Chalkboard Lessons # 1
The eloquently expressed words of a two and a half year old when presented with a drink of spirulina by his health conscious mamma, kind of say it all: he would rather eat plasticine than drink it! Despite the pernickety taste buds and opinions of toddlers, one can concede he has a point. Spirulina is a hard superfood to love for its taste alone.
Happily, there are ways and means around this and no, life is not too short to add this to your diet on a regular basis.
Firstly though, consider the reasons why it is especially good for glowing health.
Virtually as soon as it hits the digestive tract it energizes, as being bioavailable it is ready to rush all those nutrients straight to those thirsty cells. No hard work involved for the digestive system. It is unusual, in as much that, natural plant foods fall into categories of either feeding/replenishing or cleansing/purifying. Spirulina acts as both, its high protein content feeds, and being rich in chlorophyll, it purifies.
Roxy Dillon, author of “Radical Rejuvenation”, and mother of the aforementioned discerning little chappy, lists its manifold virtues:
” Spirulina contains EFA’s 3 and 6, and a good amount of GLA. It is a source of complete protein, one of the richest sources of beta carotene, contains Vit E, the B complex, calcium, iron, manganese magnesium, chromium and selenium. It is also a rich source of enzymes if it has been carefully dried. It protects the body against damaging effects of pollution and detoxifies it from heavy metals. “
Naturopath and writer Paul Pitchford maintains it contains measure for measure, 3 times more protein than beef. In addition, the protein in spirulina is 4 times more absorbable, so overall it delivers 12 times the amount. Big whammy!
Spirulina contains all the B vitamins, including the sometimes elusive B12, but a quick word of caution here. If looking to spirulina as a source of B12, there is a need to dig deeper, there is extensive information concerning B12 and the factors surrounding its absorption. Opinions in the natural health world vary so much on this topic it is hard to be conclusive, given that so far, no studies are!
The often overlooked but important thing to realise when taking any superfood, is that all its ingredients combine and work synergistically as nature intended. When these are not split and separated, they have far more impact on the body. For example vitamins need minerals to work properly, and nature tends to package them together.
The Less is More Factor
Spirulina can indeed be slugged back valiantly in just a little water, chased by a square of raw chocolate - bravery deserves a reward! However, the key to including this micro algae in your daily diet is using the less is more principle. Less in one go, more times a day.
Juices hide it very well, so when making these, add a half teaspoon of spirulina. It can likewise be incorporated into a smoothie fairly painlessly, and certainly goes well in a home made salad dressing.
Added to mashed avocado with lemon juice and some garlic, it becomes quite yummy as a spread or dip.
It can be hidden in home made raw chocolate even. Note: No baking with it. It has been known! Heat is kryptonite to its super powers. If all else fails and the powder option just won’t do, take the tablets. These must be pure without fillers, to deliver the most benefit.
Using a pinch at a time on appropriate foods, even Mini –me’s will eat it. As spirulina is a food, its effects are cumulative, and Mini’s don’t need much.
Lastly, spirulina and avocado mashed together make a soothing and replenishing face mask, feeding those facial cells from outside in.
(Originally written for Avocado magazine)