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    Random GAPS Diet Hint #3: Share Salt with Your Livestock

    October 11, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    I don’t know if you have livestock or not. Maybe you should get some, just so you have an excuse to buy fifty pound bags of salt from Redmond’s. Just kidding.

    Well, sort of.

    If you are on the GAPS Diet, you probably know that using real, unrefined salt {and please note: if your salt is white, it has been refined, no matter what the label says–salt in its natural form is not uniform in color} is imperative.

    So here’s the dirty little secret about unrefined salt: it is darn expensive. Your days of buying a salt shaker for a buck are over.

    Unless, of course, you do what I did.

    Ahem.

    Let’s talk prices. I just looked at my co-op prices on salt. They carry all the unrefined types–the grey Celtic sea salt, the pink Himalayan salt, and, my personal favorite, the red salt from Redmond’s out of Utah.

    The grey Celtic salt will cost you $3.85 for one pound. If you buy in bulk, it gets cheaper per pound, but never goes below $2.82/lb. At its cheapest, this is $0.18/oz.

    The pink Himalayan salt is $5.10 for one pound. It, too, can be bought in huge bulk bags, and that gets you a pretty reasonable price: $1.52/lb. At its cheapest, you still pay just under $0.10/oz.

    And then comes the Redmond’s salt. A 9-ounce salt shaker will cost you $3.35. A 1.5-pound bag will put you out $5.75. Again, you can buy in bulk, but it’ll cost you $2.12/lb. At its cheapest, you pay $0.13/oz.

    Guess what I pay for my salt? I pay $0.15/lb. That’s right. I pay less per pound than what most of you are paying per ounce.

    You know why?

    Because I don’t buy salt for humans.

    I have always given our animals free access to unrefined salt. We keep it in buckets and they take what they need as they need it. It doesn’t rain much here, so I don’t have to worry about it melting away. I use Redmond’s #10 fine animal salt*. This is unrefined salt, crushed and put through a sieve so that the crystals are not over a certain size. Nothing is added.

    When I buy a fresh 50-pound bag {for just over seven dollars, mind you}, I pull out a few gallons for us and store it in my kitchen. It goes through a salt grinder just as well as coarse salt, and it can still be measured {without grinding} with spoons and put into soups and sauces like regular salt. We use our grinder as a salt shaker, and the rest of the time I use it as it is because it dissolves while I’m cooking.

    People ask me if I worry about debris because it’s not for humans. All I can say is, I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and I have never, ever had a problem.

    Ever.

    We use tons and tons of salt. My children even grab crystals and eat them plain. I never worry about it because it is in its completely natural form and it only costs me pennies {if that}.

    So my hint for today is simple: get a goat, feed it salt, and keep some for yourself.

    The end.

    *Warning: Not all of Redmond’s animal salt products are in their plain, natural state. You must read labels well or you will end up with a product fortified for sheep, which have nutritional needs that are different from humans.

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    3 Comments

  • Reply Rebecca October 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you for the information. Sadly, it appears Azure Standard delivers no further east than Indiana, and we are in upstate New York. Our own natural foods co-op carries pet foods, but no livestock supplies. I appreciate the dealer locator link, though, as I was able to find a feed store in Pennsylvania (the only one within 50 miles!) that carries Redmond products. I am waiting to hear back from them if they do carry or would special order this particular salt and how much it would be. Gas prices will play a big part in whether or not it is a better deal than the #25 Real Salt.

    Bees are wonderful for homegrown honey when all goes well. We enjoyed an increasing harvest of honey for about three years as we got started. Then the black bears found us and we had to relocate our hives to a friend’s house half an hour away. Last year we harvested about #80 of honey at his house, but this year was a disaster for various reasons resulting in NO honey to spare–just the bees’ coming winter sustenance. 🙁 Buying a year’s supply of #100 from a fellow beekeeper makes me want to cry!

    As for goats, we have had moderate success over the past 5 years and are pretty much still learning as we go. The most important thing I have discovered is to use iodine as a disinfectant rather than chlorine on our milking pail, strainer, containers, etc. I buy 5% Lugol’s iodine solution online and dilute it at a rate of 1 drop to 8 oz reverse osmosis water. After washing and rinsing, I either rinse in the dilution or spray it on covering all surfaces, then let drip dry. Since I switched, we have never had the “goaty” tasting milk which we often had before.

    It is amazing how many different opinions you will get about goats. We read lots of books before we started, but then it seemed like every experienced goat owner we talked to disagreed with the books and with each other! So we’re learning by doing. We had tried giving minerals free choice early on, but they always left their droppings in it! Even when it was in a container hanging on the wall! They would actually back up to it and go! So my husband gave up offering minerals at all, and they have just had pasture, hay, and grain. But after reading your post–if I can get the Redmond’s–I think we will try again.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts October 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Bees! I have always loved the idea of having our own honey, but I have a relative that is allergic to bees and since we only have half an acre, even if my husband said yes {which is somewhat doubtful} they would never be far enough from the house for this person’s comfort. Since you say you keep goats, please pipe up if you ever think I am making a dreadful mistake! We are learning so much, but especially when our goat Abigail became sick and died last spring, it really did feel like a race against our own ignorance. I think that if we knew then what we know now we might have been able to save her. So sad.

    Anyhow…

    The name of my co-op is Azure Standard. They deliver in many states, so you can contact them to find out if they have a drop near you. If they do, you might find they are helpful for a lot of things! I haven’t seen a good price on Redmond’s online because the shipping more than makes up for the cheap price of the bag. My co-op does not charge for shipping as long as our group has a minimum order. Their money is made from selling in bulk. Anyhow, the Redmond’s brand has an animal product site with a dealer locator that also might help.

    Another option might be to beg your feed store to begin carrying it. 🙂

    I hope you can find some!

    If you buy it, you will notice that this salt is redder than the Real Salt. It is from the same mine, but the animal salt is higher in minerals–it is from a more highly mineralized portion of the mine. I think this might be why my children do better on it–they were so depleted due to their health issues that they crave this salt, asking if they can suck on a grain or two throughout the day!

    By the way, there is a chance that even though it is cheap compared to human salt, it is more expensive than other animal salts. I’m not sure. This was the only type of salt our co-op carried, so we started right off with it and never looked back.

  • Reply Rebecca October 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Your blog has been my home page for over two years now, and I have gleaned much helpful information about CM and educational philosophy from you. We have kept goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and bees for 5-8 years (we didn’t acquire them all at once) and have watched your foray into the livestock world with interest. Your post on using Redmond’s salt in both the house and barn piqued my interest since we buy Real Salt by the #25 bag several times a year for our household use. It is very expensive. Please tell where you buy your Redmond animal salt. Is it online? Our feed store doesn’t carry that brand.

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