Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Blue-Green Ocean Dreams Smoothie

Spirulina Smoothie
Blue-Green Ocean Dreams Smoothie
After several months of trial and error, heavy on the error side, I finally concocted a green smoothie I could drink. Most green smoothies require some sort of "green" juice which is usually from juicing kale or spinach with lemon. Let me say, I juice occasionally, but, seriously, I don't have the inclination to spend inordinate amounts of time EVERY, SINGLE, DAY cleaning, cutting, juicing and then cleaning again all for about 1/2 cup of juice. I figure I'm similar to many people who've spent a couple hundred dollars on a juicer with all intentions of becoming one of those people who juice daily, because I really do notice a difference in my "natural" energy level. Once I realized how tedious the process, I juice once a month or so. I don't feel so guilty about spending so much money on this kitchen gadget.

Ok, with my rant about my juicer buyers remorse over, let's get down to business. During my research into the land of green smoothies, I came across a product called spirulina. I previously heard about this in my early twenties when I first decided to go down the healthy lifestyle road and was researching proteins for protein smoothies. Honestly, I always saw it in those little, stinky obscure health food stores which was the norm for finding a specific whole leaf herbal tea I used to buy. At the time, I couldn't bring myself to "trust" a vegetable based protein to build muscle. 

Fast forward several years to 4 months ago. I wasn't feeling my best, trying to get a hold on my anemia and desperately searching, scratch that, scouring the internet for the newest health fad to try. Most of these I shake my head at.

But, what can I say, I'm a sucker for a challenge, so I thought, what the hay? It isn't like I'm completely removing several food groups from my diet or taking some miracle chemical laden weight loss pill or tapping into my inner caveman. It's just a plant called spirulina. Not spirulina in a protein powder form, but ACTUAL spirulina powder, from the plant, dried and ground. There are so many brands of spirulina to choose from! Then I came across Nutrex Spirulina Pacifica. I decided to go with a Hawaiian company, partly because I lived in Hawaii for seven years and graduated from the University of Hawaii, but mostly because of their growing and harvesting processes. Since spirulina is a plant, I thought that an organic version would be best to avoid pesticides, etc. What I learned from my research is there is no way for spirulina to be "organic" in the regulated sense of the word. I just picked the best one I found. Not a crap shoot, per se, but pretty close. Here is the write up on Amazon:

"All Natural Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica is a pure natural super greenfood, containing protein, betacarotene, and essential vitamins & minerals. Doctors and scientists recommend that we eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. For most people, this rarely happens. That’s one reason why you should take Hawaiian Spirulina every day. Spirulina is a “Superfood.” It is the most nutritious, concentrated whole food known to humankind. One 3 gram serving of Hawaiian Spirulina provides more antioxidant activity than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables! Spirulina has 2300% more iron than spinach, 3900% more beta carotene than carrots, 300% more calcium than whole milk, and 375% more protein than tofu. Comparing phytonutrient levels, Spirulina is 31 times more potent than blueberries and 60 times more potent than spinach! As the growers of Hawaiian Spirulina, we focus on ways to protect the superb antioxidant quality through all phases of production. Our patented Ocean Chill drying delivers twice the antioxidant quality of other Spirulina products. It is also extremely important that Spirulina is properly packaged. Our research shows that plastic bottle packaging was allowing oxidation to destroy precious nutrients. The Spirulina goes from the ponds to finished product in less than 30 minutes, then we use glass packaging with oxygen absorbers and sealing caps to ensure the maximum freshness and potency of nutrients. Our facility uses ocean water drawn from a pipeline that plunges 2000 feet into the Pacific Ocean. We supplement our Spirulina systems with this deep seawater as a source of calcium, magnesium, and all 94 trace elements. No other Spirulina is grown with such special water with its rich source of naturally occurring nutrients. Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica supports Eye Health, Immune Function, Healthy Cholesterol Levels, Cellular Health, and Increased Energy."

The one thing that caught my attention was 2300% more iron than spinach. IN ONE SERVING! Struggling to get my anemia under control the last few years, this was enough for me to say, I'm in! So began the experimenting with protein powder flavors, fruits, et cetera to find the right mix. If I want more chocolate flavor, I add more cacao powder. If I want more spirulina, I add more. I like the added antioxidant's from the cacao instead of using a chocolate protein powder. I drink this smoothie almost every day for breakfast unless hubby isn't flying and decides to fix eggs. If I don't get one in for breakfast, I'll have it for lunch. I feel so much better, I don't have to eat mountains of spinach, kale, red meat and an iron supplement anymore.

Blue-Green Waters Dream Smoothie

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I use Muscle Milk brand)
1 TBSP Raw Cacao Powder
Ingredients: Spirulina (here)/ Cacao Powder (here)
1 TBSP Powdered Spirulina
1/2-3/4 C Spring Water
1/2 C Frozen Blueberries

Place in your blender and blend until smooth. The key to not having to add ice is always use frozen fruit. I tried several different fruits to include strawberries, blueberries, cherries and pineapple. I found this version to be the tastiest. Most people like bananas in their smoothies so feel free to add one if you like. It will change the consistency so you may have to add more water to blend it smooth.

The blue-green waters of Hawaii await you. Try it. Let me know what you think!
Healthy Wishes,

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