Monday, July 13, 2015

too much salt...

Today's blog is the result of another one of those random thoughts from a morning run. In writing it, I had to do a bit of research on salt and I found the following article that I will refer to throughout. “Salt is what makes things taste bad when it isn’t in them.” – Unknown

Today as I ran, I tried something a bit different and instead of music I listened to an audio version of the Bible, which brought a question to mind. Why are so many audio versions read by someone with an English accent? But that thought never really developed other than the question of why. It was a verse that many Christians are familiar with that really started the wheels turning - "“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." Matthew 5:13

With every plop plop of my foot, I thought about that verse. We are to be the salt of the earth. Salt is so important in so many ways, but almost immediately I got a different picture. I had read an article earlier about how Christians need to be sure to share God's love instead of simply judging those around us, and suddenly I had a somewhat funny mental image in my head. Picture a "salt prank" where someone has loosened the lid on a salt shaker a bit too much and everything in the bottle comes pouring out leaving a very disappointed and hungry person! It was then the wheels really started turning.

Too often I am afraid I have been guilty of pouring out everything I know, or think I know, and overwhelming those around me. I can be pretty salty - but that's not always what is best. A little salt used wisely can go a long way. That's also when I started thinking of the different types of salt. I prefer using sea salt because it seems to have a milder taste. My son prefers regular "table" salt. Then of course there is rock salt - got a tiny grain of that in my home-made ice cream once....let's just say it did not make for the yummy dessert I was hoping for.

Since I know very little about salt, the rest of this blog will refer to the article I mentioned at the beginning and my "random thoughts" that go with it. I am not including all the salts compared within the article, just the more common ones.

Salt is arguably the most important ingredient in cooking.
Without it, most meals would taste bland and unexciting. (See - as Christians we make the world more exciting, not boring like many would have us believe!)

What is Salt and How Does it Affect Health?

Sea Salt in a Bowl Salt is a crystalline mineral made of two elements, sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl).
Sodium and chlorine are absolutely essential for life in animals, including humans. (The World needs Christians, even if they think they don't!)

They serve important functions like helping the brain and nerves send electrical impulses. (Make your own connections here.)

Salt is used for various purposes, the most common of which is adding flavor to foods. Salt is also used as a food preservative, because bacteria have trouble growing in a salt-rich environment.

Refined Salt (Regular Table Salt)

Salt Shaker and Pile The most commonly used salt is plain old table salt.
This salt is usually highly refined. It is heavily ground and most of the impurities and trace minerals are removed. (This is the kind I saw in my mental picture. Highly refined but with a lot of the nutrients removed! You get the picture.)

The problem with heavily ground salt is that it can clump together. For this reason, various substances called anti-caking agents are added so that it flows freely. (Hmmmm - sounds a lot like those who want to congregate within the church walls instead of going into the world that needs salt!)

Sea Salt

Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater.
Woman in Salty Sea, Large
Like table salt, it is mostly just sodium chloride.
However, depending on where it is harvested and how it was processed, it usually does contain some amount of trace minerals like potassium, iron and zinc.
However, keep in mind that due to the pollution of oceans, sea salt can also contain trace amounts of heavy metals like lead. (As Christians, we must make sure we are not contaminating the salt with pollution of attitude!)
Sea salt is often less ground than regular refined salt, so if you sprinkle it on top of your food after it has been cooked, it may have a different mouthfeel and cause a more potent “flavor burst” than refined salt.

Kosher Salt

Kosher Salt Kosher salt was originally used for religious purposes.
Jewish law required blood to be extracted from meat before it was eaten. Kosher salt has a flaky, coarse structure that is particularly efficient at extracting the blood. (Kind of wonder if this might be the type salt referred to in Matthew.)

The main difference between regular salt and kosher salt is the structure of the flakes. Chefs find that kosher salt, due to its large flake size, is easier to pick up with your fingers and spread over food. (It should be EASY for God to pick us up at any time and spread us around to share His Word.)

Kosher salt will have a different texture and flavor burst, but if you allow the salt to dissolve in the food, then there really isn’t any difference compared to regular table salt.
However, kosher salt is less likely to contain additives like anti-caking agents and iodine.

Differences In Taste

Foodies and chefs primarily choose their salt based on taste, texture, color and convenience.
Different Types of Salt
Bottom Line: The main difference between the salts is the taste, flavour, color, texture and convenience.

Which Salt is The Healthiest?

I looked long and hard and couldn’t find a single study actually comparing the health effects of different types of salt.
However… if such a study were done, I highly doubt they would find a major difference. Most of the salts are similar, consisting of sodium chloride and tiny amounts of minerals.
The main benefit of choosing more “natural” types of salt is that you avoid additives and anti-caking agents that are often added to regular table salt.
At the end of the day, salt is salt… its main purpose is to add flavor, not nutrition. (Again - you can make your own connections here.) 

So, what is the main idea of this "random thought" Simply that we need to get out of the salt shaker and into the world....but we also need to be careful that we don't "dump" all that we've got when at times all that is needed is a pinch. 

Just another random thought from a morning run....and I'm still wondering why they keep using people with English accents to read to me. 

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