Since going raw, I’ve been craving the white stuff. Crystal sea crack. Iodized table dust. You get it—I need it.
I’ve been a vegan for about two years, and salt was my “comfort food,” to put it mildly. I took my oatmeal with salt, and plenty of it. I salted plain bread for a snack. Pasta? Corn? Potatoes? Rice? Salt. Actually, most of my diet consisted of fruit, followed by, of course, salted starches to tone down the sweetness. I tried giving it up for Lent, the way I gave up dairy two years ago, but it lasted for…oh, seven hours.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a little woozy (especially when running), and after some experimentation, I’ve found that salt—or rather, the lack thereof—seems to be causing it. I’m fully aware that this is withdrawal, because there’s no denying that I was eating harmful amounts. I could feel my heart crying as it watched me saturate an innocent bowl of popcorn.
Here’s what I want to know: what is the general opinion on salt in the raw community? Does a generality even exist? Is sea salt “raw,” and how often is its use acceptable? Are there certain raw foods with a high sodium content?
I feel that the sodium in food is all that the human body requires, but it’s obvious that I need to do some weaning, here.
Hi Evigail, I’m glad you asked about salt. Table salt and sea salt are just poo!
According to Paul Bragg,
1. SALT IS NOT A FOOD! There is no more justification for its culinary use
than there is for potassium chloride, calcium chloride, barium chloride, or any
other harmful chemical to season food.
2. Salt cannot be digested, assimilated, or utilized by the body. Salt has no
nutritional value! SALT HAS NO VITAMINS! NO ORGANIC MINERALS! NO NUTRIENTS OF ANY KIND! Instead, it is positively harmful and may bring on troubles in the kidneys, bladder, heart, arteries, veins, and blood vessels. Salt may waterlog the tissues, causing a dropsical condition.
3. Salt may act as a heart poison. It also increases the irritability of the
4. Salt acts to rob calcium from the body and attacks the mucous lining
throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract.
SALT IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO LIFE
It is frequently claimed that salt is essential for the support of life.
However, there is no information available to substantiate this viewpoint. The truth is that entire races (primitive peoples) use absolutely no salt today and have not used it throughout their entire history. If salt were essential to life, these races would have become extinct long ago. The fact that they are not only alive but have far better health than other races, would seem to indicate that the supposed “necessity” of salt is a commercially-inspired invention or merely the product of the imagination.
WHAT SALT DOES TO YOUR STOMACH
An important objection to salt is the fact that it interferes with the normal digestion of food. Pepsin, an enzyme found in the hydrochloric acid of the stomach, is essential for the digestion of proteins. When salt is used, only 50% as much pepsin is secreted as would otherwise be the case. Obviously, under such conditions, digestion of protein foods is incomplete or too slow. The result is excessive putrefaction of protein and, in some instances, gas and digestive distress.
THE SALT HABIT IS A DEADLY HABIT—BREAK IT!
People undoubtedly would not add inorganic salt to their food if they were never
taught to do so in the first place. The taste for salt is an acquired one. When salt is eliminated from the diet for a short time, the craving for it ceases. It is only during the first few weeks after table salt is discontinued that it is really missed… after that, abstinence is of little difficulty. In fact, many of my health students… who have broken the deadly salt habit… write me that NOW they cannot stand salted foods! When someone serves them salted food, it gives them an abnormal thirst for liquids.
As far as salty vegetables go, try celery, kale, dandelion, spinach, and chard.
There is one other thing that might be affecting you…sulfur. Just a guess here but sulfur regulates your sodium/potassium pump.
Thank you so much for the information! I definitely have that “acquired taste,” and it has completely overwhelmed my sweet tooth. I would pass up a whole melon for a pinch of salt right now.
That post was one I needed to see. I’m out of the habit of thinking of salt as a potentially deadly chemical. It just occurred to me that the sodium found in food and sodium CHLORIDE are two completely different things! I always lumped them in the same category.
Sulfur’s not something I’m familiar with. Would I find it in the greens you mentioned, too? Usually nutrients that depend on one another are found together…
(By the way, I clicked on your picture. You are gorgeous.)
Thanks so much for the compliment. You are beautiful as well. The pic was from the Commerce Bank 5 Borough Bike Tour a couple of weeks ago (42 mile ride through NYC).
I started taking MSM (sulfur) after reading a book by David Wolfe…Eating for Beauty (not a book I would recommend…I found it lacking).
I know it’s lengthy but here is an article you might find of use
by David Wolfe
After many years of research in the field of raw vegan nutrition, my studies and experience have led me to explore the role and the importance of minerals. Through the reading of books on health and nutrition, I have discovered that of all the major minerals, sulfur is one of the least researched, and most mysterious.
Sulfur is generally considered to be the 8th or 9th most abundant mineral in the human body. It is stored in every cell in the body, with the highest concentrations being in the joints, hair, skin, and nails.
Sulfur is found in the following amino acids: methionine, taurine, cysteine, cystine. The latter three amino acids can be made by the body from methionine and sulfur-residue foods. Sulfurous amino acids protect us against the effects of radiation and heavy metals.
Sulfur plays four major roles in the body
Sodium/Potassium Pump: Sulfur regulates the sodium/potassium electrolyte pump within each cell. Sulfur helps relieve pain and inflammation by regulating this pump. Sulfur also helps to manage the use of sea vegetables in the diet. This is because sea vegetables tend to be very high in sodium, and very high in potassium, and thus put stress on the sodium/potassium balance in the diet.
Detoxification and the Immune System: Every time the body removes invading toxins from the cells, it also removes a sulfur compound that neutralizes the toxin in the first place. Therefore, sulfur is vital in daily nutrition. And sulfur is a vital part of the immune system.
Good bacterial flora utilize sulfur-residue foods to build various penicillins to fight infections. Bad flora utilize sulfur as a food source also, except they use sulfur found in preservatives like sulfur dioxide (sprayed on many varieties of non-organic dried fruit).
Insulin: Sulfur is a component of insulin, which is the hormone regulating the uptake of glucose within cells for energy. Sulfur functions along with thiamine and biotin in a normal sugar metabolism. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is associated with a deficiency of sulfur at some level.
Tissue Repair: Sulfur helps to provides elasticity, movement, healing, and repair within tissues. It reduces lactic acid build up, and plays a role in eliminating muscle, leg, and back cramps. Adequate sulfur levels in the diet can increase the recovery time in athletes by an estimated 75%.
Signs of a sulfur deficiency
Slow wound healing
Lung dysfunctions due to inflammation
The major effects of including significant amounts of sulfur in a healthy diet
Elimination of arthritis
Dispersion of gout
Alleviation of bronchitis
Improvement of the overall immune response
Faster recovery from exercise and muscle/joint stress
Sulfur and rheumatoid arthritis
The sulfur concentration of arthritic tissue has been found to be 1/3 that of what is considered to be a healthy level. Much has been heard about the benefits of the colloidal MSM (sulfur) supplement powder and its positive effects on arthritis. And, judging by the important role sulfur plays in joint health, these claims are likely to be true.
Coming from an understanding that we should receive our minerals naturally from foods, it is important to understand that sulfur-residue foods can provide us with superior healing from arthritis.
The role of sulfur in arthritis
Improves joint flexibility
Reduces stiffness and swelling
Reduces pain associated with the inflammation
Reduces scar tissue
Breaks up calcium deposits (inorganic calcium calcifies tissue, creating arthritis)
Other ailments aided by sulfur
Acne: I have seen acne clear away by eating large portions of red radishes almost every day with unpasteurized miso.
Allergies: Sulfur-residue foods help alleviate pollen and food allergies.
Asthma: Sulfur regulates fluid that covers the surface of airways via electrolyte transport.
Cancer: Sulfur-residue foods inhibit the formation of carcinogens and tumors.
Hypoglycemia/diabetes: Sulfur is a key element in insulin production and carbohydrate (sugar) metabolism. It also helps restore normal blood sugar levels by making cells more permeable. This in turn restores normal pancreatic function as blood sugar is absorbed by the cells.
Parasites (giardia, trichomonads, roundworms, etc.): Sulfur competes for binding receptor sites in the mucus membranes of the intestines.
Gum disease: Sulfur reduces inflammtion and eliminates odors.
Hair, nails, and skin: Sulfur is Nature’s beauty mineral!
Adequate sulfur levels are maintained by including sulfur-residue foods regularly in one’s diet, and sometimes, when instinct dictates, to include large doses. Sulfur-residue foods are commonly recognized by their characteristic spicy, heating effect that is evident in such foods as garlic, onions, mustard, and horseradish. The following is a list of sulfur-residue foods:
Red hot peppers
Cabbage (when spicy)
Mustard, radish flowers (very good sulfur source)
Many wild and domesticated cruciferous vegetables (including some spicy broccoli and kale)
How to eat sulfur-residue foods
Sulfur is a heating mineral, and there is a way of combining sulfur-rich food with other foods in your diet so that you assimilate the most amount of sulfur from the foods.
Sulfur is alchemically very strong. The harshness of sulfur-rich foods may be softened by combining them with a fatty food, such as avocado, olives, nuts, and some seeds. This means that, if one eats a sulfur-rich food, such as arugula, in large quantities, then one should eat avocado or nuts with it to soften the edge.
Because sulfur is heating, if it is overeaten, it will overheat the intestines. This can result in gas. This reaction has turned many people off from eating sulfur-rich foods. But, what many people do not know is that salty foods may be used to balance off the sulfur-rich foods, and prevent undesirable reactions to them. When someone eats sulfur-rich foods, they should eat at least as much, or more, of a salty vegetable. Salty vegetables include celery, kale, dandelion, spinach, and chard.
Overall, one must eat both a fatty-food, and a salty vegetable, with sulfur-rich foods in order for everything to be assimilated and balanced properly. Experiment and test with different combinations to determine what works best for you.
Once again, thank you! I have the perfect recipe to go with the information in this article. It already includes onions, garlic and avocados, and I think I’ll start throwing in dandelion leaves (hey, they’re free) and celery. It shouldn’t alter the taste too much. I really had no idea that sulfur had anything to do with sodium/potassium. I’m not drinking or eating nearly enough greens, so I’ll definitely add them before exercise and see if it helps.
maybe that is why i am craving so much celery. it is so hydrating too. i have a lot of greens and for sure i am not craving too much salt. oh tahini kind of satisfies my salty cravings.