In 2011 I set about on a journey to regain my health – a series of dietary experiments. You can read the backstory here. Prior to beginning these trials, I had used an elimination diet to clear up a systemic Candida infection. I was also healing my gut/digestion through the intensive application of probiotics via fermented foods and beverages, and it worked, because cultured food is magical!
In August, I stopped adding salt to my food. *sigh*
Does this really require explanation? I think we all know that excessive salt is bad for you. And, unfortunately, excessive salt is my favorite vice.
Now granted, there are those in the natural health community that insist a high-quality salt is not only acceptable, but is actually an important source of trace minerals. And I think there’s some truth to that, in that sea salts and other unrefined salts do contain a hefty load of hard-to-find micronutrients.
However, using these quality salts in moderation, during cooking, should provide plenty of the supposed benefit. Liberally shakey-shakey-shaking the stuff onto any and every morsel that’s destined for your mouth? Probably overkill. I eat an incredibly mineral-rich diet, so it’s not like I’m otherwise lacking.
No, in my case salt was being used and abused in a way that was very mindless. And that’s what needed to change – for my general health, but also for my personal growth.
Where do I start? For one, this was way easier than I expected. Of course there were times when I missed that old saline siren, times when I think a meal really would have been enhanced by a bit of the old *sprinkle sprinkle*. But mostly, my resolve was set and I just didn’t even really notice. After about a week or so, my tastebuds had changed and I could discern the delicate flavors of each food, without relying on salt to draw them out. By the end of the month, I really wasn’t missing it much at all.
The other amazing, totally unexpected side effect, was the magical 5-lb “weight loss” that resulted. It wasn’t real weight of course – not that it matters – but the fat that without all that extra salt, my body didn’t feel the need to cling to so much water. I hadn’t realized that I was, well, a little bit bloated all the time. Just a little bit puffed up, retaining water. When I dropped the salt I also dropped the extra water, and it had this incredible slimming effect that came as a totally pleasant surprise!
Since last August, the little white temptress has definitely crept back onto my plate, but I don’t let her fly with the same unconscious abandon that I used to. I salt my food but I do it with intention. I find that using the healthiest, highest quality salts gives me a sense of appreciation and helps to keep me mindful and “in moderation”.
I feel like this final trial was the perfect cap to 8 months of ups and downs, to an incredible journey of experimentation and discovery. That something so simple – just salting my food – could be such a source of poison or of pleasure, depending on where I was coming from, inside myself. Isn’t that little lesson just the whole enchilada, right there?
August marked the final month-long trial, but it wasn’t the end of this project. Next up we’ll tackle September, when I began to put it all together, and then the holiday season, when I really had to put it into practice . . .
Edited to link in the rest of the series: