Archive for December, 2009

“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

Happy Holidays. May this be a peaceful, blessed Holy Time, celebrated in your own way, and may this become the time when all Life is respected and cherished!

Onward, now, with the next part of the Iodine series, some of the most important information that I have ever posted. Catch-up here, if you need to, then continue reading these health tips for diabetics and for everyone you know.

Diabetics – Iodine and Health 1
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 2
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 3
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 4
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 5
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 6
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 7

and then …
Synopsis: Diabetics – Iodine and Health 9

It is very important to have a pH alkaline body. Each cell needs to be pH alkaline to work optimally. Seaweed is one of the most alkaline foods on the planet, whereas the typical American diet (typical Western, developed countries’ diet) is very acidifying. All the stresses and habits of modern life tend to make our tissues pH acidic and thereby we open ourselves to chronic ill health (with struggling metabolisms and improper cellular chemistry) and we are open to infection (as viruses and bacteria can only live in acidic pH tissues).

Seaweed is the best source for Iodine and iodide (another molecular form of Iodine), and it is this element which underscores a great deal of the benefit which we derive from seaweed and sea veggies.

As you read in the articles above, Iodine provides a singularly significant foundation for Health, as long as it is in the optimal range — not either too little OR too much.

Where you source your seaweed and sea veggies is important. I discount any food from China. You cannot trust even the “organic” designation there, as the surrounding area is likely to be receiving unabated pollution, regardless of whether the actual product tried to be organic. Also, their designation for “organic” is not as stringent as it needs to be.

The variety of marine aquatic products from China has surpassed 40, and their oceans are not clean, especially in any delta or bay where their great (and very polluted) rivers empty. Additionally, massive amounts of industrial wastes and sewage are discharged into the nearshore without effective treatment. The result is that the water quality in the nearshore ecological niche worsens gradually, and this has direct impacts on the survival and development of the mariculture industry. Clean water is critical for healthy seaweed and sea veggies!

On the other hand, environmental pollution from mariculture is also noticeable on the wild areas as chemicals and manure from fish and shrimp farms unbalances the ecosytem.

Fish disease, sea scallop disease, kelp disease, abalone disease and so on have occurred unceasingly in these Chinese products since 1993.

Last week, I had my husband shopping at Whole Foods to update exactly which brands of seaweed they stocked, so I could expand my supply, and on one product (Emerald Cove), you must read the fine-print, as some of it is Chinese “organic”.

I opted for the wild-crafted and gathered seaweed from the Mendocino Coast of California, where I know the oceans are pristine. I have used this brand before, over the decades; Rising Tide sea vegetables.

Iodine exposure can come from other sources too:
___ certain food colorings (erythrosine)
___ skin disinfectants (such as betadine and povidone iodine) are absorbed and reach the bloodstream
___ health foods – certain types of kelp
___ some dyes and medicines
___ exposure from Iodine’s use in farm animals (for cleansing udders) or as part of iodine-containing medicines for livestock.
___ Iodate has been used as a bread stabilizer in commercial baking, although this practice is less common now, and it has been replaced by dangerous Iodine robbers, from Bromine.

Seaweeds are delicious! However, if you want another way to get the benefit of seaweed without eating seaweed itself (beyond the several innovative products mentioned in prior articles in this series) then learn about Mekabu Bijin — it is a seaweed extract which research results from Industrial Technology Institute, Miyagi Prefectura, Japan show that [Mekabu Bijin] contains 22.4% of fucoidan compared to regular seaweeds which contains 14.9% . Fucoidan is covered in previous articles and is very important to Health.

Get it at JFC International, Inc. imports.* It is also imported by Suzukiya International, P.O. Box 3083, East 1st St., Tustin, CA 92781-3083, TEL: (714) 878-7107.

Wakame and Kombu are the major seaweeds used everyday in Japan and Okinawa’s long-lived population, and you will learn more about them in future parts of this series.

Elizabeth Andoh, expert American chef who has lived in Japan all her adult life, says that there are 2 areas of Japan which produce most of the commercially consumed wakame today. The first is the swirling, whirlpool currents in and around Naruto in Tokushima Prefecture, and the second is the craggy shoreline of the Sanriku district, primarily along the Pacific coast of Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures. These are pristine areas.

Andoh states that the fronds of Naruto wakame are thin and tender, requiring little or no cooking making them particularly suitable for salads or to float as a garnish in soups. Whereas, the Sanriku wakame is meatier, with a pleasant sweetness; it is perfect for simmering, braising, or stewing with other foods.

Hoshi wakame is the dried form (best for soups and casseroles or inserted into ground meat mixtures) and only needs 3 – 5 minutes of soaking. When softened briefly in water, the black fronds automatically become green; be sure to rehydrate the fronds in a very large bowl, as they expand, greatly. Change the water and then do not cook it long. Follow a recipe. Squeeze out excess moisture; trim anything tough.

Wakame is also prepared for sale in a heavily salted form (nama wakame) to use in salads. This salted form must be kept refrigerated and is perishable.

Mekabu is a separate part of the wakame plant. It is not a frond, but rather a crunchy budding form near the base. It is wild grown and hand harvested. After harvest, then it is cleaned, sun dried, misted with pure water, shredded and dried again. Mekabu’s sticky texture comes from fucoidan, a highly valued and beneficial polysaccharide. This seaweed is famously used in the salads at sushi restaurants and it has a pleasant, mellow sweet flavor. You can also use in soups, salads, Japanese style pickles, as a garnish on top of cooked rice and other grains or on traditional noodles and inside sushi rolls. Soak it in cool water about 5 minutes, max. Botanically, it is Sporophyll Undaria pinnatifida.

Kombu can help regulate blood sugar. It is mostly harvested from the cold waters of Japan’s most northern island (Hokkaido). Depending on the season it is harvested, as well as the location, kombu can vary from grey to green with reddish blush. As kombu is tens of feet long, it is always pre-cut, usually into lengths of 2″ – 7″. The whitish powder which is on the leaves is not mould if it has been stored properly, rather it is a natural form of MSG, and is responsible for kombu’s “savory” taste (umami). Unlike commercial MSG, this natural form has not been causing reactions in those who are sensitive.

___ Hidaka Kombu is used for making dashi stock.

___ Ma Kombu is particularly flavorful and needs to be soaked 20 minutes to a couple of hours and then gently simmered. This makes a cloudy broth, and it is also often used to line the cooking pots when simmering fish or vegetables (it’s like a natural Teflon!).

___ Rausu Kombu is the best for vegetarians. It is substantial, and can also be used to line pans.

___ Rishiri Kombu makes crystal-clear stocks, with herbal overtones. It needs to be soaked in cold water before simmering, to bring out more of its flavor. “Cook” just until a few bubbles appear at the edges of the pot.

Save your kelp from stock-making and put it into braising dishes and casseroles. It can also be recycled into an ingredient for Japanese pickles.

Kelp noodles are a new sea vegetable in the form of an easy to eat raw noodle. They are made of only kelp (kombu)(a sea vegetable), sodium alginate (sodium salt extracted from a brown seaweed), and water. Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles are fat-free, gluten-free, very low in carbohydrates and calories. Their noodle form and neutral taste allow for a variety of uses including salads, stir-fries, hot broths and casseroles, while their healthful content provides a rich source of trace minerals including iodine. Their unique texture completes the package, making Kelp Noodles a one-of-a-kind healthful and tasty alternative to pasta and rice noodles. Best of all, there is no cooking required — just rinse and add the noodles to any dish and they are ready to eat! Sea Tangle Noodles.

Update: January 30, 2010. I finally got some packages of Kelp Noodles and Sea Tangle. I’ll write about them in a future edition after Part 10.

Andoh continues that hijiki also comes in 2 dried forms, one (me hijiki) is tenderer, short buds. The other longer pieces are called naga hijiki. When you store seaweeds in their original jar, in the dark, in a cool, dry place, they can last indefinitely, she says.

Kanten is used a lot in macrobiotic cooking, which had its beginnings in Japan. It is also called Tengusa and agar-agar. The Japanese have used agar-agar to make confections and aspics for thousands of years. These are vegetarian gels. The tengusa is boiled to make a clear, very stiff aspic called tokoroten. Kanten is freeze-dried tokoroten, which can flake and is shelf-stable unlike the earlier product. Kanten is still made in Northern Japan by freeze drying it outside in winter.

Nori, used for sushi, is probably the most familiar seaweed used in America. The vitamin C in Nori is more than in oranges! The vitamin B is more than in spinach. It is filled with other vitamins and minerals, yet it is the least nutritious of the seaweeds, so imagine how much goodness is in the others!

Nori also contains high amounts of the amino acid arginine equivalent to that in animal protein. In Nori, the characteristic taste is a result of the existence of many amino acids: alanine, glutamic acid and glycine, and nori also contains a large amount of taurine.

Taurine is known to be effective for liver activity, especially in preventing the occurrence of gallstones and it is necessary for controlling blood cholesterol levels. Nori contains fairly high amounts of essential trace elements like: zinc (essential for certain enzyme functions), manganese, copper and selenium (needed by diabetics). These are essential for the metabolic processes of organisms.

Nori is actually a general word which describes a group of marine oceanic plants which were once gathered from the wild, centuries ago, and are now “cultivated” in the sea. The origin of Nori cultivation can be traced back to ancient China and Japan around the 8th century.

___ Asakusa nori is the most well-known form to Americans as it is used in sushi wraps. It is grown in bays near Tokyo.

___ Aji nori is always seasoned. This is in 2″ x 3″ packets, and I find that they can become “clammy”, even in their original wrap, so use them quickly after purchase. They are delicious! Open the packet just before eating; don’t let it soak up humidity. If they become soggy, as my last package did, them turn them into Nori Sauce, Andoh says.

___ Yaki Nori is already toasted and is always sold full-size and flat. I do not buy my nori this way, as I know the nutrition is compromised somewhat in the heating, and I see no reason to do this but that it changes the color. I prefer untoasted nori for my sushi. You can store the sheets in the freezer as long as they are quickly opened and then well sealed again. They can be defrosted and refrozen many times without loss of quality.

___ Tsukuda ni Nori – Nori Sauce
Use this recipe for any nori (seasoned or not) which has taken on humidity during the summer and become “sticky”. This sauce can be used as a dip for veggies, on tofu before broiling or as a topper for rice. This makes about 1/4 cup.

2 full sheets of sticky nori (or the equivalent number of individual packets of seasoned nori) — needs about 100 square inches, total.
1/4 C water
2T sake
1 1/2 t organic shoyu (tamari) (soy sauce)
1/2 t sugar or 1/4 t agave nectar

Using kitchen shears, cut the nori into short, thin strips. Place into a frypan and add all the other ingredients. Let it sit for 2 – 3 minutes to absorb, dissolve and then stir to make a paste.

Place the pan over low heat. Stir and heat only until aromatic. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely. Transfer to a clean jar which has gone through the dishwasher. Carefully fill the jar, refrigerate and use within 2 weeks. When using on foods, keep the cooking temperatures low for the final prep as the seaweed can scorch.

OCHAZUKE – This is but one version of a quick snack dish or rice and green tea —
per 1/2 C cooked brown rice
2 T nori seaweed preserve
1/2 – 1 t wasabi paste
1/4 t ume plum paste (Eden Foods, macrobiotic section)
pot of brewed green tea (sencha)

Pour on hot sencha tea, brewed strong. Enjoy right away after mixing everything well with your spoon!

___ Mekabu** in salads with avocado, cucumbers, and greens. I simply mix all the ingredients, tie it together with a dash or two of ponzu.

___ Seaweed Salad: seaweed, agar-agar, kikurage or enoki mushrooms (optional), sesame seeds, sesame oil, sugar or agave, rice vinegar, sea salt, marinated sweet red peppers.

___ Mekabu-Kimchi. Chop Korean kimchi into small pieces, then mix it in with briefly soaked Mekabu seaweed. Serve it as a palate cleanser.

___ Making Elizabeth Andoh’s basic kombu dashi stock.


Best to all – Em


* JFC International, Inc 7101 E. Slauson Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90040 TEL: (323) 721-6900. When placing an order for this product please give them their product code 14621.
** A special, crunchy lower section of the wakame seaweed plant.

(c)2009 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
Please respect my copyright, and if you desire to use my article or quote more than a couple of lines, then write for permission at the About Me page on the upper navigation bar. Thanks!

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“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

This Iodine series is long because it is SO important! If you haven’t read the other parts, please do so now. Yes, it is that critical. You couldn’t spend your time more wisely as an investment in your Health.

Diabetics – Iodine and Health 1
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 2
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 3
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 4
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 5
Diabetics – Iodine and Health 6

OK, now that we are all at the same knowledge level, let’s go forward! I am also including a recipe today.

Dr. Tunis Hunt, DC says “So how do you increase your Iodine levels? The best source of organically bound iodine is non-commercially harvested seaweeds. The dose is about 5 grams a day or about one ounce per week, so a pound would last about two months. Supplements can also be used, but getting it from a natural source is always best.”

That’s my feeling too, unless you know you already have symptoms of thyroid imbalance (even though your blood tests for thyroid hormones may say “normal” as these tests are notoriously inaccurate).

Talk to your physician about a trial run of iodide / iodine supplementation if you have many of the symptoms of a problematic thyroid, as this is the master gland which orchestrates all your metabolism. Let your physician consult with medical herbalist Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD – world renowned seaweed expert or with Dr. Guy Abraham, MD, formulator of the revolutionary new Iodoral supplement.

Reaching correct Iodine levels in your body may result in cure or vast improvement or lessened need for medication for many chronic diseases, so do this under your doctor’s supervision.

With Lugol’s Iodine (used safely for 180 years, but it tastes terrible), you only need to take two drops to take the same milligrams of Iodine that one Iodoral Iodine pill provides. This amount of Iodoral provides 7.5mg of Iodide and 5mg of Iodine (you need both forms). Natural Living also carries an Iodine in pill form, and theirs uses the Iodoral formulation with the necessary selenium and vitamin B’s for good absorption. Dr. Abraham’s suggestions for dose are in my prior articles and you can learn more about the 24 hour urine lab test needed to determine your Iodine levels and needs. You can also take Dr. Brownstein’s questionnaire as a first step utilizing a verbal test at the link below.

As I said, you need both forms as different organ systems need their preferred form e.g. the thyroid utilizes iodide; the breast tissue primarily utilizes iodine; the prostate uses iodine; the kidneys, liver, and blood can use either form. All endocrine glands, including your pancreas, need Iodine in one form or the other.

Other choices for bringing Iodine into your diet must be investigated further. There are some new Asian and European products from seaweed, and they must be able to be standardized enough so you know the quantity to take. I think the following 2 products are worth investigating further.

___ A Korean product called Mekabu Powder Ball. Their site states that 1 teaspoon (2g) of Mekabu Powder Ball twice a day is the same volume of good organic micro- and macro elements as if we ate full plate of rich seaweed. Personally, I would start with a max of 1 teaspoon and see if the other portion is needed. You’ll know its working as you will start feeling better. If after a couple of weeks you don’t feel improvement, then start adding more of the second teaspoon.

And the powder is not cooked. They relate that the oldest Japanese recipes of preparing seaweed tell us to eat seaweed raw, which is why my recipe today includes raw seaweed.

Modern science does indeed affirm that the anti-cancer substance Fucoidan (and other beneficial polysaccharides) DO break down if seaweed is cooked. That was determined in studies performed on Okinawa, known for it’s lowest cancer death rate in Japan.

What is Fucoidan? It is a sulfated polysaccharide found mainly in species of brown seaweed such as: kombu, limu moui, bladderwrack, wakame (and mekabu), mozuku and hijiki. This substance has also been found in marine animals such as the sea cucumber.

Japanese researchers have indicated that F-fucoidan can induce apoptosis (selected cell death) in human cancer lymphoma cell lines.

Fucoidan also:
___ supports blood circulation to native body cells
___ may help regenerate healthy skin tissue
___ supports healthy joint mobility at all ages
___ has blood thinning properties

Mekabu is a very concentrated source, as 40 pounds of raw sporophyll of Brown Seaweed: Undaria Pinnatifida species (Mekabu from wakame seaweed) are needed to make 1 pound of Mekabu Powder Ball. The Korean word for “wakame” is “miyeok”.

If you need to know, Mekabu Powder Ball was approved by the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) on June, 19th of 2002. – “FDA ID NO 2030950”. But, this Korean company site does not mention continuing to assay their product, if I remember correctly, whereas the next product does. This is important, as the ocean is becoming more polluted, especially in Asian waters near China.

___ Personally, I am more interested in Seagreens® which are harvested during the short Arctic summer, in an archipelago of remote conservation islands (which stretches more than 100 miles (180 kms) off the Lapland coast of Norway). The habitat produces dense shallow-water Wrack seaweeds with an outstanding nutritional profile. This is the land of the midnight sun and the light received and harvesting conditions are ideal. Traditional methods just cut the upper plant, therefore leaving the plant to regrow from the holdfast.

It is entirely sustainable mari-culture and the harvested areas are carefully rotated to allow full regrowth of the plants. No dredging or collection of dead, floating or beached seaweed is permissible for this product. Importantly, Seagreens® are uniquely certified free of environmental contaminants, toxic metals and microbial pathogens.

This company does not powder their seaweed which they say can can reduce its nutritional value. Harvesting, production and the end products are certified to international Organic and Biodynamic® Standards.

The company website states:
___ “Seagreens® contains an ideal balance of all the mineral salts including sodium at around 3.5 per cent, instead of 40 per cent typically found in salt.”
___ “Seaweed’s reputed contribution, among other things, to improving nutrient absorption and metabolism, supporting gut and bowel health and the lymphatic and endocrine systems including the thyroid, as well as dissolving fats in the blood and lowering cholesterol, has a sound basis in its very long food use and scientific research.”
___ “We know that seaweed can play a beneficial role in a number of common health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, thyroid problems, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.”
___ “Such a comprehensive balance of nutrients is found in no other natural food but seaweed. From the primordial ocean to the vegetation and animals which remain our food today, the continuous line of our nutritional composition – of earth, food and our bodies – can be traced back beyond the earliest organisms to the very chemistry of life itself. In this sense, we are what we came from and what we eat today.”
___ “Seaweed, since it absorbs all of the nutrients from our most primordial physical beginnings, still retains the unique capacity to fill all the nutrient gaps in the balance of the now, very different foods we eat, including land vegetables.

It responds to the nutrient depletion in modern foods. It assists the body to rid itself of chemical food additives and environmental contaminants alike.

Foods which upset our nutritional homeostasis (e.g. coffee, alcohol) and give rise to intolerances (e.g. chocolate, wheat, cabbage) find their apotheosis in seaweed.”

Seagreens® classic is ready-milled grains of wild Ascophylum nodosum seaweed which can be used in everything from soups to risottos or sprinkled onto almost any raw or cooked food. The Salad & Condiment product is larger dried pieces of wild Pelvetia canaliculata which can be used as they are, milled in a table grinder or soaked in cold water for use as salad, garnish or warm vegetable.

Em’s Coconut Lemon Quencher Tonic

1 organic lemon (save the peel to freezer and use the zest)
1 1/2 cups coconut water* (or 1 aseptic pack**)
1/2 cup pure spring water or alkaline water such as Evamor ***
1 T organic honey ****
1/2 tsp grated ginger root
1/2 t powdered kombu OR a 3″ slice of kombu to steep (see instructions below)
Celtic Sea salt to taste
Optional: a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper

1) Squeeze the lemon’s juice into your blender.

2) Next, add coconut water, water, honey, ginger and (powdered kombu, if using).

3) Blend and then strain any ginger pieces, if desired.

4) Taste and add Celtic sea salt, as needed.

5) Add the 3″ piece of kombu seaweed to steep, if you did not use the powdered kombu.

6) Adjust water level to taste. Add cayenne, if using. Drink after chilling or keep refrigerated for up to 10 days.


___ This is a wonderful alkaline drink which will help to nourish all your tissues and reduce inflammation. Because of the lemon, it has slightly diuretic properties too. It will help you to detoxify and it will help you regain better pH balance in your cells. This is a low glycemic index drink. This is much better for you than any other drink but water. With proper amounts of minerals and rehydration, you will likely be less stressed, too.

  • The lemon provides alkalinity and vitamin C.
  • The young coconut water provides alkalinity and is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It is a great source of natural sugars, salts and vitamins to ward off post work out fatigue. Coconut water has 15 times more potassium than most sport drinks but without the colorings, bromine (which depletes Iodine) or added sugars.
  • The pH of these waters is better than tap waters and the ORP is likely to be better, too.
  • The ginger, in addition to being anti-inflammatory, is rich in potassium, magnesium and manganese — all needed by diabetics.
  • The raw organic honey is a natural anti-viral.
  • The kombu provides fucoidan, Iodine and other minerals, as well as a slight gelling quality which is soothing to your gastro-intestinal tract.
  • The Celtic sea salt also provides valuable trace minerals, as it is a whole salt which is only naturally dried in the sun.
  • * This is the clear liquid from the cavity of an unbroken, uncracked coconut. Pierce one of the 3 holes at the base, after cleansing the area. The liquid should be clear and clean-smelling. If it is cloudy, odoriforous or pink tinged, do NOT use it! You can crack the coconut further and use the white flesh. Young, green coconuts (or young dehusked coconuts, which look white) are best and their white “meat” will have a gelatin-like consistency. If it is in that state, you can add the coconut meat to this drink by blending it in. Try to get organic coconuts from Florida, but you may have to get these online. Most Asian coconuts are fumigated.

    ** coconut water is also sold in health stores in aseptic cartons in the refrigerator case. The health stores will be more rigorous about getting brands with better practices. I hesitate to use canned stuff from Latino markets, as there’s no way to know if the coconuts were sprayed or fumigated and how they were cultured in the groves.

    *** (or more depending on desired concentration) – just add after tasting.

    **** you can use RAW organic honey for everyone over 3 years of age. Children under 3 must have a pasteurized honey. You can substitute agave nectar if you are going to use the drink in one day, otherwise use the honey, as it is a natural preservative.


    P.O. Box 3378, Torrance, CA 90510-3378
    or Call Toll Free in America: (800) 223-1601
    Optimox Iodine Loading Test

    Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD – medical herbalist and world seaweed expert

    Mekabu Powder Ball from Korea

    Why Seagreens®

    Dr. Brownstein’s Questionnaire

    (c)2009 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
    Please respect my copyright and write for permission to use my article at the About Me tab, on the upper navigation bar, if you want to quote more than one short paragraph. Thanks!

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    “Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

    I want to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, which begins Friday December 11 at sundown and lasts until December 19 at sundown. I encourage you to learn about Hanukkah in the interest of peaceful co-existence. Please read: Hanukkah – Humanity’s First Defense of Religious Liberty. I am not writing more about Hanukkah now as I am sharing an important series about Iodine and want it to move along as much as possible.

    Because I have some unexpected family obligations (due to a death in my new extended family), I may be writing this post in sections, so check back! The post may even end abruptly at times, until I finally finish it.

    If you haven’t read the earlier parts of this series, do so right now. You couldn’t spend the time more wisely than to learn about Iodine. It IS that important to your Health. You can’t spend your food money more wisely, either. Read here.

    Diabetics – Iodine and Health 1
    Diabetics – Iodine and Health 2
    Diabetics – Iodine and Health 3
    Diabetics – Iodine and Health 4
    Diabetics – Iodine and Health 5

    In this edition, let’s learn a bit more about individual seaweeds and I will include at least one recipe. Seaweeds?! I can hear many of you saying “EEEWH!” but, really,  they taste wonderful!

    Seaweeds and sea vegetables are an important part of any diabetic food plan, although you may not have heard that from your dietician, nutritionist or diabetes educator or physician. Why is that?

    Well, Iodine has slipped under the radar; as our consumption of it has fallen over the last 50 years, more “chronic” and acute diseases have risen. Only now are savvy researchers and physicians making the “connection” that our Health is being seriously lost due to iodine deficiency. Of course, doctors in prior centuries understood Iodine’s importance and used it as a universal healing substance, and rightly so.

    The longest-lived peoples, like the Okinawans, eat seaweed, sea veggies, ocean fish and shellfish (the only animals having high concentrations of the Iodine you need).  The healthiest populations e.g. the Japanese eat plenty of iodine-rich foods, daily, too.

    Several of the Amazon tribes in Peru and Ecuador travel 2 months of the year, leaving their mountains to head to the coast where the tribes gather seaweed and return with it to their rainforest home, (where their shaman / doctor uses the seaweed (iodine) to keep them healthy). Now, that’s a commitment, mountainous trekking and walking and hauling for 2 months!

    So, let’s learn more about these miraculous plants. All seaweeds are edible, but not all are tasty or have a texture that is soft enough to eat. There is also a seasonality to harvesting seaweed. For example, the best kombu is harvested during the winter, and most of the others are harvested in spring. Some are able to be harvested all year around.

    Some species are not cultured and must be gathered from the wild. Others are mari-cultured in shallow seawater bays or deeper ocean settings. Nori, which is used for sushi wrappers, has been cultured for a long time, and is the only seaweed which flourishes in quieter currents. Wakame is more recently being farmed. Other seaweeds need stronger currents to thrive.

    Only buy organic seaweeds, as seaweeds take up so much from the water around them. Seaweeds are a low glycemic food, as well as being a pH alkaline food. They have lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals and have no calories. Yes, no calories. As they are a vegetable, they have no cholesterol.

    Land foods contain rarely any iodine, which is vital for your metabolism, your weight, your thyroid gland and SO much more!

    The amount of iodine put in “iodized” salt or which is in my favorite whole sea salts is NOT enough. The naturally-occurring iodine in sea water is concentrated within the seaweeds and sea veggies, so they become a nutritious source for us and for ocean fish.

    And, furthermore, the RDA nutritional daily target for iodine is set too low at .15mg. Research shows that Health requires MUCH more, as the Japanese, Okinawans and others eat that higher amount daily, safely in food. It is important not to eat too much as it is to make sure you do not have too little. Use Japanese and Okinawan food patterns and portions as your guide.

    Sea vegetables have been harvested for food and medicine for thousands of years; in fact, early records show the Chinese used aquatic plants for medicinal purposes as early as 3,000 B.C. Wakame has long been an important source of high-quality protein, lipids, minerals (such as calcium), and vitamins A, B1, B2 and C in many Asian food cultures, especially as most Asians have severe lactose intolerance, so dairy calcium sources were never used by them.

    This is the most honored of the seaweeds which the Japanese use, as it is the one used to make Dashi, a foundational liquid in all Japanese cooking. The first soaked liquid contains about 60% iodine and when the kombu is used for “second” dashi stock, then the kombu releases much less of its remaining iodine content, but it still has more than most other foods, even at that stage.

    Konbu (kombu) grows in the cold currents and is ready to harvest in the winter.  It only grows in cooler waters, such as around the island of Hokkaido. In fact, the tastiest kombu comes from the coldest currents. The longest seaweed is Naga Konbu which is grown in Hidaka, a region in Hokkaido, and it can grow naturally to lengths in excess of 20 meters (at least 60 foot strands).

    Kombu has glutamic acid for umami (“savory” flavor). 1st and 2nd year kelp is very different nutritionally and in thickness of the leaves. Kombu kelp fronds drop off after its first year, and a new and superior frond grows the second year. Most of the market is cheap first-year kelp, but you will know which is superior 2nd year as it is 5x the price.

    The best tasting kombu is Rishiri Konbu which is named for the area it is grown in Hokkaido, Rishiri-tou. The next best is Hidaka Konbu from Hidaka, Hokkaido. The majority of harvested kombu grows in Hokkaido at a length of between 60cm and 2m.

    Kombu makes beans more digestible when cooked along with them.
    It is sold in plastic packages as dry strips which have a white covering; this is the Umami (the essence of the flavor, which is a “savory” taste).

    This seaweed is reconstituted by being soaked, or heated gently in water (it should not be boiled). In addition to being combined with dry tuna shavings to make dashi stock, there is also a tradition of using kombu to wrap around fish in order to impart its flavor on the fish. This technique is called, “Kobujime”.

    Kombu itself is a difficult food to digest and must therefore be cooked for a very long time in order for you to be able to eat it. Usually, instead of being eaten in its own right, it is valued for its depth of flavor and nutrition in soups and Japanese stews (nabe). The shavings of konbu, called “Tororu Konbu” are used to flavor tsuyu (a dipping sauce) or applied to rice balls (onigiri).

    It is also eaten as tsukudani, a dish where the kombu is boiled for three hours in soy sauce, mirin (Japanese rice wine) and dashi stock OR after cooking, the kombu can also be cut up into small strips then pickled with vegetables.

    Continuing on with the article, after a few days’ hiatus …


    Also is famous as the wrap around sushi. It is also known as “Laver” in Britain and is used to make Welsh Laver Bread. This seaweed only grows in sheltered, quiet current waters in a similar manner to moss, adhering itself to other objects in the sea. It is now mariculture farmed using nets for it to grow on. It is very important for the waters to be pure, as anything bad in the environment is not flushed away readily. The algae used to make Nori grows on the surface of the sea using huge nets. In fact, 230 square miles of Japan’s coast line is dedicated solely to the production of Nori. Over 300,000 tons of Nori is produced every year.  Organic nori is available from the suppliers mentioned in my other articles.

    Nori is sold in sheets with a very similar consistency to rice paper and even though its most well-known use is to make sushi rolls (maki-sushi), it can also be eaten as tsukudani. It can be dissolved in water and mixed with kanten (agar-agar, another seaweed) to form a firm gelled shape which is then used as a decoration for sashimi (raw fish).

    Nori is lower in iodine, and so it can be just safely eaten in normal quantities without worrying about excessive dietary intake even in the Japanese and Okinawan levels of high iodine intake.


    Wakame is a brown algae which grows in the warm currents. Its familiar jade-green color is the result of brief blanching after the fronds are harvested and rinsed. Wakame is sold either fresh (it can be eaten just as it is) or in a dried format. Different parts of the wakame plant are used in different ways. The fronds or leaves (“ha”), rib (“kuki” ) and ruffled, bulbous spiral near the base (“mekabu” ) are all edible. Each is enjoyed for its own distinctive flavor and texture.

    To rehydrate this seaweed, it takes awhile and requires lots of water. Using around 1 litre / quart of water per 10g of wakame will give it the space to expand fully in a medium size container.

    Wakame is a very versatile seaweed which can be eaten hot in soups, cold in salads, with sashimi or as sunomono (a vinegar based salad type of dish).

    Seaweeds are harvested in several seasons, but most are harvested in the spring and summer. The best time to eat wakame is in the spring at the same time as the takenoko (bamboo shoots) are out.  A typical, seasonal dish is Wakatake which is the new, bright green wakame and takenoko shoots served together in a clear soup (suimono).

    It was only in the 17th century that wakame became available to the commoner Japanese people; prior to that it had been reserved for the nobility. But technology in farming wakame became possible, so more became available.


    This is a specific part of the wakame seaweed plant. It is a floral structure just above the holdfast (which must not be harvested). The Mekabu is a curvy, spiral, leafy structure which many people use for its crunchier texture.  Mekabu is best eaten with citrus or ginger to complement its exceptional, unique flavor. It may be one of the seaweeds used in the lovely crunchy salad used at sushi bars (which mostly is made in China and has coloring — to try to get the original, quality ingredients to make your own*). Others say that Wakame stems (kukiwame) are included in this salad.

    * This sushi salad also may contain agar-agar and clear jellyfish. You can find some product frozen or refrigerated especially in Korean markets, but many of these salads are Chinese, so I won’t buy them due to their polluted waters and chemical dyes. The best sourced pre-made one I know about is: Sushi style seaweed salad


    This product is made from tegusa seaweed and it is tasteless and is not eaten in its own right. Instead, it is boiled and its extract is used as a gelling agent as a vegetarian option instead of animal-based gelatin. Kanten is rich in fiber but has zero calories and is also believed to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. You will find many recipes for its use in Macrobiotic cookbooks. The food industry uses agar-agar and carrageenan (another seaweed product) in many foods. Read the labels and you’ll be surprised at how often you have already been eating seaweed!


    A black seaweed which is bought dried and needs to be reconstituted in plenty of water for at least an hour. Then, it should be washed thoroughly before use. It develops a stronger flavour being cooked in oil and is served stir-fried and also simmered with carrots or burdock root. It can be stirfiried or simmered with either abura-age (fried tofu) or meats, and then seasoned with soy sauce. Alternatively, it can be mixed with mashed up tofu and other ingredients such as carrot and shiitake mushrooms, and steamed in a pocket of abura-age (like an inari sushi). It will never actually be as soft as other brown or green seaweeds, but it has a pleasant texture when soaked and simmered.


    This seaweed is a unique reddish-brown cordovan color because of all the iron it contains. It is a very good source for vegetarians. When dulse is fried, it is a suitable substitute for bacon. Dulse also makes good “chips” for snacks and bar food.


    This seaweed is readily available, but I have not used it.



    A dark brown seaweed which is eaten with brown rice vinegar as a starter or as a palate refresher. Mozuku is harvested in the spring and 90% of the mozuku eaten in Japan is produced in the southernmost islands of the Rykuyu Islands (known as “Okinawa”). Research is ongoing to study  its anti-cancer properties.


    This is a light and delicate seaweed. Ogonori is sold preserved in salt and is refrigerated. This seaweed is only eaten cold, either as a salad vegetable or it is served with sashimi.


    This is a bright green seaweed which is usually shredded in tiny pieces to act as a garnish and flavor enhancer e.g. top your steamed brown rice with ao nori, or add it just at serving to soups. I love this one.

    Aonori is freshwater seaweed collected from the mouths of rivers just in the estuary where freshwater flows into a bay. It has a pleasant, sea-breeze like aroma and flavor. Aonori is a popular garnish for okonomiyaki (Japanese stuffed pancake) and also yakisoba (stir-fried Japanese noodles).


    This is a Hawaiian lacey, purplish colored seaweed which many say is another of the seaweeds used in the famous crunchy seaweed salad used at Japanese restaurants.


    This seaweed is moderately available. I haven’t worked with it.


    It is available off the California coast.  I understand it has a mild flavor and has leaves which are indeed a lot like a lettuce leaf.

    SEA GRAPES   (Caulerpa lentillifera). It is a type of green bulbous seaweed which really look like bunched grapes. It is also known as umibudo and green caviar.


    Here is a universal type dressing for seaweed to make a salad.


    You can also get dehydrated, packaged seaweed combinations meant to be used as salad (different than the “crunchy” sushi one described above). This is a leafy salad. You will find these in any good Asian market and in some health stores or use walame or mekabu and kelp following the soaking directions on the packet. Garnish with nori and / or ao nori.

    3 T unseasoned, organic brown rice vinegar (get no salt; read labels)
    3 T organic soy sauce or tamari
    2 T organic sesame oil
    1 teaspoon organic brown sugar, or agave nectar (preferred)
    1 teaspoon finely grated, washed and peeled fresh ginger root
    1/2 teaspoon minced garlic clove
    1 T organic sesame seeds
    1/2 T  ponzu or lime juice
    1/2t citric acid (optional)

    Optional: Korean kochu-chang spicy sauce OR red pepper flakes

    AND / OR a little mirin (Japanese sake cooking wine), Mentaiko – spicy pollack roe

    Thinly sliced English cucumber and the prepared seaweeds

    Combine ingredients and incorporate into already soaked, prepared seaweed and cucumber. Use wakame or mekabu or packaged dehydrated seaweed salad mix. Top with roe, if using it.

    (c)2009 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
    Please respect my copyright, and if you want to use more than a couple of sentences as a quote, please write to me at the About Me page on the upper navigation bar. Thanks!

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    “Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

    I’ve written five articles on the subject of Iodine because it’s amazingly essential for our Health! How come you haven’t heard about it before? Well, it’s complacency and ignorance in current Public Health circles and in your doctor’s office. The scientific research is quite clear, and you need to take about 20 – 25 minutes to read the other 4 parts in this series, for background. If you are a regular reader, then just continue in this article’s text after these links.

    LINKS to the previous articles in the series. Please read first. It won’t take long and your health really does depend on knowing this!

    Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 1
    Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 2
    Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 3
    Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 4

    ___ In this edition, as one of the topics, let’s discuss Iodine, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, first.

    Thyroid hormone and your thyroid gland, together with iodine, are the most important factors by far for completion of a normal pregnancy and delivering a normal baby.

    Iodine is put into the mother’s milk by the lactating breast to levels that are 30 times the levels in the mother’s blood (your body can only put iodine in your breast milk if you have enough to give). I do not know how much (if any) is put into baby formulas. It would not be the first time that formula-makers have missed an essential ingredient. Maybe the amounts used would help explain the rash of learning “disabilities” and generally lower IQ scores in past decades, as Moms feeding their babies by breast milk has declined.

    If you find after delivery or while nursing, that your thyroid has become sluggish and you have ‘low thyroid” symptoms (like fatigue, cold extremities, weight gain etc.), then maybe your body is giving all your Iodine stores to your baby and leaving you with nothing left to operate your thyroid and metabolism with. In those circumstances, your immunity is also put at risk, along with many other possibilities to erode your health. Making sure that you maintain proper Iodine levels for you and your baby is critical. You have to learn what foods are iodine rich and then eat them everyday in normal-size portions.

    Iodine has very important functions for your child’s brain development before and after birth.

    Iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers can lead to statistically significant neuro-cognitive deficits in their infants. Lack of iodine creates metabolic havoc and may create irreversible developmental brain damage during gestation and in the first several years of life, according to Peter Laurberg, from Aalborg Hospital in Denmark, and his colleagues. If it is bad enough, your child could become a cretin, which is not reversible.

    Just start eating seaweed, daily. It tastes good; it really does. Next week, I’ll include more recipes, but meanwhile, Japanese and Macrobiotic cuisines offer the best chance to find some more recipes, along with Korean and Chinese cuisines, to a lesser extent.

    [[Never buy Chinese source seaweed unless you are sure there is NO ecological damage in the area where it is harvested. With China’s pollution, this is almost impossible.]]

    And, if you are concerned or interested, then take Dr. Abraham’s Iodine Loading Test to find out your body’s Iodine status (his lab is Optimox). All three labs mentioned below supply their own protocol for details on collection of urine samples, pooling samples for 24 hr. and sending a 2 ounce aliquot to the Laboratory for analysis. It would always be best to confirm that you can take this test when you are already pregnant; I don’t know the answer to that.

    P.O. Box 3378, Torrance, CA 90510-3378
    or Call Toll Free in America: (800) 223-1601
    Optimox Iodine Loading Test

    If you go through the Hakala Research Lab in Colorado, USA you will not need a doctor’s prescription for this test. Hakala Labs

    Labrix Clinical Services Inc. in Oregon City, Oregon, USA is another lab which can do this test for you.
    619 Madison Street STE 100
    Oregon City, OR. 97045
    Phone: 1 (503) 656-9596
    Toll Free in America: 1 (877) 656-9596   Fax: 1 (877) 656-9756
    Email: info@labrix.com
    Labrix Iodine Testing – explanation

    Dr. Jorge Flechas’ Lab: FFP Laboratories
    576 Upward Rd. Suite 8
    Flat Rock, NC 28731
    Toll Free: 877-900-5556
    Fax: 828-697-9020
    Email: ffp_lab@yahoo.com

    ___Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD, one of the world’s experts on seaweeds, the best source of Iodine, also mentions that there is a generational aspect to whether you and your future grandchildren will have a body optimizing Iodine and providing protection for any babies you, your daughters and grand-daughters produce.

    Read more here: How Seaweed Heals and How To Get Enough Iodine Read especially if you have chronic disease, have had recent trauma, surgery or are having chemotherapy. Additionally, seaweeds can help if you need anti-viral treatment or get pneumonia. Brown seaweeds are also the only vegetarian source of thyroid hormone able to be used by humans. Dr. Drum also discusses using seaweed as treatment “for prevention of Dioxin and PCB uptake” and to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (which he regards as poisoning the brain’s fatty tissue) in troops who have been exposed to chemicals during warfare.

    ___ It is critical to raise your iodine consumption gradually if you are deficient. Let your organ systems accommodate. You just can’t “catch up quickly” to levels the Japanese use. Too much, too quickly can cause other equally serious health problems. Stay with the amounts Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD, Dr. Abrahams, Dr. Flechas, Dr. Brownstein suggest and work up to 50mg of Iodine a day, over a number of months, even as much as a year.

    ___ Unless your food happens to be organically-farmed where seaweed actually has been applied as fertilizer, almost no land plants provide iodine, and, as Dr. Drum alerts us, unfortunately, my favorite whole sea salts (Celtic salts) do not have enough, either. There’s just not enough left in even gently-evaporated sea water; you must eat ocean plants (seaweeds) or ocean fish which eat ocean plants to get your Iodine requirement everyday, as Nature intended.

    Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD also says, “Individuals with “seafood allergy” seem especially sensitive to iodine. Contrary to some practitioners and their believing patients, he says nobody has “iodine allergy”. No iodine, no life.” Use seaweed as your source rather than fish if you have concerns.

    ___ SEAWEED IODINE CONTENT from Dr. Drum
    Icelandic kelp, 8000 parts per million
    Norwegian kelp 4000ppm
    Atlantic kelp 1500-2000ppm
    Pacific kelps 500-1200ppm
    Fucus spp. (species) 200-500ppm
    Wakame 50-150ppm
    Sargassum 35ppm
    Nori 15 ppm

    These numbers are estimates and will vary considerably by season, location, age of the plant and harvest practices. Sources for buying these were provided in my previous articles.

    ___ Dr. Drum has learned that the Japanese and other Asians who eat much more seaweed than the rest of the world does, apparently soak their Kombu and other seaweeds in freshwater for 10-30 minutes prior to using in miso broth (dashi) and other cooking. He says this effectively removes about 60% of the iodine (Hazutosi).

    Curiously, he was also told by Japanese nationals that the kombu was then also left in the miso broth for 10-20 minutes and then discarded. It can be used several times, if left to dry out again. And, if you intend to use it several times, then maybe forego the “soaking in fresh water” and just allow the first dashi to have 60% iodine and remaining 2 later dashi soups to have a lesser amount, at least sometimes.

    For people like the Japanese and Okinawans, who eat large amounts of seafood and sea veggies, the soaking or prolonged rinsing of high-iodine content seaweeds may reduce the risks for excess iodine-induced disease. But, notice that the all-pervasive “sushi” wrap is made from nori, which has low levels of iodine, and therefore does not require pre-treatment.

    Sprinkling dry, cut nori on rice, as a garnish on anything or wrapping sushi, is a good way to get started, along with using about 1t of powdered Japanese-sourced or American-sourced Kombu a day, (to a max in later months of a total of 1Tablespoon of kombu powder per person, spread between 3 meals and snacks most days).

    ___ Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD also sheds light on another likely wide-spread set of conditions which seaweed can alleviate – potassium deficiency. And, you likely need to take a daily supplement of selenium (this is another mineral researchers find chronically lacking in the general public, and especially in diabetics).

    Dr. Drum says, ” I believe that almost any craving for salt in our dietary times of heavily salted (with only “table-salt” i.e. sodium chloride), home-cooking, restaurant meals and preserved foods is a strong indication of potassium deficiency, especially in pregnancy.”

    Potassium is an essential mineral, needed for even minimal nerve and muscle functioning. It is also a cross-membrane transporter ion for your brain’s neurotransmittors (like serotonin – which prevents depression) and also for transporting your hormones. This may also help to explain the huge increase in those with depression and other endocrine system disorders, like diabetes.

    Dr. Drum has observed that “adding high-potassium foods, especially seaweeds, to the diets of people with A.D.D. (instead of Ritalin) can significantly improve behavior and mental functioning” in children and in adults.

    Similarly, fibromyalgia patients, who are: exhausted, forgetful, moody and agitated, as well as those with: anxiety disorders and depression are all favorably improved with high-potassium diets and seaweeds.

    Talk to your physician about this and have your doctor contact Dr. Drum (contact info is on his web-site http://www.ryandrum.com.
    Potassium supplementation and levels must always be monitored carefully. Too much and too little are both bad.

    Well, we’re not done yet, but it’s enough for now.

    Best to all — Em

    Read more in the Title Archive on the upper navigation bar.

    (c)2009 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
    If you would like to quote from or include this article, please contact me at the About Me page above in order to get permission. Please respect my copyright. Thanks!

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