We all tend to eat too much for the holidays. One way to counteract our increased calorie consumption is to exercise more (burn more calories).
This can be beneficial, yet if you’ve seen the latest research you will know that calories are not the issue. Macronutrient composition is the issue. To put it plainly, we are getting to many simple carbohydrates and not enough healthy fats.
So finding balance with Holiday eating is essential to minimize weight gain and maintain digestive health throughout the Holidays.
I would never recommend avoiding certain foods because that leads to uncontrollable cravings. Which make weight loss even harder.
Simply try to put fewer simple carbohydrates (pie, bread, pastries, jellies, marshmallows) on your plate and more complex carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa) and more healthy fats (avocado, walnuts & pecans, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, turkey & ham, olive oil).
Following the One-Hand Rule can be very helpful as well. This is filling your plate while considering the size of your stomach. Basically, your stomach is the size of both of your fists together.
So when you fill your plate consider a serving to be 1/4 to 1/2 the size of your fist. If you have 8 different foods to try then place 1/4 fist size of each so you can try them all. Or if you have 4 foods to try then they would each be 1/2 fist size servings.
This is a very simple method to control your eating without weighing, calculating or measuring.
There are simple choices you can make to help you find a healthier body weight. Knowing what is in your packaged foods is a great first step. So if you must use packaged foods you can choose the less processed options by reading and understanding the products label. Beyond the food labels you can male healthier choices when going out and in your daily routines. Choosing to follow some of these tips can go far in helping you obtain a healthy body weight.
Reading Labels: A big part of healthy eating is understanding what is in the packaged foods you’re buying. Understanding labels and product contents is very useful for planning a healthy menu. Reading product labels is a simple habit to establish that can ensure you are purchasing the least processed foods containing the least amount of chemical additives possible. If you cannot pronounce what is on the label then you should not be eating it.
Relying on Crash Diets: Determined to lose 10 pounds fast, you turn to a crash diet. Perhaps your plan calls for nothing but grapefruit or cabbage soup each day. You slash your daily calories to fewer than 1,000, and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly, and you usually regain the weight.
Skipping Breakfast: Skipping breakfast seems like a simple way to cut calories, but it can make you hungry the rest of the day. This may lead to unplanned snacking at work and eating a supersized portion at lunch, making calorie counts soar. But breakfasts that are high in protein and fiber can curb hunger throughout the day. In fact, studies show people who eat breakfast every morning are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
Losing Track of Your Snacks: Maybe you count calories at every meal, but what about all those nibbles in between? There’s the bag of pretzels at your desk, the little slice of cake at a party, the taste of your son’s ice cream cone. All of this mindless munching adds up and could sabotage an otherwise well-planned diet.
Not Snacking at All: While mindless snacking can pad your waistline, thoughtful snacking may do just the opposite. People who eat several small meals and snacks a day are more likely to control hunger and lose weight. Snacking helps keep your metabolism in high gear, especially if the snacks are protein-rich. Having a few nuts is a good, high-protein choice, and research suggests people who snack on nuts tend to be slimmer than those who don’t.
Loading Up on Low-Fat: Low-fat products can play an important role in your diet. Just remember that low-fat isn’t the same as low-calorie, and it’s not a license to take second and third helpings. If you pile your plate with low-fat cake, you may end up eating more calories than if you had a smaller slice of regular cake. The best way to know how much fat, sugar, and calories you’re getting is to check the nutritional label.
Sipping Too Many Calories: When counting calories, many of us tend to overlook what’s in our drinks. This is a big mistake when you consider that some fancy coffees and alcoholic beverages have more than 500 calories. Even the calories in fruit juice and soda can add up quickly. What’s worse is that liquid calories don’t curb hunger. You’re not going to eat any less after a high-calorie drink.
Drinking Too Little Water: This is one of the simplest diet blunders to fix. Water is essential for burning calories. If you let yourself get dehydrated, your metabolism drags, and that means slower weight loss. Research suggests adults who drink eight or more glasses of water per day burn more calories than those who drink less. So try adding a glass of water to every meal and snack.
Ditching Dairy: Full-fat milk, cheese, and ice cream are taboo for many dieters, but ditching dairy foods may be counterproductive. Some research suggests the body burns more fat when it gets enough calcium and produces more fat when it’s calcium-deprived. Calcium supplements do not appear to yield the same benefits, so dairy may have other things going for it, too. Stick to nonfat or low-fat dairy options.
Taking the Drive-Thru Bait: The drive-thru is convenient after a hectic day, and you can always order the salad or other healthier option. But once you’re there, can you resist that milkshake or other treat? And if you allow yourself the ease of fast food once, it could become a habit. According to one long-term study, people who ate fast food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than those who had it less than once a week.
Weighing Yourself Every Day: Weighing yourself daily is a recipe for frustration and doesn’t yield useful information. It’s more important to look for a long-term trend with weekly weigh-ins. If your goal is to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week, you’ll be satisfied to see those full-pound drops when you step on the scale. The result is more motivating than the confusing swings that may accompany daily weigh-ins.
Setting Unrealistic Goals: Telling yourself you’ll lose 20 pounds your first week is probably setting yourself up for failure. If you know you won’t be able to do it, you may never start your diet in the first place. If you diet and lose 5 pounds in a week, instead of celebrating, you may feel discouraged that you didn’t reach your goal.
Drinking Ice Cold Drinks. Iced drinks reduce stomach acid temperature thus reducing the speed of the chemical reactions that breakdown food into molecules small enough to be absorbed. The higher the stomachs temperature, the faster and more efficient the chemical reactions occur. Most chemical reactions proceed at a faster rate as temperature increases. Food digestion reactions follow this general principle, but there is an upper temperature limit of about 40°C or 104°F, lower limit is about 10°C or 50°F. Ice is frozen water, which freezes at 0°C or 32°F, below the minimum for digestion. The inefficient breakdown of foods causes heartburn and indigestion, stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation, malabsorption of nutrients, and damage to the bacterial flora of the intestines.
Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away. Start by focusing on getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. It sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it, because at the same time you are meeting your fiber goals and feeling more satisfied from the volume of food. You’re also less likely to overeat because fruits and vegetables displace fat in the diet. And that’s not to mention the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.
Consider whether you’re really hungry. Whenever you feel like eating, look for physical signs of hunger. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need fuel, so when a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it. When you’re done eating, you should feel better – not stuffed, bloated, or tired. Your stomach is only the size of your fist, so it takes just a handful of food to fill it comfortably. Keeping your portions reasonable will help you get more in touch with your feelings of hunger and fullness.
Enjoy your favorite foods. Putting your favorite foods off limits leads to weight gain because it triggers ‘rebound’ overeating. Instead of cutting out your favorite foods altogether, be a slim shopper. Buy one fresh bakery cookie instead of a box, or a small portion of candy from the bulk bins instead of a whole bag. You can enjoy your favorite foods, but you must do so in moderation.
Enjoy your treats away from home. When you need a treat take a walk to your local ice cream parlor or plan a family outing. By making it into an adventure, you don’t have to worry about the temptation of having treats in the house, and it is a fun and pleasurable way to make it work when you are trying to lose weight. And for those times you just can’t get out? Stock the kitchen with fresh fruit, which can be every bit as delicious as any other dessert.
Eat several mini-meals during the day. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. But when you’re hungry all the time, eating fewer calories can be challenging. Studies show people who eat 4-5 meals or snacks per day are better able to control their appetite and weight. Divide your daily calories into smaller meals or snacks and enjoying as many of them as you can early in the day – dinner should be the last time you eat.
Eat protein at every meal. Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and thus may be the new secret weapon in weight control. Diets higher in protein and moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to help weight loss. Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans, at meals and snacks.
Spice it up. Add spices or chilies to your food for a flavor boost that can help you feel satisfied. Food that is loaded with flavor will stimulate your taste buds and be more satisfying so you won’t eat as much. When you need something sweet, suck on a red-hot fireball candy for a long-lasting burst of sweetness with just a few calories.
Stock your kitchen with healthy convenience foods. Having ready-to-eat snacks and meals-in-minutes staples on hand sets you up for success. You’ll be less likely to hit the drive-through or call in a pizza order if you can make a healthy meal in 5 or 10 minutes.
Order children’s portions at restaurants. When you are eating out, order a child’s pizza or a small sandwich as an easy way to trim calories and get your portions under control. Another trick is to use smaller plates. This helps the portions look like more, and if your mind is satisfied, your stomach likely will be, too.
Eat foods in season. When you eat seasonally, fruits and vegetables are more flavorful, at their best, and you won’t be disappointed.
Swap a cup of pasta for a cup of vegetables. Simply by eating less pasta or bread and more veggies, you could lose a dress or pants size in a year. You can save from 100-200 calories if you reduce the portion of starch on your plate and increase the amount of vegetables.
Use non-food alternatives to cope with stress. Sooner or later, you’re going to be faced with a stressful situation. Instead of turning to food for comfort, be prepared with some non-food tactics that work for you. Reading a few chapters in a novel, listening to music, writing in a journal, practicing meditative deep breathing, or looking at a photo album of loved ones can help you feel calm without filling your stomach.
Be physically active. Although it may seem counterintuitive, don’t use exercise either to punish yourself for eating or to “earn” the right to eat more. When you do, it sets up a negative thought pattern, which is why so many people say they hate to exercise. Instead, focus on how great you feel, how much better you sleep and how much more energy you have when you exercise. Physical activity is good for you whether you are trying to lose weight or not, so keep it positive and build a lifelong habit.
What does nutrition have to do with weight loss? If we understand nutrition, then we can make choices that naturally lead to healthy and permanent weight loss. Healthy, nourished bodies naturally retain less unhealthy ‘white’ body fat overall.
Nutrition is the process of breaking down food and substances taken in by the mouth to use for energy in the body. Now more focused on the steps of biochemical sequences through which substances inside us and other living organisms are transformed from one form to another – metabolism and metabolic pathways.
Nutrition also focuses on how diseases, conditions and problems can be prevented or lessened with a healthy diet. In addition, nutrition involves identifying how certain diseases, conditions or problems may be caused by dietary factors, such as poor diet (malnutrition), food allergies, metabolic diseases, etc.
The human body consists of elements and compounds (nutrients) ingested, digested, absorbed, and circulated through the bloodstream to feed the cells of the body.
There are six major classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, minerals, protein, vitamins, and water. These nutrient classes can be categorized as either macronutrients (needed in relatively large amounts) or micronutrients (needed in smaller quantities). The macronutrients include carbohydrates (including fiber), fats, protein, and water. The micronutrients are minerals and vitamins.
The macronutrients (excluding fiber and water) provide structural material (amino acids from which proteins are built, and lipids from which cell membranes and some signaling molecules are built) and energy. Some of the structural material can be used to generate energy internally, and in either case it is measured in Joules or kilocalories.
Other micronutrients include antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are said to influence (or protect) some body systems.
Nutrient Dense Foods
These are fresh, unprocessed foods that were grown or raised in the best, most natural conditions. They possess and provide the most nutrients per ounce of food; the nutrients are combined within in a way to promote proper utilization within the human body. In other words, they contain a variety of nutrients in specific combinations necessary for proper digestion, absorption, and use within the body.
When foods are processed, their molecular structure is broken down and certain components are lost, especially delicate vitamins and minerals, thus making processed foods empty calories that have little nutritional value.
Diet and Physical Health
A nutritious diet is essential to promote and maintain overall physical health for any age. The body needs nutrients in their naturally occurring forms to function and heal appropriately. A diet full of nutrient dense foods provides the most effective nutrient combinations for promoting optimal physical health and helping the body to maintain its strength and integrity, defeat infection, and deter cancer development.
The best diet for health is one composed of wholesome and fresh foods that are prepared by hand and not processed for ease of consumption. Avoiding white flour and high fructose corn syrup as much as possible can help to greatly decrease inflammation and promote joint health.
Guidelines for Healthy Eating:
Aiming for regular, balanced meals and snacks, every day.
Hitting most of the major food groups each day to meet your needs for growth and health.
Balancing nutrition-rich foods with small to moderate amounts of other foods like sweets or fast foods.
Eating when hungry and stopping when full.
Learning about nutrition, but keeping your food as just one important part of your life, not obsessing over what you eat.
Healthy eating habits are essential to maintaining a healthy weight and a person’s weight is the result of several factors:
How much and what kinds of foods you eat.
Your physiologic and genetic make-up.
Your age and health status.
Whether your lifestyle includes regular physical activity.
Whether you use food to respond to stress and other situations in your life.
Body fat is called adipose tissue and is composed of cell membranes, triglycerides (fats), fluids (water, blood, lymph, etc), and proteins (used for breaking down fat for energy). Therefore, body fat has an estimated calorie count of 3200-3800 kcal (depending on your body), while pure fat has approximately 4100 kcal.
Calories, counted as 1 kcal = 1000 cal, are the chemical energy our bodies derive from food. So, 1 pound of fat = 454 grams. Pure fat = 8.7-9.5 kcal/g (rounded to 9 kcal/g).
So, if the average person consumes 1200 to 2500 kcal daily, how can they cut out 3200 kcal in a day?
You can’t! This is where diet clinics and pill pushers are lying to you!
Losing One Pound of Fat in a Day is Impossible
No matter what, you cannot remove one pound (3200 kcal) from your body in one day without liposuction or chemical emulsion. The average person could not even burn that many calories in a day, unless they are someone like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who consumes around 6000 kcal/day just to maintain the mass he has.
When you DO lose that one pound in one day, it is mostly water. The first thing diet or detox pills do is flush the system, meaning all your stored water is removed. This not only dehydrates you, but it completely changes how your cells function, causing them to retain more weight (fat).
This also does not consider the way your body reacts to calorie restrictions when dieting. This effect is called adaptive thermogenesis. Which is when your body slows its metabolism and retains fat when calorie consumption is reduced. Or when calorie consumption increases, the opposite happens and metabolism increases.
The same thing happens when you stop exercising and begin losing muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass leads to slowing of the metabolism and burning fewer calories. Muscle tissue consumes more calories than fat tissue. The more muscle mass you retain the more calories you burn every day.
We’ve learned that no matter what you cannot lose one pound of fat in one day, unless you’re getting liposuction, of course. There are pills out there that will emulsify some of your body fat and push it out with waste. This usually leads to extreme diarrhea that is greasy and uncomfortable.
If your dietician, weight loss program, or diet pill promises you such don’t believe it. Stop using it, stop doing it, and find something more natural and honest. Protect your health and your wallet.
Kelps are seaweeds that grow in particular shallow and nutrient-rich waters around the world. They’ve been eaten and used medicinally for hundreds of years in various forms, and are processed today, with some by-products commonly used in ice cream, salad dressings and even chocolate milk.
According to nutritionist Vanessa Stasio Costa, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., kelp “is often considered a ‘superfood’ due to its significant mineral content. It’s especially concentrated in iodine, which is important for optimal thyroid function and metabolism.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that seaweed such as kelp is one of the best natural food sources of iodine, an essential component in thyroid hormone production. A deficiency in iodine leads to metabolism disruption and can also lead to an enlargement of the thyroid gland known as goiter.
TYPES OF SEAWEED
Scientists have categorized types of seaweed into different categories based on their pigments, cell structure, and other traits. The groups (or phyta) of seaweed that are commonly consumed include:
Green algae such as sea lettuce or ulva, and sea grapes
Brown algae such as kombu, arame, kelp, and wakame (the miso soup seaweed)
Red algae such as dulse, laver, and nori (the sushi seaweed)
Blue-green algae such as spirulina and chlorella
BENEFITS OF SEA KELP & SEAWEED
Anti-ageing: The iodine content of kelp also appears to have other benefits. A 2008 study showed that the form of iodine in kelp effectively removed free radicals – chemicals that accelerate ageing – from human blood cells.
Anti-cancer: Researchers found that kelp can slow the spread of colon and breast cancers. A compound found in kelp called fucoidan may also prevent the spread of lung cancer and prostate cancer. The presence of fucoxanthin was found to be effective against a number of types of prostate cancer. In addition, fucoxanthin can help remove drug resistance in cancer patients undergoing dangerous chemotherapy treatments, thereby reducing the amount of harmful drugs introduced into one’s system in order to treat cancer.
Anti-inflammatory: Kelp is naturally high in antioxidants, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids, which help to fight against disease-causing free radicals. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, and minerals like manganese and zinc, help to combat oxidative stress and may offer benefits to cardiovascular health. Fucoidan, found in kelp, has also been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory and also to improve cholesterol levels in the blood, responsible for heart conditions.
Anti-radiation: Livestrong noted: “Sodium alginate derived from kelp reduced radioactive strontium absorption in the intestines by 50 to 80 percent … (allowing) calcium to be absorbed through the intestinal wall while binding most of the strontium, which is excreted from the body.”
Blood thinner: Fucoidan has shown effectiveness in preventing blood clots that can lead to dangerous health problems, including stroke and heart attack. It’s so effective, in fact, that researchers cite it as having potential to be used as an oral antithrombotic agent, potentially reducing the need of prescription drugs to treat clotting problems.
Bone Loss: a rich source of vitamin K — you get almost a quarter of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K in just one serving. One of the many benefits of vitamin K is its role in creating denser bones that don’t as easily succumb to arthritis and osteoporosis. However, people on blood-thinning drugs ought to avoid extra vitamin K, as it can affect how the drugs work. Fucoidan also contributes to healthy bones. Low molecular weight fucoidan helps prevent age-related bone loss and improves the mineral density in bones.
Brain health: seaweed provides glutamic acid, known in your body as glutamate, central to the nervous system and most aspects of cognition, memory, learning and normal brain function.
Hair growth: There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting taking sea kelp supplements can boost hair growth. Whether or not it actually boosts growth, it contains nutrients involved in hair health and strength, so it may help reduce split ends and breakages.
Iodine: helps regulate your thyroid gland to produce strong, healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as to form thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine. It’s also essential for proper formation of your skeletal framework and regulating your body’s energy and brain metabolism in a process regulated by your pituitary gland. The myelination process in the central nervous systems of newborns is another key function of the thyroid hormone. Balanced iodine in the mother’s body is imperative in pregnancy and breastfeeding for optimal development of the baby’s brain cells. Specialists usually recommend around 150 micrograms (mcg) daily. Consuming too much could lead to either hypo- or hyperthyroidism.
Nutrients in Sea Kelp
Sea kelp is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals including zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and calcium. In fact it contains the highest natural concentration of calcium of any food – 10 times more than milk.
Below is the average iodine content of three different dried seaweeds:
Nori: 37 mcg per gram (25% of the RDI)
Wakame: 139 mcg per gram (93% of the RDI)
Kombu: 2523 mcg per gram (1,682% of the RDI)
Generally, 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina can provide:
Carbs: 1.7 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Fat: 0.5 gram
Fiber: 0.3 grams
Riboflavin: 15% of the RDI
Thiamin: 11% of the RDI
Iron: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 7% of the RDI
Copper: 21% of the RDI
One serving of raw kelp (about 28 grams) contains about:
2.7 grams carbohydrates
0.5 gram protein
0.2 gram fat
0.4 gram fiber
18.5 micrograms vitamin K (23 percent DV)
50.4 micrograms folate (13 percent DV)
33.9 milligrams magnesium (8 percent DV)
47 milligrams calcium (5 percent DV)
0.8 milligram iron (4 percent DV)
milligram manganese (3 percent DV)
Benefits ofNutrients in Seaweed
Seaweed also contains small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, along with folate, zinc, sodium, calcium and magnesium.
If you have a family history of diabetes, you should know that kelp is rich in a little-known mineral called vanadium, which is being studied as an important regulator of insulin and blood sugar.
The protein present in some seaweeds, such as spirulina and chlorella, contain all of the essential amino acids. This means seaweed can help ensure you get the full range of amino acids.
Seaweed can also be a good source of omega-3 fats and vitamin B12. In fact, it appears that dried green and purple seaweed contain substantial amounts of vitamin B12. One study found 2.4 mcg or 100% of the RDI of vitamin B12 in only 4 grams of nori seaweed.
Alginic acid in the seaweed kombu is known for its positive effects on diabetes, as well as its ability to coagulate blood. It prevents dental cavities, promotes digestive health, protects against flu, aids digestion, protects vision and maintains heart health.
Seaweed is an excellent source of fiber, which is known to promote gut health. It can make up about 25–75% of seaweed’s dry weight. This is higher than the fiber content of most fruits and vegetables. Fiber can resist digestion and be used as a food source for bacteria in your large intestine instead.
Particular sugars found in seaweed called sulfated polysaccharides have been shown to increase the growth of “good” gut bacteria. These polysaccharides can also increase the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which provide support and nourishment to the cells lining your gut.
The iron in kelp helps form healthy blood and prevent anemia and the antioxidants fight free radicals, altogether ensuring the growth of strong bones and optimal muscle function.
Iodine is a trace mineral vital for the operation of the thyroid gland which plays an important part in body development and metabolism. It combines with tyrosine – an amino acid – to create T3 and T4, thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism and other physiological functions throughout the body. As sea kelp is the richest natural source of iodine it can help to regulate metabolism and in turn affect weight loss and gain.
In recent years, researchers have looked into kelp’s potential fat blocking properties. Because kelp contains a natural fiber called alginate, studies suggest that it may halt the absorption of fat in the gut. A study published in Food Chemistry found that alginate could help block fat absorption in the intestines by 75 percent. In order to reap the benefits of alginate, the research team plans to add the thickening compound to common foods such as yogurt and bread.
Kelp may have great potential for diabetes and obesity, although research is still preliminary. A study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism found that a compound in the chloroplasts of brown seaweed called fucoxanthin may promote weight loss in obese patients when combined with pomegranate oil. Studies also suggest that brown seaweed may influence glycemic control and reduce blood glucose levels, benefitting people with type 2 diabetes.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SEA KELP
Heavy Metals: Sea kelp grown in polluted waters may well absorb toxic heavy metals which if ingested can cause major health problems. The potential for this means it isn’t recommended to be taken if pregnant or breastfeeding, or by children or people with health issues, especially liver or kidney problems. It should be possible however to make sure a particular supplement comes from kelp grown in clean waters.
Iodine: the iodine within sea kelp is easily absorbed by the body so it can quickly become too much for the body to process. Most people get enough iodine from table salt alone, adding kelp to the diet can greatly increase iodine levels. Too much iodine in the system can cause hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease, and thyroid cancer. The amount of iodine in each type of kelp food product and supplement vary greatly.
According to the Daily Mail: “Deficiencies can be treated with 150 mcg of iodine daily. Prolonged use of large amounts of iodine (6 mg or more daily) may suppress activity of the thyroid gland. A safe upper limit of iodine is 1,000 mcg per day.”
Unpredictability: There are a large number of sea kelp supplements available containing a variety of different types of algae that all come under the name ‘kelp’, which may affect your body in different ways. For instance, bladderwrack can cause or worsen acne, and there is a single reported case of it causing kidney failure. The effects depend completely on your individual health status and your body’s overall make-up.
HOW TO EAT KELP & SEAWEED
Nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., C.D.N., C.P.T., recommends that you try to eat your nutrients, versus taking them in supplement form. She suggests including kelp in a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, from both the land and sea. Kelp can be one small part of a broader healthy diet that includes a variety of unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods.
Moskovitz says that one of the easiest ways to incorporate kelp into your diet is to add an organic, dried variety into soups. You could also use raw kelp noodles in salads and main dishes or add some dried kelp flakes as seasoning. It is usually found in Japanese or Korean restaurants or grocery stores and can be enjoyed cold with oil and sesame seeds, hot in a soup or stew, or even blended into a vegetable juice.
You can find kelp at most health-food markets or the Asian section of your regular grocery store. If you don’t eat gluten or are cutting back on carbs, try kelp noodles instead of your regular pasta. They’re raw and work great as a substitute in any regular noodle dish. If you can only find dried kelp, reconstitute it with a little water (this doesn’t take long), then drain it and mix it with thinly sliced cucumbers, a splash of sesame oil and Asian vinegar.
As a food, kelp aficionados laud its flavor as the ultimate, seawater-laced brine that’s the essence of umami. Nori, one of the most popular seaweed species, is dried in sheets to make sushi rolls. Other varieties include dulse, arame, which is black; deep green wakame; kombu; and spirulina.
HOW TO COOK & EAT SEAWEED
Dried seaweed would need to be soaked in hot water, and rinsed well before use. Some thicker and tougher seaweed like kombu might be better sliced thin or boiled. Seaweeds are very versatile. Here are a few different ways to enjoy them:
Snacking out of a bag – Nori and dulse can just be eaten out of a bag. You will want to check the labels and watch out for some brands of snacking nori that contain a lot of MSG though.
Salads – Most types of seaweed can be made into a Japanese-style salad with vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.
Soups – Seaweed tastes delicious in bone broth, which makes it seaweed soup.
Sprinkled on other foods – Seaweed flakes can be sprinkled on salads, rice, soups, or any other dishes.
Most seaweed is not bitter. Some types are a bit sweet and may even have umami flavors, which means that it may be easier to get some picky eaters to eat seaweed than vegetables.
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