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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.

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I found the tablets most useful.

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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!

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Chlorella Pudding with Chia Seeds (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Serves 2

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.

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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:

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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.

xo

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