At Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, there's lots of talk about the benefits of eating a raw vegan diet. If you've been following our series over the past few weeks, you've learned a lot about some pretty healthy, nourishing foods -- including how to grow your own sprouts.
But if the idea of eating some sprouted mung beans seems totally unappetizing, just wait until you hear about Hippocrates spirulina and blue-green algae drinks. Otherwise known as cyanobacteria, algae are an essential part of the global food chain -- just not what many would consider part of the human food chain. Really, who wants to eat something that's basically nothing more than floating pond scum? And does it really have any special nutritional or medicinal benefit?
However, according to Tom Fisher, an RN for Hippocrates Health Institute, consuming blue-green algae is one of the most powerful healing supplements used at the institute, and it can have an incredibly positive effect on the human constitution.
"[Algae] is one of our richest sources of minerals and phytochemicals. They are true superfoods and provide a wide array of health benefits," Fisher told Clean Plate Charlie recently. "There has been a lot of interesting research in recent years, including some we've done here at Hippocrates, and over the past 20 years, we've only seen phenomenal results form using these supplements to treat a variety of disease and illness."
When it comes to human consumption, the two main types of blue-green algae are spirulina and aphanizomenon flos-aquae (commonly referred to as AFAs or aphanins), both of which grow naturally in lakes and streams. Here in the U.S., blue-green algae are harvested from a single source known as Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon. From there, it is flash frozen and packaged into powders, pills, and capsules and sold in health-food stores and drugstores and on the Internet.
As with any other food or supplement that purports health-benefit claims -- and although blue-green algae supplements are widely consumed in the U.S., Canada, and Europe -- some argue about the potential for the presence of microcystin, a toxic byproduct of blue-green algae. In response, the Oregon Health Division and the Oregon Department of Agriculture established regulatory limits on microcystin content, which is why it's important to buy only from trusted and reputable suppliers such as
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Whether you believe algae is good for you or not, one thing remains true: It is in fact one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, considered a mega-superfood due to high concentrations of proteins, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and enzymes which are all easily absorbed by the body due to their raw, unprocessed state.
Vegan Kale and Blue-Green Algae Pesto
The pesto can be chilled and served cold, or used at room temperature, and will stay good for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. To give it a color boost, add a handful of parsley for a more intense flavor, and feel free to use any other type of nut, including pine nuts and walnuts, or use sesame seeds in place of hemp. A dash of yeast will give it that "cheesy" flavor you're missing from the parmasen of traditional non-vegan recipes.
3 cups (about one full bunch) fresh basil
1 cup of chopped kale
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t raw vinegar
1/2 cup raw cashews (or any other seed listed above)
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 t fresh black pepper
4 capsules E3Live Blue Green Algae
Directions: Set basil and kale aside. Blend all remaining ingredients in a powerful blender (or Vitamix or NutriBullet) until smooth and creamy. Add salt to taste. Add basil and kale and blend again.
To learn more about the health benefits of blue-green algae and sea vegetables, contact Hippocrates Health Institute at 1-888-228-1755.