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: Kidney Stones?
My mom just found out that she has kidney stones. She follows a very healthy, traditional foods style diet (at least the majority of the time). She’s been looking up natural remedies and finding all kinds of information, but I was wondering if you might have some specific advice on what a real foodie might do to 1. get rid of them and 2. prevent them. We’ve also just recently started making kombucha and have been drinking it regularly for a couple of weeks. Do you think that might help? Thanks!
There is a theory that kidney stones are caused by vitamin K2 deficiency.
Lack of Vitamin K2 causes calcium to fail to be deposited in bones where it belongs and to be deposited instead in arteries, aorta, soft tissues including muscle, breast, kidneys and in heel spurs. (Source: Vitamin K2 Controls the Removal of Calcium from the Brain)
Vitamin K2 is needed in the body to tell calcium where to go. If you don’t have enough vitamin K2, the calcium is not deposited in the bones and teeth (which causes bone loss, osteoporosis, and cavities) but rather in the soft tissues and fat — causing heart disease, kidney stones, etc.
This theory makes a lot of sense to me. In the past several decades, we Americans have drastically reduced the amount of vitamin K2 we consume. We’ve moved from pasture-based farming and we’ve moved to a low-fat diet.
We’ve also seen an huge increase in heart disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and cavities. Not to mention strokes and other neurological diseases such as Alzehimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and seizures, which may be caused, at least in part, by calcium deposits in the brain.
The best sources of vitamin K2 are:
Natto (fermented soybeans) — #1 best source!
Butter, cream and cheese from animals eating grass
Egg yolks from pastured chickens (chickens raised outdoors)
Fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, and naturally fermented pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi (Please note: kefir and yogurt sold in stores are typically only fermented about an hour. It is best to make your own at home and ferment for 24 hours. Also, pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi pickled in vinegar don’t work — it must be unpasteurized and fermented naturally with salt.)
Natto contains the highest concentration of K2 of any food measured; nearly all of it is present as MK-7, which research has shown to be a highly effective form. A recent study demonstrated that MK-7 increased the percentage of osteocalcin in humans three times more powerfully than did vitamin K1. (Schurgers & Vermeer, 2000, pp. 298-307)
It is important to note that commercial butter is not a significantly high source of vitamin K2. Dr. Weston A. Price, who was the first to elucidate the role of vitamin K2 in human health (though he called it “Activator X” at the time) analyzed over 20,000 samples of butter sent to him from various parts of the world. As mentioned previously in this paper, he found that the Activator X concentration varied 50-fold. Animals grazing on vitamin K-rich cereal grasses, especially wheat grass, and alfalfa in a lush green state of growth produced fat with the highest amounts of Activator X, but the soil in which the pasture was grown also influenced the quality of the butter. It was only the vitamin-rich butter grown in three feet or more of healthy top soil that had such dramatic curing properties when combined with cod liver oil in Dr. Price’s experiments and clinical practice.
Therefore, vitamin K2 levels will not be high in butter from grain-fed cows raised in confinement feedlots. Since the overwhelming majority of butter sold in the U.S. comes from such feedlots, butter is not a significant source of K2 in the diet for most people. This is yet another argument for obtaining raw butter from cows raised on green pasture. (Source: Vitamin K2 The Missing Nutrient)
Here are a couple of articles I have written about natto (I love it!):
Fast Food Dinner (easy dinner with natto)
2. Question: Balancing Hormones through Diet?
I can’t take any sort of HRT; & when I did try last year it interacted with my medicine so bad I hadn’t felt the same since…I had a hysterectomy and couldn’t take any hormones, so over the past ten years it really slowed me down a lot, but I could work part time.. but after this interaction, the fatigue for some reason is worse..
I wanted to know is it possible to balance hormones through diet? What about the stuff I just heard about called macafem? How can you balance hormones if you don’t have the ovaries to produce estrogen?
Macafem sounds like a brand name form of maca which is an adaptogenic herb that naturally balances hormones.
I’ve tried all different kinds of things to balance my hormones. The best thing I did was eat a lot (particularly carbs) and rest a lot to bring my body temperature up. I know, sounds crazy but it really worked. See Matt Stone’s ebook, Diet Recovery.
Here are a couple of posts I wrote about balancing female hormones with diet:
3. Question: No Thyroid?
Hi Ann Marie,
Thanks for your blog. I love reading it, and find it both useful and inspirational!
I notice you speak a lot about thyroid conditions in your articles. I recently had my thyroid removed (cancer). I can find information about what to eat when you have low or high thyroid function, but nothing about when you have no thyroid at all. Do you have any suggestions, or can you point me towards any resources?
Fwiw, I currently eat a diet based on both The Primal Blueprint and WAPF principles.
I’m not a doctor and can’t really answer questions about specific conditions. I think the Weston Price diet will help with any thyroid condition. The Primal Blueprint is too restrictive for me personally. I love carbs too much! And in my experience, it was carbs that helped me heal my hormones.
4. Question: Mother with Belly Fat?
Hi, Ann Marie.
Thank you for the continued work you do with your blog and all of the health information which has helped me tremendously. I have a question for you. It is for my mother.
My entire life that I’ve known my mother (and I’m 42 now) she has had an abnormal amount of fat on her belly. She has done many, many diets, she’s been on fitness programs for years, and the belly fat never goes away. She’s currently 5’2” and weighs about 120 pounds. She’s not an obese woman! She just cannot get rid of all that belly fat. It’s not just a little bit of fat – it’s as if she’s carrying an inner tube of lard around her belly – I estimate about 2 quarts of lard. Her arms are thin, her legs are thin – it’s just that belly! Since diets and exercise do not seem to work, I’ve begun to think that there is more to the story here – perhaps she has some form of nutritional deficiency causing this. Any ideas?
Could be a case of “mummy tummy”.
It also might be that’s where she stores her fat. When I put on weight, it always goes to my midsection first. If she’s having trouble losing excess fat, it may be her metabolism. Have her check her body temperature and see if it’s normal. If it’s consistently below 98.6, she might need to work on bringing up her body temperature to get her metabolism functioning better.
It can take some time for the body to normalize once you bring up the temperature. Patience is important. I started Matt Stone’s anti-diet diet in January, gained about 25 pounds, and then stopped overeating at the end of May. Since then I’ve dropped 10 pounds with no effort and no exercise, eating whatever I want. I’m sure the rest will come off in time, but I’m not too worried about it.
Most importantly, my body temperature is now consistently, steadily 98.6. As it should be. Prior to following Matt Stone’s diet recovery plan, I was always in the 97s. Low body temperature doesn’t just negatively affect your metabolism and ability to burn fat, it’s also really bad for your health in general.
Read more about my experience here:
Matt Stone’s Diet Recovery: My Experience
5. Question: How to Lose Weight and End Back Pain?
Hi, I’m looking for some advice, if you have time!
My back goes out periodically, and my doctor told me today (my back went out this morning) that I need to lose weight.
I am 30 yrs old, have two kids, 5 and 2, am 5’2″ and 180 lbs. Before I had kids, I averaged 125 lbs. the doctor thinks carrying around this extra weight is causing my back to go out, and putting me out of commission for several days.
I’ve been following WAPF for a year as closely as possible hoping to deal with depression, with success! The depression is almost gone! But losing weight… how?! I’m going to try to wake up early to walk, will that help? What should I be eating mainly?
I’ve been reading lots of blogs including Matt Stone and Cheif Rok, and I am sincerely confused about how to lose this weight so my back can heal!
Any help, great or small, would be so much appreciated!!
Hi, Sarah, please see my answer to question # 4 above. I’m a big believer in focusing on getting your body temperature up and let your weight normalize over time.
I used to have back pain. I read this book and it went away: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection
I know, it sounds woo woo, but it really worked for me.
You also might have issues with alignment of your spine and neck and skull. See my answer below to question # 9. I think Dr. Dean Howell is doing amazing work.
6. Question: Pastured Eggs in LA?
Hi, I too live in the LA area.
I read on your blog about pastured eggs.
You mentioned Healthy Family Farms – do you consider these eggs pastured and the best available?
I just recently noticed that the sticker on the egg carton from them reads “free range”.
Also would you consider Gama or those from DeyDey Beef or Lily’s to be just as good or better or worse?
I’m not familiar with Gama. I asked Lily’s once and they said the chickens are fed soy. I’m not sure if they are out on pasture.
Healthy Family Farms eggs are from chickens outdoors but they are not on pasture. They are also not fed soy and they are given organic feed. I buy their eggs.
I also buy eggs from Rocky Canyon Farm. They are raised outdoors, but I’m not sure if they are on pasture or not.
I also love Dey Deys eggs. Their chickens are on grass (also given organic feed; not sure if they get soy but I doubt it).
Another great option in Southern California is Organic Pastures eggs. They are also out on green grass and they are given organic feed that does not contain soy.
7. Question: Can We Heal Our Guts Without GAPS?
My 2.5 year old daughter and I need to heal our guts, and I’ve been reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book, as well as Nourishing Traditions, and I just honestly wonder if we’ll be able to successfully complete the GAPS diet.
My question is, if we continue taking our Bio-Kult and FCLO (daughter won’t take the latter, but she eats a lot of pastured butter) and follow a diet parallel to what is included in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook… do you think we can heal our guts that way? If so, should be still exclude grains and dairy for a while?
Thank you for any answers, suggestions, advice you can offer!
It totally depends on the person. The best thing to do is a 1 month elimination diet to see if you have food allergies. You eliminate all possible allergens — dairy, all grains, eggs, soy, etc. Just eat meat, fish and non-starchy veggies (and broth), and good non-dairy fats like coconut oil and lard. Then slowly reintroduce the foods you cut out. If you find that you react to any of the foods you reintroduce, then you know you need to do some healing and will need to avoid that food for a period of time.
I personally never had to give up dairy or grains to heal my gut. I just had to stay off gluten and sugar for about 2 years while I took probiotics. I never reacted to dairy or other grains — I only reacted to gluten and sugar. (I still ate honey and fruit though.)
I cover how I recovered from my gluten intolerance in my free e-book, How I Reversed My Food Allergies and How You Can, Too. Click here to get a free copy.
8. Question: GAPS Diet vs. Matt Stone?
I am really struggling here with the constant pressure to use GAPS to heal me. I wondered what you thought about healing in just a whole foods way.
I have yet to actually do the fermented foods and true sourdough 100%. I have adrenal fatigue that was made worse by the GAPS intro and I had to quit. I carbed up and started feeling better and sleeping through the night but I guess I feel like they have condemned me to never healing if I don’t do GAPS. I struggle with eating enough anyway so GAPS was really hard… I did heal a few things on the GAPS – I can tolerate cow milk (raw) and certain aches and pains left but I also hit a wall and had NO energy and lost WAY too much weight.
What is your view on this? not asking for a diagnosis but even after talking to Matt Stone I still feel this pressure…. hard for me to tell if this is what I need to be doing as I never feel good but it all takes time anyway right? Just wondered what you thought about the “healing” protocol….
OK, I have read through some of you stuff and I am having my eyes opened for sure. Can I run my story by you?
Ate normal through childhood. Homemade stuff, some boxed, some out and about but NOTHING like Nourishing Traditions. Had bellyaches as a kid but otherwise pretty healthy. Teen years would get really tired after anything with a lot of sugar… college — ate sugar like no tomorrow. it was my drug. no joke. Always skinny but could eat a TON and craved sugar and treats like a maniac.
Got married young, pregnant, had baby and things went crazy. I started having panic attacks, food sensitivities, depression and the like (before this I had a lot of unreasonable frustration and anger)…. also had a ton of heart palpitations… $6000 later all my normal tests said I was fine. Had everything checked.
Got really scared and had panic attacks every night… so I went low fat and VERY low calories (not even meaning to) and never felt hungry or anything. Ended up with toe nail fungus, reactive hypo, and a miscarriage…. I was also running (why? I hate running).
Got pregnant and got really bad in the end. Didn’t like my kid (the first one which really scared me because I am the most hands on and involved momma ever and love on my kids like crazy… I seriously think my body was VERY depleted and VERY tired). Delivered baby and felt fine except my hypo got worse. had to eat every 2-3 hours which is SO hard because I don’t WANT to eat.
Started GAPS and (like the previous email said) got WAY worse… too tired to count carbs and woke up one morning thinking I was going to die. My heart raced for days on end. They told me it was die off.
Started seeing a natural doc for adrenal fatigue ( so pricey) and he kept me on a lower carb… Matt Stone said to eat a ton of carbs. I still need to track my temps. I did the saliva test… immune system a 5. Wow. Scary… horrible GERD — seems better when I eat more.
After ONE day of eating carbs (350 like matt stone told me to) I FINALLY slept through the night. My energy has picked up but I am so go go go (it’s what makes me happy) that I either feel like crap and rest a ton or have a little energy and spend it all. I am so frustrated with myself. My mood goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. I am starting to feel like maybe I am crazy. I have little energy most of the time so all the “I am gonna cook healthy!” flies out the window and I find myself eating little and eating a lot of g/f improperly prepared foods. (not boxed or anything – just not the best).
Any tips or first steps or encouragement would help. I am horrible at taking my supplements. A few missed snacks cause havoc with my hypo making my eye site messed up and migraines and dizziness. I am so tired of being tired, tired of not feeling good. Tired of not being there for my family and tired of being afraid that this is the life I am stuck with. Holed up in my house too dizzy to drive.
Matt Stone told me to eat out a ton… but I know that will bring back panic attacks. Some chemical reaction seriously must be messing with my brain. I don’t think I can do GAPS again after 4 years of this craziness of not feeling well… I am eating more but it’s really really hard. Really hard to rest when I am feeling better because there is so much to be done. I am gaining weight (after a year ago being 5′ 9″ and 115 lbs) but its a lot of fat and it’s all the thighs and belly… which worries me (that’s not healthy right?) and frustrates me (I don’t have money to buy more clothes). I have dreams, ambitions and love my family but I never thought I would spend my 20s like this.
Sorry for the long email but any thoughts would be of help and its nice to “talk” to a woman who understands… no one here does but my husband… he tries so hard
Hi, Jackie. I do not think the GAPS Diet is for everyone. See my answer to question # 7 above.
If you do an elimination diet and you find that you have bad reactions to certain foods such as gluten or dairy then you can avoid those foods, eat more fermented foods and take probiotics, and reintroduce those foods when you find that you can tolerate them. If you don’t react to them, there is no reason to eliminate them.
The fact that you slept for the first time after eating a lot more carbs tells me that you may need to eat more carbs.
It sounds to me like you’ve got some serious issues with food. There’s a condition called orthorexia that is a fear of eating unhealthy foods.
If you’re obsessing this much about food and not eating enough, no wonder you are having panic attacks and not sleeping.
It also sounds like you may be underweight. 119 is very low for 5’9. That sounds very skinny to me. I’m 5’5 and have never been under 120 since I’ve been an adult. When I got as low as 125, people would tell me I looked too thin.
What seems like fat to you is probably just normal curves. The media makes women feel like we need to be stick figures, but curves are sexy!
Please stop beating yourself up and, as Matt Stone says, EAT THE FOOD! Don’t worry about everything being perfect (i.e. grass-fed, sprouted, organic etc.) Just eat and enjoy your food. Start with things you love but normally don’t let yourself have. Like ice cream and potato chips and pizza. (This is assuming you are not sensitive to these foods.)
Once you get used to allowing yourself to eat whatever you want and not freaking out about it, the obsession and worry and anxiety about food will lessen and eventually it will be gone from your life completely.
You can ask my husband how much happier he is now that I don’t stress out about food so much. We follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, we eat well. We buy grass-fed dairy and meat, we get pastured eggs (or free-range organic when I can’t get to the farmer’s market). We eat sprouted bread. We cook with grass-fed butter and coconut oil. We also regularly eat potato chips fried in olive oil.
We also eat out and we travel a lot, just about every month we’re going somewhere — and we do not stress about food one bit when we do. We eat French fries cooked in soybean oil and bread made with white flour and refined sugar. But again, this is not the majority of the time (this is the 20%).
Life is short. It is meant to be enjoyed! And food should be delicious, not just nutritious.
9. Question: Fixing an Overbite?
My oldest is almost four and has an overbite. I didn’t really transition to a real food diet until after he was born and I wasn’t able to nurse him. I know his nutrition hasn’t been anything close to ideal, but since he’s still growing, I’m hoping there’s something I can do nutritionally to encourage his lower jaw to move forward.
I would also like to avoid having to pay for an orthodontist when he’s older! Do you know of anything I should try or look into? Any advice or information you could pass along would be great. Thanks!
I didn’t switch to a Weston Price diet until my daughter was about 6 months old. She has a crossbite.
I think with something like this it’s hard to fix it with just nutrition. It really makes a big difference what you eat when the baby is in utero, and prior to conception.
We are working with Dr. Dean Howell to fix her crossbite. Here’s a post I wrote about him. More posts to come — stay tuned.
10. Question: Fixing an Overbite?
Hello Ann Marie,
First of all, I love your blog. I love your say-it-like-it-is style, and you don’t seem to get rattled when people disagree with you. In a world where everyone is trying to always be “politically correct”, it’s nice that you stand up for your convictions.
I would like to know which whole house water filtration system you’d recommend? I can’t seem to find a whole system that filters out ALL the chlorine and fluoride, so I was thinking to get a Berkey as well. My plan is to get a whole system to eliminate the chemicals from our bathing water, and then use the Berkey to remove the remaining fluoride from our drinking water. I’d really appreciate your opinion on which whole water filtration system you’d recommend.
Please see Radiant Life under the water purification section on my resources page. Just give them a call; they will consult with you and figure out what is the best solution for you based on where you live and what’s in your water.
10. Question: Pastured Eggs in LA?
Hi Ann Marie,
Thanks for your blog. I love cheese as well although I haven’t eaten as much as I used to since I didn’t know I just needed to get it from a different source.
My question is about pastured eggs. You said you got yours from Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets. Can you give me the address? You said Healthy Family Farms and Rocky Canyons. I’m also assuming you mean Santa Monica, Ca not the one in Texas.
Are the names above the names of whole Farmers’ Markets or the names of the companies that sell the eggs?
Thanks for your help,
Please see my answer above to question # 6.
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