Functional foods have snagged their own well-deserved spot among supplement stacks, bridging the divide between pharmacology and nutrition. Meant to provide additional physiological benefits to your bod, a functional food goes beyond being a meager ingredient in your meal. For instance, cooking soup with bone broth rather than simple stock gives you an added boost of gelatin, glycine, and collagen.
Some food or supplement trends are indeed fads, but others tick very important boxes for health claims. My experimentation last year (and resulting adoption into my daily routine) with bovine colostrum stirred my intellectual curiosity surrounding functional foods and real food supplements. Here’s where sea moss entered into the equation.
Sea moss is a natural, edible form of seaweed that’s typically used as a thickening agent in food manufacturing. Carrageenan, harvested from sea moss, is used in a bunch of consumer goods. But sea moss, which hasn’t undergone heavy processing and chemical extraction, is actually considered a superfood, rich with multi-faceted health benefits.
As a gal does, I was scrolling Instagram and stumbled across a comment from a small business manufacturing a sea moss supplement pudding: Jolly Moss. Recently equipped with a bit of knowledge on this health food, I decided to give myself a little trial with sea moss puddings. During this self-experimentation and conversations with Jolly Moss co-founder Lori Didier, I learned a lot about this up-and-coming supplement that you may want to add to your daily routine as well.
Is Sea Moss Just Some Short-Lived Superfood?
Didier’s own discovery of sea moss might sound a bit familiar to you because I know it resonated with me. “I was overwhelmed by all the supplement choices out there, so in a sense, I’d stopped experimenting, figuring I’d just get everything I needed from eating the right foods,” she explained. “But, because I’m not a perfect eater, I gave sea moss a try.”
It’s relatable – no matter how much I love holistic health, I struggle to keep myself on a strict regimen of perfectly balanced meals with optimal macronutrient profiles. After all, if I were to cook all my meals at home, I’d miss out on a lot of living with the people I love.
Sea moss, Didier told me, offers a lot under one roof and has been used for centuries in several cultures before becoming more accessible and mainstream within modern functional food trends. She said that the sheer volume of nutrients within just two tablespoons of sea moss is what really drew her in.
Depending on how much you want to consume, you can get as much as 14% of what health professionals would consider to be your daily value of iron and 10% of magnesium from sea moss. Since it’s a natural source of iodine, supplementing sea moss could aid your thyroid health as well. I’d be remiss not to mention that you’re only set back as much as 10 calories (for sea moss in general, not for Jolly Moss, which is no more than 20 calories) for all those vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
“I don’t think of it as a trend, but something that will continue to be used more and more as a broader audience becomes aware of its benefits,” Didier explained. “And as we’re all learning, gut health is extremely important for our overall health. Since sea moss supports gut health with prebiotics and polyphenols in addition to all its other benefits, I’m convinced it’s here to stay.”
Didier and her son, Jack, founded Jolly Moss after her physical therapist had recommended the supplement to her. She loved the benefits – reduced food cravings, better focus, new feeling of sustained energy – but the texture and taste weren’t quite up her alley. It’s slimy, it’s gel-like, and it definitely smells like the ocean if not masked by other ingredients.
Other sea moss supplement manufacturers, like Transformation Factory, offer consumers gels, but that could quickly raise red flags for people who struggle with texture issues. You could also try gummies, powdered, liquid, or pill forms of sea moss, but there’s something to be said about how much more romantic it is to essentially have a dessert-like alternative to get in some daily vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
“My son Jack is an amazing cook and has a passion for understanding food and taste on a deeper level,” she said. “I knew Jack would be the perfect person to help in creating a sea moss product with not only a better texture than sea moss gels, but one that tasted great too. After hundreds of test recipes, we came up with a seriously delicious pudding.”
The Proof Is Actually in the Pudding
Well, is it as delicious as she says? Unquestionably. I’m going to be fully transparent – this was a pretty shocking product for me because I’m used to “health foods” and “functional foods” tasting a lot like the ingredient they’re trying to mask. In the case of Jolly Moss’ sea moss puddings, however, I legitimately felt like I was just enjoying a sweet scoop of chocolate pudding as though I was back in my elementary school days.
But the ingredients list on this product reigns supreme over your supermarket standard Kozy Shack or Snack Pack puddings. Instead of a slew of cheap, unhealthy ingredients, I was pleased to see the Jolly Moss label for the chocolate flavor: “Wild harvested sea moss, purified water, organic cacao, organic agave, organic vanilla, organic dehydrated oat milk, organic MCT oil.”
I’m a bit of an animal and just enjoyed my sea moss straight from the jar (with a clean spoon each time to protect the prebiotics, by the way, if you’re double-dipping!), but you could also dollop those two tablespoons on top of a smoothie bowl, blend it into a smoothie or shake, mix it into overnight oats, or perhaps even make your own “tiny bowl” with fun toppings like chocolate chips, berries and fruit, or nuts.
Now, Didier did note that there’s no such thing as a magic bullet supplement, and while I certainly haven’t been using sea moss long enough to fully reap its benefits, I have felt as though my digestive system continues to improve. As mentioned before, I had incorporated bovine colostrum into my daily supplements, so this could be contributing as well.
“Many people will quickly feel more regular, and if they have issues with bloating or digestion, they may notice improvement with that in a couple of weeks. Of course, everyone starts at a different place and with different issues,” Didier said, explaining that early on she experienced fewer food cravings and improved sustained energy.
She continued, “Gut, metabolism, and immunity boosting efforts typically take about four to six weeks to notice no matter what you’re doing or taking. Fortunately, we know that sea moss naturally provides so many nutrients that we can trust with time we will feel better and healthier.”
So, in any case, I’m not so worried about noticeable short-term effects as much as I am feeling reassured that, if I keep up the sea moss supplementation, I’ll be better supporting my gut bacteria for better digestive health and immunity as well as giving my thyroid, metabolism, and feminine hormones some much-needed love.
Women in Particular May Benefit More from This Ancient Marine Algae
Didier understood this firsthand, explaining to me how because young women (and young mothers) are insanely busy but don’t want to sacrifice their health and beauty to keep up with careers, family, friends, and their own personal interests, a functional food supplement could be a better option than playing trial and error with a wide array of potions and pills.
“It’s tough to get everything we need from the foods – especially today’s foods – we eat. Sea moss provides vitamins and minerals, including iodine and iron, prebiotics, antioxidants, and amino acids all at once,” she said. “As we know, it’s very common for young women to be deficient in iodine, causing issues with hormones.”
It’s true, women are as much as eight times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues, and while this gland plays a huge part in our reproductive health, we’re severely undereducated about its critical importance. For instance, if a woman gets pregnant and has an underactive thyroid, her baby could develop neurological issues and his or her own thyroid deficiencies.
You can get too much iodine, however, and end up with a different host of thyroid issues. So, it’s worth doing some blood work and discussing the right supplementation for you with a trusted allopathic (or homeopathic!) healthcare provider.
When I asked Didier what the future looks like for Jolly Moss, she told me that she and Jack are looking to expand their flavor horizons beyond the current lineup of Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla Maple. “Mocha Energy” is on the horizon for all the coffee lovers out there, as well as a lemon, turmeric, and ginger flavor. Currently, Jolly Moss operates online, but pretty soon, the mother-son duo will have their puddings at a local health food store chain in Wisconsin and hope to expand their reach to Chicago health food stores as well.
Now that I’ve experimented with sea moss, I think I’m sold on keeping it in my regular rotation. Long gone are the days of clumsily purchasing single-ingredient supplement pills and overcrowding my kitchen cabinet. I’m nothing if not an advocate for simplifying and streamlining processes where I can, and though I’m definitely open to changing my mind in the future and trying new things, I’ll be sticking with sea moss and colostrum for now while getting the rest of my vital nutrients from my meals.
Support our cause and help women reclaim their femininity by subscribing today.