It has been shown that sunflowers absorb heavy metals and so have been used extensively near Chernobyl and more recently Fukushima. It is said that Sunflower can remove 95% of the radiation in soil in 20 days where it would normally take about 30 years until radiation levels were reduced to a “safe” level.
Fortunately we have other foods we can utilise as well.
Our bodies are 50-80% water (depending on age and weight) and they mimic the ocean which has over 100 minerals composed of 80 chemical elements. Well, those are the ones we know of. As scientists continue their research we are bound to find many yet unnamed beneficial elements.
Vegetables from the ocean also have an incredible amount of minerals. High amounts of vitamins C and E are present as well as B vitamins, iron, calcium and a high percentage of fibre. In fact, the carbohydrates in sea vegetables will easily pass through your digestive system effectively cleansing your intestines. There have been studies that have shown seaweeds ability to remove up to 90 percent of radioactive strontium 90 from the intestinal tract. (S.C. Skoryna et al, “Intestinal Absorption of Radioactive Strontium,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 191, 1964) The sodium alginate found in sea plants will actually chelate the remaining amount out of the bone structure. This is good news for dealing with present and past toxic contamination.
In our modern world we are constantly bombarded by radiation. It is a concern brought up by many when medical diagnostics such as x-rays and CAT scans are used but of even greater concern is the radiation from our computer monitors and mobile phones since we use them continuously throughout the day every day.
The study of the unique qualities of seaweed continues. There is important work done by Dr. Jane Teasof Harvard, Dr. Ryan Drum, Ph.D. and many others in the anti-cancer research. I think it’s great to study and find out what the plant world can do for our health. It validates everything I and many others believe. I just have a problem with trying to isolate and encapsulate these properties into a pill when what we really need to do is eat our food the way nature intended. It is the synergistic properties of the whole plant that gives its healing properties. It is also the strength of our immune system that keeps us from being susceptible to illness and disease.
Iodine is a critical element found in seaweed and needed in our bodies as we do not make it ourselves. Our thyroid gland is dependent on iodine in order to do its work. Our blood passes through the thyroid and as it secretes iodine, germs will be weakened or destroyed. Thus, the thyroid is key to a strong immune system. It also builds your body’s energy, relieves nervous tension and helps with fat storage.
Having adequate amounts of iodine aids in the avoidance of radioactive absorption. Important what with the nuclear accidents that have occurred and affects everyone regardless of where we live. Iodine is added to most salt because it is difficult to get enough in today’s conventional diet. The problem with this though is that the iodine added to salt is inorganic and not absorbable. Many of us have written about the processing of salt, which like sugar, has been contaminated through the chemical processing needed to create the free pouring white granules most of us were raised on. We don’t need these chemicals in our food. In fact, chlorine (used in food processing and in the cleaning of our tap water) has a lower atomic weight than iodine and so when the chlorine passes through the thyroid it displaces our stores of iodine. As a side note, fluorine and bromine also displace iodine. Both of which are dangerous.
People with low levels of natural iodine (most of us these days) are more at risk because their thyroids will soak up all iodine they come across – including the radioactive kind. The obvious best prevention we can do is to keep our stores of iodine high by feeding our body good quality iodine.
Consuming foods naturally high in iodine before and during exposure to radiation will help prevent the radioactive form of iodine from lodging in your thyroid as well as the breasts, prostrate, ovaries, uterus and other areas it likes to hang out and cause trouble in.
Looking to the sea for some of our food sources seems like a common sense addition.
I enjoy a toasted Dulse, tomato, avocado and lettuce sandwich which is smothered with homemade cashew and sunflower seed mayonnaise. Try dry toasting sesame seeds and dulse then grinding them to make a wonderfully tasty topping over a dish in lieu of sea salt. In the past I have made the above mentioned mayonnaise or a vegan sour cream and after dipping a vegie stick in that I would dip into the sesame and dulse mixture, yum!
Another fav is Arame. More sweet than salty I will mix it into a fresh grated carrot salad with garlic that has been sauteed in olive oil and lemon juice. Simple, delicious and extremely nutritious.
Hiijiki is one that the girls fondly call worms as it starts out in skinny twig-like form but once soaked will swell to about 5 times its original weight. A little bit will do you then when preparing a meal! It has a fairly neutral flavour so can go into stews or salads. I think sea vegetables are pretty and a great contrast in colour to other fresh food and can help to make a dramatic presentation.
Wakame has a slimier texture and is used in salads or miso soup. Fresh sliced cucumbers, thin pieces of wakame, rice or apple cider vinegar and dillweed are a lovely and refreshing salad. Allow it to sit several hours before serving as the cucumbers water will be drawn out and the flavours have a chance to blend.
Nori is pretty familiar as most of us have had it wrapped around sushi or other combinations of ingredients. We have rolled lots of fresh chopped veggies and nut and seed pastes into it. My kids will just take the sheets plain and sit with one of our cats and tear off pieces to share together. The cats love it so much we have to make sure the package gets stored tightly in the pantry!
Agar-agar or kanten, like gelatin, is used to “set” some of the other recipes we use. It is neutral in flavour and can be used for both savoury and sweet.
Kombu is most commonly used to make japanese dashi stock, I add kombu to my beans to increasenutrition but also to make them less “gassy”. My third daughter, Nimue, likes taking the dry leathery strips and chewing on them! I’m not that game, but you can chop them up fine and cook them into your sauces, stews and soups.
These sea vegetables and more are used around the world and in many cultures.
And they have been used for centuries. Weston Price, a dentist who studied diet and health in the early 20th century noted that even the people of the Andes ate daily small amounts of seaweed. With trade and travel it was not necessary to live near the shore to have access to this important food.
To recap the benefits of sea vegetables;
1) They have been used for centuries for the treatment of cancer
2) Have a diuretic action in our body
3) Minerals in the sea vegetables are easier to break down and utilize than minerals in a capsule or tablet
4) They enhance calcium absorption
5) They are high in protein
6) They contain chlorophyll
7) Are high in fibre
8) Are gently detoxifying
9) The sodium alginate in sea vegetables will pull heavy metals, radiation and other chemical toxins out of your body
10) Are extremely nutritious, plentiful and inexpensive!
Sea vegetables are also considered to be easy beauty treatments. Topically there are many ways to use them and internally your hair, skin, nails and eyes will thank you by becoming strong and vibrant. Remember this, whatever goes on your face or body goes in your face and body.
Sea weed wraps are a luxuriant and popular treatment in spas. You can give yourself a mini spa treatment at home just by adding seaweed to your bath. Create a seaweed facial mask by using 1 Tbs dry seaweed powder (grind it yourself) 1 Tbs of aloe vera and enough water to create a thick paste. Leave on face for 20 minutes. This mask will detoxify and nourish at the same time. Seaweeds are potent antioxidants and have rejuvenating properties as well as having Vitamin A (beta carotene/retinol) and Vitamin C which work together in maintaining collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of connective tissue in the skin.
So there you have it…seaweed, who would have thought?
Recipe – Smoked Tofu, Seaweed and Rice Salad
If you cannot find enoki mushrooms, fresh shiitake would be my next choice stems removed and saved for later use. Plain button mushrooms may be substituted.
3 cups organic wild rice, cooked or sprouted
1 package organic smoked tofu, cubed small
1 cup fresh organic mung or soybean sprouts
1 organicred bell pepper (capsicum) sliced thinly
1/4 cup arame sea vegetable, soaked in warm water for 2 hours, drained and rinsed and chopped coarsely
1 package organic enoki mushrooms, separated, cleaned and chopped if desired
½ cup sliced organic almonds, lightly toasted
¼ cup organic green onions, sliced thin
3 Tbs organic red wine vinegar
1 Tbs organic tamari
1-2 Tbs organic toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs organic dark agave syrup or other sweetener
Pinch of red pepper flakes
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbs fresh organic ginger, finely grated
2 tsps organic garlic, finely minced
Mix together salad ingredients.
Whisk dressing ingredients and stir into salad. Serve.