Q & A: January 1, 2012

"Yes! Even Goggle Hasn't All The Answers"

Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & 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: How Much Vitamin D Is In Raw Milk?

Hi Ann Marie,

I love your blog and am grateful that you share your knowledge with us.

I've been drinking grass-fed raw milk for years but have been unable to find out how much, if any, vitamin D is in raw milk. Some folks say none because it's not pasteurized and those processors add vitamin D. Other folks say it exceeds that of pasteurized milk, but provide no data. Do you know?

Also, a follow up on one of last week's questions on masa harina and soaking corn meal. One of the things you said in your answer was, “(2) You can buy organic ground corn flour and soak it in lime water overnight (store the corn flour in the freezer or fridge).” How do you make lime water? Specifically, what kind of lime do you use and what's the ratio of lime to water to corn flour?



Hi, Sophie,

All milk has vitamin D in it IF it is not skim milk or 2% milk. When you remove the fat, you remove the vitamin D.

Vitamins A, D and K2 are fat-soluble vitamins and they are in the fat. This is one reason we don't approve of low-fat milk. And that's why they have to put synthetic vitamins in low-fat milk — because the vitamins are removed when they take the fat out.

This is why I always tell my daughter, “Eat your butter! That's where the vitamins are!”

That said, how much vitamin D is in the milk depends on whether or not the cows are outdoors in the sunshine. If they are allowed to graze on pasture in the spring and summer months, they will have higher levels of vitamin D in their milk.

Regarding the lime water. It is not really lime we are adding; it's pickling lime, or “cal”. For directions on how to make lime water, see Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell.

2. Question: Is It Necessary To Soak Popcorn?

Hi Ann Marie,

I'm so glad to have found your site… I'm 17 years old and became interested in traditional foods, and the work of Weston Price after extensive research in the area of nutrition; looking for an answer to the illnesses that have been prevalent in my family (including Type II Diabetes and multiple sclerosis).

Since our family has moved to live near my grandma, we have been cooking traditional foods for her, and her blood sugar levels are no longer in a diabetic range. My family has changed our eating habits dramatically over the past year, and I think of all of the different real-food blogs I follow as my virtual “support team,” as there aren't a lot of people in my everyday life who are choosing to eat this way, so each new one I find is a welcome discovery!

My question is about popcorn. I know that it is recommended to soak, sprout, or sour-raise all grains, nuts and legumes. Is it necessary and is it possible for popcorn? All of the other grains in our diet are properly prepared, but we have been eating popcorn with plenty of coconut oil and/or butter and hoping for the best.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with everyone!


Hi, Katherine (that's my daughter's name!),

Wow, that is so AWESOME about your grandma! How wonderful!

Popcorn doesn't need to be soaked. You can't soak it and still enjoy it — I don't think it would pop if you soaked it.

It's not something you want to eat every day, but it's fine to eat it occasionally — with lots of coconut oil and butter, of course.

3. Question: Raw Milk Cheese OR Grass-fed Cheese?

Hi Ann Marie,

I was recently in the cheese section at Trader Joe's, debating between a raw milk cheese and a grass-fed cheese. Just wondering which one would be a more nourishing choice?



When I am at TJ's, I buy the organic grass-fed cheese because I don't know if the raw milk cheese is grass-fed. You could ask the people at Trader Joe's and see if they know.

4. Question: Ideas For Treating Hemorrhoids?

Hi Ann Marie,

I enjoy your website very much! You are very informative.

Now, do you have any idea how to treat hemorrhoids? I think mine is internal. It doesn't bleed every day, but often enough to annoy me. I can pass at least once a day, but sometimes when the stool is too big or too hard, some blood comes together too.

Really appreciate if you could help.



Hi, Carrie,

It's important to reduce dietary fiber and soak, sprout and ferment all grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. I used to have hemorrhoids and I believe it was because I was eating a lot of unsoaked white flour and other improperly prepared grains. When I ate those things, I was constipated a lot of the time.

Nowadays, I primarily eat soaked/sprouted/fermented whole grains. Occasionally I do eat white flour (like bread when I'm out at a restaurant) but not very often. I notice when I'm traveling and am eating more white flour on a daily basis, I get constipated.

If you have other digestive issues that cause constipation, you'll need to address those as well. People who have abnormal gut flora (inadequate good gut flora) often have constipation. Eating more fermented foods and taking probiotics really helps. Some people will need to do the GAPS Diet.

5. Question: Suggestions About Acid Reflux?

I saw you mentioned that you had taken Tums quite a bit when you were pregnant. I have some acid reflux every day and so I am curious about this. Did you have acid reflux before getting pregnant? If so, how is it going now? I really want to do something about mine, which even makes me wheeze and get sore neck muscles at times. I'm at my wits end.


And I really appreciate all you do to spread the word out there.


I never had acid reflux before I was pregnant. My daughter was breech, and I started having acid reflux near the end of my pregnancy.

Of course, I was not on a WAPF diet at that time (did not know about it). Tums was all I knew to do. I wish I had found WAPF before I got pregnant!

I don't have any acid reflux anymore.

I recommend drinking lots of kefir, eating homemade (long-fermented) yogurt, and eating other fermented foods to help with acid reflux. You may also want to try taking some good quality probiotics.

My 79-year-old father-in-law had GERD for years and finally got off all of his medication by drinking kefir smoothies every day.

6. Question: Thoughts About Soaking Oats In Coconut Yogurt?

Ann Marie,

I currently suspect that my body is not happy with dairy, and I still want to soak my oats overnight. I have tried soaking it with lemon and vinager, and It is just not appealing to me. I was curious if I could still successfully soak oats overnight in coconut yogurt?

Thank you,


Sure, that would work fine!

7. Question: Suggestions For Supplements, Diet & Exercise?

Hi Ann Marie.

This might be a bit long so I didn't want to post on FB – but I read your Wheat Belly post the other day and was stunned – this is me EXACTLY and I've known about cortisol and adrenal fatigue for years (though I seem to have forgotten).

I avoid gluten, but haven't lately. This morning I woke up at 5:30 (much too early for me) just WIDE AWAKE – but with a hungry belly and now my head feels like mush – I am a single mom and have a full day of work ahead of me – and I HATE when this happens. It's now only 10:30 am and I feel “hungover” and terrible – like the post-cortisol rush. How can I avoid this?

I did start drinking coffee recently – I use organic and mix half caf/half decaf. I know it's not great for my adrenals, but it's the only thing getting me through right now! (This is a rough time and probably will be for a few more months until things settle down again.

I also haven't lost A SINGLE POUND since being pregnant with my daughter (I'm turning forty in January). I'm 170 lbs and 5′ 7″ and my more comfortable weight is about 130. Bleh. I barely eat some days (didn't have an appetite for about six weeks recently) and I do 30 mins of walking a day. I got fed up.

My chiro says I have toxins that aren't releasing so fat cells are being stored. I think I need to do some cleansing and liver flushing (drinking olive oil) but I can't now when I take care of my daughter at night – so I've been taking some Chinese Bitters to help increase bile flow and help clear up my liver. I don't think estrogen breaks down well in my body so I always have a bit of estrogen dominance, which is what I thought created the excess stubborn weight.

What do you recommend in terms of supplements, diet, exercise?

I feel like I just got “ugly” after having my baby – hair has no luster, skin has rosacea or something – and I'm FAT! Bleh. Help????

I also notice that lately I'm hungry constantly but I feel “sick” of food – I don't even want to eat. I might do green smoothies for a while.



Hi, D,

Gosh, I so relate to you! I had my baby Kate when I was 38. I have been slim my whole life. It was only after I had her that I gained this extra weight that I have not been able to lose. And yes, I know that feeling of feeling “ugly”. I have not felt attractive since I got pregnant.

I also know the feeling of eating almost NOTHING and still not being able to lose an ounce.

And how funny, I was just looking into getting some Chinese Bitters the other day.

Like you, I have estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance, as you know, is a hormonal imbalance in which we have too much estrogen and not enough progesterone.

I wish I could write a long answer to you but honestly, I would have to write a whole book to answer your questions. And I'm still working on this book, as I am still trying to solve these problems myself.

Here's what I know so far:

The most important thing for healing estrogen dominance is healing the adrenal glands. Adrenals produce a lot of our sex hormones and when our adrenals are exhausted, they can't produce enough cortisol. When they are exhausted and trying to produce cortisol, they can't produce enough progesterone. When we have low progestrone, we end up estrogen dominant.

There are a number of ways to support the adrenals. I recommend reading Dr. Wilson's book on adrenal fatigue. (See the list of books below.)

I've been taking my temperature three times a day, and charting the average on graph paper. You can read how to do this on Dr. Rind's website.

Charting your temperature allows you to see if your diet, supplements and lifestyle changes are working. A jagged graph (with lots of ups and downs) shows adrenal fatigue. My chart is still very jaggy so I know I have a ways to go. Over time, you will see your temps rising and the jagged lines will level out. I'll write a post about how to chart your temperature soon.

Of course, I'm doing lots of things to help my adrenals and balance my hormones. In addition to a traditional WAPF diet, I'm taking a lot of supplements. Every day I take maca powder, nettle and oatstraw infusion, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, a multivitamin and a multimineral, adrenal gland capsules, fermented cod liver oil and butter oil. I've only been taking all this stuff for a couple months now (and the maca powder and oatstraw/nettle infusion less than a month) so I have to wait and see if it's working. Again, this is why the chart is helpful.

I read the other day that if your liver is not up to snuff, that can aggravate estrogen dominance, as the liver helps to get rid of the extra estrogen. Which is why Chinese Bitters work. I'm thinking about ordering some. I almost ordered some this morning, but you know how it is when you think, my goodness, how many supplements am I going to order?! LOL! But I really think the Chinese Bitters would be helpful.

I was using progesterone cream for a while but started to get a yeast infection, which means I was using too much (I was using the recommended amount — 20 mg per day). I will go back to the progesterone cream after my period is over because I think it's probably helpful, but I will use about half as much next time.

Another thing that I really should start doing again is daily coffee enemas. Coffee enemas really help the liver to detox. I was doing it for a while but I need to get back to it. You can google it to learn how to do it.

I'm also doing lunaception. I do notice that it helps me sleep better. We'll see if it helps with the PMS and regulating my cycle.

If you have any food allergies (i.e. gluten), that could be causing your adrenal exhaustion. I recommend doing a 30-day elimination diet (a la GAPS Intro) to see if you have any food allergies. Oh and skin problems like rosacea are usually a sign of abnormal gut flora.

Also, dental problems can cause adrenal exhaustion. If you have mercury fillings, root canals, or wisdom teeth extractions (I have 2 of those — got all the mercury fillings removed a few years ago) they can cause inflammation due to bacterial infections. Yeah, real fun. I've been looking into getting my root canals and wisdom teeth extractions cleaned out. Not cheap but I think it may be the root of the problem. (Sorry, I did not mean to make a root canal pun.)

Did I mention that you should get off the coffee? Try DLPA instead. See my post on how I quit coffee.

Wow. See? I told you I could write a book!

I am going to be writing a lot more posts in the coming months about adrenal exhaustion and estrogen dominance, so I hope you will stay tuned.

In the meantime, I recommend the following books (I have been reading them myself):

Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James Wilson

Dr. John Lee's Hormone Balance Made Simple: The Essential How-to Guide to Symptoms, Dosage, Timing, and More

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM): Premenopause: Balance Your Hormones and Your Life from Thirty to Fifty

Oh, and PS: Skip the green smoothies.

Got a Question?

Please submit your questions to questions AT cheeseslave DOT com. I'll answer your questions every Sunday in the order I receive them.

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

45 thoughts on “Q & A: January 1, 2012

  1. Hi! I’m totally new to this GAPS/Nourishing Traditions lifestyle. I’ve had my family gluten and dairy-free for the last year trying to deal with digestive issues in my 5-year old. A couple of friends have directed me here. Yay! My question is (sorry for the long preamble:), is TOASTED carob powder (like the kind I can get from Bob’s Red Mill) the same as ROASTED carob powder? Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!

  2. I haven’t looked at TJs cheese in a while, but I do know that many “raw cheeses” have either been heat treated (heated to near 160, where 161 is low temp pasteurization), or have to be heated above 140 to form the cheese.

    1. Hmm yeah… this is why I tend to buy grass-fed pasteurized when it comes to cheese and butter.

      Of course who knows what the standards are for grass-fed either.

      Ideally buy cheese from a farmer you trust, but if you can’t, this is the next best option.

  3. I have a question – I tried DPA because I read that DLPA can make you hyper and I have trouble sleeping, major adrenal issues, etc. The DPA actually made me hurt a lot more and I have read it is supposed to make you hurt less. Does anyone know why?

  4. Hello all – This is a comment for the person who asked about acid reflux.

    I was told that I had acid reflux a number of years ago and coincidentally I was prescribed meds to treat the problem. I also had rosacea at the time. I ended up, due to not wishing to get on medication, scouring the internet for info and what I came up with was amazing.

    There was a lot of information about acid reflux being due to (believe it or not) a lack of stomach acid – not too much of it! And it appeared that rosacea can be caused by the same thing. I ended up getting Betaine HCl from the local health food store and within one day there was a remarkable difference in my skin! I wrote a post on it – I am not sure if it is OK to post it here, so if you are interested, just go to my site and search rosacea. I’ll email Ann Marie to see if it’s OK to share things like this.

    Hope that is helpful for you!

    1. i read that egg shells are calcium… you can use them for acid reflux..

    2. Thank you, Adrienne. I really, REALLY appreciate the help. I have wondered about that, but I bought some HCL and tried taking it and it hurt (my stomach) like hell. In the past, I have supplemented with it with no problem, so I wonder if I just took too much?

      Since Christmas is now over, I have been working on the reflux problem by drinking tons of kefir smoothies (thank you, Ann Marie) and trying to stay away from sugar. It was hard as long as there was egg nog in our fridge, but thankfully it is gone now and my reflux is improving. Yesterday I had NONE (reflux), and actually haven’t noticed it at all today either! Pretty wonderful!!!!

      1. When it hurts me it is because I haven’t taken enough. It is the high acid level that tells your stomach to close up at the top and keep the acid inside. If you get it higher but not enough to close up completely the result is horrible pain. The solution is to take one more pill. And a ginger pill.

    3. I’m w/ Adrienne, I use the HCI and it really helps w/ reflux etc. I think it’s also important to be taking the HCI for many of us recovering from adrenal fatigue. We really want to be getting all the nutrients we can out of our super foods and often times when the adrenals are down it affects stomach acid production.

      1. I agree… but I was just reading how to take HCL and two doctors suggested taking 1 650 mg. capsule at the beginning of each meal. If it feels ok, go up to two pills next time. But if burning occurs, this supplement is not for you. So, that is my issue… I definitely had burning, so I stopped it.
        I welcome any other comments on this subject!

        1. ok, another thing you might try is Quiet Digestion by Health concerns. This stuff is amazing and has helped calm my tummy so much! I take 2-3tablets whenever I feel an upset and continue taking every hour until things cool down.

        2. If burning occurs, that means you’ve found the appropriate dose, which would be one capsule less than the amount that causes burning. If even one causes burning, that would mean you don’t need it.

  5. Ann Marie, can you link to the chinese bitters? I think that is what we need. We are trying to up our fat intake (on GAPS) and we seem to not be digesting it (pale stools). I can sympathize with being frustrated about supplements…..my mother just called me a hypochondriac! I told her if thats so then everyone i know on the internet is too (WAPF/GAPS people)!!

    1. I googled Chinese bitters and estrogen dominance and found this:


      I am not sure if Chinese bitters work like Swedish bitters do, but maybe so. I know Swedish bitter or ox bile are good if you have trouble digesting fats.

      The Chinese bitters are good for helping the liver to detoxify, which is supposed to help your body get rid of the excess estrogen. Coffee enemas would work, too.

      1. Thanks! I have an email in to Dr. Cowan to see what he thinks too, maybe we’ll do swedish bitters? I have a hard time believing I can be estrogen dominant while nursing (no period after 22months still)

        I’m leary about doing coffee enemas while pregnant with all the mixed things I’ve read. I’d love to do the miracle liver/gall bladder cleanse (Just finished that book) (apple juice/epsom salt/olive oil/lemon/orange juice) to purge your body of liver (gall) stones. That book is really good too (besides its vegetarian slant) if you haven’t read it.

      2. I’m the one who wrote the question – I think chinese bitters help increase the flow of bile which helps with cleansing the liver – I took it in conjunction with coptis but the coptis kept me up at night b/c my liver is so yucky! So I have to take that earlier in the day. It used to work for me, but now I think I need to do flushing (drinking olive oil and doing epsom flushing) to get anything happening. I’ve been using the bitters for two months – not much is happening, but maybe it’s cause I can’t see it?

        Gonna try some coffee enemas.

        1. My hormones have been all wacky for the last year after having my 2nd son. One week ago yesterday I started using Beeyoutiful bio-identical progesterone. I am now sleeping better than I have in over a year (my insomnia is pretty much gone) and I am losing weight! I only have about 15 extra pounds (mostly belly) on me but it is enough to make me miserable especially since my eating is NOT supporting the weigh gain. Yesterday my pants were looser and I notice the muffin top looking much better! I am really excited and wish I would have done this a year ago!


        2. D, I am late here so not sure if you’ll see this but I would recommend reading “ageless” by Suzanne Somers. Sounds like you have a bunch of hormonal stuff going on, and she has both guidelines and doctor recommendations that may be helpful. One of the doctors mentioned he did tinctures and stuff for liver cleansing, which might be a lot easier than liver flushes.

  6. Re: Raw vs. Grassfed cheese

    A quick visit to your local cheese shop will help solve this dilemma. The cheesemonger will be able to tell you which cheeses are both raw milk and grassfed, and you will support a local business and get the highest quality cheese in the meantime!

    Your friendly cheesemonger πŸ™‚

  7. This was an awesome post and I read the post you did about coffee. Oh, I am trying really hard to quit coffee. I’m on the GAPS diet and that has been working wonders for me….however, I love my coffee and that has been a struggle to give up, even organic coffee πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Happy New Year to you and your family. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather πŸ™‚

  8. Hello Ann Marie, Just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for sharing your knowledge and how you are trying different things. I am in much of the same state as you with adrenal fatigue. I went to the docs and had the saliva test done. I told her what I thought was going on and what I was doing to correct it (as per your advice) and she said she felt bad charging me because I had done all the work. Please keep posting about how you are doing. I am looking forward to learning how to chart my temp. I think I am feeling better because I have more energy. Happy new year, and again thanks for all you do. It really has made a difference to me.

    1. Hi, Lisa,

      That is great!

      I know I’m doing a lot better than I was. There has been progress. I just want to get those charts looking good. I will blog about it soon, and in the meantime, you can read how to do it on Dr. Rind’s site (see the link above).

      Keep me posted on your progress.

      1. I will keep you posted. I was going to check out Dr. Rinds as soon as I finished making coconut milk and flour. The house smell like coconut now. Thanks for that post too.
        Oh, also I made it without heating it before it put it in the blender. it worked great.

  9. Thanks for all the great info!! Just wondering why you say to skip the green smoothies – I thought they are good for you??

    1. No, green smoothies are not good for you. Raw greens are full of anti-nutrients.


      If you are juicing in order to detoxify, I would just drink plain green juice in the morning. You can add a little fresh squeezed fruit juice too.

      But there is no point adding green juice to a smoothie because you’re going to block the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the smoothie.

      1. i don’t see anything in this article about greens. it talks about grains, nuts, beans and other seeds, but not greens. i put spirulina in my morning smoothie.. are you calling that a green smoothie? sorry, but i really don’t understand your opposition to raw greens. can you help me understand please.

      2. I’m curious about this too – I like giving my daughter green smoothies if she has a bad eating day to get stuff in her –

  10. I’m wondering about the coconut yogurt that Nicole mentions in her question about soaking oats? Does anyone have a recipe to make the coconut yogurt or is it something you buy? Sounds delish! (especially since I am temporarily off dairy and missing it so much!)

    1. I have a recipe for it in my Reversing Food Allergies class.

      I’ll put it on the editorial calendar so I can get it on the blog.

      It’s basically just coconut milk fermented with kefir grains. Very easy!

      But you need to feed the kefir grains every other time with dairy — otherwise they get pooped out.

  11. Ann Marie, I facebooked you that question about acid reflux because I totally forgot that I had emailed it to you! SORRY!!!! But I really appreciate this more in-depth answer. Thank you so much for all the ways you are helping everyone. So ridiculous that most medical professionals are useless in this way, so we cannot rely on them… instead we gotta do it all on our own.
    Anyway……. we really, really appreciate you!
    Happy New Year!!!

  12. Also, regarding the progesterone thing, I would take vitex (chaste tree berry) tincture/tea/whatever every day. I’m not a pro at this stuff, but I do know that vitex helps increase your body’s production of progesterone. What about finding an herbal blend that is specifically for balancing hormones?

  13. When answering question 4 you mentioned eating white bread when dining out; is this because it is a better option than unsoaked whole grain bread (if so why?) or because that’s all they had? Curious πŸ™‚

    1. I just mean you know when I go to a restaurant and they serve bread before and during the meal. It’s almost always made with white flour and commercial yeast (not sourdough). I don’t have a problem with real sourdough bread.

  14. In regards to the question about raw milk or grass fed cheese at Trader Joe’s, the other thing I wondered was whether their cheese is truly made from raw milk. I know Organic Valley’s raw milk cheese is cooked one degree below pasteurization, so it’s not true raw milk. I had wondered if TJ’s is the same.

  15. D- look into the leptin reset. I have been on gaps for 2 years. I was a good weight when I started thanks to the severe elimination diet I had been on. Then I gained about 20 lbs and have stuck there ever since no matter how I eat, support my adrenals, treat my thyroid, etc. I did the leptin reset last month and I have had a big hormonal shift. Here is my summary of it.

  16. Sorry if this is irrelevant to this post, but I’m finally planning to start the GAPS diet after months of being afraid of it. I ordered the book and the recipes and am waiting for it. I’m just wondering, if we had no reactions to foods like dairy, eggs and such – is there a need to go on the Intro Diet? Or can we start from the Full Gaps diet?

    My son has a speech delay, very picky eater and his stools are loose and mushy. He doesn’t seem to have reactions to the foods I mentioned above, but would he benefit from the Intro Diet or can I go right into the full?

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