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.
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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