Update on Kate’s Anemia


I'm finally going to attempt to post. Pray it doesn't crash the server! If you hadn't heard, I've been having major problems with my server going down. I'm still not sure what's been causing it but I'm probably going to have to switch hosts this week. I also found out I was hacked twice — which may or may not have been part of the problem. Needless to say, I've been pulling my hair out over all this technical stuff for weeks now. I'll get it all squared away and things will be back to normal soon.

Anemia Update

In other news, I took my 2-year-old, Kate to the doctor last week to re-check her iron levels. She went from 8.0 last month (slightly anemic) to 10.4 this month. Which means she's in the normal range now and is no longer anemic.

I really think it was a matter of limiting the milk she was drinking. Like her mother, she loves her dairy products. There's a reason I named this blog CHEESESLAVE. Now I let her have 1 to 2 sippy cups of milk and that's it. Because she's drinking less milk, she's eating a lot more food. I think that was the main problem.

I think eating those fried clams helped her, too. She ate one big plate one week, a small plate the next week, and the following week we went out for seafood and she ate two raw clams. I also managed to get her to eat a small amount of pork liverwurst. Pork liver is high in iron, too (not anywhere near as high as clams — but much higher than beef).

The neat thing about clams is they are so high in iron, you could serve them to your child just once or twice a month and it will boost their levels. And like I said, fried clams really aren't so different from chicken nuggets, especially if you serve them with ketchup. This is why I'm always so bullish on mollusks — they are so nutrient-dense that you reap major benefits even if you only eat them infrequently.

As far as the theory of calcium blocking iron absorption, I did a little research on that and I'm not convinced that it is true. So I didn't worry about serving milk only between meals and not serving milk with iron-rich foods. I just gave her clams those few times, and the liverwurst. And I tried to see to it that she got more red meat and beans and a variety of foods.

Kate doesn't eat perfectly. She's a toddler — and toddlers are notoriously picky. Anytime we go out to eat, if anyone orders French fries, that is the ONLY thing she will eat. Last night she only ate tortilla chips for dinner. For lunch she had California Pizza Kitchen pizza. But I try to make sure she eats at least one good meal per day. Yesterday morning she ate pastured eggs cooked in butter. She didn't eat a lot of them, but she ate some. That's good enough for me.

How I've Changed

I've definitely noticed a change in myself. I've become a lot more lenient. When I first started eating traditional foods when Kate was a baby, I was obsessive about it and wanted to do everything perfectly. But I think it's normal, especially with your firstborn. I also think a lot of people can get this way when they start eating a traditional diet. I remember asking some people I knew who were following a traditional diet if they ever ate out and they said, “Very rarely.” When I heard that, I wondered if I was joining a cult.

Here's what I think now: we can get way too obsessive about this stuff. And it's not good for us — or our families. I think if we let our kids eat junk here and there (like restaurant French fries or tortilla chips), it's not going to kill them. The important thing is to make sure they get good meals in as often as you can.

This is key: it's not about avoidance. It's about giving them good, nourishing foods as often as possible. Remember, nourishing foods protect us and mitigate the damage we do from eating “bad” foods — or smoking cigarettes. This explains why people 100 years ago could smoke like chimneys and still be so healthy. They were eating lots of butter and lard.

I think this tendency to try to avoid foods comes from our culture. For decades we've been told, “Avoid this and don't eat that!” We're so trained to think in terms of avoiding and restricting. So when we try to start eating healthier, we are still focused on what we should avoid, instead of what we should eat.

Can you eat nourishing, healthy foods at restaurants? Yes, of course! Just the other night we went out to eat at a local French place. We ordered rib eye steak with Bernaise sauce, gratin potatoes, French fries, cooked spinach, and green beans. And for dessert: crème brûlée.

Was it all organic and grass-fed? No. Were the fries cooked in tallow? Highly doubtful. Did they use refined sugar in the crème brûlée? Most definitely.

But we needed a night out and considering the amount of meat, cream, butter and cheese we consumed, I think it was a reasonably healthy meal.

Of course Kate only ate the French fries. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Indian Lady from Africa with Perfect Teeth

I took Kate to get her first hair cut yesterday and had a really interesting talk with the lady cutting her hair. She was Indian, but she was born and raised in East Africa. She asked me if I was worried about Kate sucking her thumb. She said, “Well, I guess all kids need braces these days anyway.”

I explained to her that many people (my dentist included) believe that thumb sucking does not actually cause kids to need braces — but that it's a nutrient deficiency. Particularly the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D & K. I told her about Dr. Weston Price and the native peoples he studied around the world who had perfectly straight teeth with no cavities. I pointed out how kids today are drinking skim milk and eating margarine instead of butter, and drinking soy milk which is full of phytic acid.


I asked her if her two grown sons, whom she raised here in the U.S., had worn braces. She said the youngest did wear baces, but the older one did not. She said she also never needed braces and she's never had a single cavity.

I said, “What do you grow up eating in East Africa?”

She said, “We didn't eat a lot of red meat. A lot of chicken and fish. But we didn't have a lot of money.”

I said, “What kind of oil did you cook your food in? Was it ghee?”

She smiled, “Oh yes, we cooked everything in ghee.”

Ghee (clarified butter) from grass-fed animals. Rich in vitamins A, D & K. There you go!

My Mother's Ice Cream Habit and My Straight Teeth

I was the only kid in our family who did not need braces. This really puzzled me after I read Dr. Weston Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. My older sister needed braces, but I did not. Why? You'd think my sister would have had straight teeth and I would have had braces since my mom's nutrients stores would have been depleted. Right?

Then I remembered something my mom told me. She said that when I was in utero and she was breastfeeding my older sister (we are only 13 months apart), she used to eat ice cream every single day. The women at La Leche League told her it was good for her breast milk.

I believe this is what gave me my straight teeth. Was the ice cream homemade and made with organic, raw ingredients? No. It was stuff she bought at the grocery store — surely made with refined sugar and definitely pasteurized. But this was the 1960s, so it's possible that the cows were still on pasture (most dairies moved cows off of pasture and into confinement in the 1950s and '60s).

There was one other factor. Although I ate my share of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which I totally believe cause cavities), I also ate liverwurst as often as I could get it. Liverwurst was my absolute favorite sandwich. This probably also helped.

Perfection Not Required

My point in telling these stories is that we don't have to be perfect to raise healthy children. Look how much Kate improved in just one month by just making a couple small changes. Of course, we have to know which changes to make. Who knew eating butter and ice cream could be the thing that saves us from cavities and braces?

Thank goodness for Dr. Weston Price, Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation. I'll be eternally grateful to them for putting all the pieces together. If you haven't yet read Dr. Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration., go read it! It will change your life. You can read the whole thing online. Just click that link.

Bottom line — it's not about trying to be perfect. So what if you eat pasteurized butter and cream instead of raw. As long as it's grass-fed. So what if you eat junk here and there. As long as you try to get in one good meal a day. Oh, sure, if you're sick or recovering from an illness, or pregnant or nursing, you want to try to do better. I had to avoid sugar and wheat for two years when I was recovering from arthritis and chronic fatigue in my twenties. We don't need to try to be perfect — we just need to do the best we can.

The most important thing we can do is eat more good fats like butter, cream and cheese. Or, if you don't do dairy, eat other good fats like lard, beef tallow, palm oil, coconut milk, and coconut oil. Seafood and particularly shellfish is also one of the very best things you can eat.

Find something you love that's nutrient-dense and rich in fat-soluble vitamins. The so-called “sacred foods” — organ meats, butter, cream, fish eggs, egg yolks, and fish liver oil. Try to eat more of these sacred foods — and don't worry so much about trying to restrict all the other bad stuff out there. And enjoy your crème brûlée!

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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 worldโ€™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.โ€จโ€จ 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.

63 thoughts on “Update on Kate’s Anemia

  1. That’s great! Kate’s lucky to have such a hands-on mom!

    Crowding out foods โ€” the idea of focusing on eating good, nutrient dense foods as opposed to obsessing about not eating foods that are “bad for you” โ€” is a very successful technique to get people to improve their diet, because they don’t feel deprived and slowly but surely they gear in the right direction for their health. It is a very down-to-earth, realistic way to approach nutrition and it’s what you are talking about here, with your daughter.

    This notion that we must go “all-or-nothing”, I’ve learned, is only self-sabotage that stops us from taking action. There will never be a perfect time to eat 100% โ€” or do anything else by that matter โ€” well and it’s the reason why so many fail in their efforts. They don’t leave room for flexibility and when they do something outside of what was planned โ€” eat a “bad for you” meal โ€” everything falls apart.

  2. I really appreciate this post. I don’t try to eat a strictly Nourishing Traditions diet. I would describe our diet as predominately whole foods, eating as locally and traditionally as possible. We don’t completely eschew white flour, though it makes up such a minimal part of our diet that I don’t know if it really counts toward anything. I cook whole foods for our family almost entirely, but if we are eating at someone else’s house or if someone is cooking for us at our home or bringing a meal, I don’t make a big deal about what they make for us. We don’t want to become pharisaical about our eating. In the rare times we eat at restaurants, we try to pick the best options that sound like they would taste good and provide some nutrients, but since we eat out maybe six times a year, it doesn’t affect our general diet, so I don’t sweat it.

    I figure people like us, who eat so well almost all of the time can probably handle the junk better than those who have it as a steady diet.

  3. I’m glad to hear that the tech issues will be worked out soon! And even more glad that the small changes you implemented resulted in your daughter’s return to healthy iron levels…
    Thank you for this post. It’s very timely… Although we’ve always eaten an abundance of dairy and veggies, we got on the TF bandwagon in April and I’ve been pretty rigid with myself, less so with my two older boys (the youngest is a baby). Like anything else in our culture, it’s difficult to find a perfect balance. I don’t have the time or the brainpower to be 100% preparing all my own traditional foods from scratch. It’s really leavened bread products that get me – I just don’t like to knead dough! But I’ll do everything else I can and just cough it up at the co-op for sprouted breads, tortillas, etc. And, TRY to get over my kids having snacks at other people’s houses…


  4. Great post.

    As a life long eater of traditional foods and (traditional) nutrition educator, it’s not about perfection, it’s about having a strong foundation and a healthy relationship with food. It’s okay to eat out, eat junk, or nasty foods every once in a while. I will enjoy a run through In and Out every now and then. The kids will go to fine establishments, like Hooters with my husband (classy, I know) or McD’s with my parents on occasion. They eat school lunch (gross), and they like to go out for ice cream at Rite Aid –favorite flavor is neon blue. The key is to have a strong foundation at home, make the food mood connection with your kids, include them in the cooking of real foods, and be a good role model.

    You can be a purveyer of Traditional Foods and eat crap every once in a while and not be hypocritical….in fact you will be a more realistic welcoming role model for Americans interested in adapting their SAD to a more healthy, traditional lifestyle.


  5. AnnMarie,
    Thank you for this post, especially the part about not obsessing. I know that for myself, when I first got into NT and started learning about all the connections between todays average diet and health problems, as a mother, I kind of freaked a little, there is some fear there. I would actually fight with my husband when he brought junk home from the store…not healthy! I’ve had to cut myself a lot of slack and shut out the guilt and fear. I do the best I can, and I should feel good about that, I have come a long way in the last year and a half (like night and day really). So thank you again and way to go on being proactive in regards to Kate’s anemia!

  6. I think you must be psychic, Ann Marie! I have been struggling with just this topic. I kept wondering if all the good I have done with the changes in the way I prepare our meals and what I choose for our meals have been completely upended when we eat something that is not real/slow/sustainable, etc. At my restaurant, there are foods that I have to eat. It’s my job. But when I choose my own meal at the restaurant, I know what to choose that is the “least of all evils”.

    You know… as children, we could NOT get enough of liverwurst/braunschauger (sp?). We could never pronounce the words, so my sissy and I called it “Squeezy Stuff”. HA! Neither one of us wore braces and doubt we had 4 cavities between the 2 of us.

    Glad to here about beautiful, precious Kate!! Keep up the good work!

  7. Thanks so much for such a great post. I was so encouraged! I have three small boys and I have to remind myself that very thing when grandma hands them junk food. Or the sweet lady at church gives them a bag full of candy. I think it would be completely inappropriate to refuse their generosity and rob them of their joy they have in giving to my boys. And so instead we are teaching our boys moderation and providing at home a traditional diet. Thanks again~

  8. When I was growing up my mother always used a cast iron skillet to cook many meals that she served us. None of her five children had low iron levels, Dr always wanted to know what she was giving us. She told him nothing but food cooked in a cast iron skillet. I use a cast iron skillet to cook with when my children were growing up, not a one of my three needed iron supplements .
    If you want Kate’s iron level to stay up, use a cast iron skillet to cook her food in.

  9. I appreciate your site so much. We are just starting out w/ WAPF and it seems like we have so far to go, but one good meal a day is definitely do-able. I’ve made several of your recipies–Thank you!

  10. I’m so glad you’re back, and that Kate’s numbers improved so dramatically. We are still new to this way of eating, we’re nearing the end of our very first year. I would say almost all of our old eating ways have fallen by the wayside and been replaced with something much better. But we do have our vices. I can’t break hubby of cold cereal twice a day: once at breakfast and once with TV at night. I’ve switched to whole grain and organic, and throw in a box of non-extruded every so often, but the more adamant I become the more he fights back. So, I’m trying to play it cool and offer him other choices I know he likes.

    Funny you should mention liverwurst. I loved it as a kid (and had horrible teeth) but stopped eating it when the cholesterol scare went around. I made some today and it is wonderful. I forgot how much I used to love it!

  11. When my munchkins were small I always made sure they had a bowl of oatmeal at least 3 times a week for its iron content. I also kept raisins, dates and other dried fruits around for snacks that the kids love, but also have a lot of iron. And lets not forget all the nuts available once they have a full set of teeth. You can even make your own nut butter if you have a blender or processor…they love nutty stuff on celery or even Ritz crackers when you want to splurge.

  12. Good post – I’m glad to hear about Kate’s anemia, or rather lack of anemia. Boy, that was fast!

    I’ve only been eating TF for a year or two and am far from perfect. My husband and I eat out every Saturday afternoon. But after he mentioned one day that it was the highlight of his week, I decided that sometimes other things take precedence over perfect nutrition.

  13. Thank you for this post. I often struggle with my obsessiveness over food while raising three children and trying to stick to Nourishing Traditions. My obsessiveness has started a disagreement or two when I have found out what my husband has fed our kids from time to time. I think it was Kelly on one of her posts who suggested the 80/20 rule, and I think that is where I want to be. Eating healthy 80% of the time and the other 20% it is ok to have fries, juice etc. That alone has helped me,( and my marriage and friendships. ) I appreciate your honesty. p.s.- glad you’re back posting!

  14. So very true! We make a lot of compromises in our diet (eating out, eating at friend’s houses, eating at church, even some of the foods we eat at home), but I feel okay about it so long as MOST of my daily calories (60-70%) come from good, nourishing fats! Before people cringe, let me just say that’s quite EASY to do. Add a little extra butter to your eggs, add some coconut oil to your cup of hot tea, cream to your coffee, take a supplement like fermented cod liver oil, and always cook with healthy fats and PRESTO, you’re eating a high-fat diet.

  15. Thanks, everyone for your great comments!

    Here’s what Kate ate today:

    Breakfast was good: one bite of eggs scrambled in butter and most of a banana fried in coconut oil. Plus some raw milk and raisins.

    Lunch was good, too: grass-fed butter and pork liverwurst on half a piece of sprouted bread (from Trader Joe’s — the kind that doesn’t have the sprouted soy)

    In the afternoon, she wouldn’t take her nap so I decided to take us out for brunch. We shared Eggs Benedict. She ate all the ham from her half, took maybe one bite of eggs and she was through with it. Then she just ate potatoes (which I think/hope were fried in butter — it’s a pretty traditional French place) and drank a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. (I had to get her one because when I asked her what she wanted to eat at brunch she said, “Orange!” How could I not reward her for her newfound language skills?)

    Then she kept saying “cookie” over and over again and you know how it is when you are trying to get a kid to behave in a store. So she behaved, stayed in the shopping cart, and I got her that cookie. Chocolate chip. It was GIANT. I mean massive. With a HUGE cup of confinement-cow milk (I saw the label).

    But the cookie was freshly baked at a gourmet store (our local gourmet food/restaurant supply store — yes, that is where I spend my weekends!) so I think they probably used real butter and not trans fats like partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil and soybean oil. And it was made with refined sugar — but at least it wasn’t made with high fructose corn syrup.

    Sally Fallon says it’s “good, better, and best” and I think that’s very true. You try to do good and if you can do better you do that — and when you can do the best (sprouted flour carob cookies made with grass-fed butter and sucanat or palm sugar), then you do that. But you can’t always do that so you do what you can.

    And as my friend Kelly the Kitchen Kop counseled me the other day re: toddlers, “You gotta pick your battles.” Kate REALLY enjoyed that cookie. And she was a perfect angel at the French brunch. So she deserved it.

    Dinner, which I’m hoping she will eat, will be leftover braised short ribs and leftover garlic mashed potatoes — with lots of homemade gravy made from beef stock. And some corn on the cob with grass-fed butter.

  16. Sheila – I totally agree with you on the 80/20 rule! While Kate’s sleeping (FINALLY taking that nap!) I’m heading into the kitchen to make some homemade mayonnaise, bottle some kombucha, make some sauerkraut, soak some oats for granola and oatmeal cookies, and get another batch of chicken stock started.

  17. Julia – We do use cast iron almost all the time — which is why it surprised me that Kate still came out anemic. I really think it was those naptime and bedtime bottles!

  18. Peggy –

    Have you tried making your husband homemade soaked granola? I made it for the first time this summer and my husband and daughter LOVE it.


    Of course my husband was never a big cereal lover anyway. He loves bacon and eggs for breakfast. But I think he really enjoys having the granola in the cupboard because it’s an easy thing he can fix for himself. (He doesn’t make his own eggs or bacon — or most anything else — but he will pour a bowl of granola.)

    And now he’s become a big fan of oatmeal. Especially the baked oatmeal (on Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s site: https://kellythekitchenkop.com/2009/03/healthy-breakfast-recipe-from-sue-baked-soaked-oatmeal.html)

    My father-in-law (one of the BIGGEST cold cereal addicts on the planet; he also has very bad osteoporosis/osteopinea — gee, I wonder if there is a correlation!) LOVES the baked oatmeal. He actually said he could eat that baked oatmeal as his last supper — LOL!

    Maybe you could also let your husband read that book “Beating the Food Giants” by Paul Sitt. He’s the one who told the story about the rats who ate the cereal box and lived longer than the rats who ate the cereal.

    You can actually read the whole thing online: https://www.whale.to/v/stitt_b.html

    Just some ideas… I agree, though it’s good not to fuss to much over family members when they do eat well most of the time. He could be doing much worse things than eating cold cereal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. So glad to see you back! I REALLY appreciate this post. I have a 20 month old son, and boy is it frustrating trying to get him to eat anything most days.

    I am thankful that he always eats a good breakfast: a pastured egg cooked over-medium in raw butter (sometimes he will eat 2 eggs ๐Ÿ™‚ ) followed by grass fed yogurt, and sometimes a fruit. I vary it at times, and feed him soaked oatmeal and yogurt, plus a fruit. However, he doesn’t eat much else for the rest of the day. I’m lucky to get a few raisins, popcorn (popped in coconut oil with sea salt and raw butter), sourdough crackers, or maybe cheese in him.

    Finally, around 7pm, he will usually eat some soup, or other leftovers I have. It’s so weird, because he won’t eat typical things that toddlers love: mac and cheese, cheeseburgers, etc. but… he LOVES my saurkraut, and cod liver oil. Go figure!

    I worry about his iron intake as well, since the only way he will eat meat is in soup or stew form (and I’m lucky when he eats that). I’m so going to try the fried clams.

    Thanks so much for sharing Kate’s story.

  20. I’m so glad you were able to post. I’ve missed you! ๐Ÿ™‚
    This post spoke to me tremendously. I tend to be OCD about everything (I do have it, so that may be why…) and especially food. I needed to go out right when my husband came home from work and as I’ve been dealing with a health issue I didn’t have the stamina to prepare something. I told him to pick something up at the store and make sure it was organic. It wasn’t ideal, but good enough. Well, he came home with a box of organic whole wheat pasta, a bottle of garlic seasoning (surely full of MSG) and a jar of Ragu alfredo sauce! I about died. I begged him not to give it to my kids and we ended up fighting.
    He kept saying, “It’s not going to kill them!” but I really felt like it would and I nearly had a panic attack.
    I had to do breathing exercises all the way to my destination.
    It’s easy to get caught up in this lifestyle and take it to the extreme. Seeing as I take EVERYTHING to the extreme I am particularly susceptible.
    Thanks for reminding me that as long as my family’s overall diet is spot-on, an occasional deviation isn’t going to harm them.
    And those fried clams are making me rethink my decision not to eat shellfish. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Ann Marie,
    Thank you for this post. I LOVE it! I have 3 kids, ages 8yrs, 4 yrs, and 18 mo. and this is the principle by which I live. I feed my children very little sugar (at the moment I have myself and my 18 month old on GAPS because of her severe constipation and my digestive problems), but my 2 sons are very healthy and since they eat mostly meat, vegetables, fruit, and raw dairy (very few grains at the moment so their sister doesn’t get jealous, although they handle it fine), I allow them to eat the frozen colored sugar-water pops that the neighbor gives them. I figure that as long as I’m feeding them well most of the time (I also give them fermented cod liver oil), their bodies will be able to handle the toxins in the frozen pops.

    I also believe in good-better-best. We cannot afford to buy all of our food organic. But rather than completely give up on healthy food, I buy things with as few ingredients as possible (like sour cream that contains only cream instead of 25 ingredients I can’t pronounce). I cook with butter, coconut oil, and palm oil, even though I can’t afford organic butter. I do my best. I shop the perimeter of the store and don’t buy much in the center isles. I allow them to have cake and ice cream at birthday parties because I figure that if I never allow them to eat “junk” they will completely rebel as soon as they are out of the house and much of the time that I fussed will be in vain. My goal is to teach them to make healthy choices to prepare them for a lifetime of taking responsibility for their health, not set them up to crave all the foods that Mom has forbidden.

    A funny story… Recently I told my boys that their cousin’s birthday party might be canceled because he was getting sick. Both responded, “Oh, no! Did Ethan eat too much sugar?” I had to coach them not to repeat that to their Aunt. It’s not good for family relations ;-).

    I’d also like to mention that I believe that stress plays a HUGE role in a child’s ultimate health. I grew up in a very stressful household. My dad’s a real stress case. He’s just very high strung and doesn’t know how to relax, or how to let anyone else in the house relax. Everyone has to be working all the time. Although my mom was always health-conscious and fed us well, almost everything from scratch, my sister and I both suffer from hypothyroidism (which we are actually working on correcting) and both have very poor digestion (we’re on GAPS to correct it). Although there have been other factors involved, such as iodine deficiency, I believe that the stressful home in which we grew up caused many of our health problems. Our husbands both grew up eating much more “junk” than we did, including tons of soda pop and processed food, and they have very few cavities and virtually no health problems. Of course I’m not saying that if you’re stress-free you can eat whatever you want, but stress can have a huge impact on the health of a child, both when their small and when they grow up. I try to keep my household as relaxed as possible for my children, letting them play plenty (of course they do their chores too :-), and maintaining a good relationship with my husband (not arguing in front of the kids, etc.). I believe a happy home goes a LOOOONG way in the health of our kids!

    Sorry this ended up being a little long!

  22. UPDATE: Kate refused the delicious dinner of braised short ribs and garlic mashed potatoes and gravy. She turned up her nose and that was that. What am I going to do, force feed her?

    So for dinner she ate organic grapes and she gnawed on a hunk of Niman Ranch ham steak.

    I did what I could. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Kae –

    I totally relate. My husband used to ask me — when we would go to the restaurant and I realized I forgot the sippy cup with raw milk and Kate would have to drink (GOD FORBID) confinement-cow milk with bovine growth hormones — “What do normal people eat?”

    What he meant by that was — and this is how I understand it to the best of my ability, “When other (normal) people go out to eat, is it like this or do they just enjoy their meal?”

    You see, he doesn’t immerse himself constantly in the science behind raw milk and fat soluble vitamins and grass-fed beef and dairy product. So if you look at things from his perspective, WHAT IS THE POINT OF GETTING CRAZY OVER THIS STUFF?!

    Of course, we know too much.

    So… moderation helps. Moderation in all things, as they say. Bite your tongue, let them eat that crappy food, and go home and start another batch of your organic free-range chicken broth.


  24. Kaylin –

    Thanks for your long post. I so enjoyed it.

    My husband is OCD, and he comes form a long line of OCD people. They don’t call it OCD – they call it something else. “The Schwartzman’s Curse” or something. But that is what it is. It’s OCD.

    I come from a family of workaholic, dysfunctional, stressed-out people. So I know what you’re talking about.

    I don’t think anybody is immune to these stress-making behaviors and ways of being.

    Yet, stress is no good for anyone. And if you are stressing about the fact that the food is not free-range/organic/non-GMO/sprouted/soaked/what-have-you, you’re only adding to the stress.

    So cute how your kids said that thing about eating too much sugar. They do learn! We’re hardest on ourselves, but we do make an impact.

    I think it’s important to put happiness and calmness first, and then comes food/nutrition.

    This is why I’m such a fan of delectable foods like ice cream and raw milk cheeses — they make me happy. And reduce stress.

  25. I love this post, and wrote a bit about it (“I’m really not a food snob”: https://kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/05/im-really-not-food-snob.html), but what I’ve found is that friends and family still think I’m a wack-job. They’ll justify things to me or explain things, and I always want to ask them if they read that post! I don’t want them to think I go around judging people, especially since my diet isn’t always sparkly either. I’m sure they think this just because I have a nutrition website, and usually it’s those who don’t read it regularly who worry about it, because if they DID read more, they’d see that I have my own “issues”! (Coffee & chocolate anyone?)

    I actually go in “phases” as far as how “good” we do with food around here. In some phases I’m all geeked out about anything that comes into the house. Other times I’ll think, “We haven’t had white pasta in months, so screw it! It tastes better than whole wheat with a white sauce!”

    Ann Marie, I see you as way ahead of our family nutritionally (yes you are! You made *beef tongue* ya know!), so it was good to hear this from you. ๐Ÿ™‚


  26. It’s comforting to hear that even Cheeseslave’s daughter eats restaurant french fries! (As one whose 15-month-old ate nothing but restaurant french fries last night at dinner and nothing but corn on the cob tonight at home). ๐Ÿ™‚ Solidarity is good! Welcome back to the blogosphere – so sorry to hear about all your techy troubles. –Katie

  27. I am struggling with my son, Matt’s anemia issue right now…I just pulled his beloved goat yogurt bc the ped warned me it was playing a role in his iron deficiency…Matt will not eat pickled beets, but I am going to see if he will eat a few roasted ones – Kate might with lots of butter…mmm – which Matt cannot have yet as we are still quite early into our GAPS attempt. If she will eat a bit of soup I know there is a borscht recipe in the GAPS book. I blend beets into the chicken soup and call it Pink Pony or Barbie Doll soup for Emma and she will eat a few bites if she has just watched her fave my little pony video. The things we do. Di

  28. Great post – loved it and nice to see you back
    Toddlers become teens….:(
    My 15 yo has made me bend the rules this summer so she follows the 80- 20 % rule much more than I would prefer.
    She has always had an oppinion about what she eats -but lately she drives me crazy- suddenly she doesnยดt want to eat bread, red meat, pork, venison, lamb and lots more
    She want eggs every single day ; so I get up early and makes her an 2 egg omelet, with cheese and leftover veggies every single day.( I would be bored- but at least I know she has a good start.
    For lunch she brings cold chicken breast, maybe some raw veggies and 1 piece fruit.( I have no idea if she eats it but I hope so….
    In the afternoon she eats crispbread with LOTS of butter – nuts- dark chocolate and all the nasty stuff teens buy in shops ๐Ÿ™
    For dinner;
    some weeks when I work evening shifts and I think she only eats nuts, eggs, cheese and chocolate- maybe more chicken…
    – when I work daytime- I try to make sure she gets balanced dinners and yes I do serve lamb and beef…I donยดt care… she needs red meat and fish as well as chicken…

    I know her diet isnยดt ideal right now but I make sure she gets enough eggs, butter and cheese so I donยดt worry that much- hopefully this chooosy period will past – at least she hasnยดt turned vegan ;D

  29. Henriette –

    Your teen’s diet doesn’t actually sound bad at all! She’s getting eggs every morning, plus lots of butter in the afternoon? And eggs, nuts, cheese, and chicken? Sounds very good!

    WAAAYYY better than I ate when I was a teen. I lived on takeout Chinese food one summer.

    And yes, be very grateful she is not a vegan. I can’t tell you how many vegan teenage girls I run into.

  30. Diane –

    Kate won’t eat soup. She loved it when she was a baby. It’s just the terrible twos I guess.

    And yeah, beets, I doubt it. She ate them when she was a baby. I remember feeding her pickled beets and duck liver sauteed in butter. She’d never eat that now!

    If you can get Matt to eat clam chowder (made with coconut milk) that would be really good for his anemia.

    I think he probably has trouble absorbing nutrients, though, since he’s a GAPS kid, so it will just take time until his gut heals. I would remind your ped of that.

  31. Kel your link isn’t working — here it is again:


    I agree with you — why would anybody still use margarine? Yuck!

    But I think the ultra-pasteurized organic milk and cream is a tough one for most people. It’s such a sneaky thing the industry did, foisting that on us.

    I remember the first time I bought a gallon of ultra-pasteurized organic milk at my local Japanese store (this was years ago). Of course I didn’t know what “ultra-pasteurized” meant. I didn’t even see that on the label. I remember thinking the sell-by date must be wrong!

    And I remember the dead taste of that milk.

    I also remember the first time I tasted raw milk. It was so heavenly — like liquid ice cream.

    Also, I can’t stand the taste of margarine. I don’t think I’ve eaten it since I was a teenager and we used to eat Country Crock (yuck) — my mom was trying to be healthy. Of course she went back to butter a long time ago.

    I even bought some of that vegan spread (I think it’s hydrogenated soybean oil or something) when Kate was a baby. That was before I knew soy was bad. She was colicky and I was breastfeeding. I was trying to eliminate dairy and wheat to see if it would help her colic. It’s so funny because I bought soy milk and rice milk and that vegan spread and I never touched the soy milk or the spread. It just seemed to nasty to me. As Chef Mario Batali said once (to vegetarian, Gywneth Paltrow), “Soy milk tastes like dirty sheets.”

  32. AnnMarie,

    This is such a good post and I read it at a very relevant time. I really believe in what you say, that we should eat good food most of the time, but not stress out if our food isn’t “perfect.” The stress we cause ourselves by obsessing over food, and becoming religious about it, probably impacts our health worse than actually eating that non-organic piece of meat.

    I also have a question regarding your blog post and how it related to my personal health. Do you believe that the immune system can adapt to low quality foods (say sugar, for instance)? The reason I ask is in the past year or so I have reduced my intake of sugar to perhaps 1-2 desserts per month. I see the difference that makes in body weight, but I also feel that my body has lost its ability to deal with sugar. Now when I eat something sweet, it’s almost as if my immune system shuts down. In recent months I have been coming down with more colds and fevers, and I noticed it’s always after eating some kind of dessert or refined carbohydrate. When I was younger (and eating whatever I wanted) I would rarely get sick. Is there a trade off between long term health and short term hardiness?

    Sorry for the long and scrambled comment, but your blog post triggered so many thoughts…

  33. Hi, Morgan,

    Good question. I’m not an expert on the topic of immunity but it doesn’t make sense that it would work like that. Refined sugar weakens your immune system, that much is true. But I don’t think eating less sugar makes you react worse when you do eat sugar.

    I started limiting sugar for myself in my mid-twenties (when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis). I actually cut out all sugar except for occasional honey. It took me about two years to fully recover, and then I was able to eat sugar again with no side effects. To this day, I eat sugar with no problems — UNLESS I have issues with a lack of good gut flora. Then I will sneeze and get tired and get sick, etc.

    I was raised on antibiotics and sugar so by the time I was in my mid-twenties, my gut flora was a mess. In addition to cutting out sugar and wheat, I took very strong probiotics for those two years. My gut did heal and I think that is what enables me to eat sugar now.

    More recently, right after I had Kate, the OBGYN put me on the birth control pill. My instincts said no, but I went on it anyway. Within a few months, I was having a lot of the same symptoms I had in my twenties — thrush on the tongue, sores in my nose and mouth that wouldn’t heal, joint pain, fatigue. I cut out sugar and starches, got on a good probiotic, and within a few days, the symptoms were gone. I stayed on the probiotic though since I know that symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg.

    So anyway that’s my long-winded response — what I’m trying to say is perhaps you have some issues with your gut flora. With good strong healthy gut flora, you should be able to eat pretty much anything in moderation and not react.

  34. Morgan – I have the same problem. I’ve eaten two Hersey’s chocolate bars in the last three weeks (at different times.) I felt really run down and sickly after each candy bar. I thought to myself, “could these candy bars actually be making me sick?” I can eat homemade chocolate fudge (Nourishing Gourmet recipe) with coconut oil, organic cocoa and honey till I’m blue in the face and feel great. But the regular candy bars make me feel icky.

    I’m glad I read your comment – maybe I’m not crazy after all…

  35. Tina, it’s possible that you do have gut issues. I know that when I was sick in my twenties, I would react to sugar but not to honey.

    It’s also possible you’re reacting to vegetable oil. If you ate a classic Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, it’s made with real cocoa butter, but according to the aricle below, Hershey’s has started substituting vegetable oil for cocoa butter in many of their products.


    Isn’t that ICKY?

    Here’s more:



    Maybe you should try eating some really good chocolate, like Lindt or Godiva or one of those fair trade chocolate bars from the health food store. See how you react to that. I mean, you know, for the sake of research. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  36. Actually I take that back I’m not so sure about the ingredients of the classic Hershey bar. It could also contain PGPR. It’s impossible to find ingredient lists on the Hershey website. Gee, I wonder why?!

  37. Ann Marie,

    That’s a good idea to compare Hershey’s cholocate bar with higher quality chocolate and see how I feel. Vegetable oil is super icky. What is PGPR?

    Does Hershey’s really need to go with the cheapest ingredients?

  38. Ok, I put my baby bug down for a nap and read the links. I will never eat another Hershey’s chocolate anything! PGPR is just another ingredient I have to avoid!

    BTW – thanks for taking the time to look up the links. I should have read them before I asked questions.

  39. Tina

    It was confusing the way I wrote it when I said “also contain PGPR”

    It’s not just Hershey, either. Nestle and others are doing it, too. And did you know that Hershey bought Dagoba and Scharffenberger (sp)? I just read that.

  40. I really like this post, because it brings a sense of reality into the tough reality of eating healthy. I don’t know one person who doesn’t eat out at a fast food restaurant at least once or twice a day because they think doing anything else (like cooking) is unrealistic because of their ‘fast-paced’ life. The food in their homes isn’t much better. I agree that it’s not important to be totally OCD about everything that goes into one’s mouth. That can’t be healthy.

    I’m stuck with eating a traditional, whole foods, no-junk-whatsoever diet. I developed IBS a few years ago, had my gallbladder removed due to painful stones, and find that unless I take care of myself pretty much perfectly, I relapse in a matter of hours and it takes my body a long time to heal and for my digestion to normalize. I find that the WAPF pretty much saved my life, and helped to manage my IBS without medications or anything. Just diet. It’s hard going out because I’m so sensitive to junk food, sugar, chemicals, and liquid vegetable oil.

    I think in a way people get so frustrated with me. I was out with some friends a while back, and we stopped into a Dairy Queen. Of course, I can’t eat pasteurized dairy (raw milk doesn’t bother me). They were all like, “Gosh, you can’t eat -anything-!” (because the only foods in their minds are conventional food, lol…). Being obsessed about the food you eat can complicate your social life, sometimes… everything revolves around fast, tasty, cheap food… I wish I wouldn’t have to worry about what I eat, but I don’t really have a choice. It would be nice to not have to be so worried about food. For one day. Lol.

    A lot of people don’t care until it’s too late about the food they consume… I’m not even in my 20’s and most of my problems happened in adolescence. If this happened to me now, what would have happened when I was in my 40’s, 50’s, if I didn’t take care of myself? It’s scary to think of… it’s also scary to think that this is a society where half the time, you can’t even get fresh fruit anywhere that isn’t totally almost inedible or preserved to death without being near some big store… whatever happened to good food? I traveled Europe and, even in gas stations, you could get butter and totally fresh food. It was amazing. There was no margarine. Butter, fruit stands, veggies, eggs!… you can’t find that here in a gas station… ๐Ÿ™

  41. I’m glad your site is back up, and that your daughter (who is super cute in those photos…especially love her expression in the first one) is doing well! Btw, in case you know anyone who wants to up their iron and can’t use a seafood-based source, blackstrap molasses can be a good alternative.

    I recently read an old post, and I wanted to ask you if you are still using maca?

    In any case, it’s encouraging to read your thoughts on traditional foods/NT and how to make them practical ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Kit –

    Wow your story is inspiring!

    You’re right about Europe. We Americans can be SO clueless about food! Sometime I will have to post my story about going to Tuscany recently and how TOTALLY OBSESSED they are with food over there. The guy who was teaching us cooking classes told us he and his wife went to the parent-teacher meeting (their kid was in kindergarten there) and the Italians spent HOURS discussing the food the children would eat. “Where does the olive oil come from? Which farm? Oh, OK yes that is good…” The children, even the kindergarteners, eat 4-course meals for lunch.

  43. It’s so true! Americans are utterly clueless! I’ve been sugar/grain free for a year and a half and just recently went full GAPS. I’m always a bit amused when people are uncomfortable that I’m not eating at social functions. They feel guilty for eating in front of me and I try to tell them that it doesn’t bother me and I’m perfectly fine, but since they imagine feeling completely deprived without their junk, they can’t imagine my satisfaction without it. I can’t begin to express to them that I’ve never been happier. They just don’t get it! And then they helpfully suggest that I just substitute Splenda! As if that would solve all my problems and then I could “enjoy” life again! LOL!

    Sometimes I wonder if America’s clueless lack of health will be part of its downfall… that everyone will be so run down they will just run out of steam and won’t know how to get it back. Not to depress everyone… I just want to say THANK YOU to you, Ann Marie, and all you other Real Food bloggers for getting the word out. You ARE making a difference in so many lives!

  44. This post is so timely for me. I am doing the best I can, but never feel it’s enough. I have a very spirited almost 1 year old and she rejects foods that are good for her all the time. I keep introducing them, but she keeps rejecting them. Although today she surpised me when she ate all my zucchini sauteed in butter! That was a nice surprise.

    I really wish I didn’t know so much about food, how it’s processed, and where it comes from. It’s making me crazy. I had to buy organic chicken thighs for my daughter the other day (I make them and freeze individual portions for her meals throughout the week) and all I can think about is that they’re industrial organic, not local, pastured poultry. It’s enough to drive me nuts! Then I keep reminding myself that nothing is perfect, but her breakfast of organic chicken thighs, zucchini in grassfed butter, and sweet potatoes with butter was a lot healthier than most people. I am glad I know about this stuff, but at the same time, it just adds to my stress level. I have to find a way to make peace with this. I also can’t afford all “perfect” foods either, so I make sure to buy as much of the fatty and protein foods as healthy as possible.

    I am just so glad to see this post. Thank you so much!

  45. Shannon, you are welcome.

    I just spent 20 minutes talking to our daycare provider, trying to explain to her why I am so neurotic about what my daughter eats. I send her to school w/ pastured eggs cooked in butter and she rejects it and eats Cheerio’s.

    I was trying to explain to the daycare owner (who is so nice and so caring) that I don’t mind it if Kate eats lunch there because they give them things like lasagna with ground beef or homemade chicken soup (made from scratch). But I have to draw the line at Cheerio’s and corn flakes and waffles.

    I explained to her that by the time I was 25, I had full-blown arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Almost everyone I know has had or has some major life-threatening or debilitating degenerative disease. Diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, MS, and the list goes on.

    She grew up in Peru, and like most people from other countries where they eat so differently from us, they didn’t have these problems. Not like we do anyway (although that is changing, as they introduce more and more of our industrial waste “food” products into their daily diet.

    Anyway, I didn’t really need to explain — she’s so kind and is willing to do whatever I ask. I just feel so guilty so I wanted to explain that it’s nothing she’s doing wrong. Of course she understood and she promised me she will make sure Kate eats nothing else than what I send with her.

    Today I sent:

    Breakfast: Sprouted French toast with butter & maple syrup (made with industrial organic free-range egg ๐Ÿ™‚ and pasteurized organic cream) and Niman Ranch bacon

    Lunch: Cream cheese (not organic) and pork liverwurst (not organic) on sprouted bread

    Snack: Fage Greek yogurt with maple syrup

    Plus a banana, an apple and an avocado

    See — we don’t eat perfect either. Everything I do is not organic or pastured. I do my best. But you know, even an industrial organic egg with pasteurized cream is way, way better than Cheerio’s and skim milk.

    We just have to do the best we can.

  46. I think when we’re in the midst of reading and knowing so much about food, the little things that we think about are never thought about by other people. Like I mentioned Kerrygold butter to a friend at work who was making homemade noodles. She had never heard of it and had no clue why it was yellow instead of whitish. When I told her, she just said, “Oh, that’s nice.” I think knowing too much about this stuff is detrimental for some people, me included. Every time my daughter wants a Trader Joe O (cheerios), I think about extrusion and protein damage. Ugh. For some personalities (I’d say perfectionists like me), knowing too much is enough to add too much stress and worry. I’d rather be ignorant some days — but I just need to get a grip and realize everything can’t be perfect. I’ll remind myself of that when I make Trader Joe’s orange chicken and brown rice for dinner — I’m craving it and just can’t say no, even though it is really not that healthy. Better than carryout by a mile, but still not perfect. I just need to get over this.

  47. Your discussion reminded me of this article, which I recently read. Seems us humans can take anything, including healthy eating, to a stressful extreme!


  48. This is key: itโ€™s not about avoidance. Itโ€™s about giving them good, nourishing foods as often as possible. Remember, nourishing foods protect us and mitigate the damage we do from eating โ€œbadโ€ foods โ€” or smoking cigarettes. This explains why people 100 years ago could smoke like chimneys and still be so healthy. They were eating lots of butter and lard.

    The protective factor is saturated fats. It doesn’t get a lot of play but many traditional groups smoked, even the ones without dairy. Today the Kitavans, who eat a high carb traditional no dairy diet, smoke, but their saturated fat intake is very high, even though their overall fat intake is low compared to the typical westerner.

    Keep in mind as well that when Weston Price healed the children he was working with of dental caries in Cleveland, they ate junk most of the day (at home) but had one good meal with him. That meal by the way contained orange juice and fresh but untreated grains. So you don’t have to be perfect to achieve notable results with children. The dynamic can be a little bit different with adults who have had much longer in which to damage their bodies from poor food choices, but each situation is different based on a number of variables.

    For those stressing about how to operate among the nutritional “heathen” :-), you can check out this article. It is a three part series soon to be four but I think you will find it very helpful. https://tinyurl.com/nsfgot

    mo’ butta – mo’ betta,

    Nutrition and Physical Regeneration

  49. Oh, Ann Marie… I wish I knew you in “real” life. You have helped me from the first day I dared to make formula for my boy from raw milk (on the WAPF forum). You have helped me when we tried GAPS. You also helped influence my recent NAET quest for my sweet little boy. I used to FREAK about what I was learning. I have been OCD since childhood and after I had my baby and couldn’t breastfeed, my depression spiralled into post partum anxiety. During that time, learning all that is bad for me just plain overwhelmed me. From air quality to flame retardents, you name it, I was a prisioner in my own home and my own mind… I have healed. I am more knowledgeable than I ever would be now vs if nursing my dear baby had been successful. Sure, I would have fed him from my own milk, but it would be tainted with a bunch of processed crap – and I thought I ate “healthy”! SO, your post spoke to me and I agree with it 100% since I also now believe in moderation. I am still pretty neurotic about what I feed him due to his allergies, but am not as stressed about slip ups here and there (for all of us). So, thank you again, my friend in cyber space for you have done lots to influence our lives…

  50. Ann Marie,
    This is such a great post! Thank you! I needed this. Can you tell me what probiotics you have used successfully? I know that some are available by prescription. I’m starting to think about trying to get a prescription so that my insurance will cover some of it. I’m finding that I need high, high doses of ever “good” probiotics whenever I get ill.

  51. Debbie –

    You can eat caviar or salmon roe on toast or crackers. It’s good w/ a little creme fraiche (sour cream) or cream cheese.

    I have a recipe for salmon roe on deviled eggs. My family loves it.


    My toddler will eat salmon roe all by itself.

  52. April –

    Check out my resources page:

    https://villagegreennetwork.com/marketplace/supplements-superfoods?pid=1″ target=”_blank”

    I really think Biokult is one of the best if not the best probiotics. I say this from experience. After Kate was born, when I started having the symptoms again, I tried a storebought probiotic. Just went to Whole Foods and picked one up.

    Well it didn’t work. I was on it for a MONTH and saw no changes in symptoms. And I was off sugar and wheat — I was really surprised at the fact that I was not healing.

    Then I tried ThreeLac after I read Jenny McCarthy’s book. That’s what she had given her autistic son. After being on ThreeLac for a few weeks, he started speaking for the first time in years (I think he was like 3 at the time, and he had stopped verbalizing and babbling after he got his 18 month old shots — I think I’m getting that right).

    Anyhow, I tried the ThreeLac and within 3 days, all my symptoms vanished. So I know it really does depend what kind of probiotic you buy.

    After that I tried Biokult. I had similar results with Biokult. They seemed to workt he same — however, the Biokult capsule is a lot smaller than the package of ThreeLac — which makes me think the Biokult is a lot more powerful.

    I went off the Biokult for a while (laziness, and just got out of the habit). But then I noticed some low-grade symptoms… so now I’m back to 1 per day just as maintenance. I also give my toddler one per day.

  53. Hey you guys – sorry about that. I just moved to a new web host (due to all my technical woes) and some of the comments got lost temporarily. I will repost them (they’re not really lost). I’m just on vacation in NYC right now so can’t get to it just yet. (Just now checking email from hotel while toddler watches Kipper on the laptop.)

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