Your Worst Day Ever: David Avocado’s Himalayan Salt Debunked

I’ve had more than one good belly laugh over the scientific absurdities of David Avocado Wolfe, a believer that water is a living organism whose attitude is shaped by the path taken through the pipes entering one’s house.12 Adding to the fun, Mr. Wolfe’s fog of incomprehension regarding electricity is fodder for an upcoming article debunking his horrifically expensive “Zapper” and grounding mat products, so do stay tuned for that.

But as I launch my 2016 #DontCryWolfe series exposing this man’s dangerous pseudoscience (e.g., turning cancer patients away from effective treatments in favor of bogus vegetable cures), I’d like to kick things off with what has become the forte of my blog: proving that internet hucksters like Wolfe are selling products with exactly the same ingredients they claim will kill you.

As an example, let’s look at this Himalayan Crystal Salt available from Wolfe’s Longevity Warehouse:1
Capture

Wolfe makes an interesting claim about this salt:2

“Himalayan salt contains the 84 natural elements needed by the body. “

Eighty-four elements needed by the body? Curiosity got the better of me, so I contacted Longevity Warehouse and asked what my body “needs”. In response, they opened help ticket “LW Support #166810: Himalayan salt ingredients“, and eventually emailed this reply:

“The vendor has confirmed that the statement is referencing the book Water & Salt, The Essence of Life by Dr. Barbara Hendel MD and Peter Ferreira, which states that Himalayan salt can contain as many as 84 trace minerals. […] Attached is the list of minerals from the book for your reference.”

You can consult the Hendel/Ferreira book11 for the full list if you’re so inclined, but here are a few particular items from the publication that I think readers will find interesting:

Arsenic As 33 <0.01 ppm
Cadmium Cd 48 <0.01 ppm
Mercury Hg 80 <0.03 ppm
Lead Pb 82 0.10 ppm
Polonium Po 84 <0.001 ppm
Uranium U 92 <0.001 ppm
Plutonium Pu 94 <0.001 ppm

Before I dig into this lineup, it’s of utmost importance to understand one of Wolfe’s key claims about his product. To wit: even though the salt contains only trace amounts of 84 elements, it’s their very presence that makes the product beneficial to your health, and it’s their removal during commercial salt processing that makes regular table salt “toxic“. Speak to us, oh wise one:

“In order to make table salt, natural salt is heated to high temperatures and cleaned chemically, reducing all the important minerals and leaving only sodium and chloride”2–David Wolfe

Never mind that the salt you buy from Wolfe is still, by and large, nothing more than sodium chloride. He’s telling us that the mere presence of these 84 trace elements is important to our health. All of them. Uh oh.

Let’s look at some of these “important” elements:

 

MERCURY
Mr. Wolfe warns that mercury is one of the top ten toxins poisoning our children, and once it’s in the body, it’s impossible to remove naturally.3 So as you consume his salt, by the man’s own logic, you’re writing a toxic check your digestive system can’t cash.

No mercury-based fear mongering from a pseudoscientist would ever be complete without a reference to dental fillings, and Avocado does not disappoint. In this YouTube video,4 he describes mercury as one of the “highest toxic substances known to man”, and frets over the small amounts found in older dental fillings. You won’t find him agonizing over the mercury in the Himalayan salt he sells you, though. Why? Because money.

Wolfe boarded the Woo Train long ago on vaccines, not seeming to grasp whether thimerosal (a mercury-containing compound–which is not mercury) might actually be used in certain vaccines at all. Once his misinformation train left the station, a lot of innocent people have gotten sick from vaccine-preventable diseases. Avocado is fixated on his belief that your body can’t remove these heavy metals (which originated from his own Himalayan salt!) on its own.5 Perhaps this is why he’s happy to recommend and sell unproven detox routines to help in the cleanup.6

If you spend a lot of time reading Wolfe (I do), you’ll see this mantra repeated again and again when it comes to “heavy metals”:

“That is a long scary list and many of these things will not leave the body naturally.” 5–David Avocado Wolfe

 

LEAD
I’ll let Wolfe’s “lipstick meme” speak for itself on ingesting trace amounts of the toxic element lead:7

David Wolfe on lead

David Wolfe on lead. (click/enlarge)

I agree with Wolfe: we should be concerned about eating or drinking lead. So why is it found in his Himalayan Crystal Salt?

Wolfe frets over a literal kiss of death, yet he would have us sprinkle the same elements of our destruction over our garden salad. You’ve heard me say it countless times in my writing: Pot. Kettle. Black.

I’m looking at you, David Avocado Wolfe.

 

ARSENIC
Wolfe’s own marketing material for Himalayan salt2 takes great pains to name arsenic as a toxin that we’re adding to our body in “normal” salt, and yet you’ll find the very same element in the Himalayan mix he’s selling you.

“Also considering salts come from the ocean, and our oceans are polluted with mercury, lead, arsenic and more, we are then adding more toxins into our body.”2

Along with “Shazzie”, Wolfe is listed as co-author of “Detox Your World”,8 a book that warns that ingesting low levels of arsenic over extended periods of time can lead to darkening of skin and warts. The book then goes on to link arsenic to several cancers, including lung, skin, bladder, and prostate.

 

URANIUM
On July 23, 2015, Wolfe tweeted a link to a story about abandoned uranium mines slowly contaminating Navajo water sources:

david wolfe twitter uranium

David Wolfe tweet on uranium (click/enlarge)

I think Wolfe is right to be concerned about the accumulation of radioactive elements such as uranium in the human body through sources such as groundwater.

My question is, why doesn’t he care that he’s listed trace amounts of uranium as one of the 84 essential elements in his Himalayan salt? One can’t help but notice the radioactive polonium and plutonium in the salt as well, even if Wolfe hasn’t spoken out specifically against them. These elements are most definitely harmful to the human body and, as Wolfe so often loves to shout from the rooftops,6 there’s no way to remove these toxins once we’ve ingested them (unless you subscribe to one of his detox regimens).

 

CADMIUM
Cadmium is listed repeatedly10,11 (along with arsenic and lead) as a “metallic toxin” in Wolfe’s book, Superfoods; The Food and Medicine of the Future.

Can you name a food where you’ll find cadmium? Oh hell, I’ve ruined the surprise by now, haven’t I? Yes, it’s in Wolfe’s Himalayan Crystal salt.

 

Conclusion
There’s nothing really dangerous about Himalayan salt.  The trace amounts of elements found there are too small to do you any good–or harm.  David Wolfe’s health and science advice swing from harmless, laughable blurbs such as “chocolate being a magical octave of the sun”, to irresponsible, and patently dangerous claims such as ginger being more powerful than chemotherapy in cancer treatment. The former is funny; the latter can cost someone their life.

Wolfe lures unsuspecting readers to his web site through the use of cute memes featuring the likes of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, drops a load of dangerous pseudoscience on them that could dissuade them from seeking real medical attention, and sells them products that by his own claims could damage their health.

Do the world a favor and don’t share David Wolfe memes in 2016. Please share, and tag with #DontCryWolfe. Thanks for reading.

#DontCryWolfe

#DontCryWolfe

Edit History
18 Jan 2016: Four astute followers caught the embarrassing misspelling of prostate; added some extra verbiage to assure worried readers they don’t need to throw out their pink salt.  It’s completely safe.

Image Credits
David Wolfe/Longevity Warehouse web site screen and product snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Longevity Warehouse David Wolfe Himalayan Salt (One Pound)
http://www.longevitywarehouse.com/catalogsearch/result/?cat=0&q=himalayan+salt

(2) Himalayan Salt Claim
http://www.longevitywarehouse.com/david-wolfe-foods-himalayan-crystal-salt-1-lb

(3) Top Ten Toxins Poisoning Our Kids
http://www.davidwolfe.com/toxins-poisoning-kids/

(4) Dental fillings wit mercury in them. (David Wolfe)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmvewxE4D-4

(5) Vaccines and Vaccine Safety
http://www.davidwolfe.com/vaccines-and-vaccine-safety/

(6) David Wolfe Vaccine Detox
http://www.davidwolfe.com/vaccine-detox-children-adults-remove-heavy-metals-toxins/

(7) Wolfe’s Lipstick/Lead Meme
https://www.facebook.com/DavidAvocadoWolfe/photos/a.10150364951666512.342374.102515706511/10152895865466512/

(8) Detox Your World (Shazzie, David Wolfe)
North Atlantic Books
ISBN 978-1-58394-450-1
https://books.google.com/books?id=fP5QuCv05vYC&pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq=david+wolfe+arsenic&source=bl&ots=pIxgnCJpYa&sig=er7xVWgZ6VZAwf2KlVUtU658emg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAjgKahUKEwidgOmfwpDIAhUEWh4KHdwODs0#v=onepage&q=david%20wolfe%20arsenic&f=false

(9) David Wolfe Uranium Tweet
https://twitter.com/davidwolfe/status/624365403381219328

(10) SuperFoods: The Food And Medicine Of The Future
North Atlantic Books
ISBN 978-1-55643-776-2
https://books.google.com/books?id=6EtHo7N3-PYC&pg=PT51&lpg=PT51&dq=david+wolfe+copper&source=bl&ots=Jg-DZ0J5X4&sig=DGbZnuv0bNDABzNCebBSxwulB6w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjvnuP59obKAhVFMj4KHYICDZY4ChDoAQglMAE#v=onepage&q=david%20wolfe%20cadmium&f=false

(10) SuperFoods: The Food And Medicine Of The Future
North Atlantic Books
ISBN 978-1-55643-776-2
https://books.google.com/books?id=6EtHo7N3-PYC&pg=PT51&lpg=PT51&dq=david+wolfe+copper&source=bl&ots=Jg-DZ0J5X4&sig=DGbZnuv0bNDABzNCebBSxwulB6w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjvnuP59obKAhVFMj4KHYICDZY4ChDoAQglMAE#v=onepage&q=david%20wolfe%20cadmium&f=false

(11) Water & Salt:: The Essence Of Life: The Healing Power of Nature
Natural Resources
ISBN: 978-0-97445-151-0
http://www.amazon.com/Water-Salt-Essence-Healing-Nature/dp/B001DVZMW6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453116977&sr=8-1&keywords=Water+%26+Salt%2C+The+Essence+of+Life

(12) David Wolfe Shares on Getting the Best Water You Can Get
http://www.donotlink.com/hx8w

(13) Chocolate As An Octave Of The Sun
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzMmzd2qJVw

(14) Ginger Stronger Than Chemo
http://www.davidwolfe.com/ginger-stronger-than-chemo-kills-cancer-cells/

Advertisements

Food Babe’s Video Rant: The Hidden Gem Everyone Missed

As the internet shakes its collective head in amusement over Vani Hari’s recent epic video rant over Boar’s Head Foods and trolls, the watershed moment sneaking in at the 11:56 mark in the recording probably escaped everyone’s notice.

I’m here to correct that.

Nearly twelve minutes into the Oscar-worthy performance, Hari, the self-christened “Food Babe”, pauses to display and read a viewer comment containing a link to a Forbes article purportedly written by “PR trolls”.  This is a screen snapshot from Vani’s video:

food babe boar's head video capture

Food Babe didn’t like this Forbes article, which points out a few problems with her and Dr. Mark Hyman’s business model.

Here, Food Babe laments an article “attacking” her and the distinguished (her words, not mine) Dr. Mark Hyman.  Hyman, if you’re unfamiliar, wrote the foreword to Hari’s book, The Food Babe Way, and serves on her advisory council. The Forbes article in question, which we must assume Vani has read, points out that both Hari and Hyman sell products made from the very chemicals they claim are toxic.

So why is all of this important?

Because one of the reasons Vani Hari is attacking Boar’s Head Foods is over the alleged use of the “cancer-causing” (wink wink, nudge nudge) class IV caramel coloring in some of their hams.  Drum roll, please:

Do you know who sells a diet supplement made with the same class IV caramel coloring used by Boar’s Head?  Why, none other than the distinguished Dr. Mark Hyman!  And where was this pointed out to Vani Hari?  In the very Forbes article she discusses in her video.

It takes a lot of chutzpah to go on a rant about a company using a “carcinogenic” compound, and then post a video highlighting an article that proves your distinguished advisor/co-author is selling that same carcinogenic compound!  (Extra points for dismissing the authors who warned you about your double standards as trolls instead of addressing the problem.)

capture

Caramel coloring is used in this product sold on drhyman.com.  Food Babe says it’s a carcinogen in Boar’s Head products, but it’s OK for Hyman,  her distinguished advisor, to sell it for ingestion:  at $114.70 a bottle.  GTFO!  (click/enlarge)

Labeling everyone who points out your errors a “troll” is a great way to play the martyr and avoid discussing the great wrong you’re doing.  My Fear Babe co-author Marc Draco coined the term “straw troll”, an informal fallacy, for moments like this:

“[…] a form of an ad hominem attack where the speaker accuses an opponent of trolling simply because they are presenting rebuttal which the speaker is unable to refute”

Food Babe doesn’t try to refute Hyman’s use of the same caramel coloring allegedly found in  some Boar’s Head meats, even though she knows the  Forbes article well enough to call the authors (myself and Kavin Senapathy) “PR trolls”.  But Hari’s “head in the sand” approach doesn’t stop there.  To wit:

As the year 2016 dawns, it’s becoming clear that Food Babe’s way of dealing with scientific and journalistic criticism hasn’t changed at all since 2015:  Ignore the facts and call everyone who’s caught you with your organic, non-GMO cotton pants down a “PR troll”.

Bravo, Vani.  Bravo.  When you’re done congratulating yourself, you and your compatriots will still be selling dozens of products that contain the same “harmful” additives you’re warning your unsuspecting followers about.

straw troll

Hari doesn’t refute the truth (she and Dr. Hyman sell exactly what they say are dangerous). Instead, she attacks those pointing out the facts, calling them “trolls”. (click/enlarge)

 

Image Credits
Straw Troll meme by Marc Draco, using artwork by Deviant Art user “egohankerrigan” (egohankerrigan.deviantart.com).  Meme creator/artist not necessarily in agreement with the viewpoints expressed in this article, which are solely those of the author.

Food Babe and Dr. Mark Hyman screen snapshots and product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.