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?

Michael

Answer

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,

Tabitha

Answer

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 :)

Alycia

Answer

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.

Answer

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!

Yours,
Olivia

Answer

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?

Hi!

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!

thanks!

Answer

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.

Answer

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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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Meagan October 21, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Alycia – if you’re going to a naturopath that is pushing supplements and not focusing on nutrition then FIND ANOTHER Naturopath! Nutrition is one foundation of the naturopathic philosophy, so if they are neglecting that then they are probably missing some other things too. I’ve gone through similar thyroid stuff. I would find a new ND who knows how to treat thyroid and get on some Naturethroid!

Reply

Melissa October 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Bloating can be a symptom of endometriosis, a condition that does not show up on ultrasounds or other tests and may or may not cause other symptoms. May be something to look into just in case.

Reply

Susan October 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM

@Tabitha- I’m not sure if this applies to you, but I know my melasma was worse when I was on the pill. For 8 years I worked for a dermatologist that would give me skin bleach, admit it would never work and then lecture me about the dangers of the pill. I wish, in retrospect, that I would have listened to him: I believe many of my current health problems, after much research, stem from putting myself in a “chemical induced menopause” while being on the pill for 17 years. I do recall, however, shortly after going off the pill, my melasma went away and this was way before I was eating real food.

@Olivia- I was recently watching Suzanne Somers’ new TV show on Lifetime (Wed. mornings at 7:30) and she was interviewing Brenda Watson, who specializes in gut issues. They were talking about leaky gut and Brenda explained one of the easiest ways to heal leaky gut is increasing our omega 3s. She said most people are critically low on it even while taking supplements because they simply do not take enough. She said leaky gut is the cause of many, many issues -especially bloat. So because I’ve tried the probiotics and I’ve increased my fermented foods with no real difference in the bloat, I figured I would increase my omega 3 dose. She recommends 3000 mgs a day. I do take FCLO and try to get omega 3s from other sources, but I’m sure I’m no where near 3000 mgs! I just bought a bottle of fish oil from Vitacost with 1000 mg per serving and I am going to give it a try! Especially since she said leaky gut can also cause fatigue, I might just bathe in this oil to increase my omega 3s!!

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Deborah October 21, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Alycia,

I have Hashimotos thyroditis and from experience and talking to many people and reading someone with a TSH of 3.43 is definitely moving quickly towards hypothyroidism. Medically they would say you are subclinical because you are not outside the lab ranges which are usually .5 to 5 but you sound like you have a good many of the symptoms. I think finding someone to treat you with natural thyroid like Armour or Nature Throid would prove quite helpful. You also want them to do antibody testing, it doesn’t change the course of treatment, but it is very helpful information.

Reply

Erin October 21, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Hi Olivia-
I recently saw on Doctor Oz that chewing a small handful of caraway seeds after every meal can help prevent bloating and literally help your body get the bad gas out- probably not a magic cure but definitely worth a shot! Also, are you making sure to take very small bites and chew very slowly and thoroughly? Also, make sure you don’t drink tons of liquid with your meals. Good luck!

Reply

Claudia October 21, 2012 at 5:30 PM

I read with much interest your article on cherry hemangiomas. I, too, have had them appear the past two years (I am a 57 year old female, with Lyme disease.). I have been diagnosed through saliva testing with radiation poisoning, and have been under treatment with a naturopathic physician. I too took Iosol for a time last year, and discontinued. I have done the paint patch test just last week, and it fades within 2 hours. I am definitely pursuing this as something to address.
My question is about BROMINE/BROMIDES. In the recent movie, “Why Are They Spraying” (re aerosol spraying) they mentioned bromine is a substance turning up in large amounts after an area is sprayed. Also, it is mentioned to cause digestive and gastrointestinal problems and symptoms. Our area experienced heavy spraying all summer and has been particularly steady the past few weeks. I have had increasingly more digestive problems, have cut out grains and have been following a Weston Price dietary regime, drinking raw milk and fermented kefir and other products to rebuild my inner terrain I’m on the verge of trying GAPS diet, but am wondering if bromide detox is something that I should also consider IF IN FACT THIS IS SOMETHING NOW FOUND IN THE AIR WE MUST BREATHE?

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molly October 21, 2012 at 6:45 PM

I just wanted to comment on the melasma. I used to have it HORRIBLY. During our week at the beach it would look like I had been in a mud fight. My whole face was full of big patches of dark spots. And the rest for the year I had to wear foundation to cover them up. So embarrassing.

Then I started eating the WAPF way….real, whole foods, supplementing with FLCO, very few processed foods (I subscribe to the 80/20 rule…so most of my foods are high quality, but I’m not perfect), I started drinking water kefir daily (straight from the ferment….not sweet or made into “soda”), I’m also GF now (but they faded before going GF.) I’ve also been supplementing magnesium, B complex, and krill oil (much or stable than fish oil plus mercury free.) Not sure if those played a role or not. But I get a lot more omega 3′s than I did before, and that has cured my asthma and other issues so I know it’s doing something good.)

Now all of my brown patches are gone except one small light spot on the side of my face about the size of half a small fingerprint. And after what it was, that is nothing. It doesn’t bother me a bit. And I am in the sun a lot.

As far as how long it takes….I started noticing a small change starting about 6-8 months after my dietary changes. And after a year it was very noticeably improved. I’m a few months short of my 2 year mark…from when I changed my way of eating and don’t plan on welcoming melasma back into my life. ;)

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M October 21, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Tabitha,

In my opinion Melasma can be caused by an imbalance or lack in hormone whether it be female hormone, thyroid and or adrenal fatigue. Bleaching cream could only work temporarily, if even effectively lighten because as you know it’s coming from within. Your body is telling you something is off. First thing I would ask is if you are on birth control because that definitely causes it. Secondly, I see you are in the premenopause age range which could be an imbalance of hormones, commonly estrogen dominance which can cause melasma. Thirdly, I would ask if you suffer symptoms of adrenal fatigue which can be caused by a number of things including caffeine, lack of adequate sleep, too much stress, poor diet, undereating and or overexercising. The fourth thing I would ask is if you have leaky gut (food allergy) symptoms and or candida overgrowth symptoms. Leaky gut can affect both thyroid and adrenal issues which can cause melasma.

You mentioned that you eat a healthy diet which is great. I would also make sure you are getting adequate vitamin D through fermented cod liver oil. Right now the sun is going to make your melasma worse so I would wear a chemical free sunscreen. I like Keys Solar RX.

My melasma went away when I stopped drinking coffee and it was decaf that I was drinking. It’s not just the caffeine but the high acidity. A too acidic system will cause lots of physical issues including brain fog, anxiety and depression. I also had some issues with leaky gut, so I addressed that. I started getting up earlier in the morning (close to sunrise) which made me very sleepy at night. I’m always in bed before 10:00 if not earlier. Many people need 8-12 hours of sleep a night, especially if your system is in need of repair.

A reaction or symptom can be the result of one or many issues. Typically, more than one system is involved because our bodies are complex and everything is interconnected in come way. It should not take a year to see improvement. I know it can be overwhelming so if you can afford it find a professional that knows all this to guide you through it.

Hope this helps, M

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Jennifer Greenfield D.C. October 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM

@ Olivia:
You didn’t say whether your bloating was upper or lower in the abdomen but regardless, it could be that you have a hiatal hernia, a common condition in which the stomach moves up through the diaphragm. I would say about 40% of my patients have a hiatal hernia. There is a physical maneuver that you can do to help pull down your own stomach. There are videos on You Tube that describe it but many of us chiropractors do the procedure.

I’d also suggest that you need stomach support in the form on betaine hydrochloride. I often find that the need for betaine hydrochloride often goes hand in hand with the hiatal hernia. If upper digestion isn’t working well (stomach, pancreas, gall bladder), then lower digestion (small and large intestine) will have an up hill battle restoring balance.

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Olivia October 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM

To Cheeseslave and everyone who’s commented: Thank you so much! I hadn’t heard of the caraway seed trick before, or the omega-3 one for bloating, and I was wary of hydrochloric acid before, but I will definitely try these. I’ll stick with the gluten-free, dairy-free diet, too. Thanks again!

Reply

Michelle October 23, 2012 at 11:00 AM

I guess I’ll address the stretch mark question. Stretch marks are caused when the collegen and elastin within your skin breaks apart from rapid weight gain or loss. There’s tons of argument when it comes to the ability to prevent them. Conventional medicine says no, but we’re on this site, so I assume we all know conventional medicine is not always right. However there is very little debate once you’ve got them. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. You’re stuck with them. That being said, if they’re pink or purple you can minimize their appearance with things such as dry brushing, AHA’s, and proper nutrition. If they’re already white remember how much you love your child. Your child gave you those and that makes them more than worth it!

Reply

cheeseslave October 23, 2012 at 8:52 PM

@MIchelle

Stretch marks are caused when the collegen and elastin within your skin breaks apart from rapid weight gain or loss.

Best source of collagen is bone broth. You can also take gelatin powder. I would imagine eating more collagen would help.

Reply

Michelle October 24, 2012 at 9:27 AM

This is very true, but really it would help only in prevention. Once the damage is done, it’s done. It can only be made less noticeable. Basically it’s a deep scar beneath the skin. Even with laser treatments (which I used to perform on people), they will not disappear.

Other things that help to prevent them would be to make sure your zinc/copper and vitamins C and K levels are optimized. All are extremely important for keeping collagen strong, flexible, and supple. B vitamins may also be helpful. And, this is a given on this site, a real foods diet full of good fat. And a regular smearing of coconut or jojoba oil whenever the belly feels tight or itchy.

All this being said, sometimes no matter what you do, genetics may not be on your side. And that’s ok. We women have a hard time being imperfect. I’m no exception, but I look now at the strech marks I developed on my hips at puberty as a sign that I am indeed a grown woman.

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Tlynng November 12, 2012 at 9:47 PM

I have seen 3 Doctors concerning my symptoms and putting me back on Birth control seems to be there solution. I finally took my self off after developing migraines. Symptoms started after my tubes were tied. Excessive weight gain (never had a weight problem in my life) excessive hair grow and darkening, (legs and upper lip). Excessive sweating,(mild activity) vaginal odor, 7-10 day menstrual periods, heavy (double protection) very painful, adult acne on chin and pregnancy mask, Birth control did take these symptoms away(not weight gain) I am on day 3 of macca powder that I came across. Could all these symptoms be hormonal, the Doctors say no.

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Indy June 5, 2013 at 12:14 PM

“Then I started eating the WAPF way….real, whole foods, supplementing with FLCO”

Molly in your post above you mentioned supplementing with FLCO. What is “FLCO”? Also what is “GF”?

Thanks!!
Indy

Reply

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