Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q and A!
Every week, 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: Healthy Mint?
Dear Ann Marie,
I am wondering whether anyone is aware of a healthy mint… I am going to attempt GAPS intro & weaning toward the past several weeks, slowly eliminating all of my processed foods, but finding that even the mints I usually buy have TONS of garbage in them. I’m assuming most mouthwashes will do the same. Any idea how to negate stinky breath I’m anticipating I’ll have after garlic, onions, broth etc…
Look for mints with natural sweeteners in them — like stevia. Avoid anything sweetened with aspartame or other synthetic sweeteners.
You may also want to try natural mouthwashes. Hydrogen peroxide mixed with water is a good mouth cleaner, as is baking soda and/or sea salt and water. You can also use apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice combined with water.
You can also try “oil pulling”. You just swish some coconut oil or olive oil around in your mouth every day for as long as you can. I do it in the shower sometimes.
Your breath will naturally get sweeter when your gut flora improves.
2. Question: Egg Substitute for Coconut Milk Ice Cream?
Hi I have a son who is allergic to dairy and eggs and I was interested in making the coconut milk ice cream. Can I use an egg substitute for the eggs in your recipe? Thanks!
I have not tried using an egg substitute in the ice cream. I’d try leaving the egg yolks out. If that doesn’t work, try adding some gelatin powder mixed with water.
3. Question: Coffee and Serotonin?
Dear Ann Marie,
I was searching on the web for links between serotonin and caffeine and found your articles. It’s good to read this stuff and helps me in my commitment to give up coffee. I’ve suffered from depression and sleep problems for years now, but also love coffee and have been addicted to it. I have a feeling I don’t know what I’d be missing to get off it.
But today was the first days in months that I didn’t have a coffee, though I had a black tea. I’m excited to really give life a go without coffee, because I believe my depression is really based on anxiety.
I haven’t read Julia Ross’s book, I read the blood type book by Peter Dadamo, and he strongly suggests blood type O has big problems with coffee because of their natural stress response and nervous system. It’s more evidence, I wonder if you’ve read it.
Anyway, thanks for your article.
Hi, Tim, congrats on your first day without coffee! I have not read that book — I’ll look into it.
4. Question: Natural Birth Control?
Hi Ann Marie,
I have a question I’m hoping you can answer in your Q & A on the website (or have already). Are there any birth control options I’m not aware of? I’m aware of TCOYF, but I still need to do something to prevent pregnancy around ovulation. I don’t want to do hormonal birth control again; the information in the IUD freaks me out and doesn’t sound good (like nobody knows why the copper works? and the cramping possibility?); I have a reaction to spermicides, which rules out the cervical cap. The idea of surgically altering my organs (or my partner’s) isn’t attractive either.
Am I left with condoms as the only fairly reliable option?
I recommend the Billings method. You can google it. When you practice the Billings Method, you avoid intercourse during ovulation. This is only a few days out of the month. If you want to have intercourse during ovulation, the best option is condoms. But if you are serious about avoiding pregnancy, do not have intercourse during ovulation.
5. Question: Food Intolerances, Weight Gain, Fibromyalgia?
I — and my family — am recovering from a vegan diet which we kept for about 5 years. The good news is that for most of that time we cooked in coconut oil, sprouted our grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and had very minimal soy (mostly in fermented form). We also only used natural sweeteners and did a lot of pickling.
For the last two years I’ve also been living gluten free which has meant cooking with whole gluten-free grains, not buying pre-packaged food. We never buy pre-packaged foods.
About 6 months ago I showed signs of intolerance to soy, corn, salicylates, and glutamates and (thankfully!) we have transitioned back to eating animal foods daily. For the last 6 months we’ve been eating pastured eggs, a lot of butter, cultured whole fat dairy (we can’t afford it raw so are culturing it), sustainable/wild caught seafood (we’re on a coast) and as we can afford it, pastured meat and bone broths.
However, my body isn’t doing well with this transition. I’ve gained 20 pounds that don’t feel good (and I was 160 to begin with on a small frame), my fibromyalgia has been flaring up, my energy is really low, and my body temperature has remained low, at 96.9. Doctors don’t think there’s anything wrong with me — they just tell me to lose weight.
What else would you suggest? We’re on a very tight budget but if I know what to emphasize, I can do my best.
I’ll start by saying I’m not a doctor. You should consult with a holistic practitioner.
That said, if I were you, my top priority would be getting my temperature back up. It’s very common for people on very restricted diets to end up with a low body temperature. Low body temperature is a sign of low thyroid function and this can cause problems including weight gain, food allergies and sensitivities, low energy, and auto-immune disorders.
I have successfully gotten my body temperature up to a consistent, steady 98.6. It used to swing wildly from the high 96s to the high 97s — but I was rarely ever in the 98s. Nowadays the lowest it goes is 98.1 and that’s first thing in the morning. Sometimes during the day I’ll be 98.4 or 98.5, but it never dips below that.
It took me about six months to achieve this. How did I do it? Overeating, getting lots of rest, and vastly increasing my intake of carbs. I also avoided all exercise. I followed Matt Stone’s plan in his e-book Diet Recovery.
I started in January and did what he calls RRARFing (rehabilative rest and aggressive refeeding). I ate three big meals per day, plus snacks. I ate lots of sprouted sourdough pancakes and waffles, potato chips (the kind cooked in olive oil), ice cream, pizza, and whatever else I enjoyed and felt like eating. My temperature slowly started to climb and stabilize. A few months in, I started sleeping more — I increased from 8 hours a night to 10-12 hours per night. In May, we took a European vacation.
In June, I stopped overeating and sleeping more, and went back to my normal life. I started eating only when I was hungry. Still eating plenty of carbs, and pretty much whatever I want. I have lost 11 pounds since then without dieting and without exercise.
I just decided to start exercising last week because I felt like it. I’m doing the Body by Science program, a high-intensity program that you do once every seven days.
6. Question: Healing Gluten Intolerance?
Hello Ann Marie,
I recently saw on one of your blog posts the following comment you made:
“I did GAPS a few years ago for a month or two. I healed my digestive system and gluten intolerance back when I was 25 (mid 90s). I’ve been able to eat gluten and sugar ever since.”
I did post a comment asking you how you healed your gluten intolerance. I thought I’d reach out to you hear as I’d really like to know.
Please advise when you get the chance!
I get this question all the time. I wrote a whole book about this, How I Reversed My Food Allergies & How You Can, Too.
7. Question: Egg Yolks vs. Cigarettes?
Could you or one of your Real Food Media bloggers please address the study that eating egg yolks are as bad for your heart as smoking cigarettes?
My husband is now pestering me with this. We eat a lot of eggs. I broke out Nourishing Traditions but he wasn’t satisfied with what I found.
I hope you or one of the other bloggers can address this study soon. It’s spreading like wildfire.
Hi, Cara, I know I am a little late in answering this. Sorry about that — it’s been such a busy summer!
Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple weighs in: Are Eggs Really As Bad For Your Arteries as Cigarettes?
8. Question: Should I Do GAPS?
I am wondering how would one know if they needed to do GAPS? I don’t have constipation or diarrhea, but I do have bloating and gas at times. Otherwise, I am fine and don’t get pain or anything. I am also celiac. I want to get pregnant within the next few years, so would like to make sure I am in tip top condition beforehand.
The best way to tell if you need to do GAPS is to do a 30-day elimination diet. You can read about how I did it in my free e-book, How I Reversed My Food Allergies & How You Can, Too. Click here to download the e-book.
9. Question: Coconut Oil and Parasites?
Hi! I know you are a big advocate of coconut oil — long touted for it’s anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. However, when it comes to ridding the body of parasites, people often complain that coconut oil isn’t strong enough, doesn’t kill them all or even reach the ones that have gone systemic in other parts of the body, which leads me to my question: I was wondering if you had any experience or opinion on Humaworm?
If you’ve never heard of Humaworm, it is a formulated, hand-made blend of over 20 herbs (including wormwood, black walnut, and cloves) that supposedly rids the body of ALL parasites. Is this the best option for getting rid of them, or do you know of any better ideas?
I don’t have any experience with Humaworm. From what I have read, coconut oil will kill all parasites.
You do need to keep taking coconut oil (or eating it) on an ongoing basis, because parasites lay eggs, and you need to kill the eggs as well as the adults. We cook with coconut oil. We use it to fry tortilla chips, make popcorn, and make chicken nuggets.
10. Question: Best Dairy for Kids?
I have three young kids (4, 2 and 1). I am pretty new to this real food thing… when my older two kids turned one and I was weaning them, I immediately switched them to conventional milk. Recently I cut milk out of their diets completely, and was relying on homemade yogurt (made with conventional milk) and cheese for their calcium and most of their protein (my oldest is allergic to nuts and eggs). Now I am weaning my third child and am wondering what would be best for her, and most reasonable for our budget.
I found some vat-pasteurized, grass-fed milk at the store. Would this be better to give to them than yogurt made with whole pasteurized milk? They wouldn’t be able to have as much due to the cost. Should I do a combination of all three (yogurt, vat-pasteurized milk, and conventional cheese)? I do have access to raw milk cheese but I would have to limit it due to the cost. I have so long believed that giving them (pasteurized) milk is so critical for my toddlers, I’m having troubles figuring this out!
I try to buy grass-fed dairy as much as possible. I personally would not worry so much — if you can only get pasteurized milk, I would buy it as long as it is grass-fed and organic.
11. Question: Dr. Dean Howell’s NCR?
Hi Ann Marie,
I read a little while ago with great interest that your husband has received treatment from Dr. Howell. For almost a year now I have been debating between three different possible solutions for my miscellaneous problems, which include headaches, migraines, TMJ, autoimmune thyroiditis, and a possible hyperprolactinoma. (And yes, sadly, I have many other health challenges…).
My main focus, for now, is healing my headaches/migraines/TMJ. I looked into the Homeoblock, Damon Braces, and NCR. I was almost going to go with Damon Braces, but after watching Dr. Howell’s interviews/lectures and perusing his website — plus hearing your ringing endorsement — I have since reconsidered. I’ve tried so many other healing modalities (trigger point injections, acupuncture, chiropractor, the “migraine diet”)…and none have made a lasting difference. My husband is skeptical that NCR will be like all of these other treatments (i.e., ineffectual), but I have hope. I’ve been in pain for more than half my life (and I’m only 30!), so if putting balloons up my nose will help… then I’m game.
I think in a few days I will put down a deposit to see Dr. Howell in NYC in November. I’m thinking that having a hotel close to his office would be best, but I’m not actually sure how I will feel after each treatment. As such, it occurred to me to email you to find out about your (or, more accurately, Seth’s) experiences with NCR.
How did Seth feel immediately after treatment? How did he feel for the rest of the day? (Do you think a trip to the Met, for example, would be too ambitious? Would going out to eat for dinner be “too much”?)
By the end of the session, did he notice a significant improvement in his breathing/sleep apnea?
From what I read, NCR treatments aren’t supposed to hurt, but… did it?
Thanks in advance!
I would try to get a hotel near his office so you can walk. Then again, in NY you can just hop in a cab or on the subway, which would also be fine. You just don’t want to have to drive after a treatment, at least not right away — you would want to wait a couple of hours.
Seth says immediately after his session he felt “disoriented but really relaxed”. He felt fine for the rest of the day. He says he thinks a trip to the Met would be fine, same goes for going out to dinner.
He says yes it hurts but it doesn’t last long — just for a second.
He says he doesn’t know if he has had any improvements. It’s probably hard to tell since he is on a sleep apnea machine.
My daughter Kate just started this week. I’ll be starting my treatments next month.
I’ll keep you posted on the blog.
12. Question: Online or Phone Consultations?
Wondering if you know anyone I can consult with online or over the phone to help with guiding me through cleansing (parasite, kidney, liver) and using iodine for thyroid, estrogen dominance. I had someone but she is no longer in touch. Thanks!
Maybe someone can share below in the comments if they have any recommendations.
12. Question: Low Hormone Levels?
Hello! I have a hormone question that I have been wondering about for awhile now. I was born with a gene mutation that gave me no Luteneizing Hormone (LH). Because of this, I have very little estrogen or testosterone and do not ovulate. Thankfully, I was able to get injections of LH that enabled me to have two wonderful boys (5 and 1). I realize that estrogen is important for many reasons and am wondering if I should take estrogen in the form of the birth control pill to get my levels up to “normal”.
I do not want to take artificial hormones, but think this may be better than the alternative of having no hormones and risking osteoporosis and other side effects that come from low hormone levels. The doctors tell me to take the birth control pill, but I would like to know if you have any other ideas. Thanks for the help!
I’m not an expert on hormones, nor am I a doctor. I’d consult with a naturopath or holistic doctor, or a holistic hormone specialist. I would personally avoid artificial hormones, as those have been proven to cause cancer. I would look to natural alternatives.
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