By Fredrica Syren:
Spirulina must be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. I eat it pretty much every day and even use it to make a facial maskJ I can see why this blue/green micro-algae (it’s a seaweed) might turn people off. It grows naturally in oceans and salty lakes in subtropical climates, and is one of the oldest life forms on Earth.
Compared to seaweed used for cooking and sushi, spirulina does not have a very strong taste, and you do not need to eat very much of it to reap its health benefits, which are huge. It’s one of the few foods that benefits every organ of the body. This is a reason why everyone should eat it. For me, a vegan, spirulina is a great source of protein and vitamin B12. A matter of fact, about 55-70% of the spirulina is protein, so I add it to my water bottle and my smoothies every day. Spirulina is also rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants. It also contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium.
Spirulina can be eaten as a tablet, as a powder or (my favorite way) as a gel. As I said, I like to add spirulina to my drinking water and also to my smoothies. Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate spirulina in food.
Painted Fruit—A while ago, I watched a documentary called Go Further with Woody Harrelson, and in that movie, his wife Laura Harrelson made painted fruit. I was so intrigued I looked up the recipe. It’s basically a spirulina cream to eat with fruit, and it’s simple but delicious. I found the recipe on People.com:
- 1 heaping tablespoon raw almond butter
• 1 heaping tablespoon raw tahini
• 1 teaspoon agave nectar
• 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon hempseed oil
• 3 tablespoons spirulina powder
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
• ½ cup coconut water
In a small bowl, mix almond butter, tahini, agave, lemon juice, cinnamon and hempseed oil together until creamy. Slowly stir in spirulina powder. If mix starts to get too thick, start stirring in the juice and then add the remaining spirulina. Mix to desired consistency. You may forego the juice, depending on desired thickness.
Pour or spoon the mix over freshly cut fruit (banana, mango, papaya, heaps of berries). Garnish with more cinnamon and dried coconut shavings. The paint does not last very long, so consume it immediately, share with friends, or store in the fridge! May be served with chopped almonds for added crunch.
Spirulina Smoothie—This is my favorite breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner, depending on the day. It’s loaded with nutrients and protein, and it’s filling.
- 1 Large banana
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 1 Tbsp. spirulina
- 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
- 1 cup coconut water
Blend everything in a blender until creamy, then pour into a bowl and top with chia seeds, hemp seeds, berries, fruit and goji berries.
Spirulina Lemonade—Perfect for a hot day
Spirulina Energy Balls—My go-to treat
Raw Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich—I know it’s a stretch but they are so darn good.