Salt is essential to human survival.
The very blood in our veins carries the same saltwater concentration that flowed in the ancient oceans from which our
first ancestral cells arose. Salts are particularly important to replace when a person has been exercising, as they
are lost through sweat. Note that a natural "sports drink" replacing needed carbohydrates and electrolytes can be
made by mixing organic white grape juice with organic lemon juice and sea salt.
That said, it is important to note
that the modern diet has overused and abused this vital nutrient, and many people are seeking to cut back their intake. Sodium
is present in many foods not containing actual "salt", and persons on a medically prescribed diet restricting sodium intake
should be very careful to watch for hidden sodium sources, including baking soda and baking powder.
Note: If you are following a restricted
diet for medical reasons, PLEASE do not deviate from the prescribed diet without consulting your health care professional.
When salt intake is reduced or eliminated,
it is important to ensure that adequate levels of iodine are still present in the diet, or available through supplementation,
most commonly with kelp. Iodine is added to commercial salt in order to prevent thyroid problems, such as goiter; sea
salt, and celtic sea salt, do not necessarily contain iodine levels adequate to human nutritional needs, and kelp or other
iodine supplementation may be necessary in diets where these more natural salts replace commercial iodized salt.
Commercial iodized salt is refined
in a high-temperature (1200 degrees Farenheit) flash-cooling process, which tightens the molecular bond and makes refined
salt less soluble and harder to digest. In addition, commercial salt usually contains many additives other than iodine,
including sugar, sodium silico aluminate, magnesium carbonate, silicon dioxide, sodium ferrocyanide (!!!), and green ferric
ammonium sulfate, all of which are permitted to promote free flow - which is why celtic sea salt is my salt of choice.
Celtic sea salt is often slightly moist
and greyish and may need to be ground for use; it is unlikely to be free-flowing in a salt shaker, but does work with
some pepper and spice grinders. It provides a wide array of essential minerals which have been lost from our agricultural
land, and are therefore not reliably present in our foods. It has been recommended for use by people suffering from
Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Celtic sea salt may be found in health food stores, sometimes available
in bulk at places like food co-ops.
Salt serves the function of enhancing
the flavors of other foods when used in small amounts. This function may be served by other flavors, notably including
lemon and herbs.
Salt has been used in baking primarily
for preservative purposes, and to control the growth of yeast. It slows yeast growth, preventing over-rising, but should
therefore not be added to a recipe until the yeast has had a good start. Salt-free yeast breads should be watched closely
to prevent overproofing, and to stop them from developing too yeasty a flavor. There are also other means of controlling
yeast activity that can be easily substituted, and salt is completely unnecessary in any recipe calling for baking powder
or baking soda, such as quick breads, cakes, and cookies.
Almost all commercial foods are made
with excessive amounts of salt, to cover the lack of flavor from the ingredients grown in exhausted farmlands and storage-
and shipping-oriented varieties. Our palates must be allowed some time to recover from this overdosing before they can
be expected to truly appreciate the fullness of the flavors of low salt and salt-free cooking. During this transitional
period, some people prefer to add a more natural salt, or a salty substance such as miso, tamari (soy sauce), kelp, or nutritional
yeast, to those recipes where the salty flavor is desired. Most sweet foods taste better when the salt is removed, so
substitution is unlikely to be necessary or desired.
most recipes can benefit by having their salt content reduced, amount of salt substitute used must be largely to taste:
Peel or Lemon Juice
and Spices - basil, oregano, dill, thyme, tarragon, onion, garlic, caraway, poppy seeds, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger,
like vegetable powder or nutritional yeast
kelp or other seaweed (a great source of trace elements)
or Miso - contains salt from fermentation}
salt or Celtic Sea Salt - still forms of salt, these are more
natural, containing essential trace elements