Monthly Archives: August 2011

Activism Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Deceptions in the Food Industry: Low-Sodium and No Salt Added

As we continue in the Deceptions in The Food Industry series, today we’re talking about salt. Has your doctor advised you to lower your salt intake for your health? If so, there are a few things you ought to know about processed foods in the stores, many of which claim to be healthier because the label reads “low-sodium” or “no salt added”.

Salt is not what you think it is

The first thing you should know is that most processed foods *do* contain abnormally high levels of sodium. This is mostly to make otherwise unpalatable food taste good. In addition, due to processing, refined salt contains little else besides sodium chloride, and to add flavor to foods, more of this chemical must be added.

The type of salt used in processed foods is the highly-refined variety comprised of sodium chloride and devoid of important trace minerals. When you eat processed foods containing this kind of sodium, you are filling your body with a deadly poison that it then attempts to protect the tissues from by retaining water. This causes weight gain, pain, edema, and other health issues.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“For every gram of sodium chloride that your body cannot get rid of, your body uses 23 times the amount of cell water to neutralize the salt. Eating common table salt causes excess fluid in your body tissue, which can contribute to:

  • Unsightly cellulite
  • Rheumatism, arthritis and gout
  • Kidney and gall bladder stones

When you consider that the average person consumes 4,000 to 6,000 mg of sodium chloride each day, and heavy users can ingest as much as 10,000 mg in a day, it is clear that this is a serious and pervasive issue.”

Refined salt also contains other substances besides salt which are also harmful to the body. According to Dr. David Brownstein:

“All food-grade salt available in the U.S. must comply with the National Academy of Science’s Food Chemicals Codex Sodium Chloride Monograph (1996). Up to 2% of food-grade salt may contain anti-caking, free flowing, or conditioning agents. These agents may include sodium ferrocyanide, ammonium citrate, and aluminum silicate. None of these products have any positive effects in the body. Dextrose, also known as refined sugar, is used as a stabilizer so that iodide will stay in the salt. The final purity of food-grade salt is between 99.7-99.95% “pure”. Pure refers to the sodium and chloride content. The other ‘impurities’, including healthy minerals and elements, have been removed from refined salt.”

Why is salt refined? The basic reason is that marketing through the food industry and the health industry has convinced consumers that there is no difference in nutritional value between refined table salt and sea salt, and that the consumer will be more likely to purchase it because it appears “cleaner” and less “impure”.  And because unrefined table salt will clump when exposed to moisture, suppliers and merchants lose money when products on the shelves become un-sellable.

Salt is vital to health

We actually do need salt for all aspects of human health, contrary to popular health recommendations. If we didn’t have it salt, we would die.

According to Ann Louise Gittleman, ND, MS:

“Sodium is so important, in fact that humans have a specific sensor on the tongue that can detect salt. Thousands of years ago, when the diet of humans was potassium-rich and sodium poor, this sensor for salt was a crucial survival tool. Nature, in her infinite wisdom, devised a way to help humans (as well as animals) seek out salty foods so they could be assured of receiving adequate sodium from their diets. This is important because sodium – often found in the form of sodium chloride or salt – plays countless roles in the body.”

Salt contains essential minerals that help us to maintain normal blood pressure, support our adrenal glands, endocrine, and immune system. Salt also plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of fluid between our cells (often called “extracellular fluid”). Minerals in salt help maintain the integrity of our cells. Those minerals must remain in balance to allow the absorption of nutrient and excretion of waste within the cell membranes. If we are deficient, cell permeability is lowered and the health of all the cells is compromised.

Salt plays an important role in maintaining the cells blood and lymphatic fluid in our bodies. It is also necessary for our bodies to produce hydrochloric acid for digestion. Sodium works with potassium to maintain proper nerve function and contraction of muscles (as one example, the heart, which is the hardest – working muscle). Salt is necessary to maintain several kinds of equilibrium – electrolyte balance, and pH (acid/alkaline) balance, without which can cause many different health issues.

Unrefined sea salt, celtic sea salt, Himalayan Salts, and other similar salts which contain about 80 vital trace minerals, are essential to health and should be the clear choice over refined, highly processed, sodium chloride.

Here are some good brands of unrefined sea salt:

Celtic Sea Salt

Himalayan pink salt

Redmond Real Salt

Marine Sea Salt

If you want additional minerals, the following are also natural and beneficial:

Lactose-free cell salts

Hyland’s Bioplasma tablets

Kelp granules

Did you miss the other Deceptions in the Food Industry posts?

“All natural”

Lean meats

Low-fat foods

Green Living Guest Posts Healthy Living Saving money

Making Your Own Organic Garden Fertilizer

Gardening is one of my favorite labor-of-loves. When you produce your own food, you have control over the types of food you grow and knowing exactly how it has been produced.

And being outside on your own property, planting and nurturing growing things provides a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction too.

This year, I have not been able to plant as I had wanted because we are going to be moving soon, so my poor little garden box has gone fallow. We thought we’d have moved a month ago or, but we are still waiting for the bank to give us a long-awaited answer about approval on our short-sale.

Because I’m not gardening this year, I’m continuing to support local farmers, which I always do. And, I’m ever-so-grateful to have an informative guest post about making your own organic fertilizer for your garden from Marina Chernyak.  I’ve never made my own fertilizer, so this is something I definitely want to try next year. I hope you can use this easy, step-by-step guide to make the most out of what you’ve planted this season and next.


If you’re one of the lucky ones with a garden of your own, you’ll want to derive as much produce as possible from every square foot of it. If you follow organic, sustainable gardening practices, not only can you feed your family entirely out of your garden, you can actually optimize you’re the nutritional quality of your produce. We’ve detailed methods using which you can create a properly balanced organic fertilizing mix that is quite potent and effective. This fertilizer works out far less expensive than its commercial alternatives, not to mention that it allows your soil to breathe. Use this fertilizer along with regular compost additions to experience incredible results.

Components of organic fertilizer

Five elements come together to form organic fertilizer, all of which play important roles when it comes to providing soil nutrition. In order to make your fertilizer, you need to add all the required components into a compost bin. This is where all the chemical and physical reactions will occur and form the organic fertilizer.

The five key elements are:

  1. The green layer that produces nitrogen
  2. The brown layer that produces carbon
  3. Good quality air
  4. Water free of chemicals
  5. Garden soil

Step 1: Get your compost bin ready

You need to invest in a good sized compost bin in which you can make enough fertilizer to suffice your entire garden. You can either buy a large enough plastic bin, or dig a pit that’s one cubic meter by one cubic yard and layer it with plastic. You can also consider constructing a cement tank for this purpose and cover it with a lid that has a few holes for air. Whatever you do, ensure that the compost bin is sturdy enough to contain the chemical reactions that will take place within it.

Step 2: Put together the green layer

You need to gather organic and biodegradable materials such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps, plant and grass cuttings and tea leaves. This collection forms the green layer that will produce the nitrogen your fertilizer needs. The green layer works to trap heat. Heat is the catalyst in the fertilizer: it is the trigger factor that gets soil nutrients to develop.

Step 2: Put together the brown layer

You can add dead plants, weeds, sawdust, wilted flowers, bits of cardboard, straw, hay and other items to comprise the brown layer. This forms your fertilizer’s fiber source. They react when the green layer produces heat.

Step 3: Assemble the compost

Once you’ve collected substantial quantities of both layer elements, add one part of the green layer to every three parts of the brown layer to your compost bin. Ensure that you distribute both components properly. For each set

of green and brown layers, splash some water into the bin and then soil. Repeat the process: 3 parts brown, 1 part green, some water, and then soil, till the bin is full. Give the compost a stir every day and continue to add water. It takes a month or two for the compost to biodegrade. You’ll know this process has occurred when you get a strong odor.

Step 4: Apply the organic fertilizer to your garden

Spread a layer of your organic fertilizer to your garden evenly. The fertilizer interacts with the soil, passing on its nutrients to it. Your plants will grow strong and tall. Retain the remaining fertilizer in the compost bin and mix it with water and new compost materials to extend the fertilizer’s life.

Alternative organic homemade organic fertilizer components

The best organic fertilizers are made out of seed meals and different kinds of lime. You’ll need these two to grow a great garden. You can also add other phosphorous-based components to your fertilizer, as explained below:
1. Seed meals A vegetable oil byproduct, seed meals are made from flaxseed, soybeans, sunflowers, canola, cotton seeds and similar oil seeds. Depending on the part of the country you’re from, you might get a different kind of seed meal. You can store seed meals for a long time, as long as you store them in a dry, airtight metal container, away from pests.  As discussed on the Mother Earth News, to avoid issues from genetic modification in seed meals, choose certified organic meals.
2. Lime Lime is a kind of rock that contains a great deal of calcium. You’ll find three kinds of lime:

  • Agricultural lime, comprised purely out of calcium carbonate
  • Gypsum, which is another form of calcium sulfate (sulfur is a vital plant nutrient).
  • Dolomite, also called dolomitic lime which is composed of equal amounts of magnesium carbonates and calcium.

You can use a mixture of all three types of lime in your fertilizer, or choose just dolomite. Make sure you use natural lime, and not burnt lime, quicklime, hydrated lime or similar chemically-treated, active “hot” limes.

3. Phosphorous-rich components Give your fertilizer a phosphorus boost by adding phosphate rock, guano (bird or bat manure), and bone meal and so on. Guano and phosphate contain a rich trove of trace elements, which is extremely beneficial to your soil. Another component to consider is kelp meal, which is dried seaweed. However, this component is a bit costly, but if you can get hold of it, your garden will thank you for it. Kelp weed contains a composite range of trace minerals, apart from natural hormones whose action is similar to that of plant vitamins and growth regulators that resist stress.


Marina is a SAHM, enjoys doing organic gardening at home and co-owner of cocktail table store