expeller-pressed coconut oil has no odor. It’s also a lot less expensive.
Olive oil would be fine, too. Ghee would also be very healthy (and has a long shelf life) but people may not like smelling like butter.
7. Question: Advice On Unhealthy Flora / Best Diet For Breastfeeding?
I have a few questions relating to my pregnancy. The first is that today I found out that I am positive for group b strep. My midwife is pretty easy going and said that either I can take amoxicillin orally for 48 hours, taking it every two hours for that time period. Or I can wait to see when my water breaks, and possibly not take anything if it doesn’t break until labor (and if it does break in advance, taking antibiotics then).
Since I have already put far too many antibiotics in my system and am working on my gut health, I am leaning towards the second option. I am 38 weeks and dilating fairly quickly. Do you know of any good immediate things I can do to improve my vaginal flora? I am already taking probiotics orally and drinking kefir and kombucha daily. I just began inserting a probiotic into the vagina.
I’ve been wondering if there is a way to test for other harmful bacterias, or test the area in general to see if you have GAPS. Is that possible? Or is it more, watching for symptoms of unhealthy flora?
My other question is, if I think that I have GAPS, and know that my partner has GAPS, what is the best diet for breastfeeding? I am going to try to follow Dr. Campbell-McBride’s recommendations for introducing foods, but I haven’t come across anything about what to eat while breastfeeding. I wasn’t able to follow a GAPS diet while pregnant, but tried to do as much as possible. Should I begin that ASAP?
Any insight would be really helpful.
Thanks for the help.
I’m not a midwife or a doctor so I can’t advise you what to do. I personally try to avoid antibiotics as much as possible but I do take them when they are medically necessary.
Which probiotic are you using? Most probiotics do not work in my experience. See my answer above to question #2.
There is no good test to find out if you need the GAPS Diet. The only way to tell is to do the elimination diet (or “intro diet”) for a few weeks and see if it helps you and how you react to reintroducing the foods you avoided. Unfortunately I don’t recommend doing that because you are pregnant.
If you know you have issues with gluten or dairy, I’d avoid those foods and eat the Full GAPS diet or just a regular WAPF diet without the gluten and/or dairy.
Therapeutic grade probiotics are key. Whatever you eat, it’s essential that you eat enough, and carbs in particular. I see a lot of people on GAPS being too restrictive (such as avoiding fruit, honey and other carbohydrates) and I don’t think that is wise, particularly when you are pregnant and/or nursing.
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Please submit your questions to questions AT cheeseslave DOT com. I’ll answer your questions every Sunday in the order I receive them.