How About Salt?
Crystalline table salt (sodium chloride) is not
required in a whole food vegan diet centered on vegetables. Although
the RDA for sodium is set at 1100-3300 mg/day (1-2 tsp salt/day),
the actual physiological requirement is less than 300 mg/day.
If one were on a Macrobiotic diet of grains only, one could encounter
a sodium deficiency, which is probably why salt is regarded as
a necessity in that (nearly) vegan diet plan. Some individuals
are salt sensitive and will experience blood pressure elevation
from added dietary salt. Almost all of us appreciate the taste
of salt, but it should not be applied to the food until it arrives
on the table. That way each of us can "salt to taste"
without subjecting other salt-sensitive diners to an unwanted
salt load. While some authors have argued that crystalline salt
is a dietary essential for all animals and humans, there are geographical
areas in the world virtually devoid of salt deposits, but abundantly
inhabited by animals who are getting their sodium from grasses
and other green plants.
In short, table salt tastes good but don't overdo
it, don't feed it to the salt-sensitive, and never regard it as
a dietary essential, since if it were, it would be unique among
minerals. All the others are obtained in adequate amount in foods.
How About Water?
"What is man but a way water has of
getting about beyond the reach of rivers?"
While vegan food naturally contains a large amount
of water, it's not a bad idea to drink an additional 6-8 glasses
a day, between meals and long before bedtime. This perks up cellular
hydration, nutrition, and waste management and compensates for
our warm climate (which predisposes to kidney stones). It
also increases blood flow through the kidneys, which may be finally
persuaded to reduce their output of some hormones which cause
high blood pressure.
Hawaii has a cleaner water supply than the mainland
but steam-distilled or filtered water is still the best. You needn't
worry about losing out on minerals; even special spring waters
have an insignificant mineral content compared with the recommended
How About Miracle Foods?
There are no miracle foods. But the vegan lifestyle
of plant foods only, removes the entire category of foods which
miraculously make you sick: refined foods and animal foods.
"Eat as wide a variety ofplant foods
in as unprocessed a form as possible. "
-Susan Havala, R.D.