I know what you're probably thinking - "WTF is that?! It looks like you found it at the bottom of the ocean or something!"
Aaaand you would be right.
But before you write me off as totally off my rocker, consider this fun fact - "studies indicate that sea vegetables have been eaten since at least 8000 B.C.E. by cultures in the Japanese region" (1). And the ancient Chinese considered them a delicacy fit for guests of honor and royalty. So really, we're just late to the party!
And lucky us, we don't have to go out and harvest them ourselves, we can go grab sea veggies to our heart's content, pre-harvested and packaged ready for us to enjoy.
I had heard of dulse, but never knew where to find it or what to do with it...until I decided to use it for this blog series. And it has quickly become a favorite of mine. In fact, when I was taking the initial picture of all twelve foods together, I started snacking on the dulse just plain. Before I knew it, I had eaten the whole bag!
Before I get carried away about my new love affair with dulse, let's explore what it actually is...
Even though we refer to this class of foods as "sea veggies" they're really not veggies at all (but I'll still use the term sea veggies, because if I went around using the real term, no one would know what I was talking about). They're technically neither plant nor animal, but actually a form of "alga" - a chlorophyll-containing organism, usually aquatic, that lacks true roots, stems, and leaves, and that does not produce seeds. And get this - the word I learned for the first time just yesterday - "fronds" (the whispy green part of the fennel that shares its name with the fern family), is also the same term referring to the leafy-looking part of dulse that we consume. Apparently, when it rains, it pours fronds.
When it comes to seaweed, there are many, but they are grouped into types by color - brown, red, and green. Dulse is, as you have probably guessed by the first photo, a red seaweed.
Similar to how plants and trees in our environment convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen in the process known as photosynthesis, seaweeds perform a similar cleansing function in our oceans. They filter heavy metals, radiation, and toxins from the ocean water and deactivate them. Not to worry - this doesn't mean you'll be consuming the heavy metals and toxins found in the ocean. Quite the contrary. Just as plants are converting the carbon and outputting oxygen, sea veggies are de-activating the destructive frequency of the toxins. In your body, they have the power to do the same thing - they act like a sponge, soaking up heavy metals and radiation. And instead of out-putting them back into your body, the sea veggie's bioactive phytochemicals lock onto the toxins, trap them, and then exit the body without passing on the contamination to us. (2)
Pretty amazing, right?!
The reason I love dulse in particular is that it's so tasty, easy to snack on right out of the package and delicious in savory dishes.
When you open up the package, there are traces of white that might catch you off guard. But don't be alarmed - it's just naturally-occurring sea salt. This is not the kind of salt intake you should be worried about. In fact, real, unprocessed sea salt is amazing for our bodies and fires up our neurons (but more on that in a future blog post).
The reason I chose dulse as a BALANCING beauty food is that it has the power to cleanse your body from the inside out, brining it back to a balanced state. Dulse is recommended as a wonderful thyroid-balancer. In particular for thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism (low activity of the thyroid). Its high lignan-content means it is protective for cancers in general. It is an amazing endocrine-supporting food. Meaning it will cleanse and replenish the control-center for your body - the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and pineal gland.
Because it cleanses heavy metals, dulse can be helpful in preventing dementia, Alzeihmer's, and even common brain fog and memory loss.
Dulse is also a great remedy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression, balancing mood, and providing emotional stability. Just like grounding foods grown on in the soil, Atlantic sea vegetables, are considered a powerful grounding food. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, grounding foods are especially important for a Vata (air and ether) imbalance. There are many resources on Ayurveda and doshas, but here's one that explains the basics.
If you are someone who has cut out or reduced processed salt in your diet, dulse is a wonderful thing to start eating as it is a rich source of bioavailable iodine - further supporting for our thyroid function! Sea veggies also contain high amounts of naturally-occurring minerals found in the ocean - the very same minerals found in our blood.
Sea veggies are also rich in calcium, folic acid, and magnesium. They are incredibly anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and calming to the nervous system.
Today, I've concocted a delicious ramen recipe for you. It is nutrient-dense, warming, and super easy to make.
(makes two hearty servings, takes ~30 minutes)
- 2 large eggs (from pasture-raised hens)
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/2 inch peeled, minced ginger
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 5 cups broth of choice (I used organic, low-sodium chicken broth)
- 3 Tbsp. miso paste (soy is a common GMO crop, so make sure it's non-GMO or Organic)
- 1 small bunch bok chok, sliced
- 2 packets ramen (I used this gluten free Jade Rice one)
- 1 cup loose dulse (pull apart any big pieces)
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- Optional toppings: seaweed sesame sprinkles, lime, fresh cilantro, hot sauce, organic tamari.
*You'll want one small and two medium pots for this one.
1. In the small pot, bring water to a boil. Gently lower eggs in, using a large slotted spoon. Set timer for seven minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, over medium-high heat combine chicken broth and miso paste.
3. In your third pot, combine a teaspoon of broth and gently sautée ginger and garlic over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn. Add in green onions.
4. When eggs are done, remove from heat and quickly add to ice water or run cold water over them. Once cool enough, peel. Set aside and have them ready to ad to soup.
5. Add broth and miso to ginger, garlic, green onion mixture.
6. Add ramen, dulse, and sesame oil. Leave on medium heat for ~2 minutes (depending on your ramen), being careful not to over-cook (ramen will get mushy!). Remove from heat.
7. Add toppings of choice and serve immediately.
I hope you loved todays Inside Out Beauty Food of the Day, dulse!
Have you tried it before? What are your favorite ways of eating it? Do you have other sea veggie go-tos or tips for me? There are still a few varieties that I haven't tried cooking with yet.
Thank you so much for reading!
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005. Michael Murray, N.D.
2. Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods, 2016. Anthony William.