The Seaweed Man

April 20, 2011

Living at the edge of the continent. This is how Larch Hanson, a seaweed harvester for forty years, describes himself. He has some powerful advice about including seaweed regularly in our diet. Here is his latest article as well as a link to William Spear’s article about protective diet in Huffington Post.:

Considering the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, it is important that you understand this article:Iodine in Seaweed Protects the Thyroid from Radiation

Once upon a time, about a gazillion years ago, the animals in the sea with spinal cords decided to base their regulatory hormones upon stable Iodine 127. A bazillion years later, some of those animals decided to leave the sea and live on the land where Iodine 127 was not abundant. Land plants don’t contain much iodine at all. So they developed thyroid glands and blood compounds that would conserve scarce Iodine 127. All went well, until some near-sighted nuclear scientists started splitting uranium atoms and creating radioactive Iodine 131 which concentrates through the food chain (from grass to cows to milk to humans, for instance) and can end up in the thyroid, burning it out, leaving people unable to self-regulate their lives. You see, Iodine 131 has a very short half-life of 8 days. That means that within a period of two months, it emits most of its radiation. And if that iodine 131 happens to be situated in the thyroid while it is emitting its radiation, it will do great damage to the thyroid gland. 25% of the women in this country, for instance, now have clinical symptoms of thyroid imbalance. Why is this happening?

Iodine is a member of the halide group of elements that includes bromine, chlorine, and fluorine. Compounds that contain these elements tend to displace iodine from the body. Modern people are exposed to bromated dough conditioners in commercially-produced bread, and bromine used in disinfectants (in hot tubs, for instance). Bleach in the laundry and at the swimming pool contains chlorine. Dentists use fluorides, and fluoride is used in toothpaste and drinking water. All of these sources of chemicals, and more, are exposing us to halides that displace iodine from our bodies. In the Southwest, the Colorado River system that irrigates the fields that produce 30% of the vegetables consumed in our country is contaminated by a lagoon of spent rocket fuel in Nevada that is leaching perchlorate into the water. Perchlorate is taken up by broad leaf veggies  like lettuce, and it gets into the body and blocks transport of iodine to the thyroid. If an air bag goes off in your car, your air is immediately contaminated with perchlorate released by the explosive air bag.

There really aren’t very good iodine supplements available to the public. If you read a material safety data sheet for potassium iodide, you will understand the negative side effects of long term use. The best long term strategy is to integrate seaweed into one’s daily diet. Then your thyroid will always have adequate levels of stable Iodine 127 and will not take in radioactive Iodine 131. Digitata kelp has the highest iodine content, followed by kelp. Alaria has moderate levels of iodine. All of these are good sources of iodine, provided you don’t roast them, releasing the iodine to the air. Learn a water-based method that will work for you. Make soup and drink the broth at the same time you eat the seaweed. Then your body will receive the iodine. If you are a raw foodist, make a smoothie that includes kelp. Nori and dulse don’t contain much iodine, compared to kelp and alaria. Any commercial seaweed that is promoted as “tender” or “convenient” or “ready to eat” probably has been subjected to a heat process (parboiling, roasting) and thus the iodine content is lowered.

Recipes for proper preparation of seaweed are available at LarchHanson.com and seaweed can be ordered direct from the harvester and his apprentices who use low temperature methods of drying at TheSeaweedMan.com.

Rest in the Light, abide in the Heart.Larch Hanson
Maine Seaweed LLC
Ph/fax: 207 546 2875
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