So I just about fell out of my chair when I came across this blog post about how dried algae powder is going to be ‘the food of the future’. It’s got tons of Iron and lots of other vitamins and minerals, and bags of protein. So why are we not all scarfing it down by the bucketful?
It is what it is
The simple answer is, it’s green… And it smells and tastes like… well… algae.
Officially, it’s called Spirulina, and this isn’t the first time it’s been pushed into the limelight by some rabid supporter who thinks it’ll be the answer to the world food crisis climate and ecology experts are always warning us about.
The ancient Aztecs harvested it from their tropical lakes and used it as a food source, even though they apparently didn’t really enjoy it that much. They called it ‘Tecuitlatl’, which translates loosely as ‘excrement of the stones’.
It is already here
You’ve probably already seen it, in those muddy green ‘health’ drinks they peddle at gyms and health spas and fat farms.
You’ll find Spirulina in most ‘health food’ stores and ‘nutritional supplement’ outlets. It’ll be right around the corner from the Protein Powder shake mixes. The term ‘superfood’ is often found on the labels of the pouches and bottles in comes in. But if, as some Spirulina producers claim, it really did:
- Help you lose weight
- Cleanse the body of toxins
- ‘Purify’ the liver
- Increase mental alertness
- Control blood cholesterol and triglycerides
- Help fight viral infections
- Treat radiation sickness
- Enhance the ability to generate new blood cells
- Regulate blood sugar
- Strengthen the nervous and immune systems
- Improve the healing of wounds
- Remove heavy metals such as lead and mercury from the body …and even…
- Protect you from cancer
…wouldn’t we all be using it regularly?
It’s one thing to take this stuff as a ‘supplement’ – assuming, of course, that your regular diet is deficient in vegetable protein, vitamins or minerals. But it’s quite another to make it a central pillar of your diet. You still need fat and fibre and other stuff to keep your body working right and help it process what you eat into useful forms. And it is, after all – ick! – algae!
Okay, okay… I know what you’re thinking…
It is what you make it
Like the fictional future global dietary staple Soylent Green in the 1973 sci-fi movie of the same name (based on the book Make Room! Make Room! by the legendary Harry Harrison), Spirulina is made from a certain blue-green algae and can probably be made to take on many forms, much like many of the processed foods we already take for granted today. They could texturize it, flavour it, colour it and, generally, make it look and taste just like any sort of ingredient you want. Heck, we’re already living in a world where they’ve made 3D-printed Bacon from basic protein and fat concentrates, and an array of chemical additives… But, then, you’d be in danger of processing all the good stuff out of it. Which the big food processors often do already.
The moral(s) to this story…
1. There is no magic bullet – especially for the coming food crisis, if and when it comes.
2. Variety is the spice of life!
3. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
4. Soylent Green isn’t necessarily people!
~ Maggie J.