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



Rockstar Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinegar

I've made it my mission,

Lovers,

to introduce you to my most fabulous food friends,  

my cheekiest culinary cohorts,

my rockstar retinue...

I want you to meet a very sassy friend of mine.

Perhaps you've seen her around?

You really should get to know her...

Morning cocktails at Maison Marie

Morning cocktails at Maison Marie

Apple cider vinegar.

Let me give you a little backstory on this babe.

She was a good friend of Hippocrates, who noted her antibiotic talents and recommended her to his ailing patients.  Need more star power than that?

She:

Restores body ph-alkalinity. The standard Western diet creates an acidic pH in our bodies, and many health problems are attributed to this, such as allergies, acne, high cholesterol, joint pain, weight loss, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, dandruff, chronic fatique, candida, sore throat, gum infection, sinus infection, flu, acid reflux, leg cramps and ear infections. Though vinegars are acidic, apple cider vinegar actually has an alkaline effect on the body, restoring the pH balance and assisting in the healing of these ailments. It is also anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anti-bactrial. Need more? It's used to help dissolve kidney stones, lower high blood pressure, and contains nearly all of the essential vitamins and minerals the body needs for optimum functioning. KInd of awesome, no?

Keeps your smile bright. Brush with it, followed by brushing with your favorite natural toothpaste, to remove stains that dull your gorgeous grin. Do it continually for stubborn stains, and your friends will swear you've had them professionally whitened.

Banishes nasty fleas from your familiars. I don't believe in harming any living thing. Unless you are messing with my cats. Then, mofos, you have me to deal with.  Mix up an inexpensive potion to get those f**kers OFF your animal friends:

  • 8 oz. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 oz. warm, pure water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Mix it all together in a spray bottle, and spray onto their coats, rubbing in gently with your hands. You could also dip a flea comb into the mixture, and comb your fur baby with it.

Seasons a sunburn. Apply apple cider vinegar generously to your heated skin with either a spray bottle (rub it in!) or with a cotton pad. Yes, you will smell like a salad. And, yes, your sunburn will be transformed into a golden goddess tan. It's an ancient folk remedy, and it works. Just follow up with a liberal douse of essential oil-based perfume.

Reduces heartburn. You can mix one or two tablespoons into a glass of pure water, and drink in between meals, at least an hour before or after you eat. **Important to note: drinking water or any beverage with a meal causes digestive acids to dilute, making digestion difficult, which creates bellyaches and bloating. Sip if you must, but as a rule drink between meals. Or, knock back a shot a soon as symptoms arise.

Stops crazy hiccups. Hiccups are often caused by either low stomach acid slowing the digestion of protein, or eating too much. Because apple cider vinegar restores the acid balance in the stomach, it can ease irritating spasms of the diaphragm. Try a tablespoon and see.

Soothes a cranky tummy. Just like how it's used for heartburn and hiccups, apple cider vinegar can ease your belly woes. 

Stabilizes blood sugar. Studies have been conducted with people who suffer from type 2 diabetes, noting that apple cider vinegar lowers glucose levels.

Keeps your mane manageable. Yes! A water/apple cider vinegar rinse will remove residue from your hair and scalp, detangle, and seal the hair cuticle, making major shine. Just use a 50/50 blend (say, 1/4 cup of each?) and either pour onto your hair after washing, or spritz it from a spray bottle. Let it work its magic for a few minutes, then rinse really well. You won't need a conditioner unless your hair is mega dry. Hello, smooth and shiny tresses!

Beautifies your skin.  Apple cider vinegar balances your skin's dry-to-oily ration, and prepares your skin to drink all the tantalizing potions you follow it with. Here's my Witches secret to purrfectly toned skin: Boil your favorite magic herbs into a tea. Allow it to steep for 30 minutes on a very slight simmer, then cool completely. Add one part vinegar to two parts herbal infusion. Now you can spray onto your skin with a mist bottle, or daub it on with a cotton pad. I'll be brewing up a few batches soon as part of my new shop (!) so check back with me for skin-type-specific formulations. 

(Oh, and add a splash to your bath with your fave essential oils for a silky bod).


Ahh...my friend ACV. She's so amazing.

How do we spend our time together, you ask?

Well, I like to knock back a shot everyday, first thing, often with a teaspoon of turmeric mixed in. Me-yow! I also splash in a salad at least three times a week, but my absolute fave, especially in Summer months, is a yummy, tonic, thirst quenching potion:

  • 1 32 oz. bottle organic unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 C raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar 
  • Liquid vanilla stevia to taste
  • 1 Tbsp ground organic cinnamon

Mix this all together in a glass, lidded container, and store it in the fridge. If the cinnamon floating around bugs you, strain it through a cheesecloth first. (You can adjust the strength by adding some pure water if it's too strong for you.) Enjoy it with fresh lemon slices in a gorgeous glass, or serve it to guests in a beautiful pitcher. 

My dear friends,

Sålut! To your health!

xxx Alise

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