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Running Time: 01:45:00

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome to the show today everybody. My name is Jonathan. I'll be your host for today. Joining me in our virtual studio from all over the planet, Doug, Erica, Gaby and Tiffany are with us today. We've got the full crew.

Tiffany: Yay!

All: Hellos.

Jonathan: Today our topic is going to be salt. We covered sugar last week so today we thought we would go into salt, some of the myths and propaganda around salt. It's been demonized in recent history. I'm sure everybody has heard, "reduce your sodium intake", "watch your salt", "too much salt" and that's not really accurate. There's a lot of data behind why you really need enough salt and what it is good for and we're going to go over some of those things today.

But first let's get started with our connecting the dots and going over some of the things in the news from this week. Gaby is going to start us off with an article about carbs.

Gaby: Yes. In the news this week we have an article titled; Actually you don't need carbohydrates for energy. It is written by Mike Sheridan who is a nutrition and fitness coach writing for Huffington Post. He explains that of all the nutrition and fitness misconceptions he hears the following one is the frontrunner for most absurd - I need carbohydrates for energy. He argues that it's not the case. He explains how we survived and thrived as hunter gatherers on less than 80 grams of carbs per day while still chasing a wild boar, climbing a tree to escape a pack of wolves and walking five miles back and forth to gather fresh water.

So the reality is, humans are not meant to consume and abundant amount of carbs and there is no dietary requirement for carbs. Like protein and fat, carbs supply none of the elements necessary to build or repair tissue in the body and provides no essential component. Mike reminds us that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) states in their Dietary Reference Intake Manual that, "The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed."

So this is a news items which reminds us that the body is perfectly capable of burning fats for fuel producing an energy source that is stable and anti-inflammatory and this is the basis of the ketogenic diet, something that we've covered on previous shows. You can listen to our previous shows if you're curious about the ketogenic diet. You can also watch a YouTube video; The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis by Stephen Phinney to hear some testimonial of how elite athletes are breaking records. And for those who are more interested in reading about testimonials of those who recovered from debilitation there is; Keto Adapted by Maria Emmerich. So our shows and those two sources are very a very good beginning.

Jonathan: Thanks Gaby. That's something that I think has been controversial for some time now, since the advent of the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet coming into the mainstream, is that a lot of people are saying, "No, you need these carbohydrates!" But actually that's not true and the science is really starting to come out on that. Erica, do you want to follow up with some other articles? It sounds like there's interesting things going on in Hawaii.

Erica: Oh yes. Before I get to an update on the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, I wanted to mention one of the articles last week that caught my eye. It's called; Idiocracy: food packaging should have traffic light labels and it's by Heather Callaghan from the Activist Post on March 9. Apparently there is a debate or discussion going on about whether or not food products should be labelled with traffic light symbols to make health-related information on ingredients easier to understand.

There are researchers at the University of Bonn that are asking this question. They did a press release for the journal Obesity and they're trying to pass this red/yellow/green stop light initiative to put on labels for foods that contain unspecified levels of salt, sugar and fat. Granted, they don't say what kind of fat and sugar or salt, but the press release goes on to say:
Red, yellow, green: The traffic signal labels on packages are supposed to be an easy-to-understand indication of the overall "healthiness" of a food product. For example, "red" symbolizes a high percentage of fat, sugar or salt; "green" has a lower percentage. This is the first study that analyzes the effect that traffic light signals have on the evaluation processes in the consumer's brain when making a purchase decision.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Weber of the Center for Economics and Neuroscience (CENs) at the University of Bonn says the traffic lights will help consumers choose a healthier diet when grocery shopping. The article says idiocracy is based on a movie - if nobody's seen it - about the ridiculousness of this colour coding system and how anything in a package to begin with is probably not good for your health.

She goes on to say, "Does this idea remind you of the USDA's "ChooseMyPlate", this colourful plate with pre-school shapes which cost the American taxpayer $2 million just for the plate? It's like a pyramid predecessor. Also, it's full of questionable advice about fat, salt phobia and our love affair with grains. So I just found that article kind of interesting in light of the idea that this toxic food packaging alone having a red sticker, but just how dumbed down big ag/big pharma industry is, thinking that if they use this stop light as a way to make your food decisions, that you're going to be better if you choose the green label. It says nothing about the ingredients. It also says a further good-bye to any attempts for GMO labelling. So they just put the traffic symbols on there and there's no need to label anything else in there.
This article piqued my interest because I've been following this Trans Pacific Partnership and ironically this last week, they had their secret meeting here in Hawaii, which I thought, was kind of interesting. Last week on the big island of Hawaii at a very exclusive resort in Waikoloa these TPP attendees had their meeting in secrecy. There was no news coverage of it at all. There was one small local organization that got together - and you can watch the videos on the SOTT page. The article's called; Concerned Hawaii residents discuss Trans Pacific Partnership. If you watch the video you'll see there are 10 people in the room. They got together. It was Juliet Begley with Americans for Democratic Action gave a little talk along with Dr. Jane Kelsey of the University of Auckland, New Zealand and Jim Albertini of the Malu'Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action.

I just want to share some of the things that she says in this video about the TPP that people may not be aware of. She was stating to this public forum that TPP is the embodiment of what happens when government and corporate interests collude; we lose. So we the consumers, we human beings lose. TPP is based on similar aspects of NAFTA and the implications for every aspect of American life. So everyone will be impacted by this, including intellectual property rights, labour and environmental protection, consumer safety and product labelling, government procurement and national resource management.

She goes on to say that the way these agreements are crafted, we can be quite certain that it will favour corporate interests and profit. On human well-being we are left out of the loop. Once approved, agreements will override national and local laws including the US Constitution and will not be subject to review or revision by any national legislative nor judicial body, including the US Supreme Court. She goes on to say that these are sobering words. TPP is a vehicle to undermine the government as we know it today with beneficiaries being corporations over people.

It's all been done in secrecy. This was even discussed back in the George Bush era, so it's been years in the making. This Dr. Jane Kelsey says that they've been having these meetings in secret because if it was exposed to the light of day it wouldn't survive. People would be upset and they would fight against it. She goes on to say that this is an agreement for the 21st century that benefits the one percent.

In this same article you can watch a video of a protest that was organized against the TPP and people had signs. There was even a funny little talk about how these delegates were actually taking off their badges and hiding their badges so the protestors couldn't see what countries they represented. {Laughter} It goes back to our article of last week about whether the US is fast tracking its way to a toxic nightmare. This is what's happening if you can see the overall picture of this violation of our basic human right to know what's in our food, to know what's in our medicine and to have any sort of recourse on how to change that.

Then on a similar note, another interesting that adds to our discussion last week, on the SOTT Health and Wellness section posted on March 10 from Tayla Dagan in Natural News; Don't believe the hype - high fructose corn syrup now labelled as fructose. It says:
The Corn Refiners Association is now labelling high fructose corn syrup as fructose. Packaging on products such as General Mills Vanilla Chex cereal now states the product contains no high fructose corn syrup, while the ingredients list contains the simple word, "fructose."
And for those who may have missed our show last week, fructose is actually manufactured sugar called HFCS 90 and it's made up of 90% fructose. It goes on to say obviously people are reading labels so now they're going to change it from high fructose corn syrup because it's got such a bad name, to just fructose and people who aren't informed are going to think, "Oh, it's better for me."

An added comment to the article says that The Corn Refiner's Association neglects to mention that High-Fructose Corn Syrup is made from Genetically Modified Corn, according to Monsanto's company patents - 80 percent of corn in the U.S. is grown from seeds that are genetically altered and that Dr. Mercola wrote about The Corn Refiner's Association in an article called; Dramatic Example of How the Food Industry Lies to You About Corn. I'll just read this one little quote that he has.

The Corn Refiners Association has been trying to counter the seriously bad PR generated by damaging research findings since 2004, but finally realized it could no longer afford to rely on simple grass-roots marketing tactics such as sweet talking nutritionists and doctors.

I share these articles because it all ties together with this idea with the labelling of, "We're going to give you red, yellow, green labelling but we're not going to really let you know what's in your food." It's truly frightening.

Jonathan: When on the advent of the gluten-free craze about six or seven years ago started to become really popular, everything was, "is it labelled gluten-free or not?" and even if it was gluten-free it might have 100 grams of sugar in whatever you're buying. It's almost like neurolinguistic programming. It's this trigger that you see and you think, "Oh, that's okay so I'm going to eat it" without any further research. That's what this makes me think of. What were you going to say Doug?

Doug: The way that they've changed the name of high fructose corn syrup just goes to show how easily they can manipulate these things, what's put on the packages. So the whole thing of the traffic lights is just ridiculous because these marketing people aren't idiots. They're not going to let a red traffic light show up on their product, so they'll make any little changes that they need to make in order to get themselves a green traffic light, like change high fructose corn syrup to just fructose. "Well it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, it has fructose so we'll give it a green traffic light because that's better for you" when really it's the exact same thing; just replacing all the red light ingredients with things that are considered green light in order to get the better label, is no better for you in the end. I just thought that that was pretty interesting.

Jonathan: Totally. We already see how these major companies deal with any kind of bad PR. Does anybody really think that they're going to step aside and let themselves get a red light label? They're going to throw $20 to whatever congressman it takes to turn that to a green light.

Doug: Yeah, exactly.

Erica: And that's where the TPP is really frightening because they can have all these back room deals, make all these decisions and consumers who are buying the product have absolutely no say in it. And we really see this in the GMO argument. Maui County right now is really trying to get rid of GMOs and it's becoming a surging swell of people just getting informed and if this TPP is to pass, which they're expecting it will, all these labelling issues are going to go out the door and nobody's going to have any rights.

Tiffany: That's why it's up to all of us to do our own research and research nutrition. Don't just rely on whatever label they allow to go onto their food packages. Personally, that Idiocracy, the green light/red light thing, I find it insulting. {Laughter} The PR people are not idiots but they think that we are all idiots that we need a red light or green light so we can know what to buy. They think we're stupid and they're taking advantage of people's gullibility and I don't care for it one bit!

Doug: I agree. It's the same thing that happened with the whole MyPlate thing that Erica just mentioned, with the USDA food pyramid. The reason they introduced the MyPlate thing is because they thought that the food pyramid was too confusing for consumers, that they couldn't figure it out. It had to be shaped like a plate in order to figure out how much of your plate - talk about insulting! Honestly?! You can't look at a pyramid graph - not that you should be trying to eat according to the pyramid - but the whole this is just so ridiculous. It really makes consumers look like complete idiots!

Jonathan: Yeah. Sometimes I feel a little bit cynical about that too. You get what you ask for and when people aren't researching their food and a lot of the epidemics of modern diseases that we have are due to people just taking what they're given without looking further into it, you kind of get what you ask for.

Doug: Yup!

Tiffany: "Soylent Green is people!!"

Jonathan: Yeah. If you act like a child, you're treated like a child and I think that the people who are in power understand that principle and they're just going to go ahead and continue treating everybody that way.

Moving into our topic for today, we're going to talk about salt and let's start with a little bit of a history. Tiffany did you have some interesting factoids about the history of salt?

Tiffany: I've got a little bit of history of salt. It has a very long and colourful history. But before there was even the production of salt, before it became industrialized, primitive people like nomadic hunter gatherers got all the salt that they needed from the blood of the animals that they hunted. There are a lot articles going around saying that paleolithic peoples had a low salt diet, but this might not necessarily be true. If you look at the Maasai in Africa, they're nomadic hunter gatherers and they easily obtain all the salt that they need by drinking the blood of their livestock.

So before there was even production of salt, we still had salt. But after the advent of agriculture, humans had to manufacture their own salt. Salt has been used in religious offerings as far back as 6,050 BC. There are over 30 references to salt in the bible, expressions such as, "salt of the earth". I think Jesus said that about his disciples. Lot's wife in the bible was turned into a pillar of salt. At the Last Supper Judas spilled a bowl of salt which was supposed to be a bad omen.

In a lot of religions salt represents purity. Covenants were sealed with salt and salt is the origin of the word salvation. In Buddhism salt repels evil spirits, is used in purifications and even today Sumo wrestlers sprinkle salt in the ring. There is a tradition in some Asian cultures of throwing salt over your shoulder before you enter your house after a funeral.

Salt became highly valued after agriculture because since we were no longer drinking blood or eating lots of meat and our carb intake increased, salt became highly valued and its production became legally restricted. It was used in trade and as a currency. The Romans built roads specifically for transporting salt. Wars have been fought over salt and during the American Revolutionary War; rebels were unable to preserve their food because British Loyalists intercepted their salt supply.

Some other phrases or words that come from salt include salary; Roman soldiers were given salt rations, so that's where the word salary comes from and also salad. The early Romans salted their greens and their vegetables so that's why salad is derived from the word salt. Also the phrase, "not worth his salt" was derived from the ancient slave trade in Greece.

So a little colourful history there but one of the best total roles that salt has played in history is making food storable and transportable by using salt to preserve food. If salt had such a good reputation before, how did it become so villainous? How do we move from salt being so valued to it being the bane of existence for a lot of people?

Back in 1904 there was the first reported link between salt and high blood pressure. Two researchers reported that salt deprivation was associated with lower blood pressure in patients who had hypertension. So for the next 50 years there were various animal models that supported this hypothesis that salt causes high blood pressure, but they don't tell you that in all of these studies there were huge, huge amounts of refined salt that they gave to these lab animals and that caused them to have hypertension. So if you give a lab animal - who knows exactly how much salt an animal is supposed to get - but if you give these animals large amounts of a lifeless product that has no minerals, how can you take these results seriously?

So in the 1940s a researcher at Duke University became famous for using salt restriction to treat people with high blood pressure. There are later studies that allegedly confirmed that reducing salt could help reduce high blood pressure. So pretty much after this; salt became public enemy number one. In 1976 the president of Tufts University, called salt the most dangerous food additive of all, which is very funny considering we have GMOs now.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Tiffany: So four years later, the New York Times jumped on the bandwagon and they said that excessive consumption of salt is bad for your blood pressure, heart, kidneys-causing kidney disease, and strokes. So that's where we are today. Salt is evil, or so they would tell you.

Jonathan: Along those lines, I believe you also had a list that we're going to go over here of the top 10 benefits of salt. Is that a good way to help us transition into that and talk about why salt is not evil?

Tiffany: Yes. So contrary to what the mainstream medical association is saying: there are numerous benefits to salt. I have 10 of them here. This came from Ready Nutrition. So I'm talking about sea salt here, not regular table salt or refined salt.

The first one is that sea salt builds a strong immune system. There are negative ions in sea salt that relieve stress. Salt destroys bacteria on the skin and inhaling saline solutions - like if you did a nasal rinse with the saline solution or used the neti pot, its bacteriacidal and anti-inflammatory. So if you ever use a neti pot for nasal congestion or sinus infections, it's great for that.

The second thing is that salt is alkalizing. So if you do heavy workouts, you lift a lot of weight, salt helps remove lactic acid build up and it'll help you have a faster recovery after you work out.

Third is that salt helps in weight loss. It increases the amount of digestive juices in your stomach and it leads to better digestion and less build up of faecal matter in your intestines.

Fourth, salt is good for skin conditions. It relieves dry, itchy skin like eczema or psoriasis and it opens up your pores and it improves circulation.
A fifth benefit of salt is that it is good for asthma. It reduces inflammation in your respiratory tract and it slows down phlegm production.
Sixth, sea salt is good for heart health. It reduces high blood pressure and it helps correct a regular heartbeat.

Seventh - and this is one that I had never heard of before - sea salt is good for diabetes. It reduces the need for insulin in type 2 diabetics by maintaining proper glucose levels. Among the trace minerals that are in sea salt is chromium and chromium works with insulin and it facilitates moving glucose out of the bloodstream and into your cells, thereby lowering your blood sugar numbers.
Eighth, sea salt is good for your bones. One-fourth of the salt in your body is stored in your bones and when you body lacks salt it starts leaching it from your bones. So it helps prevent conditions like osteoporosis.

Ninth, sea salt is good for preventing muscle spasms because it contains magnesium and potassium which helps your muscle function.
And the last listed benefit of sea salt - I'm sure there are more but this is all I have - it helps your mood because salt preserves both serotonin and melatonin.

So that's your top 10 benefits of sea salt.

Gaby: That's very interesting.

Jonathan: It certainly seems like quite a regulating factor in the body that we really need for all these different mechanisms. Doug I believe you were going to cover the lies about salt. I wonder if we could go over why people have been led to believe that it's not good for you.

Doug: Yeah, okay. I got a lot of this information from an article by Gary Taubes in the New York Times in June of 2012. The article is called; Salt we misjudged you. People might know Gary Taubes' name because he's the author of a couple of really excellent books. One is called; Good Calories/Bad Calories, which is excellent. It's quite a thick book but definitely worth reading. It goes over a lot of the low fat myths and benefits of a high fat diet. And then he has another one called; Why We Get Fat which is another great book, a little bit shorter, a little easier to read. So I definitely recommend those.

He starts off by saying that salt consumption is said to raise blood pressure, cause hypertension and increase the risk of premature death. The Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines still consider salt public enemy #1, coming before fats, sugars and alcohol. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested that reducing salt consumption is critical to long-term health. But despite all these things from the government agencies, evidence to support this has always been really weak. I'll quote him. He says:
While, back then, the evidence merely failed to demonstrate that salt was harmful, the evidence from studies published over the past two years actually suggests that restricting how much salt we eat can increase our likelihood of dying prematurely. Put simply, the possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as the U.S.D.A. and the C.D.C. recommend, we'd be harming rather than helping ourselves.
So the argument that salt is harmful has always relied on biological plausibility rather than hard facts. They've looked at some of the evidence and seen that there's a suggestion that maybe taking in less salt would be good for blood pressure/hypertension, but they've never actually found the facts to support that. The idea is that if you eat more salt, your body retains water to maintain a stable concentration of sodium in your blood and this is why eating salty food tends to make you thirsty. You drink more and retain more water and this is why you see in bars and places like that, they offer free salty peanuts and things like that for people to eat because the salt makes you thirsty and then you end up drinking more and buying more alcohol.

The result of eating salt is that there is a temporary increase in blood pressure which persists until your kidneys eliminate the salt and the water. But the scientific question is whether this temporary phenomenon translates into a chronic problem. If we use too much salt for years, does it raise our blood pressure, cause hypertension and strokes and kill us prematurely? It makes sense but it's only a hypothesis.

In 1972 the National Institutes of Health introduced the National High Blood Pressure Education Program and out of that conference came two pieces of research that connected salt to hypertension. The first one was that in observed populations, that with a little salt they had no hypertension. But the only problem with this is that it's an observational thing and there were lots of things they didn't do. They didn't eat sugar, for one thing, which may be a lot more likely to be a culprit. But they just looked at them and said, "Oh, they eat less salt, therefore salt must lead to hypertension.

The second piece of evidence was that there were rat studies where they took a strain of rats that were very salt sensitive and they found that they reliably developed hypertension on a high salt diet. The only problem with that was that the rats were fed 60 times higher salt intake than what the average American consumes!

Jonathan: Whoa!

Doug: Yeah, it's no real surprise that if you feed a rat 60 times more salt than the average American consumes, and at that it was refined salt, then yeah, they're going to have some negative effects. That's really not that surprising. But this council was under pressure to make some sort of recommendation so this was their best bet. Despite the fact that the researchers quietly admitted that the data was inconclusive and contradictory, the recommendation that came out of there was to reduce salt consumption to deal with hypertension.

Ever since then the National Institutes of Health have spent millions of dollars testing this hypothesis and they failed to make the evidence any more clear. The USDA, the Institution of Medicine, the CDC and the NIH rely on the 2001 DASH Sodium Study which was a 30 day trial. DASH suggested that drastically lowering your salt consumption had a moderate lowering effect on blood pressure. Now mind you, this was only 30 days so we already know that taking in salt will temporarily raise your blood pressure, but they weren't looking at long-term effects or anything like that and the DASH study didn't show whether this would reduced hypertension, prevent heart disease or lengthen life in any way.

In 2011 the Cochrane Collaboration, which is an international non-profit organization, published two meta-analyses. The first one found that cutting back the amount of salt eaten reduces blood pressure but there is insufficient evidence to confirm the predicted reductions in people dying prematurely or suffering cardiovascular disease. The second one concluded that, "We do not know if low salt diets improve or worsen health outcomes". So that was really interesting. They didn't know whether it improves or worsens. This is the first time that you really see that they're actually admitting that there might actually be the possibility that it worsens your health outcomes by lowering salt.

There was a 1972 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine that reported that the less salt people ate the higher their levels of a substance secreted by the kidneys called rennin which set off a physiological cascade of events that seemed to end with an increased risk of heart disease. In this scenario, you eat less salt, you secret more rennin; you get heart disease and die prematurely. In the last decade Italian researchers have begun publishing results from a series of clinical trials, all of which reported that among patients with heart failure, reducing salt consumption increased the risk of death. Salt consumption is actually remarkable stable over populations, suggesting that the amount of salt we eat is actually physiologically determined, not based on taste or habit, which I thought was really interesting.

There are other studies there that have actually confirmed this as well, that left alone, people will regulate their own salt consumption because the amount of salt that you need in your body is physiologically determined so if your body needs more salt you'll crave more salt versus if you have too much salt then you won't crave as much salt. You won't use as much.

According to Gary Taubes, in the United States for instance, it has remained constant for the last 50 years despite 40 years of the, "eat less salt" message. The average salt intake in these populations, what could be called the normal salt intake, was one-and-a-half teaspoons a day, almost 50% above what the federal agencies consider a safe upper limit for healthy Americans under 50 and more than double what the policy advises for those who aren't so young and healthy.

So four studies from these Italian researchers involving type I diabetics, type II diabetics, healthy Europeans and patient with chronic heart failure reported that people eating salt at the lower limit of the normal spectrum were more likely to have heart disease than those eating smack in the middle of the normal range, which is effectively what the 1972 paper would have predicted. Taubes mentions that questioning the, "eat less salt" message gets you accused of being a shill for the food industry similar to what we see from smoking. Any benefits of smoking put forward gets you accused of being a shill for the tobacco industry, or questioning the whole evil Putin message gets you accused of working for the Kremlin.

When several agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration called a hearing last November to discuss how to go about getting Americans to eat less salt - and Taubes points out here that this was opposed to finding out whether or not we should even be recommending to eat less salt in the first place - these proponents argued that the latest reports suggesting damage from lower salt diets should simply be ignored. So that's pretty telling right there, despite the fact that there's evidence out there that lowering your salt consumption is damaging, you should just brush that under the rug and make recommendations on lowering salt consumption.

Jonathan: Well, it certainly seems like a similar situation with the high fat versus low fat diet where the American Heart Association stepped in and made a bunch of their official recommendations. It makes me curious as to why there would be such a backlash against salt, unless there was some sort of specific mechanism at play or if it's just the rambling of idiots, so to speak.

Doug: I think it is that. I think these things tend to get a lot of momentum behind them and people stop questioning them and just try to push the agenda forward. And you have a couple of people on the sidelines shouting and saying, "Hey wait! Maybe we're going in the wrong direction here!" But because of the momentum that's behind it, these people just get silenced.

Jonathan: Sure. Along those lines, maybe we could transition into a little bit more of the science and physiology behind salt metabolism. Gaby, do you want to talk about that for a few?

Gaby: Yeah. You mentioned the cholesterol myth. There is also this salt myth. We know that cholesterol is so vital and salt is also very critical to our health as we were reviewing, it sparks chemical pathways, it sparks electrical nerve impulses that drives muscle movement and thought processes. It's very important. It's [inaudible] the body. It seems to be complicated, but we're going to make a little review of the basics. Bear with me. It's not that difficult.

We start with aldosterone, which is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It plays a central role in regulation of blood pressure and it increases the amount of salt re-absorbing into your bloodstream. The amount of this salt reabsorbed is called sodium. Aldosterone also causes water to be retained along with the sodium, so this increases blood pressure.

Aldosterone is controlled by several mechanisms but for relevance to our show, we have to keep in mind that one mechanism where aldosterone is stimulated is a decrease in sodium levels in your blood, that is the lower the salt levels in your blood, the more aldosterone gets stimulated to increase the blood pressure which was recorded from textbooks. Aldosterone is much increased at low sodium intake and the result of this is that aldosterone will try to raise your blood pressure from whatever sodium it can reabsorb.

I remember reviewing this in the '90s when I was in med school and I thought to myself even back then, "Oh, so the recommendations to lower salt intake in order to reduce blood pressure don't make any sense at all." I thought I was missing something. {Laughter} It was not until 2008 where I came upon a fresh study that literally made my jaw drop. It was an article published on in 2008. It was the review of a paper written by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The researchers analyzed data of 9,000 US adults. They found that those who consumed the lowest amount of sodium were found to be 80% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to those that consumed the highest level. This is a huge number! It's 80% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease the lower your sodium levels are in your bloodstream.

But it's not only cardiovascular disease. They also found the risk of death from any cause was 24% greater for those consuming lower salt levels. That was a fresh study which made me realize whoa! So maybe reviewing basic physiology and not getting brainwashed by medical guidelines is just what is needed to figure out what is best for our bodies.

It is interesting that it's not only cardiovascular disease. Tiffany was reviewing the 10 top benefits of sea salt intake. I also came up with similar data where researchers found that those who ate mineral empty percent foods and fizzy drinks had higher incidents of autoimmune diseases. They had animal models which showed that refined salt increased inflammation and the production of cells involved in autoimmune response. So they speculated that the consumption of these refined salts as opposed to sea salt or whole salt was one of the factors of the rise of autoimmune disease.

Just as Tiffany mentioned I think, there is a Polish hospital which is carved in a salt mountain and what they do with their asthmatic patients and also those who have lung disease and allergies, is put them in these underground chambers and their symptoms improve by 90%, just by breathing in these saline chambers. That's actually pretty remarkable. So this is our beloved salt now.

Tiffany: That sounds great! They put them in underground salt caves?

Gaby: Yeah!

Tiffany: I'd like to go in one of those.

Gaby: To keep in mind.

Doug: That's really interesting because you see those Himalayan salt lamps, the big crystal salt lamps and supposedly when you turn on the lamp it heats it a little bit and lets off negative ions and salt into the air. They've talked a lot about the health benefits of those lamps. I wonder if it's a similar mechanism.

Tiffany: Can I pose another question here? Does the salt make water more conductive to electricity? Because I was thinking about the low salt intake and the increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease or heart disease or anything, so if you consider that the heart runs on electricity, you have the sinoatrial node that starts the heart to beat and if you don't have enough salt in your bloodstream, could that be a reason why?

Doug: I think that's a real possibility.

Gaby: Yeah. I would think about that too because I was reading Earth Changes, Pierre's book, and it got me speculating on that line too because it's not only heart disease. If you have very low magnesium levels in your blood you can have a heart attack and sudden death. And thinking with asthmatics, if they have low magnesium levels it's very hard for them to respond to any drug at all. They have to have some minerals in the body in order to help things work out.

Tiffany: So it's not just the electrical component but the minerals that they're lacking also.

Gaby: Yeah.

Jonathan: Yeah. Just a quick search here turns up that yes indeed, salt water is more conductive because salt molecules are made of sodium ions and chlorine ions and an ion is an atom that has an electrical charge because it has either gained or lost an electron. When you increase the concentration of ions in the water then it does become more conductive. It's a common high school class science experiment to create a salt water circuit.

Gaby: That's fascinating.

Jonathan: Doug, sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you there. What were you going to say?

Doug: I was just going to say something along the same lines actually because I know that distilled water or water that has no minerals in it whatsoever is actually not very conductive at all. But with the presence of minerals it becomes much more conductive.

Jonathan: That's interesting that it would potentially increase conductivity throughout the body as well.

Gaby: And this is what researchers say, that it sparks electrical activity for thought processes, muscle movement, every single psychological function in your body.

Doug: So, salt helps you think!

Gaby: Yes!

Tiffany: It would be interesting to find out if people who get struck by lightening have a high salt intake. {Laughter}

Jonathan: That actually would be very interesting. Speaking of the cravings, you guys were talking earlier about that and Doug you had mentioned the cravings as a marker for how much salt you need or don't need. This is purely anecdotal, but I remember when I was younger sometimes just eating tonnes of salt because I just loved it. I would take two teaspoons in my hand and just munch it down. Depending on where we were I would take the saltshaker and dump it out into my hand and take a bunch of salt in. I just remember that was something that I liked and it didn't really go any further than that. So I wonder if that was a salt deficiency or perhaps some kind of an iodine deficiency because it was iodized salt.

The same thing with butter, and we have talked about the high fat diet. There are some kids that you just can't get to stop eating butter. I think there's some underlying physiological reason for that. It's not just because it tastes good.

Doug: Yeah.

Erica: I'd like to comment on that. I want to talk about this Dr. Joel Wallach. Back in 1994 he produced an audio of a discussion he gave called; Dead Doctors Don't Lie. Just to give you a little bit of background about Dr. Wallach, he's been involved in biomedical research and clinical medicine for 30 years. He originally received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Missouri with a major in animal husbandry, specifically nutrition and field crops and then went on later to get a veterinarian degree from the University of Missouri. He also did a three year post-doctoral fellowship for the Centre of Biology and Natural Systems at Washington University. He now has a naturopathic degree from the Naturopathic Medicine College in Portland, Oregon.

He's researched and published more than 70 peer-reviewed reference articles in the field of nutrition, pharmaceutical research and he's a multi-author of eight textbooks and authorships, reference book material on the subject of comparative medicine. I bring him up because in this Dead Doctors Don't Lie, about a 1 hour talk that he has, and I'll give a website at the end but you can listen to some of his information - he runs a blog radio show as well - he had this funny little habit of collecting obituaries of doctors. He travelled the United States lecturing 300 days out of the year and he wanted to have a little hobby, so-to-speak, that would actually help people. So he started collecting obituaries of doctors and lawyers and he has a funny take on it, hence why he calls his talk Dead Doctors Don't Lie.

He found that on average Americans have about a 75 year lifespan but doctors have an average lifespan of 58 years. So he makes a joke about that and then he goes on to talk about the vital role minerals play in overall health. And because he has this background in animal husbandry, he talks about all these minerals like salt, chromium, copper, vanadium, selenium, and how animals were given these very basic mineral supplements. He debunks the whole thing about how vitamins don't really do anything. He's got a lot of great research on that.

But what was fascinating in the beginning of his talk is he covers the genetic potential for human longevity and he talks about how people in various cultures - and I'll list the cultures - could live up to 120 to 140 years of age. He also did thousand of animal autopsies. He says that based on his research that people who were dying of natural causes were dying from vitamin deficiencies.

He mentions five cultures whose people have been documented to live this long, up to 120 years. The first one was the Tibetans in western China and he recommends the movie called Lost Horizons, a movie about the oldest living person in China. He also talks about the Hunza people in eastern Pakistan, western Russia-Armenians in particular. He says in 1973 there was actually a special article in National Geographic about these people living in the Caucus Mountains up to 167 years of age!

Erica: And they've been in the Guinness Book of World Records and whatnot. He also talks about the Ecuador natives and then the Titicacans and he makes a funny little joke about that. He just loves Titicacans because they live at Lake Titicaca. They're famous for living up to 120 to 140 years of age. Then Nigeria, Africa and then in Syria he has documentation of a man who lived up to 133 years of age.

With all of these examples he uses, he says most of these cultures, especially in the Andes drink 40 cups of tea a day, but they add a huge chunk of salt to their tea and two pats of butter. He was saying buttered tea with salt definitely contributes to the longevity of these people and these cultures. Then he gives two recommendations for long life; one is you avoid the pitfalls, so if you don't do stupid things then you won't die young {Laughter}. He has a really great sense of humour about that. And then the other is that you need to do the positive things and his research shows that you need 90 nutrients in your daily diet, otherwise you will get a deficiency disease. He says 60 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 essential amino acids (protein building blocks) and three essential fatty acids.

To cover the sugar cravings you guys were talking about and kids eating butter as a kid, he talks about this disease called Pica and that it's basically a craving for minerals. He uses some great examples: one is pregnant women who have all these crazy cravings for peanut butter and ice cream. He's saying that in the human body, carrying a foetus is basically a craving for more minerals. He also goes into children, like the child sitting in the living room eating kitty litter out of the cat box because they're craving these minerals. Then he went on to talk about how 40 or 50 years ago children were actually licking and chewing paint off the walls and they were getting lead poisoning. The US spent all this money to remove lead from homes. He's saying it was just a mineral deficiency, that these children just needed more minerals, like salt, in their diet. I found that really interesting.

If people are interested in listening to him he has a website where you can listen to his live shows. and you can Google Dead Doctors Don't Lie and he'll show up. There's a lot of really helpful information there. I was drawn to him because he had this background in agriculture and animal husbandry so that's where I found that.

Also on the SOTT page back in 2011 there was an article posted with a YouTube video called; You need more salt -advice to the contrary is criminal. He goes on to say don't lay off salt. He talks about the many conditions - like you guys already mentioned - that stem from low salt in the body and that salt/sodium chloride is an essential nutrient. You cannot have nerve impulses without sodium chloride. They're an integral part of the biochemical system of nerve transmission and you cannot move water around your body or retain it in the right compartments inside your blood vessels, inside your tissues, cells, you can't keep things in the right compartments without sodium chloride. The chief cells in your stomach cannot make stomach acid without salt. Sodium chloride is the raw material to make hydrochloric acid.

He goes on to share that this whole issue with GERD or gastrointestinal reflux disease/ heartburn is basically people not getting enough salt.

Jonathan: Fascinating. That really sounds like an interesting are to look into. What was the website again, if you don't mind repeating that for Joel Wallach.

Erica: It's and its Dead Doctors Don't Lie with Joel Wallach.

Jonathan: Cool, definitely really interesting things about the longevity aspects as well as the amount of minerals. I can confirm from something else that I have been reading from Dr. Tent who's a practitioner in Michigan. Whenever he has pregnant women coming into his practice he recommends 91 minerals and vitamins that they need to take to properly carry a baby to term and that if you go to a normal paediatrician, they'll recommend something like seven to eleven of these components. He scoffs at it and says, "I can grow a worm with seven things. You'd really think that you need more to grow a human being." It was interesting that you said 90 because that tracked close to the same number.

Along those lines, next Tiffany is going to go over some of the government guidelines about salt so we can see what's actually being recommended, after we've talked about what the body actually needs. Let's talk about what the powers that be, so-to-speak will recommend for us to take.

Tiffany: Well if it's coming from the government you know its absolute baloney. {Laughter} But they recommend 2,300 mg which is .3 grams per day. This is just for normal, healthy adults. Then they go on further to recommend that African Americans, adults over the age of 51 or anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease only consume 1,500 mg or 1.5 grams daily. So what is 1.5 grams? It's only half a teaspoon of salt a day.

Jonathan: Wow!

Tiffany: So if you take all the black people, all the adults over 51, people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, that's about half of the US population eating a recommended half teaspoon of salt a day. And we wonder why there are so many health problems.

Jonathan: Yeah, that's really negligible.

Tiffany: Yeah. And 2.3 grams is only a little less than one teaspoon, and even that's nothing. But more enlightened sources recommend at least three to five grams a day at the lower end. But I think if you're relatively healthy and you don't have chronic kidney disease - maybe that is one condition where if your kidneys can't properly excrete excess sodium then you might want to cut back on salt. Maybe that's one condition where you want to watch your salt, but for everybody else, salt your food to taste. Use good sea salt or Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. Just use as much salt as you want is what I'm saying, if you're healthy.

Jonathan: Yeah, I would say the same thing. I don't know if you can get this in Europe or overseas, but in the United States there's a brand called Real Salt that's taken from the Utah salt flats and I use that here. It's quite tasty. It actually has a different flavour to it. It's pink and brown and all these different colours mixed in from the minerals.

Tiffany: Sea salt tastes a lot better than regular table salt so you might even end up using less salt than you would if you were using table salt, but it tastes so much yummier. And there's one thing that you shouldn't eat which is, Dead Sea salt. Don't eat salt that's been harvested from the Dead Sea because it has high amounts of bromide in it. So if you want to screw up your thyroid gland...

Jonathan: How could you identify Dead Sea salt? Is it labelled as such?

Tiffany: I would hope so, but considering our problems with labelling in this country it might not. {Laughter}

Jonathan: I wonder if that has anything to do with the etymology of the name of the Dead Sea.

Tiffany: Why would you want to take in anything that says, "Dead" in it?

Jonathan: Right, very interesting. I read a bit about salt actually being useful in detoxing from bromide, that if you do get an overdose of bromide through any of the various sources that the chloride in sodium chloride will bind with the bromide and pass it out so that if you're having bromide toxicity, you can take salt water to pass that through. I shouldn't vouch for that because I can't confirm it right now. It's just something that I have been reading.

Speaking of that, along the lines of home remedies, some things that we can vouch for from our resident medical expert Gaby, do you want to go over some of the medical uses of salt and some of the reasons for that?

Gaby: Yes. To review again, let's just remind ourselves, on the ketogenic diet, salt consumption is a must. And now we are learning all the reasons why, but I had actually prepared another folk remedy which is very interesting and keep in mind just in case for example, Ebola breaks out - I'm just saying, not that it will break out - or any other hemorrhagic fever where you're having uncontrollable bleeding. I took this from an article published at as well and it's titled; Will your next bandage be made of cured salt pork? It's a perfect remedy to stop nose bleeding and it's called, "nasal packing with strips of cured pork", basically salt pork in the nose for one day up to five days. This is a very common folk remedy apparently, but it has made its way through scientific journals as a remedy to stop nose bleeding secondary to congenital diseases such as Rendu-Osler-Weber.

These are children with intractable nose bleeding. It's extremely difficult to make it stop and sometimes only surgery works. So it is very well documented that just packing your nose with salted pork does it. It's very remarkable. There's another case in a scientific journal of a girl suffering from a very rare inherited disorder, congenital disorder. She produced prolonged bleeding and just stopped with salted pork. Just remember that your nose cavity is very large so you have to use thin strips and pack the nose with a lot of strips.

Jonathan: Boy, you really have to get all the way up in there.

Gaby: Yes. It takes a lot. You can have tweezers, or instrument to pack the salted pork. {Laughter} but it does work. So salt pork control intractable nose bleeding reported in cases of high blood pressure where there is an increased risk of having a nose bleed. These conditions are high blood pressure, leukaemia, haemophilia, but also measles and typhoid fever. That's why I mentioned earlier the Ebola and hemorrhagic fevers. So keep this in mind.

Doug: Who would have thought of sticking bacon up your nose!

Tiffany: Well after you cure your nose bleed you can have a little snack.

Erica: There was another article published just this week about, High salt diet protecting against infection and increases immune function that just confirms what you say Gaby about a JAMA study in 2011 that showed that contrary to the medical advice espoused for years, salt actually lengthens your life. It doesn't cut your life or the risk of hypertension. They published recent in; Cell Metabolism Dietary salt could have a biological advantage defending the body against an invading microbes. The author Jonathan Jantsch, a microbiologist - and I'm not even going to attempt to say the name of the university (Universitätsklinikum Regensburg and Universität Regensburg) - said that up until now salt has been regarded as a detrimental dietary factor. It is clearly known to be detrimental for cardiovascular disease and recent studies have implicated a role in worsening autoimmune disease. He goes on to say, "Our current study challenges this one-sided view and suggests that increasing salt accumulation at the site of infection might be an ancient strategy to ward off infections long before antibiotics were invented."

A press release goes on to say, "A high-salt diet increased sodium accumulation in the skin of mice, thereby boosting their immune response to a skin-infecting parasite. The findings suggest that dietary salt could have therapeutic potential to promote host defense against microbial infections." The information is coming out now.

Gaby: The cholesterol myth.

Jonathan: It just occurred to me that Epsom salts, which is magnesium chloride, why those would be beneficial for skin conditions, if it's fighting bacterial infection at the skin level.

Doug: I just find it really interesting that bacon is actually a home remedy for all these things. You can use topical bacon, bandage your wounds in bacon and stick it up your nose if you've got nose bleeds! Who knew? It's so versatile.

Gaby: Yes, who knew because it's for severe cases where you actually resort to surgery to stop the nose from bleeding. Well actually, you can use salted pork!

Jonathan: Wow. I can confirm with another anecdotal story. A friend of mine a few years back was tromping around the woods and fell and got a really bad gash on his leg. I give him credit for doing this, because I would never have thought to do this right away, but he cleaned it out with apple cider vinegar and then packed it with sea salt and wrapped it up with an ace bandage and it healed very quickly, within three or four days.

Gaby: That's amazing.

Doug: Wow.

Jonathan: Of course the experience was quite traumatic. There was a lot of swelling involved.

Erica: Talk about putting salt in your wounds.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Gaby: Let's keep this one in mind because emergencies are very problematic and it's hard to think, so yeah.

Jonathan: Yeah. I'm still fascinated by the bacon up the nose thing! {Laughter} Just the idea that you would have to get it all the way up into your nasal cavity seems like it would be troublesome, but extreme cases I suppose.

Gaby: It's good to have as a preparatory in your medical kit, basic tweezers from the website of medical supplies. It's very, very cheap. Sometimes having the right instrument is the best thing you can have. You need to pack a nose with the right instrument; very good.

Tiffany: And don't try to substitute with bacon bits!

Jonathan: I'm guessing in this context then that the pork is just a carrier for the salt, right? Or is there actually some benefit to the meat itself?

Gaby: I think it would be the fat itself, especially if you use organic. I think we reviewed this in an earlier show, that saturated fat, lard was having very good results in animal models because the research from fat, all the benefits comes from omega-3 fish oils, this is because mainstream medicine that doesn't want to admit the benefits of saturated fat and so forth. But preliminary studies in animal models show that lard is very beneficial, more than fish oil. So it could be the fat.

Jonathan: Sure. That makes sense. We've mentioned a couple of different types of salts, Sea salt, Real Salt, Epsom salts and things like that. I had been doing some reading on the refinement process of salt and it's pretty straightforward. Most of the table salt that you get is actually taken from sea salt. It's refined from salt water or it's mined from underground but it's purified through a precipitation process where the minerals and what they would call, "contaminants" are taken out and then re-evaporated, leaving behind the pure sodium chloride crystals so that most of the table salt that you get is sodium chloride by itself.

However, part of the reason you might want to avoid table salt is that they usually have added anti-caking agents to it so that your salt shaker doesn't clump up when you're trying to shake it onto your food. Those are commonly, sodium aluminosilicate and magnesium carbonate. Now magnesium carbonate by itself is not so bad in itself, but what you really want to avoid is the sodium aluminosilicate because you're getting a minor dose of aluminium there. But then if you do eat a lot of salt you're actually upping the dose of aluminium that you're taking in and that is not the best thing for your body in the long term.

So just a note to people, when you're looking for different types of salt, I would say by all means avoid regular table salt. And even if you're looking into Sea salt I would say generally avoid the stuff that's pure white. You want to get the kind that is coloured, that has the mineral content that your body needs. I think Doug can expand a little bit more on that. You were going to talk about some of the different types.

Doug: Yeah. Like you were saying, avoiding table salt is definitely something that you want to do, if at all possible because of those anti-caking agents and other chemical additives but also because it's missing the entire mineral profile. They've taken out all those important trace minerals that are an important part of the salt.

So here are just a couple of different types of salt here that you can find in the store. Kosher salt is basically the same as table salt but it's likely not to have the anti-caking agents and they don't tend to add iodine. They do add iodine to table salt mainly because they were finding that people were actually suffering from an iodine deficiency so they said, "Okay, let's put it in the salt". Ironically though, natural salts like sea salt have natural iodine occurring in them, so by taking all the minerals out of it, people will start to suffer from an iodine deficiency so they started putting it back in.

So kosher salt is just pure sodium chloride, so you're getting none of those trace minerals that you need. It tends to be larger crystals so people like it sometimes. I know it gets used in the restaurant industry a lot because they use it almost as an artisanal salt. But really it's just pure sodium chloride. The taste of salt was mentioned before and a lot of times when you get a nice tasting salt it's because there are all those trace minerals in there. Pure sodium chloride has a very sharp taste to it. So you'll notice in table salt and kosher salt eating it straight, it's almost too much. It's like a really sharp taste whereas if you eat sea salt or Himalayan salt or something like that, it has a better rounded taste and it's not quite as sharp and that's because of the trace minerals in there.

Then there's sea salt. A lot of times when you find sea salt in the grocery store, it still tends to be a refined salt. It's just that they're vouching for the fact that it did originally come from the sea. So you want to avoid no-name sea salt or pure White Sea salt, as Jonathan was saying. The whiter it is the less mineral content there tends to be. But sea salt is naturally occurring. It has all that naturally occurring iodine and all those trace minerals. You can often find it under names like Celtic sea salt or Fleur de Sel and these are the artismo versions of it. Celtic sea salt is actually collected from ocean pools. The salt actually crystallizes on the surface. The Fleur de Sel gets its name because it looks like little flowers and they collect it off of the top of these ocean pools. It is high in trace minerals including potassium, iron and zinc.

There's also Himalayan pink salt which is quite trendy right now in health foods. It's harvested from Pakistan in the salt mines in Khewra salt mine which is actually the largest salt mine in the world. It's pink because of the presence of iron oxide, which is actually rust. It's found only in trace amounts, probably not harmful. It also has trace amounts of calcium, iron and magnesium and it's higher in potassium than other salts. It is lower in sodium than other types of salt, so you might need to use more of it, but it's probably why it has less of that sharp flavour to it. A lot of times it's beneficial because people are like "Oh yeah, it has less sodium in it!" but we know that the sodium is actually a good thing.

One thing I read fairly recently is that the Himalayan salt actually is fairly high in fluoride so I'm kind of undecided at this point whether that makes it a bad thing or not, but it's something to be careful of and if you are using Himalayan salt you might want to rotate your salt every once in a while. Use the Himalayan for a while but then maybe try something else for a bit, just to make sure you're not getting too much of that fluoride.

Jonathan mentioned a type of salt called Real Salt and it comes from an ancient sea bed that's in Utah. It contains over 60 different trace minerals and it's a pink salt as well but it's cheaper than the Himalayan stuff, probably because it's not being shipped all the way from Pakistan.

You can also find a lot of different gourmet salts out there like black salt coming from India, which has kind of a sulphury taste to it. There's a Hawaiian red salt which is red from the presence of red clay called Alaea. There's also volcanic black salt. And they're all very interesting and have different flavour profiles and a lot of foodies out there will tell you "Oh yeah, use the volcanic black salt for this type of cooking". Apparently a lot of vegan chefs like the black salt from India because it has a sulphury taste to it so it almost works like an egg replacement.

They're all very interesting and have different mineral profiles. I encourage people to try different salts at different times, to get those different mineral profiles and try out adding some different kinds of subtle flavours to your cooking.

Jonathan: Awesome.

Erica: I agree. I wanted to add just one thing about the Himalayan salt. They're building these salt caves at spas and saunas now and we had the opportunity to visit one yesterday. It's an entire sauna made of Himalayan salt blocks. So you're in a sauna sweating and you're surrounded by this salt and on their little brochure, which is just so fascinating, not to mention the beauty of being surrounded by Himalayan salt, was that for centuries Himalayan mineral rich salt caves were highly valued for therapeutic use in regulating blood pressure, reducing stress levels, balancing blood sugar and pH acid levels and promoting healthy patterns in intimacy and sleep. Other benefits include improving the respiratory system and reducing the common signs of aging via purifying the skin.

So I thought that was really fascinating. Maybe if you're not eating it like you were talking about Doug, using the lamp or even the Himalayan salt scrubs that are now very common in the health food industry.

Gaby: Related to that, I have a story of a patient who went to the emergency room and the only treatment that he had was one litre of saline solution, sodium chloride. That was the only treatment. He had psoriasis, this skin problem. He said that that day after that treatment, that day at the emergency room, his plagues of psoriasis disappeared. It had been a recurring problem for months and no treatment cleared it out and one litre of saline solution and cleared it out.

Jonathan: Wow!

Doug: That's amazing. In a lot of health food stores now you can get these things called a salt inhaler which is a ceramic container that has salt in it. The ones that I've seen specifically have the Himalayan salt in it. The idea is that you breathe it in and it's supposed to help with lung ailments, asthma. If anybody has any kind of bronchial infection it can be very helpful.

Jonathan: Erica, when you mentioned the Himalayan salt sauna, that made me think of the area where I'm from where there are a lot of Finlanders and it's a common tradition to take water into the sauna with you and throw it onto the stones so that the steam comes up and I wonder if you just put some salt into your water and then evaporated that while you were in there, if that would have a beneficial effect as well.

Erica: Oh yeah! I definitely think so. Living on an island where we're surrounded by ocean, a lot of doctors' recommendations if you're having bronchial issues or asthma is to go down and sit on the beach and breathe in the salt air, clear out the nasal cavity and whatnot. So I'm sure that that would be a good way to get that inside your lungs as well.

Jonathan: Great. We're coming up close to our hour-and-a-half mark and we have our pet health segment for this week from Zoya. So we'll go to that and then we'll come back for our recipe for today which is how to make your own bacon at home from pork belly. So stay tuned for that and here is Zoya. We'll be back shortly.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the natural pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today we are going to continue talking about herbal medicine, specifically about three main herbs which you can find in every pharmacy or even select yourself and they're also the least dangerous in case of an overdose or incorrect use. Please note that your pet may still have an allergic reaction to one of the herbs, so just in case, make sure that you have an antihistamine of any kind in your house.

So the herbs that we are going to talk about are Calendula or marigold flowers, Camomile and Oak bark. Calendula officinalis or marigold flower can be collected until the first frost. Calendula is a medicinal plant that has been known for a very long time. It has many properties and is used in the case of many diseases. Calendula flowers are used for diseases of the liver and gall bladder, spleen, stomach cramps, stones in the bladder in the case of [inaudible] and in order to improve the well being of animals with tumours of the gastrointestinal tract. Calendula is also being widely used externally as an on wounds, cuts, skin ulcers and diseases of the mouth. But not only are the flowers are useful. You can crush fresh leaves and also apply to wounds, abscesses or skin ulcers.

For washing wounds and skin ulcers, inflammation of the skin from bee and wasp bites, you can use fresh juice of the flowers. You can also make an ointment. It is prepared by mixing fresh marigold juice with Vaseline or wool fat or simply lard in the proportions of 1:10. Calendula tinctures made from marginal flowers and alcohol in the strength of 70%, also in the proportion of 1:10. A dose for animals is from 1-10 drops 3 times per day. The amount of the drops depends on the weight of the animal. You can use this tincture to irrigate oral cuts, festering wounds and burns. The proper dosage is 1 teaspoon of tincture in a glass of water.

Now let's talk about Camomile. An infusion of Camomile flowers is used for intestinal cramps, acute and chronic gastritis, inflammation of the small and large intestines and bloating. Camomile is used in diseases of the liver, gall bladder, kidney and bladder and in increased excitability, hysteria, neurosis and convulsions. It can be used as a decoction that has anti-inflammatory properties in the proportion of 1:10. So a precise dose for dogs is 1-3 grams and cats 1/2 a gram up to 1 gram. You can give it 3-6 times a day, 20-30 minutes before feeding. If you have a large breed dog you can give it to them up to 100 ml of decoction 2-3 times a day.

Basically if you have a dog or a cat and you know that they have some sort of intestinal problems, uneasiness in the stomach especially after eating, as a calming agent you can give them a camomile decoction before each meal. Also notice that I use the metric measurement system. When this recording will be made into an article, I will include the US system of measurement amounts, but for now you can take one gram and translate it using Google, for example, and see how it translates into your own measurement system.

You can also use camomile as a sedative or relaxing tea. For example, you can take 8 grams of flowers per half a litre of bowling water. Wait for the tea to steep for 15 minutes and you can give it instead of water to a dog, for example, preferably overnight. You can also use Camomile in the case of cold and flu as an inhalation, for your pet to breathe an infusion of Camomile.

Camomile is also used externally as an astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory agent in the form of creams and lotion in case of burns, wounds and abscesses. It efficaciously relieves inflamed tissue, reduces pain, and promotes rapid maturation and opening of the suppurated pocket. You can also take 2 or 3 tablespoons of flowers; pour them into boiling water to form a pasty mix. You can wrap this mix in a clean cloth and apply to the affected area. In the case of stomach disease and other diseases, it's possible to rinse the oral mucus out with Camomile tea prepared from 1-2 tablespoons of flowers in one cup of water.

Now let's talk about common oak. Oak bark has an astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and haemostatic effect. It is applied in the form of decoction in a proportion of 1:10 in the case of inflammation of the mucus membranes of the stomach and intestines and in cases of gastrointestinal bleeding. A dose of oak bark in powder form for dogs is 1-5 grams and for a cat is 0.2 up to 1 gram. You can give it to them 3 times a day.

Externally Oak bark decoction can be used also in the proportion of 1:10 in stomach disease, inflammation of the membranes of the mouth, gums and in pharyngitis, inflammation of the mucus membrane of the pharynx. For the treatment of skin burns you can apply a bit stronger decoction of 1:5 and the same decoction is recommended for gastritis and enteritis as an antiseptic agent.

Well I think that this is it for today. Hopefully this information helped you and have a nice day. {Neighing horse today}

Jonathan: Alright thank you Zoya. That was a great segment. We certainly hope that people can utilize some of that information for their pets and less trips to the vets and more gaining of personal knowledge about how to deal with health problems with your animals.

Today for our recipe, we're going to talk about makin' bacon and I know how much our listeners love bacon. If it's possible for you to get a pork belly that's really what this recipe calls for. Depending on where you are or what kind of access you have to a butcher, pork bellies can be ordered online or if you have farmers in your area that farm pigs you can get bellies directly from them. I'm sure a lot of people are aware, but maybe not as many as I think, that bacon is the belly of the pig and it comes in a large, flat sheet almost, maybe an inch to and inch-and-a-half thick, usually with a layer of skin on it, depending on where you get it from. Sometimes if you order these online they'll come without the skin.

But the ingredients in this recipe are for one pound of belly. So if you have a larger section of belly, then you can adjust it accordingly. Basically bacon is pork belly that's cured and then spiced and then you slice it up and grill it. As everybody knows, you grill bacon or you can do it in the oven. I'm just going to go through this with the equivalent ingredients for one pound of belly and you can step that up as necessary.

Start with the belly itself. If it has the skin on it, take a sharp knife and carefully flay that off and save it. You can make cracklings. You can do a bunch of stuff; make rinds, with the skin. If you're not going to use it right away put it in a baggy or a container and throw it in the freezer until you're able to use it.

What we would do is take a baggy or a vacuum seal bag, depending on what you have. Sometimes you can use a one gallon freezer bag, anything that seals. This is a wet cure, not a dry cure. There are lots of different dry cures available online. You can also get pre-made cure mixes. The reason I would discourage against that is that a lot of those come with sugar and this recipe is specifically without sugar, which the meat curing people might disagree with. Personally, I think you can spice it up with any of the natural sweeteners on the back end if you want to. We were talking about xylitol, erythritol or stevia. But leave those out of the curing process for this specific recipe.

Start with a quarter cup of water for one pound of belly and then add one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt. Here I would recommend using Real Salt or Himalayan pink salt, something along those lines, not table salt. Then one-and-a-half teaspoons of ground black pepper and mix that together in the water. Create your brine and then pour that into the baggy with the pork belly, seal it shut and rub it around quite vigorously for a short amount of time until you get that all worked into the belly.

Once you get that really worked in and you have it sealed up in the baggy or in your vacuum sealer pack, through it into the refrigerator for seven days and do your best to be patient. Put it on the shelf and leave it in there for a week. When you come back to it, take it out and rinse it off quite well and pat it dry with a paper towel or something else and then put it on a plate or something else, back into the fridge for another 24 hours. That will allow any of the remaining moisture to drain out and it'll allow the juices to move around a little bit more in the pork belly. It's also easier to cut when it's cold.

Once that's done and after the 24 hours after the 7th day take that back out, slice it up and grill it up as bacon. That's a really simple recipe that only calls for salt and black pepper. You can spice this up pretty much any way you want, depending on what kind of bacon you want to make. You can add garlic. You can add cardamom or thyme, oregano, basil, anything else you want to do to add different flavours to that during the wet cure process and let those flavours move around.

What happens while it's in the bag during that seventh day is the salt in the water allows it to move the flavours through the meat and it breaks the proteins down a little bit in the meat. This is best kept cold. You don't want to let this sit out for a long time. It's a curing process for the modern era. You wouldn't want to hang this in your shed or something like that.

If you want to do smoked bacon - this is the other part of it - you can take that after you've done the salt cure for seven days and then allowed it to dry for the ensuing 24 hours, you can put it into a smoker if you have a smoker, or a grill and use hickory or apple wood or some other kind of good wood for smoking. I'm trying to look up my temperatures here. I would say 200-225 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour-and-a-half and then take it out, let it cool. Put it back in the fridge until it cools completely and then slice it up and then you have smoked bacon. So it's really up to you whether you want to do straight bacon or smoked bacon.

So that's it. It's actually quite simple. I found out the first time I was dabbling with this, "Oh bacon is pork belly so I'll just get some pork belly and slice it up and grill it." Well, it doesn't taste like bacon when you do that because it's not. It's essentially just pork. You get a lot of the bacon flavour from the curing process, from the salts that are used and from any spices that you might want to add to that mixture. I would encourage people to experiment, play around. If you can, get hold of a belly, cut it up into different sections and then try different recipes for each one and see what suits your liking.

So that's our recipe for today.

Gaby: Great!

Tiffany: Sounds good.

Jonathan: Do any of guys have anything else to add or any personal experience with that?

Doug: No, but I think I'd like to try makin' bacon.

Jonathan: The hardest part is getting hold of the belly just because it's a little pricey. Usually you can't just go get a pound of belly from the store. You have to order it in bulk. So commonly, around here if you're getting it from Cicso or another distributor, I want to day it was $90-something dollars for about 20 pounds. So you're looking at about $4.00 a pound, give or take, maybe a little bit less. So it's going to come out to a similar cost to buying bulk bacon from the store. But it's just much more satisfying to make your own.

Doug: I don't know where you are, but bacon costs a heck of a lot more than that where I'm from. Nicely raised or organic bacon costs something like $10 or $12 a pound here.

Tiffany: Wow!

Jonathan: Yeah. I have seen that as well.

Erica: I've made the bacon, as you suggested before Jonathan. We've done it several times and we used the smoker in the end. I will say the first time we made it we used the Hawaiian sea salt with the Alaea that Doug was talking about, with the minerals. The first time we made it, it was way too salty. Even the kids were like, "Oh, my gosh!" So definitely experiment with it because we did exactly as you suggested and then we rinsed it off, but I think we used way too much salt, first time. It takes a little bit of experimenting, but it's really an awesome thing to do because you go through the whole process and at the end you have your own home made bacon.

Tiffany: And you can stick it up your nose! {Laughter}

Erica: Yes, if you over-salt it you can put it on your wounds.

Jonathan: I will say, certainly sweet bacon is really nice, but for those who are being really strict about sugar or even whether or not you want to, if you need to avoid sugar for dietary restrictions and things like that, this is a good way to make bacon and completely leave that out of the process because 95% of the bacon that you're going to get commercially is cured with sugar. So this is a way to do that.

Alright, that's our show for today. Be sure to tune in next week. We're going to be covering preparation, prepping for short. But we're going to be focusing on canning, supplements, medical supplies and bone broth and keeping those things at the ready and how to be ready for situations where you might be without power, without access to a grocery store, without access to the pharmacy or anything like that and what to have on hand for emergency situations. So be sure to tune in next week for the prepping edition of the Health and Wellness Show. Thanks everybody!

All: Good-byes.