It seems kind of funny to me that by learning how to take better care of my livestock, I learned how to take better care of my family. I always assumed that items I purchased at the feed store were what my livestock needed. Just like the grocery store, the products offered for sale are good for you… . Right? It took learning alternative farming methods to wake me up.
We always bought the 50 lb trace mineral salt blocks for our cows. They lasted a long time, and gee they sure lasted quite a while in the rain too. I never questioned the practice of having refined salt mixed with minerals and pressed into a block. Like the cow says in Babe, “The way things are, is the way things are.” Just like taking the germ and bran from the wheat and then combining them again in a granola recipe. Not good. Sure all the ingredients are good for you, but in their natural state, not after they have been subjected to the Industrial Revolution method of extracting every last item that possibly can be sold for some “better” use.
We used loose salt, for salting our hay when storing it in the barn, but give loose salt to the cattle? Pshaw, who heard of such a thing. Throw a block or two out there and call it good, and if the pattern they licked into it was interesting, just enter it in a contest.
Once we started giving the cows loose salt, we realized how little salt they had been able to get from those hard licks. We still were using refined white “feed mixing salt” and they were going through it like mad. “Geez, a couple of them ol’ blocks would last all summer – what gives, now the dang fools got brain fever or sumpin.” ” We’re gonna go broke just buyin’ salt fer them critters!” We stocked up on salt after that first summer of salt enlightenment. Big mistake. We discovered how to make our own salt blocks. Let’s just say we live in a “moist” environment. By spring, all our extra bags of salt, had become concrete pillows of salt.
But something had happened over winter, we had read even more about salt, and found some like minded individuals. We learned that salt was really more important as an industrial commodity. The industrial concerns get first pick, and the lowly humans and even lower livestock get the rest. Human salt gets subjected to the same caustic soda treatment as the industrial salt. Extracted components so important for health are worth much more in the chemical market. Dessicants and bleaches are added to the refined salt, making it even more unhealthy to consume. No wonder they recommended low salt diets. Salt missing it’s magnesium salt component is very bad for us. After reading this, we bought Redmond mineral salt for our cows. We offered it free choice, and they loved it. It only cost about $2.50 more per bag, and even though the salt was naturally moist, it never became hard and unusable. We never looked back.
Along these same lines, we had also attended several symposiums where Sally Fallon was a keynote speaker. Her talks about forming the Weston A. Price Foundation were stimulating and especially sessions about good salt being so necessary for true health. Her recommendation for table salt was Celtic Sea Salt, real sun dried sea salt, with its actual brine intact. Not to be confused with refined sea salt found in most stores, (including health food stores) Celtic Sea Salt retains all the macro and trace minerals present in natural salts.
There are many excellent natural salts available. We have settled on Celtic Sea Salt, and Redmond Real salt for the humans that reside at our farm, and Redmond Natural mineral salt for our livestock. In our area these are easy to obtain and aren’t really that much more expensive than the alternative.
A great book on the subject of Celtic Sea Salt and salt in general is: Seasalt’s Hidden Powers, The Biological Action of All Ocean Minerals on Body and Mind, by Jacques de Langre, Ph.D.
RealSalt and Celtic Sea Salt.
RealSalt and Celtic Sea Salt. I use the RealSalt in recipes and for the table, and the Celtic Sea Salt in moist recipes that give the salt crystals time to dissolve.