Seaweed.

26 06 2009

The Japanese have been using seaweed or sea vegetables in their diet and food preparation for centuries. In Japan, the consummation of seaweed is as normal as the usage of apples or carrots in the west. Commonly, what we find strange to eat simply seems that way because we have not eaten that food since childhood. This is fine, as long as you keep your diet varied. You need not try everything that other nations try, but perhaps we should all make an exception for seaweed.

Seaweed is so easily found in the wild and if you don’t live by the sea, you can just as easily purchase it, often in Asian supermarkets. It is rarely expensive and with so many varieties of seaweed, we could just as easily think of it like fruit; if you are not consuming it, you are missing out on a huge variety of tastes and textures.

Onto the health part. Seaweed is so different in every way from vegetables or fruit. For a start, it grows in the sea. So, we can logically assume that it also has many nutrients which one can’t get a hold of so easily in fruit or vegetables. This is a safe assumption to make.

Seaweeds are low fat, incredibly rich in minerals, they contain a similar concentration and variation of minerals to which humans have in their blood and have the ability to bind with toxins and heavy metals, eliminating these nasties from the body.

Seaweeds are all very energizing because they contain an abundance of various minerals. These minerals are used by the body for it’s various functions but also these minerals alkalize the body. An alkaline body is a healthy body but most people have an acidic body. So everybody can stand to add seaweed to their diets.

Go to your nearest Asian food store and pick two or three different varieties of seaweed. They will come dried, and sometimes roasted. If you can’t get a particular seaweed which you would like to try raw, buy it roasted. You will still reap tremendous benefit from it. Store it in an airtight container because you don’t want the seaweed absorbing moisture from the air, which will make the seaweed soft and will reduce it’s shelf life.

Here’s a run down of some of the various seaweeds you can buy:

Nori

  • A very useful seaweed to have. It will often come in flat sheets and so, many people use nori to make vegetable wraps. It has a mild flavor and so it may be a good way to begin to include seaweed in your life.
  • Nori contains approximately 48% protein (a handy figure to know for when you get that “where do you get your protein” question) and an abundance of carotene, vitamins C, D, B1. B2 and B3.
  • In nori there are also high amounts of calcium, iron, iodine and phosphorous, and little fat.

Dulse

  • Found in the North Atlantic. It also has a mild flavor, which can be described as spicy and nutty.
  • Dulce, similar to Nori, contains an abundance of protein, as well as iron. Many women, due to menstruation, are lacking in iron. Therefore, including Dulse in your diet is highly recommended.
  • Aside from it’s iron and protein, Dulse is rich in dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, as well as vitamins A, B2, B6 and E.
  • It has been concluded by a nutritional researcher, Paul Pitchford, that Dulse can lower cholesterol, remove toxins and ease the herpes virus.

Kelp

  • A large algae which contains over 70 minerals and trace elements.
  • It has been shown to increase energy levels, boost metabolism, fight against heart disease and cancer, improve a poor digestive system and suppress appetite.
  • It is often used ground up and used as a seasoning. It’s taste is rather strong and so this method would be my recommendation.

Agar agar

  • A tasteless, odorless and clear seaweed which is often used when one would use gelatin as a vegan alternative.
  • Agar agar acts as a mild laxative, and can add bulk to those on a low calorie diet.
  • It contains iodine, calcium, iron, phosphorous and many vitamins.

seaweed-salad-inbowl

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Top 5 Travel Tips.

23 06 2009

Raw Food Travel Tip 1 – Local Health Store

First, look in the yellow pages for the nearest health store. (You could do this on-line too if you have internet access). Of course an organic farm or any other place where you can buy fresh organic produce will do.

Second, find out how to get to the store. I had a rental car and only needed a map to look up directions. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, bus, or ask the hotel host.

Third, take a travel shopping list. I always carry shopping lists with me. I have one specially for travel. Here’s a brief one:

  • Lemon;
  • Avocado;
  • Cucumber;
  • Spagetti squash;
  • Sun dried Tomatos;
  • Basil or fresh Pesto;
  • Coconut;
  • Lettuce/Cabbage;
  • Seaweed;
  • Water;
  • Bananas;
  • Raisins;
  • Fresh local fruits;
  • Fresh local vegetables.

Thus prepared, you go to the store and buy the necessary foods for a raw food survival.

Raw Food Travel Tip 2 – Bring Super Foods

Use a container for baby formula from Avent to carry super foods during travel. It has three different compartments for baby formula. You fill them with whole superfood powders.

The first, I fill with a mixture of green powder and blue green algea.

The second and third, I fill with my mixture of super foods (raw chocolate, macca, bee pollen, msm, etc.)

Using the Avent container you can easily make yourself a super drink. You’ll just need water. No spoon needed. No mess.

Raw Food Travel Tip 3 – Pack Raw Snacks

Bringing raw snack food is a must. I always bring hulled hemp seed, sea weed and goji berries in a zip lock bag. This way, I aways have something quick and easy handy.

I love the hemp seed because this seed doesn’t need soaking before eating and it’s an excellent sourse of raw protein and healthy fats. Sea weed and goji berries are full of minerals and easy to bring along too.

Other suggestions are raw nuts, trail mix, dehydrated snacks (cookies, granola, crackers) or Larabars.

I love cabage. I often bring a zip lock bag with shredded cabbage. It keeps well and you can eat it as is, or mix with avocado and lemon for a great quick salad.

For my kids (1 and 6 years old) I bring:

  • Raw lemonade;
  • Bananas;
  • Raisins;
  • Nori seaweed;
  • Raw crackers/cookies, and/or
  • Larabars.

Raw Food Travel Tip 4 – Important Equipment

I like to travel light. Bring only the minimum. No big juicer or blender. I only bring these two:

  • Water bottle;
  • Pocket knife.

For longer travels also bring:

  • Cup;
  • Spoon (for mixin);
  • Hand blender (i.e. Kitchen Aid);
  • Juilienne peeler (for quickly making pasta strings out of squash);
  • Hand juicer.

Raw Food Travel Tip 5 – Must Bring Along

When you bring these too, you can truly make yourselves gourmet food on your trip.

Stevia

My favorite sweetener. Small and easy to carry with you. You can make your own alkalizing raw lemonade with fresh lemons. Or your own quick tomato pasta sauce.

Olive Oil

With a high quality of extra virgin olive oil you can always make your own salad dressing with some leomon. I bring a small travel bottle. Sometimes I pre-mix my salad dressing.

Himalya Sea Salt

I sometimes have to cook for family members that aren’t 100% raw, like my husband or oldest daughter. If I do, I always like to add my own high quality Himalaya sea salt so I don’t have to use cheap table salt.

Purified Water

I don’t like to ever be without high quality drinking water, so I always bring some bottles filled with my own filtered water. At least for the travel itself. Once at your destination, you can buy acceptable drinking water at most places.