Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A!
Every Sunday, I answer your questions. I’ll answer as many questions as I can each week. If I didn’t answer your question this week, please check back next week.
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1. Question: Suggestions For A Good Probiotic?
I know you have mentioned that lots of probiotics aren’t good, but how do we know which ones are good and work? I take Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra now, and have taken Bio-Kult and Dr. Ohhira’s before. I don’t know if I really tell a difference or not from brand to brand, partly because I don’t know what to “look for.”
Thanks a lot!
If you have a healthy gut with normal gut flora, you probably won’t notice anything when taking probiotics.
I can only speak to which probiotics have worked for me. After I was on the birth control pill after my daughter was born (before I knew better — the birth control pill kills good gut flora), I tried different probiotics and the ones from the store did not work at all.
I recommend Biokult — you can find it on my resources page.
2. Question: Thoughts On Soaking Grains With Dairy?
Lately I have been reading more and more about how soaking grains in dairy actually hinder the breakdown of phytic acid. These articles further state that the best way to breakdown the phytic acid is to use an acid medium that is dairy-free.
This particular article includes a response from Sally Morell on the issue. http://hartkeisonline.com/food-tradition/q-and-a-on-soaking-in-dairy/
I appreciate her addressing the other components that need to be broken down and that it isn’t just phytic acid. This is something we should pay attention to. But, for me I feel the response doesn’t fully answer the original concern. Is it best to soak grains in a dairy free acid medium and does soaking them with a dairy medium actually hinder the breakdown of phytic acid in a significant way? She also states that the minerals in milk will compensate for any mineral blocking by the phytic acid. If the phytic acid is left to block minerals, how are the minerals in the milk going to compensate?
I am just a little confused by this. Especially since a dairy medium have seemed to be the way to go. Is their something I am missing or an article or study I could read to help me understand? What are your thoughts on soaking grains with dairy?
I can’t wait to hear what you have to say, thanks for you time.
I like Sally’s answer in the article:
I am somewhat perplexed by the exclusive focus on phytic acid. It is important to neutralize phytic acid, but there are many other components in grains that need to be broken down, such as enzyme inhibitors, lectins, hemagglutinans, etc. These are done over time in an acidic medium and acidified dairy foods would do the job just as well as other acidified liquids.
Buttermilk biscuits are very traditional, as are the other dairy-soaked grains Sally points out in the article.
I see a lot of people freaking out about food lately. So many people are singling out specific things in food — from phytic acid to gluten to lectins.
I think we can get a little crazy with all of this. I know that when I first discovered traditional food almost five years ago, I got a little crazy myself. When you wake up to the realization that our food supply has been co-opted by multinational corporations that are more interested in their bottom line than feeding us nutritious food, it’s only natural to become suspicious of everything.
But then, in time, most of us chill out and settle on the fact that the 80/20 rule works pretty well. Eat the best you can 80% of the time, and don’t worry about the other 20%. This way you can go out to eat like normal people and not freak out if your kid eats a storebought cookie or two.
If you’re cooking from scratch at home most of the time, if you’re buying food at farmer’s markets, making your own broth, buying grass-fed meat and dairy, and soaking your grains, nuts, seeds and legumes most of the time, you’re already doing really, really well. I just don’t believe in trying to be perfect. It’s exhausting and no fun. And cooking and eating should be fun!
3. Question: Suggestions For More Organ Meats?
Hi Ann Marie!
I’m a big fan of your blog, and I’m hoping you can clear something up for me. I am attempting to get more organ meats into my family’s diet right now. We have been WAPF for a few years now, but this is one area where we’ve really been slacking, and I know how utterly important this is.
Also, I have fairly low iron levels right now and need to get them bumped up, so one more reason to be eating my liver! (I lost a fair amount of blood after the birth of my son 10 months ago due to low lying placenta and my iron was incredibly low after that.)
I did not grow up eating organ meats so this is very new to me and to my husband as well. I read on some paleo blog that the person was cutting up raw frozen liver and taking it like pills with a glass of raw milk to get in some liver every day. I figured I could handle that as a starting point, so I’ve been doing that. The milk really helps, but I was wondering if it is counterproductive. I’ve read that dairy can block iron absorption. Is this even true?
I would probably still do it for all the other nutrients, but it made me wonder. Also, someone told me that soaking liver in milk before cooking makes the flavor much milder so I wanted to try that after my family barely touched the Nourishing Traditions liver and onions that I made last week, but would preparing it that way reduce the iron?
And what about cheese on a liverwurst sandwich? If you happen to have any good tips for easing into eating organ meats, I would be very interested. I’m planning to order some liverwurst and Braunschweiger from U.S. Wellness. Is there anything else we should try?
Yes, dairy can block iron absorption. However, liver is loaded with iron so if you’re eating liver and dairy on a regular basis (ideally you want to eat liver at least once a week), you should be fine.
I would eat liver (and other organ meats) any way you can and not stress about how you eat it. If you want to add cheese to your liverwurst sandwich, go for it. I personally like to mix the US Wellness Meats liverwurst with cream cheese, since I like my liverwurst to be more like a spread.
The very best source of iron is not liver, it’s clams. Here’s my recipe for fried clams, which my family loves.
It turns out that clams have more iron than any other food. In one 2.5 ounce serving of clams, you get a whopping 21 mg of iron. That’s almost 3 times as much iron as chicken liver (8.7 mg for 2.5 ounces) and almost 9 times as much as beef (2.4 mg).
We also love mariscada, which is a Portugese shellfish stew. I’ll be posting that recipe within the next week so stay tuned.
4. Question: Recommendation For Dealing With Allergies?
I live in Dallas, and spring allergies are a huge problem for me. What do you recommend?
I used to have seasonal allergies, too. People like to believe that it matters where you live but it doesn’t. If you are healthy, seasonal allergies should not be an issue.
Allergies can be caused by a lack of good gut flora. If you suspect abnormal gut flora, you may want to look into probiotics.
Allergies can also be caused by low thyroid function. What is your average body temperature? Get a thermometer at the drug store. If you are consistently low, I’d take measures to increase your metabolism, such as eating more carbs, eating more in general, and . You can read more about this on other posts on my blog. I’ll be posting more about it in the near future.
I raised my own temperature from the low 97s to the low to mid 98s (these days I average between 98.2-98.6) by eating more, eating more carbs, and getting more sleep (up from 8 hours to 9-10 hours per night). I followed the advice in Matt Stone’s e-book, Diet Recovery.
5. Question: Do Peanuts In The Shell Contain Fungus?
Is it OK to eat peanuts in the shell, heard there is a lot of fungus in them?
I found this on the WHFoods website:
Peanuts are susceptible to molds and fungal invasions. Of particular concern is aflatoxin, a poison produced by a fungus called Aspergillus flavus. Although better storage and handling methods have virtually eliminated the risk of aflatoxin ingestion, aflatoxin is a known carcinogen that is twenty times more toxic than DDT and has also been linked to mental retardation and lowered intelligence. To help prevent aflatoxin ingestion, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also enforces a ruling that 20 parts per billion is the maximum of aflatoxin permitted in all foods and animal foods, including peanut butter and other peanut products. If purchasing raw peanuts, it is still wise to ensure that the peanuts have been stored in a dry, cool environment (the fungus grows when the temperature is between 86-96°F (30-36°C) and when the humidity is high). Roasted peanuts are thought to offer more protection against aflatoxin, plus roasting is also thought to improve peanuts’ digestibility.
Roasting helps, but I think it’s best to eat soaked and dried nuts. I’d take the peanuts out of the shells and soak and dry them, then roast them.
You can see how I do it on my Homemade Peanut Butter recipe.
That said, if you eat roasted peanuts in shells every once in a while (say, at a ball game), I don’t think it will hurt you. I just wouldn’t eat them every day.
6. Question: Suggestions For Refractometers?
Hi Ann Marie,
I remember sometime back that there was an ad for refractometers on your blog that were very reasonably priced. I’ve not seen it lately and was wondering if you remember the ad and possibly the company selling them.
I do Ream’s testing, utilize these in my testing, and would love to find a reasonably price source for them.
Thanks for your help… keep up the good work… I love your blog!
You can find them on Amazon: Refractometer
7. Question: Advice For Feminine Itching?
At age 46, I find myself with an embarrassing and uncomfortable problem, with that being itching in my private area, both front and back. I am trying applying coconut oil, using natural feminine protection products and toilet paper, using non-scented, non-colored natural bath products, etc, to no avail.
Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Sounds like abnormal gut flora. Try taking a strong probiotic. You can also use 24-hour fermented kefir or yogurt topically on the area morning and night.
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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.