Sea Salt vs. Table Salt

Salt and the Sea

So, what’s the argument – doesn’t all salt come from the sea? Yes, of course, “table salt” is “sea salt.”  The use of  the terms “table salt” versus “sea salt”  is a good attempt to distinguish the salt most people call “salt” from its healthier, whole food counterpart.

“Table salt” is a highly refined, highly processed “sea salt.” After being mined, it is heated and chemically treated. It is bleached, as most salt in it’s natural state is whitish-gray or even pinkish in color.

“Table salt” is the equivalent of “white sugar,” “white flour,” and other refined, de-natured foods. In processing salt, the minerals – other than sodium and chloride – are removed, and often iodine is added in. Iodine is one of eight trace minerals that are very important in small amounts.

“Sea salt” is the unrefined salt obtained directly from the oceans through natural evaporation. Manufacturers do not refine it like other types of salt. Therefore, it contains varying amounts of minerals and trace minerals (including iodine) and other nutrients. “Sea salt” therefore is considered a healthier option than “table salt.” It is available in coarse, fine and extra fine grain size.

Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains (and fish, eggs and some meat and dairy, if you choose) insures that we are providing our body with enough iodine and all the other nutrients we require. Eating one sheet of nori a few times a week (dried seaweed used in sushi/vegetables rolls), or any other seaweed, will most likely provide enough iodine, and lots of other nutrients. For more info, visit EarthClinic.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Photo credit: Angelyn Whitmeyer/www.IdentifyThatPlant.com

The time is approaching to harvest Jerusalem artichokes.  We have lots of these “sunchokes” growing in our gardens. Early in the spring they emerged as a lush carpet of green, rising up tall with small sun-flowers at their crown.

By late summer (early September) here in the Carolinas, the plants are falling over, and beginning to die back.  Once there is a hard frost, the sunchokes are ready to harvest and eat.

In an article titled “Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It,  Megan Saynisch explores the unique culture of this distinctive tuber, which is a member of the sunflower family.

Nutritionally, Jerusalem artichokes are high in iron, potassium, and thiamine.  The principle storage carbohydrate immediately after harvest is inulin, which is converted in the digestive tract to fructose rather than glucose. OliveandHerb.com has a recipe for Easy Roasted Sunchoke Fries. One of my favorite ways to eat these sweet sunchokes is simply to steam them, and toss them with a bit of olive oil, garlic and sea salt. Or you can dip them in horseradish sauce, or a lemon-butter sauce.

What are your favorite ways to eat Jerusalem artichokes?

Surprise Oatmeal Ingredient – Sprouts!

You know what we did this morning for breakfast?  We put sprouts in our oatmeal!  And it was delicious.

The oatmeal was ready to go with bananas and raisins, shredded coconut and a few pecans already added.  And then – inspiration! We added a sprout mix (chickpea, mung, adzuki, and green pea) that had just finished growing and was ready for eating.  The sprouts gave the oatmeal a nutty flavor, and provided a crunchy texture along with the added benefit of raw food nutrients. A drizzle of blackstrap molasses sealed the deal – a super-nutritious power-packed breakfast!

For more information on everything sprouts (growing, buying seeds, nutritional value, etc) visit The Sproutman.

Try the oatmeal idea, and let us know if you like it. And, what do you enjoy combining with your oatmeal?

Preserving Food without Losing Nutrients

Our sauerkraut adventures continue here at home. In a previous post on Making Cultured Vegetables, we mention a few of the benefits of eating cultured veggies (adding valuable probiotics and enzymes to your body, which help stamp out Candida, boost your immune system and curb your cravings for sweets.)

If you have more interest in fermentation as a way of preserving foods, you might really enjoy a video with Sandor Katz on The Art of Fermentation. It is based on the book with that title, published by Chelsea Green.

Share with our readers what your interest and experience is with fermenting foods.

Dinner is a Date with the Doctor: 5 Asian Superfoods by Mark Hyman, MD

fresh IngredientsHere is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Hyman, MD. Mark is a physician, advocate and educator “dedicated to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach called Functional Medicine.”

On his website, DrHyman.com, Mark states that “the fork is your most powerful tool to change your health and the planet; food is the most powerful medicine to heal chronic illness.” As a holistic nutritionist with a Food and Wellness Coaching practice, I surely agree.

The article begins:

Medicine doesn’t always come in a pill. In fact some of the most powerful medicines are delicious and can be found at your local supermarket or “farmacy.” Healing foods have been used for centuries in Asia as part of the cuisine. In Asia food and medicine are often the same thing.

Here are five foods you may never have heard of but can be found at most Asian markets and even places like Whole Foods. Try them. You might be surprised by their unique and extraordinary good taste. And they may help you lose weight, reverse diabetes, read more…

Rosehips

RosehipsFall and the rosehips are ready for picking!

Rose hips are the edible and nutritious fruit of the rose plant.  Rose hips are rich in Vitamin C, A, D and E, iron and flavonoids. They also contains essential fatty acids which are involved in tissue regeneration and retinoic acid, supporting skin rejuvenation and healing of skin damage.  Rose hip tea can also soothe the nervous system and relieve exhaustion.

The vitamin content of the hips varies depending on the species, the growing environments, climate, manner of harvest, and the care taken in drying and storage. The hips of roses grown in cooler climates have been found to have a higher content of vitamin C.

The Practical Herbalist website gives some useful information on harvesting and storing rosehips.