Friday, July 21, 2006

Sea Salt or White Gold?

In ancient times this wouldn't just look like a pile of tiny diamonds, but this would also be closer in value to a pile of diamonds (in West Africa it was nearly equivalent to gold). Salt in those days was harder to come by and appreciated for its value in maintaining vitality and preserving foods. In fact the word 'salary' comes from the latin word 'salarium', which means a payment made in salt. Roman soldiers were typically paid in salt. You can read more about the history of salt here.

Sodium and chloride are essential for life. Without salt our bodies become weak and susceptible to heat stroke and infections. Deficiency typically is not a problem in developed nations, where processed foods are over-fortified with salt. Even if you quit eating processed foods, so long as you eat meat or other animal products you will probably get sufficient sodium. People at risk of sodium deficiency are those who rely on a plant-based diet, while simultaneously keeping to a low-sodium intake, because plants do not contain sufficient sources of sodium. Plant-based foods are great sources of potassium, however, which is another important electrolyte. The typical citizen of developed nations is more at risk for potassium deficiency, because excess sodium intake, as well as excess sugar intake, can interfere with potassium equilibrium. The human body requires about 3 times as much potassium as sodium.

Any imbalance in your stores of sodium, potassium, or chloride -- the three major electrolytes -- becomes apparent during spells of hot weather. Deficiency symptoms are more likely to surface under these extreme conditions. The most easily recognized symptom is propensity for dehydration despite adequate fluid intake. Without adequate electrolyte intake, your body cannot properly absorb water, so it will pass straight through you without rehydrating you. After hours of not hyrdrating properly in hot conditions, your body will enter a state of heat exhaustion, characterized by a headache, nausea, and possibly vomitting. If you suspect you are suffering from an inability to hydrate properly, your quickest remedy is to drink water mixed with Emergen C, drink a sports drink, or make a quick homemade oral rehydration solution (as recommended by the World Health Organization):

In a pint glass add:
2 ½ teaspoons sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt (sea salt is best)
1 ¾ cup water
squeeze of lime or lemon

Stir well to dissolve.

If you suspect you are more deficient in potassium, Emergen C will be your better option because it has twice as much potassium as sodium, although it only contains about 6% of your daily recommened intake of potassium. Otherwise look for potassium salt. Morton makes a potassium chloride salt and I'm sure there are other brands out there as well.


At July 22, 2006 4:52 PM, Blogger ericswan said...

Salt is essential for life, yet almost all commercial table and cooking salts have been "chemically cleaned" and reduced to sodium chloride - an unnatural chemical that acts as a poison in your body. If you want your body to function properly, you need holistic salt complete with all-natural elements. After years of searching, I've found the purest salt available on earth that's absolutely uncontaminated with any toxins or pollutants - Himalayan Crystal Salt!

This salt from the Himalayas is known as "white gold" because it contains eons of stored sunlight. Together with pure spring water, Himalayan Crystal Salt offers all 84 elements exactly identical to the elements in your body, and is vital for:

* Regulating the water content throughout your body.
* Balancing excess acidity from your cells, particularly your brain cells.
* Balancing your blood sugar levels and helping to reduce your aging rate.
* Absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract.
* Help in clearing mucus plugs and phlegm from your lungs - particularly useful in asthma and cystic fibrosis.
* Firming your bones - osteoporosis can occur when your body needs more salt and takes it from your bones.
* Stabilizing irregular heartbeats - in conjunction with water it is essential for the regulation of your blood pressure.
* Acts as a strong natural antihistamine and helps clear up congestion in your sinuses - and much more!

At July 22, 2006 4:55 PM, Blogger ericswan said...

I lifted that quote from this site. Let me know what you think.

I updated my garden pix today. This heat (100 plus) really moves things along.

At July 23, 2006 10:06 AM, Blogger Jade said...

Did I just get spammed by Dr. Mercola? ;)

I had heard about those salts (as well as the processed salt dilema) while I was researching salt. I tend to get a little concerned when one product claims to monopolize a genre of the health market. I'm not making any judgements about the product, I just wonder if there aren't other sources of those same elements that might be easier to come by. After all, we can't ALL start raiding a salt mine in the Himalayas, how globally kosher would that be?

So have you tried these salts?

From what I have read, magnesium salt is particularly important because most likely none of us are getting our daily recommended amounts. Also we would be getting more trace minerals from our foods if they were organically grown on healthy soil. So it may well be that because our diets are so skewed by modern agricultural processes and modern diets that we actually do require those Himalayan salts.

At July 26, 2006 6:42 AM, Blogger ericswan said...

I don't use salt of any kind. No chlorides and no flourides. I brush with water. I'm of the school of thought that there is too much salt in everything. One need not add it to the diet.

At July 26, 2006 2:45 PM, Blogger Jade said...

Hey ericswan! You are right about fluorides. I don't use fluoride toothpaste either. Fluoride can actually compromise the bone/teeth structure. It is preferentially incorporated in lieu of calcium, but it weakens the bone matrix and is impossible to remove once it is there. Ever hear of dental fluorosis?

Chlorides the body actually needs, but considering they are in our drinking water we probably get sufficient amounts.

Potassium and sodium, however, are pretty important to get from the diet. Yes processed foods offer excessive amounts of sodium. I have been on a low sodium diet for over 10 years, and most of that time I was also vegetarian. In the last 5 years I became more physically active and during that time my body was incapable of dealing with hot temperatures. I got heat exhaustion more times than I care to remember. Since then I started consciously increasing my salt (sodium) intake, especially when the weather gets hot. Now I actually have energy during heat waves, which is a huge relief. This is why I chose to post on the topic of salt. Salt gets a bad rap. It shouldn't. The processed foods are the real culprits, as they not only contain too much sodium, but also a fun chemical cocktail of preservatives, coloring, etc. There is evidence that all those chemical additives are causing the surge in Attention Deficit Disorders in children.

At July 27, 2006 11:39 PM, Blogger ericswan said...

I worked in one of those hotsy totsy high end restaurants with amazing Swiss chefs that preferred only top end fresh produce daily. I have to admit that I was the bottle washer prep cook and not given any responsibilities concerning meal preparation. It was in this milieu of ignorance that I embarked on the "fruitarian diet" For 65 days straight, all I ate was fruit; huge bowls of myriad fruit. I ended up with a protein deficiency. My tongue actually gave it away. It went fat; twice as fat as normal. It stretched so wide that the tongue actually develops little stretch marks or striation marks along the edges. An aquaintance pointed this out to me and I immediately sought out protein to correct the problem. I was, however, left with a lump which it turns out is not malignant in any way but is permanent.

The moral of the story is be careful when you experiment with your body.

I have a question for you Jade. Have you ever tried oat straw tea?

At July 28, 2006 12:08 PM, Blogger Jade said...

Thank you ericswan for sharing that story. I've heard of fruitarian diets and of atheletes even taking up such diets, so your experience is very enlightening. I'm sorry to hear that you have a lasting "scar" from the experience. Thankfully it is nothing life-threatening. You are right that it is easy to get yourself into trouble following extreme diets. The raw food diet would be another example. I think it might even be worse, since you probably wouldn't notice your deficiencies right away.

No I do not know anything about oat straw tea, please do tell!

At July 29, 2006 1:13 AM, Blogger ericswan said...

Oat straw tea steeped in pot for 10 minutes and no more.

I think this must be one of those "best kept secrets" that I learned in a book written by a Russian with a very long difficult name who wrote the book "Survival into the 21st Century".. I think the same book got me into the fruitarian diet.

As I recall, I drank the pot of strained oat straw tea. For 2 or was it three days I went through a process where my sweat was purple, gold, red and stained my sheets as I struggled to sleep. I think this is referred to a a Sitz (sp) or Stitz (sp) bath which some prescribe as soaking your sheets in water and wrapping yourself up while you pitch and pine away in the night in a most calamitous sweat.

The lymph node sites of your body ie..arm pits knee calfs etc. are the locations where toxic elements extrude out of your body and change the colour of the sheets. Oh, but this were all it does.

Oat Straw stimulates the bowel due to the fibre content. Excuse the graphic nature here but the bowel movement which follows is a once in a lifetime thing. A black tarry stool with silver bits and the consistency of tar passes gently out of your bowel into the bowl where it "sticks" to the porcelein like nothing you would care to imagine. This is a cleansing diet with no rivals.

The diverticuated intestine is straightened out and shook like nothing I can compare it to. Let's just say that "it works".

At August 02, 2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Jade said...

I recently spoke with someone who said that her husband, who has been on a prescribed low sodium diet for years (and who eats meat regularly), was tested and found to have too low sodium. I find that interesting. Is this the tip of an iceberg I am viewing, or just a fluke?

Ericswan -- I find that hard to believe. I really cannot imagine sweating in colors. Are you sure you weren't hallucinating? ;) I guess I will have to google this crazy de-tox tea. I'm not sure though if I'm the de-tox type. I've heard most of us wouldn't really benefit from de-toxing....


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