Yum, blue-green algae! Yes, I am suggesting you add some blue-green algae to your diet, also known as spirulina. In general, I don’t like to take supplements and I try my best to get my nutrition out of a wide variety of whole foods. However there are a few, what I consider “superfoods”, that make the cut. One of which is spirulina. I usually take it in powdered form, added to a smoothie (there are also spirulina capsules). It does have a mild taste, but in a smoothie, I barely notice it, except for the bright green color of course.
Getting nutrition information on anything is pretty much impossible. There is so much unsubstantiated, contradictory information out there; it’s hard to make heads or tails of it. However, I have found some pretty consistent themes regarding spirulina that makes me confident it is something worth adding to my diet on a regular basis. Here are a few of my conclusions based on my research:
- It is probably the best form of plant-based complete protein you can find. It is composed of ~60% protein by weight and contains all essential amino acids. This is hard to find in the plant world. If you are on a plant-based diet, spirulina is a fantastic way to add protein.
- It is high in many vitamins and minerals. Most note-worthy, it is especially high in iron.
- Pigments = antioxidants. The dark blue-green color of spirulina is extraordinary. Brightly colored fruits and veggies tend to signal antioxidants and spirulina is no different.
One of my new freezer staples is frozen organic grapes. If I happen to find organic grapes at the store, which is not often, I buy a bunch and freeze what we don’t eat immediately. Grapes are on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”, so if possible, eat organic grapes to reduce your pesticide exposure. Frozen grapes are also great in smoothies. Their mild taste won’t over-power other flavors and they blend nicely.
This smoothie recipe has become one of my all-time favorites. The ingredient combination came together accidentally as I was putting my morning smoothie together. I wasn’t expecting anything special, but when I tasted it, wow, delicious. I think this smoothie celebrates spirulina’s taste instead of hiding it. For some reason, the combination of spirulina, frozen grapes, and almond milk, makes a fantastic flavor. It is crisp and refreshing, and delicious first thing in the morning. I hope you try spirulina in your next smoothie! Enjoy!
As always, my smoothies follow a general guideline, described in my “Guide to Building a Better Smoothe” post. Check it out to learn more.
- 1 medium banana
- ½ cup frozen organic grapes
- 1 medjool date, pitted
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp raw spirulina powder
- 1 heaping handful of baby spinach (organic if possible)
- ½ cup coconut water
- 1 cup almond milk
- Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!