Okay, Sarah B. has got another superfood obsession on her hands and she needs you to get on the bandwagon so she doesn’t seem so insane (perhaps not talking in third person would also remedy this).
What is it this time? It’s chlorella. Yup, I’m mowing down on the pond scum. Have I sunk to a new low? Nope, I’ve reached a new high in fact, all thanks to some very green algae and no fear.
I find that most people are pretty freaked out when it comes to green things. Kale, spinach, wheatgrass juice – perhaps it’s because that colour signals “healthy”, and healthy sometimes don’t taste so good. Not that I completely disagree with ya’ll, but I think once you know how to get the green stuff down your gullet without gagging, it really ain’t so bad. How am I possibly going to convince you to eat algae? Well, I would like to think that making green things taste good is one of my fortés, and the crazy fool inside me just needs the challenge. Here we go.
What the deuce is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a single-celled, water-grown green alga that contains the highest chlorophyll level per ounce of any plant. Who cares? Well, you should.
Chlorophyll is that stuff that helps plants convert energy from the sun – think of it like “vegetation blood”, as it acts nearly the same way inside us, (and for those science geeks out there, it is molecularly structured nearly the same way as hemoglobin too! Ooh! The only difference between the chlorophyll and hemoglobin molecules is the central atom – chlorophyll’s is magnesium, while hemoglobin’s is iron. Isn’t that just incredible?! Ahem.) The benefits of consuming chlorophyll-rich foods are numerous, including slowing cellular damage caused by radiation, aiding wound healing by stimulating new cell growth, building blood, reversing the mutagenic activity of some cancer-causing compounds, neutralizing toxins such as pesticides, fighting infection, improving liver function, and it even helps eliminate mouth and body odors. Yum.
Besides being ram-jammed with good, green powers chlorella has the special distinction of containing all of the amino acids, which of course includes all of the 9 essential ones – incredible! We know that this is a very groovy thing for vegans and vegetarians because the proper balance of all the essential amino acids in the diet is required to build complete proteins in our body. FYI – by weight, chlorella is 58-60% highly-digestible protein. And while we’re on the good-for-the-vegetarians-kick, chlorella contains more B12 than liver. Liver. Boo-ya. It has the rest of the B-vitamins covered as well, along with a sizeable amount of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and rare trace minerals.
On the whole, chlorella strengthens the immune system, promotes bowel health, helps to detoxify the body, cleanses the blood stream, liver, and kidneys, alleviates peptic ulcers, increases oxygen to your body’s cells and brain, promotes proper growth in children, fights infection, helps raise the pH of your body to a more alkaline state, promotes the production of friendly flora in your gastrointestinal tract, and even helps to counteract the fatigue and mood swings associated with PMS and perimenopause. Good news for everyone.
Chlorella is a wonderful whole food supplement to take during fasts and cleanses, as it is incredibly detoxifying. Chlorella acts as a solid support because it is so nutrient-dense without saddling the body with a lot of material to metabolize. Add it to your routine during your next juice feast!
Where can I get Green?
Chlorella is available at health food stores and natural food shops, as well as online. It is sold in tablet form, and as a powder that looks like green cocaine, and well, costs about the same (you’re after the powder if you want to make the Chlorella Cream). Yes, chlorella is relatively expensive, but think of it as extra life insurance. And maybe instead of buying yet another pair of fancy shoes, you splurge on a special treat that actually gives you something in return, besides blisters.
With chlorella, a little goes a long way. Even adding a teaspoon to a big ol’ smoothie will do you worlds of good. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but it lasts a very long time, and in my opinion, it’s worth every penny.
And how does it taste?
Darn, I knew you were going to ask that.
Ever gone down to the bottom of a lake and taken a huge mouthful of sludge? You have? Weirdo.
That’s pretty much what chlorella tastes like. But remember how I said I have a talent for making yucky green things taste good? Trust me on this one. Even your kids will be begging you for the chlorella cream, promise.
Green Dream Chlorella Cream
There really isn’t a “recipe” for this per se, but here is the basic mix that I throw together. I would start with just a teaspoon of chlorella, taste, and work your way up to your flavour tolerance. You will get used to it (gasp! Maybe even like it!) over time, but start slow and build your taste for it. Your body will tell you when you’re ready to up the ante.
½ cup raw liquid honey (vegans use maple syrup)
1-3 tsp. chlorella
2-4 Tbsp. raw tahini
1. Place honey in a bowl and whisk in chlorella until thoroughly combined.
2. Add the tahini, one tablespoon at a time and whisk. You can add as much tahini as you like, but I find the cream tends to become quite solid if I put in too much (plus it will depend on how runny your tahini is). I like to drizzle this stuff after all, not roll it into balls (but that could be another great snack…)
3. Store chlorella cream in the fridge, either in a squeeze bottle for optimal drizzle action, or in a glass jar.
You don’t have to use raw honey and raw tahini in this recipe, but it does make a difference on the health end of things. If cost and/or availability is an issue, just use whatever you have to get the green in ya! No more excuses!
How to use Green Dream Chlorella Cream
Right now my favorite breakfast is a large fruit salad drizzled with chlorella cream, some raw granola for crunch and maybe some nut milk if I have any on hand (speaking of which, the nut milk video is coming soon!!!). Be careful, this combo is crazy-addictive!
Chlorella cream is a wonderful addition to smoothies.
For a totally boss afternoon snack, try spreading chlorella cream on a rice cake, top with banana, some hemp seeds, goji berries…whatever!
I swear you could pour chlorella cream all over a compost heap and I would probably dive in. Embarrassing? Maybe.
I have no shame.
Please experiment and tell me what YOU love to eat with your Green Dream Chlorella Cream. The possibilities are endless!
Do you get why I am so stoked about this stuff?! Its like a frickin’ miracle food! Wait, it is a miracle food, and I get to stuff my face with it. So let’s get a show of hands from those who have the guts to stand up to green food and say: yes! I will try you out because I love my body and my body definitely loves you! It’s not that scary, just a silly little mental hurdle to throw yourself over. And once you’re over, oh my friends…the grass is greener for a reason.
And the next time someone calls you pond scum, just tell them you take it as a compliment.
Source: Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003.