Radiation levels in Japan are rising and most stores in the Bay Area have already sold out of Potassium Iodide (KI) supplements, but there's still a way you can protect yourself from radiation and limit your body's absorption of radioactive iodine--eat more seaweed!
Sea vegetables are very high in naturally occurring iodine (100-200mcg per gram). Adding kelp, wakame, dulse, sea lettuce, kombu, bladderwack, hijiki, nori and other sea veggies to your diet will help protect your thyroid and reduce your risk of cancer if you are exposed to radiation. Eating these plants may benefit you more than supplementing with KI because the organic form of iodine found in kelp matches the way the element is stored in thyroid hormones and sea veggies are packed with complimentary nutrients. Follow the recipes below and make yourself a tasty side dish, dressing or low-calorie dessert!
1/4 c wakame (or another favored sea veggie)
3 tbs organic brown rice vinegar (light red wine vinegar and unfiltered apple cider vinegar are nice, as well)
1 1/2 tbs raw honey
1 tbs Braggs Liquid Aminos (or Nama Shoyu)
dash dark toasted sesame oil
sprinkling of sesame seeds
sprigs of basil (or favorite herb for garnish, use kinome for a truly Japanese experience)
Directions: Soak wakame in warm water for a few minutes. While the wakame is soaking, dissolve the honey in vinegar, Braggs and sesame oil. Rinse the wakame a few times and then submerge in cool water. Set it aside to drain. Pour mixture over sea greens. Top with a few washed and trimmed sprigs of basil, sesame seeds and a twist of the pepper mill. Enjoy with a cup of green tea.
Divine Dulse Dressing
1 c dulse
1/2 c hemp oil (I like hemp for its nuttiness and omega factor--you can use olive or any other oil you prefer)
1/4 c organic lemon juice (or the juice of 3 lemons)
6 cloves garlic
1/2 c soaked sesame seeds (soak raw seeds overnight to improve digestibility and flavor)
Directions: Blend everything except the dulse until creamy. Add dulse and pulse lightly. Pour this divine dressing over anything!
raw cacao paste (I recommend sourcing from Vivapura)
coconut flakes (optional)
Directions: Soak kelp noodles for a while; 20 minutes is good, or you can do longer if you’d like them to be a bit plumper. Melt the cacao paste (with a dehydrator, or on the stove with low heat, or in the sun…), then add a bit of cold water and immediately stir frantically until it becomes a mousse. Add in stevia to taste and a dash of sea salt. Then, toss in the kelp noodles and coat evenly. Chill in the fridge. Add a sprinkle of coconut as garnish, or perhaps some other topping you’d like. Enjoy!
Add a few strips of kombu, hijiki, wakame etc. to a pot of brown rice at the end of its cook time.
Make a broth by heating sea vegetables in water. Remove the veggies just before boiling.
Make a sweet'n'spicy marinade by boiling 1 oz sea veggies in 6 c water for 30 minutes. Add 2 tbs honey, 1 tbs crushed ginger, juice of 1 lemon, and a pinch of cayenne. Mix well and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Savory variation: substitute 2 cloves garlic and 1/3 c Nama Shoyu for ginger and lemon juice and add 1 tbs dark sesame oil.
Kelp granules, dulse flakes and seaweed crunchies are also available prepackaged and are a great way to top a dish (I like to sprinkle them over roasted vegetables). And, you can wrap all of your favorite ingredients in nori for a meal-to-go.
Eat your sea greens, but try not to exceed 1000 micrograms in a day. This is too much for most bodies to process and may lead to nausea, stomach ache and burning sensations in the mouth and throat. Also, increasing your iodine intake will only protect your thyroid--meaning the rest of your body (bone marrow, for example) is still at risk.