2. Specific Condiments
Salt is the most widely used condiment in the world. Last year Americans ate over 275,000 tons of table salt, and on the average each person in this country consumes five times as much salt as any other world citizen.
Many men, women and children in this country eat an average of 10 to 12 grams (almost one-half ounce) of salt every day. America also has over 25 million people suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure, the third major cause of death in this country.
There is a connection.
Table salt is an inorganic mineral compound composed of sodium and chlorine. It has antibiotic and preservative properties. Although not generally thought of as a poison, salt is deadly to all living organisms. A fatal dose of salt is usually about four ounces taken at one time. This is only eight times more than the average person eats over a day’s time.
Salt is probably the most ubiquitous seasoning in the world. You’ll find it in almost every processed, prepared or preserved food. We even put it in our pet food and baby food. Even if no extra salt is added at the table, the average American diet will still contain over six times what most nutritionists consider “safe” levels of salt usage.
There is no safe level of salt use.
2.1.1 The Myths of Salt
If salt is so bad, why do we use it. all? Is there really a need for salt in the diet?
Salt use has been defended on these four misconceptions:
- Salt is necessary for life.
- Salt improves the flavor of food.
- Salt promotes digestion.
- Salt is found in the bloodstream and must be an essential ingredient of the living organism.
Let’s look at each one of these beliefs and see if they are based upon any truth.
2.1.2 You Don’t Need Salt To live
The most common defense for salt is that the body has certain sodium and chlorine mineral needs that the sodium chloride (table salt) crystals are thought to fulfill. Sodium is used by the body to maintain a water balance, to integrate nervous functioning and to aid in the formation of digestive juices. Chlorine helps sustain normal heart activity, plays an important role in the body’s acid-alkaline balance and aids digestion and elimination.
Salt (sodium chloride) cannot be used by the body to meet any of these mineral requirements. Salt is an inorganic mineral that cannot be metabolized by the body. Salt enters the body as sodium chloride, it circulates in the body as sodium chloride, and it leaves the body as sodium chloride. At no point is it broken down into sodium and chlorine and used by the body.
Sodium chloride is a very strong and stable molecule. It cannot be broken down in the digestive tract or by the liver. The body cannot use the bonded sodium chloride molecule in any way. The body can use organic sodium and organic chlorine as found in living food (vegetables, fruits, etc.), but it can never use the inorganic sodium chloride compound.
So, if the body cannot break salt down, if it cannot use it in any way, if it only must be eliminated from the body in the same form as which it entered the body, then how can salt be termed “necessary” for life?
Moreover, salt eating has only been around for the last few thousand years of man’s millions of years of existence. Primitive man did not eat salt. The American Indians never used salt until the white man introduced it. Many cultures today have never seen a salt shaker. Thousands of Hygienists and health-minded people in this country eat not one speck of salt.
Can you still believe that salt is essential for life?
2.1.3 Does Salt Make Food Taste Better?
Even if people are convinced that salt is of no nutritional use, they will still defend it as a flavor enhancer. “Salt makes my food taste so much better,” is the common justification for salt eating. But can salt add flavor to your food?
Taste a pinch of salt. What flavor does it have? Is it appetizing and does it have a nice taste? No. Then how can it add flavor to food if it has no flavor of its own?
Salt performs its “flavoring” by actually irritating the taste buds on your tongue. By inflaming the tongue, salt makes the taste buds more sensitive through chemical irritation.
It’s like burning all the skin off your hands so you’ll have more sensitive fingers. Ever notice how a sore and inflamed spot on the skin is more sensitive than surrounding areas? Salt does the same thing to your taste buds—it makes them sore and sensitive. Consequently, you notice taste stimulation more, but you’re not experiencing the actual flavor of food in any greater amount.
Salt can’t add flavor or anything else to your food. It’s a chemical. A chemical can’t give you or your food anything extra, except perhaps some irritating stimulation that is mistakenly identified as ” flavor.”
2.1.4 Does Salt Help Digestion?
Salt has been defended as an important aid in food digestion.
Consider this: your body alone digests food. The enzymes and gastric juices produced by the body interact chemically with the food you eat as one of the stages of digestion. Sprinkle some salt on a tomato slice. Does the salt digest the tomato? Does it do anything! No. Salt is an inert substance—it is a nonliving, inactive mineral. How can an inorganic crystal enter into such an organic process as digestion?
Even traditional nutrition no longer believes that salt by itself is a digestive aid, but they do state (as recently as 1980) that the chloride ion in salt helps form the hydrochloric acid in the stomach which is used to digest food.
This, too, is faulty reasoning. The chlorine in salt cannot be metabolized by the body in any way. It does not enter into any body process. It remains bonded to the sodium atom. Now organic chlorine as found in living foods can be incorporated in the production of hydrochloric acid, and thus “improve” digestion. The chlorine in salt, however, is inorganic and cannot help the digestive function in any way.
Instead, here is what happens during the digestive process when salt is eaten:
- the absorption of food through the intestinal membranes is inhibited;
- protein solubility increases and a considerable loss of tissue building material occurs in the urine (a pathological condition known as “albuminuria”);
- the water balance in food digestion is disturbed, thus slowing digestion.
In short, salt does not enhance digestion; its presence in the body actually retards digestion.
In Japan where salted and pickled foods are a dietary mainstay, the incidence of stomach cancer is higher than any other place else in the world. There is a definite link between high salt use and stomach cancer.
Does a cancerous stomach sound like digestion is being improved?
2.1.5 Is Salt An Essential Part of the Blood?
Since salt is found in the blood, people think that we must consume it for healthy blood. There are “salts” in the blood, and sodium chloride is among these other mineral salts. But does this prove that table salt is an essential ingredient of the bloodstream?
Most people have eaten so much salt all their lives that there is a continual circulation of sodium chloride through the bloodstream. The reason that the salt is in the blood is that the body is constantly trying to eliminate it from the system.
A typical salt-eater has so much salt in the body that the body can never catch up on its elimination. We are probably capable of excreting around 200 milligrams of salt a day through the kidneys (this is about as much salt as can be placed on the end of a sharp-pointed knife). Most people eat fifty times that much. So where does all this extra salt go? It’s stored in layers beneath the skin to be eliminated by perspiration, and it is also continually circulating in the bloodstream, waiting to be processed by the overworked kidneys.
Of course there is salt in the bloodstream. There are also pesticide compounds, drug poisons and environmental toxins as well. Does this mean (hat these are also an essential part of the blood? The bloodstream circulates wastes and poisons for elimination if we put them into the body. Salt is just another one of these toxins that we have introduced into the body.
Organic mineral salts are also in the bloodstream, and these are used by the body for a number of functions. Inorganic table salt, however, is only a poison that the body must try to eliminate.
2.1.6 And Take This With a Grain of Salt…
Amazingly enough, many nutritionists today still recommend that everyone consume a minimum daily requirement (MDR) of salt. The most frequently estimated MDR for salt is 200 milligrams. Most Americans consume fifty to seventy-five times that much every day. In fact, no national diet anywhere in the world contains less than this MDR for salt.
Consider this: if salt cannot be used by the body, if it is poisonous, if it is implicated in a wide variety of diseases and disorders, then why should we consume a “minimum required amount” each day? Not only that, but conventional nutritionists also state that an infant’s salt needs are relatively greater than an adult’s needs! Does anyone need a poisonous substance, especially a child, in no matter how small an amount?
For an even more surprising twist of logic, consider the actions by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs regarding salt use by the American public.
In 1977, this committee recommended that salt consumption be reduced to 3 grams a day (still 15 times more than official MDR levels). In response, a task force of 14 scientists representing various food processing industries issued a statement that read in part “only 3 grams of salt per day would provide an unpalatable therapeutic-type diet that would require exceedingly careful selection of foods from a limited list.” After this statement, the Senate committee decided to revise its official recommendation to 3 grams per day.
Still later, upon inquiry from the president of the Salt Institute, the committee stated that the 5 grams recommendation was for additional salting that might be used above the already 3 grams of salt present in a typical American diet. So now the recommendation for total daily salt intake stands at 8 grams per day (or about 1/3 ounce).
Perhaps you can see how such figures as “MDRs” and “government recommendations” should be taken with a “grain of salt.”
The important thing to remember is that if you would eliminate all inorganic table salt from your diet and consume “0” grams a day, you would experience a higher level of health and add years to your life.
2.1.7 Salt Is Antibiotic
Salt was originally used as the first food preservative. It was discovered that when meats and vegetables were salted, decay was decreased.
Food often spoils depending on its “water activity” level. Food can either be dried to reduce its water activity or it can be salted. Salt affects the water activity in food so that bacterial growth is prevented. In other words, salt is an antibiotic.
Antibiotic means literally “anti-life.” Salt is precisely that; it destroys bacteria and it will destroy the living cells in your body as well.
If you cannot always have fresh foods, there are better ways to preserve food than salting. Drying food or storing it at low temperatures is the best way to prevent bacterial growth. There is absolutely no reason to add salt to food preserved in other ways, such as canned or frozen foods, since this is only done for “flavoring.”
2.1.8 Final Thoughts about Salt
Hypertension (high-blood pressure) is one of the most common illnesses today. It accompanies coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease.
A 35-year-old man with blood pressure 14% above normal has lost 9 years of his life expectancy. A 45-year-old man whose pressure is 17% above normal runs twice the risk of a heart attack and four times the risk of a stroke as a healthy individual.
When the diet consists of 2.8% salt, as is typical of Americans, it is described as “frankly hypertensigenic and life-shortening.”
Salt is a strong diuretic and causes water to be used from the blood and lymph to excrete it through the kidneys. This is why salt makes us thirsty—the body demands more water in order to flush an irritating substance from its tissues.
The continued use of salt causes a severe afflication of the kidneys called “nephritis.”
Salt causes inflammatory swelling of the glands.
It contributes to constipation and indigestion.
It is a factor in many skin diseases.
It is deposited throughout all the fluids of the body, which causes extreme irritation, injury and death to billions of cells.
It is toxic. It is poisonous. It cannot be used by the body in any amount.
Don’t limit your salt use—eliminate its use.
2.2 Cayenne Pepper
Hot peppers are often used to spice up dishes, especially in Mexican, Oriental and Indian cooking. Cayenne or red pepper is perhaps the most popular, and it is also often recommended by herb enthusiasts as a general “cure-all.”
Jethro Kloss, an herbalist and author of Back To Eden, described cayenne pepper as “one of the most wonderful herb medicines we have…it is good in all forms of diseases, and is almost a certain remedy for all maladies.” He and other herbalists have advised us to gargle with cayenne pepper, put it on open wounds, use it for ulcers and to sprinkle it in our socks to keep our feet warm. There has been a lot of promotion for cayenne pepper and many people have been convinced that it can be used for all manner of ailments.
The truth is that cayenne pepper, along with all other hot peppers, chilies, etc., contain harmful alkaloids which are even more injurious than the common black pepper. When cayenne and hot peppers are eaten, the body is thrown into an emergency state in an attempt to eliminate the toxic oils and substances in the peppers.
Suppose a young child eats a hot pepper, what happens? Most likely, he will cry, he may vomit or experience diarrhea, and he will certainly feel like his mouth and stomach are on fire. He will not be anxious to repeat the experience. A child’s body is still pure and sensitive enough to detect the harmful substances in hot peppers. An adult who has abused his digestive system for a number of years on a conventional diet merely experiences that momentary burning warning which is the weakened body’s signal to avoid the hot pepper.
All hot peppers contain a poisonous alkaloid called piperidin and a harmful crystalline substance known as piperin. Hot peppers also have acrid resins and volatile oils which irritate the digestive and urinary tracts. Cayenne pepper also contains an alkaloid called capsicin which irritates the body so severely that circulation is rapidly increased in order to remove it from the system.
This is why hot peppers make you feel “warm”—the body drastically increases circulation to remove all the harmful pepper alkaloids as expeditiously as possible.
Cayenne has probably achieved its reputation as a “beneficial” condiment for two-reasons: it is initially painful (burning) to eat, and it causes a mucus outflow from the body.
Since hot peppers are burning, irritating, and only able to be eaten in small quantities, we think that they must be a “powerful” medicine. In other words, if it burns so much, it must be doing us some good, right? Since all nonfood and medicinal substances are distasteful, the strong taste of cayenne is associated with a medicinal action. It’s strong and it burns going down, so it must make us tough and strong if we can eat it—or so the reasoning goes. The idea of “strong” medicine and “powerful” foods is a carryover from the primitive beliefs in magic and superstition, but it still remains with us today.
Second, because there is a mucous outflow when cayenne is eaten, people often think that the pepper is cleaning out old mucus deposits from the body. Instead what is actually happening is that the cayenne is such a powerful irritant, the body secretes extra mucus in order to eliminate the harmful alkaloids. Cayenne only causes additional mucus to be produced as a defensive measure by the body. This extra mucus coats the harmful substances in the peppers in order to protect delicate body tissues. Foods don’t eliminate mucus from the body; the body eliminates mucus from the body.
Since the body is stimulated into emergency action by the cayenne, people mistake this stimulation for proof that the pepper is making them “strong.” The body feels more vital after eating the pepper, and this is because the system must go into an unnatural overdrive in order to eliminate the foreign substance. Eating cayenne pepper for “strength” makes the same sense as beating a dying horse to make it move faster. Motion increases to escape the inflicted punishment, but death is only hastened.
Cayenne pepper and other “hot” foods cannot impart any additional healing powers to the body. The body alone can heal itself, and stimulating it with poisonous alkaloids hardly seems wise.
Cayenne pepper is an irritant, and any stimulating effects it may produce are done so at the expense of the body’s well-being.
2.3 Cooking Spices
There are many different cooking spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, mace, and so on. All of these spices contain harmful volatile oils and acrid resins which irritate the digestive tract. The net effect of using these spices in foods is that the body tries to hurry the irritating spices through the gastrointestinal tract to minimize the harmful effects.
This is why spices are thought to help the digestion of food—in reality the food, instead of being properly digested, is simply speeded toward the nearest exit for rapid elimination. Spices are stimulants and irritants and their presence in food negates most of the nutritional value of the food eaten.
Cinnamon is the bark of the cinnamon tree which is powdered and dried. It contains one to two percent volatile oils and a considerable amount of tannin which gives it the bitter aftertaste. Tannin is an astringent that is also found in common tea. It is toxic to the human system.
Nutmeg is the powdered kernel of the fruit of the nutmeg tree. The outer covering of the kernel is used to make the nutmeg spice, while the inner coat is used to make the spice called mace.
Nutmeg is fatal in large doses, leading to convulsive seizures. Large nonlethal doses produce prolonged hallucinations similar to psychedelic drugs.
Mustard is made from the seed of the mustard plant. Besides the harmful vinegar, salt and other condiments in table mustard, the seed itself contains certain alliaceous oils like the garlic and onion plants. These oils are very irritating to all tissues of the body and produce a disagreeable odor.
Horseradish has the same undesirable oils and properties as mustard.
Vinegar is the result of acetic fermentation of alcoholic liquids. Vinegar is very injurious to the digestive organs, and it does not matter if it is white vinegar, cider vinegar, or whatever its source.
Vinegar reduces the number of red blood cells, greatly retards digestion and assimilation, and harms the kidneys. When used in conjunction with starchy foods, digestion is completely suspended and fermentation rapidly results.
2.8 Other Condiments
There are numerous other condiments, and some of them, such as garlic, onion, herbs, etc., are discussed in detail in other lessons. To help you identify various condiments, the following table and categories may prove useful.
- 1. Condiments, Seasonings and Spices
- 2. Specific Condiments
- 3. Condiments In General
- 4. Question & Answers
- Article #1: Are Any Condiments Acceptable In the Hygienic Diet? by T. C. Fry
- Article #2: Salt
- Article #3: Here Are Some of the Reasons Why You Should Not Use Condiments
- Article #4: Using Condiments Is Like Wearing Makeup by Marti Fry