Have you had your seaweed today?

Today’s training was my 4 mile route early.  I have to switch around my training schedule a little bit this weekend, which drives me nuts as the crazy person I am, but alas- switch I must.  My long run will be Monday- I’m so ready for you 15 miles….and now I’m ready for a swim!

How about dinner tonight in the ocean?  I bet there are some nice restaurants the mermaids go to!

Yum?

Well, maybe not, but I’m telling you- seaweed is kind of tasty!  And good for you!  I know, you might think I sound crazy.  Maybe I secretly think that in eating it I will grow red hair and a killer bikini body and a mermaid fin…hey, a girl can dream!

Kelp.  It grows in “forests” in the ocean waters!  Have I lost you yet?  Are you totally grossed out?  Well, have you ever eaten a hot dog?  Do you know what they put in hot dogs?! 

Kelp is a staple in Asian diets and is rich in all the yummy sea minerals.  “…The human body and the ocean waters in which kelp grows share in common 56 nutrients, several of which are no longer available in the terrestrial soil in which most plant-based foods are grown.”  Kelp is a good source of protein, amino acids, enzymes, beta-carotene, chlorophyll (which is similar to our blood and can aide in blood cell production) and dietary fiber.  It’s best known as a source of iodine (good for our thyroid) and calcium.  Health benefits shown: liver protecting properties, a weapon against diabetes, and a cholesterol reducer.

Kelp, as many seaweeds, tastes very salty- so don’t go crazy on this stuff (which I’m sure we don’t have to worry about).  Too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism.  However, making it part of your diet can help with hypothyroidismI like it for running because of the protein and salt after a long sweaty run;)

I tried this for the first time because a guest speaker at my work brought it in.  She travels the world and tries everything.  I was super skeptical- seaweed, reallyBut I tasted it and was pleasantly surprised. I have bought it from Wegmans a few times since and eat it dried and plain- cooked, it reminds me of kale a bit.  There are kelp noodles I’ve seen, which probably make it a little easier to swallow. 

Go ahead, try something new this week- why not?! Like this raw kelp salad:

Japanese Cucumber Kelp Salad

1 cucumbers, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped kelp
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
1 scallion, chopped fine

Kelp will expand about 5 times its weight. It’s best if you cut into manageable 4 to 6 inch sections with scissors. Rinse it really well and let soak overnight or 8-10 hours. Rinse again before adding it to the salad.

Place cucumber, seaweed (chopped into matchstick or square pieces), vinegar, oil, and coconut sugar in a bowl and mix well. Let marinate for about 20 min. Top with sesame seeds and scallion.

or (if the thought of eating it weirds you out, you can omit the kelp in the finished product of this soup and  the nutrients remain in the stock!)

Winter Squash Kelp Soup

One 5″–6″ piece of kelp
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium winter squash, cubed (about 1 quart)
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
Miso to taste

1. Lightly rinse kelp; check for tiny shells.

2. In a soup pot, cover kelp with water and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Remove and cut the kelp into small pieces.

4. Return to the pot with the onion and squash; add water to cover.

5. Simmer for 20–30 minutes until squash is soft, or pressure cook for 5–10 minutes.

6. Purée miso with broth; add to pot. Garnish with parsley.

http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2011/04/28/japanese-kelp-cucumber-salad

http://www.seaveg.com/shop/index.php?main_page=page&id=94&chapter=22

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