Friday, July 3, 2009

The Mighty Sea Vegetable

As I was making my dinner tonight, I was thinking about how good it would taste and how I should eat more sea vegetables. What are sea vegetables, you ask? Simply put, they are sea weeds. And there are a wide variety of edible sea weeds, believe it or not. Asian cultures have been eating sea vegetables for thousands of years. That may be part of the reason the Japanese and Chinese are some of the healthiest people on Earth.

Sea vegetables are one of the best sources of iodine, which is a mineral we all need for proper thyroid function. They are anti-inflammatory and loaded with phytonutrients. They are packed with vitamin K, Folate and Magnesium and have calcium and iron as well to make one of the world's healthiest vegetables.

Some of the more well known edible sea vegetables are dulse, kelp, hijiki, nori, kombu, wakame, and arame. Many of these are used in traditional Japanese cuisine. If you are a sushi lover, you already are familiar with nori (it's what the rice is wrapped in) and may also be familiar with wakame (that's what's at the bottom of your miso soup) as well as hijiki and arame which is in their standard "seaweed salad." I use kombu pieces when I cook beans to cut down on the gassy enzymes. Kelp is a great seasoning for soups as is dulse. Besides seasonings, most sea vegetables are best used in salads and soups.

You can buy sea vegetables at most health food stores. Give them a try!

Here's my dinner recipe. It's delicious!

Deb's Seaweed Salad

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup instant wakame flakes
1/4 vidalia onion sliced thinly
1 tsp gomasio (Japanese seasoning with sesame seeds and sea salt)
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs ponzu sauce (a citrus based sauce used in Japanese cuisine)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Add a cup of water to the wakame flakes and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain the water. Toss the wakame and the remaining ingredients together in a big bowl and let stand for 30 mintutes in order for the flavors to blend and soak into the seaweed and cucumbers. Can be refrigerated and eaten the next day as well.

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