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Introducing Spirulina to your Summer Smoothies

Written by contributor Megan Tietz of SortaCrunchy

It’s summertime, and in this season, we all place a great commodity on easy, don’t we?

Smoothies are a fantastic simple summer breakfast. The combination of fresh summer produce and a cool, refreshing drink to start the day make smoothies a popular choice for lazy summer mornings.

The green smoothie movement continues to pick up steam with influential experts such as Victoria Boutenko and Robyn Openshaw making the concept easy and accessible for all. My friend Jen wrote up a beginner’s guide to green smoothies for SortaCrunchy, and even I was surprised by how sweet and yummy a traditional green smoothie could be!

But one drawback to the green smoothie is that unless you have a powerful blender, preparation can be a little laborious and frustrating depending on the density of the greens being used. In the spirit of making life a little less complicated, I want to introduce you to an alternative to the traditional green smoothie: the spirulina smoothie.

What is spirulina?

I had never heard of spirulina until this past winter when my husband and I watched the documentary Foodmatters. We were intrigued by this blue-green algae that packs a powerful nutritional punch. Spirulina is a complete protein which means it contains all of the essential amino acids plus several non-essential ones as well.

Why supplement with spirulina?

Spirulina is full of essential vitamins. One teaspoon of spirulina pacifica contains 11,250 IU of Vitamin A as beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant needed by our bodies for supporting healthy skin, eyes, teeth, mucous membranes, and skeletal tissue. Additionally, spirulina is a great source of vitamin K1, iron, chromium, and maganese.

In an article for Natural News, Dave Gabriel makes this fantastic point about spirulina and omega fatty acids:

We all know that fish is a good source of the important nutrients called omega fatty acids (omega 3, 6 & 9). What we don’t often consider is where the fish get the majority of their omega fatty acids: from algae such as spirulina. This superfood is rich in the omega fatty acids, and especially omega 3, which play key roles in preventing heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol, reducing the severity of arthritis, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes and much more.

So, have I sold you on the benefits of spirulina yet?

I hope so, because whipping up a spirulina smoothie couldn’t be easier!

We prefer spirulina in the powdered form, and after a little research, we decided on Nutrex brand of spirulina pacifica (though there are many excellent brands available). A serving size is one teaspoon, so one 16 oz jar of powdered spirulina lasts quite a while for our family of four!

After a little experimentation, we found this is the recipe that works best for us:

Spirulina Summer Smoothie

1 frozen banana, sliced into chunks
1 cup fruit (strawberries, raspberries, orange sections, etc)
2 cups raw whole milk
1/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons spirulina

Place in blender in order listed and blend until desired consistency

I told you it was easy!

We try to use the high-fiber fruits like the ones listed above, but certainly any fruit you can get in season at your local farmers market or grocery store would work just fine. Of course, some families are dairy-free and will need to make substitutions as needed. I also want to note that spirulina contains phenylalanine, so families dealing with phenylketonuria should avoid spirulina supplements.

Here’s to lazy summer mornings with a cold glass of healthy breakfast in hand! Cheers!

Do you and your family like smoothies for breakfast? If so, what are some of your favorite things to include in a breakfast smoothie?

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  1. Haley

    THanks for your useful infomation for summer.This is the first time I have known about Spirulina and I hope that I will have a good health in this summer with it

    • Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)

      Same here! I had maybe heard the name Spirulina, but had no idea what it was. I love green smoothies, and have had no problem using spinach with all of our vitamin C fruits. Spirulina sounds like a great addition for more protein!

      • Megan

        It really is a great protein source and has TONS of other minerals that can be hard to come by in other sources.

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  3. monique

    Thanks. I need to get started back with sommthies again. The girls love them and we use either raw milk or kefir. If I get up 10 minutes earlier in the mornings, they can have smoothies when they wake up. Easy breakfast!

    • Megan

      It is SUCH a simple breakfast. We do them in other seasons as well, but it’s a summer staple here to be sure.

  4. Rachel

    We also use Spirulina. I find we need to use strong flavoured berries when using it because it doesn’t taste so good with something like banana-mango smoothies.

    We also like to put in bee pollen, raw honey, hemp hearts, kefir, yogurt, or milk, kelp, chia… a great way to sneak these nutrients into your kids!

    • Megan

      Great suggestions on additions!

      I have to say that I haven’t found spirulina to have much of a taste at all in our smoothies. I wonder if that varies by brand? Or by amount used? I honestly can’t taste the difference, although if I threw some mango in there, it might be a different story!

      • Rachel

        Hmmm, mine is from Frontier. Maybe what we actually tasted was the bee pollen because I believe I put that in too. I just assumed the strong taste was from the Spirulina because it is so dark and smells a bit when you open it!

        I’ll have to experiment now because I’ve always added those two together!

  5. Marixa

    I began making my own smothie recipe about a month ago. We’ve been picking fresh spinach from our local farm and I wanted to find more ways to incorporate it into my diet. I just wrote a blog post on my smoothie yesterday!
    I eat mine as an afternoon snack or even for lunch sometimes.

    Hubby and I also just watched FOODMATTERS and loved it. I’ve been trying to find those superfoods and find a way to incorporate them. Thanks for sharing about Spirulina, I’ll have to go find it!

    • Megan

      Isn’t Foodmatters just the BEST? It changed so many things for my husband and I. I think everyone should watch it.

  6. Stacy

    What a great idea! I’ve made green smoothies with spinach and was also surprised at how sweet it actually was. Spirulina has so much more nutritional value – I can’t wait to try it!

  7. Sea

    I admit my husband of 12 years was using it before we got married and I was not impressed. At the time I just didn’t know enough about ‘real food’, but now we incorporate it sometimes in our smoothies and the kids can tell no difference! I had a harder time adjusting than they did- I’m glad, now they don’t have to go through the emotions of changing their diet when they get older and incorporating this powerful source!

    • Megan

      Wow! I’m impressed by your husband’s knowledge of this over a decade ago. Has he always been in real foods and natural supplements?

  8. Charis

    i discovered spirulina a couple years ago when i first started experimenting in juicing. i found it is wonderful in freshly squeezed grapefruit. you excited me to get back into using this great super food!

    • Megan

      Oh wow. I had never thought of grapefruit, but that sounds pretty awesome. Will definitely be trying it!

  9. Myrnie

    Yum! Can’t wait to give this a try! One commenter mentioned it has a strong taste…how strong? What is the flavor? We made green smoothies last night. Oh my were they green! (One bunch of spinach and half a quart of home canned figs, plus some banana….it looked like we’d just blended up lawn clippings 🙂

    • Megan

      Lawn clippings – hee hee!

      I have found that the brand we are using doesn’t have much of a flavor to it. If you just SMELL it out of the jar, yeah, it smells a little fishy. But as far as being blended up in a smoothie goes, I really don’t notice any taste to it at all.

      (Home canned figs?! Sign me up for that!)

  10. jessica

    love green smoothies – we do kale, one sweet fruit (apple, pear depending on what’s in season) and an orange – yum!

  11. Katie @ Imperfect People

    You have sold me! I have added it to the list to get at the organic food store!

  12. lusiana158

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  14. Ben

    I take spirulina everyday. It’s awesome stuff. It’s got so many nutrients and a surprising amount of protein as well. I’ve never taken it in smoothie form before but that sounds perfect for the summer. The brand you pictured is actually one of the very best. Their Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica is really top notch.

  15. Kathy

    I’ve just started taking spirulina but I do have one question. I realize there are many benifits but I am concerned about taking this with my medications. I am currently on coumadin and was wondering if ther is any interaction. Please contact me regarding this matter Thank You. Kathy Jorkon RN

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