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.

Grated Summer Salad

Grated Summer Salad

An abundance of vegetables growing in our summer garden inspired this salad. I prepared it with all raw ingredients. Here’s what I did.

In a food processor (you could, of course, use a hand grater) grate:

2 carrots
1 zucchini
1 cucumber
2 beets (or 1 large)
1/4 cup onion (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well.

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice from one smallish lemon
1/4 cup of fruit juice – I used apricot/mango
Dash or 2 of sea salt and pepper

Top with fresh sprouts and parsley. (I almost sprinkled sunflower seeds, too – so any seeds might be worth a try). Here’s an easy, easy way to grow your own sprouts.

I’m already thinking of many variations on a theme. Any fresh vegetables are candidates. If I had snow peas or sugar snaps (we already ate all we grew), they would surely be included. Others high on my list to try:

broccoli
cauliflower
finely chopped kale
radishes
green beans
turnips
sweet red peppers

Consider using your creation as the filler for a wrap or rollup.  Try using tender fresh collard leaves (cut in half) as the rollup. If you haven’t ever tasted raw collard, you are in for a pleasant surprise.  They are mild and sweet-tasting.

I encourage you to play with this and come up with whatever inspires you. Post your experiments and ideas for others to enjoy, too.

Growing Sprouts Easily

Sprouting Seeds - #6 Ready to Eat

Sprouting seeds is really nothing to shy away from. Once you have the few supplies that you need to sprout seeds easily and effectively, the few minutes a day it takes to grow sprouts is well worth the effort for the nourishment and eating pleasure they can provide.

Here’s what you need:

1. Sprouting seeds of your choice – some of our favorite are mung, or a mix of alfalfa, radish and broccoli seeds. It is easier to sprouts seeds of a similar size, so that they are all ready at the same time, and you don’t risk some of them rotting. However, once you have some experience, you will find that it is possible to successfully sprout seeds of varying sizes. Of course, you can always have more than one jarful growing at the same time, with smaller seeds in one, and larger seeds in another.  You can combine them when you are preparing your food to eat.

2. A wide-mouthed jar with a sprouting screen top – I use a quart jar, and a plastic screw-on sprouting screen lid. I got the lid at a local natural foods store. You can also order them online.

2. A cloth to cover the jar for the first day or two.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Sprouting Seeds - #1 Soaking

1. Soak seeds for 3-4 hours (smaller seeds) or 6-8 hours (larger seeds) in 4 parts water to 1 part seed. Use warm (not hot) clean unchlorinated water.

Generally you will find that 3 Tablespoons of seed is a good amount to grow in a quart jar.

Sprouting Seeds - #2 Rinse and Drain

2. Rinse and drain the seeds several times initially. I take the lid off to fill the jar with room temperature water, then put the lid back on and gently swirl water around in the jar. Make sure that seeds are not all clumped together on the side of the jar as you are draining them.  They should be spread out fairly evenly. Sprouts should be rinsed and drained 2-3 times each day.

Sprouting Seeds - #3 Cover While Inverted

3. Leave the jar inverted with air flowing into it.  I use a shallow ceramic bowl, and lean the inverted jar on the wall, with an inch or two of space between the screened jar lid and the bottom of the bowl. Cover the jar to keep out light until the seed sprouts are well developed (2-3 days).

Sprouting Seeds - #4 Uncover and Continue top Rinse and Drain

4. Once the sprouts are developing, and you have removed the cover, continue to rinse 2-3 times for the next 24-48 hours.  The sprouting time will vary depending on the room temperature and seed mixture.

 

Sprouting Seeds - #5 Ready to Clean

5. When the sprouts are well-developed, gently move them to a large bowl of cool water, separate the clumps, let the hulls float to the surface, and skim those off. Doing this will make the sprouts even tastier, and keep them from fermenting or rotting for a longer time.

Sprouting Seeds - #6 Ready to Eat

6. Refrigerate the well-drained sprouts in a plastic bag or glass or plastic container. Sprouts are best fresh and used within 2-3 days.

 

 

Sprouts have been eaten for thousands of years, and provide a wide variety of nutrients with very few calories.  You may be interested in this science of sprout nutrition resource page for more information.

There are other methods for sprouting, utilizing various sprouters that are on the market. I have used many different kinds over the years, and have returned to this method both for its simplicity and minimal space requirement. However, if this does not meet your needs, just do a websearch for sprouters and you are sure to find something that will work well for you.

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…

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

This movie could be life-changing for anyone dealing with blood sugar issues.  In my own practice, I have clients who have seen remarkable changes in their health as a result of eating more raw foods and letting go of processed, dead and chemically-altered foods.

Here’s a synopsis from Top Documentary Films:

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days is an independent documentary film that chronicles six Americans with diabetes who switch to a diet consisting entirely of vegan, organic, uncooked food in order to reverse disease without pharmaceutical medication.

The six are challenged to give up meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged food, and even cooked food for 30 days. The film follows each participant’s remarkable journey and captures the medical, physical, and emotional transformations brought on by this radical diet and lifestyle change. We witness moments of struggle, support, and hope as what is revealed, with startling clarity, is that diet can reverse disease and change lives.

The film highlights each of the six before they begin the program and we first meet them in their home environment with their families. Each participant speaks candidly about their struggle to manage their diabetes and how it has affected every aspect of their life, from work to home to their relationships.

The Dinner Garden: End Hunger Through Gardening

Dinner Garden logo

I just discovered The Dinner Garden on You Tube! These folks are “working to end hunger in the United States through home and community gardening…. striving to create one garden for every six Americans.”

Here’s their mission statement: “The Dinner Garden provides seeds, gardening supplies, and gardening advice free of charge to all people in the United States of America. We assist those in need in establishing food security for their families. Our goal is for people to plant home, neighborhood, and container gardens so they can use the vegetables they grow for food and income.”

I am quite impressed with the wealth of practical information found on their You Tube Channel, with 24 educational videos (currently), including “How to Dehydrate Apples” and “Cantaloupe Basics.”

If you know someone who would benefit from this resource, please share the info with them!

 

Cultured Veggie Success

Cabbage HeadsRecently we made sauerkraut, following the instructions on our Making Cultured Veggies blogpost. We started with some fresh, sweet green head cabbage bought at a local store. We added purple cabbage and grated carrots to this first batch, along with a capsule of a full-spectrum probiotic (optional).

 

Packing the Jars

We packed the jars, per instructions on that blogpost …..in our own style!  We had fun making a mess! It doesn’t have to be perfect…..

What we will do differently next time is leave about 3 inches at the top of the jar, and put in a bit more brine before covering it with a cabbage leaf. As the liquid slowly seeps into the veggies, if you don’t have enough liquid to keep them covered, you will end up spooning off more of the discolored kraut.  No big deal…..just less finished kraut to eat!

 

 

Sauerkraut in JarsThe taste is tangy and sweet….. and feels so nourishing.  This is one economical way to maintain a balance of friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.

We are pleased with our results, and look forward to making more soon.

Give it a try, & tell us about your results!