I would often visit the few kilometers north from Tilba to Mystery Bay and spend time with my grandparents. I am proudly from a long line of Mystery Bay folk. My little boy Cody is now fifth generation. My twice Great Grandparents, Mary and John Josiah Poole were local dairy farmers and lived off the land on a property aptly named “Figtree” (planted in 1886 by JJ Poole), to this day still growing in the fertile soil, dwarfing my parent’s home.
My Grandfather John Thomas Snell in 2001 and “Figtree” (planted 1886)
Back in those days the bay itself was known as “Mutton Fish Bay” (..nowhere near as romantic!), where my grandfather told me they “used to go down and pick the abalone right off the rocks at low tide.”
As events happened, a real mystery unfolded in October 1880, when five men vanished without trace. From that point in time my twice Great Grandparents changed the name from “Mutton Fish Bay” to “Mystery Bay ” as it is known today.
…Fast forward a 100 years or so, my Grandparents and I would explore all the coves and beaches for adventures and marvel at the rock formations and beauty. Memories take me back to the 1970’s where the beaches were covered in blue stone and there wasn’t much sand around at all, however there was always abundance of seaweed lying about drying in the sun and filling the air with its salty ocean aromas. I have fond memories of playing around with it as a teenager, rusting Mum’s blender to make “tonics” for my skin but would never of believed that years later I would be eating it!
My journey has taken me to all around Australia but my heart still belonged in Mystery Bay, so I moved back to my “soul ground” to raise my Son so he could have what I had growing up.
My Kelp & Health Story..
Following the birth of my Son in 2010 I was diagnosed with a thyroid disease and had developed nodules on the thyroid gland. Treatment began immediately with radioactive iodine therapy and was promptly told I would be on synthetic thyroid tablets for the rest of my life. I thought at the time it seemed pretty drastic but trusted the process between my GP and the specialist I was referred to. This was eight years ago and unfortunately my health went on a slow and steady downhill decline from then. After reading “Iodine and why we need it” byDr David Brownstein, I am convinced that if I had of taken high doses of iodine things may of been different, however Iodine dificiency back then wasn’t as well known as it is now. Iodine is lacking in so many people, according to Dr David brownstein, we have approx 70% of the worlds population now Iodine deficient. Intergrative therapists are all over how important Iodine is and is now one of the first things they check.
Thyroid dysfunction robs you of your life force. It is so integral to the function of so many things in the body. When it is out, you are out. The struggle began with weight gain and continual tiredness. Pushing myself to get through the day literally was a daily battle and it constantly left me tired, frustrated and foggy headed.
The disease was diagnosed as hyper in the beginning but surely switched over to hypo after the radioactive iodine therapy.
To cut a long story short, 7 years later I came across a wonderful integrative health therapist at “The Lucy Rose Clinic ” (Australia wide) who helped me correct my diet, pull my gut health back into line and I began taking naturopathic grade vitamins and minerals.
It was about this time that I watched an enlightening documentary on “Catalyst” and learned that seaweed (kelp) was rich in natural iodine, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and anti oxidants. I thought this sounded pretty good and we have kelp on our beaches here!
I was given a 24 hour iodine uploading test, blood tests etc by my integrative therapist and informed the thyroid disease in my body was the result of iodine deficiency. I had been rapidly heading towards an autoimmune disease or two and have thankfully caught it before my body continued to turn on itself and make things even worse. It was from this point that I began boosting my diet with kelp.
Unfortunately as I had my thyroid radiated it has been quite the journey, for others it will be a much easier and less complicated ride, simply adding extra Iodine to the diet from a pure natural source may well be all that is needed. I am constantly researching, working with my GP and integrative doctor’s both here in Australia and specialists in their field in America for thyroid concerns, to find my best way forward in managing my condition as well as I can with natural based therapies, the right nutrition and dietary changes. With the help from my Intergrative therapist and GP, I plan on moving towards using a natural dessicated thyroid hormone medication made by a compounding pharmacy.
(Please note, if you are on medications please never just stop taking them, I made this mistake and believe me you don’t want to be doing this without first consulting your integrative therapist and or GP and asking for a complete thyroid panel and 24 hr uptake of iodine test to asertain the best treatment plan for you.
I now find myself obsessed with kelp. I love to read about it, eat, experiment with flavours and create healthy nutritious recipes. I have just finished our new lines “Garlic Infusion” & “Umami Black” which is black garlic and seaweed- it tastes amazing!
At mbK we sustainably select the freshest kelp seaweed by hand from some of the purest waters that have naturally broken from their holdfast and washed in close to the shore. We operate under licence to collect on a commercial basis. All our collections are completely random and totally up to when mother nature provides. So when the kelp is up, we are on !
We choose to rinse the kelp in it’s natural ocean environment it does not dilute or alter the nutritional content this way. We do not use excess rain water or chemically treated town water laced with flouride or chlorine. The kelp is then transported 200m “up the road” to our family property “Figtree” to air dry in the natural vitamin D rays of the sun. This generally only takes a day, however kelp can be quite “atmospheric” as I like to call it and can reabsorb moisture from the air easily when left whole and in the outside elements so I do keep my eye on the weather! Once air and sun dried on the day this preserves and holds in the true flavour and nutrients, mbK is then processed to fine granule / powder, nature’s true and pure iodised salt.
There are endless uses for it in this form- cooking, juicing, baking, blending, sprinkling onto salads, stir frys, smoothies. You can add it to pretty much anything. I am constantly having fun playing with its use in the kitchen & at the table. mbK is used as a salt replacement where my 8-year-old likes to sprinkle it on his food. (Its a great way to get some good stuff into thir fussy diets!) I am constantly thinking of other ways to use this amazing sea vegetable in our home.
Mystery Bay kelp has recently undergone lab testing for iodine content, results are very high along with 35 or more other vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Please refer to our “Health” Tab for more info. Kelp, the “veggie of the sea” is now becoming more well known for its health properties and benefits to our diet, we are very fortunate that Mother Nature provides such a wholesome, healing nutritious food. Our goal is to collect it, share it, help to put something good and real back into our food chain, to support overall good health for everyone.
I hope you enjoyed reading my journey and love of finding a place for mbK in my life. For more health related articles or info please head to our news pages where we share other interesting articles.
I look forward to sharing my journeys, findings and all the good things related to kelp and seaweed.
I wish you good health!
The JJ Poole family “Figtree” circa 1896