Sea Vegetables. That’s right, sea vegetables. I am not speaking of broccoli, kale, or cauliflower. I am speaking of the ones from the sea, such as Nori, Wakame, Kombu, and Arame, to name a few.
I was first introduced to sea vegetables in the very early 2000’s after adopting a macrobiotic diet. Although I no longer maintain a strict macrobiotic lifestyle, it was a healing diet I truly benefited from and I still include mineral-, vitamin-, and fiber-rich sea vegetables into my everyday cooking and meals. But at the time, the drastic change in my diet called for the incorporation of entirely new food items and I approached everything with an open mind.
I decided to research on the background of sea vegetables, as I was curious as to why I had never heard of them. While they are popular in many cultures, Japan consumes them frequently. Sea vegetables are a staple in many of their dishes—like sushi, which is wrapped with nori. I love to indulge in nori in many different ways: By itself as a snack, mixed in with popcorn, or even when making homemade sushi (both recipes are in the Shut Up and Cook! book). Arame is another sea vegetable that I enjoy eating in various ways. I love incorporating it into a veggie bowl. Wakame is also a great addition to your homemade soups.
But let’s be real—kombu is my true go-to. I use kombu in almost anything that I boil (including oatmeal). The reason is that its nutrients are absorbed by the boiling water or dish that is being prepared, providing extra nutrition to our meals. Dishes can vary from soups to oatmeal, to bean-based dishes… I even make my fresh pots of tea using water boiled with Kombu. I love the feeling of knowing that I’m adding nutrients to my meals.
This all may sound crazy to you, and trust me, I understand. But consider broadening your sources of vital vitamins and minerals by giving sea vegetables a chance. After all, you are a nécessité.
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Photographer credit: Nicole Garner