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Vegan Health
Salt and the Human Body

Commercial Table Salt vs Natural Sea & Rock Salt

Iodized Table Salt
Those little round cylindrical pour boxes of salt that we all grew up with are not be the best salt for a human to consume. After having taken care of two parents that suffered from congestive heart failure, I learned early on that salts differ and the wrong sodium intake wreaks havoc with many bodies immediately with water retention and high blood pressure results from its use. So if you suffer from high blood pressure or other health issues, iodized table salt is not the best thing to put into your body. But don't despair, there are GOOD salts that don't produce these unwanted side effects!

The Problem
Commercial production of Iodized TABLE SALT is produced by using extremely high temperatures running around 1500 degrees F. These extreme temperatures cause the additives and adulterants to coat the salt crystals. Manufacturers of table salt want this coating so that their product can pour easily without clumping no matter how long the salt has been sitting on the store shelf or the climate conditions surrounding it. Since commercial table salt elements are not water soluble, doctors and scientists report that the salt (actually the additives) can settle in the bloodstream and can create hardening of the arteries.

Today you will find that iodized table salt is composed of insoluble inorganic elements like:
Potassium chloride
Potassium sulphate
Magnesium bromide
Calcium chloride
Sodium sulphate
Barium chloride
Strontium chloride

These elements may be good for household cleaning, but not for human consumption.

Regardless of the inorganic insoluble elements, the real issue in this SALT Thesis is TASTE and HEALTH! Once you learn about all the other natural salts available and taste them, you'll immediately know and feel the difference in your body!

Table Salt Summary
Pros: inexpensive, pours easily, great household cleaner, prevents goiter if iodine has been added

Cons: sharp taste, dissolves slowly, full of additives, affects human body water retention

Natural Sea and Rock Salts
To produce better health and better taste for foods, Chez Bettay recommends using sea or rock salt. Naturally harvested sea and rock salts contain elements that will work harmoniously with the enzymes in the body causing the salt to be utilized constructively.

Natural Sea and Rock Salt will usually be found to contain the following elements:
Sodium chloride 90-95%
Calcium sulphate .05-1%
Magnesium sulphate .05-1%
Magnesium chloride .05-1%
Iron 10PPM
Copper 3PPM
Other Trace Minerals

The Health Issue of Salt Use
The human body needs salt to regulate the electrolyte balance inside and outside of its cells. Some medical studies show that diets low in sodium lower a person's blood pressure... and this is true if they had been using commercial table salt instead of natural sea or rock salts. As with many health issues, scientists and doctors don't universally agree on the health benefits and problems related to salt intake and I never see documentation on what type of salt was used in the test. From personal experiences in caring for my in-laws who had congestive heart failure, I know that commercial table salt caused their bodies to retain fluid and affected their blood pressure whenever they ate in restaurants that used commercial table salt. Whereas, when I used natural Hawaiian sea salt in my cooking at home or ate in restaurants that used natural sea salts, it never produced adverse side effects for them.

So, What is Sea Salt
To produce sea salts, unpolluted sea water from bays in different parts of the world are naturally evaporated. Texture of the salt crystals and taste is the focus in choosing a sea salt. Large grains, small crystals, wafer flakes, wet crystals... the experience is awesome! Simply take time to look for these salts at import stores, health food stores and gourmet shops. Prices will vary widely, but the taste will be worth the expense. Also your body will respond favorably when ingested.

Less is More
Those of you cutting down on salt should know that the amount of sodium is based on the density of the salt crystals. Sea and rock salts actually taste saltier than the same amount of a regular table salt - so you get more flavor with less sodium. By using natural sea or rock salts, you can get great taste plus satisfy the need to cut back on salt.

Your TASTE Buds
There really is no way to know what your tongue will enjoy without experimentation. I've listed my favorite salts below, but there are hundreds of companies selling natural sea and rock salts. Look for salt wherever there are food items sold. Take them home and try them with a finger test and on an apple or cucumber slice. You could even have a "Salt Tasting Party" to introduce friends to the world of assorted sea and rock salts.

HINT: Use expensive sea and boutique salts as condiments sprinkled on top of a dish just before presentation.

Chez Bettay's Favorite Sea & Rock Salts
My taste test reflects my taste buds! You'll have to try each one for yourself and decide the ones you like best.

Hawaiian Alae... A Dry Red Colored Sea Salt
This is my favorite all around sea salt... lived in Honolulu for 8 years and found it in most grocery stores.
Location: Naturally evaporated from Hawaiian sea water.
Taste: Smooth
Dissolves: Slowly
Color: Hard and dry rusty-orange crystals.
Use: Finishing
Cost: Inexpensive
Where: Internet or buy in the Hawaiian Islands at Longs.



Old Time Brand Hawaiian Sea Salt... Dry White Large Crystal Sea Salt
Great tasting Hawaiian sea salt with a sharper taste.

Location: Naturally evaporated from Hawaiian sea water.
Taste: Mildly Sharp
Dissolves: Slowly
Color: Hard and dry white crystals.
Use: All Round Use
Cost: Inexpensive
Where: Internet or buy in the Hawaiian Islands at Longs.


Sel Gris... Moist Gray Large Crystal Sea Salt
Great finishing salt to sprinkle on focaccia or sautéed vegetables.
Location: Naturally evaporated on the northern Atlantic coast of France.
Taste: Sea-ish
Dissolves: Slowly
Color: Wet, grayish, wet, large crystals
Taste: Sweet, delicate
Use: Finishing
Cost: Inexpensive to Expensive depends on where you purchase it.
Where: Trader Joe's or Willams-Sonoma


Fleur de Sel... A Moist Small Crystal French Sea Salt
Fleur de Sel, meaning the "flower of salt," is my favorite finishing sea salt. It is gathered on the island of Ré, off France's Atlantic coast, since the seventh century. Sun and wind evaporate the sea water, leaving fine, light crystals that are skimmed from the surface of salt pans. Beloved by centuries of good cooks, it is distinguished by a subtle, pure flavor and high concentration of minerals.
Location: Naturally evaporated off France's Atlantic Sea Coast
Taste: Slightly sweet
Dissolves: Slowly
Color: Delicate white small crystals
Use: Finishing
Cost: Expensive... an 8.8 ounce jar costs $10.50
Where: Williams-Sonoma


La Baleine, Salins du Midi... A Dry Small & Large Crystal French Sea Salt

I found La Baleine at Whole Foods in La Jolla, California. It comes in a blue (fine crystal) or red (coarse crystal)round container. Its taste is mild and dissolves quickly for cooking purposes.

Location: Naturally evaporated off France's Mediterranean Sea Coast
Taste: Makes the hairs on your tongue sit-UP!
Dissolves: Quickly
Color: White small and coarse crystals.
Use: Great for cooking and on the table.
Cost: Inexpensive... 26 ounces costs $3.50
Where: Whole Foods in California


Pacific Salt... A Dry Fine & Coarse New Zealand Sea Salt
I picked up Pacific Salt at Ocean Beach CoOp to give it a taste test. It is mild and great for everyday food seasoning. It is solar dried and contains no additives.
Location: Naturally evaporated from the southern seas surrounding New Zealand.
Taste: Smooth
Dissolves: Quickly
Color: White small or coarse crystals.
Use: Great for cooking and on the table.
Cost: Inexpensive... 26 ounces costs $3.50
Where: Ocean Beach CoOp in California.


Real Salt... Mined Rock Salt
Deep within the earth are rich salt beds of evaporated ancient seas. Miners look for the purest veins to use as gourmet table salt. Again, taste is everything and I suggest buying assorted brands to see what your tongue enjoys. The brand RealSalt has a dry consistency with pinkish flicks of color because of the natural trace minerals it contains... it even has naturally occurring iodine.
Real Salt... A Fine Rock Salt
A friend brought me a bottle of Real Salt last year after talking about cooking.
Location: Naturally mined in Redmond, Utah.
Taste: Vibrantly salty
Dissolves: Quickly
Color: Fine white and rusty-orange crystals
Use: Great for cooking and on the table.
Cost: Inexpensive...
Website: RealSalt.com


Containers for Dispensing Sea Salt
Using freshly ground sea salts and pepper in recipes makes a noticeable difference in taste. But you’ll need grinders that have housings made of acrylic for sea salt. It is possible to use a steel pepper grinder, but the mechanism will deteriorate after a while and the grinder may be affected by corrosion from the salt. To avoid buying disappointment, be sure to ask a knowledgeable salesperson or note that the grinder is designed exclusively for SALT USE on the packaging.


Healthy Uses for Sea Salt
The Nasal Pot Wash
Nasal Cleansing Pot
An excellent use for sea and rock salt is in nasal passage washing solutions. By creating a saline solution in a nasal pot, you can clear up sinus problems and promote healing in the nasal passages. But make sure it is a natural sea salt or natural rock salt that you use to create the solution. >>MORE

Sore Throat Pain
I also read that adding a pinch of cayenne pepper with a sea salt solution and gargling with it is a great way to relieve sore throat pain!

Betty Morgan, Chez Bettay, the Vegan Gourmet
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"Hawaiian Sea Salt is my favorite!"
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