2

votes

Just curious: do my Paleo Peeps add Salt while cooking, or just when eating?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 18, 2012 at 6:41 PM

I'm trying to hack my tension headache / foot cramps & some muscle twitching.

From my previous post, I got lots of good suggestions that it could likely be a an electrolyte issue. Since I take magnesium & calcium supplements, and I just had a physical, and my magnesium RBC results were normal, I don't think it's the cal/mag.

Since I'm not eating prepared, boxed or canned foods anymore, I'm eating a tiny fraction of the salt I used to, I'm focusing in on not enough sodium or potassium, or a ratio of the two that is not optimal.

I never add salt when cooking, and only sprinkle it on when eating (probably 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per day max, which is not that much.

Should I:

  1. add salt when cooking in addition to when eating?
  2. try adding salt to sweet things (like green smoothies) - I think the sweetness could mask the salt flavor.

Question: HOW MUCH SODIUM DO YOU CONSUME?

Also: I have 6oz of bone broth 5 times per week, but have no idea how much minerals are in it.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts, Mike

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 19, 2012
at 12:25 PM

I'm the same way: I can put loads of salt into something like scrambled eggs, and still need to sprinkle a little on top when I eat them.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on April 19, 2012
at 11:48 AM

You should always add salt when cooking. The difference between home cooked and restaurant food is the seasoning. Since your not eating fast food sodium bombs, salting your home cooked food is just fine.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 19, 2012
at 01:14 AM

Do you add salt to your "salty broth", or is is naturally salty?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 18, 2012
at 09:42 PM

It is important to get magnesium levels to a good place, but also important to not go overboard either. Fatal hypermagnesia has occurred when people try to "cram" with supplements.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 18, 2012
at 08:25 PM

It does indeed sound like if I'm VLC, I should increase salt. I did 3 days of VLC, then 0.5 days of higher carb, then the grinding headache happened. If it happened in the middle of VLC, it might have been more immediately obvious to me. Thanks!

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 18, 2012
at 08:11 PM

Thanks for the suggestion. I can't seem to tolerate anything more than 400mg per day without getting severe bowel issues. I was torturing myself trying to get above that qty but when I finally got the magnesium rbc (the accurate type of test) back, I decided to stick with just the 400mg and more onto another hypothesis. Good suggestion, however, magnesium is the first thing that came to my mind regarding muscle twitch.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:42 PM

@Mike, confession time--I found the same thing with sugar and used to carefully sprinkle dry sugar onto the top of floating cereal because that's what tasted sweetest. Those were the days! :-))

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:18 PM

OMG: that's my experience exactly: (I don't taste it dissolved, so I never added it when cooking)! Funny how it takes someone else writing it before it makes sense! Mike

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:05 PM

Well, yeah. They process the lite salt and add potassium. They also process normal table salt to add iodine, and that has gone a long way to reduce the incidence of goiter. I do enjoy raw sea salt as well, but not all processing is bad.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:01 PM

Mortons is heavily processed, I would toss that stuff NOW!

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 18, 2012
at 06:54 PM

For clarification, I use normal salt when cooking because I understand the flavor profile a bit more. When it's already on the plate I use Lite Salt.

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17 Answers

best answer

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on April 19, 2012
at 12:19 PM

I add fine sea salt to BBQs when marinading as it sticks better, plain kosher salt (a tablespoon) to soups before applying heat, but never to burgers as it shrinks them (after they're cooked and have some ghee melted on top, it's fine).

There's a way to salt a steak on both sides before cooking that makes it taste better, which I sometimes used to do, but not lately since I don't like it on grassfed beef/bison, but works wonders on CAFO beef.

For salads I use both large grain Celtic sea salt, and some "lite" salt since it's a source of potassium and want to balance them.

For eggs, I fry them in either ghee or bacon drippings until the whites are done, but leave the yolks runny, and put Celtic sea salt on top of the yolks with some turmeric.

4
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 18, 2012
at 06:54 PM

I always add salt to everything when cooking. This have nothing to do with health benefits though, I just beleive that salt is THE most important flavour ingredient you can use.

Just as an observation, I dont really get cramps. Cant say if they are related though.

1
24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on April 18, 2012
at 10:06 PM

I can't speak to your sodium intake, but I'm a HUH-YOOGE Alton Brown fan. Alton says always add salt while cooking as it enhances flavor with less salt than if you add it at the end. I'm pretty sure I heard another chef or three say something similar while feeding my cooking show addiction ;-)

1
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on April 18, 2012
at 09:07 PM

Don't add salt prior to cooking meat, only after. if you add it prior to cooking your meat will not be as moist. Add salt at the very end.

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on April 18, 2012
at 08:29 PM

I add salt to taste when it's on the plate. More control over how salty it is, and less issue of oversalting your family's meal.

1
Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:22 PM

I pretty much do the same as what Peter said. Flavor is one of the most important components for me in order to enjoy eating my food. I usually add salt after cooking.
I use different types of salt: Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, Trader Joe's Sea Salt, and Himalania Pink Salt. I just checked my sodium intake on Livestrong and I still get about less than 2000mg/day with added salt. I don't notice any muscle cramping (with low or high salt days), I don't have high blood pressure, etc. Basically it's all good in the 'hood.

Btw, if you're doing VLC, you should increase your salt intake.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 18, 2012
at 08:25 PM

It does indeed sound like if I'm VLC, I should increase salt. I did 3 days of VLC, then 0.5 days of higher carb, then the grinding headache happened. If it happened in the middle of VLC, it might have been more immediately obvious to me. Thanks!

1
4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on April 18, 2012
at 06:53 PM

I salt to taste, with either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. I easily add about 1 tsp per day, if not more. Isalt while cooking, usually, and might add some at the end.

Low sodium diets can bring about insulin resistance. I don't measure anything, but I think that if it tastes good, salt wise, you are probably fine.

The lowest mortality was among those who ate 4-6 grams of sodium per day, about 2 tsp of salt. http://drdavidbrownstein.blogspot.com/2011/11/dont-lower-your-salt-intake-yet.html

1
D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 18, 2012
at 06:47 PM

Especially when trying to enter ketosis I do use extra salt because I get thirsty, drink a lot of water, and pee out the salt in my body. I also use mortons lite salt when I'm home so I get potassium. The potassium in particular should help with the cramps.

Dr. Peter Attia, at Waroninsulin.com, consumes a couple of cups of bullion broth daily to boost his sodium consumption. I try to keep track of my consumption by logging my food with fitday.com and I seem to get between 3,000-5,000mg/day. I have no idea if that is "enough", but I feel fine.

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 18, 2012
at 06:54 PM

For clarification, I use normal salt when cooking because I understand the flavor profile a bit more. When it's already on the plate I use Lite Salt.

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:05 PM

Well, yeah. They process the lite salt and add potassium. They also process normal table salt to add iodine, and that has gone a long way to reduce the incidence of goiter. I do enjoy raw sea salt as well, but not all processing is bad.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:01 PM

Mortons is heavily processed, I would toss that stuff NOW!

0
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on April 19, 2012
at 07:24 PM

This is really interesting: it suggests that too much salt relative to potassium can effectively dehydrate you (and your brain), and cause headaches:

Headaches & sodium

manyblessings.net | Dec 12th 2012 In my experience the vast majority of headaches are caused by a deficiency of potassium, which in turn is caused by an excess of sodium.

It works like this: Potassium is held primarily in the cells, whereas sodium is held primarily in the bloodstream. Both of these minerals attract water ions. In a sense, you could say that they're "competing" for water.

When we eat diets that are too high in sodium, which is incredibly easy in modern society, the bloodstream contains more sodium ions and thus more water is attracted to the bloodstream. This same water leaves the cells, causing the cells to become somewhat dehydrated.

When the cells in the brain become dehydrated, we call this a "headache." We can take aspirin or whatever until the cows come home, but it's not fundamentally getting at the cause of the problem. The problem is that the cells need more water.

But we can't solve the problem simply by drinking more water, because the cells don't have enough potassium to retain it. The short-term solution would be to have a banana or two, which contain 500mg of potassium each, but the long-term solution involves the sodium in the diet.

Think about it. Virtually every food that is processed in a factory or kitchen contains extra sodium. Whether we're talking about sliced bologna or canned soup or restaurant pizza, there's extra sodium added. There's sodium in the cheese, there's sodium in the tomato sauce.

There's extra sodium in the bottled salad dressing. Sodium is added to frozen dinners, to soda, to baked beans, to pre-prepared "healthy" meals, and so on. Check the labels; you'll be astonished. And those families that threw the salt shaker out the front door brought it in the back door with the soy sauce, which is 20% salt. Sodium is everywhere.

But our bodies weren't built to take this onslaught of sodium. In fact, our bodies were constructed to conserve sodium (by the kidneys), because when we lived in the jungle and lived primarily on raw fruits, we took in 30 or 40 times more potassium than sodium in our diet and so sodium was rather scarce.

Now the situation is reversed. The healthiest societies in the world (the Hunzas, Vilcambambans, etc.) have potassium-to-sodium ratios in their diets of more than 20 to 1, whereas our diet averages about 0.4 to 1.

If you think back to your last serious headache episode, chances are you ate a lot of salty foods for the few days preceding it. In your mind, take a look now if you wish to.

The long-term solution involves drastically reducing the salt in our diet. Since animal foods all contain a lot of sodium, this means moving more toward the plant kingdom in our diet. It means becoming more aware of the sodium on food labels. It means letting go of the soy sauce and the pickles and the cheese and so on. But if we do this, chances are that our headaches miraculously disappear.

Bear in mind that the cause of a headache can also be something much different, such as a tumor. So if reducing the sodium in your diet doesn't work, by all means consult a physician who can be familiar with your personal situation.

Original Page: http://www.manyblessings.net/heso.html

0
2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

on April 19, 2012
at 01:08 PM

I'm not a heavy salter, and don't eat much processed food. Also, I'm an endurance runner and salty sweater, so I lose a lot of electrolytes. I was feeling worn out, sluggish, never particularly sated by the water I was drinking, and I was puffy feeling. As crazy as it sounds I started adding just a tiny pinch of salt per about 16 oz of water to a few glasses of water a day...and like magic, all those symptoms went away. It doesn't make the water salty, just kind of flat and soft. The salt I use is a natural, un-refined salt that my mom bought me in Salzburg...sometimes, there are little twigs or bits of stone in it. Ha! I figured it had a better mineral profile. When I run out, I think I'll use unrefined sea salt.

0
C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on April 19, 2012
at 01:05 AM

I was never a big salter before my ancestral eating experiments. But now I love salty things - fish, saukerkraut, salty stocks, salt on potatoes, lamb chops...

I don't know if it's a good thing or not! Since I've been doing it though I feel lots better. Salty broth is such a revitalising drink. So I add lots in soup (usually during, because it needs to melt) and on meat and stuff. I have the salt crusher handy and just put it wherever I feel like. I know some people would worry about this, but I figure that salt is self-limiting (for me) and I'll know when I've gone overboard with the salt, just like I know now what level of sugar is too much for me.

This is silly, but I don't hold much weight on my upper body and my face easily looks drawn and thin when I haven't drank or eaten salt for a while. I like the side effect of having a puffier face :S Vain? Yes... oh well!

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 19, 2012
at 01:14 AM

Do you add salt to your "salty broth", or is is naturally salty?

0
2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

on April 19, 2012
at 12:52 AM

Celtic sea salt, all the way:) Yum!

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 18, 2012
at 09:49 PM

It depends entirely on what I am cooking. Mostly based on what seems to work for the best cooking outcome, rather than for health reasons.

Meat, depends on the meat, only after for something like a steak, whole fish fully encrusted in salt while it cooks is very moist and tender, soaking in a brine solution for an hour can go a long ways towards keeping poultry and pork moist.

Green vegetables, I salt during cooking to preserve the neon green color achieved during steaming or sauteing.

Onions and other alliums, it speeds up the "sweating" process to get to that nice caramelization more quickly.

Also in something where you wouldn't want a gritty texture at the end, I try to incorporate the salt into cooking.

0
E016e71d3e958396c9c23cdb2d5b8943

on April 18, 2012
at 07:25 PM

Just an FYI, I upped my magnesium to 1200 or even 1600 a day about a year ago per my doctors suggestion and it has made a very big difference. If you choose to try it, DO NOT take it with the calcium, look for just plain Magnesium in 400 mg units. Just because your levels came back normal, doesn't mean the increase won't benefit you. Just a suggestion. It worked for me. Good Luck.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 18, 2012
at 08:11 PM

Thanks for the suggestion. I can't seem to tolerate anything more than 400mg per day without getting severe bowel issues. I was torturing myself trying to get above that qty but when I finally got the magnesium rbc (the accurate type of test) back, I decided to stick with just the 400mg and more onto another hypothesis. Good suggestion, however, magnesium is the first thing that came to my mind regarding muscle twitch.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 18, 2012
at 09:42 PM

It is important to get magnesium levels to a good place, but also important to not go overboard either. Fatal hypermagnesia has occurred when people try to "cram" with supplements.

0
32c599220cfbc3e5bfd44137ec95238e

on April 18, 2012
at 07:25 PM

I am so glad the salt issue was brought up as I was just wondering that! The 1st time i tried to go Paleo the book i read told me no salt, and that alone was one of my major downfalls. I suffer from intense leg cramps at time and i know i need the salt.

That being said, to answer your question I would say that it depends on what I am cooking. If were talking about meat, then i season as i cook. If Im sauteing veggies i will salt after if needed. Sometimes i boil/steam my veggies in chicken broth (or i add bullion to the water) to give them some extra flavor as well.

0
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:04 PM

I add potassium-salt (which has a pretty decent ratio) to food after cooking. I've not seen any evidence that cooking damages the potassium, unless you're throwing away cooking water, but it certainly won't improve matters. I can't imagine a situation where I would want to add normal salt to my diet since my ratios are always going to lean in a sodium-heavy direction, relative to potassium, no matter how little sodium I add.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:00 PM

I never add salt while cooking; I realized at a young age that I don't really taste dissolved salt. It has to be sprinkled on top of food and remain dry for me to taste it on my tongue. My habit is to sprinkle on some salt at the table and I admit I rarely taste the food first. That was a very bad habit with neo-foods but I think it's pretty benign with the whole foods.

After a year of whole-foods eating, I did notice the saltiness of the broth produced from the Easter hambone--I had to add turkey bones and all the breast meat, plus vegetables, to reduce the saltiness to a comfortable level. I guarantee you that a year ago I would never have noticed any reaction at all to that broth and would probably have sprinkled salt into it at the table.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:18 PM

OMG: that's my experience exactly: (I don't taste it dissolved, so I never added it when cooking)! Funny how it takes someone else writing it before it makes sense! Mike

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 19, 2012
at 12:25 PM

I'm the same way: I can put loads of salt into something like scrambled eggs, and still need to sprinkle a little on top when I eat them.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:42 PM

@Mike, confession time--I found the same thing with sugar and used to carefully sprinkle dry sugar onto the top of floating cereal because that's what tasted sweetest. Those were the days! :-))

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