Low-Sodium Diets: Not Worth Their Salt

Why does salt have such a bad rep? The word “salary” is derived from salt, as salt was used to pay wages in ancient Rome.  Have you heard of the phrase “salt of the earth?”  That’s what Jesus called his homies.  Salt has been used in many of the world’s religions in purification rituals.  The words “salad,” “sauce,” and “sausage” are all rooted in the word “salt,”  their inherent deliciousness depending on it.  The early American pioneers used salt to preserve their food and probably ate about twice as much salt as we do today.  When the colonists were denied salt by the British as a Revolutionary war tactic, they figured out how to make it on their own.  The human quest for salt, throughout history, has led to the creation of the main trade routes and therefore, human civilizations have sprung up along these lines.  And now salt is bad? Salt, you may remember from chemistry class, is made of sodium and chloride, held together by a ionic bond that breaks down upon digestion.  Sodium is found in many other food sources, good and bad, but chloride is not found in many food sources, save salt.  Chloride helps regulate water pressure in our cells and it also produces hydrochloric acid, a necessary ingredient for digestion. Do you have acid reflux?  Most people who suffer from this problem are actually lacking in hydrochloric acid. DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN “LOW-SODIUM” AND “LOW-SALT” The war on salt began around 1972 when the National High Blood Pressure Education Program began to warn people of the danger of eating too much sodium.  Many of the...

Seaweed – the superfood you need for calm energy

When I was in college and struggling to turn my health around, I read a nutrition book that suggested eating seaweed.  So, being the “A-student” I am, I bought some nori sheets (what is used to wrap up sushi) and wakame to put in soups and crumbed dulse to use instead of salt on my food.  The first time I ate a meal that contained a large amount of seaweed I noticed an instant feeling of relaxation.  I kept eating it regularly because I instantly felt good whenever I ate it. Turns out it wasn’t just in my head:  seaweed, also known as micro algae or sea vegetables, has been considered a superfood and an essential part of one’s diet in Asia for thousands of years.  Some types of seaweed are considered medicinal in Traditional Chinese medicine to shrink goiters.  Seaweeds are full of macro and micro-nutrients:  vitamins A, C, D, E, K and calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron.  It’s also the best real food source of iodine:  a trace mineral that is essential for thyroid and breast health. Newer studies are proving that there is a link between reduced risk of breast cancer and thyroid disease and increased dietary iodine.  Here’s another link showing how in this sector of Korean women, the ones who ate more seaweed had significantly lower risk of cancer. The average Asian person consumes 25 times more iodine – probably due to the prevalence of fresh seafood and seaweed in their regular diet – than the average American person.  They also have roughly 1/3 the chance of breast cancer than Americans. So, “seaweed...

you don’t need vitamins, you need food

Have you seen these recent studies on Vitamin C that show how excessive use causes more problems than it cures?  Except that the studies didn’t study vitamin C, they studied ascorbic acid! Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C.  It is made in a laboratory.  Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables. “Back in the 1930’s ascorbic acid was isolated out of little red peppers. The man who first performed this experiment was Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi who won a Nobel Prize for his work. What he also found, which has mostly been ignored until recently, was that ascorbic acid was far more biologically available and active while it was still in the red pepper.” – Vitamin C “vs.” Ascorbic Acid By Michael and Nora Wohlfeld Ascorbic acid (“vitamin C”) that you buy at your local drugstore is made in a laboratory with corn syrup and hydrochloric acid.  No wonder it causes problems.  The idea that we can take something man-made to replace what nature provides for us is ludicrous.  This thought pattern is the essential problem behind reductionist medicine (the study and focus of a singular diseased part and ignorance of the whole) and taking isolated chemicals in place of whole foods.  The only way you can replace a food in your diet is with that food- although, perhaps, in an easier to take format such as a tablet or capsule.  This is why I love Standard Process supplements so much; they’re all food-based.  I see a lot of folks with signs of calcium deficiency (muscle cramping, immune challenges, etc.)  When I ask if they’re taking calcium, I see...

How to Have More Will-Power

“I should exercise more…” “I should drink more water…” “I should eat healthier…” “shoulda, woulda, coulda…” We all know what we need to do.  So why don’t we do it? What it is… is that deep inside of all of us… is a little toddler.  No, not like that!  Our inner child who is sometimes like a little toddler who wants to eat ice cream, who doesn’t want to do what they’re “supposed” to do, and who will pout if someone “makes” them.  I’m sorry you think this is brash, but I like to think of it as “tough love.”  Just because you don’t want to do something, or you don’t enjoy the healthy things, you still need to do them.  That is, if you want to be healthy and feel good.  If not, disregard.  If you don’t like the taste of water:  I’m sorry, but just because you don’t like the taste of it, it doesn’t mean your body doesn’t still NEED it.  If you don’t like vegetables:  Sorry, but your body still needs them. If you don’t like to exercise:  Yep, you still need to do it.  When you’re a kid and you decide to eat muffins and juice for breakfast and not drink water all day long, and skip meals, and play video games all day, there’s not too many immediate consequences to convince you that’s a bad idea.  But for adults, there are consequences, and while they won’t show up the first day you eat bad or just laying around for one day, eventually it will catch up with you.  Then you will need to...

Changing Parameters to Prescribe More Meds?

Imagine this:  you’re a detective and you’re trying to figure out who is setting fires all around your city.  You start to think, “Hmmm, at every fire I see these fire-fighters.  I think they’re involved somehow.” The plaque that can build up in your blood vessels is made out of cholesterol.  When these plaques detach from the cellular wall, they can cause a blockage which is the beginning of a heart attack or stroke. Is it the “bad” cholesterol causing this?  Healthy fats glide right through and actually help keep your blood vessels clear.  LDL cholesterol (the “bad guy”) is needed too.  LDL moves nutrition to your cells and also is what repairs tears in your vessel walls.  When the LDL is “too high,” it’s usually from the Liver being over-loaded with glycogen from a diet too high in carbohydrates. In the late 1990s, the average American’s cholesterol reading was around 204.  Now the average is around 189.  So do we have healthier hearts?    Cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, are the #2 most prescribed medication in the US, second only to thyroid meds.   Yet cardio-vascular disease is still the #1 (#2 if you consider deaths from medical errors) cause of death in the US.  Can we really say this is working? The guidelines for prescribing the medications keep changing too.  For statin drugs, as well as hypertension drugs.  If you want to sell more drugs, you lower the limits that increase the number people of “sick” people.  Before 1984, the upper limit for cholesterol was 300.  If you want to sell more drugs, just lower the limit, right?  Then...
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