Why not salt? and what is human gel?

Salt, hydration and those all important vegetables

I have been drawn to write this article because I have been reading an incredible post authored by Kathryn Alexander:


Her post is comprehensive and packed with detail, here is my summary:


If water follows salt and we need to drink more water to rehydrate, then surely we will need to take in more salt to help us get the water into our cells?

It just isn’t that simple.

Kathryn describes a “perivascular space”, between your cells and your circulatory vessels – this is where hydration is key.

Water will be attracted to the sodium but not the all important connective tissues that provide this perivascular space.

Taking on board too much sodium can also mean that potassium is excreted.  At this point the balance of electrolytes can be upset; without enough potassium in the cell, sodium will move in…as water follows sodium, it enters the cell (not the perivascular space) and the cell:

 “becomes water-logged and cannot “breathe” as it is unable to take up oxygen or produce energy. Symptoms of water-logging within the body (fluid retention and oedemas) is a pathological sign and does not represent the opposite of dehydration”


What is really important instead, to achieve hydration, is to build up your “human gel”. Connective tissue is important here, connective tissue actually includes your bones, tendons and joints depending on the density of the fibres it contains.  Connective tissue is a matrix of protein fibres wrapped inside a polysaccharide gel.

This is where the plant based diet comes in.  Dietary fibre from vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes provides the sugars that we need to produce our human gel, that all important polysaccharide gloop.

Without adequate gel and hydration the disease picture shows up with shrinkage, wasting, aching and pain:

  • vertebrae, disk and joint issues,
  • dry membranes
  • toxicity issues as cells become disconnected and lose efficiency at taking in nutrients and releasing waste.

Glucosamine can be a useful supplement to take, to encourage production of hyaluronic acid – human gel! It is also well known for promoting healthy cartilage.

Kathryn also explains:

“In the perivascular spaces, if the ground substance shrinks then nutrients can’t get to the cells, and the cells starve, and toxins get trapped in the collapsed matrix. This generates an immune response: the circulation and the migration of inflammatory immune cells is increased to the area  to remove the toxic debris and dead cells. The problem with chronic dehydration, or a lack of ground substance, is that the area can become vulnerable to sustained inflammatory activity which will generate a continuous supply of free radicals. This is when cellular DNA can come under attack which may generate the development of auto-antibodies and the onset of autoimmune disease. “


Fatty acids are another key component of this picture of rehydration;Fatty acids help to form our cell membranes, causing it to be more supple and have the ability to “hold water” on the outside of your cells.

Freshly ground flax seeds daily are a great gentle place to start.

Of course there will also be people for whom low sodium is a problem so do get levels checked if symptoms persist.

In the meantime a huge thank you to Kathryn for providing such great information

and from me, as ever, eat those veggies.

Gemma x

Getting in the greens! Nettle Gnocchi

Nettle Gnocchi

stinging nettle

With this years spring equinox just around the corner and daffodils bobbing their heads outside the window it is definitely time to awaken the spring in you.

This weeks recipe has been brought to you by my gorgeous daughter Zoe, who was inspired to make nettle gnocchi for lunch today.  Yes you heard me right; good old stinging nettles picked fresh (and very carefully!) from the garden.

So the recipe:

Nettle Gnocchi

  • 600g potatoes, diced into small pieces
  • 400g gluten free flour
  • a good handful of nettles, grabbed with a thick pair of gloves on! rinsed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
  1. Boil the potatoes for 10 mins or until soft
  2. Mash them with a fork and mix in the nettles with a teaspoon of salt
  3. Stir in the beaten eggs
  4. Add flour and stir in until the mixture starts to come together
  5. Roll out on a board into a sausage shape
  6. Cut into disks
  7. Boil for 3 minutes or until the pieces start to bob up to the surface of the pan.


I served up ours with some tomato sauce made by frying off celery, onion, garlic, parsley, grated carrot for a few minutes and then bubbling away with some tomatoes for 20-30 mins.

I am sure that you could get this by the kids.  If you don’t think that they could I am sure they’d love to get involved picking the tinging nettles and hopefully inspired to eat them by the sheer craziness of it all.

Welcome to spring!

Gemma x