All communication between our cells, organs and tissues is facilitated by a signaling process that uses a unique type of electricity. Impulses – carried by specific molecules derived from oxygen, nutrients (through food sources) and water – activate signals and messages that enable function. An example of this would be taking a bite of lunch (let’s say…fried rice), the body immediately signals a complex sequence of messages and processes to break down the food into energy and essential structural nutrients for cellular repair and replacement. That initial signal activates communication throughout the entire body, enabling metabolic processes to send support to every facet of human function, be it mental, emotional or physical. Our overall health and the functioning of every organ system (including the skin) is dependent upon how efficient that signaling and communication process works.
There are over 300 minerals that humans need in very small amounts to perfectly coordinate all of our intricate body functions. Unfortunately, the modern lifestyle does not provide these for us automatically (who knows if it ever did?). Stress, lack of sleep, and a poor diet depletes our mineral reserves and can even reduce the body’s ability to absorb needed minerals.
When you are experiencing a mineral deficiency, one of the first dysfunctions we notice are irritations of the skin. When the body is deficient in specific minerals, the cells simply cannot function well enough to communicate properly. Conditions like eczema and psoriasis or other autoimmune issues tend to surface.
At the same time, exposing the body and the skin to more “confusing” or “drug-like” substances (I call them “confusigens” and yes, include natural things like essential oils, hydrosols, anti-oxidants and certain herbs with strong actions in this list) without having enough of the minerals to translate or utilize them can result in inflammation overload. A body (particularly skin) that is hyper-reactive and already prone to irritation becomes even more sensitized to environmental aggressors. This could even result in specific negative feedback loops in the skintestines (also my word—it’s the skin that runs all over the outside and the inside of the body) that could eventually lead to Barrier Dysfunction (inside it’s called leaky gut) and topical or internal dysbiosis.
Why We Remineralize Our Facial Mists
These types of internal issues can not solely be addressed by your skin care regimen, but we do have a few (eh-hem) solutions that can help to address mineral deficiency. One incredible aspect of the skin’s relationship to minerals is the ability to absorb what is needed through osmosis. This means that exposing the skin to these minerals makes them available to to the body. Just as impressively, the skin’s structure has built-in mechanisms that decide what it needs and is going to take in and what to leave out, so there is little chance of getting too much-unlike taking an oral supplement.
Just like we know that drinking only distilled water depletes the body of needed minerals and is not viable for long-term use, we came to recognize after a few years of making hydrosol-based mists (which are essentially distilled water that has picked up the “messages” of plants along the way) that when the body has sensitive or reactivity, they may be calming at first, but are not viable for long-term use, especially since the body is being asked (by the hydrosol—or essential oils, which WE don’t use in this capacity but a lot of skincare does) to translate these intense messages. Respecting that the skin is semipermeable (meaning that it takes in what it wants to and leaves out the rest) we made basic formulas for our mists that take into account both what essential minerals are necessary for function and the appropriate amount to entice the skin cells to accept them along with the messages from the properly prepared plants.
Using Between You & The Moon Mineral Mists in conjunction with Nourish & Replenish Oil (We call it the Moisture Duo) is our unique way of offering the skin these vital minerals while it moisturizes and protects the skin. These mists use the herbal actions of the hydro-distillates to gently reassure the skin that it doing just fine while offering a targeted blend of specific minerals that the cells can utilize to improve how it is functioning.
What Other Topical Methods Improve Mineral Absorption?
- We also have formulated a high mineral dosage mist called Instant Alchemy Mineral Mists (Links to where you can purchase our products will be at the end of the article) that can be used in conjunction with with our Calendula & Red Clover Infused Coconut oil or Massage in a Bottle to address a variety of skin discomforts. When the body is low in certain minerals, you will feel it tingle until that deficiency has been restored.
- Salt baths and salt steam rooms/caves have been used throughout history as healing modalities. We make a lovely bath soak (Soak Your Wild Oats) that it formulated to soothe and reassure the skin while offering up those transdermal minerals. We suggest 4 heaping tbsp of Momma Moon Sitz Bath (even if you are not a momma!) or Soak Your Wild Oats for a lovely, healing bath and 1 heaping tbsp for just your feet.
Some Examples of Minerals and What They Do
Magnesium: Magnesium regulates all our of metabolic processes. It does everything from keeping our heartbeat consistent, and enabling our cells to “take out the trash” to firing up our nerves and muscles while keeping our bones strong. In addition, it aids our immune system.
Sodium: In addition to stabilizing blood pressure and volume, sodium is responsible for regulating the normal function of muscles and nerves.
Potassium: This amazing electrical conductor is vital for cellular communication! Potassium enables cells, tissues and organs to thrive. It reminds the body to utilize protein in building muscles and break down fats and carbohydrates to use as energy.
Iodine: Important for thyroid gland function, iodine aids in the body’s metabolic exchanges.
Sulfur: A natural disinfectant, sulfur is revered as a powerful detoxifying agent encouraging the liver to work effectively at pulling toxins out of the blood stream so that they made be…”escorted to the toilet”.
Calcium: An essential mineral, calcium works with other minerals to strengthen bones and teeth while keeping cell membranes at a proper density.
Zinc: A major player in the healing process, zinc hastens oxidization by reducing free radical damage and enables the “messages” that the cells need to heal properly.
How Do I Get More Minerals Out of the Foods That I Eat?
Minerals, which we cannot make in our bodies and must be consumed from the outside, help in maintaining fluid balance, building bones, muscle movement and secreting hormones. But, just because scientists in lab coats in the last century were able to burn the “raw materials” of the foods that we eat to study and subsequently determine how much “nutrition” each item contains. This comes with with an incorrect assumption that is “just because the vitamin or mineral is in a food source, all we have to do it eat it to get the benefits.”
In order for us to get the most out of our food, two things need to be in place:
- The food has to be properly prepared (breaking apart the cell walls)
- The body has to be able to digest the food
Here are a few ideas gleaned from the Wise Women and Kitchenwitches who have been creating nutritious meals for thousands of years without the confusion created by trying to part and parcel each nutrient to repackage and sell them at a higher price.
Vegetables & Acids
To get the most nutrition out of your vegetables, cook them. In fact, cook them with acid (such as apple cider vinegar, citrus juice, tomatoes, etc) and eat them with a stable, saturated fat the helps that body to accept the goodness. Raw is very cleansing and the body has a hard time breaking it down-particularly when we are depleted.
*We don’t recommend daily consumption of acids in water such as recommend in some modern “cleanses.” It may be beneficial to someone who could take it for small amounts of time, but if you are already depleted (or in the case of long-term use) it breaks down more than it builds up.
Celery is delicious and used as flavoring in stir-fry, stew and soup. Celery contains chloride which is an important mineral for keeping the proper balance of body fluids is necessary in the stomach for digestion.
Summer squash (zucchini) contains high levels of copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus amongst other minerals. Once again, cook with acid and fat (mmmm and salt and herbs!) and use in other dishes or serve as a side dish. Leftovers can go into pancakes and waffles with no detection from the 5 year old.
Sweet Potatoes are naturally high in potassium (works to protect blood vessels from oxidative damage and prevents blood vessel walls from thickening.) manganese and phosphorus. We steam a bunch once a week over our rice in the rice cooker (as part of our “resistant starch arsenal”) so that we have them available throughout the week for a quick and delicious add to a meal.
Sea vegetables such as kombu (kelp), wakame and arame are in rich iodine as well as minerals ( potassium, zinc, iron and manganese). You can add them to your cookpot for rice and beans or you could use them to flavor your soups….or flake them and make them into a gomasio with sesame seeds and herbs to sprinkle on everything.
Mushrooms (which also should always be properly prepared, not raw!) are an excellent way to have a wide intake of minerals in the body. In addition to the alkalizing, “electrolyte” minerals, each mushroom type has a variety of trace minerals that become available for our body’s uptake.
Grains have been an essential part of the human diet throughout history. Unfortunately, a lot of that “nutrition” which was discovered by scientists in the last century is locked up in the outer hull and is not very available to us—in fact, when there is a lot of inflammation in the gut or weak digestion, consumption of the “whole” grain of the plant may cause the body more inflammation and to dump its current nutritional content. In this case, it may be easier for us to think of grains as a delivery system for other forms of nutrition as well as an excellent way to feed our diverse microflora, but not as a great source of minerals.
Rice is a fundamental food in many parts of the world. It provides instant energy (like a matchstick) as well as future energy (ATP in the mitochondria), improves bowel movements by providing soluble fiber and helping to diversify gut bacteria and, when properly prepared, is easy to digest. The wise women of China, Japan, India, Pakistan, and many parts of Central and South America (+more) have been hulling and polishing their rice (making it “white”) for thousands of years in order to improve the health of their families and communities.
Oats provide so much for the body, both as a nutritional drink (Try Inner Strength Tea, which is high is usable minerals and delicious) and as a porridge that we call oatmeal. If you have inflammation or just want to make it easier to digest, cook your oatmeal at night for one minute and let cool. Add some delicious fat such as whole-milk yogurt, butter, or ghee and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. You can reheat in the morning. We like to make pancakes and waffles with overnight oats. Yum.
Wheat In the early 2000’s I was given the opportunity to work in Europe and Scandinavia. As a young American with lots of gut issues working with older (wiser) women—all in good health, I was given quite an education. If you went to Italy and asked for whole wheat pasta or pizza, they would laugh at you. Go to France and asked for whole wheat baguette (or low fat anything…) they would ban you from the city. In fact, everywhere I went, there were “proper” ways to prepare the food that we considered unhealthy back at home. And, I had no symptoms my entire time abroad! Now, I make organic, white sourdough (and its my #1 choice when eating out) and avoid anything that has too many dense, hard-to-digest whole grains.
Legumes contain high levels of potassium, iron and magnesium, but can be difficult for people to digest if their stomach acid, digestive enzymes or mechanical digestion is weak or (much often the case) the beans have not been prepared well. Cook your beans low and slow. Add acid and fat. Use seaweed. Retrograde it by letting it be in the refrigerator at least one night (after cooking it low and slow and adding fat…) and reheat before eating.
Nuts are delicious and contain essential minerals that the body uses to maintain proper blood pressure and for the supreme functioning of the nervous system by helping transfer of nerve signals. Brazil nuts have a high amount of selenium which protects the cells from oxidation and provides a healthy immune system. Cashews and walnuts also contain good amounts of copper and magnesium. But…they can be hard to digest and overwhelming to the system. Keep your portions reasonable (Including the nut butters!) and eat with meals—for the love of your metabolism don’t snack on them all day long! There are ways of soaking and dehydrating that can make them easier to digest (and yummier).
Cheese and yogurt all contain a host of usable minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. To get the most out of them, buy the highest quality you can and treat these as a condiment. When they accompany your meals in small amounts, the fats help you get more nutrients from everything else you are eating.
Meat & Eggs
Meat is a great way to get iron, zinc, phosphorus and cobalt. Seafood is also rich in zinc and iron content. Eggs have calcium, selenium and phosphorus. Humans breakdown animal fats pretty easily, though the high-protein, low fat parts are hard to digest and take more energy to breakdown than they give you. If you eat all of the parts proportionally (skin, thighs, yolks, etc) you will have a better variety.
Bananas & Pineapples some readily-available minerals when eaten raw and even more benefits (and delicious options) when cooked or frozen.