Got Green? What You Need to Know About Spirulina Today!

For the most of my life, I’ve been anemic. However, for most of my life, I ate a lot of meat and dairy. Back in the day, you would have been hard-pressed to find all that much green in my regular breakfast. When I lived at home, breakfast was anything from an omelet when I had time to a piece of toast on my way out the door. If I included anything fresh, it was probably a banana on top of cereal only once in a while. I loved greasy breakfast food, and I could have eaten bacon by the truckload. I mean, I could if I wanted to now, but what good would that do?

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For the past few days, I’ve been experimenting with using spirulina, a powdered algae, as the “green” in my green smoothies. Two teaspoons of this brand of spirulina has 44% of my daily value of iron, while for Dave, it would have 100% of his daily value. Women need significantly more iron than men due to their monthly menses, which can, if at a deficit, leave us anemic– cold, tired, and weak. An iron deficiency can even cause brittle nails, headaches, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath! While I used to take iron supplements, I figured I’d try to include more iron in my daily diet instead. Enter: spirulina.

I first noticed cardboard containers of the dried green algae in my local TJMaxx, but overlooked it. Uh, algae? No thank you! About a week ago, I noticed it in a blog post of one of my favorite bloggers. The blogger mentioned she was anemic, so it was perfect to try to add into her daily routine. I  figured I’d give it a shot.

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As of yet, I’ve added it into banana ‘ice cream,” soy yogurt, and smoothies. I will say that you can taste “the green”, but you’d taste that if you added kale or spinach, too. If you add vanilla, cinnamon, or another flavoring, it tastes just like any other smoothie. You can also add it into soups, stews, or sauces!

So what about meat– doesn’t it have enough iron? Not so much. While meat might have protein, here’s how it stacks up in terms of iron against some popular animal products and their serving sizes:

Food Calories Daily Value of Iron
Spirulina, 2 teaspoons 35 44%
Egg 78 3%
Bacon, 3 slices 86 2%
Breakfast sausage, 2 links 140 4%
Chicken breast, 3.5 oz 237 12.5%
Steak, 3.5 oz 268 13%

(How do I make up for protein? Check out my post here on where you can get protein on a plant-based diet!)

Even more, the green algae is also said to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and improve muscle strength and endurance. According to a study on type 2 diabetes, patients were able to lower their blood sugar significantly by simply taking 2 grams of spirulina for two months. Seems like the perfect superfood; I guess the Aztecs had it right!

Questions for you:

How do you get your greens into your daily routine?

What are your thoughts on spirulina– have you tried it?


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