Vegan Bytes #23: Tapping into the Magic of Sea Vegetables

Welcome to the insider group of subscribers! Our newsletter focuses on helping you learn more about veganism and how to apply it to your daily life. Vegan Bytes is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date with the world of food, answering your vegan nutrition questions, and providing you with ideas on ways to spread your lifestyle beliefs.

In this issue...

*Vegan Thoughts: Magical Sea Vegetables
*Contest: Who Had the Most Inspiring Entry?
*Ebooks: Vegan Nutritionista Ebook Packages
*Question: Getting Teenagers to Eat More Vegetables
*Question: "Will I detox from dairy products?"
*Recipe of the Month: Carrot and Burdock Kinpira
*Hidden Pages: Pages Created Just For You
*Vegan Store: Cute Vegan Tee Shirts
*What's New?: What's new on Vegan Nutritionista?

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What in the world do I do with sea vegetables?

The Kind Diet

For some time, I've been both scared and intrigued by a few members of my supermarket... the sea vegetables. I never really knew what to make of them-- I love eating them in Asian restaurants, but I assumed I would never be able to recreate anything similar at home. Plus, they are so oceany-smelling and weird looking.

The intrigue overtook the fear and I started to learn about them.

Did you know sea vegetables (or seaweed) are one of the richest sources of minerals in the vegetable world? They're also almost fat-free, very low in calories, packed with calcium, protein, carbohydrates, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, iodine, and sodium, and vitamins A, B1, C, and E.

According to Alicia Silverstone in The Kind Diet, sea vegetables "are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, reduce blood pressure, and make for truly badass skin, hair and nails."

Sea vegetables also have compounds which help to remove toxins from our bodies. There have even been studies done which show that kombu and wakame binds with radioactive materil in the body and therefore, inhibits tumor growth.

If you share in my fascination of these veggies, you've probably noticed quite a few different types of seaweed in most grocery stores.

Most of us are familiar with nori as it's the most common wrapper for sushi rolls. Nori is a type of red algae that is often cultivated. It's full of vitamin A and protein, and sometimes goes by the name "laver" or "sloke." I like to keep a package of nori around for wrapping rice and veggies, making sushi, and breaking up into soups.

Another seaweed most of us have heard of is kelp. Kelp is often sold as dried kelp powder, and it's amazing in faux tuna fish sandwiches as it imparts a slightly fishy flavor.

If you have any of the Vegan Nutritionista menu plans, you're probably somewhat familiar with agar agar. Agar agar works as a great replacement for gelatin in jellos, puddings, and nut cheeses. It's full of iodine, and also works as a mild laxative. I find agar agar is usually pretty expensive in health food stores, but it's ridiculously cheap in Asian markets. It comes in many different forms, and most recipes call for flakes, so depending on the size of your flakes, the amount you need will vary.

Now on to the ones you probably haven't heard of...

Arame is often sold dried and in thin strands, and it's perfect in soups or in addition to vegetable dishes. Arame is great for you skin, hair, nails, and bones.

Hijiki is the calcium powerhouse of sea vegeables with about 14 times as much calcium as milk. When it's dried, it becomes very tough (the consistency of jerky), and so it needs to be soaked before eating.

Kombu is very popular in soups, rice, and vegetables because it helps prevent them from sticking. And, because it's high in minerals, it helps make beans more digestible.

Wakame has tons of protein, calcium, iron, sodium, and other vitamins and minerals.

You can buy most of these at grocery stores, and especially health food store. If you're on a budget, Asian supermarkets are your best friend. They have every seaweed you can think of, and they're super cheap.

If you shared in the fear and confusion of the unknown greens from the sea, hopefully this has helped you. I think you'll find them just as magical as I do!


Pick the Winner of the February Contest!

I was blown away by the touching, inspiring, and motivating stories of why many of you became vegan, and I'm so glad we set up a contest to learn those stories.

The responses ranged from lowering cholesterol levels to improving skin conditions to simply refusing to participate in the slaughter of animals. I was incredibly proud of each of you who responded and know that others will take inspiration from your stories.

Here are the top 8 entries, and below is a link to a really quick (one question) survey that allows you to pick your favorite entry.

I hope you will take some time to read through these stories, pick a winner, and perhaps share your own story afterwards. Even though the contest is now over, you never know who you could help by telling about yourself. Which of these entries do you like best:

Click here to vote.



**Klein's sent me this huge shipment of their soy-based kosher nondairy ice cream to taste test for the winner, and it's great. I prefer the flavor to other soy ice creams like Tofutti. Note: The winner's package will be an assortment of Klein's nondairy flavors worth around $75!


  • All posts entered in these categories between February 9th and March 8th count in the contest. The contest is now ended, but we'd still like to hear your inspiring stories, so feel free to enter yours.

  • Every reader of today's newsletter has a chance to vote on the most inspiring story, with one vote per IP address. If you are up for a prize, do forward this to your friends and family and encourage them to vote. Please don't do anything dishonest to try to garner votes though.

  • The person with the most votes will be notified March 16th and asked for an address for where to send the prizes later that week.


    Vegan Nutritionista Ebooks

    Vegan Meal Plans

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    Vegan Meal Plans is a complete meal plan for one month vegan weekday dinners. It includes recipes, pictures, nutritional information, grocery lists, and tips and techniques. Everyone from those beginning a vegan diet to those veterans who want fresh menu ideas love this ebook. It focuses on fresh, local, and seasonal vegetables and uses all normal ingredients-- no fussy or gourmet skills needed. Download a copy for only $9.75 here.

    Vegan Meal Plans for Spring

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    I'm in the process of completing a spring meal plan book that will focus on seasonal spring vegetables like kale, lettuce, carrots, peas, strawberries, and more!

    It will be structured just like the first meal plans, which continues to be the most popular ebook on Vegan Nutritionista. It should be available within the next few weeks, and definitely before the April 13th newsletter. If you want to preorder it now, you can do so here: Vegan Meal Plan for Spring, and it will be sent to you the minute it's available for sale.

    Vegan Grocery List

    This massive, complete vegan grocery list is the only one you'll ever need. Print out copies of it to hang on your fridge, and then mark what you need as you go throughout the week. Download a copy for only $1.99.

    A Fresh New Vegan You

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    A Fresh New Vegan You is a complete look at why people go vegan, including information about factory farms, the environment, and the health benefits. It provides details on how to go vegan, and offers basic vegan nutritional advice, as well as information on vegan pregnancy and raising vegan children. This ebook combines all my vegan research into one easy, convenient location. Download a copy for only $27 here.

    Ebook Package Deal:

    Get A Fresh New Vegan You and Vegan Meal Plans with a free copy of the massive Vegan Grocery List for only $33. Save 10%! Download this package here.


    Getting Teenagers To Eat More Vegetables


    Calling all moms of teenagers!!

    Anita wrote to me asking how she could convince her teenage boys to eat more vegetables so she wouldn't have to cook several meals each night. I told her to post her question in our forum to see what other mothers advise.

    Here's her question:

    I have a dilemma getting my teenage sons to eat vegetables, and I'm not sure what would be the right thing to do. I need a little feedback. I went vegan a year and a half ago; my husband thought it was all crazy but he ended up slowly going vegetarian (as of a couple of weeks ago); my kids think I'm crazy and only "freaks eat veggies."

    I cannot get my kids to eat veggies to save my soul! I don't count potatoes, corn, and carrots as healthy notorious vegetables either. I have two teenage boys and they are both extremely picky eaters. Every day I come home from work and I end up making 3-4 different meals for everyone to keep everyone happy.

    I feel like a hypocrite for buying and cooking meat for my boys (and my husband when he ate meat) but knew I was doing the right thing for me by not eating it. Now that my husband is a vegetarian cooking for him and myself is easier, however; (the dilemma) I'm tired of making the different meals and feel my boys should just eat whatever it is I stick in front of them or go hungry (or have a bowl of cereal).

    Is it wrong of me to cut out the meat from their diet? If they want to eat meat while they are at school or at a friend's house I'm ok with that (although I wish they wouldn't eat meat in general). I feel I'm the parent, I make the rules and what mom says goes; but I don't want them to hate for it in the end either.

    Can you help Anita? To share your tips, click here.


    "Will I detox when I stop eating dairy products?"



    Should I expect detoxing from dairy products?

    I have been vegetarian for a year and a half, but went completely vegan 4 months ago. I have tried to find information regarding the effects of detoxing from (lots of) dairy products, but have not been able to have my question directly answered. I have suffered from breakouts on my forehead and jawline since becoming vegan. I am curious as to how long this "detoxing" might last, if you think that is the issue.

    I have also considered a sensitivity to soy products to possibly be the cause. If you have any advice on clearing it up, that would be wonderful as well. Thank you for a great website and newletter!

    Blessings, Denise King

    Click here to read my answer.

    Have unresolved questions about veganism? Want to share some details and recipes from your vegan Thanksgiving? Join in the discussion on our site by asking and answering questions, as well as commenting on other answers. It's fun and helpful!


    Recipe of the Month:
    Carrot and Burdock Kinpira

    Small rolling pin

    I am fully aware that the title of this recipe sounds like a foreign language, and that once you read the ingredients you might be turned off even further. However, I feel the need to include this vegan recipe here because I absolutely love it. It comes from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, a book I highly recommend.

    Kinpira is a traditional Japanese dish that also follows the macrobiotic diet. This dish is really strengthening and delicious, and extremely easy to make. A friend of mine once told me that burdock roots are so strong that they can grow straight through rocks, and so they make us feel very grounded. Burdock also helps to purify the blood. You can find it in the specialty section of Whole Foods, and it's pretty inexpensive, and the flavor is amazing.


    2 long pieces of burdock root, cut into matchstick pieces
    2 big carrots, cut into matchstick pieces
    2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
    1 tsp. sesame oil
    2 pinches sea salt
    1/2" piece of ginger, grated, then squeezed between your fingers
    1 tsp. shoyu or tamari or soy sauce


    Heat the sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the burdock and a pinch of salt, and stir for 2-3 minutes.

    Add the carrot and the other pinch of salt and stir for another 2-3 minutes.

    Add enough water to cover the bottom of your pan and immediately put a lid on top, trapping the steam. In the winter, you want to add a little more water so the vegetables cook longer. (This will make the vegetables sweeter and will warm your body more.)

    Simmer and steam for about 20 minutes. Add the soy sauce and cover again, letting it cook for another 10 minutes, until the water is dried up and the vegetables are soft. If the water is gone but the veggies are still crispy, add more water and cook a little longer.

    Remove from the heat, add the ginger juice and sesame seeds, toss to coat, and serve.

    Makes about 4 servings.


    Secret Vegan Nutritionista Pages

    Vegan Bytes Insider Password

    The following pages are created just for Vegan Bytes Insiders... they are special hidden pages that only you can see, and it's my way of thanking you for reading each month.

    The following pages are password-protected and will require a password from you. This password will change occasionally and you will always find the most current password in the most current Vegan Bytes Newsletter.

    CURRENT PASSWORD = pineapple
    p.s. case sensitive

    Vegan Chemical-Free Gas Remedies
    The one negative drawback to eating a vegan diet is that you often eat more fiber than the typical person. Doesn't sound negative, right? Well, it can be for your digestive system. Never fear though... I have researched and found several amazing, natural, chemical-free gas remedies.

    Take A Fruit Bouquet Workshop
    Fruit Bouquets are a creative way to show someone you care, without having to cut flowers or buy chocolates. Take this workshop to learn how to make your own fruit baskets, including pineapple daisies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and grape tulips.

    Learn All About Nut Cheeses
    Vegan cheeses are abundant in grocery stores across the world, but most of them are still lacking something. Tree nut cheeses are the fabulous and new (somewhat) addition to the vegan world, and their flavor is unparalleled.


    Vegan Tee Shirts

    Did you know that...

    ...pigs are more aware of their surroundings than dogs and 3 year-old children?

    ...pigs love massages and music?

    ...cows mourn the loss of their friends, and sometimes cry real tears? chicks learn to peep from their mother... while they're still inside the egg?

    ...and so many more interesting, adorable facts about farm animals.

    Rather than focusing on the depressing messages about factory farms, I think positive shirts about animals bring out the compassion in people around us.

    Check out these fun vegan tee shirts...


    Whats new

    Like many websites, Vegan Nutritionista is constantly growing and changing, and if you signed up for this newsletter a long time ago, you might not have read our new information. Our blog page keeps you up-to-date with new articles on the site.

    Click here to go to our blog for updates on the site.

    We also now have a vegan forum where you can find topics submitted by users for discussion, answers, and places to add your own input. There is no member name required to participate, so you can jump right in and join in the discussion now.

    Follow our updates on Twitter:

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    Vegan Essentials

    Vegan Essentials is one of my very favorite places to shop for vegan supplies. They have everything from clothes and shoes to vegan cheese, and their prices are the best around.

    I am an affiliate for them, so anytime someone buys something from Vegan Essentials after using a link from our site, I make a small commission on it. But, I do promise that I would never recommend something that I don't use and love myself.

    So if you see a link to Vegan Essentials or any other company on our site for something you like, you can support their company and the running of Vegan Nutritionista as well, or you can always choose to go directly to the company.


    That's all for this month!! I hope you enjoyed reading it.

    Comments? Feedback? Ideas? I'd love to hear from you. My website is here to help you, and I love to hear feedback on how to better do so. Just use my contact page and let me know what you think.

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    Have a great month!


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