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: Fibrocystic Breast Disease?
Thank you for your insightful blog. My dear friend has fibrocystic breast disease and is trying to conceive (it’s been a few years of trying). She has a good diet but I was wondering what your thought were on using natural progesterone cream.
Of course, as I always have to say, I’m not a doctor. Anything I write should not be construed as medical advice.
From what I’ve read, fibrocystic breast disease is related to iodine deficiency. Google iodine and fibrocystic breast disease and you’ll find lots of articles.
Watch this video I found on YouTube:
According to the video, they were using magnesium in addition to iodine. Most of us are low in magnesium and iodine, so this is not surprising.
To prevent breast cancer and to support my thyroid and hormones, I personally take Iodoral iodine every day, and I take regular baths with magnesium flakes (magnesium chloride). I also eat lots of seafood for iodine, and I eat (properly prepared) whole grains, nuts, and legumes for magnesium. You can also get both iodine and magnesium from eating seaweed.
This is one reason I do not advocate a restricted diet. When you avoid a lot of foods, you risk cutting out foods you really need. I think it’s fine to do GAPS or other restricted diet for a period of time in order to heal, but not long-term (more than a few years).
I also think it’s important to eat enough food and get adequate rest to balance hormones. I was using progesterone cream for a while but I found it didn’t really help me as much as eating lots and getting lots of rest. See my answer to question # 2 below.
2. Question: Eating More Carbs and Balancing Hormones?
Hi Anne Marie,
Thank you for your blog! I read it everyday and definitely appreciate all the great information! Now for the reason I’m writing…
Like you, I’ve had quite a journey with my hormones and such. I’m 29 and I have two children ages 8 and 5. I grew up eating a SAD and always underweight but yet always healthy and rarely sick. I had fairly easy pregnancies and deliveries as well.
After my last child, my body hasn’t been the same. I don’t get my period anymore (over 4 years now) and I have sub clinical hypothyroid and adrenal issues. Over the past year, I’ve gained about 15 LBS in my stomach and thigh region despite eating healthy and exercising.
I have always been small and quite thin so the weight is really difficult for me to accept. I’ve always been able to eat anything and now it seems I gain weight just looking at food! Also, exercise doesn’t really help much so it’s really hard to stay motivated to do it! I’m 5’5 and currently weigh around 125. I know that’s not even close to being overweight but it would be different if the extra weight was muscle but it’s fat and flabby and totally humiliating to me physically and mentally!
I discovered Weston Price last year and I’ve been implementing some of their ways into my life but yet not 100%. About 6 months ago, through their website, I found a holistic practitioner connected with WAPF and contacted him with questions about my health and what I should do. He recommended high fat, low carb and an array of his supplements (I’m currently taking FCLO, D3, sea vegetables, Iodine, Belle Femme (hormone balancer), probiotic, Calcium/magnesium, and chlorella. That’s a lot, huh!
So, being what any fed up gal who has tried everything under the sun to heal herself, I gave up my beloved sweet potatoes, squash, legumes and started eating lots of meat, fat, and low carb veggies. No fruit, nuts, carbs.
Now, a month or two prior to all of this, I was eating more carbs than usual. I felt pretty good but yet I was heavier than now and felt somewhat bloated or inflamed. I didn’t take ANY supplements and guess what?! I GOT MY PERIOD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 4 YEARS!! I was doing a happy dance for sure! Ironically, I got my period the day my $350 worth of supplements came in the mail! Since I spent all that money, I figured that taking the supplements and going on this “healing” diet was going to fix me for good! WRONG!
I was on the diet for 2 months and my period didn’t came back. I was so disappointed and frustrated that I came to your blog remembering your post on why you ditched low carb. I decided to follow your advice and start adding more carbs back to my diet and see if that works. I’ve started taking my temps 3 times a day and as of now (9/14) they have been in the 96-97 range. NOT COOL.
I decided to start soaking oatmeal for the mornings to eat with eggs. The past few mornings, I have been getting a terrible headache as soon as I eat the oatmeal that stays with me all day!
Prior to my low carb diet, I was gluten free for over 2 years. Is it possible that the oats are affecting me in a negative way? Is it just that I’m not used to eating carbs? Should I just stick to gluten free carbs as well as potatoes and more starchy veggies? I’m going to take out the oatmeal and see how things go. I do get raw milk, butter, and grass-fed meat. I also buy organically as much as possible and what we can afford.
Also, I know it’s naughty but I drink coffee in the morning but only 2 cups with raw milk or cream and I don’t consume any more until the next day. I’ve cut out caffeine from my diet many times but I just truly love it and I hate to restrict myself otherwise I’m unhappy and I feel “left” out! I’ve tried drinking tea and finding coffee alternatives but nothing is the same!
Thank you so much for reading my rant. I sure hope you have some wise advice for my messed up body! It’s so hard to know what to do and it saddens me that there are most likely thousands of women with my exact issues that are fed up and getting zero help from doctors. I tried that route and they thought I was nuts most of the time! It’s a good thing we have you, Ann Marie! Keep up the awesome work!
I keep hearing this same story over and over again from various people. It’s sad to me that so many practitioners are recommending a low carb diet coupled with loads of supplements. I can’t tell you how many boxes of supplements we recently threw away.
I just wrote a response in last week’s Q & A that I think is fitting here so I’m going to paste it below:
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. For two weeks, all we did was lie around and eat and sleep and eat some more.
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 10 pounds since then without dieting and without exercise.
I just decided to start exercising last week because I felt like it. I think also when I have more muscle on my frame, my metabolism will speed up even more.
I’m doing the Body by Science program, a high-intensity program that you do once every seven days. I am thinking of also getting back to walking, swimming, biking and maybe yoga.
3. Question: Soaking vs. Baking with Nuts?
Hi Anne Marie,
Hi there! I am hoping you can clarify something for me, as I am fairly new to making and preparing “real food”.
I understand that soaking nuts and seeds prepares them for our digestion. What about baking and cooking with nuts? With high temperatures is it necessary to soak? It seems as though the high temperatures would kill any everything good or bad about that nut or seed. What about almond flour? if I’m baking with it, does it need to be soaked when baked at high temperatures?
Thank you for time,
Baking and cooking with nuts is not sufficient to break down the antinutrients. Nuts, including almonds, should be soaked in warm water and sea salt. If you have almond flour made from unsoaked nuts, you can soak the flour like you would soak any whole grain flour.
See Sally Fallon Morell’s book, Nourishing Traditions for everything you need on soaking nuts and seeds.
4. Question: Grain-free Diet?
I’m currently considering a grain-free diet, as I hear that many grains (if not all) can rip up your stomach, cause inflammation (beans and wheat particularly), and many more potential problems. Do you know much about this? What do you recommend, because GAPS does allow grains?
Whole grains don’t rip up your stomach. There are lectins in wheat and beans, which can cause inflammation, but the fear of lectins (and grains) is massively overblown.
The problem is that ALL foods contain lectins. So if you want to completely avoid lectins, you’d have to become a breatharian. Which I do not recommend.
There has been some information that lectins may be inactivated by soaking, sprouting, cooking or fermenting. Soaking legumes over night, draining the water, rinsing and draining again does seem to remove or inactivate many of the lectins. Heating seems to remove others in some foods but not all. (Source)
The GAPS Diet does not allow grains until you are coming off of it, in which case they recommend properly soaked/sprouted grains and legumes. I do recommend the GAPS diet and probiotics for people who have a damaged gut. People with a damaged gut are often sensitive to lectins. But healing the gut will fix that.
If you don’t have a damaged gut and you enjoy eating whole grains, I recommend eating them as part of a balanced diet. Just soak and/or sprout them. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, when properly prepared, are a good source of magnesium, which many of us are deficient in. See my answer to questions # 1 and # 3 above.
5. Question: Recommended Probiotics/Drinking Tons of Water?
I would like to ask you a couple of things, if possible.
1. I read your book and got more information about your recommended probiotics. I see that the ones you suggest (Biokult & Threelac.) are kind of freeze-dried while most people claim that the best probiotics are the refrigerated ones (where at least some of the bacteria are still alive before reaching your gut).
What’s your opinion about it?
2. I keep reading about drinking tons of water to help healing your gut, while others (youngest doctors) defend the theory that drinking all that water is not supported by any scientific study.
Again, what’s your opinion about it? Did you drink lots of water to fix your gut?
Greetings from Italy,
Hi, Gabriele! Lucky you, living in Italy! One of my very favorite countries.
My recommendation of Biokult and Threelac is based on my personal experience. Those are two of the only probiotics that have worked for me. Other brands I have tried did little or nothing. Fermented foods, particularly long-fermented foods like kefir or yogurt made at home and left to culture for 24 hours are also very good. You can also eat the kefir grains which is very effective.
Drinking lots of water won’t do anything to help heal your gut. In fact, it can be bad for your gut if the water is chlorinated, as most water is.
There is no benefit from drinking 8 glasses of water per day — we get plenty of water from the food we eat. If you like water, it’s OK to drink it (filtered) but it’s better to drink broth, kombucha, kefir or other nutritious drinks.
6. Question: White Mold on Fermented Salsa?
Hi Ann Marie,
I followed your instructions for fermenting salsa and I used a TBP of water kefir grain for each cup of salsa and at the end of two days of fermenting there was white mold on the top of the salsa, can I just remove that and is the salsa below ok to eat? I fermented the bottles of salsa inside an oven that was turned off except for the light being on in order to keep the temperature around 75 degrees or a bit higher and I had a cloth over the bottles containing the salsa, apparently the water kefir grain liquid although I stirred it into the salsa very well, due to exposure to the air at the top this mold developed.
I’ve had white mold before and it’s usually OK. Just remove it off the top.
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