Salt Deficiency: The Benefits of a High Salt Diet, by Sophia Ruiz

salt deficiency

A salt deficiency is more common than you think. We don’t consume nearly as much as we should, mostly because of our fear that salt causes high blood pressure.

the salt myth

What comes to mind when you think of salt?

Probably high blood pressure. it’s time to change the stigma around salt!

A recent study was conducted that followed 2,600 women and men for 16 years. they found no evidence to suggest that a low-sodium diet lowered blood pressure — in fact, those that consumed 4,000mg of sodium per day had the lowest recorded blood pressure in the study.

The study also presents evidence for the blood-pressure-lowering benefits of essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium — those that had a balanced diet of these minerals along with a higher sodium intake had more stable blood pressure over the long term.

The decrease in blood pressure that some experience from cutting salt intake is not a result of true lowered blood pressure, but rather a decrease in blood volume.

ancestral salt consumption

In ancient times, some cultures, like the Romans, ate upwards of 25g of salt per day and others even up to 100g!

While we may only eat muscle meat today, our ancestors ate the whole animal: the bones, blood, organs, brains, and more. the blood and interstitial fluid itself could provide a week’s worth of sodium!

Before refrigerators, salt was used to preserve food and hence, we had a much higher salt intake.

the benefits of salt

Increased circulation/vasodilation: Sodium increases circulation and blood volume and dilates blood vessels. This is important for transporting nutrients into tissues and cells and regulating heart rate.

Better gym performance: Salt helps to remove acid from cells that can cause muscle cramping and stiffness.

Weight loss: A lot of weight loss programs use calorie-counting to encourage weight loss but forget about vital weight loss tips like restoring insulin sensitvity. Improving a salt deficiency can remove one of the factors that can cause insulin resistance. Since the body uses insulin to signal the kidneys to store sodium when levels become depleted, a chronic salt deficiency results in adverse effects on insulin levels and glucose tolerance that can promote fat storage. A successful weight loss plan should emphasize the importance of healthy salts.

Thyroid function: During one hour of exercise, you can lose up to 110mcg of iodine through your sweat. Consuming iodine-rich salt like himalayan pink salt can help to replenish this thyroid-boosting mineral.

Decreased stress levels: One of the least acknowledged stress causes is a salt deficiency. low salt intake activates the sympathoadrenal system that results in stress symptoms like increased heart rate, promotes insulin resistance, and hypertension. Eating a diet with adequate salt reduces the activation of the stress system that is caused by a salt deficiency, allowing you to focus on external stress management.

Better digestion: One of the key components of the digestive system is stomach acid — which is composed of hydrogen chloride gas and water. Salt promotes digestive health by providing chloride to the body and promoting the production of healthy stomach acid levels. this prevents digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and dysbiosis.

Reduces brain fog: Sufficient salt intake provides the electrolytes needed for neurons to fire properl

Prevents addictive behaviors: In a state of salt deficiency, our body compensates by hyperactivating the dopamine reward system in the brain. This is to encourage us to satisfy the craving for salt, but it can also exaggerate the effects of things that stimulate the release of dopamine — like sugar and cocaine.

the right salts

Iodized table salt doesn’t have all of the extra minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that are essential for the body. Himalayan pink salt, celtic sea salt, or salts from ancient oceans are much healthier and beneficial to our bodies. Dr. James DiNicolantonio advocates for 3,000-6,000mg of salt per day.

ways to increase salt intake

Citrus “salt juice”: Add 1/4 tsp of one of the salts listed above to 8-12oz of water with a squeeze of lemon or lime to neutralize the salty taste of the water. Slowly start to increase the amount of salt until it becomes too salty for you. This is a super easy way to boost your salt intake.

Always salt your food: Salting all of your food to taste makes sure you are getting a dose of sodium at each meal.

Dose salt before a gym run: We lose a lot of salt when we exercise, so it’s important to make sure you’re replenishing your salt levels. Dosing a teaspoon of salt with lots of citrus in some water before the gym can help you to maintain your salt levels.

Drink mineral water: Water from natural mineral-rich springs contain beneficial minerals and salt that can provide a natural sodium source.

A healthy part of a wellness lifestyle is including healthy salts in your diet. I hope this post cures your salt phobia and encourages you to make salt part of your daily routine!

Sophia Ruiz is a freelance writer, wellness blogger, and trained esthetician from San Francisco, CA, now living in Toledo, OH. She shares science-based health, fitness, and lifestyle tips. Learn more about Sophia on

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/curvenutrition

Website: CurveWellness.com

 

 

 

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Wellness Community Member: Stacy Karen, Holistic Health Practitioner and Natural Skin Care Creator

Stacy Karen back and white headshotLet me introduce myself:
I’m Stacy Karen, a Holistic Health Practitioner, hobby herbalist, and natural skin care creator. Born and raised in Australia, I currently live in the USA with my husband and three kids.
This is what wellness means to me:
To me, wellness is creating space for the mind, body, and spirit to function optimally so we can become the best version of ourselves. It’s not about wanting to live forever or looking healthy on the outside, it takes into account our entire being, encompassing our inner and outer life as well as our living environment. When we live in wellness, we have the wonderful opportunity to develop our full potential and do the things most important to us.
I contribute to the wellness community by:
I strive to help women simplify wellness so they can create a healthy lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed. I do this through my website, courses, and ebooks, as well as hosting classes online and in my local community.
One item I cannot live without is:
I hate to say my phone, but it’s one tool that makes it very easy to stay in touch with my family back home in Australia. Maintaining those relationships is extremely important to me and I am thankful my phone provides a method for me to do that without a lot of complication.
I practice self care by:
Walking outside! It’s so simple, but it works wonders! A walk outside helps lift my spirits, makes my body feel good, and aids me in working through problems or making plans. If I take a friend or family member along, it’s a great opportunity for conversation too.
This is how I keep my wellness simplified:
Once I find something that works well for me and my family, I aim to stick with it and not continue to research endlessly for other options.
I have spent my fair share of time on Dr. Google and it can be a huge rabbit hole full of anxiety and confusion. It’s not that I don’t consider other options when they present themselves, but I am learning to let go and move on in order to release the mental tension and decision fatigue that comes with over-thinking. Embracing good-enough is a healthier way for me to live rather than striving for the perfection I once did.
This is what motivates me:
My kids. I want to be a good example for them and strive to demonstrate how to be a good steward of the health and resources we’ve been given. I also want to stay in optimal health in order to continue to enjoy life alongside them and stay around long enough to see what they decide to do with their own future.
Learn more about me on:
Instagram @NoFussNatural
Facebook @NoFussNatural

Beating Emotional Binge Eating, by a Holistic Nutritionist

We have all been there at one point or another…..You have a crappy day at work, you spill coffee/tea all over you new shirt, maybe your project gets shot down, you get cut off in traffic, your favourite pair of jeans somehow gets a giant hole in the crotch, or maybe it’s all this and then some! So you go home, open your cupboard, fridge or BOTH and seek comfort and security in whatever is inside….

I am not here to tell you that you should NEVER do this… I mean after all, I am only human and have indulged in this once, twice or a hundred times myself. After all, there is a reason that we find food so comforting, and most of the time it comes from the memories of our mother (or father) making us smile with delicious treats and meals filled with love!

BUT emotional eating, if done too often and as the sole way of coping, can lead to binge eating, and seeking emotional security in the form of food. This can all lead to weight gain, self confidence issues, mental health challenges and physical health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and hormonal disturbances.

Being a reformed binge and emotional eater myself,I know that overcoming this challenge, and even just acknowledging that it even exists can truly be very very difficult for so many reasons. First, food is everywhere in our society and society has really made it okay to seek comfort and security within food…especially for women! Think of all the times in a movie/tv show you have seen a woman who has just been dumped digging into mountains of food, usually in the form of sugary treats like ice cream, cookies, cake, and candy. Second, food is a cornerstone and a must for our survival as human beings! And third….part of the reason ALL living things eat is for pleasure! There are literally certain neurotransmitters that are released when we consume MOST food that give us a sense of well being, connection and pleasure.

So why is it so important to not just rely on food for emotional comfort?

Well besides the physical and mental health issues that have already been listed it is also important for 3 other main reasons:

  1. Relying upon food as your sole way of coping with distress and emotions actually makes you dependent upon it, which can lead to addiction to food. This is often how most drug/alcohol/tobacco addiction starts. We feel pain, or emotional distress, so we to cope we use. Using makes us feel good (temporarily) and so we keep using every time we feel bad again. Want to learn more about food addiction visit: https://www.thehealthloft.ca/food-addiction/
  2. We can stunt our emotional growth and intelligence. A lot of the time, emotional and binge eating is used as a way to escape whatever it is that is going on within your life, or yourself, that is causing emotional distress. The more that we avoid emotions, the more detached we become from our emotional well being, which means the less happy we usually feel over all.
  3. Our pleasure centers get all confused. When you start to create reliance upon ANY substance, food included, our pleasure centers become rewired over time to stop receiving pleasure from normal things that we should receive pleasure from. In the food world, this is when you see people who “do not like” vegetables or fruits…..it’s not because they do not like them! It is actually because the pleasure centers in the brain have been rewired to see pleasure as only that coming from eating whatever foods they are using to cope (using sugar treats, baked goods, or heavy carbs).

So how do we start breaking away from food as a coping mechanism and stop emotional binge eating?

woman riding big swing in front of waterfalls
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Well, depending on how long and how often you use food as a coping mechanism for what is going on in your life will depend on how much work, time and effort you will have to put in. If you are someone who is deeply addicted to food and binge eats often to help deal with your emotions, you may want to consider joining a support group (there is one is almost every city, as a well as tons online!) or enlisting the help of a health professional. If you are someone who does it just every now and then but would like to nip the habit in the butt before it gets out of hand, doing it on your own with the support of a loved one, close friend, can usually do the trick. BUT, no matter where you are on the spectrum, the following tips will definitely help set you up for success!

 

  • Make and drink a hot beverage BEFORE digging into your comfort food. Whether it is some herbal tea, a superfood elixir, or a decaf coffee, taking the time to actually make something for yourself shows love and appreciation for yourself (think of it as a form of self care) and it also gives you a few extra minutes of distance between that negative emotion that you were feeling to when you reach for your comfort food. By doing this, you are starting to rewire the brain, not solely associate food with comfort. Plus, let’s get real….Sipping and holding onto a hot beverage really feels like a big mug of love in and of itself!
  • Get silent. When you start to feel that emotional distress rear its ugly old head and the need to reach for comfort in your favourite foods, try instead to just get silent with yourself, breathe deeply and really feel into that emotion. It doesn’t need to be a full sit down meditation, but maybe just a moment or two with your eyes closed really scanning and breathing into your body, and where it is exactly you are feeling that emotion. A lot of the time, when we just feel into an emotion and meet it head on, it will release itself because all it is looking for is recognition. BUT, most of the time we avoid doing this because we are scared we will get stuck in that negative emotion, when in fact it is exactly the opposite!
  • Ditch the processed sugar! I am sure you are sick of hearing by now that sugar is the enemy…but in this case it really truly is! Seeking comfort in the form of processed sugary treats creates a cycle that is really hard to break because not only are you emotionally forming a dependance, BUT you are also physically forming a dependance! Processed sugar actually activates the SAME neural pathways that opioids and alcohol do! Processed sugar also causes a blood sugar spike and then crash later on which will leave you feeling depleted of energy, irritable and in a low mood/headspace which will have you reaching right back for that sugar, AGAIN!
  • Learn a new POSITIVE coping mechanism. Often we pick up our coping mechanisms as children and don’t really give any thought to what they are or how we got them. BUT it is very easy to teach yourself new ones. All you have to do is pick something that intrigues you like; journaling, working out, singing out loud, getting outdoors, counting to 10, deep breathing, or busting a dance move! Once you have something that you think you would like to incorporate into your coping skills, start making a conscious choice to do that thing instead of reaching for food when you feel like you need a bit of comfort! After 3-4 weeks of consciously working on this, it will become second nature and then, BAM, you have yourself a new coping tool!
  • Practice gratitude. Incorporating gratitude is a huge part of overcoming any obstacle in life but even more so when that thing has to do with our emotions. There are numerous ways you can incorporate gratitude into your healing process but my favourite ways are; listing 5 SIMPLE things you are grateful for when in emotional distress, keeping a DAILY gratitude journal, and saying a prayer of gratitude and thanks at the end of each day naming the biggest thing you are grateful for that happened that day.

Not sure whether or not you are emotional eating or have questions about what exactly emotional eating is? Visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/health/emotional-eating-test for a free quiz and more resources.

DanielleDanielle is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Certified Counsellor and a Lifestyle Coach with a focus on mental health, adrenal, and thyroid issues. Danielle received her CNP from the institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver and studied Psychology at the University of Calgary. Danielle has always been fascinated with just how much physical and mental health are linked when it comes to healing and so she takes a deep dive into each when working with clients on achieving their health goals. You can catch Danielle talking about all things health and wellness on her blog/website www.thymetonourish-ca.com and on her instagram page thyme_to_nourish

 

4 Ways to Start Your Sugar-free Journey Today

4 ways to start your sugar-free journey …today.

How’s that #nosugarnovember coming along? It’s tough, ya. Sugar, like wheat, hides everywhere! Cutting sugar is a process, it won’t happen overnight, BUT you can start today. It’s never too late. Among the huge list of reasons to cut sugar, is that it majorly suppresses your immune system. And, with the holidays approaching, you don’t want to get sick, do ya? Start your #sugarfreejourney today with a few easy steps:

dessert donuts doughnuts food
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

✔️ Have a replacement. As a Holistic Nutritionist, I’m not about deprivation. I believe it’s healthier to replace rather than eliminate and end up feeling resentment. Find yourself some healthy treat recipes like bliss balls, protein bars, or make a big bowl of fruit salad and keep it in the fridge ready to go.

✔️ Do a pantry clean out. Outta sight, outta mind, yes?! Go through every item in your cupboards and ditch it if it contains any of the sugars. Get to know the 52 alternative names for sugar and keep a list on hand.  Some to look out for are dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, cane sugar, caramel.  These don’t only hide in the obvious foods like donuts and chocolate bars.  Watch out for sugar in juices, commercial smoothies, salad dressings, sauces, food colouring and even ketchup.

✔️ Stay hydrated. As you’re detoxing, expect headaches, mood swings, sleep disturbances and more. If you stick to your guns, this phase won’t last long. Just be gentle with yourself through the process, give yourself time to rest, and fill up on water, herbal tea  or coconut water, which is packed with electrolytes to keep you hydrated.

✔️ Fats and protein. Include them in every meal and snack to help regulate your blood sugar. This will prevent those sugar spikes and lows that you might be used to if you were eating a lot of refined sugar. Think nuts, avocado, beans, almond butter, coconut, bliss balls, smoothies.

Check back in with us on the socials and let us know how your journey is coming along. Have you gotten over the hump?

Wellness Community Member: Michelle Garland, Holistic Nutritionist, Registered Sign Language Interpreter and Wellness Enthusiast

Let me introduce myself: 
Hi! My name is Michelle Garland. I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, a Registered Sign Language Interpreter and Wellness Enthusiast!
This is what wellness means to me:
I think of wellness as a philosophy. It’s happiness. It’s balance. It’s being surrounded by positive energy and experiencing life in a way that nourishes my mind, body and soul. It’s giving myself permission for self-care and protecting my boundaries by saying no to things that don’t align.
I contribute to the wellness community by:
I am the founder of Plentyfullme Nutrition and Lifestyle Consulting where I bring individuals’ health back into balance by working with them one-on-one to implement simple and realistic modifications to their dietary choices, lifestyle habits and emotional well-being. I also give talks in the community and teach cooking classes in both spoken English and in American Sign Language.
One item I cannot live without:
My biomat. It’s a far infrared mat covered with amethyst crystals made to promote circulation and increase cellular communication, relaxation and detoxification.
My favourite self care practice is:
An infrared yin yoga class – it just melts away the stress! Laying on my biomat. A hot bath with essential oils and Epsom salts. Curling up on the couch sipping on a warm adaptogenic elixir while reading a good book. And going for walks in the forest – this is my kind of meditation.
How I keep my wellness simplified:
I take one day at a time and always celebrate the small victories.
This is what motivates me:
My clients, they’re my why – I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Also, my expanders – seeing fellow entrepreneurs in the wellness field rock their businesses, I find it super inspiring.
Learn more about me at:
Follow me on Instagram @plentyfullme
Follow me on Pinterest @plentyfullme
Like my page on Facebook @plentyfullme
(https://www.facebook.com/plentyfullme/)
Check out and subscribe to my blog for recipes, health tips and more at www.plentyfullme.com
Michelle

Moooove Over Milk. A Nutritionist Shares 3 Alternative Sources of Calcium

You might have been told by your Naturopath to avoid milk products, or you might have made the decision to ditch the dairy all on your own. Personally, I made the choice over a year ago when I found myself bloated, cramping after I had dairy products, and my skin no longer had that glow.

Being a woman in my forties, the need for calcium in my diet is strong. Girls and women, at every age, need calcium to keep bones strong, for muscle contraction (this includes your beating heart), and for nerve transmission.

The bad news is that many of us were brought up to believe the only way to get calcium was to drink a few glasses of milk a day. The good news is that we have choices, and there are several plant-based sources of calcium that are probably in your kitchen as we speak.

Let me share what this Holistic Nutritionist feeds her body, for her daily dose of calcium sources. Mooove over milk, I have 3 other choices for you.

Tofu (1 cup= 860mg calcium): Try spicing it up with some coconut aminos, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cumin.  Let it marinate for a few minutes, then fry it in coconut oil. Let the edges get crispy and brown, then add it to your favorite salad.

Almond butter (2 Tbsp= 111mg calcium): I love using almond butter in bliss balls, granola bars, gluten-free baking and warmed up over fruit. The healthy fats and protein in almond butter help to slow the glucose release in fruit. Simply warm 2 Tablespoons in a saucepan, add some cinnamon and a pinch of cloves, and drizzle it over your fruit salad or apple slices.

White beans (1 cup= 190mg calcium): Aside from a good homemade chili, I use white beans in my garlic hummus. Rinse and drain 1 can of white beans and puree with olive oil, lemon, tahini (another great source of calcium), garlic, salt and pepper. Serve with veggie sticks or rice crackers on your next appetizer platter.

Sticking to what we are “told” to eat never really did work for me.  I am all for choices and what feels right for my body. Don’t get me wrong, I eat the occasional piece of cheese pizza.

Life is all about balance, right?

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy recipes on Instagram.

Wellness Community Member: Jen Casey, Holistic Nutritionist

profile jen 2

Let me introduce myself: I’m Jen Casey, a Holistic Nutritionist and mama of 2. I’m a Toronto girl, now living in Vancouver. I used to be a MakeUp Artist for fashion, film and tv, before trading in my brushes for forks and measuring cups.

This is what wellness means to me: For me, wellness is a whole body experience.  This includes the mind. It’s about balancing the pillars of health: nutrition, movement, sleep and managing stress. If one of these is out of place, the whole system is off and the body is affected. Wellness is about community, support, gratitude and making people smile.

I contribute to the wellness community by: I work as a Holistic Nutritionist and teach workplace wellness programs and nutrition classes around the Vancouver area. I don’t just tell you what to eat, I want to teach you the why’s and how’s around it so you have the tools to build your own wellness regime.

One item I can’t live without: Lip balm! Natural, of course.

My favourite self care practice: Exercise. I never played a sport growing up and only starting regularly exercising in my mid 30’s. As I age, I find movement vital to stress reduction, blood circulation and just feeling great. For me, I don’t exercise to lose weight (that’s through nutrition). I exercise to feel good.

How I keep my wellness simplified: I read labels, I make most of my own products (skin care, hair care, cleaning products), and I keep my ingredients to a minimum. Simpler really is better! When you have less ingredients in a meal, your body has an easier time digesting it.

This is what motivates me: Staying creative. I’m the type of person who needs to be doing and making all the time. Whether it’s a new skin care product or a recipe, I like to stay creative and learn something new every day.

Learn more about me at:

Next Bite Nutrition Coaching

Instagram @nextbitenutrition

Facebook @NextBiteNutritionCoaching

Join our community! Email us to be added here.