Q & A: October 21, 2012

by Ann Marie Michaels on October 21, 2012

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Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q and 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: Soaking Almond Flour?

Hi “Schiava del Formaggio” (I’m saying Cheeseslave in Italian!)

I have a question (maybe very obvious but not for me) regarding almond flour found in the store.

Has the almond flour we buy at the market already been soaked? For GAPS patients, does even almond flour need to be soaked? In that case, how?



Buon giorno, Michael! I love my Italian name!

If you buy blanched almond flour, you don’t really need to worry so much about soaking it. Most of the antinutrients are in the outer shell of the almonds.

If the almond flour you are using is not blanched (outer shell removed), then yes, it should be soaked. You can soak the almond flour in salted warm water overnight, just like you would soak almonds.

See Sally Fallon Morell’s book, Nourishing Traditions for more information on soaking nuts and seeds.

2. Question: Help with Melasma?

Dear Ann Marie,

I have emailed you a few times concerning my condition with malasma. I hope that I will get a response as I am getting very discouraged that this will never go away.

I am thirty-five years old and have had melasma for about two years. It started out on my upper lip but has spread considerably this summer. It is now on my chin, forehead, and across the bridge of my nose and cheeks. I can really tell this is changing my personality as I am much more self-concious these days and I avoid activities I love to stay out of the sun. I have read several of your posts and am attempting a real food diet. However, I would love some correspondence with someone who has had success. I have been attempting the new eating habits since June. However, I have not really seen any progress yet.

I am using a bleaching agent but am a little concerned about the long-term effects of this.

My questions are:

Did you use a bleaching agent when you had melasma?

If I am eating correctly, should I be seeing progress by now?

I am taking the following supplements. Daily vitamin, turmeric, grape seed extract, vit c, magnesium, How do these compare to the supplements you were taking at the time you saw your malasma disappear?

Do you get in the sun now? and Do you wear sunscreen?

Hope to hear from you,



Hi, Tabitha,

If you changed your diet in June, that’s only about 4 months. I did not see changes in my melasma for well over a year. Here’s a post I wrote 1.5 years after I changed to a traditional foods (WAPF) diet — I was just starting to see it lighten.

Here are my answers to your question:

Did you use a bleaching agent when you had melasma?

I did for a while. It was given to me by a dermatologist friend of mine. But I only used it for a short time (because I was desperate). It did not really work anyway, and I quit using it when I got pregnant — he told me it was not a good idea for pregnant women, which made me think it was probably bad for me as well.

If I am eating correctly, should I be seeing progress by now?

As I said above, I saw no progress until a year and a half, and even then, it was slight.

I am taking the following supplements. Daily vitamin, turmeric, grape seed extract, vit c, magnesium, How do these compare to the supplements you were taking at the time you saw your malasma disappear?

I wasn’t taking any supplements regularly except cod liver oil and Iodoral (iodine). I was drinking whole, raw milk, eating plenty of grass-fed butter, cream and cheese, liver and seafood, and sprouted whole grains and fermented foods. I have not avoided sugar but I do try to eat unrefined natural sweeteners, such as sucanat and honey.

Do you get in the sun now? and Do you wear sunscreen?

Yes, I do go in the sun whenever I feel like it and no, I do not wear sunscreen. I have zero melasma now and it has never come back, regardless of how much sun I get.

Eat a nutrient-dense diet and I think you will see results in time!

3. Question: GAPS Diet and Thyroid?

Hello, I came across your site while researching information on the GAPS diet. I’m so glad I came across it; you have a lot of great information!

I have a question for you. I’ve been following an anti-candida diet and taking L-glutamine/herbal GI repair supplements, digestive enzymes, and probiotics for over a year now. However I still have a leaky gut/intestinal inflammation and I still get bloating all the time. I’m considering doing the GAPS diet… the only thing is, I don’t think my thyroid function is ideal. My TSH is 3.43 and my basal body temperature in the mornings is consistently between 97.0 and 97.4. And I have symptoms like dry hands and hair loss. I think the GAPS diet would be beneficial for healing my gut. I’ve incorporated bone broth and have already noticed better skin. But I don’t want the GAPS diet to make my thyroid worse. There seems to be a lot of debate regarding GAPS and thyroid and I’m not sure what to do.

And just as a side note, I’ve start to incorporate coconut oil because I’ve read that’s good for thyroid function. But after only three days of having less than a spoonful per day, I have a headache and body aches!

I’m only 20 years old and I want to turn things around before they progress further and get even worse. I am seeing a naturopath but the focus is on supplements and not so much diet and food.

I understand that you’re not a doctor and that there’s a limit to what can be conveyed by email, but any suggestions would be welcome 🙂



I don’t think the GAPS Diet is bad for your thyroid as long as you are eating enough carbs. GAPS is not necessarily low carb. Make sure you get enough fruit, honey, squash and other carbs.

You can also introduce other starches such as potatoes, buckwheat, and other grains when you are able to digest them.

Coconut oil is great but it can cause die-off, as it is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. So you may need to go slow with that.

That said, a sluggish thyroid can also cause poor digestion, bloating, etc. So GAPS is not for everyone. It’s really an individual thing and you have to see what works for you. It may be that you have to increase the amount your eating, the amount of carbs, and the rest your getting (RRARFing).

You’ll have to experiment and see what you respond to and what makes your symptoms go away.

4. Question: Stretch Marks and Spider Veins?

I’m so glad you take questions and am hoping you will be able to respond. I have two questions and they are two-fold. During my pregnancy I developed stretchmarks and a few spider veins. I follow and followed the WAPF “diet”.

Do you know how to remedy the stretch marks and spider veins I currently have? And do you know how to prevent this from happening during future pregnancies?

Thanks for any help you could give.


I used lots of lotion and oil (you could use coconut oil) daily on my torso when I was pregnant and I didn’t get a single stretch mark. I think also increasing the fat you eat would help.

I don’t know about getting rid of stretch marks or spider veins. I once read somewhere about fermented cod liver oil for spider veins.

Maybe someone can answer in the comments.

5. Question: Bloating?

Hello! Thank you so much for your blog. It’s a wonderful resource, and I truly appreciate all the effort you put into it.

I have a question about bloating. Literally after every meal — invariably, without exception — I get bloated to the point where I look pregnant. Sometimes the bloating goes away in the morning during the weekend, after I’ve had a lot of sleep, or after I’ve been sick and vomited a lot.

The only diet that guaranteed a flat stomach in the morning — only in the morning, I still inflated right after meals — was the one where I was eating no gluten, no dairy, very little sugar, and lots of sweet potatoes and eggs.

I’m not eating very healthily right now, so there’s that, of course, but bloating was a problem even when I did my very best to avoid nutrient-suckers and eat lots of good food. Food combining was impractical and its restrictions made me feel terrible. I couldn’t eat just fruit as a snack, or wait 45 minutes to eat again after having some. Fruit generally *increases* the feeling of hunger for me, regardless of what it adds to my stomach.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas of what might be the problem? I saw your post on cortisol belly and was thinking that might be it. I drink coffee and tea. (Though I’m willing to give up coffee, I couldn’t do the same with tea, especially green tea. I just love it too much.)

I don’t wake up at 3 am, but then, I go to sleep past midnight, sometimes at 1 or 2 simply because of my bad internet habits, so that would be unlikely. This problem is especially bad during the week, when I have work and like to spend as much time as possible relaxing after I come home. Would my pattern fit with a cortisol problem?

Thank you so much for any help you could provide!



Bloating can be caused by abnormal gut flora/leaky gut. If you do better on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, that’s what I’d do. You might also look into adding probiotics and fermented foods to your diet.

A regular bedtime of 1 or 2 am is very late, and yes, that would make you crave coffee and tea (even green tea, which is caffeinated). People with adrenal fatigue (and cortisol problems) do commonly have trouble going to sleep early.

6. Question: Freezing Raw Milk and Maple Syrup?


Love your blog! I have 2 questions:

1) Does freezing raw milk destroy its natural enzymes? I make homemade formula for my baby to supplement breastfeeding and I only use 4 oz a day…so I freeze the rest of the formula, is it still as healthy/easy to digest?

2) Do you have a good source for organic bulk maple syrup, grade B? A family owned biz would be great!



1) No, freezing raw milk does not destroy the enzymes. I froze my breastmilk and my homemade formula.

2) I do not know of a good source for maple syrup — depends on where you live.

7. Question: Magnesium Oil and Sleep Problems?

While visiting a friend she shared with me her magnesium spray for the body to help with sleep problems. I used it and it worked and now I want to find out about the source for it and more about your research on its value.

I currently take a magnesium tablet as prescribed by my Anthroposophical physician.

I just signed up for your blog but am not sure how to access this info from your website.

Thanks for the help,
Barbara M.


Magnesium oil (spray) works much better than any oral magnesium supplements. Magnesium is hard to digest when taken orally. It’s much more easily absorbed via the skin.

You can find magnesium oil on my resources page.

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