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Tag Archives: spirulina
If you are an avid reader of this blog, you know by now how much I love to rave about the health benefits of green algae. Algae and other superfoods can transform your health because they allow you to consume an astounding amount of nutrition in one serving. Spirulina has always been my go-to-green algae because of it’s amazing nutritional profile, protein, ability to boost your energy, maintain a healthy weight, and support high levels of fitness. It’s cousin in the algae world chlorella was always on my list but I never really experimented with taking it regularly unless it was in my smoothie powders. I’ll admit, I kind of compared the two and figured spirulina was giving me the most green bang for my buck. What I have recently discovered is that I have been completely missing out on the wonders of chlorella, and how amazing taking it ALONG with spirulina can be for your body.
Chlorella is a fresh water single cell algae which like spirulina, has a nutritional profile that also catapults it into the category of a superfood. It is high in protein (around 60%), essential fatty acids, 18 amino acids, and more than 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorous, B Vitamins, vitamin C, D,E, and K. The biggest differences between chlorella and spirulina are that chlorella contains some additional nutrients like vitamin K and phosphorous, a whole lot of antioxidants, and one of the highest forms of chlorophyll. Chlorella also works to synergistically balance and normalize body functions, and has strong detoxification properties which aid the body in removing heavy metals, waste, parasites and other toxins. In addition to being a super detoxifier, chlorella has been shown to stop the development of cancerous cells, can rebuild nerves in the brain after serious nerve damage, strengthen the intestinal wall lining, eliminate constipation, and help to build up the amount of good bacteria in the body which aids in treating digestive and colon related diseases.
All that said, I’m sure you see that chlorella’s got it going on just like it’s cousin. If you’ve never tried it, taking chlorella and spirulina together actually is a powerhouse combination because you get the benefits of detoxifying the body, and also continue to build muscle and boost your energy. Chlorella can be taken in pill or powder form; because I already consume spirulina in powder form I decided to go for the pill option. You can also find really awesome grass powders that include both, along with a bunch of other groovy nutrients. Do whatever works for you, but makes sure to get a good dose of chlorophyll by any means necessary. That essential building block for life is essential for cultivating and keeping your raw vegan superpowers strong. -XoXo Raw Girl
Check out this past article which includes more about chlorella and it’s ability to detox heavy metals.
Would you like to add a little va-va-voom to a basic green juice? If you are a regular and avid juicer you know how lovely it feels after having a fresh juice. I call it a juice high, and thankful it’s not an addiction that I need recovery from. Simply stated, if loving my greens is wrong, I don’t want to be right. If you need an extra energy boost, and plan to make a basic juice, to up the ante blend in or mix in some Spirulina for some additional protein and immune boosting properties. If you don’t know anything about Spirulina, check out this past post. If you are new to raw foods or just juicing and living healthy in general please be gentle with yourself. Try starting each day with a juice or a smoothie. Everyday try to incorporate more and more living foods into your diet, and you will eventually stop craving unhealthy foods and instead yearn for how groovy you feel the more you eat from Mother Nature. I can testify that it works; that’s how I got my vegan swag back. -XoXo Raw Girl
GREEN MORNING PICK -ME-UP
1 head of celery
5-7 Leaves of Lacinato Kale
Ginger (to taste)
1 teaspoon of Spirulina
Juice all ingredients. Pour juice in blender and add in Spirulina or mix in thoroughly. Serve, drink, enjoy the bliss!
For more awesome never seen before juice recipes, a detox calendar, shopping list, and detox guide check out my 7 Day Detox for Beauty, Weightloss, and Rejuvenation!!
The word superfood is tossed around in common health lingo so often it’s hard to tell what is worth its weight in gold. Nowadays, everything seems to be deemed a “superfood” by doctors and health authorities alike. The word superfood is really an unscientific term to loosely describe and market a food or foods that offer incredibly high nutritional value. Nature is truly the body’s best healer and many fruits, vegetables, and herbs have nutritional content that is of value to anyone looking to obtain optimal health. But the word superfood, I feel, should be reserved for foods like spirulina, which when incorporated in your diet can have extremely profound affects on your energy level, nutrient intake, boost immunity, and promote healing and prevention of disease.
So what is this superfood spirulina? Spirulina is a blue green algae, a one-celled organism that gets it’s name from the Latin word helix or spiral, that has been consumed in Africa, Asia, and Mexico dating all the way back to the 9th century. It is the cousin of another algae called chlorella which is actually great for ridding the body of heavy metals like mercury but doesn’t have the same nutritional profile of super spirulina. What makes it so super? To start off spirulina has all eight essential amino acids that the body needs, with an additional bonus of ten of twelve non-essential amino acids included. For those that don’t know, whenever all eight essential aminos are available in any food, that makes it a protein powerhouse. Spirulina is 65-71% protein compared to around 22% in beef, and it’s protein is in a highly digestible form. What makes this an extremely golden plant source of protein is all the additional nutrients that come along with it. Essential minerals including potassium, calcium, zinc, iodine, magnesium, selenium, iron, and phosphorous are all in spirulina adding additional nutritional bang for your buck. Add to this nutritional profile, folic acid, niacin, B vitamins including super essential B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E, carotenoids (which convert to vitamin A), and chlorophyll and you’ve got a great deal of nutrients needed to get you through your day. Chlorophyll, which has an almost identical molecular structure to human blood, is an important ingredient that gives super healing power.
Just to give you a taste of these healing powers, spirulina increases antioxidant protection, fights free radicals, slows the aging process, curbs appetite and promotes weight loss, supports healthy cardiovascular function, improves the digestion process and gastrointestinal health, creates beneficial flora in the digestive tract, and makes the body produce more red and white blood cells which kill germs and viruses. It can also relieve allergies, sinus issues, lower cholesterol, lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and risk of contracting cancer. To take it even further not only is this miracle food great for fighting candida, colds, allergies, influenza, measles and mumps, studies have shown that it can inactivate the virus associated with AIDS and HIV.
Spirulina has virtually no calories, and the small percentage of fat it contains are in the form of essential fatty acids. Due to all these amazing nutrients, spirulina can give any Plain Jane an energy boost that transforms her into Wonder Woman. Are you a working mom? Take spirulina and give some to your kids. You’ll be more energized and your kids’ immune systems will be strong enough to withstand viruses and colds that get passed around at school. Business woman and multi-tasker on-the-go? Spirulina taken at the beginning of your day can give you the energy boost you need to finish the projects on your plate. Are you addicted to caffeine to give you an energy boost? Try spirulina instead and you will feel naturally energized and get a nutrition boost that trumps any multivitamin on the market. Do you workout a lot? Spirulina can boost athletic performance. Did I mention that it can protect the body from harmful radiation? This legit superfood has a laundry list of health benefits too long to expound upon, the best way to truly know it is to try it for yourself.
You can find spirulina in powder form online or at your local health food store which can be mixed into liquids or pill form. Whatever method you choose to consume it keep in mind that the best way to take spirulina is gradually. Spirulina can have different effects on the body, one being a cleansing reaction if too much is taken too soon. In powder form, starting with as little as a teaspoon and later building up to a tablespoon or more is advised. It’s best if you slowly begin increasing over time as your body adjusts. Spirulina is great to add to smoothies or juice in the morning because it is so energizing. Take it at night and you may not be able to sleep. If you are suffering from hyperthyroidism, or are pregnant its smart to consult with your doctor before incorporating spirulina into your diet. If you have really severe allergies to seafood or iodine, it’s best to not consume spirulina. Whatever method and frequency you choose, I can personally vouch for the fact, that spirulina is truly a superfood that has the potential to enhance your health and boost your quality of life. -XoXo Raw Girl
Caffeine is without a doubt one of the most used and abused drugs on our planet. Obviously this issue may seem unimportant, because caffeine is so widely accepted in our fast paced society. More than one person has asked me about ways to naturally avoid a caffeine habit; shout out to my lovely colleagues Emma and Ja’Tovia, for reminding me to address this very important issue. FYI, caffeine is a DRUG, and a member of the class of methylxanthine chemicals. Unlike alcohol, which depresses the nervous system, caffeine stimulates it and increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, kidney function, amount of stomach acid, gastrointenstinal function (can act as a laxative), and brain activity. Overconsumption or even just regular ongoing consumption of caffeine can lead to heart problems, anxiety, inflammation in the stomach and intestines, irritability, and insomnia. Caffeine also depletes minerals in your body and blocks proper absorption of essential nutrients like calcium and iron which can later lead to osteoporosis, anemia etc. Beyond that if you over consume caffeine it can lead to birth defects, miscarriages, adrenal exhaustion and more.
Ok, so I’m sure after that long list of side effects you may be thinking about breaking up with your longterm fling, mr. coffee. I know he made you feel great, but the relationship obviously comes with some annoying and possibly life threatening side effects. So, why don’t I give you some tips on some other tall dark and handsome drinks you can date to find a suitable alternative. I promise you’ll find the one you are looking for somewhere in these recommendations, and you’ll be ready to make that breakup official.
If you are a die hard coffee drinker, it may be good to try herbal coffee drinks that give you the taste without the caffeine and supplement with things like spirulina to give yourself a natural energy boost. At the end of the day, none of us can neglect one of the most important functions to boost and regenerate our bodies, sleep. If you are sleep deprived and coasting on coffee to keep you going, it is going to have effects on your concentration, mood, and ability to loose weight. I run only on natural energy, and although nowadays people think I’m strange, it’s the best way to go because I can actually feel when I am tired and in need of serious rest. Rather than joining the slew of walking zombies drugged up on caffeine to “feel awake” I highly suggest you experience what it truly means to be energized by cutting out caffeine and (Gasp!) getting enough rest. Yeah, I said it. -XoXo Raw Girl
Spirulina is usually the first thing I recommend as a way to boost energy and replace caffeine. Just last week in the grocery store, for whatever reason an older woman asked me where the coffee beans were. I let her know that I don’t drink coffee, because I do not need to, and after a short conversation with me, she gave up on the coffee beans and headed instead to the supplement isle to pick up some spirulina. Adding spirulina to your juice or smoothie in the morning is not only going to boost your energy, it will also boost your immune system and give you a whopping dose of nutrients to keep you functioning optimal throughout the day. This is great for mothers who are always on-the-go and you can feed it to your kids too, and they will be less susceptible to catching common colds and other sicknesses at school. Remember that spirulina is potent so start with a teaspoon and work up the amount as you get used to it.
Herbal Coffee is a way to get the flavor of coffee without adding additional caffeine to your diet. These blends include herbs, nuts, etc. and so may give you a nutritional boost without spiking your energy. Of course you will have to experiment and find the brand that suits your taste buds the most. I discovered several brands online that sounded pretty good and come in a variety of flavors like Roastaroma, Pero, and Teeccino. Teeccino herbal coffee and other brands can usually be found in most health food stores and consists of ingredients like carob, barley, chicory root, dates, figs, roman seeds, almonds, and dandelion root.
Carob / Cacao Substitutes are interesting ways to get a dark beverage with some coffee-like qualities without going straight for the coffee beans. Carob actually has a deeper richness and depth of flavor and does contain vitamins and minerals along with the taste. You can try mixing carob powder hot water, non-dairy milk (like almond) , and sweetner of choice to make your own creamy carob coffee substitute, and do the same with cacao powder or nibs if hot chocolate gives you enough of a fix. Some people even try mixing cacao and carob together or mixing cacao with other herbal coffees. Great thing about carob: it forms alkaline in the body, while coffee is acidic.
Kombucha is one of my go-to drinks when I am exhausted or just want an energy boost to get through the day. I choose to go for the green kombucha that has spirulina in it, and it energizes me every time. If you can brew Kombucha in your home, more power to you. I’m too lazy, but I have recently found a locally brewed brand I am in love with and have experienced its immediate benefits which include keeping skin clear, cleansing liver, boosting energy, suppressing appetite and more. Sometimes if I have a bottle of kombucha in the morning I am bouncing off the walls and not even hungry until mid afternoon. It amazes me every time.
Yerba Mate is another drink I go to if I am in a bind. I am VERY sensitive to caffeine, so I only drink this is I am really really sleep deprived and have to keep going. It is a tea that comes from South America and contains about half the caffeine of coffee. Keep in mind it still contains caffeine, just less, so if you are weaning yourself off of it completely, try not to get hooked on yerba perpetually.
Rooibos African Teas are my favorite black teas that have a deep dark flavor that is almost coffee-like, and also happen to be caffeine-free. They are sold everywhere from Starbucks to grocery stores, and you can experiment to find a brand you like.
Green Juice & Smoothies are my go-to energy boosters in the morning. I am a big advocate of vegetable juice as the best natural high ever. If your up for something new try starting your day with fresh vegetable juice and see how your energy begins to change. You can also do smoothies in the morning with spirulina fruit and non-dairy milks and get the same effect. Or add in some cacao powder and have an energizing chocolate shake. You may be surprised! After about a week you will probably feel good enough that your break-up with coffee will be official and you may not even have a desire to hook up with coffee ever again. Coffee-who?
Remember Popeye? He was a dedicated vegan cartoon character who got all his energy and robust muscles from regularly gulping down cans of spinach. I’ve posted a recipe for a drink in the past that I call sweet popeye. I had a plain “popeye” smoothie at a raw restaurant that was awesome awhile ago that had only coconut water, coconut meat, and spinach. I loved it and when I got home I tried a couple of my own versions. Sometimes I add pineapple. This lovely version has one banana and some spirulina as well. I’m sure mango would be a fun addition as well. This version I like because the spirulina really does give you an extra super heroine boost. I also enjoy drinking it sometimes after workouts. If you try your own versions post them on the Facebook page! -XoXo Raw Girl
1 Thai coconut (water & meat)
1 medium to large handful of spinach
1 Tablespoon of Spirulina
Blend all ingredients thoroughly. Serve & Enjoy!
What’s your take on caffeine? Coffee, green tea etc? I feel like it depletes me and makes me dependent on it for energy...
I still have flashbacks to the caffeine breaking point for me. It was years ago, when I was in college and really into Chai tea. I never really drank coffee but somehow I got hooked on Chai, especially when I was sleep deprived. I remember sitting there in my Physics class trying to concentrate on the law of relativity after downing a 16 oz. cup full of chai and realizing my eye was twitching on its own. That was the last day I got down with caffeine. Now when I am in a bind, I grab a Yerba Matte tea, or drink a smoothie, juice, or kombucha with Spirulina (blue-green algae). Spirulina always energizes me, and least it doesn’t come with the annoying side affects of caffeine (in my case unattractive eye twitching). At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you want to live a life where you are dependent on a substance to get you through the day. Did you know that caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug, and that 90% of adults consume it daily?
Most of us don’t actually know when their bodies are tired, because we spend our time ignoring our bodies natural rhythms, and over-drugging ourselves to stay awake and stay energized. If you are drinking caffeinated beverages, and need to break your habit, try starting your day with a green juice, a green smoothie, or a Spirulina smoothie. The more you get stuck on that natural high, and honor your bodies needs, which include adequate sleep, the more likely you are to be energized, naturally. Trust me, it works. I have so much energy I don’t know what to do with it sometimes. When I went raw not only did my energy soar, but I found that I needed less sleep to function optimally.
If you decide to break a caffeine habit, you can experience withdrawal symptoms as your body finds balance such as: headaches, tiredness/fatigue, depression/mood swings, or difficulty concentrating. A moderate caffeine intake which may not be too harmful for an adult is 300 mg or less. When you take in 350 mg or more, caffeine has the potential to cause dependency and also nutrient depletion. Not only can it interfere with nutrient absorption of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, it can cause depletion of vitamin B6. This may be exactly why you feel depleted after having it. No surprise that a grande cup of coffee at Starbucks has over 350 mg, just enough to get people dependent and coming back for more.
The other interesting thing to note is that caffeine has creeped its way into unsuspecting products such as energy drinks, energy water, breath fresheners, ice cream (chocolate/coffee flavored mostly), weight loss pills, and other energy supplements. So, if you are aiming to cut your caffeine intake remember that it’s found in other products beyond coffee, tea, and soda. Surprisingly enough, caffeine is also in decaffeinated products, so you’ll have to avoid those as well. As hard as it may seem to live a caffeine-free existence in our fast paced, sleep deprived world, it is possible. Where there’s a will, there’s a caffeine-free way. -XoXo Raw Girl
One of my New Year’s resolutions, especially now that my back injury is healed, is to get fit. My ongoing joke is that I want to be like Janet Jackson back in the day when you could bounce a quarter off her abs fit. In between sessions with a personal trainer to build strength and lower my body fat percentage, I am staying limber and releasing toxins regularly by slowly but surely easing my way back into a regular hot yoga practice and getting a dance class in here and there. If you can’t tell, I love working out! The only thing I don’t love is not being able to move my limbs normally after an intense workout. The question that always arises when people discover that I am vegan and interested in building muscle: where do you get your protein?
I am a big proponent of everyone figuring out what works for their body. My body in particular, cannot handle animal protein sources at all. So I get all my protein from plant sources. People assume that because you are raw or vegan that you cannot build muscle. I have actually seen a lot of evidence to the contrary. Time and time again, I have noticed that my diet actually makes my body even more receptive to exercise. Within my first week of strength training, only one day in that week, and eating my regular highly raw diet, my body fat percentage decreased by about 5%. I have been training for a month now, and my body fat percentage has decreased from 33% (unhealthy for my age) to 26%! I am now aiming for the optimal body fat percentage of 22-25%, and I am sure I will get there very soon with more training sessions.
It is assumed that by default, plant protein is inferior to animal protein, but actually, raw plant protein is the highest quality, most digestible protein for humans. When we eat cooked meat or animal protein the body tries to break it down in to amino acids. If the body gets enough of its required amino acids, our protein requirement is fulfilled. The point that many raw foodists make in this argument is that HEAT damages amino acids making it harder for the body to utilize. In an interview Stephen Arlin, raw body builder and author of “Raw Power!” said that raw food eaters building muscle have “an immeasurable advantage” over cooked food eaters because: “Building a body with cooked-food nutrition is similar to blowing up a balloon; sooner or later the balloon will deflate. Muscles blown up with cooked food and other unnatural substances will eventually atrophy and deflate. Most fitness experts and body-builders atrophy and wear down pre-maturely. Muscles built on raw-food nutrition last much longer, because they are naturally built. I compare building your body with cooked food to building a brick wall without any mortar. There’s no foundation there.”
Now that I am focusing on strength training, I am taking care to add in adequate amounts of protein in my diet and want to share a long list of great non-animal protein sources for anyone worried about getting enough to build muscle. Our culture tends to be a bit protein crazed, probably to an extreme, so make sure you are listening to your body and not overloading. Most times, people who overload on excessive amounts of animal protein, whey, etc. are not actually healthy, and cannot sustain optimal health longterm. We need not just large amounts of protein but high quality nutrients and minerals to achieve optimal wellness.
As I continue to workout, I am doing more research on what raw body builders and vegan athletes are saying about building muscle and achieving optimal workouts. From several sources I heard that fruit is a great pre-workout meal that gives the body fuel, and that blended smoothies with vegan protein sources are good ways to recover (which I was already doing). The more I sweat, the more I will learn and share. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to get your veggie loving but in the gym as well. Happy sweating! – XoXo Raw Girl
Heres a partial list from one of my favorite books, David Wolfe’s “Eating for Beauty” of what he calls the “Best Protein Foods”:
- Bee Pollen
- Brewer’s Yeast
- E3 Live (algae)
- Goji Berries
- Grass Powders
- Green leafy vegetables
- Hemp Protein (30 grams of protein per tablespoon!)
- Hemp Seeds
- Maca (can buy in powder blends or by itself)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sprouts (of all types)
- Sprouted grains
- Sprouted wild rice
- Vegetable powders (dehydrated and powdered greens)
Today’s smoothie was exceptionally exciting and of course tasted divine. I wanted to make use of this brand of organic Acai juice that my cousin found at Walmart of all places—-it is actually Whole Foods quality (all natural fruit puree and acai) and it only costs like five bucks. Great deal if you ask me. So I whipped up this smoothie which was a major energy and immune booster thanks to the spirulina, and got a little antioxidants to boot. -XoXo Raw Girl
1 cup acai berry juice
1 Tablespoon Spirulina
Blend & enjoy Makes one serving.
The copyright of this recipe is owned by Esosa Edosomwan AKA Raw Girl AKA Chef Eazy E. Permission to republish this recipe in any format must be granted by the author in writing.
This green smoothie was a concoction I threw together to help out a sick family member. I am very big on proper food combining and usually make sure not to mix citrus with other things, but in this case I made an exception. People who eat a lot of junk tend to have stomachs of steel anyhow, because the majority of people are used to eating all kinds of food in one sitting regardless of the fact that it may take a different set of enzymes to digest. Will go more in-depth on food combining sometime soon.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised that my stomach didn’t get queasy at all when I tested this smoothie. I added in orange juice for vitamin C, flaxseed and prunes to help elimination, bananas to slow digestion, and spirulina and alfalfa sprouts to boost immunity. Worked like a charm or at least made a difference because the next day my loved one was up and moving.
fresh squeezed organic orange (3 oranges)
4 preservative free dried prunes
3 Tablespoons of flaxseed
3 Tablespoons of spirulina
large handful of sprouts ( I think I used at least half the container)
2 ripe organic bananas
Remember when you are sick, it is not best to suppress your symptoms with a whole bunch of drugs that put a band aid on the condition but do not address the core problem. I rarely ever find myself ill, and going raw and medicine-free has taught me how to heal myself naturally and know what my body needs when I need it. Start listening more when you are sick instead of telling your body to quiet down by overloading yourself with tylenols, midols, cough syrup, etc. Rest is needed, and usually a departure from solid foods, and flushing out your colon solves a myriad of problems. At least you’ll know you got to the bottom of the real issue and will enjoy the fruits of long lasting health.
– XoXo Raw Girl
Mostly due to the fact that I heart spirulina, I created this quick raw recipe that can be used as an early morning pre or post-gym meal or dessert. For those of you who cringed at the thought of green yogurt, it’s green of course because of the spirulina, and a great way to get a nice dose of nutrition and dessert in one meal. The spirulina tends to boost my energy (even more—scary), so I try not to eat this too late in the evening.
Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)
2 ripe organic bananas, diced pineapple, 3 dates, 6 pitted & dried prunes (preservative free), purified water, 1 tablespoon of spirulina powder
Put all in high speed blender, add a little water and blend until a creamy, thick consistency. (Make sure not to add so much water that it beomes runny, unless you want to drink it as a juice, which is also good. I messed up in the video and had to add more dates) Pour into bowl and sprinkle with diced fruit and or shredded coconut. Enjoy!
The copyright of this recipe is owned by Esosa Edosomwan (AKA Chef Eazy E.) Permission to republish this recipe in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.