Making Homemade Yogurt – Flaxseed Oil During Pregnancy – Baby Acne or Eczema in Newborn – Prenatals for Nursing Mamas – Scoby Hotels – Persistent Cough – Soda Cravings – Hypothyroid Help – Sippy Cup Love – Alternative Treatment for Morning Sickness
My inbox runneth over with questions from readers wondering “What would Emily do” about Real food and holistic health topics. I've created this Q&A to get your questions answered and for other folks to benefit from the answers too.
Who am I to know the answers to your questions?
I'm a holistic-minded mom, a sometimes beach bum, a real food foodie, a curious health researcher, and I've been practicing holistic and Chinese medicine for over a decade. That said, the answers here are only my opinion, and shouldn't be construed as medical advice. If you read something here and have your own wisdom or opinion to add, by all means, please leave a comment so we can all benefit from your experiences and perspective. Okey dokey! Let's dive in…
Question 1: Making Homemade Yogurt
Heather J. writes… I’m going to make raw yogurt, do I have to use raw milk for it to work or can I use other milk? Also, how do I maintain my starter culture? Thanks!
Here’s what I do, Heather… I use this countertop yogurt recipe – I’ve tried every method, and this one is by far the easiest. I use raw milk because it provides extra probiotic and enzyme goodness, but you could certainly make it with pasteurized milk (but always choose milk from grass fed animals). If you use pasteurized milk, you can simply reserve some of the yogurt as the starter culture. If you’re using raw milk, follow the instructions in the same post to maintain your starter culture.
Question 2: Flaxseed oil during pregnancy
Mandy D. writes… I have a question concerning flaxseed oil. I was taking it to help my eczema flare ups. It really helps relieve symptoms, but is it safe to take while pregnant?
Hey Mandy, While every individual is different, generally flax and flaxseed oil is safe during pregnancy. Be sure to seek out organic, cold pressed oil and keep refrigerated as flax oil can go rancid quickly. Also, flax and other plant-based omega 3s are made up of a shorter-chain omega-3 called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is is different from the longer-chain EPA and DHA which are the omega-3s that the body requires for optimal health and development of a growing fetus. While it was once thought that the human body could convert ALA to EPA and DHA, current research shows that such conversion rarely and inefficiently occurs. Fish oil is a more reliable source of essential omega 3s, and even better – fermented cod liver oil. Read about the benefits of fermented cod liver oil here.
Question 3: Baby acne or eczema in a newborn?
Susie M. asks… My five day old son has what looks like bright red bumpy eczema on his cheeks and chin. It started out as typical baby acne and in the past 24 hours started to flared up. He is breast fed. I am eliminating dairy from my diet starting now but does anyone know if this may clear up on its own or is it more likely a food allergy/sensitivity? Thanks.
Hi Susie – It's hard to say for sure without seeing your little one or knowing more about his/your history. That said, sometimes baby acne can get worse before it gets better, but it should pass within a few weeks. Either way, I'd probably give him an infant probiotic like this one to help ensure his gut flora is strong, and monitor your diet to see if any of the foods you're eating are triggering the flare. For more support on healing eczema from the inside out, be sure to check out my ebook The Eczema Cure.
Question 4: Prenatals for nursing mamas
Jennifer S. wants to know… Is there a particular multi-vitamin that you would recommend for a nursing mama?
Good question, Jennifer. You can read about my stance on prenatal vitamins (which is the same for nursing mamas) in this post. It includes a link to the prenatal I recommend.
Question 5: Scoby hotels
Karen P. wants to know… Hi – I just found your guide on how to make kombucha, and was wondering what do you do with your scoby if you're taking a break from it? I'd like to keep it still healthy.
Though not all kombucha brewers agree with this practice, I keep extra SCOBYs in a small amount of kombucha in the fridge with a secure lid. This is commonly known as a ‘SCOBY hotel'. I've never had a SCOBY that I haven't been able to wake from its slumber when I'm ready to remove it from the hotel, but they usually take longer than you'd expect to start brewing again – especially if they've been on vacay for a long while – so be patient.
Question 6: 4 year old with a cough that won't quit
Timea J. writes… My 4 year old has been coughing for a month now. I have tried couple of homeopathic remedies, manuka honey, elderberry syrup and nothing helps. It all started with a really bad croup. What should I try to stop the cough?
Hi Timea. When my kids get a cough that just won't quit, I add colloidal silver (read my research on colloidal silver here) and a Chinese herbal formula just for kids called Lung Qi Junior (follow this link to the store and you can buy it there). This is in addition to nutrient dense foods daily diet and my immune boosting protocol as needed. If this doesn't do it, a sometimes a custom Chinese herbal formula is necessary, but I rarely need more than this for even the most stubborn coughs I treat in my practice.
Question 7: Craving soda – what does it mean?
Lisa N. is curious… If I drink two glasses of soda a year, that's a lot and it is typically ginger ale. Lately I have been CRAVING soda like crazy. Usually a bad craving equals a deficiency in some thing good. What could this be? Btw I'm a mom of an 8 month old, sleep is my #1 deficiency at the moment.
Great thinking, Lisa! Chances are good that your soda craving is not your body's need for more bubbly high fructose corn syrup. My guess is either that you are simply super thirsty – or, more likely, that your body is trying to signal for more calcium (source). If you eat a nutrient-dense diet already (especially avoiding junk and low fat foods) you may just need to drink some more raw milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. Part of the problem may be that you aren't consuming enough high quality animal fats that include fat-soluble vitamins (like K2 which is highest in dairy from grass fed cows). The easiest way to rectify this is by taking a butter oil supplement. You can read more about high vitamin butter oil and vitamin K2 here. Finally, if you really are just thirsty, rest assured that the carbonation is really not the problem, so feel free to indulge in sparkling water if you desire. Just skip the junky, sugar laden stuff.
Question 8: Hypothyroid help
Kim P. writes… I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Eating mostly grain free, eat coconut oil like crazy, and tried an herbal remedy 2 months ago. Also taking iodine. Numbers went completely the other way!! Went from 4.8 TSH to 7.66 in 2 months! I DO NOT want to take prescription (doctor wants me too AND now husband is upset because I won't take the drugs!!) What I can do?
While I'm typically a fan of proactive self-care, hypothyroidism is a complicated condition and not one that I recommend you tackle on your own. Find a holistic minded specialist that you trust. Keep in mind that if you're trying to conceive, the fastest route may be taking thyroid medication. While I understand why you may be opposed to this, as drugs go, Synthroid and the likes can make a lot of sense since healing your thyroid naturally can take time and this may conflict with your ticking baby-making clock.
Question 9: Sippy cup love
Danielle W. asks… Is there a sippy cup that you recommend? I have a 16 month old who does really well drinking out of pretty much anything but she loves to throw her cups when she is done. No glass allowed around this little one. I was looking at some of the stainless steel options but wanted to get your input. Thanks!
Yep! I like this one. No leaks and easy to clean.
Question 10: Natural solutions for morning sickness
Bethany F. needs some help… What are some natural ways to fight morning sickness? I'm 7 weeks pregnant and I can't keep any solid foods down and my morning sickness last all day and all night! I don't want to have to take meds while pregnant but I'm getting no nutrients into my body besides the prenatals.
Hey Beth, I'm sorry you're feeling crappy, but congrats on your pregnancy! I've got a post about this coming really soon, but in the meantime, here's a top tip I tell my patients who are newly pregnant: Eat a snack of protein and fat every two hours starting when you wake up in the morning. It doesn't have to be a lot, but even a few bites will help to prevent and/or minimize blood sugar crashes throughout the day. Keep these snacks everywhere (purse, car, desk, fridge) so you're never caught without something handy. Good options are sliced almonds (because they're already half chewed) or other nuts, full fat yogurt, slices of cheese, hardboiled eggs, jerky, or slices of meat. More on this topic coming soon!
Got questions about real food or holistic health and wondering W.W.E.D.?
If you have a question for me, please first use the handy dandy search bar at the top righthand corner of this site. If that doesn't give you answers you need, email [questions at holisticsquid dot com]. I can't guarantee that I will get to every single question, but I will do my best (with a priority for questions that will serve the most of the Holistic Squid community). Also, keep in mind that I cannot and will not give you medical advice over the internet. It's inappropriate and unethical. If you want my medical opinion about a health or nutritional issue for you or your child, I take virtual patient consultations on a limited basis via phone or Skype; You can find out more about my distance consultations here.
Got answers not included here? Please leave them in the comments below!