Monday, February 22, 2010

The ultimate superfood

If I were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring one superfood what would it be? Spirulina for sure! (Though that might seem a dumb idea since there would probably be seaweed all around my deserted island...) Mesquite would probably be my second. But spirulina, the world's tastiest blue-green algae, is truly an amazing product! By being a superfood, it obviously contains all your essential amino acids, as well as every other non-essential amino acid, phytonutrient, minerals, and vitamin you could ever think of (and many that you probably didn't even know existed... for more detail, you can find the info here). So yep, that includes the elusive B12, so feared and honored by vegans and raw foodists. Spirulina's breakdown is about 55-77% protein, about 20% carb, 5% healthy fat, and is super rich in minerals, and fiber! Who could ask for more?

If all of that wasn't enough, spirulina helps support the immune system, cardiovascular health, is a powerful anti-oxidant, and protects against certain toxic free radicals! It was even apparently called "the best food for the future" at a United Nations World Food Conference in 1974! This went as far as to create an intergovernmental organization called the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition... Now there's an organization I could work for!

My love for spirulina goes deep, and actually goes way back! I first discovered it aeons ago when I wasn't even vegan yet, when my cousin would leave unfinished jugs of Odwalla Superfood Juice in my grandmother's fridge after her visits. No one else in my family would ever drink them because of its strange spirulina-influenced color (yes, this is also the side of my family that eats duck feet and tripe, but hey, to each their own), so it was always relegated to me when I came over, being the only local hippie in the family. I gotta say, I loved it instantly but little did I know it was because of the spirulina. It serendipitously came back to me later in life, in the form of a yummy snack bar from our neighborhood health food store, Tara's, in Kingston, Ontario.

I don't think you need to hear about my on-again off-again love affair with spirulina, so long story short, I love it and we're lucky enough that we can find a trustworthy bulk source at our favourite grocery store on earth, MOM's. I use it whenever I can, in smoothies, in my chocolate, in my soups, and my favourite: in my recipe for raw granola (the non-spirulina version is pretty damn good too, just add other spices like nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice and/or cardamom!).

Raw Spirulina Granola
2-3 C sprouted buckwheat
1/2 C sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
1/2 C pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
1/2 C raisins, soaked for a couple hours
1/2 C dried cranberries, soaked for a couple hours
1/2 C maple syrup (add more if it seems to dry, the more sweetener, the more it'll stick together during dehydration, agave nectar works too) or 1 C pureed dates
1 heaping tablespoon of spirulina
1 teaspoon of vanilla
cinnamon to taste
salt to taste

1. Mix everything.
2. Spread out on dehydrator trays at 115 for 8-14 hours (depending on desired crunchiness). The granola will stick together as it cools down.

Other options include adding sesame seeds, hemp seeds, or other dried and soaked fruits. Just add more sweetener accordingly!

Workout of the Day
1.5 hours of Bikram

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