Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Aquatic duckweed: A new superfood, or just yet another fleeting food fad?

In Israel, a specific aquatic duckweed is grown, sold and promoted under the registered name Mankai, from the Hebrew Man (manna) and the Thai Kai (water eggs). These are tiny plants that live floating in water. The plant and its seeds hold tiny air bubbles so perhaps they can pop like popcorn.

In South-East Asia, for hundreds of years, it’s known for its rich nutrients (“water lentils”). Like all greens, it takes up greenhouse gas and produces Oxygen. And it ‘filters’ water from bacteria. But, if you want to eat it, it should have lived in clean water (it can grow in sewage water). (Don’t eat nettle from the woods that grew in a place nothing else could. Someone dumped there a leaking car battery and the plant is now full of poison.)

It is advertised as a superfood since it contains all the essential amino acids, iron, other minerals, and even vitamin B12. We’re looking forward to independent scientific research showing if any of it comes in significant quantities and how (un)easily these are absorbed from the intestines.

Flaxseed oil is great. But if you eat the tiny seeds whole, they come out whole and you get none of its goodness. Spinach has 10 times less Iron than Popeye assumed, but it’s also harder to absorb than meat’s iron. Vitamin C helps absorb calcium. Calcium hinders Iron absorption.

How does one best absorb the good from duckweed? Do you need to cook it (like potatoes), or better leave it as unheated as possible (like grains), or grind it freshly (like lattice)? It doesn’t have a lot of taste, many say. Is that for seasoned meat-eaters’ tastes or really? If it’s kind of bland, it has the drawback that many may start spicing it up like meat. So much salt is bad. The claim that it has low sodium is then as fake as the claim that sugar has no cholesterol. (It’s true, but our body transforms sugar into cholesterol!)

The next issue is, of course, if it is a safe food. For starters, it seems to have a lot of calcium oxalate, which would mean that you need to serve it mixed with a little chalk if you want to keep calcium in your bones and teeth.

To claim all kinds of health benefits is illegal in Israel unless these effects are recognized by the health authorities and there is no such thing yet.

At some places, it said this duckweed is highly cultivated, while in other places it was claimed to be genetic-mutation free. I hope that’s correct.

When it’s grown close to the consumer, it’s environmentally excellent, it seems. But here again, talks a promoter. It’s nice to be enthusiastic but why is he silent about the footprint of the lighting in this vertical farming?

It’s hyped as beautifully Israel-grown, good for the proud Zionist. But Amazon sells it USA-grown without mentioning that the mother company is Israeli, good for the angry anti-Zionist? (Hey, they need to eat too!)

It’s greener than green but anyone raising kids knows that they are ‘allergic’ to green. What can be done to de-color this food, switch it to another color (beetroot?), or breed it to have a redder underside?

Without clarity about the above, any text is mere an ad or propaganda. I am happy with anyone making a good living but I would be happier if everyone could make a good living honestly. We need information, facts.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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