Warning: This post may only speak to my readers with 2 X chromosomes. AKA where my ladies at?
I have always considered myself a feminist…whatever that may mean to you. At the ripe age of 11 I refused to help clear the table after a dinner party because I was didn’t want to conform to my mother’s “misogynist ideals that it was the woman’s job to handle the dirty dishes.” Annnnnd, approximately 30 seconds later I was sent to my room. I dragged my friends in college to countless performances of the Vagina Monologues (true entertainment, my friends.) I spent an entire summer in 2012 aggressively filling out job and internship applications at Planned Parenthood. I never got a position, but Monster has been sending me job offers for the past year (reminder: it is now 2016 and I am living in a different part of the state.) You’re a little late, PP, a litttttle late.
Needless to say, I have always been interested in women’s rights and women’s health. From a scientific perspective, the cyclical nature of the female body has always both fascinated and eluded me. Women are truly marvels to me– we are constantly maintaining this delicate balancing act between extremely powerful hormones at every moment of the day, all the while tackling whatever else life is throwing our way. If these hormones get thrown out of whack for any number of countless reasons, our bodies are well aware. (PMS, hello? That you??) Throughout history we have been the ones to cook the dinner, clean the house, scrub the floors, and if that weren’t enough, push out tiny humans from a hole about the width of an olive. Women are incredible, and I love them.
I have been thinking more and more lately about who I am as a woman. It’s only been the past few months where I’ve really made an honest effort to obtain a level of inner peace and balance (…The Edible Peace Project…nudge nudge) that I noticed something remarkable. The harder I tried to cram myself into the box of what I thought was “flawless” and “impeccable”, the less uniquely feminine I felt. The more that I let go, tuned into my own desires, and treated myself well (i.e. eating the amount/type of food my body needs and not exercising myself to death because I felt a sense of obligation) the more effeminate and vibrant I felt. When it comes to women I look up to…in the past my mind would jump to the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maya Angelou. But it hit me that that there are so many incredible women in my own life that I adore and admire for very distinct reasons…like my mother’s sublime intelligence, my boss’s unyielding strength, my sister’s ability to love unquestionably, or my best friend’s sense of adventure.
Women play so many roles; we are the ultimate masters of multitasking. And it’s long been clear to me that in order to continue to be able to take care of others, we as woman have to first find our own balance and practice nourishing ourselves. What can we do to nurture this? Let’s start with feeding our bodies what they need..and let’s begin with an ingredient I am loving as of late– seaweed.
Sea veggies are an excellent source of iodine– which is absolutely critical for healthy thyroid hormone production. Your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone, which research shows helps regulate your menstrual cycle and ovulation. Too much or too little of this hormone can have severely negative consequences on your health. Along with being high in iodine, Nori seaweed (the same stuff that sushi’s wrapped in) is abundant in calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. Plus, research suggests seaweed may help regulate estrogen levels responsible for proper sexual organ functioning and may help control PMS (men, rejoice!) as well as correct problems with female fertility. Iodine deficiency used to be common, which is why the United States began to add it into foods (iodized salt, anyone?) so make sure you’re getting enough of this important nutrient. Munching on these seaweed crackers or rolling up some sushi is a great (and delicious) place to start. These crackers are every bit as savory and satisfying as your favorite snack…that dense hit of umami just roars to life with a kiss of salt and soy.
Homemade Nori Rice Crackers
Makes ~12 crackers
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 T low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 T sesame seeds + more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 or 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 3-4 sheets dry roasted seaweed (nori), crumbled into small pieces
- Preheat dat oven to 375 F.
- Pulse brown rice and sunflower seeds until course in a food processor.
- Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with all other ingredients. Using wet hands, shape into ping-pong sized balls.
- Place each ball in a sheet of plastic wrap, squeeze into an even tighter ball, and then flatten with hands…(cut off corners, if you want to go the extra mile to make them into square crackers.)
- Peel off plastic wrap, and using a spatula, place on greased baking sheet for 25-27 minutes or until browned and crispy. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds and Nori, if you wanna. Let cool at least 10 minutes before munching.