This month we went to the Bahamas on a cruise with my mom to celebrate her 85th birthday.
85 years old! :)
It was a quieter event than the last time when we celebrated her 80th with our extended family five years ago. I did a post on it here.
Jamie was so little then!
Somewhere in the Atlantic
Here he is in the cabin as we left the New York port this time.
The ship we were on was the Carnival Splendor. It made stops at Grand Turks, Half Moon Cay, and the Bahamas. We would have liked to have spent more time in Nassau where the ship docked for an afternoon. It is a beautiful city, and we enjoyed a couple of hours at Ardastra Gardens and Zoo.
The highlight of the gardens are the delicate Carribbean Flamingos that are trained to do marching drills.
The gardens is also home to a collection of animals, including this guy, a capybara who wouldn’t stop eating.
Did you know that the capybara is the largest rodent? Somehow he is cute, but can you imagine him with a giant rat’s tail!?
After the gardens we visited Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase.
At the bottom of the stairs.
Then, we went quickly to an internet cafe to check our emails and then it was already back on the ship for us.
They say that it is not uncommon to gain a pound a day on a cruise ship, and I can believe it! There is an excess of food and alcohol and so many opportunities to consume. We definitely ate our share of soft serve ice cream and *popcorn* every night! But luckily, Denis and I only gained a pound each. :)
While on the cruise ship, ironically, my mom and I listened to a long talk given by a nutritionist on detoxing the body. He spoke at length about the benefits of algae and seaweed, and I was intrigued. After the week on the cruise we all fell back into our normal daily habits, but I felt compelled to do more. I researched more on the benefits of algae and seaweed. I’ve always loved seaweed, and we all eat it regularly. (I quit buying the seasoned roasted seaweed at Trader Joe’s because Jamie would inhale it and there is a lot of sodium in it.) Now, we just eat plain roasted nori seaweed that is used to make sushi. It has no extra ingredients. I cut it up myself with kitchen shears. :)
Roasted seaweed found in Asian markets.
On the other hand, I had never had spirulina – a blue green algae, before, and decided to try it.
Spirulina is a microalgae that has been consumed for hundreds of years by Aztecs and other Mesoamericans. It is a complete protein and has all essential amino acids as well as other nutrients and antioxidents, and is one of the best plant proteins on the planet. It has been promoted as a treatment for many ailments, including diabetes and high cholesterol. Studies have also shown its antioxidant effects in reducing cancerous lesions. See this 1985 abstract published in the Nutrition and Cancer journal for more info on the study. It has also been found to help athletes recover from muscle fatigue faster, due to its antioxidant properties. This is discussed in a 2010 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.
That said, I wasn’t interested in taking spirulina supplements, I just wanted to eat it. :) I have to say, the flavor is stronger than seaweed. So it might take some time getting used to for people who aren’t even used to eating seaweed every day like us! You could easily put it into a green smoothie though, and it would probably go well with the rest of the green flavors. I haven’t tried this yet, because I’m still timid when it comes to green smoothies.
I like to eat my greens, so instead I sprinkled it all over my popcorn.
I hinted before that I am somewhat of a popcorn addict. I have an air popper and toss the popped corn with olive or sesame oil. You could also use a mister to spray the oil if you have one. I often cut up dried seaweed to toss in and sprinkle with sesame seeds and sea salt. We have been enjoying popcorn this way ever since we had Hurricane Popcorn in Hawaii. This is a much healthier version though! I always found the thick buttery goo a bit much and prefer something lighter.
Spirulina Popcorn turned out to be quite tasty. It turned our popcorn bowl into a green, healthy snack from the sea. :)
For more information on spirulina – its benefits and ways to use it, check it out nuts.com.
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
olive oil or sesame oil
sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 sheet of dried roasted seaweed, cut into small pieces with kitchen shears
1 teaspoon dried spirulina
1. Pop corn in an air popper or on the stove. If you pop it on the stove, place popcorn kernels and a tablespoon of oil in a large pot with a lid and heat on stove.
2. Toss popped corn with oil and season with salt, sesame seeds, and dried spirulina