Salt – a Good and Bad Thing

The Bible tells us: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savour, ….it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13

We have read this over and over but most of us don’t know what it means… “trodden under foot of men
“Bad” salt was scattered on the ramp leading up to the Temple altar. The priests (who were from 30 – 50 years of age only) were required to serve bare footed. The ramp up to the altar got very bloody and they needed traction – so salt was used to trod on! That was one of the uses of salt in those days. The weather was often very cold. It does occasionally snow in Jerusalem —– and many priests died from pneumonia.

Salt was often used as wages in the ancient world. Remember the expression: “Any man worth his salt …”?

Balance is such a good word!
Salt – too little is bad, too much is bad. Most Americans use 3,500– 4,500 mgs salt per day, while only 2,300 mgs (or 1 tsp) per day is recommended. For African-Americans, the elderly and those who have high blood pressure, only 1500 mgs are recommended. Too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and stomach cancer. It is estimated there are 150,000 premature deaths per year due to excessive use of salt.

80% per cent of the salt we ingest comes from processed foods, such as bacon, processed cheese (Velveeta) , lunch meats, hot dogs, sauerkraut, canned foods – especially soups, and pickles. Cut down on salt as much as you can. One way is to rinse canned beans and canned tuna with plenty of water, not using a salt shaker at the table and not adding salt to cooking water for potatoes, rice and vegetables. Check your labels when purchasing canned goods. Use only air-popped pop corn instead of microwaving it. Use dry roasted unsalted peanuts. Find other creative ways to cut down on salt.

Restrict bacon, ham, (yeah, right! ;o) hot dogs, cold cuts, smoked salted fish, sauerkraut, pickles and processed cheese. Eat fresh vegetables. They’re naturally low in sodium and high in potassium. Bonus: Potassium forces the kidneys to excrete more sodium.

These suggestions came from an article in the USA Today magazine section of the Herald newspaper, June 26, 2005. “Eat Smart” by Jean Carper. See She also has a website called Very interesting!

If we DON’T get enough salt, that’s not good either….

The human body contains about four ounces of salt. Without enough of it, muscles won’t contract, blood won’t circulate, food won’t digest, the heart won’t beat. In fact, doctors at one hospital have discovered that a treatment for chronic fatigue includes salt supplements and plenty of pickles and other salty foods. Salt tablets are used in extremely hot weather. Let’s use common sense and make sure we use the correct amount of salt.

Other uses for salt include:

Clear the air with this homemade air freshener. Just cut an orange in half, remove pulp, and fill the peel with salt. It will provide a pleasant, aromatic scent anywhere in your home.

Cleans Vases
Restore the bloom to a glass flower vase. Just mix 1/3 cup salt and 2 tablespoons vinegar to form a paste. Apply to inside of vase (for a large vase, double or triple the quantity of paste). Let stand 20 minutes, scrub, and discard paste. Rinse vase and dry.

Cleans Coffee Pots
To remove coffee stains from the inside of a glass coffee pot, add 4 teaspoons salt, 1 cup crushed ice, and 1 tablespoon water. Gently swirl until clean, then rinse. Coffee pot should be at room temperature before cleaning. Do not use if pot is cracked or chipped

On the Move
Don’t let bicycle rust slow you down. To clean the rust from bike handlebars and tire rims, make a paste using 6 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Apply paste to rusted area with a dry cloth and rub. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Smooth on Silk
Make your silk flowers think Spring. Place the silk flowers into a large bag and pour in one cup of salt. Shake vigorously. Remove. And voilà Your flowers are clean.

Salt Dough is fun for kids and adults. Try this website and this recipe:

Recipe for Salt Dough

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Combine flour and salt in a large flat-bottomed bowl and add water slowly until you form a ball. Don’t use enough water to make the ball sticky! You may need more if the air is very dry.

Knead the ball with floured hands for 7-10 minutes. Store in sealed plastic bag to keep from drying out.

Some tools you may want to use:

Aluminum foil
Basting brush
Candle, candy molds – first coat with small amount of oil
Cookie cutters – see above
Garlic press
Pizza cutter
Rolling pin
Tooth picks
Water color brushes
Wax paper

The above website has 42 pages of things to make and do – check it out. It’s a wonderful summertime activity for the whole family!

Don’t lose your savor!
Shalom, Sharaka

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