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Sea Salt…

Its about time to address the salt issue…one of the many reasons why we don’t eat the processed foods is the sodium content. Things that can keep in a package for weeks or months at a time are usually extremely loaded with salt, because its a very cheap and accessible preservative. Food with high salt content is generally an inhospitable environment for bacteria to grow, hence the high sodium content in processed meats.

On a Paleo diet, the small amount of salt you use should come from sea salt, and not because its any lower in sodium…because its not. Sea salt is a naturally derived and unprocessed salt, and usually comes with some added bonus minerals such as magnesium and calcium (up to 2% usually). You still don’t want to go overboard with the salt because it does definitely have some very real health risks if you use too much. While I’m not at all a fan of the American Heart Association’s rhetoric on ‘low-fat heart healthy diets,’ part of their heart healthy diet is low-sodium, which is a real legitimate concern.

Let’s take a look at what can happen to your blood pressure when you’ve got too much sodium in your body and why this is a bad thing:

Salt, or sodium as we’ll call it when its in your body, is the primary extra-cellular ion. This means it is in larger quantities outside your cells than inside. Its counterpart, potassium, is the intra-cellular ion that keeps the delicate charge on either side of the cell membrane in check if hydration status is adequate. Salt attracts water, so in your body, if there’s too much sodium circulating, it will pull water out of the surrounding tissues and into your circulation, which increases the volume of your blood. This increased blood volume causes your heart to work a lot harder to pump that extra blood. Here’s the important part: your heart working harder to pump the extra blood is not the same as you running a few miles to get your heart rate accelerated for cardio-vascular exercise. Its your heart literally pumping harder for a longer period of time, which it can’t sustain over the long haul.

In addition to the stress you’ve just placed on your heart, your kidneys are also working extra hard to try to filter out and excrete all that excess sodium from your circulation. This causes strain on the kidneys, which are not renewable. Once they start to fail, they don’t regenerate or heal. As your heart is over-worked trying to pump the extra volume, your kidneys are overworked trying to get rid of the extra volume. When the sodium in your diet starts to pull fluid from other tissues in the body, you get a thirsty feeling. You go drink more water, then you’ve just added more fluid to the mix. And that’s if you’ve just had water. If you went and drank something else, such as soda, you’ve added even more charged particles to the equation and even more load on your kidneys to try to clear out, when they’re already struggling as it is.

It is estimated that the average American consumes between 3000 and 6000mg of sodium a day. The daily requirement in your diet is about 500mg. You can easily get that from fruits and vegetables, because, yes, there is some small amount of naturally occuring salt in vegetables. Also, seafood is an excellent source. In order to meet the guidelines for a ‘heart-healthy’ sodium intake your salt should be no more than about 1500mg per day.

On the Paleo diet, you’re really only getting about 500mg naturally from vegetables and a small amount in some spices. The rest should come from tiny and moderately used sea salt or the occasional bite of grass-fed dairy cheese.

I think I was talking to someone about my favorite sea salt and I mentioned that I use a Pele Red Hawaiian sea salt, which has a little bit of a sweet zip to it, with the salty flavor. Here is a pic of it and you can buy it here on Amazon. I have also seen Himalayan pink salt, which may or may not be the same type of flavor profile, so I can’t say for sure.


8 responses »

  1. Breakfast: naked juice
    Snack: banana and sone dried fruit.
    Lunch: chicken breast with some honey and grapes
    Dinner: steak, sweet potato chips, and plantains.

  2. Oct. 21
    3 egg and 2 egg white omelet with bacon and green peppers. Juiced two apples.
    Apple w/almond butter
    Steak with sweet potato chips and plantains.
    Apple w/almond butter

  3. Oct. 22
    Omelet w/green peppers, bacon, a little cheese. Juiced apples, oranges, bananas, and kiwis.
    Apple Fuji Chicken Salad from Panera.
    My parents were in town and we went out to eat at the Hereford House. I had a Filet with seasoned vegetables and a garden salad. Then I cheated a little and had a whiskey sour after dinner.

  4. Friday the 22nd:
    Breakfast – protien shake
    Lunch – chipolte steak bowl with onions, peppers, lettuce and mild salsa
    Snack – apple
    Snack – half of a burger patty plain
    Dinner – small steak with mushroom, onion and shrimp skewers

    Today was wierd, I did not workout today but was starving all day.

  5. Oct. 23rd
    Protein shake
    Taco Salad
    Chicken Salad and Broccoli
    Protein Shake
    I weighed myself at the station today and I have lost 8 pounds. I worked out today and it felt great I had a ton of energy.

  6. combatcrossfit

    I think I have missed a couple days of posts so i’ll do my best to remember what I ate:
    Breakfast: 2 soyjoy bars and a cup of almond milk
    snack: choc. almond butter
    no lunch (my only option was eggrolls or pizza, so I passed)
    snack: packet of maple almond butter and trail mix
    dinner: sloppy joe minus the bread
    snack: pear

    Breakfast: 2 soyjoy bars
    snack: trail mix
    Lunch: chicken with paleo bbq sauce, banana and trail mix
    snack: maple almond butter packet
    dinner: salmon with lime juice and sweet potato fries

  7. Saturday:
    Breakfast – protein shake
    Snack- apple
    Lunch – steak with mushrooms and onions
    Snack – apple
    Dinner – Heather and i went to Em Chamas in Parkville. It was awesome and we stuck to the Paleo plan. We had probably 10 different types of meats with a mushroom salad and steamed muscles. Delicious! and we didn’t have dessert!!!!!!! Booya!
    Starting to wonder what the heck I was thinking doing today’s WOD after yesterdays ass kicker WOD. I’m with Andy, I think every Saturday should be a buddy wod.

  8. combatcrossfit

    Breakfast: protein shake with berries and banana
    Snack: maple almond butter packet
    Snack: trail mix
    Lunch: apple with almond butter and plum
    snack: banana
    Dinner: pulled pork and green beans and I cheated and had a couple sips of a caffeine free diet coke I found in my cabinet
    snack: maple almond butter


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