But the one that takes the cake is from the late diet guru Aajonus Vonderplanitz: salt is like a bomb in your body, “blowing up cells.”
Here’s the full quote: “Salt is a terrible chemical, an explosive. Sodium, when isolated, is more explosive than nitroglycerine. The military gave General Electric two billion dollars over the last 60 years to make an explosive out of sodium. Couldn’t do it. One to 2% temperature change and it explodes. One block of pure sodium is worse than an atomic bomb and would level a city. They put salt on freshly slaughtered frog legs and they jumped all over the place for three minutes – spasmed the entire time. Salt is a dangerous chemical. It’s why the king and queen of England went into the business; it made slaves of people. Salt is salt no matter the source. It’s concentrated sodium. When it goes into your body it isolates it into pure sodium so it goes around clumping together and blowing up cells.”
Elsewhere, Aajonus states that “[you are n]ever getting a balanced diet if you are eating salt, any kind of salt. Because it will be separated and it will cause explosions and fractionations throughout your body.”
It’s hard to know where to start in analyzing these jumbles of contradictory statements. If salt is so explosive, “worse than an atomic bomb,” why did General Electric fail to make a bomb out of it? But even if General Electric succeeded in making a bomb out of salt, so what? You can make explosives out of magnesium and a powerful bomb out of phosphorus, but that does not mean that these elements are making explosions in the body, or that the body does not need them.
It seems that the acclaimed nutrition guru didn’t understand the difference between chemistry and biochemistry. And yet even now, years after his death, the Aajonus diet has a cult-like following. If salt blows up cells in the human body, how has the human race survived, since everybody eats salt, and salt is essential to life?
Aajonus also claims that “1 grain of salt kills 2 million red blood cells. . . when salt is taken as an isolate, it clumps together. This clumping has a very powerful magnetic charge which attaches to things like water and water-soluble vitamins. When this bonded salt attempts to interface with a red blood cell, the red blood cell tries to ‘eat’ the nutrients from the salt compound… but with concentrated/clumped salt, it cannot because the magnetic charge of the salt compound will extract the few ions that exist in the red blood cell. When the red blood cell loses these ions from the overly magnetizing salt, it ‘shrivels up and dies.’”
Hmmm. . . the blood of all mammals is salty. Hard to believe the body would concentrate a substance in the blood that causes the blood cells to shrivel up and die. But of course, salt in the body does not clump up, it remains dissolved as sodium and chloride atoms, which play a role in maintaining a different charge inside and outside the cell; sodium and chloride are also incorporated into a variety of enzymes and other substances in the body, many of which are essential for digestion. For example, we need chloride to make hydrochloric acid, for the digestion of meat—greatly needed in the case of Vonderplanitz’s high-meat diet. In fact, the lack of salt in his “primal diet” raises the specter of protein deficiency even when meat constitutes the primary food, especially as, according to Vonderplanitz, we should only eat meat raw–since raw meat is actually harder to digest than cooked meat.
Aajonus is not against animal fats, but fails to understand that fat digestion also requires salt. Sodium is involved in the manufacture of bile, which emulsifies fats so that they can be absorbed.
Then we have the business of twitching frog legs—a phenomenon discovered by the Italian Galvani–for which there are several explanations. Here’s one: After the frog’s death, unused adenosine triphosphate, the main source of energy in our body, remains in the muscles. The muscle only needs an activator, with which the negative charge will interact. The salt is this activator, releasing triphosphate and making frog legs twitch. Again, so what? Why should the twitching legs of dead frogs make us avoid salt?
Then there’s this statement “It’s why the king and queen of England went into the business; it made slaves of people.” Indeed, until very recent times, the control of salt served as a way of enslaving people because salt is essential for life—not because salt turned people into slaves.
An interesting article on the social history of salt, published in Scientific American, 1963, notes that in ancient times, where salt was plentiful, the society tended to be free, independent and democratic; where it was scarce, those who controlled the salt controlled the people. For example, along the shores of the Mediterranean and the North Sea, farmers and fishermen with access to plentiful salt enjoyed free societies. By contrast, areas of the world that had to import most of their salt or obtain it from small, isolated sources show a more autocratic pattern, a history of frequent conflict, monopoly and all-powerful rulers. In the ancient river valley civilizations of the Nile, Babylon, India, China, Mexico and Peru, the kings and priests maintained their rule and obtained their income through their monopoly of salt, on which the population depended for their survival.
More recently, the British exerted control in India by heavily taxing salt and jailing those Indians who dared to make salt themselves. In protest, Gandhi led a salt march that gained international attention. “Next to air and water, salt is perhaps the greatest necessity of life,” he said, believing a mass protest over the salt laws would help invigorate the cause of Indian independence. It’s estimated that the British arrested sixty thousand people including Gandhi himself during this Indian version of the Boston Tea Party, but eventually the colonizers signed a pact which led to the release of political prisoners and allowed the manufacture of salt by Indians in coastal areas. Indian independence followed a few years later.
In fact, it is fair to say that modern people enjoy one huge advantage over their ancestors: everybody in the world today has access to plentiful, inexpensive salt.
But Aajonus says that eating salt is like eating rocks. “We don’t eat rock, plants eat rock.” Fortunately, salt is not like rocks. If you put salt in water (or saliva), it will dissolve; if you put rocks in water, they remain as rocks.
Aajonus does acknowledge that we need sodium, which we can get from vegetables like tomatoes, avocados and celery, which he says “doesn’t cause these problems because it’s pre-complexed in a natural package. Celery is concentrated with sodium that helps remove excess sodium stored as rock salt. Sodium in food is among the smallest nutrients but sodium in salt is among the largest nutrient.” Sigh. Sodium is sodium—when dissolved in water or separated from food during digestion, the atoms are the same size, whether they come from salt or celery.
As I have pointed out in an earlier blog, you have to consume about 17 cups of celery juice to obtain your daily requirement for sodium; and celery juice won’t give you chloride, which you need for digesting meat, producing bile and many other processes in the body. What happens long-term when you don’t get enough salt? You may lack energy and muscle strength, because sodium is essential for the production of ATP in the mitochondria. You may feel depressed and lack motivation, because salt is involved in the production of dopamine. You many experience low sex drive, because sodium is involved in the production of testosterone; you may get sick frequently because chloride is a critical component of the immune system.
Even conventional spokespersons note that low salt diets can contribute to heart disease, especially heart failure, and increased insulin resistance, leading to type-2 diabetes. Then there is hyponatremia, a condition characterized by low levels of sodium in the blood. “Its symptoms are similar to those caused by dehydration. In severe cases, the brain may swell, which can lead to headaches, seizures, coma, and even death.” Aajonus doesn’t mention these deadly consequences of blind adherence to his diet.
A friend of ours recently collapsed and ended up in the hospital after following a doctor-recommended low-salt diet. He had dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood and required enteral feeding over three days to carefully raise the sodium levels. (It’s dangerous to raise the serum salt levels too quickly.) A three-day hospital say can cost tens of thousands of dollars. . . fortunately, he had insurance. You don’t want this to happen to you: please eat salt.
Learn the characteristics of healthy traditional diets from the Weston A. Price Foundation at westonaprice.org.
15 thoughts on “The Salt Bombs of Aajonus Vonderplanitz”
When people tell me that salt is bad for you, my response is, “Then why is it when you go to the hospital, the first thing they do is hook you up to saline?” That always seems to stump them!
You think the hospitals are doing that to make you healthy? No, to make money
Hi Sally! Thank you so much for your information. I’m a student midwife and am also reading your baby and childcare book as a supplemental text for midwifery. I noticed you wrote briefly in it about toxemia (and the importance of increasing salt intake during pregnancy!!) and also wanted to share with you a text written by midwife Anne Frye called “Understanding Diagnostic Tests in the Childbearing Year”. In your book you mention that toxemia is “caused” by rising blood pressure, which is actually how the medical model perceives this condition, and from the midwifery lens is not the actual cause, but the symptom. Anne Frye details how toxemia is a metabolic disorder caused by poorly expanded blood volume during pregnancy (caused by improper diet – not enough protein, calories and salt!), and the rising BP is simply a symptom. I thought you might find it interesting to take a look at the midwifery model’s approach to preventing and treating toxemia, as it seems very much in line with your approach.
I would respond with: Why should I care what mainstream medicine does? As Aajonus said: “Anything the medical profession says, do the opposite 99 percent of the time and you’ll be right.” Aajonus Vonderplanitz
Love this post, Sally! You’re such a wealth of information. As always this is well researched, educational and includes a little sarcastic humor (i.e., rocks remain rocks :). Many thanks and cheers!
Putting a pinch of Himalayan pink salt in a glass of water helps re-hydrated bodies…Recommended by Dr Batmanghelidj in “Your Body’s Many Cries For Water.”
And there’s also Sole Therapy: https://himalayancrystalsalt.com/pages/sole-therapy
Most of your post is irrelevant because Aajonus wanted us to eat only raw foods. The body processes and assimilates raw foods much differently than cooked. So any studies and “scientific evidence” you provide is viewed through the lens of a cooked food diet.
But salt is needed to digest raw food as well as cooked, so why would a better understanding of the role of salt in digestion be irrelevant for a raw diet?
You say that “chloride is a critical component of the immune system.” What do you mean by “immune system”?
Salt being essential for neurological function is true!!!
So during lockdown, my 80yo aunt went totally salt free (she was scared of eating it thanks to all the anti salt propaganda)
Before lockdown, she was still cooking salt free, but she was getting twice weekly meals on wheels, she went for lunch once a week at a local community centre and she also got herself a take away delivery one night a week…which was all providing her with the necessary salt, it turns out.
Then lockdown and meals on wheels stopped entirely, the weekly lunch stopped, and she got too scared to get takeaway delivery.
So she cooked entirely for herself, entirely salt free…
About a year later, she collapsed one day – she lived on her own but she had one of those Secom monitor system in her house, which called an ambulance.
At he hospital, she was diagnosed with dementia caused by lack of sodium – her system was dangerously, ridiculously low on sodium
My other aunt who went to speak to the doc was told, she was days away from dying from lack of salt.
Before lockdown she was totally fit, no neurological issues at all, but now, she cannot remember what she had for dinner 30 minutes before and we have been told her brain will never recover.
And right enough, it’s now been over a year since she as put in a home, and she is not regaining her cognitive abilities.
Of course, Maoist China used to torture political prisoners by depriving them of salt, and they went insane.
So going no salt is not good for you.
What a warning!
“If salt is so explosive, “worse than an atomic bomb,” why did General Electric fail to make a bomb out of it?”
As it says in the bit you quoted, it’s because sodium is *too* explosive, you can’t keep it from exploding long enough to build a bomb out of it.
Thank you for another wonderful blog post Sally Fallon Morell. Nourishing Traditions is my childhood cookbook and I have gradually bought all your books. (: It is sad to see how unhealthy my friends are compared to me and my siblings just because of the different diets we grew up with. Thank you for making the world a better and more healthy place with your research. I am in your debt.
I just watched a video of Vanderplanitz ripping apart germ theory. I thought he did a good job even though it was 10 years old and he has since died. I haven’t heard his name mentioned by any of those who are debunking germ theory (and most, if not all of allopathic medicine). I had never heard of him. I did hear something in there about an all raw diet which raised a red flag, but I didn’t realize he was so “off” on salt. Too bad. http://www.mindbodyheartandsoul.org/video/the-only-way-to-get-a-virus-video-lecture/
Never take advice from a female, no matter how much book knowledge they appear to have. They lack wisdom.
Aajonus is perfectly right about salt. Read about the inflammatory effects salt has on your body.