Spirulina has been praised over and over again as a miraculous superfood. I have been reading and hearing so much about the benefits of spirulina as a dietary supplement, that I even made it one of my New Year’s Resolutions to start adding some regularly to my juices and smoothies. Guess what? It’s been another failed resolution. The taste of spirulina is not very appealing to me and it is my opinion that it is not meant for weaklings.
What exactly is spirulina and why do I constantly see bright green juices and smoothies popping up on food blogs?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is commonly used as a dietary supplement because it has been touted has having a wide range of health benefits including supporting cardiovascular health, eye and brain health, and boosting immunity and energy. I have even read that spirulina has been used to treat those in other countries who have been poisoned by too much arsenic in their drinking water. Some further evidence also suggests that spirulina binds with radioactive isotopes and may be useful for radioactive exposure or radiation therapy.
Since spirulina could become contaminated with toxic substances or absorb heavy metals from the water where it is grown, it is important to buy a trusted brand. I recently bought Nature’s Multi-Vitamin Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica based upon articles I have read on other blogs and health-related websites. It comes in powder form and can be mixed in juices, fruit smoothies, or sprinkled on food. Some people actually sprinkle it on homemade kale chips which I must admit is an excellent idea!
What are some other alleged health benefits of spirulina?
Spirulina has been stated to provide relief to those with allergies, help normalize cholesterol naturally, balance blood pressure, lower risk of stroke, help reduce cancer risk, provide anti-viral properties, and provide more protein than red meat. It is also a great source of iron and a multitude of other nutrients.
It certainly sounds like a miraculous superfood to me; however, I have read articles stating that you should avoid spirulina if you have an autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. You should consult your physician if this is the case. I have also read that you should talk to your doctor before taking spirulina if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
In any event, I decided to follow up on my resolution to supplement my diet with spirulina, but I decided that there must be a better way to ingest it than drinking it in my water or smoothies. I searched the web and found this recipe for vegan raw balls containing spirulina from Jason Wrobel who is the wonderful chef on the new Cooking Channel Show called “How To Live To 100.” I thought that they tasted really good and were easy to make. Who could overlook the fact that they are loaded with superfoods such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and raw cocoa powder?
I bought these ingredients at Whole Foods today for this recipe…
You need these spices too, and some vanilla (not a great photo)…
The recipe involves soaking some raisins and flax seeds, to start. You will also need to mix one cup of almonds and one cup of pitted dates in a food processor until the mixture is “mealy”…
You will then transfer the almond/date meal into a mixing bowl and mix with the ingredients which are set forth in the recipe below. Oh, I forgot one thing…you will have to do this with your hands! You will form the mixture from the bowl into little “golf balls” and sprinkle with finely shredded coconut. This is the final result…
These balls are little nutritional powerhouses as you will see from a quick glance of the ingredients in the recipe below. You should really check out the You Tube video at the end of this post of Jason Wrobel preparing them because it is very entertaining. He is a little “meshugana,” and I mean that in a good way. He got a little carried away talking about how everyone just loves his balls!
Here is the recipe; but note that I think I would add a little more cocoa powder to this recipe (and maybe a bit more spirulina) and I would also mix some coconut shreds into the entire mixture, in addition to sprinkling them on top. I think this would make them taste like Almond Joy’s. Maybe!
JASON WROBEL’S CHOCOLATE SPIRULINA BLISS BALLS (RAW VEGAN)
Makes 12 balls
1 cup organic raw almonds
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup green raisins (soaked for about 10 minutes)
1 1/2 tablespoons organic golden flaxseeds (soaked for about 10 minutes)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons spirulina
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
A large pinch of Himalayan sea salt
Soak raisins and flax seeds in water for about 10 minutes. During this time, put the almonds and the pitted dates in a food processor and process until you make a “mealy” mixture.
Pour the “mealy” mixture of almonds and dates into a mixing bowl. Drain the raisins and flax seeds and add them to the mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix everything together with your hands.
Form the mixture into “golf ball” size balls. You should be able to make 12 balls. Sprinkle the balls with fine coconut shreds and serve.
Watch this funny and wacky video of Jason Wrobel making these raw balls. He’s pretty entertaining, if not over-the-top!