tag: ingredients

eat your sea vegetables

February 28, 2012

sea vegetables

you’ve probably been told to eat your veggies, but what about sea veggies? it might come as a surprise, but sea vegetables are among the most nutrient-dense plants on earth. popular in macrobiotic diets, ocean plants support thyroid function, detoxification, and hormone balance.

seaweed has many of the minerals we need in our daily diets, including iodine, sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and selenium. it’s also incredibly rich in a variety of vitamins, including B, C, D, E and K. sea vegetables are some of the best plant-based sources of calcium, as well as good sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene and some seaweeds, (such as wakame), are also a good source of protein.

many people associate seaweed as a foreign idea, fishy and a little slimy. but cooked properly, they can be a really delicious addition to your meals! the key to learning to love sea vegetables is preparing them properly. most sea vegetables are best if you pour boiling water over them and let them soak for 10 minutes before use. for the more chewy types, such as hijiki, it’s best to then drain and simmer the sea vegetable in water—how long depends both on the specific variety of seaweed being used and the dish it’s intended for. for example, if you prefer the delicate flavor and texture of the seaweed itself not be overpowered by ocean flavors that may have intensified during drying, you can soak or boil them to remove the briny flavor.

sea veggie savvy 

here’s a list of the most popular and commonly available sea veggies and how you can incorporate them in your meals.

• agar-agar—derived from a very mild-flavored red seaweed that is processed into translucent flakes or a powder and is then used as a vegetarian gelatin or binding agent. agar-agar is also sometimes found in bars that must be crushed before being used. two tablespoons of agar-agar will firmly gel one cup of liquid. To use agar-agar, warm it in the liquid, stirring constantly until it dissolves, then simmer for about 10 minutes.

• arame—derived from a large-leaved, brown seaweed that is parboiled, then shredded and dried. the resulting thin, black strips are mild in flavor and delicate in texture. It should be rinsed well, then may be used in salads, stir-fries, casseroles or soups immediately, or after very quickly stir-frying or simmering.

• dulse—a thin, delicate, leafy sea vegetable with a beautiful purple-red color. It can be eaten dried as a salty snack or added to soups and stews for its gentle salty brine flavor and thickening quality. it’s also available powdered, to be used as a salty condiment. dulse is the most commonly eaten sea vegetable in europe and is often the first sea vegetable many people try (i just bought some this week!).

• hijiki—similar to arame, but thicker, chewier, and slightly stronger in flavor. it should be rinsed well, then soaked for about 20 minutes before cooking lightly. because of its thick texture and pronounced flavor, hijiki should be used prudently, in stir-fries, casseroles and salads.

• kelp—usually powdered and may be used as a salt substitute that is rich in trace minerals.

• kombu—found in wide, stiff strips measuring from 3-10 inches in length. a strip of kombu serves well as a flavoring, which also adds a gelatinous quality to soups, stocks, stews, and when cooking beans. some find that cooking beans with kombu makes them more digestible. the kombu itself is seldom eaten, because it is quite tough.

• nori—sheets of nori are most commonly used as the wrapping for sushi rolls. nori is also sold as a snack, in prepackaged 1-3 inch spiced strips. the dried sheets improve in flavor when lightly toasted. to toast, hold a sheet a few inches above a flame and allow it to shrink slightly, then toast on the other side. use nori crumbled over rice, in salads or in sandwiches.

• wakame—this versatile sea vegetable is tender and delicate. its leaves may be added for flavor and texture to soups, salads or stir-fries. first rinse, then soak for several minutes, and cook for about 10 minutes. wakame is the familiar leafy sea vegetable found in many miso soup recipes.

finding sea vegetables 

finding sea veggies is easier than you might think. health food stores always carry high-quality sea vegetables are you can find commercially harvested seaweeds in most asian markets. look for sea vegetables that are grown wild and harvested from the ocean.

resources and image:the vegetables that came from the sea and the healthiest vegetables
forgotten ingredients

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inbox inquiry
hello, lovelies! today we have an inbox inquiry from katie henderson about organic hair care products. see my advice below and share your own advice in the comments section!

inbox inquiry

hi katie! i have curly, frizzy hair as well. AH! i have a few recommendations for you (see below) but more than just guide you to a specific product, i wanted to share with you a list of ingredients that i avoid at all costs. that way, you can take the list with you into the store and find several different products that you can feel good about purchasing and using!

below you’ll find my pocket resource guide for which ingredients to avoid. you will be able to find products that are free from these ingredients, you’ll just have to look for them. you can try at your local store, but a better bet would be to head to a health food store. but remember, just because it’s in a health food store, doesn’t mean it’s good for you! always double check the ingredients. you can click on the picture below to download a pdf format, with three different sizes in it choose from. i just keep a copy in my wallet for easy access at the store!
ingredients to avoid

click to download the “ingredients to avoid” pocket guide! (you’ll have three sizes to choose from.)

now, the discussion on ingredients in general, is a whole different topic in itself (of which we won’t go into today), but you can either take my word for it, or research the following links to learn more:

-skin deep- a great website where you can enter an ingredient to learn more about it. they also have a wonderful what not to buy, a must read!
-body care from mother love
-organic consumers association

some of the products that i’ve found to ‘fit the bill’ have come from the companies listed below. however, you still need to double check the ingredients, as not all of the products from these companies necessarily apply.

-earth science
-burt’s bees
-say yes to carrots

the best rule of thumb is to only purchase products that contain ingredients that:
a) you can pronounce
b) you would eat (you know like grapeseed oil, root extract, etc)

do you have any favorite organic (or otherwise responsible) hair products you like? do share in the comments section!

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the top 30 super foods

February 2, 2011

Posted by in simple living

something i’ve been particularly interested in lately are super foods. what are the healthiest ingredients on our planet? what foods will give me the most nutritional value possible? i’ve read up on the subject and done a fair amount of research, and though there are no clear cut lists, the ones you’ll find below are what i found to be the most agreed upon ingredients.

the top 30 super foods

eaten regularly, the following foods will help prevent cancer, ward off heart disease, boost your immunity and slow aging.

1. acai

2. almonds

3. avocados

4. blueberries

5. bok choy

6. broccoli

7. cantaloupe

8. cocoa

9. cranberries

10. flaxseed

11. garlic

12. ginger

13. honey

14. kale

15. lentils

16. oats

17. olive oil

18. onions

19. oranges

20. pomegranate

21. pumpkins (and acorn or butternut squash)

22. soy (tofu, tempeh, soy beans)

23. spices: cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper and rosemary.

24. spinach

25. sweet potatoes

26. tea (green or black)

27. tomatoes

28. walnuts

29. wheat germ

30. quinoa

want more? honorable mentions were: artichokes, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, chicory, cherries & watercress.

my new goal is to put all these ingredients on my weekly shopping list. i can down these ingredients, no problem! what do you think? if any of them are new to you or you have questions about how to prepare them, feel free to ask in the comments section or explore the resources below. happy living!

resources: belly bytes, 30 power foods, dr. oz

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