I’m always looking at ways to incorporate more iodine-rich foods into my diet. Before having issues with my own thyroid, I never thought twice about it, let alone the core nutrients it needed for proper function. That’s when I came up with this Sprouted Salad with Seaweed Dressing.
The upper Midwest and the Great Lakes region were known as the ‘Goiter Belt’ due to the strikingly high number of enlarged thyroid glands in the past. As habitants in this region, we are removed from the oceanside where iodine is found naturally in the air. This stretch of land also lacks iodine in the soil and therefore in our plants.
The thyroid gland is responsible for many tasks including, regulating body temperature, metabolism, growth, electrolyte balance, the breakdown of fat and fertility. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone and iodine is that star of the show. A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland that is usually caused by an iodine deficiency.
There are a couple of reasons for this enlargement. 1) The thyroid grows larger and larger as a result from this deficiency in the hopes of ‘catching’ more iodine circulating the body. Or 2) it could not have to do with the thyroid but instead the pituitary gland, where it oversecretes Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Using biofeedback, the pituitary picks up on low thyroid hormone and sends out little alarm signals (TSH pulses). This shoutout tells the thyroid to get to work and encourages growth.
Did you ever wonder why our salt was iodized? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Salt was considered “…an appropriate vehicle for fortification with iodine…it is widely consumed by virtually all population groups in all the countries…” Seems about right. However, what about those of us whom have eliminated table salt from our diets for health reasons? Sure, Himalayan salt has 84 trace minerals and a slew of health benefits, but does it have iodine? The answer is no!
I was shocked to discover this myself. All this time, I knew the health benefits of this mineral-rich salt were vast, but not for a second did iodine cross my mind. Pair that with our depleted soils, a diet with little to no of sea vegetables and lack of airborne iodine and we’ve got ourselves a problem. It’s no wonder health issues surrounding the thyroid are so prevalent.
How can we increase our iodine? Sea Veggies! Kombu, wakame and nori are amongst the highest iodine-containing food sources. Take this for example; according to Dr. Axe, 1 large egg delivers 12 mcg (micrograms) of iodine, 3oz of turkey breast gives 34 mcg and 1/4 oz of dried seaweed offers a whopping 4500 mcg of iodine!!
You may be thinking you either don’t know how to make sushi rolls or you don’t have the time. Fair. However, there’re plenty of other ways to incorporate iodine into our diet! When you’re soaking and cooking legumes, toss big piece of kombu into that process. Aside from iodine content, kombu helps reduce the gas-promoting properties of legumes. Rehydrate dried seaweed in water and then toss some a salad, add chopped wakame to your miso soup or try out this nori salad dressing!
This dressing takes under 5 minutes to make. It’s rich in flavour and healthy minerals and will keep fresh in the fridge for up to a week. I’ve been on a nori dressing kick for weeks now. I drizzle some over my veggies, sweet potato, and I’m even eating it with eggs (okay, maybe I took it too far but i couldn’t help myself!). If you enjoy eating fish, this would be an excellent sauce to pour over baked salmon and pan-searred tuna. This dressing is made with immune-boosting apple cider vinegar (ACV); the gift that keeps on giving. Can you say two birds one stone?
Give it a go and tell me what you think. Balance out the acidity of the ACV with the sweetness of a date. Don’t have any dates on hand? Go ahead and use honey! Both do the job very well. Enjoy!! 🙂
- 1 cup mung beans, sprouted
- I large sweet potato, spiralized
- 2 bell peppers, julienned
- 1/2 small red onion
- 2 cups snow peas, sliced diagonally
- 1 bunch alfalfa sprouts (for garnish)
- 1/2 bunch dill, chopped finely
- 1/2 apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 2 tbsp black sesame oil
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 nori sheets
- 1-2 medjool dates or 2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- In a large pot, bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil. This will be to blanch the sweet potato.
- Spiralize sweet potato and set aside.
- Prepare the rest of the veggies and combine in a large mixing bowl.
- When the water is boiling, place the sweet potato curls in the pot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until sweet potato has softened. When ready, strain and transfer to a bowl with chilled water. This will terminate the cooking process. Strain and combine with other veggies.
- Give the salad a good toss.
- Place oven on broil (high) and insert two nori sheets. Keep a watchful eye as this stage moves quickly. After 1-2 minutes, turn the nori sheet over for an additional 30 seconds. Check the nori sheet. If it's crispy and has turned colour to a brighter green than the original that is a sign it's done. Remove from oven.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend on high until smooth. Your dressing will turn green from the seaweed!
- Check for adjustments (more ACV/honey). Adjust accordingly.
- Either pour over entire salad and mix or store dressing in an airtight glass jar and use as you go!
- The dressing will keep fresh up to one week in the fridge
- Enjoy this dressing over steamed veggies, as a dip, a salad dressing or over grilled fish. 🙂