As a young man I grew up on a diet of Cornish pasties, meat pies, quite a lot of beer and too many potatoes to count. The net result of all this was that did not feel well at all for a large portion of my life, not to mention simply being large. As I was growing older I decided to make some changes, to try and live a more healthy, whole and organic lifestyle. A big part of this came from the discovery that there was a super food growing right outside my doorstep: seaweed.
I read a book called “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old Or Fat”, by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle and found that the reason for their seeming longevity had to do with very specific foods that formed a staple in their diets, seaweed. Quite a law large portion of these women’s diets consisted of foods that were low calorie, but high nutritional value foods. Because of that, they seem to handle the aging process quite a lot better than the rest of us. That realization set me on a course to try and discover what I could do to live a more healthy life. This all started back in Cornwall, where a sort of seaweed revolution was taking place. I mean, people might well have walked down the street with banners proclaiming the time for unhealthy living was over. I’ve come a long way since that discovery almost a decade ago, but I’ve taken the lessons that have learned in my Cornish village all the way to my little flat underneath the sign shop in Las Vegas Nevada.
Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve learned:
Protein content and calories
Seaweed has a high protein content, often as high as you can expect from beef or chicken. Spirulina algae sits at a whopping 70% protein content per weight of raw or sun-dried seaweed. The percentage goes down to around 20% for green algae, but if we take into consideration that beef has 26g of protein per 100g of mass, one can see that this stuff can be taken seriously as a source of protein. A huge plus side for seaweed as well is that there is no fat content to it as you would have with beef.
There’s been quite a lot of research done about the inhabitants of a Japanese island of Okinawa and why they live longer than anybody else. Turns out, this can again be attributed to the amount of seaweed and other ocean vegetables that they consume. Apparently, Okinawans consume 7 to 10 portions of the stuff on a daily basis, something that I have not been able to match by any means. But what I can attest to, is that I do feel a lot better since starting this journey. The signs were all there, I was heading towards a health disaster; heart palpitations, sleeplessness, my weight was spiraling out of control, but thanks to some life choices including moving to a drier climate of Las Vegas, Nevada helped me to be a lot more healthy.
If you have ever been to a spa, you’d remember that they often wrap you in swaths of green stuff that helps renew your skin, at least, that’s what the missus told me. That stuff is seaweed, and the benefits don’t stop when you go from being covered in it to eating it. Apparently, even the Soviets were using seaweed to help detox people of chemical strontium after Chernobyl. With that type of credentials, it is little wonder that seaweed is thought to also help detox you from more everyday chemicals such as Cadmium and lead that can be found in mundane things like cigarette smoke.
We all need to take extra care of the gut flora we have, and luckily seaweed is great for that. Even though store-bought nine strain probiotics is a good start to getting your gut flora back in line. Researchers at the good old University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK found that one of the substances in brown algae, the type most seaweed products are made from, called Alginate, helps to strengthen the digestive tract. Good news for us!