What was the original superfood?  We can debate this all day, but many feel that it was spirulina. While there are many vegetables, fruits, herbs and seeds with incredible nutritional and healing properties, it is hard to beat the extremely impressive spirulina when it comes to the quality and quantity of nutrients and phytonutrients.

So… what is spirulina anyway?  It is a type of algae called Cyanophyceae that is naturally occurring on our incredible earth (Mama Nature has created some pretty incredible foods!).   It is actually one of the oldest living organisms on earth, having existed for more than three billion years.  Pretty incredible!  That said, the spirulina that is the best quality and also the safest for consumption is not that which is grown in the wild but in a controlled environment where every aspect of growth and manufacturing can be carried out with strict guidelines.  This assures the highest quality, highest nutrient containing spirulina that is free of contaminants like bacteria and heavy metals.  Spirulina grown in the wild can be a source of toxins and contaminants, so it is best avoided.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Cyanotech’s facility in Hawaii and while there, gained a lot of knowledge of spirulina production.  Cyanotech produces Gandalf spirulina, Organic Grocer’s brand spankin’ new product, which is distributed in Canada by Flora Manufacturing.  From what I learnt at my time there, I am convinced that Hawaiian-grown spirulina has far better quality than that which is grown in places like China, where much of the spirulina on the market comes from. Some companies irradiate their spirulina to kill any existing bacteria; Gandalf does not have this problem because the fertilizer used is Chilean nitrate, far superior and a much cleaner source than even organic materials used by other companies.  Gandalf spirulina goes through proprietary ‘Ocean Chill’ method of drying, in which the spirulina is dried in a virtually oxygen-free environment.  This method eliminates the oxidation of carotenes and fatty acids that occurs in standard dryers – this means that more nutrients remain intact and are therefore more available to your body for absorption and assimilation.  The resealable packaging of the finished product allows for a greatly lessened oxygen environment, also to keep the nutrients intact.  Hawaiian spirulina has more nutrients than that which is grown in other areas of the world.  You can actually taste the difference when consuming the product – the result is a smooth, beautifultasting powder that even mixes well just with water.  It is truly a unique and beautiful food, a rich green colour, bursting with nutrients!

Spirulina is rich in protein, so is therefore excellent for maintaining muscle tissue.  Its easy digestion and assimilation makes it perfect for those with sarcopenia (muscle wasting) in the elderly.   The rich vitamin A is fantastic for eye health, immunity and skin health.  The GLA content in it also contributes to glowing, youthful skin.  The B vitamins help with energy metabolism.  It is a great source of B12, which makes it a very important food for vegetarians who lack this nutrient that occurs mainly in animal products.  It is helpful for people with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular system illnesses and Type 2 Diabetes because of its beneficial blood sugar balancing properties.  Most people who take spirulina notice a marked improvement in energy.  You can feel good about eating spirulina because it is much less taxing on the environment – it requires 28 times less water to grow than does raising cattle for beef AND even produces oxygen while growing.  This helps to lessen your carbon footprint, which is something we all need to think about today.

By now you are probably very excited and are wondering what its nutritional properties are.  Here is a little breakdown:

Just 10g of Gandalf Spirulina has:

      • 3900% more Beta Carotene than carrots
      • 300% more Calcium than whole milk
      • 2300% more Iron than spinach
      • 375% more Protein than tofu
      • As much Niacin (B3) than 190g lobster
      • As much Pyridoxin (B6) than 4 navel oranges
      • As much Magnesium as 2.5 beetroots
      • As much Phosphorus as 6.5 cups of grated green cabbage
      • As much Riboflavin (B2) 1.5 cups of cooked asparagus
      • As much protein as 1 egg
      • As much Thiamin (B1) as 3 slices of whole wheat bread
      • As much Potassium as 1 apple
      • As much Iron as 6.5 artichokes
      • As much Carotenoids as 4 raw carrots
      • As much Calcium as 85g of halibut

Whoa!  All that amazing nutrition in only a 10g spoonful?!  You’d better believe it!  Now that you know all that it provides  nutritionally, you can incorporate it into your favourite recipes.  Try the powder with water, apple or beet juice, in your favourite smoothies and protein shakes, energy bars, dressings and more!  We also carry it in tablet form (a whopping 1,000mg per tablet!) for on-the-go energy.  Try taking spirulina for increased energy, iron levels and all around vitality.  Awesome!

 

Now for a recipe created by Erin!

Energizing Tropical Smoothie (makes 2 servings)

      • 1 cup fresh pineapple
      • 1 banana (frozen is best)
      • 1 mango
      • ¼ cup coconut cream
      • 2-3 tsp Gandalf spirulina, or to taste
      • 2 tbsp Udo’s Oil
      • 3 tbsp hemp seeds
      • 2.5 cups filtered water, or to desired consistency
      • Love

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth. Add more water for a thinner smoothie or less water for a sorbet consistency.  Use all organic ingredients to keep you and the environment healthy.  Enjoy all of the healthy benefits and give thanks for these beautiful foods.  The best thing about   making your own food is that you get to put your love into it.  Enjoy!

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