SALT...

SALTS
getting the right kind...
Imagine putting together a really healthy meal - organic / slow cooked / lots of raw / maybe some gluten free options for a particular friend / no soy / all good fats... and THEN the spoiler! BAD SALT!

We tend to define salt by colour: Pink Salts vs. Greyish Sea Salts vs. White Salt From-A-Box. ALL salts, before we refine/process/torture them, pack a powerful punch. There can be up to 80 trace minerals and elements found in most salt (sulphates, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride, borate, strontium and iodine and so on). So why all the fuss about which salt is better?  
It’s in the processing! Extremely high heat processing (much higher temperatures than ordinary cooking temperatures), is the biggest culprit in regards to the healthfulness of salt - any salt from anywhere and any colour!

Very high temperatures cause the two minerals that make up salt – the molecules of sodium and chloride - to bond strongly and unnaturally. Sodium and chloride - which are so very essential for us to have on-board – separately - are restructured by high heat processing - they become a bonded two-some that cannot re-separate again during digestion and therefore become useless to our bodies.
The heat-bonded sodium-chloride molecules are seen by our bodies as toxic and indigestible. In healthy people toxins in the digestive tract are enveloped with the mucous of the intestinal lining in order to mitigate damage and this then could end up just stuck in the gut and out of harm’s way - and over time this does accumulate making our intestines unnecessarily burdened (as if there isn’t enough). This applies to the very finest purest pink crystals, down to salt from a poor quality lake bed – no matter from where the salt hails. ALL high heat processes alters the molecular bond - distorting it. Health Canada nor the FDA requires disclosure of this processing manner (surprise!).

HIMALAYAN (pink): Even though pink salts come from the mountains, it is a sea salt with rich and varying mineral and energy-rich iron content. And the salt-in-a-box of old also comes from a body of water. All salt comes from a salted body of water namely, an ocean or salt-water lake. However, Himalayan salt is said to be the purest form of sea salt. The Himalayan mountain ranges stretch across China, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and India. Their crystallized sea salt beds, now deep within these Himalayan mountains, are in a pristine environment protecting the salt from modern-day pollution leading to the belief that Himalayan Pink salt is the purest salt to be found on earth. When buying small pink crystals, in a nice little package in a proper store, one must believe that there has been no heat treatment applied - as often the packaging doesn't specify.

OTHER SPECIAL SALTS (sometimes pink and sometimes grey): Salts from the Dead Sea or Brittany or other lakes and shores around the world are scoped up and may have experienced processing with high heat in order to cleanse the salt of mans intrusions (swimmers and boasts abound on the Dead Sea, open air pollution over Utah's lakes, as well as the pollution on the shores of Brittany, etc, as examples). Yet some of these salts are highly prized, high priced and loved - esp. because they are not marketed in grandma's box with a little metal lip; so they must be good! ... but are they heat-processed?

OLD-FASHIONED Table Salt IN A BOX: Commercial refined salt is not only stripped of all its trace minerals, it is also chemically cleaned, bleached and heated to unnecessary high temperatures, too. Then anti-caking agents which prevent salt from mixing with moist air in the salt container are added. (Under US law, up to 2% of table salt is allowed to be made of additives; can do no harm??? Really???).
The extremely high heat, is the biggest culprit. It causes the main minerals to bond unnaturally - sodium and chloride - which are so essential and crucial for us to have on-board. The extreme heat restructures them become a bonded two-some that cannot; separate during digestion and robs us of their nutritional effects. The heat-bonded sodium chloride is seen by our bodies as a toxic molecule. Finally, the iodine that is added to salt for our health is usually synthetic which is difficult for our bodies to process properly, so that advertising claim is worth babbkes. Natural iodine in rock salt is indispensable!

So, we can just walk around all this confusion by using the big balls of beautiful Himalayan salt - often sold as candle holders in health food stores (even at some drug store chains around hallowe’en). These beautiful balls have obviously NOT been treated - neither with chemicals nor heat. Then take the salt ball; place it in a pillow case or cloth bag that you don't mind torturing, and bang away with a hammer or mallet. The ball will crush into large and very fine pieces. The large ones you can place into a wide-mouthed GLASS jar and add water (just to saturation). The brine you create will be perfectly healthy for cooking and adding to your cooking. The tiny salt pieces that splinter off from the pounding and dust can go into a salt grinder - for on the table. The grinder will take a toll as the salt is so hard! The saturated brine will taste beautifully - life giving!

The replenishing nutrients can be picked up through the skin, too. Stimulate circulation, detoxify and soothe sore muscles by way of a very hot bath, 30 minutes and voila! Naturally rich in 80+ nourishing and skin-replenishing minerals, bathing with your pink Himalayan salt brine is brilliant; always make sure that the concentration of salts is higher in the tub than in your body - so that's upwards or four cups - depending on the size of the tub. (We are salty bodies! Just taste your tears!) This is not a place to skimp! You want the flow of minerals to be inward rather than leeching outward, which is what happens if you use just a little. Another healing and therapeutic experience for mind and body is a combination of Himalayan salt and Epsom salts.

Crystal rock lamps are sold for air purification purposes in some health stores. Having this rock or candleholder around will make absolutely no difference to your air quality unless you have an entire wall of salt (in spite of the claims). But using that crystal rock in your kitchen for cooking is a huge asset.
Crystal salt rooms for improved breathing have such a massive amount of rock salt that there certainly is a therapeutic difference for healing bronchial and lung tissue - a really good thing. Take a look at the Romanian salt mines below! And the Polish one at http://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com

And a few details for the discerning nutritionists amongst us:

  • Good salt can create an improved electrolyte balance and therefore a better pH (alkalinity/acidity)
  • Good salt can increase hydration - which includes the regulation of water content both inside and outside of cells and improves energy, lymph and blood circulation and this in turn can help prevent muscle cramping
  • Good salt can aid in improved metabolism functioning (adding chloride, per example, gives our stomachs more hydrochloric acid for our digestive juices to work better) and helps the intestines absorb some nutrients better as well as supporting the thyroid a tad with the extra REAL iodine

Bon Appétit!

Merrie Bakker

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