3 Things you need to know about carbohydrates…

I want to briefly talk about carbs today.

In the same way that fat was condemned in the 80’s (along with low waist shorts and natural makeup) it is fair to say that carbohydrates are now being held responsible for our growing waistline.

Now, there is some truth to this.  We live in a world where enormous quantities of refined carbohydrates can be bought cheaply and easily.  And we can’t deny that carbs are sumptuous – particularly when they have been aerated, plumped up with lush thickeners or entombed in chocolate.

It is easy to see how they can be over eaten. Give me a packet of Tim Tams and I can show you that they are not never-ending.

Currently, carbs are being blamed for a host of weight related issues – sugar is now the cause of obesity and carbohydrates of all shapes and sizes ‘cause massive insulin spikes’ which ‘makes you fat’.

It is true; the overproduction of insulin (in obese people particularly) causes your blood glucose levels to crash, stimulating hunger. Thus, people with insulin resistance who are eating refined carbohydrates (without the fibre, fat and protein present in a well-rounded meal) will eat more.

However this doesn’t make carbs fattening.

It is actually quite simple. Carbs, particularly overly processed ones are just so easy to eat. We have become reliant on them as a cheap source of fuel. People have to eat something, and our need for ease means that carbohydrates have become the dominant norm as our fuel.

On the flip side, I see so many girls going super-duper low carb (eschewing broccoli) in their efforts to drop the last few.

But, going low carb also isn’t going to help you. You do the need them. It just depends how active you are as to how many. Generally the level of activity in your day should dictate what type of carbs you choose to eat.

So what carbs and when?

1. Whole unprocessed carbohydrate sources are your priority,  such as fresh fruit and veggies. This focus is nutrient dense and not calorie dense.

 
2. Quality grains, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat (or whatever tickles your fancy) or bread without preservatives and additives are a secondary source and need to be consumed sensibly. When you are not physically active you haven’t done enough to justify more carbohydrates on top of whole food. Emphasis here is that they are not fattening! They are just unnecessary if you have sat at your computer all day.

 
3. Desserts, chocolate, lollies and added sugars: should be eaten sparingly in the week. I don’t care how raw/vegan/organic the source. The reality is, it is still an additional something that isn’t necessary in vast amounts daily.

 

And from a health and weight loss perspective how many carbs should I have?

I like this little rule from Men’s Health weight loss adviser Alan Aragon.

Multiply your target body weight by 1 if you have a desk job, work out in a gym several times a week for an hour or less, and your main goal is fat loss. Multiply by 2 if you’re a recreational athlete who trains for more than an hour a day. And multiply by 3 if you’re a competitive athlete who trains multiple hours a day, or if you’re a guy with a Mini Cooper body and a Corvette metabolism who is struggling to gain weight.

 The number you end up with indicates how many grams of carbs you should eat every day.

 What do you think? Have you had success on low carb diets? Find you get too light-headed without dense carbs? (usually indicates you have great insulin levels) I would love to hear your thoughts.

Top 3 Problems with the Typical Healthy Breakfast

oatsSo…I have been tardy, absent and severely missing my communication with the wonderful world of blogging and my readers!

Apologies, I have been dabbling in website overhaul. Needless to say, I ain’t that good at it, but when I manage to pull this off (I am aiming for end of January) you will be so impressed!

I am going to be having video content as well as exciting kitchen styling sessions from other fit and healthy personal trainers, health coaches and dieticians.

Just writing about it gets my adrenaline pumping!

As for now, I will continue to instagram and post facebook updates, while my website is currently ‘down’.

Yes- I should have clarified this earlier. But, no one is perfect and I thought I could pull the rabbit out of the hat sooner rather than later.

So today, I thought I would reflect on breakfast – again.

I find this meal to be a stumbling block for many well-intentioned health seekers.

Particularly for women who want to ‘tone up’.

While I have a few friends who naturally sit at a muscular level, I am not one of them and over the past few months I have dabbled in strength training and proper nutrition in order to see how a fit body is made through spot on nutrition, fun strength training and adequate rest time.

(Such as today – where I believe a nice stretch and an epsom salt bath will suffice)

Back to the breakfast issue though, I have realised how seriously lacking most breakfast options are of protein and now know why so many people flail on the energy levels prior to lunch and indeed experience a slump in the afternoon. Instead of subtracting my breakfast portions I have merely added twice the amount of protein and gained some serious definition in my arms and abdominals (ok I am not ripped but my abdominals are present rather than pudgy!)

With this in mind

My three Issues with the Standard Approach to Breakfast:

1.    Cereal:

When a food company says something is a ‘healthy choice’ I recommend taking a closer look. Cereal is one such ‘health food’ that is targeted towards us health conscious girls. There are several leading healthy wholegrain cereals that have seriously high levels of sugar and salt, which are added to these products to lower the fat content without jeopardising the taste. Next time you are in the supermarket, grab a chocolate bar and head to the cereal aisle then compare the sugar content of either. You will be amazed.

Even better is when the cereals have synthetic vitamins added to them, which are both unnatural and often used in such small amounts that the benefits are negligible.

Once again, it isn’t cereal that is a problem it is the pre-made boxes that are seriously questionable when it comes to your health.  I encourage you to make your own cereal, read the label to see what is exactly in the box or if all else fails I suggest you say ‘cereal later’.

Cereal Substitution: Oats or Buckwheat, Cinnamon, Stevia with Coconut Oil or Cultured Butter, either warmed over the stove or baked in the oven.

2.     Dried Fruit:

Although considered a good source of energy, be fussy in the type you select. Drying is a wonderful age-old form of food preservation. Unfortunately the dried fruit that is available in supermarkets, is just not as natural and wholesome as you think. Most of these options are vacuum freeze dried, and then placed in a microwave or boiled before being vacuumed a second time. It is little wonder that after this process the dried fruit in question is nutritionally devoid. This process is also solely cosmetic; appealing to our desire for plump, soft and substantially bigger portions and involves the use of chemicals (sulphates typically) that can trigger asthma and allergies.

Now, don’t get me wrong. One of my favourite things are dried dates – they honestly can substitute chocolate for me – but I choose to eat versions with no sulphites, manufactured with integrity and I make sure, in keeping with my desire for good digestion that I counteract the dryness of the fruit with lots of water. Regardless of whether your dried fruit is organic or conventional, dried fruit is taxing on your digestive system and needs to be either soaked in water or followed with lots of fluid!

Dried Fruit Substitution: Angas Park Dried Fruit – an Australian company with fruit that is incredibly plump, dried naturally and without additives. The dates and figs are amazing and they can be found in Coles.

3.    Milk:

 I have never actively craved milk. But I don’t see why it can’t form a part of a healthy all round diet. Indeed, milk has long been part of human diets. However, recent questionable farming practices and feeding methods have left me doubting whether the milk you buy in the supermarket is as ‘bone building’ healthy as we are lead to believe.

There are a lot of anti-dairy crusaders in the health world, and with good reason. However for me generic milk at the end of the day is the stuff that is best avoided. The stuff you buy for $1 a litre has been homogenised to even out the fat molecules and pasteurised to kill off bacteria. This is often why people have issues with milk. Heating up milk through pasteurisation alters the enzymes present in milk. Milk therefore becomes difficult for your body to digest.

If you want good milk, choose a quality provider who is committed to the welfare of their animals. This way, you know your milk is mineral rich and the cows have been fed a proper nourishing diet.

Milk Substitution: I personally don’t buy it, but I really like the ethos of the Elgaar Dairy Farm. You can pick up their products at health food stores and all of their dairy products are packaged in reusable glass so you can return your bottles when you run out and be reimbursed! I adore their cottage cheese and cream. If you like the taste of Almond Milk, then I would also consider giving this a run!

What about you? Are there any breakfast finds that you have found to be particularly awesome?

I’d love to see what everyone else considers their optimal start to the day!

Why My SUPERFOOD COSTS LESS THAN A CENT…

It is so easy to get carried away with ‘Superfoods’.

Yeah- I here ya on the greens powder front. Things like Vital Greens or any of those nutrient dense Chlorophyll rich greens powders are awesome, particularly when you are travelling and know you aren’t going to be eating your usual array of veggies. And yes, I use them.

But- if you are on a tight budget- most of these ‘mass marketed’ super foods are not super necessary.

Particularly when the most humble ingredient is the most potent!

My superfoods are found in my spice rack – not the Amazon. Lined up in a perfect alphabetic row, I get to pick and mix which nutritional powerhouse I am using for the day.

With all my spices I try to buy the whole form of the spice, not the powder.

Spices contain delicate oils in them that can quickly deteriorate once ground to a fine powder. Buying the spice pre ground in a plastic packet that has been sitting in your supermarket for who knows how long is a sure fire why to ingest rancid oils and funny tasting food!

Finally I almost always buy the organic version, or source a quality company.

Buying fresh good quality spices is not a cost commitment and the taste difference is phenomenal! 

My favorite spice, whose nutrient density is astounding, is the humble clove.

Cloves are:

–       The highest-ranking food on the ORAC scale, (used to assess the antioxidant content of food)

To put clove’s nutrient density into perspective, blueberries have an ORAC score of 2,400 whereas cloves have an ORAC score of 10 million.(And the much hyped Goji a mere 23,000) That means that a 15ml bottle of Oil of Clove has the same amount of antioxidants as 150 litres of blueberry juice. That’s a lot of berries.

–       A source of Omega 3 Fats. While only containing a minimal amount…every little bit counts to our body.

–       A fabulous source of Manganese- a trace mineral heavily involved in normal brain function

–       In its pure oil state (eugenol extract) clove has been used in dentistry as an anesthetic and anti-bacterial. Hence when I feel a sore throat coming on I gargle/swallow oil of clove and BAM potential cold is gone. (No jokes…this and Elderflower extract – but I digress)

So as you can see, spices are far more ‘super’ than your dehydrated ‘health food’ powder and the advantages of applying and eating clove and its essential oil are far bigger than most ‘health food marketers’ would have you believe.

Plus- I feel a massive sense of honor using age old ‘remedies’ to heal and nourish my body from the inside out.

 

As an aside, how do you think you might incorporate some spice into your life? 😉

I tend to add my cloves to my blender and whiz them up before putting the rest of my smoothie ingredients in. 

5 Reasons You SHOULD eat SARDINES…and why a sardine isn’t a sardine….

Image Source: LocalLemons.com

There is a funny little quote I came across from an 1984 issue of the U.S Town & Country magazine called “The Unsung Sardine”. The author, James Villas, harped on about the wonders of the tiny fish, stating that “ounce for ounce, sardines provide more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more protein than steak, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than cooked spinach.”

So let’s set the record straight.

The sardines you see being sold for 0.95c a can at your supermarket aren’t sardines!

In fact. A sardine isn’t really a species of fish!

WHAT!?

It is merely a term to describe a small version of the herring family.

So those oil slicked, overly fishy ‘sardines’ you are thinking of are more than likely a small oily fish.

But not a sardine.

A TRUE sardine will come from the pure Mediterranean waters (hence the name sardine after the island Sardinia).

And a GOOD sardine will be processed not long after being caught and won’t have that ‘odor’ so prevalent in most canned sardines that have been frozen before the tinning process has begun.

So as you can see, being relegated to the office storeroom to eat my sardine lunch is a sign of ignorance. Clearly these folks haven’t ever supped on the wonder that is a sardine. And boy, are they missing out!

WHY?

  1. They are a phenomenal source of omega 3’s. With the nutrient content of sardines including additional vitamin D, selenium and protein than your average fish oil tablet- I would say your money is far better spent investing in a tin of sardines over a pill, whose precious oils are probably rancid by the time it hits the shelf.  With oxidised fats being pro rather than anti- inflammatory, you are shooting yourself in the foot if you are taking an inferior fish supplement.
  2. They are sustainable. If you are worried about which fish to choose, check out this place. If you have a look at which canned seafood is the best choice, there are only two! Sardines and Salmon.
  3. They have little bones in them FILLED WITH CALCIUM, which you smash up and disintegrate and EAT. I once had a friend try to ‘debone’ a tinned sardine fillet only to cry out in frustration that they kept disappearing! Yep. They are fragile; you won’t taste them and are a true Superfood. (None of this dehydrated berry stuff
  4. FAST FOOD! They are ridiculously transportable and the best ‘on the go’ food I can think of. Particularly if you buy a good quality BPA FREE tinned variety in a yummy sauce or E.V.O.O. All you need is a lunchbox of salad/veggie assortments and ‘e presto’ whack open a tin, pour out the contents and you have your protein and dressing in one. Delish
  5. Consider them a ‘multivitamin’ containing, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as the full gamut of B vitamins.

And finally…they are delicious.

SO. Before you turn your nose up at the humble ‘herring’, why not track down a true sardine and taste the difference for yourself.

Health to Glow- Episode 14…SALT and why it isn’t bad.

This week..salt….that delectably ‘sinful’ ingredient that is supposed to be a cardiac nightmare..

I have written about the topic before….

AND…moving on from the health aspect…

salt tastes good!

As an ingredient in dishes, salt has two vital roles. First, it diminishes the bitterness of dishes (hello rocket/dandelion and other leafy greens). Secondly, through stamping out any bitter notes of your dish, salt will encourage the taste and smell of your meal to  shine on.

Making for one delectable dish..

And as an aside and of some/lots of interest…

…which for stress heads is a plus…

and for girls desperate to start reducing that puffy, swollen look often apparent in the abdomen, this is another factor to consider. High cortisol levels generally make themselves known through stomach fat. Urgh!

But..as usual I digress..

Watch the vid and see what salt Mel and I choose to use..

..and please don’t pursue the usual salt suspects..live a little and buy good quality salt with added mineral content!

 

 

 

Just to prove a point…an entertaining VIDEO on CARDIO!

Despite my rantings on the wasted efforts of cardio..I still get a lot of girls asking me what type of cardio is best? Or WHY IS CARDIO SO BAD?

FIrst things first, do what you LOVE to do, as moving about is so important, especially for those who have office jobs!

But, if you are stressed to the eyeballs and struggling with the ”all or nothing’ weakness of some women’s fat loss pursuits, than may I  suggest you watch this video?

Once again the importance of nutrition when it comes to nourishing your body and fuelling it with the right type of energy is paramount. Don’t waste your time running to ‘burn’ off calories if you aren’t eating optimally. That being said, why not add some weight training into your ‘regime’ and go for a beautiful walk as well? We are blessed in Australia to have fine weather…so use it!

The reality is, cardio ain’t that special when it comes to fat loss.

While the below video is a little extreme. It has a point.

And yes, while not many of us go and consume pizza on a regular basis, may I point out that 3 minutes of intense running didn’t so much as ‘burn off’ a piece of toast. An hour long jog probably won’t do much more.

Once again…
Cardio loses against diet.

So if time isn’t on your side, take an hour to prepare some nourishing meals….rather than take an hour to slog it out on the pavement. The former is far more stress relieving, won’t cause oxidative damage and will nourish you above and beyond the hour investment.

And if you LOVE exercise like I do…try squatting weights heavier than yourself!

My Sugar Free Afternoon Snack!

So it’s ‘SUGAR FREE SEPTEMBER’ in the blogosphere and I have had MANY requests for sugar free alternatives to satisfy that sweet afternoon temptation.

First things first though –

Sweet cravings usually means you are:

1. Sleep Deprived (go to bed early tonight)

2. Stressed (take one thing off your to-do list)

3. Hormonal (eat the dam chocolate)

4. Reinforcing bad habits by always turning to something sweet in the afternoon.

On the matter of sleep. If you deprive your body of the necessary shuteye required for repair your body will try to ‘repair’ itself the next day.

To do this, your body releases growth hormone, stimulating ghrelin – your hunger hormone.

Needless to say you crave easy, accessible forms of energy i.e. sugar.

Regardless of this rant – I too am human and like something sweet in my life. Particularly with this warmer weather I ADORE ice cream. But I am not keen on most store bought products as they are filled with suspect numbers, soy lecithin and vegetable gums…to name but a few.

Hence, I invented my next best alternative!

Sugar Free, Protein Packed Ice Cream!

If you are keen for ice cream but hate the preservative ridden alternatives and lack time – try this on for size!

Protein Cheesecake Low Carb Ice Cream for ONE! 

Ingredients:
150g of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (good quality means everything on the label makes sense to you)
¼ cup of water/almond milk/coconut milk
1 scoop of protein powder
Pinch of Vanilla powder
1 tsp of liquid stevia
1 tray of ice cubes (about 10-12 small ones)
1 tbs of Chia seeds (not necessary – they were sitting next to my blender so I thought why not?)

Method:
Combine ingredients, except for water in a blender or magic bullet. Add half the water and blend. If more water is required – add the remaining water. The water is purely to get the blender going – less is more. Puree the mixture until smooth and free of lumps, scraping down the blender as required.

Et Voila!

Serve immediately, otherwise the ice will melt somewhat. (Which is ok – just more of a thick smoothie then)

I love this at the moment- especially with this beautifully balmy weather we are having.

Oh – and for the purists who read my blog – (I love you…BUT) yes this isn’t typical ice cream, made with quality egg yolks and milk. However- as a kitchen cheat – this deserves me a gold medal!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

What’s the ‘healthiest’ way to eat MEAT? + a recipe!

I am all for cooking up an ample carcass of protein and gelatinous bone goodness, (cue the smell of lamb shanks, osso buco and roast chicken to name but a few) but in this contemporary state I am in at the moment (you too? Get out!) Sometimes slow cooking meat on the bone isn’t feasible

especially when you get home and you want dinner stat.

This is where my creativity with chicken breasts is put to work – like most Australians (I recall Masterchef stated we ate 45kg per person per YR!) I find chicken massively convenient and easy to impart well-known flavors upon. My main priority when cooking meat in a hurry, is to ensure I cook it without charring it to within an inch of its life.

Barbequing on the whole isn’t the best method of meat consumption every day– as the very nature of ‘charring’ your meat produces cancerous Hydrocarbons and Amines that cause massive oxidative stress on your body. That being said- I will NEVER say no to a good barbecue. How UN- Australian 😉

In order to combat any worries of potential ‘cancer causing’ agents- I get my hands dirty.

Really dirty.

And massage my meat with an awesome marinade.

…marinating not only boosts flavor but also reduces the formation of these Amines and Hydrocarbons – quite significantly.

Interestingly some scientists at the Food Safety Consortium project at Kansas State University have discovered that herbs of the Lamiaceae family (Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, and Sage) used in marinades reduced the formation of free radicals rather well.

So when it comes to quick meat dishes in a flash here are

3 RULES

1.  Marinade– Delicious and easiest way to avoid cancer-causing compounds. Some research even shows that marinating for 30 minutes can reduce the formation of these compounds by 90%!

2. Lean Protein Cuts – Cuts of meat with less fat are less likely to drip fat and flare the BBQ flames all over your juicy steak.

3. Don’t burn the S*&t out of your meat – tone it down please.

And with that said – here is my chicken marinade, using turmeric, the humble spice with amazing anti-inflammatory properties and even shown by the Cancer Research Centre in Hawaii to reduce cancer causing Amines by a half!

… for an extra side of delicious, my peanut free satay sauce. One word. YUM.

Chicken Marinade INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tablespoons tamari

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500gm Chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

METHOD

Mix your marinade ingredients together and rub into your chicken breast

Let stand for 30 minutes or overnight

Heat up your pan with some coconut oil and over low heat, cook your chicken until done!

Satay Sauce INGREDIENTS

2 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon macadamia or coconut oil

1 teaspoon good quality curry powder

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

¼ cup almond butter or tahini

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon stevia (or 2 teaspoons of honey)

1 cup coconut milk

METHOD

Process together the ginger, onion and garlic in a mini food processor.

In a pan on low heat, fry the above mixture in coconut oil for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add curry powder and tamari and stir well before adding almond butter, stevia and chilli flakes.

Add coconut milk to almond sauce and stir thoroughly until the sauce is smooth. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes – remove from heat and serve with your chicken!

Don’t forget some veggies. 😉

 

Are Organics Better for You?

Up until recently I was hell bent on buying Organics. Yes – I had heard that organic produce wasn’t particularly more nutritious than its conventional counterpart, but I was simply selfish and didn’t want to ingest toxins. Note that I see the irony with living in the city and wishing to eat ‘natural and clean’ vegetables. My best bet to reduce toxic exposure would be to up and move to the country. But clearly that isn’t going to happen.

Given the amount of ‘greenwashing’ that can and does occur in a billion dollar organic industry – how do I know what I buy is really as ‘pure’ as I am lead to believe. Are organic pesticides safe for the environment and me? And further to the point – what is an organic pesticide?

Query One: Are Organic Pesticides environmentally friendly?

No.

Sorry.

What you need to realise is that a pesticide is a poison – whether you like it or not. Yes- I would prefer my pesticide to be from the earth rather than a laboratory coat – but either way it kills pests.

A recent study at the University of Guelph revealed that some organic pesticides had a heavier environmental impact than their conventional counterpart. Environmental Science Professor Rebecca Hallett compared the effectiveness and environmental impact of organic pesticides to those of conventional pesticides.

“The consumer demand for organic products is increasing partly because of a concern for the environment,” said Hallett. “But it’s too simplistic to say that because it’s organic it’s better for the environment. Organic growers are permitted to use pesticides that are of natural origin and in some cases these organic pesticides can have higher environmental impacts than synthetic pesticides often because they have to be used in large doses.”

If we take a look at the toxicity level of synthetic vs. organic pesticides the results are quite eye opening. All poisons that are presented in pesticides are rated on an Environmental Impact Quotient. These pesticides are examined on their level of toxicity or rather what they will kill/hurt.

Below is a table of common pesticides according to the EIQ:

Bt (organic) 13.5
Acephate (synthetic) 17.9
Soap (organic) 19.5
Carbaryl (synthetic) 22.6
Malathion (synthetic) 23.2
Rotenone (organic) 33.0
Sabadilla (organic) 35.6

As is apparent – some of the organic pesticides are more toxic than the synthetic ones.

Unfortunately in this era of ‘toxins’ there will never be a 100% safe pesticide. All pesticides, regardless of source have their dangers. Given the amount of food that needs to be created to fuel a growing population, suggesting that we revert to cleaner insecticides isn’t feasible overnight.

So, while I am all for supporting an industry that is vital to awakening our health and environmental conscience, I fear that people get so carried away with the notion of organics that the true value of food and where its sourced may be lost in the search for ‘toxin free’.

Perhaps the true determiner for nutrient content in your food is where it came from. How long has that tomato been out of the ground before you ate it? A lot of the produce you buy in chain stores has been grown miles away (asparagus from Chile was my recent find). In fact, according to the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, a typical Australian food basket has travelled roughly 70,000km – this is like travelling around Australia’s coastline three times! Your produce then sits on the shelf for a week or so, which is a no brainer when it comes to nutrient deterioration.

When produce isn’t exposed to light, its nutrient value declines. Now if you think of your supermarket veggie, which was picked a week ago transported to your supermarket in a dark truck cabin, wacked into a display in amongst other veggies, then stored in the dark recess of your bottom fridge drawer for a few days, it is more than likely your poor little veggies don’t stand a chance when it comes to maximum nutrition.

SO after all this – where to get veggies and fruits?

The markets – those beautiful local gatherings – where the stall owners have woken up in the wee hours of their weekend morning in order to sell to you fresh picked veggies from their own farm.  This produce has usually been picked within the last two or three days and is as close to fresh as you can get.

Community food markets, moreover, promote a thorough understanding of food production and consumption. How did that steamed broccoli and side of roasted potatoes get on your plate? Buying your food locally strengthens local economy, protects precious farmland and increases the ability for farmers to continue their means of work – often a business that has been handed down from generation to generation. Choosing to buy local means your food has travelled less and YOU have personally made a small step in decreasing fossil fuel emissions

Above and beyond this, I have also found that I have managed to cultivate BEAUTIFUL relationships with the growers of MY FOOD. Instilling within me a great bond and sense of community. In a world of Facebook and twitter devoid of meaningful connection, this is one of the closest toxic free relationships I can find!

To Salt or Not to Salt

 

Salt is one of those suspect food ingredients, relegated by most health conscious foodies as unnecessary and ultimately ‘unhealthy’.  But even while superfood evangelists are screaming “get away from that shaker” we can’t forget that salt has an important role to play in the body.It keeps our electrolyte balance under control, assists our body in absorbing food, is a natural antihistamine and stabilizes blood sugar. Little wonder then, that traditional cultures used proper sea salt liberally in their cuisine.

Like most food now days, we need to respect the quality of the source before we can judge its nutritional value.

Refined white salt, that necessary evil perching on most dinner tables has been stripped of its trace minerals; having been refined and bleached (nothing like a good peroxide treatment on your food) to leave sodium chloride only.

Often, to make the salt pourable and easy to use, anti-caking agents are added that are invariably aluminum based, adding to our heavy metal toxic load. The final added ingredient is sodium acetate, which has been associated with increased blood pressure and water retention. Not to point fingers but this is the compound that sends people frantically removing salt from their diet.

Sodium chloride is everywhere in packaged foods, so once again, try to eat fresh so you can control the amount of refined salt you are consuming.

For those keen to add taste into their food, ergo pretty much everyone, start to look for sea salt that has been air dried. Air drying ensures the minerals are all still relatively intact.

If you are confused, just have a look at the colour, the salt should be slightly gray or even pink in colour.

I personally buy Celtic Sea Salt or unprocessed New Zealand Sea Salt and add it to my food after cooking for an additional mineral boost. Otherwise, a pinch of the stuff in some lemon water is a great way to get a mineral boost while you work out, and is essentially what those expensive sports drinks are, sans the artificial colours and flavours.

That being said – if you are noshing on too many processed foods in the first place, these are filled to the brim with sodium chloride. So subtract these before you add – otherwise you will be getting salt overload and anything in excess is never a good thing. .