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.
UPDATE: YIKES! I am now VERY behind in answering questions. The past few weeks have been crazy!
For this reason, I am going to do double duty and I will answer more questions than usual in this post, and in the coming weeks. I may even post a couple more Q & A posts over these next few weeks so I can catch up a bit.
Due to the increased questions, my answers will be shorter. (In other words, I’ll try not to run my mouth and just get to the point!)
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If you have a question to submit, please email it to me at questions AT cheeseslave DOT com.
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1. Question: GAPS Diet for Breastfeeding Mom?
I am wanting to start the GAPS diet for me and my children. My son has been diagnosed with OCD, SPD, and possibly being on the autism spectrum. My other son seems to be sensitive to milk. My mother had to put me on soy formula as a baby because I couldnt take breast milk.
I tried taking dairy out of my diet and have seen some improvements in gastrointestinal issues, but still have eczema, psoriasis, and other skin issues. So I found the info on GAPS and got the book. I made some stock and soup for the first stage.
I am having some trouble though. The probiotic tastes awful, and I feel hungry all the time. I am a nursing mother. I have a three month old baby. I really want to succeed, but I was wondering what you would reccommend having done the diet before.
I dont want to not eat enough because I am breastfeeding, and I really want to do the diet right for the sake of my children and future children. What probiotics taste good or is there another way to add them in rather than just taking them in the liquid form. Do you have any advice for this beginner?
Thank you for your time,
It is recommended that pregnant nursing mothers on the GAPS diet go straight to the full diet and do not do the intro diet.
I am not sure which probiotic you are taking that is in a liquid form. The probiotic that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends is Bio-Kult, which is a powder in capsules. It has no taste.
Hang in there! It gets easier!
2. Question: Farmed Mussels and Oysters?
I have a question about mussels and oysters. I always buy wild salmon and other kinds of fish, but I can’t find wild oysters or mussels in my area. Do farmed oysters and mussels pose the same health issues as farmed salmon?
According to the Monerey Bay Aquarium, farmed oysters account for 95% of the world’s oyster consumption and most oyster farms are sustainable. It is generally fine to buy farmed mussels and oysters. The fish farms that are bad don’t raise bivalves. Mussels and oysters grow on the shore naturally and then harvested.
Oysters actually help clean the ocean since they are a natural filter, so I am an advocate of eating oysters for environmental reasons. They are also highly nutritious!
3. Question: Raw Dairy and the Four Hour Body?
I so enjoy your site and really appreciate what you do. I just had a quick question regarding the 4-Hour Body and dairy. I know that you said dairy is off limits, except for your binge day, but I am kind of confused. Isn’t raw dairy really important for overall health?
I spend SO much money every week making sure my family is getting enough raw dairy, so I am a bit worried now. We are not trying to lose weight, so does this only apply for this particular diet?
Just thought I would check in with you! My family’s health has improved so much with raw dairy – my toddler has never even had pastuerized milk!
Let me know your thoughts when you can! I know you are very busy.
Thanks so much,
Yes, the no dairy rule ONLY applies for the 4 Hour Body diet. I have been doing this diet for the past couple months and have been able to drop a few dress sizes and lose 15 pounds.
If you are not trying to lose weight via the Four Hour Body diet, and you are and you are not on the GAPS diet (and allegic to dairy) then there is no reason to avoid dairy.
I will go back to eating dairy as soon as I finish the diet. Speaking of which, I ate plenty of cheese and bread and desserts in Holland. I pigged out quite a bit. And I think I only gained a couple pounds at the most — all my clothes still fit!
4. Question: Organic Wine?
Good Morning, Ann Marie!
Happy Spring! As always, I thank you for your information – you are my nutrition health source, and inspiration! Stumbling upon your blog is what inspired me to completely overhaul the way that I feed my family of six. I’ve been a follower for two years! (Or almost?)
I purchased the Four Hour Body this weekend. I’m hoping it can help me reach my goals before my 40th birthday in June!
My question is, do you only drink organic wine? I too am “Eurpoean” in my ways, and I usually have a glass and a half (big ones!) a night. I love wine!
However, I wouldn’t buy non-organic grapes — so I’ve only been buying organic wines. Our Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell wine — it may be worth a trip to Pennsylvania to get some!
Thanks Ann Marie! Have a great day!
I drink organic wine when I can find it. They sometimes carry it at Trader Joe’s and when they do, that is what I buy. But if not, I don’t worry about it.
I do think it’s important to drink organic wine. Like you, I don’t buy grapes that are not organic so it seems to me we should do our best to get organic wine. But it can be a pain.
It would be ideal to only drink organic wine, but it’s hard to find in stores. And it is a pain to have to buy wine from Trader Joe’s — because you have to lug all the bottles home.
I am very lucky to live in California which is known for its wines. I took a trip to the Southern California wine country last year and we visited a number of organic wineries. I never wrote a post about it, but I have been meaning to. Anyway, you can sign up as a member of a winery and have wine shipped to you by the case — at a discount.
I have been thinking about taking a trip back to the wine country (near Santa Barbara) either sometime this summer or fall. But now your question has inspired me and I will defnitely plan the trip. I am going to choose a couple organic wineries and become a wine club member, and then I will have wine shipped to me every few months.
I will write a post about it when we go. Oh, and I’m pretty sure that even if you don’t live in California, you can sign up as a member of these wineries. I will be sure to list the ones I visit and like, so that you guys can become wine club members, too, and have wine shipped to you at home.
It’s funny because so often we are cheap with ourselves — we don’t want to take the time or don’t want to spend the money to do nice things for ourselves. But the truth is, it’s worth it to me to go out of my way to get good, organic wine. Because like you, I love wine! And I also really like knowing that I am supporting these organic wineries.
Thanks for the question — I needed the nudge!
5. Question: Making Whey from Raw Milk?
I have been making whey with the raw milk that starts to taste old. Some times I get a yellow liquid and some times after I strain it, it is still white, kind of like skim milk. It seems worse when I make a large amount. What am I doing wrong? How do I know if the whey is good?
I love the Q and A.
Cindy from Indianapolis
If the whey is too white, it’s not good. You want a light yellow color.
I’m not sure how you are straining it but perhaps you should use a thicker dishcloth or double up your cheesecloth. You can also try straining it a second time if the whey is too white and not yellow.
6. Question: Making Raw Milk Yogurt?
?I have seen varying instructions on making yogurt from raw milk. Please advise if you think it is necessary to “sterilize” raw milk before making yogurt with it?
Gene and Susie
I am not sure what you mean by “sterilize”. It is not necessary to sterilize raw milk when making raw yogurt.
That said, you do need to start with a fresh yogurt starter each week and that starter must be made from pasteurized milk (you can just warm the milk yourself at home). This is because the active cultures in the raw milk compete with the yogurt cultures and they will weaken them.
You can find instructions on the Cultures for Health website. If you buy one of their starters, they will include very detailed instructions with the starter.
7. Question: Preparing for Pregnancy?
If I recall correctly, you are preparing your body for pregnancy. I’m starting to do this too, and wondered if you could outline your considerations, techniques and resources, and benchmarks for pre-pregnancy health. Moving closer to my mother is unfortunately not in the cards for me :-), but the other items on my list so far are to start tracking my basal body temp in the mornings; do a complete cleanse (guided by a naturopath); weight loss and muscle gain, probably with Whole 30 or something paleo-ish plus yoga; and nutrient loading. The details are sketchy though, which is hopefully where you can help!
Thanks for all your work, and good luck with your own preparations.
Yes, I am planning to conceive again this year. So I am eating a nutrient-dense diet consisting mainly of pastured eggs, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, pastured meats, lots of seafood and shellfish, bone broth, and lots of liver.
I eat liver at least once a week at the minimum, and usually I eat it 3-4 times per week. I eat seafood at least 3-4 times a week as well.
I also take fermented cod liver oil and the high vitamin butter oil from Green Pasture Products. I’m also taking the Bio-Kult probiotic.
As you may know I am also following the Four Hour Body diet. Even though it is technically a diet, it is very nutrient-dense since I’m not eating grains, sugar, or anything processed 6 days a week. I eat pastured eggs cooked in grass-fed butter every morning — occasionally I’ll have a coconut milk smoothie with egg yolks. And I eat lots of fish, meat, broth and beans for my other meals. I am also eating a lot more fermented vegetables. I also like to eat natto (fermented soybeans) at least once or twice a month, as they are the world’s best source of vitamin K2.
Lastly, I am using grass-fed ghee as a moisturizer. It has a long shelf life so you can keep it in your medicine cabinet or dressing room. Our skin actually absorbs the vitamins so this is a great way to get more fat soluble activators.
You might want to have your vitamin D tested to see what your level is.
Oh, and I’m not a huge believer in cleanses. I just try to avoid trans fats and pesticides as best I can. Beet kvass and kombucha are very helpful to help the body detox, along with the probiotics and fermented foods.
8. Question: Where to Find Non-GMO Corn Oil?
Where can I find organic, non GMO corn oil in the Inland Empire? Or on-line? Is there a healthy substitute? We make pinto beans often and this is in the recipe. Should we use Manteca lard instead?
Corn oil is super high in omega 6s which causes inflammation and a host of other health issues, so we don’t recommend it.
The traditional fat used in Mexico is lard.
Storebought lard is absolutely not recommended. You need to render your own.
Find a local farmer who sells pig fat — or look for one online. Preferably a farmer who keeps his pigs outdoors and does not give them antibiotics. Then you can follow the instructions on my blog on How to Render Lard.
I don’t have a local source for pig fat. Sometimes I buy it online from Local Harvest farmers. But if I don’t have any rendered lard, I substitute expeller pressed, refined coconut oil. There is no coconut flavor and it is much cheaper than regular virgin coconut oil. I buy it in the 5-gallon buckets. You can find it on my resources page.
9. Question: CHEESESLAVE Podcast?
Just found your podcasts. Why nothing since 11/5/2010? Can’t seem to
find the answer on your blog.
Thanks so much for interest in the podcast. I love podcasting and have been meaning to get back to it.
When I first started my podcast, I was using Blog Talk Radio to produce it. At the time it was free for a one-hour podcast. I was never really happy with the sound quality though, and even more than that, I really disliked the ads they were putting on my podcasts. I work very hard to only run ads on my blog that are for companies that I believe in.
So, now, as of this year, Blog Talk Radio is charging for this service — even with the ads. You have to pay a lot just to get the ads off, and again, the sound quality is really crappy.
I tried to set up a podcast on my site and produce it myself a while back, but I was using a $100 microphone and the sound quality sucked.
Long story short, I love podcasting too much so I’ve been learning how to set up my own podcasting studio. I am going to invest in a high-quality mic, mixer, recorder, etc.
Look for the new and improved podcast sometime this summer!
10. Question: Xylitol?
What do you know about xylitol and its safety. I know its not a traditional food, but it is made from birch bark. It has a very low glycemic index, and tastes and acts like sugar without the ‘aftertaste’ of stevia. I would like to use it more but am a bit hesitant and have not found much info on it from a real food perspective.
From what I have read, xylitol is highly processed and refined. It is not recommended. I only like to use whole, natural sweeteners that have a long history of usage. Since xylitol is so new, who knows what it does to you?
I use stevia, honey, maple syrup, muscovado, palm or coconut sugar, and date sugar.
11. Question: Nutrients in Beef Tongue?
Is there anything especially nutritious or unique in beef tongue? I’m trying to
work up the courage to try it and feel that if there is something special about
it, I would be more willing to try.
Beef tongue is very high in vitamin B-12, which many people are deficient in. Vitamin B-12 helps to promote a healthy metabolism and builds healthy red blood cells.
Beef tongue is also rich in other B vitamins including B2 and B3.
Beef tongue also has a lot of zinc, another nutrient many people are low in. Adequate zinc levels are critical for a healthy immune system.
You also get selenium, iron and phosphorus from beef tongue.
I think it tastes a little like corned beef. I hope you enjoy it!
12. Question: Are Saturated Fats Healthy?
I was wondering how you would respond to the following info that I read recently
about eating saturated fat. I was recently reading a book about a GF/CF diet for autism and in the section on fats the author stated that we do not need to consume saturated fats because our bodies manufacture them as needed from the other fats that we eat. The book stressed that mono- and poly-unsaturated plant-based fats are the healthiest for us, but animal-based saturated fats are unhealthy and unnecessary. Have you heard this theory, and how would you respond?
I can’t stand it when people make nutrition so confusing! One week they say something is bad for you and the next week they say it’s good.
Saturated fats are carriers for critical fat-soluble vitamins A, D & K. Many people today are deficient in these vitamins which results in health problems ranging from heart disease to osteoporosis to strokes to cavities.
Lard, butter, cream, cheese, egg yolks, bacon, and beef tallow are traditional fats that people have been eating for thousands of years. Look at any cookbook from the 1800s — they are full of these foods. And did we have an obesity epidemic back then? Did we have a nation hooked on insulin for diabetes? No, we did not.
There is no evidence anywhere that saturated fat is bad for us.
I recommend reading this article: The Oiling of America by Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig, PhD.
13. Question: Eating Habits in the U.S. vs France?
Hi, Ann Marie.
Your site is terrific. I have a question: I know you have a great interest in French cooking. Wouldn’t Americans be healthier if we adopted a more French style of eating? Of course, I don’t mean the fast-food addiction that young people around the world now share, but something a little more traditional? Am I just imagining it, or do the French tend to be much healthier than we are?
Are there parts of their diet that you find especially healthful. Some that aren’t? I wonder if adopting (and adapting, as necessary) another modern society’s cuisine would help us make better choices.
I advise you to pick up a copy of one of my all-time favorite books, The Man Who Ate Everything: And Other Gastronomic Feats, Disputes, and Pleasurable Pursuits by Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue food editor.
There is an article in that book about the French paradox (“Why Aren’t the French Dropping Like Flies?”). Steingarten asserts that the French live on fatty foods like butter and cream, soft cheeses, pâtés made from organ meats and animal fat, and croissants which are almost 40% pure butter. So if the Lipid Hypothesis is true, how do we explain the French with their low rate of heart disease?
Most Americans on a low-fat diet are lacking in fat soluble activators, vitamins A, D & K. Guess what, people, when you take out the fat, you take out the vitamins! Liver pâté and cheese and butter from cows on pasture eating grass are rich in A, D & K.
It’s not just the French either. In Holland I saw lots of liverwurst and grass-fed cheese. Liver sausages are also common in Germany and many other European countries. That said, I also saw a lot of low-fat propaganda in the Netherlands. Low-fat yogurt, 2% and skim milk, and margarine were in every supermarket and every hotel breakfast buffet. Right next to the tubes of liverwurst and lavish spreads of cheese.
So, the short answer is, yes, the traditional French diet is extremely healthy and the most healthful part is the animal fats from animals raised the traditional way, and the organ meats. They also cook all their traditional sauces with healthy animal fats and nutrient-dense long-simmered bone broths.
I am also a big fan of wine and it is customary in Europe to drink wine with dinner (and often lunch — in fact, many French people start the day with a nip of wine). While modern beer is almost always pasteurized (with the exception of English “real ale”), wine is a fermented beverage which is not pasteurized. Ironically, Louis Pasteur originally invented pasteurization for wine but it was roundly rejected by the French.
They also eat loads of unpasteurized (raw) milk cheese. Illegal here in the good old US of A, these traditional cheeses are teeming with enzymes and probiotics. This is the reason I named my blog CHEESESLAVE — based on my love of raw, unpasteurized French Epoisses.
The only thing I try to limit in the French diet is white flour and sugar. Instead of a croissant or baguette for breakfast, opt for Eggs Benedict. As for sugar, Creme Brulee is very healthy when made with pastured eggs and cream — but instead of refined sugar, I like to use palm or coconut sugar, which has all the vitamins.
That said, I do indulge in a pain au chocolate when the mood strikes, as it is one of the greatest things on the planet. I also believe it would be a sin to visit Paris and not seek out a boulangerie and get your hands on a Chocolate Religueuse. I think they call it that becuase it is a religious experience.
14. Question: Roasting Cashews?
Firstly, I am enjoying having access to your cooking class. I didn’t realise
it was so easy to make things like coconut flour and ghee!!
Here’s my question: how do you suggest I roast raw cashews? I saw that the GAPS list allows roasting of nuts as long as it is done at home. We used to indulge in unsalted roasted cashews (our family were going through 1kg a week!) and I really miss it. Raw ones taste so bland and my husband really doesn’t appreciate this new taste. Any tips so we can get a nice roasted texture without destroying all the goodness in the nuts?
Thanks for your help!
Sorry I’m so late getting to this question. By now you’ve probably watched the video in the class in which I teach you how to soak, dry and roast peanuts for peanut butter (Lesson 7: Lunches). The same process can be used for cashews.
Some people don’t like to roast nuts because they want to keep all the enzymes and other nutrients that are destroyed by heat. I understand that but I think some nuts — peanuts and cashews specifically — taste better when roasted. Raw peanuts taste terrible! That said, I enjoy raw, soaked/dried pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, and lots of other nuts and seeds.
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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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