Salting Your Way to Health?

Salting Your Way to Health?

Are you getting enough salt every day? and is it the right kind of salt?

I recently re-read an article, that I originally read back in 2012, in our Samaritan Ministries Newsletter, that prompted me to change the salt we use in our family.  I am reposting it here, with some additional articles from Dr. Brownstein and others, that you may find helpful in your journey to good health.

“Early in my medical career, I accepted the “low salt=lowered blood pressure” hypothesis unquestionably … until … I began to study the medical literature about salt. What I found was astounding; there is little data to support low-salt diets being effective at treating hypertension for the vast majority of people. Also, none of the studies looked at the use of unrefined salt, which contains many valuable vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, which are vital to maintaining normal blood pressure.”

Click here to read this very informative article in its entirety:

—Dr. David Brownstein in “Salt Your Way to Health”

Here is more information from several other articles by Dr. Brownstein:

Click here for the rest of the article and helpful suggestions.

Dr. Brownstein recommends Celtic Sea Salt, Redmond Real Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt. These can be found at many grocery stores or online.

Please note that Dr. Brownstein does state that Patients with kidney failure should consult with their physician before adding unrefined salt in their diet.

On Birth Days, Life, Death and Thanks

On Birth Days, Life, Death and Thanks

On March 17th of last year, I awoke to this FB “memory”:

How was is it possible that on this very day, just a few hours later, I would be speaking at my son’s memorial?


I stood at the podium, my mouth so dry and parched I had to ask for water a few minutes in.

Speaking on his life…

The birth and life of Kyle taught me so much.

My niece, Chelsea, posted on Facebook the day the news broke of Kyle’s death:

“You raised a good person. Seeing the impact Kyle had through the outpouring of love and support from all his friends and colleagues, I can’t help but think that you’re the cornerstone of that all.”

My response to her was:

“Thank you, Chelsea. I think we kind of raised each other.”

And oh how true that statement was…and is. Kyle is still raising me.

As I have been reading over many years of emails, letters, notes and journals, going all the way back from when Kyle was very young, I only wish I would have had the opportunity to say, “Thank you” just one more time before he left this earth.

Thank him for bearing with me, thank him for his faith, his questions, his doubts, his certainty, his willingness to always help, his willingness to listen, his willingness to keep the door open, when at times he may have wanted to close it, but love outweighed that option. We strove together. We challenged each other. We grew together. We knew each of us deeply loved the other, despite any differences.

Kyle always said I was his greatest critic and his greatest fan. I don’t know…perhaps a mother should not be known as their child’s greatest critic. But we were honest in our conversations. He knew my faults and weaknesses, I knew his faults and weaknesses…and I tried desperately not to be a “mom” about them. But alas…

…I remember an email he sent me after graduating high school and headed for college – and it put that “pang” in my heart re-reading it. In it he asked me, “Mom, when can we be friends?”

Heart drop.

He was referring to how I could seemingly talk to his friends with such “light care-free-ness” with no expectations, but with him it was more serious – more “gravitas”.

He knew his mom had his best interest at heart and yet so wanted her to enjoy him for who he was – and maybe not what his spelling looked like – seriously. And any number of other things.

And this mom did enjoy him, immensely, for who he was…but her words sometimes got in the way of him knowing that. It’s so hard to be a parent, without regrets, sometimes.

He was a grown man now – his own man – not needing “parenting”.

Learning how to move from parent to friend can take some time, some adjustment, some transformation. I am still working on this. Kyle’s siblings can thank him for paving the way.

I’m so grateful that there were years…after that email was written…that we became very good friends.

On Death

Kyle’s death has taught me so much. I am different now. Altered. Changed. Forever. I will never be the same as I once was since he left us. Just as I was never the same after he was born. And I won’t be the same next year.

Kyle’s physical absence has changed every one of us in his family. Everyday. I feel as though there has not been a moment without him in my mind.

And he will continue to be with us…always in our hearts..until we see him again.

I’m not sure how all that works, but I can tell you Kyle has given me an excitement. For death. For eternity. And that… is just..So Kyle!

I know that I did thank my beloved son while he was still with us, probably while crying with him, for all the years I tried so hard, but perhaps, at times, were also hard on him. We had great years together. Yes, we did. I would have just loved to have had a few more…to enjoy thank him…one more time.

Why do I share all this?

Because I would like to encourage anyone reading this that if your son, or daughter, or mom, or dad, or husband, or wife, or brother, or sister, or friend, is still alive, and you have the chance, take the time to tell them, “Thank You” while you still can – and take a picture with them – especially if it is their birthday!

#kyle #memoryeternal #lovedbeyondmeasure


Do Your Vitamins Contain Folate or Folic Acid? And Why Does it Matter?

Do Your Vitamins Contain Folate or Folic Acid? And Why Does it Matter?

The one “vitamin” thing I remember most, way back in my pregnancy days, was that there was a great deal of fervor over making sure you were taking plenty of folic acid. Folic acid is essential to warding off birth defects and maintaining you baby’s brain and spinal cord health. Well, in the last decade or so, there is now new fervor saying that too much folic acid in the diet could be causing autism in babies.

If I have learned one thing over the last 30 years in regards to health and wellness trends is that reasonable truth lies somewhere between extremes.

I was completely clueless in my first years of pregnancy and “child rearing,” and I do mean clueless. Proof of this is that I was feeding my 7-week-old, second born son, raspberry sherbet right from the carton with my finger, in the grocery check out line because he was crying…and I wondered why the people all around me were staring at us…couldn’t they see I just wanted to do something to keep him from crying???

And I may have forgotten to take my pre-natal vitamins during my third pregnancy, but I didn’t forget to get Taco Bell and then pick up a chocolate cake from the grocery store.

Here are those sons today:

I am so thankful our bodies can handle our stupidity and ignorance for at least a season.tongue-out

You can do a quick google search and have millions of articles at your fingertips on the subject of folic acid and MTFHR (No, not a swear word), so I am not going to go into great depth here. My goal is just to bring this into your sphere of awareness so as you can make an informed decision on your health needs. If you are in your child-bearing years, this is an issue you will particularly want to take note of – and an aging adult.

So here is what I would consider the basics of the folic acid/folate matter:

Folate is one of the B-vitamins and is needed to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA. Its name is derived from the Latin word “folium,” which means leaf. In fact, leafy vegetables are among the best dietary sources of folate.

Adequate folate intake is extremely important during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence. It is also beneficial in treating mood disorders. It has also shown to be effective to improve cognitive function, memory and help alleiviate depression in aging adults.

Folic acid, is a synthetic form of vitamin B9, also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid. It is what is used in most vitamins, and many processed foods. The problem is that many of us (estimated 1 in 4) have a MTHFR variant which causes us NOT to be able convert folic acid to methylfolate. MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It is an enzyme that activates and regulates folate metabolism in the body. This genetic variant can lead to a possible folate deficiency in the body. In addition, unmetabolized folic acid has also been linked to poor immune function and a variety of other health conditions.

So yes, folate/B9 is important to have in your diet! BUT you want to consider the source of where you are getting it from.

So for optimal health the best recommendation, as always, is to try to eat adequate (note: NOT excessive) amounts of foods that contain naturally occurring folate.

Folate is naturally present in:

  • Beef liver
  • Vegetables (especially asparagus, brussels sprouts, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and mustard greens)
  • Fruits and fruit juices (especially oranges and orange juice)
  • Nuts, beans, and peas (such as peanuts, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans
Because most of us don’t know if we have a MTHFR mutation variant, it may be best to avoid vitamin supplements that contain folic acid and look for ones that contain Folate or L-Methylfolate/L-5MTHF.
Here is the mulitivitamin I use. When purchasing any muli-vitamin, or stand alone supplement,  look for folate as L-5-MTHF.

The motivation for writing this post is my son, Kyle.

I know if he was still alive, Kyle would have already composed an insightful, thought-provoking Facebook and Instagram post for the movie, “Just Mercy”, a real life story of our broken humanity.

Kyle’s words would have undoubtedly spurred us all to dig a little deeper into our consciousness, to stir us out of the recesses of our mostly comfortable lives, compelling us to confront the painful reality of the struggle we face in our society for justice and mercy.

If not for Kyle, I don’t know if I would have ever heard of Bryan Stevenson, lawyer and author of the book “Just Mercy”, and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.

There are probably a great many other things I would not have known about, or thought about, if it were not for Kyle. One thing that marked Kyle was simply that he was a “Mercy”. In fact, my friend, Linda, texted me a few days after Kyle’s memorial service saying that she saw Kyle as a “True Mercy”. It is still a bit incredible to me that “Mercy” is the name that Kyle and Hope picked out for their unborn daughter – before they knew their little baby was a girl – and before Kyle died. Given all the circumstances that surrounded his death, and her birth – and the weeks and months that have followed – her name almost seemed to be somehow supernaturally chosen.

Kyle had first mentioned the book “Just Mercy” to me back in early 2018, after I had sent him a news story that ran on Bryan Stevenson’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

After I read the book, I sent him a message him saying, That book changes your life.”

He messaged me back and said:

Thank you so much for reading it. The world would be a pretty different place if everyone one read that book.”

I then posted the book on my FB page:

“The real life stories in the pages of this book will change you. Please consider reading it and then sharing it. Humanity needs it.”

The dilemma for how mercy needs to be given, and yet justice upheld, in so many areas of life, are the conversations that kept Kyle and I up until late in the evening, for so many years.

On January 10, the movie “Just Mercy” was released nationwide. When I sat down to write this post to review the movie, the first thing I did was go looking for a copy of the book on one of our bookshelves…to peruse through all my underlined passages. I had bought several copies so my kids could all read it, and so we could loan it out to others. And apparently we did, because I could not find any of our copies. My daughter also gave two of her university professors each a copy.

Click here for more info.

The basic synopsis of the book and movie show the work of Bryan Stevenson, who has dedicated his life defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.

Just Mercy” tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit.

I am not a movie critic, thus will let you review it for yourself by clicking on the photo below for the trailer:

I few poignant quotes from the book reflect the heart of Stevenson’s work:

 “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

 “We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it’s necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.”

 “There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.”

 “The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”

 As with many movies, and is true of ‘Just Mercy”, it is difficult to capture all that is written in a book. The book is filled with so many stories – true heart wrenching stories – and that is what makes it a very hard read at times because you just don’t want to believe that this is the way things are. The movie does an excellent job in focusing on the main story of Walter McMillian.

This is a book I would encourage you to have all your high school kids read, in addition to watching the movie. Go together with your family. Suggest to your kids to have a group of all their friends go together. There is so much that needs to be discussed. And if you are anything like my family, you may not all agree on what the best solution is, but I think we can all readily identify the problems, and know for sure that some things absolutely must change.

In the cinematic world of over-hyped and idolized superheroes and Hollywood superstars, it is a welcome relief that “Just Mercy” shows a real-life, flesh and blood ordinary man in Bryan Stevenson, who has awoken every day for many years to fight real evil and heinous injustice. His work has produced extraordinary super power results in taking 125 men off death row – truly life-saving power.

We all have an opportunity to do the same thing.

This movie, and even more so the book, will encourage you to do so.

In all of this, I was reminded of a message I heard years ago by author and apologist, Ravi Zacharias:

“When you can see horror and grace side by side, you realize there is no place, humanly speaking, where we can find an absolute way to understand these things.

• We pervert love.
• We distort justice.
• We multiply evil.
• We fail at forgiveness.

Only on the cross of Jesus Christ do love, justice, evil, and forgiveness converge.

The good news for every child of God in Christ is that God’s mercy toward us will triumph over His judgment of us (see Romans 8:1). Our sins may argue against us, but Christ is our loving Advocate who argues for us and prevents us from receiving the judgment we deserve. We, in turn, display God’s type of mercy toward others.”

“Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

James 2:13

 As I expressed at Kyle’s memorial service, he would encourage us all to show up and “do something.”

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40


Last year, I started 2019 with a 3-day food fast.  On the second day of that fast, somehow I came across this 40 day sugar fast. I have no idea how, it must have shown up in my Facebook feed.  Anyway, although my regular eating habits include lots of good healthy food – my one weakness has always been sweets – yep – even those dye colored, sugar laden candies that contain all that stuff that I know doesn’t help my body one bit, but my taste buds love!

I had never heard of Wendy Speake, the mom of 3 boys, who facilitates the fast, however I really enjoyed her down-to-earth approach and love for the word of God.  She would do Facebook live videos in their camper, and sometimes in the middle of them her boys would be knocking on the door asking if they could watch a movie because the had finished their work.wink

I will tell you that it was during this fast that I spent a considerable amount of time in prayer for my family. And it was during this time that, as weird as it may sound to some, looking back, I really felt that God prepared me for the events that happened just a few weeks after the fast ended – specifically my son, Kyle’s, sudden death in a helicopter crash.  Now, I do not wish to scare you into NOT doing the fast for fear that something awful might happen. But rather, to show that God is intensely interested in drawing us very close to Himself and comforting us with his very intimate love for us. He knows everything about us, and His word shows us His profound love for us.

I am posting several resources here for you to check it out if you are interested in joining the fast.  This is Wendy’s 6th year doing the fast. She recently wrote the book “40 Day Sugar Fast” that she will be using as the basis for the  fast. As Wendy rightly points out, the emphasis is not on the fasting but on the feasting. “We are hungry people and we will always spend our lives “digesting something” to get us through.” Your comfort food may not be sugar, or even food, but whatever your “go to” vice is, I would encourage you to look to the ultimate comforter.

Here is the link to sign up for the fast and get more information:

Here is the link for the Facebook Group Page:

Here is the link for her new book:

Here is a link to one of my favorite podcasts – Java with Juli. I am currently working on another post about this podcast, but for now here is Juli’s interview with Wendy where they talk about the upcoming fast.

I will also be asking Donna to share some of her eating lifestyles resources that would be helpful in providing tips for controlling cravings.

For those women in the area that might consider doing the fast, perhaps when it is finished we could get together for a time of fellowship!