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







5 Myths About Sex & Relationships

Five Myths About Sex & Relationships by Lucy Snider, Psychosexual and Relationship Psychotherapist and Sexual Health Educator

1) Sexual Desire is Always Spontaneous
Desire can be spontaneous i.e. you feel sexual desire randomly without anything specifically triggering it, but it is much more likely to be responsive. Responsive sexual desire is when we are exposed to something stimulating (such as sensual touch, kissing, fantasy or erotica) and by engaging with the stimulus we begin to feel sexually aroused and then desire may kick in later (or it may not). If one partner complains that they always initiate sex it may be that they experience spontaneous desire but the other does not. There is nothing wrong with either partner, they are just different.

2) Most Women Can Orgasm from Penetrative Sex
Most women (roughly 80%) cannot achieve orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. This is because the clitoris has thousands of nerve endings and plays a big role in orgasm. Most positions that accommodate vaginal penetration don’t provide adequate clitoral stimulation. Even if a woman can achieve orgasm from penetrative sex, it is likely that it occurs in a position which allows for clitoral stimulation. If you struggle with achieving orgasm, experiment with different types (speeds, pressures, instruments such as finger, palm, tongue, toys) of clitoral stimulation to find out what works for you. And remember the lube! If you don’t feel you’re naturally lubricating enough it doesn’t mean you’re not “into it”, lots of things can affect natural lubrication, but adequate lubrication is really important otherwise sex is likely to be painful and no fun at all! I recommend the following range of organic lubricants:

3) If We Argue Then the Relationship is Over
All couples argue! Conflict is enviable as we are all individuals with unique personalities and there will always be things we see differently from others. So it is not the absence of conflict but rather how you manage conflict that is important. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to manage conflict. If you feel things getting heated, take a time out. It is much better to come back to something once you have both had the opportunity to calm down. Stick to “I” statements rather than “you” statements and frame feedback factually i.e. “I feel hurt when I see you on your phone” rather than “you are always on your phone, you’re so selfish”

4) If We Have to Schedule Sex the Romance Has Gone
Real life means we are all busy with a to-do-list as long as your arm. It is very common that sex gets pushed further and further down the list until we forget about it completely. Making a commitment to dedicate specific, protected time to being intimate with your partner means you acknowledge that it is an important part of the relationship that needs to be nurtured. Scheduling can help both of you maintain it as a priority. It might feel weird at first but you can still mix it up, take turns initiating on the days you choose to schedule sex or deciding what activity to choose. Ironically, the more time you dedicate to intimacy the more likely it is that those spontaneous moments might occur!

5) Sex Has to Include Penetration and Orgasm
“Sex” can mean anything you want it to mean! Any kind of intimate contact that you feel is sexual is sex. And it doesn’t have to include orgasm. The more we “try” to make something happen, the less likely it is to happen, and the more likely you are to get stuck in a negative cycle of worrying you won’t come, focusing on trying to, not coming, then being upset/disappointed. Then you probably won’t want to engage in sexual contact the next time there’s an opportunity because “what’s the point”. Instead, try experimenting with different kinds of touch and really focusing on the experience without thinking about “the destination” (of course, easier said than done, but the more you practice, the easier it gets). This can be especially helpful for new mums who feel nervous about having sex again after baby is born. You don’t need to jump in at the deep end, start slowly, and above all, communicate with your partner.

Lucy Snider is a Psychosexual and Relationship Psychotherapist and Sexual Health Educator based in Kelowna, BC. For more information you can contact her via her website at or find her on social media – Twitter: _sexualwellness and Instagram: @sexualwellness 

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The Sweet Truth: A Diet Full of Sugar Can Contribute to a Face Full of Wrinkles

Sure, we are entitled to our cake. The problem begins with a diet high in sugar, little exercise and detoxification, and genes that predispose you to accelerated aging by glycation.

Glycation, or A.G.E., standing for Advanced Glycation End Products, is a process where sugar, or glucose, binds to collagen protein in the skin. The body needs sugar for energy, but excess sugar that is not properly metabolized will store in the body. The process is similar to a caramelization of the skin from the inside out. This damages skin, sort of in the same way as charring a burger on the barbeque. The result of this ‘caramelization’ is A.G.E., where the skin’s fibers become rigid, and topically, skin is cracked and thin. Further, when the skin’s supportive structure is damaged, we might see cellulite and poor wound healing.

So, how can you be proactive in protecting your skin from glycation?

  • Reduce refined sugar in your diet. Speak to a Nutritionist to learn how to replace damaging foods with healthy alternatives, curb cravings and balance blood sugar.
  • Incorporate fitness, including cardio and weight-bearing exercises, at least 3 times each week. Speak to a professional about setting up a routine that is right for you and your lifestyle.
  • Avoid lifestyle factors that will accelerate aging, like smoking, alcohol consumption and overexposure to sun.
  • See a professional about having your blood glucose levels tested. Diabetics are at a greater risk for glycation due to a lessened ability to break down sugars in food.
  • Have your skin tested for genetic markers, with a SkinDNA test, that pinpoint the glycation process in your body. One in two people are genetically predisposed to reduced protection against glycation. Once you have results, you can customize your skin care products to target glycation, with specific protective ingredients.

Bottom line, be proactive daily in protecting your skin. Aging is a beautiful process and we can accelerate it, embrace it, and even slow down the visible effects, all with diet and lifestyle.  It’s all about our choices.

Energy Low? Let’s Talk About B Vitamins

Vitamin B actually consists of 8 water-soluble vitamins that are known mostly as the “energy vitamins”. The complex is needed to help your body convert dietary carbohydrates, protein and fats to energy that you use to pump blood, nerve transmission, to beat your heart, digest food and to move.  So, if you are finding yourself still tired after you eat, consider these 3 things:

  1. what you are eating
  2. food combinations
  3. are you getting enough B vitamins?

Before supplementation, I often aim to get in all the vitamins and minerals through real food. The B vitamins themselves don’t provide you with the the energy- they help you convert your food into energy for utilization. Some lifestyle factors, poor diet, medications and diseases can deplete B vitamins and vegetarians/vegans have to find alternative source of B12 as it is mostly found in animal or fortified products.

B vitamins are water soluble, which means they are not stored in our body and they have to be replenished on a daily basis. In times of illness, deficiency and stress, your body might need an extra boost of the B’s, paticularly B12. This is where you might see the Naturopath for a B12 shot, and some fancy hotels offer them as a hangover cure. And, deficiencies in the B’s can lead to depression, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, birth defects, and fatigue. (pg 487, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Murray and Pizzorno)

Alternatively, here are foods and recipes rich in the B’s to keep up your well-oiled machine, plus a recipe for a super B12 plant-based food for our vegetarian and vegan friends:

B6: Pyridoxine for glycogen production which is your body’s energy storage for times of hunger. Find it in bananas, tempeh, chickpeas, pistachios, lentils, and nutritional yeast. Bonus: Try this recipe for roasted chickpeas.

B3: Niacin for metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fat.  Find it in meat, cheese, oats, portobello mushrooms, tuna and pumpkin. Bonus: Try this dairy alternative recipe for oat milk.

B1: Thiamine for metabolism of protein and fat. Find it in soybeans, green peas, oats, lentils and sunflower seeds. Bonus: Try sprinkling sunflower seeds on your salads.

B2: Riboflavin works with the other B’s for enzyme reactions and metabolism.  Find it in eggs, organ meat, soy, dairy, spinach and mushrooms.  Bonus: Try adding spinach to your daily smoothies.

Folate: for DNA and RNA production, and red blood cell formation. Find it in spinach, soybeans, asparagus, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, organ meats and nutritional yeast. Bonus: Try this recipe for a bean-packed, vegetarian chili.

B5: Pantothenic Acid for brain nerve transmission, mental and physical stress and anxiety, sex and stress hormone production, and healthy skin and hair. Find it in milk, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, portobello mushrooms and broccoli. Bonus: Try using portobello mushrooms in place of burger buns for the ultimate veggie burger.

B12: Cobalamin for DNA formation, nerve transmission and blood cells. Find it in milk, meat, cheese, fortified soy products, avocado and nutritional yeast. Bonus: Try the spicy fried tofu recipe below, made with nutritional yeast.

Crispy Nooch Tofu 3

Crispy Nooch Tofu 1

In a bowl, combine

  • 2 Tbls flour (I used rice flour)
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 2 Tblsp nutritional yeast (a I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • pinch sea salt
  • cracked pepper to taste

Press out moisture from a brick of extra firm, non-GMO tofu (I used Soyganic by Sunrise-Soya), slice into pieces and roll into flour mixture. Fry coated pieces in a small pan with coconut oil until golden! .
Use as a side dish, crumble up on salads, add to wraps…how would you use it?

Crispy Nooch Tofu 2

Recipe from Next Bite Nutrition Coaching

10 Natural Ways to Boost Immunity This Winter Season

I wish I had taken better care of myself before I got sick! Sound familiar? Now is the time to boost immunity, while the colds and flus are lingering around, waiting to attack your immune system and take you down with the others.

As an alternative to medications, I always begin with natural remedies, and this includes food.  Food is medicine, after all. Plants contain powerful antioxidants that kill bacteria, fight off free radicals that break down cells, and boost our immune system. Start with these 10 tips and easy-to-find foods that you can incorporate into meals daily to get a jump start on your health and be armed for this coming cold and flu season.

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  1. Cut the chemicals.  I’m talking about smoking, alcohol and drugs.  These deplete your antioxidants -aka natural defenses- and make you more at risk for getting sick.
  2. Up the vitamin C.  You probably already know this one.  What you might not know is that vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and you have to take it daily because you lose it through perspiration and urination. You can find it in citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, leafy greens, papaya and tomatoes.
  3. Oil of Oregano. The oil comes from oregano (obviously) but the plant is actually a member of the mint family. The phenols, or chemical compounds found in oregano oil, can kill Candida albicans, E. coli,  and Giardia, while another of it’s components actually boosts the immune system and helps to protect against further damage. (Purely Healthful Oregano Oil, J. Tellier Johnson, ND)
  4. Exercise. This helps move lymph, allowing it to circulate through your body, get processed by your liver, and then excess toxins are excreted.  Perspiration also allows the release of toxins and endorphins!
  5. Garlic. A superstar that boosts the natural killer cells in your body to help fight off illness.  Garlic works best when you crush a raw clove and let it sit for a minute to release it’s allicin enzyme (through a few other reactions), and this is where all the magic happens.
  6. Say no to sugar. Sugar supresses your immune system by shutting down the cells that fight bacteria.  Have some healthy snack alternatives always on hand and read the nutrition facts label to see the source of the sugar in your food.
  7. Protein. A deficiency in protein can lead to decreased immune function, ending in infection.  Protein is also important when recovering from illness, to build back up and repair the body. This means plant-based or animal protein.  Just be sure that you are combining your plant-based proteins to make complete proteins.  Contact me if you would like to learn more about building a balanced meal plan.
  8. Get your Zzzz’s. You know how it goes… you’re up too late, you’re working too much, you ca’t catch up on sleep and – boom – you get sick.  And you say to yourself, “Of course I’m sick.  I’ve been going like crazy and I am rundown”.  Sleep is an important time to let the body and brain rest, recover and reset.  High cortisol levels lead to no sleep, and lack of sleep can be taxing on your nervous system and suppress your immune system. Create a sleep routine where screens are off at a decent hour, the room is dark, and get at least 7 hours sleep each night.
  9. Phytonutrients.  Nutrients found in plants that have antioxidant properties, help to fight off sickness and disease.  These are easily obtained through colourful vegetables, fruits (eat the rainbow), dark leafy greens, beans, green tea, even dark chocolate!
  10. Fibre.  Fibre binds to toxins and excess hormones to help excrete them, and reduces inflammation in the body.  Aim for about 25g fibre each day through veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

So, you have the self care tools to defend yourself against this season’s bugs. Set your mind to sickness is not an option, eat more plants, rely on nature.  She has your back.

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.