Spiru… what? Pond gunk or superfood?

Two glasses of green juice in front of a packet of spirulina powder.

Recently the lovely people at myprotein.com sent me some spirulina, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The first time I heard of spirulina was nearly a decade ago when crazy “doctor” Gillian McKeith talked about it on ‘You are what you eat’. McKeith’s credentials have since been rubbished, but that doesn’t mean that everything she talked about was wrong – few people would argue with eating a healthy diet including plenty of fresh fruit and veg.

Spirulina has been described as a ‘super food’ as it is high in protein, iron and vitamin B12 – as a vegetarian, this is great news. The benefits of it are described below:

Spirulina for good health

From Visually.

But what is spirulina? It’s algae or cyanobacteria, which doesn’t sound particularly delicious, and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t look terribly appetising.

So, what should I do with the spirulina? I knew that most people use it in smoothies, but what should I combine it with? I turned to Pinterest for inspiration: http://www.pinterest.com/nutrexhawaii/spirulina-recipes-we-love/

Unfortunately, I’ve not done my weekly shopping yet, so I had to choose a simple recipe that included ingredients that I had in my house:

Spirulina Green Juice

1 cucumber
2 medium-sized apples
1 small lemon or lime
1 teaspoon Spirulina powder

Adventures with spirulina

I gathered together the required ingredients, which was easy enough. There were no instructions with the recipe, but I figured that it should be easy enough to make a smoothie. I don’t have a juicer, but that didn’t worry me. I chopped the ends off the cucumber and cored the apple. Peeling the cucumber and the apples was probably unnecessary. Then I got to the lemon – hmm, what should I do with it? I carefully zested it and then cut off the pith and removed the pips.

I chopped the ingredients a little and then threw them into my blender with a little water.

After I had blended the ingredients, I added a teaspoon of spirulina powder.

My spirulina smoothie
My spirulina smoothie

I will admit that the finished result looked somewhat like the murky water in the lake that I swim in! On the plus side, it did smell good.

Tamsyn with a glass of smoothie
Ready to taste it…
Tamsyn drinking a glass of smoothie
Delicious 🙂

I took my first sip and was pleasantly surprised. It tasted good 😀 There was enough for two glasses, so I gave the other to my husband, Stu.

Stuart trying my smoothie
Stuart trying my smoothie

Stuart was a little more wary, but I think his feedback was generally good: “It tastes of lemon, but has a green thing texture. It’s a bit chewy.”

Overall, I think it was a success, but I probably need a better blender and adding a little more water may have helped! I sipped the smoothie before adding the spirulina and although I noticed a slight difference, it wasn’t unpleasant.

If you’re thinking of improving your health in 2015, there are plenty of free courses (MOOCs – Massive Online Open Courses) that are available online. I’m thinking about doing ‘The body matters’ on EdX.

Have you tried spirulina? What did you think of it? Can you recommend any recipes?

If you’d like a discount on spirulina, visit: http://www.myprotein.com/voucher-codes.list

To find out more about the myprotein.com Spirulina, visit this site: http://www.myprotein.com/sports-nutrition/spirulina/10530515.html

2 Responses

  1. I do like a good green drink – but never one made with cucumber – ugh!! 😀

    But more seriously, I ask myself: will the quantities one can eat spirulina in (1/2 teaspoon in one glass?) be enough to make any significant impact on one’s protein / B12 / iron intake?

    You also just set me off on some random research, and I found that the Vegetarian Society say: “Fermented products such as tempeh and miso (obtained from fermented soya beans), shiitake mushrooms and algae (spirulina and nori) contain substances which are similar chemically to vitamin B12. However, they do not work in the body in the same way as the active vitamin so these foods cannot be relied upon as sources of vitamin B12.”

    Cheese on toast anyone?

    • Yes, the amount of spirulina that’s in my shake wasn’t much… I’m hoping to buld it up, but I’m not sure it’ll ever be equivalent to eating a small steak (which I wouldn’t do!) I was being very cautious as it does look a bit off-putting, but it tasted fine.

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