Simple is best: I feel as though it’s a motto I return to so many times and in so many ways as a food blogger. Of course, it’s not only in the recipe realm that the power of simplicity rules supreme. Nature is nothing if not economical, and oftentimes it’s the simplest forms of plant life that offer us the most profound benefits.
Take algae, for example. It’s only a single-celled organism—the least complex plant food out there. And yet algaes are superstars in health circles, for good reason. Recently, I wrote about the benefits of spirulina, which is quickly becoming a favorite food of mine. Today, I’m extolling the virtues of another algae: chlorella.
When Sun Chlorella USA recently contacted me to see if I’d test out some of their Chlorella supplements, I got pretty excited. Typically, the offer of free supplements does little for me: I take a mutlivitamin (when I remember) and a vegan calcium supplement with D-3 (when I remember), but I’m not big on supplement culture as a whole. I rely on my well-rounded, nutrient-dense, and balanced diet to give me what I need.
Of course, I like to keep an open mind. And I realize that there are certain foods marketed as supplementary—spirulina, for instance, or maca, or high quality protein powder—that, while of arguable use to me (protein powder is an important time-saver in my diet, whereas spirulina and maca are kept handy almost exclusively because I think they’re fun to play with in the kitchen) are nevertheless not without real value. And if there’s any food that’s worth taking seriously as a supplement to a well-rounded diet, It think it might have to be algaes, simply because they’re so incredibly rich in protein (chlorella is 58% by composition; spirulina is 60-70%) and a full spectrum of B-vitamins. Blended into smoothies, puddings, soups, or dressings, chlorella’s almost undetectable, and you offers concentrated nutrition.
Sun Chlorella sent me an array of products, including supplement tablets, tea, chlorella face cream, and chlorella granules.
I found the tablets most useful.
The company recommends 15 daily, which I found impossible (I can barely remember to take one pill in a day, let alone 3 servings of 5), but I have been faithfully taking at least five each morning, and grinding them up into foods.
Case in point? A new favorite chia seed pudding. Rich in chlorophyll, protein (from hemp seeds) and some sweetness from dates, this is a delicious and highly nutrient-dense breakfast. I’ve enjoyed it with a smooshed up banana two mornings in a row, and delighted in it!
Chlorella Pudding with Chia Seeds (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)
1 1/4 cups almond milk (homemade is best, but substitute storebought if you like)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
3-5 pitted dates (or stevia to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 tablets Sun Chlorella
1 tsp kelp granules (trust me; the saltiness is great here)
2 tbsp lucuma powder (optional)
3 tbsp chia seeds
1) Blend the first seven ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth.
2) Pour the liquid over your chia seeds. Stir every two minutes for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is getting plump. Store overnight in the fridge, or eat right away.
The pudding will taste a little oceanic. So, reduce the chlorella tabs to 5 if you like. Half of this recipe offers nearly 17 grams of protein, a ton of fiber, a ton of heart healthy fatty acids, and the unbelievable power of green.
I’ve also tried out the chlorella face cream. I’ll be honest: I’m not sure what the purpose of chlorella in the cream is, except that Sun Chlorella promises that it can fight aging. I think my skin looks just about the same, but maybe I’m missing something:
Nothing wrong with positive thinking. If Sun Chlorella says the cream fights aging, I’m happy to believe. I’ve got my fare share of sunburns under my belt!
In all, I think that Sun Chlorella offers a really high quality product. If you do want to purchase chlorella, you must take care to purchase the “cracked wall” variety (which Sun Chlorella’s is) in order for your body to absorb the nutrients. I haven’t done an extensive price comparison, but Sun Chlorella is a lovely company to deal with, they offer extensive literature on the quality of their product, and they seem to market it with integrity. I’m excited to find more uses for my chlorella tabs, and than the folks at Sun Chlorella for sharing!
Speaking of green stuff, I had a productive day of calculus, chem, exercise, clients, blog maintenance, and laundry, and found myself needing a pick me up at 5. I knew what was calling my name: a delicious green juice from Blossom, across the street. This seemed like an inexcusable expense, given that I own a juicer that I’m perfectly capable of using and cleaning. And I’m on a student budget.
Then I remembered that I no longer spend $9 daily on cigarettes, I almost never eat out, I’ve gotten better about taking cabs (or not taking them), I almost never shop for clothing or shoes, and I work hard. I trotted across the street for my juice, and every sip was incredible.
I don’t think I have a sophisticated point here, except that sometimes, small expenses yield very, very big happiness. Again: it’s the simple stuff.
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MMMMM! I love using algae in recipes now! SunChlorella is a great brand.
The scrub says I have to use it without water so
it felt alittle rough on the skin. Sensitive skin
is prone to allergies and redness and many products have a tendency to irritate people with this skin type.
The best time to apply retinol based skin care products is in the evening or at night before going to bed.
What a great way to get your superfoods! I was looking around my cupboards and I have some green powder (wheatgrass/spirulina ect) and a bottle of Chlorella/Cilantro tincture — both of which get overlooked since they’re not so easy to take on their own. I got inspired by this recipe to integrate those into the Chia pudding and well…..definately not bad! I could make a morning habit out of this meal. When these are all used up, I’ll try the Chlorella tablets! Thank you!
Hi Gena, just wanted to let you know I tried this (buying kelp flakes just for the occasion!) with spirulina instead of chlorella and some stevia and I just loved it. Had it with sliced banana and shredded coconut and it was the most surprisingly delicious and nourishing breakfast I have had in a while – thanks so much for sharing!
Hi Gena, I recently read in an Elle magazine that the akaline/acidity theory may be true for the skin too and that an acidic environment on your skin causes aging over time. Also, the article said that a lot of soaps destroy the natural alkalinity of the face and so maybe the cream could be helping to combat that? Anyway, just thought that perhaps the cream wouldn’t show any effects unless you used it over the course of many years.
What an interesting post! I tried to eat seaweed more often, but I just find it too salty. I’ve never really considered adding algae to my diet.
I’m loving all of the pudding recipes that you’ve been posting! Pudding is gloopy joy in a bowl!
Don’t feel guilty about occasionally outsourcing the juicing! You don’t drink wine by the glass! Which has to be the biggest rip off. I am a big believer in trading money for time, which is one reason I’ve always had a housecleaner. And I’d be buying green juice every day too, if I lived across the street from Blossom. Or Liquiteria. Or Organic Avenue. You New Yorkers are so lucky!
I love what you said about small indulgences because it’s so true! I say the same thing to myself when I’m contemplating a healthy splurge. It’s 100% worth it to treat yourself sometimes, especially to something as virtuous as green juice 🙂
The pudding sounds good, I love a great chia pudding, but I decided I prefer the chlorella tablets to go straight down the hatch instead of tasting it. I read Angela Stokes loves to chew chlorella tablets and so do my dogs (in fact, every dog I’ve given them too love them).
Your skin does look great! I am sure the biggest gift you gave it was not smoking. Smoking really takes a toll on the skin.
You look like you’re 17! (And beautiful!) So whatever you do IS paying off.
And about the expense on the green juice—I totally think your reasons for getting it were great. And that happiness ensued. It really IS all in the little things.
My little expense is on a $12 weekly hot yoga class. So worth it.
I’ve totally been working on a spirulina chia pudding recipe. You beat me to it, ha! As has been noted before, great minds . . . 😉
Thank for this post, i can’t wait to try it, i will probably make it for breakfast tomorrow. I have had the tablets in my cabinet and like you i take them when i can remember. But this sounds like an exciting way to use them! i love your honesty and simplicity. so proud of you pursuing you MD, before you know it you will have to change your disclaimer at the bottom of your blog!
9 bucks for cigarettes? That’s insanity. I started smoking at age 12 and they were .99 per pack. (what moron sells cigs to a 12 year old?)
I think that splurging on something really good for you once in a while is so important. You deserve it!
Y’know, sometimes you just need that little something that seems frivolous and expensive whether it’s your green juice or my 88% cocoa Endangered Species chocolate. The little things are what life is made of.
I’d love to try taking algae in supplement form. I can feel that something in my body is just off-balance, and I know I’m recovering from adrenal insufficiency but I wonder if I’m not a bit acidic too. My budget doesn’t really allow for many things like this, but I’ll see if I can’t make room for it. Thanks for the tips on fitting it into an actual meal!
Hi Gena, just wanted to wish you well on your semester. Mine ends in 4 busy weeks! I absolutely support your small indulgences! It’s hard not to think it’s all about sacrificing in lean student years so it’s good when you can check your head and realize you need a break and a treat every so often 🙂
I love that YOU are showing up on your blog more often recently. It’s nice to see the actual person behind all the cleverly-worded information.
I love algae. I actually like the flavor, the smell, and of course how good it is for our bodies. I’ll definitely be making this pudding for breakfast sometime.
Algae pudding… I should give it a try! I’ve been taking spirulina for a while now, and the tablets work best for me — couldn’t get over the oysterish flavor, or the green mud looks, of the powdered stuff mixed with water.
PS. Love the curly hair!
To quote agent Cooper of Twin Peaks “once a day, every day, give yourself a present”
Thanks for the cracked cell wall information, very useful. And yep your skin looks exactly the same 🙂
I cannot even express how excited I got to see someone quoting Twin Peaks in here 😀
I noticed that you did not mention taking a Vitamin B 12- supplement. Did you just not mention it or don’t you take one?
Oh Gena, the last part where you realised that you absolutely can afford, and deserve, to splurge on a purchased treat was wonderful to read! I sometimes get so caught up in my desperate need to save for travel (ever since I started working at 14, my savings became “for travel”, and I get upset if I can’t contribute to it regularly, even if I don’t have an actual trip planned) that I often don’t let myself buy anything nice on a whim. But, like you, I almost never buy new clothes and shoes unless it’s necessary (unlike my housemate who brings home new clothes every week!), don’t smoke, pretty much don’t drink, etc… here’s to allowing ourselves a bit of leeway on a budget and embracing the joy of it!
P.S. Thank you so much for your support on my last post. It meant a lot.
I’ve been using chlorella powder in my smoothies for a few months now. Along with the banana, romaine, hemp and whatever else gets thrown in, I certainly don’t taste it. I can’t say that I have felt any different since I started taking it, but I’ve read that the detoxifying properties of it can take a few months.
I agree with Mama Pea, Averie, et al. Holy your-skin-is-amazing. Not to mention that your face is gorgeous. I’m trotting off to try some coconut oil as moisturizer right now….
I have to say, I love how you worded this: “intuitive conviction.” It just made my inner English major all tingly; I very much resonate with that concept 🙂 I always appreciate the cautious, open, and thoughtful language you use, Gena.
I’m not sure about the supplement, but I’ll do whatever you are doing.
I got those same supplements from Sun Cholera and blogged about them a few weeks ago. I remember to take them for awhile, and then…well, thanks for the reminder 🙂
I also got the skin cream and didn’t notice a difference, good or bad, but it’s fun to try out new products and see if they will magically make me look like I am 15 again 🙂 I love the sun and have lived in coastal beach towns and or in CA for the past 12 years and am always outside and my skin takes a beating. And as I posted about today, I’d rather have wrinkles and be outside, than stay inside 🙂
Which brings me to your point about enjoying a green juice…YES! There are times when spending money, splurging, indulging a bit on something we “could” make at home is just…worth it! Glad you enjoyed it!
And your skin, btw, is simply gorgeous!
We have not heard of this company, we will keep our eyes out! If you love them, I know we will. And thanks for the shout out in a comment above about skin problems. Luckily we are better with that issue 😉
I am bad about remembering to take pills and all. I do good for awhile and then I go days sometimes weeks, haha I will try to do better.
And yes simple is best!
I’m very interested in learning more about alkaline and acid balance. I’ll have to do some research. I’d also love to incorporate more superfoods, like algae, into my diet.
I don’t think you need the anti-aging creme; you look so young as is!! 🙂
You are so beautiful–but my, I bet it takes some bravery even for such a beautiful person to share such close-up face pics! I’m in awe.
I _love_ chlorella, and I consider maca, chlorella, spirulina as foods rather than supplements, right there with chia! I love that you’re playing with it–and lucky you to get such a care package.
I buy the powder, and toss it over my salads with nooch–I alternate chlorella and spirulina–put it in smoothies, etc. The tablets are fun too.
This pudding sounds good! I need to buy myself some chia seeds! I haven’t had them around since I’ve been using hemp or flax seeds in my smoothies. Chia seeds are useful for so many different things though!
I totally agree with you about having to take so many pills though. I bought some spirulina tablets that they want you to take 3 x 3 times a day. Thats so many! Especially since they aren’t cheap. I end up just taking 3 once a day when I remember. :]
I need to try this chlorella stuff! Can’t taste worse than maca or pure hemp protein power.
This comment is both for this post and your last one. I love your recipes because they are such a lovely combination of simple comfort, interesting flavors, and awesome nutrition. I think we have similar tastebuds, because I love sweet and savory combos. They are healthy without being devoid of feeling (or yummy calories).
And as far as “health and purity goes,” well, maybe Matt Monarch would tut tut, but I don’t see who else could! Except maybe a few legume-starved Paleos.
Oh, and regarding your reply to my previous comment, I definitely agree with you on veganism being unfairly blamed. It’s similar to the irritation I get when “healthy living” blogs are blamed for causing eating disorders. Regardless of the people doing the posting (and there are a few who I do think show signs of disordered eating), anything can be a “trigger” for someone with an ED. It could be anything from watching a jogger run by or a few too many “1/4 c oatmeal that vaguely resembles strawberry shortcake.”
Your skin is gorgeous! Did you say you often use coconut oil as a moisturizer? I believe I remember reading that on your blog awhile back and I’ve recently switched to using coconut oil as a moisturizer also. I see such an improvement in my skin and I looove the scent.
I keep browsing for chlorella and spirulina at my co-op, but they don’t seem to carry them. I’m such a sucker for green supplements! 🙂
Oh my, thanks!
Yup, coconut oil, hot water, and I only use cleanser when I can splurge on it. I’ve experimented with a few face creams too. I love the Dr. Alkaitis oils, and I love Alba’s moisturizers, which are animal-friendly.
I really can’t stand the current “nutrition experts'” beliefs on the whole acid/alkaline nature of the body affecting function, whereas it affects function in every other chemical and biological system. They seem to think we’re above the laws of chemistry….
Tell me about it, Ian! You’ll notice how careful my language was. It’s amazing how some holistic/raw people will speak as though human blood pH can fluctuate wildly after a meal. Or my favorite, pH testing strips! For urine!
It’s true that the blood pH stays in a very tight window, but dietary influences change how the body metabolically reacts to maintain this homeostasis. Here is a journal article that covers the subject: Br J Nutr. 2010 Apr;103(8):1185-94. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509993047. Epub 2009 Dec 15.
Diet-induced acidosis: is it real and clinically relevant?
Pizzorno J1, Frassetto LA, Katzinger J.
Sorry I didn’t put it into an official citation format, just did a cut and paste from pub med. As to urine pH, it can be used for a variety of other factors. It will help to show if there may be various types of infections present, can help to assess issues related to formation of different types of kidney stores, etc.
I think one of the biggest points of confusion is that alkaline in does not equal alkaline out, and visa versa for the acid. It just depends upon what is being put into the system, and the reactions that you are triggering.
A while back, I was sent a small sample of chlorella with something else I had ordered off of iHerb. I have had NO idea what to do with it, so it’s been sitting ever since. I can’t use that excuse anymore…because this pudding sounds great!!
I often times wince at the cost of health food products or meals, too – but you’re so right. Not only is it (hopefully!) worth it, but like you, I’m also not dropping $10+ a day on eating out, coffees, etc anymore. Sometimes it’s nice to just have someone make something for us for a change 😉
if it cures acne I’ll try it! do you have any nutritional additives that acne sufferers should take?
Oooh, I get asked this a lot! I’m afraid I’m not an expert. Lori and Michelle of Pure2Raw are great on this topic, though.
I completely agree with you, especially being a college student myself. Simple is often times A LOT more. 🙂
What a neat product! And how unique that you thought of using the tablets in food. Seriously, I think it sounds awesome and a great way to help get in the nutrition our body craves. I think with a busy lifestyle, we often forget to truly give our body what it needs, and a supplement here and there can be a huge boost!
wow gena, your skin is gorgeous! but i’m pretty sure that’s all you and not chlorella’s work. i used to take chlorella supplements but lost motivation since i wasn’t really “feeling” a difference physically. this is the story of my life with most supplements.
I’ve taken chlorella supplements before – loved them!! I always forget to take supplements too. My holistic doctor would not be happy to hear me say that.
OK, lesson of the day: Chlorella is not the same as cholera. I get that now.
I think I would be nervous to try this, but then again I never thought I’d eat chia seeds and hemp every morning so I guess everything’s new at some point.
You’re so pretty.
I would love to try the chia pudding thing…but afraid it would trigger all my digestion problems worse…
But dates…dates, figs, prunes, raisins…I eat these by handfuls…sugar rush much? oye.
You are SO sweet.