There is really is not such thing as C-Veggies – but Sea Veggies on the other hand are amazing. Often the word SEA in itself is enough to scare most people away. So I softened that up and used the letter C to represent these delicate superfood gems of the sea – but C also stands for cleansing, calcium and chlorophyll as this is what these guys are packed full of! This is just to give you a taste of what I will be getting into.
If you haven’t experimented with sea veggies yet, then you are truly missing out. They are so diverse in their use that the list just goes on and on. Most of you have actually had sea vegetables, many times. What do you think your sushi is wrapped up in? Nori! One of the most commonly used sea veggies. It is super delicious and versatile. You can crumble it on salads, drop it into soups or just snack on it plain! Then the realm of sea veggies carries over into dulse, arame, wakame, kelp, kombu, hijiki, agar, kuze – they all sound kind of funny (I love naming them off in my classes), they all have different uses, a distinct flavour – but what they all have in common is that they are loaded with minerals and chlorophyll! (CHECK OUT THIS GUIDE to get more familiar with each one!) There is even a new and fun variety of kelp – which comes in noodle form. Pretty fancy stuff – it has been stripped of it’s green essence, leaving it colourless and flavourless but it is a great base to a raw spaghetti or pasta dish! (see recipe below!)
All in all, Sea Veggies are an amazing condiment to add to any recipe -cooked or raw. A simple slaw salad, a stir fry, miso soup, on top of a veggie burger, in a wrap. I think you get the point. But what is relevant to know, is that you need so little to get the benefits. Just a little goes such a long way. In Macrobiotics - sea veggies are a staple to the diet but are only used as a condiment to every meal. They are balancing and make your meal look beautiful, interesting and unique. You will also be happy knowing that you are getting an extra dose of much needed nutrients.
Let me take you through the benefits of Sea Veggies – hopefully this will inspire you to at least try one variety!
reduce blood cholesterol
remove metallic and radioactive elements from the body (great for chemo)
prevent goiter (enlarged thyroid condition)
have antibiotic properties
strengthen bones, teeth and nerve transmission
softens hard masses in tumors
used as a beauty aid – helping to maintain glowing, healthy skin and lustrous hair
Lastly…ounce for ounce sea veggies provide all the vitamins and minerals that are required for human health (similar to what is found in human blood -including calcium, iodine, phosphorous, sodium, iron and vitamins A, B, C and E) and it is also an excellent source of protein!
I will leave it at that!
SEA MY VEGGIES – Creamy Kelp “Alfredo” Noodles
2 heaping tbsp raw tahini
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped garlic leaves (from my garden) or 1 clove of garlic
sea salt to taste
blend up with a bit of water to thin out (not too much!) – approx 2 tbsp!
1 pack of kelp noodles – remove kelp from package rinse and let sit in warm water with lemon juice for 1 hour to soften!
1/4 cup arame, soaked for 15 minutes
1/2 cup kale, chopped
1 cup shredded beets and carrots
1 cup zucchini shredded
1 small bunch broccoli (marinated with olive oil and sea salt and dehydrated or baked on a low temperature for 20-30 minutes until soft and tender – scrumptious!)
Pour the dressing over the noodles, add the veggies , toss and serve!
I know you have heard of seaweed, also known as sea vegetables, and I know you have eaten them a number of times (whether you realize it or not) -but before you turn up your face and look the other way, let me tell you how amazing they are and what they can do for your health!
When I refer to sea veggies it is anything that, yes, grows in the sea and this includes nori (what your sushi is wrapped in), wakame (what is in your miso soup), arame (often in your seaweed salad), dulse, kombu, kelp, hijiki and the list goes on. The list even carries over to varieties of seaweeds that are in hidden forms of commercial foods such as ice cream, baked goods, jelly, salad dressings, chocolate milk and toothpaste. This is what I mean when I said you’ve eaten them many times before – and you didn’t even know it.
These little wonders, because they are grown in the deep depths of the sea, carry with them the highest doses of vitamins and minerals. All of which are essential to human health and daily nutritional balance. Sea vegetables are singularly the most nutrient dense food, as they are earth’s first vegetables and the best part is, is that they are delicious! Sea greens are a direct manifestation of their environment and therefore contain and abundance of minerals that is 7-38% of their dry weight. In such small amounts, seaweed contains more vitamins and minerals than any class of food. It supplies all the minerals needed for human health in proportions very similar to those found in human blood. The most significant elements that can be found in sea greens are calcium, iodine, phosphorous, sodium,and iron. Sea veggies are also extremely rich in protein, vitamin A, B, C and E.
The health benefits of sea vegetables is so vast and incredible. They do everything from reducing blood cholesterol, removing metallic and radioactive elements from the body, and prevent goiter. So if you are suffering with a thyroid problem, like so many women these days, then sea veggies are for you! Seaweed also has antibiotic properties, counteracts obesity, strengthens bones, teeth, nerve transmission and digestion. Seaweed is also an incredible beauty aid as they help to maintain glowing healthy skin and contain anti aging properties. To me, this sounds like the perfect food!
So how do you use sea veggies?
The garden of sea veggies is extremely versatile and they can be used in a number of recipes and incorporated into numerous styles of cuisine and compliment or accent many dishes from soups, salads and desserts. To explore this world of sea veggies and roll your own sushi, I encourage you to join me next Thursday October 8th at my Scrumptious Sea Vegetable class!
If you have ever used or tried sea veggies, share your story. Leave a comment and let us all know what you have done with Sea Greens!
I love knowing that I can make “chips” from one of natures healthiest vegetables in my own kitchen. Kale chips have become a new craze in the Raw Food and Health world over the last couple of years. They serve a very important and satisfying purpose. They fulfill that salty, crispy, crunch that most people often crave every once in a while. Since these “chips” are full of delicious and healthy whole food ingredients, it makes them just that much better!
It doesn’t really take much to put them together. You don’t necessarily need a dehydrator, which is what is commonly used in most “raw” food recipes. So if you don’t have one, the good news is that you can just use your home oven (on a low temperature of course!). But if you have already gone the length and purchased a wonderful Excalibur dehydrator, then you may as well make your kale chips in there - as a dehydrator will preserve all the nutrients and enzymes and ensure they don’t get “overcooked”, especially if they are only done at 115 F. If the oven is your only option, then you will need to keep an extra eye on them so that they don’t burn or shrivel up and disappear on you. Kale is a very tender green leafy vegetable that carries with it so many amazing nutrients.
Kale truly is a superfood. Kale contains powerful minerals and vitamins that strengthen your bones, protect your eyes, cleanse your blood, prevent colon cancer and makes your skin glow (now who doesn’t want that!). This all because Kale is an exceptional source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and C.
So the next time you are perusing through the produce section, or at your local farmer’s market or in my backyard…then grab a bunch of kale and experiment with it at home. Making kale chips is one way and a great way. But also marinating it in a salad or steaming it with some olive oil are other delicious ways as well!
If kale you want to get more familiar with kale in the kitchen, then you may want to check out my Green Goddess Cooking Class next Wednesday!
Zesty Kale Krisps
1 bunch of kale, washed and torn
1/4 cup tahini
2-3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic
1 juice of half a lemon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (can add more for a “cheesier” flavour!)
Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth to get a thick consistency. You may have to add more water. Pour over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale. You want this mixture to be really glued onto the kale.
Place kale onto a Teflex sheet, and dehydrate for 4 hours @ 115 degrees. You’ll need to use two trays. Rotate kale occasionally to dry uniformly.
Place on parchment paper on a sheet tray, and bake on a low temperature for about 30 minutes. Keep and eye on them and turn them often to make sure they dry evenly.
You can use any variety of Kale for this recipe, however curly kale tends to taste and turn out the best!
Of course these are better than timbits, because they are not even food. So really there is no comparison. (For those of you that don’t live in Canada – Timbits are donut holes!) I really should have titled this post “GREAT Balls of Bliss” – because the second you let one of these little gems break apart and melt into your mouth, there is no turning back-you are in bliss. But don’t have too many or you will be left with a tummy ache. Each little ball is so power packed full of nutrition – that you only need one or two to satisfy that sweet tooth or give you that much needed burst of energy. Just in case you didn’t know, timbits or donuts only do the opposite – they make you tired and sluggish – not to mention there isn’t one useful calorie in a donut. As they are filled with empty calories – meaning they contain refined white flour and white sugar and usually some low quality oils. Just for the record each “Bliss” ball is loaded with calcium, protein, fibre, iron, b vitamins, healthy fats and give you long lasting energy and make you feel great! So why not make something that looks just like it, is better for you and has a taste that is out of this world? Really there is not reason not to!
These little guys are so easy to make that all you need a food processor and some basic ingredients. What is also so much fun about making these, is that they are simple and they are not baked or heated. You can also sub in other ingredients and get creative every time you make them. If you or your child has nut allergies, you can use a seed based butter instead of almond butter or just just use pureed dates or figs. You also have the option of putting in all kinds of super foods like goji berries, spirulina powder, raw cacao etc… or you can just keep it to the basics like I did.
Chocolate Coconut-Almond Bliss Balls
3/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup coconut flakes
1. Add nut butter, tahini, and maple syrup to a bowl or food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Add sesame seeds, cocoa powder, oat bran and quinoa flakes and blend until mixture becomes like dough.
3. Scrape down sides of food processor as necessary. Spread coconut on a plate.
4. Rolled mixture into 1-inch balls and rolls in shredded coconut.
5. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
This may be surprising but it is true. Beans are a source of calcium! This is great news especially if you think that it is difficult to get enough calcium in your diet…well it is not. There are plenty of plant based sources of calcium that not only assimilate into the body much easier than animal sources (such as commercial dairy ) – but also have many other health promoting benefits. So I use beans as the first example, because this is my lovely appetizer of my “Calci-Yum” cooking class. The theme is based around non-dairy sources of calcium that are supportive to your bones and long term health.
Calcium can be found in a slew of foods that usually would not come to mind for the average person. They are found in green veggies (tall dark leafy ones like: kale, collards, beet greens, chard, bok choy, spinach), nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sesame and sunflower seeds), soy products like tempeh, miso and tofu (organic of course), carob powder, sea vegetables, tahini, avocados and quinoa. That is just a taste as the items that are the foundation of the delicious CalciYUM menu which includes: Mixed Bean Salad, Arame Pomegranate Orange Salad, Steamed Greens with Scallion “Butter”, Maple Marinated Tempeh, Roasted Root Veggies with Cinnamon Glaze, Red Quinoa with Broccoli and Pinenuts and Carob-Fig Frozen Fudge for dessert. Now that is what I call a healthy, calcium rich and balanced meal!
Come to my next CalciYUm cooking class on March 4th. We will be learning about healthy plant sources of calcium and the power of magnesium and their natural abilities to protect, heal and support the body.
Try this nutritious bean salad recipe! This is a great recipe to have on hand for simple lunches, a great snack, a side dish for a dinner party or a morning brunch.
Zesty Three Bean Salad with Fresh Mint
1 can each eden canned organic black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans (you can also soak and cook all of your beans)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½-1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ extra virgin olive oil
3 red radishes, small dice
3 scallions, minced
¼ cup parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh mint, minced
1. Rinse and drain beans in a colander until all the residue and foam is rinsed off.
2. Strain any excess water and pour beans into a large bowl.
4. Whisk together the next five ingredients and pour over beans.
5. Then toss together with radishes and fresh herbs.
Who needs a calcium supplement when you can get it from food! No, not from dairy … but from plant based whole foods!
Learning about which foods have significant levels of calcium is crucial especially if you are concerned about your bones or current calcium intake levels. Unfortunately, I hate to break the news to you, but the Calcium that you think you are getting from a glass of milk, a cup of “low fat” yogurt or slice of cheese is not being absorbed into your body in a usable or beneficial form. In fact it is doing quite the opposite.
The truth is, dairy (especially commercially processed dairy) is extremely acidic to the body and especially to the bones. So when you consume any form of processed dairy, it is actually stripping calcium away from your bones rather than building on to it. So most individuals in North America, predominantly women could be responsible for their own weakening bone conditions as a result of over consuming commercial dairy. But not to fret, this can be taken care of and quite possibly reversed.
All you have to do is start consuming adequate amounts of Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium. These sources which come from plant based foods, are extremely bio-available to the body and they taste great too!
So get your daily dose of greens in (chard, kale, beet greens, collards, broccoli and bok choy). You can steam them, blanch them, saute them, add them to soups, salads or grain dishes–you can even hide them in a smoothie. Consume nuts and seeds such as sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds, all great sources of calcium, iron, protein and essential fatty acids. Other hidden but rich sources of calcium include tempeh, avocado, parsley, figs, carob, beans and legumes, salmon and quinoa.
So do what you will, but you can avoid taking expensive supplements and consuming commercial dairy and simply get your calcium from nature. Your body and your taste buds will thank you!
Parsley and Scallion “Butter” with Steamed Greens
This recipe is inspired by Anne Gentry owner of Real Food Daily (Vegan Restaurant in Los Angeles)
1 bunch of greens such as kale, beet greens, collards, swiss chard, bok choy or spinach
1 ½ cup fresh scallions, chopped
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh parsley
3 tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tablespoons umeboshi paste
1 teaspoons minced peeled fresh garlic
Steam greens and rinse with cold water to maintain brightness.
Combine all ingredients of “butter” in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth.
Transfer the spread to a small bowl.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and allow flavors to blend and the spread will become slightly firm.