Rockstar Ingredients: Salt

Salt?!

You heard me.

But none of that iodized, processed, table salt crap.

I'm talking about the real thing.

Rich mineral secrets from deep inside the belly of the mountains

and the precious sea nymph gems that crystalize upon the shores...

clockwise from left: celtic salt, salish, himalayan pink.

clockwise from left: celtic salt, salish, himalayan pink.

We've been conditioned into a strange relationship with salt.

We fear it, and we crave it.

Why? Because we know full well that table salt is a mess. The processing strips it of its inherent nutrients, and puts additives in their place. Toxins like fluoride, anti-caking agents, and potassium iodide creep in, while bleaching ensures a pristine looking product. In some cases, aluminum derivatives are added, which cause a multitude of health issues, including...are you ready for this? Alzheimer's. Whaa? And we're putting this stuff in our precious bodies?! That added to the fact that too much salt causes high blood pressure, inflammation (literally the building block of poor health and disease), water retention or dehydration (depending on other factors present), hypertension, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and even increases risk of stomach cancer. You gotta be effing kidding me.

On the other paw, pure salt earns rockstar status by supplying much needed essential trace minerals to the body, and in doing so alkalizes, boots immunity, fights disease and depression (by preserving hormones which help us to deal with stress), and eases a variety of skin conditions while detoxifying via a salt bath. 

Oh, and it tastes delicious, of course. The trick is using pure salt sparingly, like the priceless jewels of the Earth that they are. You wouldn't just throw zillions of tiny diamonds around carelessly, now would you?

It's still confusing, I know.

So, the question begs, when and how to salt? 

Salt binds to large molecules, like proteins, in food. So it's there, but you don't taste it. That creates hidden salt. We don't want that. And the larger the molecule, the less you will taste it. Now, you do need some salt during the cooking process, because it engages the action, and is necessary for things like browning, carmelization, for interaction in baking, and to generate what are known as Maillard reactions: a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars which give cooked foods their flavor. The idea then, my savory Darlings,  is to salt minimally during the cooking process, and sprinkle it on just before serving. That way you get the full flavor of these gorgeous crystals without going overboard. 

The sexiest salts around? The Magic Three.

1. Celtic Salt - Hands down my all-time fave. You know how often I specify it in my recipes, and here's why: 

Long used in ritual for purification, protection, and grounding, its flavor is as powerful as its magic. 

Celtic salt is harvested off the coast of France by hand, in the traditional methods of the ancient Celts, by using the sun, the wind and shallow clay ionizing ponds, a method passed down through the ages. That alone connects us to its magic. Because it is unrefined, Celtic salt contains all 92 trace minerals needed for the body to function at its best. 

Naturally moist and lunar pale grey, Celtic salt makes the purrfect body scrub all on its own, but is positively heaven-sent when mixed with coconut or avocado oil, and anointed with your fave essential oils. (Hit the Main Menu button on the link page to shop.)

A must-have beauty and nutritional powerhouse.

Celtic salt ready for harvest.

Celtic salt ready for harvest.

2. Himalayan Pink Salt

Mined 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan mountain range, Himalayan pink salt was subject to enormous pressure over millions of years and is over 99% pure. The higher the amount of pressure, the more superior or excellent the state of order within the crystalline structure of the salt. 

Many Himalayan salts are sold cheaply but are collected from higher up near the tops of the Himalayan Mountains instead of from the deeper mines. These salts contain more impurities, do not have the same structure and are not as easily assimilated into the body.

Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements in ionic state and is a delightful pink color. People often state that they use less of this salt than of other types. 

And then there are the lamps, charged with happy negative ions which purify the air and promote a rested, rejuvenated state of calm. Like being in a sexy salt spa cave.

let's have a date, here.

let's have a date, here.

3. Smoked Salt

Also known as salish, smoked salt makes it into my sacred circle for its amazingly intense charcoaled flavor. This is a secret weapon of an ingredient if ever there were one. Deep and earthy, salish is created by slowly smoking the salt over wood, usually Alder.

And what is Alder? One of the Sacred Celtic Trees, my Beasties. Known as The King of The Waters (the Willow being its Queen,) the Alder grows in the faerie realm, where land and waters meet. 

This sacrosanct tree attracts powers of self protection, divination, healing, and all things connected to the element of Water. 

Keep that in mind as you're lightly sprinkling salish onto your latest culinary creation.

the king of the waters.

the king of the waters.

I'll leave you now with two words:

Salt. lick.

xxx Alise



Friday's Child: Soul Survivor

Sometimes you just don’t see it coming...

All your intuitions are tuned to the cosmic radio stations, but you just don’t get the full frequency.

Until you do.

And then you don’t know what the hell to do.

Dusk.

Dusk.

The solar eclipse brought news: My stepfather is dying.

Late stage cancer is consuming his body, while “treatments” destroy what little is left, and steroids turn his anger and fear up full volume.

He has always been a difficult person to love. And I love him still.

Warm and ornery, genuine and unbelievable, a continent-sized ego piloted by an intense need for attention, he has been my ally and comrade, my enemy, my dear father, and a complete stranger.

And as I watch him deteriorate, I am aware that the Buddhist monks (as always) have it figured out: Cancer is, indeed, the Hell Realm.

I see so much fear and confusion in his eyes. He has no understanding of the work that must be done before death. He doesn’t see how what we do here carries into the next life. The only blessing here is that my mother is beginning to get it. And for this I am grateful.

Through times like these, it can be really hard to remember your own well being. These are the prime moments to sink back into bad habits, let stress take center stage, eat poorly, and allow intense frustration and upset to create a downward spiral into self pity, depression, and rage. But here’s the thing: The Cosmos gives us, during these most trying times, the purrfect opportunity to remember our own health, the ability to not become the effect of genetics or conditioning. 

Here’s where we make a massive effort to eat well, to sleep, to find quiet space in the craziest and most turbulent days to get outside and let nature into our hearts. We have to.

Food for Life.

Food for Life.

I’ve kind of gone into this survival mode of fresh juices, lots of shake elixirs, ‘cause I don’t know about you, but at the first sign of upset my insides go haywire. The ulcer I contracted when I eighteen (!) flares up like a mofo. I can’t eat, but when I do, I invariably reach for something weird, like a full-sugar/wheat muffin...something I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole on any other day, the kind of thing I rally against as part of my career, and my lifestyle. This is what stress, and unconcious eating can do to us. F**k that.

So, we make the best choices we can, whether we’re stuck in a hospital for eighteen hours, or just blindly getting through a day.

I been putting myself to bed absurdly early, whenever I can, because I need every ounce of my strength right now. I keep my bag stuffed with raw nuts, dried fruits, cacao beans. I'm downing copious amounts of kombucha, kefir, and water with a little of Contessa's lemon essential oil. The rote fix right now would be to mainline coffee, which would only add to my stress and fire up my ulcer...so, no. 

I remember to get air, and sun, and stars...even for just a moment. 

'Cause the dandelions are everywhere.

"Dandelion make me wise..."

"Dandelion make me wise..."

My Loves, if any of you are having a similar experience, or have stories to share, I would so like to hear them in the comments below. And any help I can give you to stay afloat, to keep well and sane, by all means, just ask.

And thank you for giving me this space to open up and tell you what's going on. (I'm an Aries with a double Scorpio, so I don't admit defeat easily. And I prefer mystery to baring my soul).

I’ll see you next week. And we’ll kick ass.

To Your Beautiful Health and Well-Being, now and always.

xxx Alise

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Raw Power, Honey, Can't Be Beat

He's got  my  attention. Rock god, cultural icon, and animal activist, Mr. Iggy Pop.   

He's got my attention. Rock god, cultural icon, and animal activist, Mr. Iggy Pop.

 

Speaking of which, you and I have been talking succulent dishes quite a bit lately, haven’t we? In the kitchen, I mean.

Let’s see...we’ve made spicy stews, heavenly cakes, all sorts of exotic fare. Yet, save for a few shake elixirs, it’s all been cooked.

Most of you get that I am vegan, and avoid sugar, gluten, junk food of all ages, etc. What you don’t know is that my diet is 80% raw. As in uncooked.

Why? Because raw food keeps vitamins, minerals, and amino acids intact. 

I get asked all the time about what I eat, what I don’t eat. People always want to get in on it, but they worry it’s gonna get weird. 

Sometimes it does.

But I tend towards the far end of the spectrum, obsessing over superfoods and super herbs, tonics and brews, where it comes from, is it sustainable, how best to combine...and yes, it’s weird to some. I get that. 

I can tell you, my loves, with complete fervor, that I have never felt or looked better in my life since adopting this lifestyle. Though I’ve been vegetarian most of my adult life, and vegan a huge amount of that time, I didn’t always do it right. And I wasn’t always prepared on a higher plane, because when you create something on a physical level, the emotional/mental blossoming must be present at the same time, or one will not support the other. (That’s another conversation entirely.)

Back to diet: A typical day for me is filled with raw dark greens, vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts...and somewhere in there you’ll find something cooked. I like a light-to-heavy approach, eating the heaviest foods not only at the end of a meal, but also at the end of the day.

This is the best way for your body to digest food, and good digestion, whether or not we want to think about it, is crucial to our well-being. When the body uses energy to digest food, that energy doesn’t go to our vital organs, systems, and natural healing abilities...and it certainly has nothing left for your skin, hair, and nails. Digesting food requires an enormous amount of energy, draining you, inside and out.

And, baby, you need that energy for living your awesome life.

So, want to try a sexy little raw dish?

(Ahem.)

I meant this one:

IMG_2072.jpg

Lust For Life Raw Pasta

  • 2-3 large organic yellow squash
  • 2 large organic tomatoes
  • 1 C. sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. etra virgin oilve oil, cold pressed
  • Black pepper
  • Himalayan pink sea salt

This is SO easy!

First, peel the squash. Then create "noodles" with either a spiralizer, or a potato peeler. Set aside to drain in a colander.

Place the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil into a food processor, and pulse until blended.

Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with squash noodles, top with rice "parmesan" if you like, and devour!

 

xxx Alise