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New Year New You - Inspired by Seaweed

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

January is traditionally the month that many set their goals, well-intentioned new years resolutions and balanced lifestyle changes. Maybe you were thinking of a healthy eating plan or generally just looking after yourself better? I don't know about you but January here in Scotland is dark, cold and generally quite bleak. February, on the other hand, is getting lighter with more daylight hours as well as giving you more time to indulge and eat all the left over Christmas chocolates. I love celebrating the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) in February, for me it really is the start to the prosperous new year. Did you know that in Thailand, New Year (Songkran) is celebrated in April?

Chinese New Year 2019 - Year of the Pig

We all have good intentions but sometimes it's hard putting ourselves first but like on airline safety videos, if we don't fit our own oxygen mask first we will be unable to help others. It's a balance in the real modern world that many (including myself) struggle with. So from today once a month I am going to take time out and relax. I know ...I have almost forgotten what that is too! Did you know seaweed has been around for centuries and today used in that all essential massage?

New Year New You - Inspired By Seaweed

For me seaweed has always been there since a young age, visiting the many beaches but on our first visit to Japan, we were asked if we would like to try some Nori? I had no idea that you could consume it! Here is more on the unusual delicatessen - seaweed.

Papa Westray ©MDHarding

Seaweed History

It has been said that in 800 AD 6 different types of seaweed were cooked in Japan. Including using seaweed to create Nori (dried sheets of seaweed, used in Sushi). Did you know research also suggests that seaweed has been used since 2700 BC in China?

Here in Scotland seaweed was used as a manure and as an alkali in the chemical industry. It was an important industry in Scotland, especially on the Western Isles of Scotland into the 19th century. When St Columbia arrived on the Scottish Island of Iona he recognised the nutritional value and refereed to it in a poem. It was said that Ionian monks would collect and feed seaweed to the poor, softening it with butter or mixing it with oatmeal.

Historic records tell how important dulse was during medieval times. Did you know a crop of dulse was as valuable as a cow in Ireland!

Old Kelp Storehouse, Papa Westray ©MDHarding

Seaweed & Nutrition

I had the opportunity to learn more from Dr Laura Wyness "Seaweed is a source of iodine as well as many other natural bio-active compounds. It also has a variety of beneficial functions such as being used in low sodium salts and increasing our satiety (making us feel fuller for longer)."

"Dairy products and seafood are the main dietary source of iodine in the UK. For the past 50 years or so, the UK population was considered to be iodine sufficient. However, data from recent surveys has led to increasing concerns that adequate iodine intakes are not being met (Vanderpump et al, 2011), especially among pregnant women (Bath et al, 2014) who have increased requirements. Anyone who excludes, or limits dairy and fish from their diet is at risk of iodine deficiency. Plant-based milk alternatives are not commonly fortified with iodine."

"Some types of seaweed are associated with risks, such as toxicity from very high iodine levels or contaminants and heavy metals. However, including some seaweed as a whole product in our diet or including foods that incorporate seaweed into the recipe can help increase the availability of iodine in our diet. As with most nutrients and foods, moderation is key. Too much iodine can have negative impacts on thyroid hormone production. Too little iodine can also be detrimental and may result in goitre."


Vanderpump et al 2011

Bath et al 2014

Seaweed for Health - Edinburgh Botanical Gardens Event 2018

Mara Seaweed

Mara is Scotland's award-winning seaweed producer and leading expert in sustainable harvesting, processing and flavours. Buy your own edible seaweed here.

For more inspiration in the kitchen and superfood recipes - The Seaweed Cookbook: Superfood recipes from the sea by Xa Milne: £16.99 is available now.

Kelp Food & Drink

Did you know you Sugar Kelp Crisps were a thing? Over a year ago I went to the Cairngorms Nature Big Weekend with over 60 events across the National Park. It was brilliant! There was something for everyone of all ages. I was amazed to discover these Sugar Kelp Crisps!

Connect back to nature by making your own Sugar Kelp Crisps.

Sugar Kelp Crisps from Scotland's Natural Larder

In need of a little refreshment? Well if it's natural and consumed in moderation;) (over 18 UK Drink Aware) Have you heard about Harris Gin? Produced on the Isle of Harris off the north-west coast of Scotland. The distillery opened in October 2015 and has not only been bottling Scot spirit but the essence of the Isle of Harris. The gin is produced using sugar kelp instead of the usual heather or milk thistle alongside 8 other carefully chosen botanical's. If visiting the Isle of Harris did you know you can take the Isle of Harris Distillery Tour and enjoy the island hospitality?

Sometimes all we need is a cup of tea! Well, now you can enjoy a refreshing cuppa with Harris Gin. Yes, you did read that right. Eteaket in Edinburgh has collaborated with Harris Gin to bring you the best of both worlds. Pop into Eteaket Concept Store on Rose Street in Edinburgh to sample, or enjoy with a light lunch/afternoon tea at Eteaket Tea Room on Fredrick Street, Edinburgh.


Seaweed Foraging

Monika Wilde offers lots of great advice on Seaweed harvesting and also offers foraging courses. Did you know Scottish seaweed is now being shipped to Japan?

Scottish Seaweed ©MDHarding

Beauty Treatments

Seaweed is known for it's re-mineralising, softening skin and also used as a muscle relaxant.

For the resource-conscious why not try the luxurious Mermaid Body Scrub treatment from the lovely Fiona at Nourish and Flourish in the comfort of your own home!

Mermaid Body Scrub Recipe

Connect with your inner mermaid or merman!

Skin brushing & scrubs are a great way to stimulate the lymphatic system and circulation, promoting elimination.

You can use a salt scrub weekly or a natural fibre mitt to brush daily in the bath or shower. For an extra boost to circulation, try a blast of cold water before drying off!


¾ cup of sea salt (mineralising, exfoliant & draws toxins from the skin)

¼ cup of ground dried seaweed (for skin conditioning, softening and nutrient)

½ cup cold pressed oil. Use light-textured massage oils, such as sweet almond, grape seed.

10-20 drops of detoxifying essential oils of your choice – try lemon, grapefruit, fennel, ginger, rosemary, lemongrass.


● Add ingredients to a bowl and blend well with a spoon.

● Spoon into a suitable jar.

● Moisten skin in bath or shower first.

● Massage into skin starting from extremities (hands & feet) and working in circular motion all over the body in the direction of your heart, taking care not to scrub too hard and irritate the skin.

● Rinse off scrub and enjoy the revitalising benefits!

Dry Brushing & Lymphatic Drainage ©TheMoments

Home Interior Design

Your wellbeing also includes the space that you occupy. There is nothing better than a clean, clear and colourful room to inspire, relax and dream from. Have you heard about the new range of linen from Clarissa Hulse?

Based on the undulations of macrocystis pyrifera (Giant Kelp), this new bed linen set captures the underwater design in a hot new colourway. Clarissa came across her inspiration for this collection on the beaches of Hermanus, South Africa, she recognised the species of seaweed from watching Blue Planet on repeat, her son Leo’s favourite programme when he was small.

The bed linen set graduates in colour from turmeric, through orange to hot pink on a stone-coloured background.

Made from super-soft cotton, the new design is available online from May 2018 in double, king and super king bedding sets with matching pillowcases.

Sea Kelp Double Bedding Set from £95,

©Clarissa Hulse

I hope you have enjoyed reading New Year New You - Inspired by Seaweed, as much as I have enjoyed writing it. If yes, please don't forget to share! As always, I would love to hear from you. Please email your comments/questions to Until next time...Happy Travels:) x

*Please do check with a medical professional if in any doubt*

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