Spirulina, the Ultimate Superfood? + Banana, Blueberry & Red Peanut Smoothie

imageI loved this smoothie! It has an unusual combination of ingredients and I wasn’t expecting to photograph it at all because usually anything with dark ingredients, and especially Spirulina, will look less than appetising. I was pleasantly surprised, it looks just like a milkshake!

Nutritionally, it has everything you could ask for: potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, protein, B12, Vitamin K, iodine, essential fatty acids, fibre – in fact, more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than you can shake a spoon at.

This so-called superfood can help with post-exercise recovery and fatigue, plus reduce the symptoms of Candida and of allergic rhinitis, among other benefits.

Spirulina is an algae that is mostly protein (between 60% and 70%) and contains a long list of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. I found it difficult to take on its own when I first tried it just in water, it was better in a small glass of apple juice, but it didn’t blend, I found adding it to smoothies the best way to take it. I then tried the Juicemaster brand and found it a milder version, it certainly doesn’t shout above the other ingredients in this smoothie or spoil the taste.

It’s so beneficial for good health that it’s one of those foods you just know you have to have for your own good!*

I’m not really selling it to you, am I?

Trust me, if I gave you this smoothie and you didn’t know it had spirulina in, you’d be none the wiser. But if in any doubt you could add a medjool date or some maple syrup to be on the safe side!

Remember, the coconut water is naturally quite sweet, as is the banana.

Begin with 1 Tsp a day and gradually increase to 3 times a day if you want therapeutic levels.

(If you have to watch your sodium levels, then please do your own research).


Soak 3 Tbsps Oats, 1 Tbsp Organic Chia Seeds* and a handful of Organic Red Peanuts in a Medium Glass of 100% Raw Coconut Water in the blender for 15 minutes to make them more digestible.


1 Small Banana

A Large Handful of Organic Blueberries, washed

1 Tbsp Meridian Smooth Palm Oil-free Peanut Butter

1 Tsp Juicemaster Spirulina

Blend and add ice if you prefer your smoothie chilled. Enjoy!


*Please Note: Since spirulina stimulates the immune system, anyone with an over-active immune system or an auto-immune condition such as Lupus or Multiple Sclerosis is advised not to take it. Similarly, due to its phenylalanine content, those with the metabolic disorder PKU should also avoid spirulina.


*The Raw Chocolate Company

Meridian Foods

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Selenium Smoothie: A Light Energy Boost or Recovery Drink

Some time ago, I wrote a post about the importance of selenium in the diet, but somehow I didn’t get around to posting this recipe to accompany it. (See Love Brazils? Beware Potential Selenium Overload!) I think I was concerned I was posting too many smoothie recipes and not enough juicing ones!

This is a simple, light smoothie, but as always bear in mind my smoothie recipes are mostly meant to be meal replacements, energy boosts or recovery shakes. They contain protein, electrolytes, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals and are healthier alternatives to sugary, chemical-laden snacks and so-called energy bars and drinks.

The Brazils in this smoothie contain selenium, healthy fats and B vitamins, while the wheatgrass powder also contains selenium, B Vitamins including B6 and B12, Vitamins A, C, E and K (essential for bood clotting and bone health). Banana contains potassium for a healthy heart and B vitamins, the chia seeds are full of healthy nutrients including protein and omega fats, oats have magnesium to prevent cramping muscles and keep us calm. Dates are good sources of fibre, minerals including iron, calcium, copper and zinc, and Vitamins A, B, C and K.


1 Ripe Banana

2 Tbsps Gluten-Free Oats

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

3 Brazil Nuts

1 Medjool Date, pitted

1 Glass Coconut Water

1 Tsp Wheatgrass Powder

Soak the oats and chia seeds in the coconut water in the blender for 20 minutes for improved digestion and absorption, then blend with all the other ingredients.


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Blackberry, Açaí & Chia Smoothie

imageIt was just warm enough to have my breakfast smoothie outdoors this morning, but there is a definite autumnal feel in the air first thing. Nevertheless, reluctant to give in just yet, I donned my shorts and sunnies and made the most of it.

This smoothie had some gorgeous large organic blackberries in it. Blackberries are SO good for you.

Nutritionally dense, blackberries are rich in antioxidants, including Vitamin C, minerals and fibre. They are everywhere at the moment, so why not go back to your roots and spend a couple of hours in the fresh air blackberrying – be sure to wash them well and inspect them for insects before eating. Of course, if you’re 3 years old like my grand-daughter, completely disregard this advice, eat them all before you get home and just beam your purple smile!

Açaí is a South-American super-fruit with a mild chocolatey/blackberry flavour which complements the blackberries well while adding lots of healthy nutrients to the smoothie. Açaí is extremely high in antioxidants and has been found to boost immune cell function.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids and a good plant-based source of zinc, good for prostate health, a strong immune system, cell growth, wound healing and the breakdown of carbohydrates.

Vegan and Gluten-Free if you use Gluten-Free Oats.


1 Small Banana

Handful Blackberries, washed

1 Tbsp Açaí Powder*

2 Heaped Tbsps Oats

Glass Unsweetened Chi Coconut Water (depending how thick or thin you like it)

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Small Handful Pumpkin Seeds

Blend and sip at leisure!


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Berry Chia Breakfast Jar

This is a pretty way of making chia porridge, so if you’re feeling arty and have the time, have a go! 

This is such a healthy breakfast and will keep you going (in both senses of the word!): it has protein, calcium, minerals, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants galore. Plus it looks pretty.

You can choose alternatives to the nuts – golden linseeds, pumpkin seeds – and vary the fruit according to what’s in season. I am making the most of organic raspberries at the moment. I always intend to put some in the freezer for during the winter, but usually end up eating them all!

Vegan, gluten-free (I used gluten-free oats) and if you substitute the cashews, nutfree too. Organic except for the maple syrup.

(Take a look at the video at the end – but you’ll have to click onto the blog if you’re reading this via email).


1 Heaped Tbsp Chia Seeds

3 Tbsps Oats

1 Medium Glass Chi Unsweetened Coconut Water

1 Tsp Maple Syrup (optional)

CoYo Coconut Yogurt (dairy and sugar-free)

Cashew Pieces (you can substitute with other seeds)

1 Ripe Pear or 1/3 of a Mango

Raspberries (or any other berries)


Desiccated or Shredded Coconut


Soak the chia seeds and oats in the coconut water in a jar overnight or for ar least an hour in the fridge, stir well.

You can soak the cashew pieces, too, if you prefer, but if you want to layer them, do them separately.

Soaking nuts deactivates the phytates (which bind to minerals in the body and remove them) and makes them more easily digested, softer too.

When ready to add other ingredients, either stir maple syrup into chia porridge or drizzle it over the layers.

Layer coconut (or other dairy-free) yogurt, cashews, pear and berries. Sprinkle desiccated or shredded coconut on top.


Hopefully, the sun will be shining and you’ll have the time to be able to sit back and enjoy at leisure, admiring the colours and  beauty of Nature.

(I know this is but a dream or wishful thinking for a lot of you, but maybe you can treat yourself on a weekend).


Ps I was looking for an appropriate video and came across this – I never knew such things existed! How do people think these things up? I am just adding it for amusement, not promoting it in any way. Enjoy.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Light & Summery Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

Finally, Summer has arrived up North and this is a lovely light summery smoothie, with healthy fats and protein, prebiotics and probiotics for a healthy gut and digestive system, dietary fibre, and lots of vitamins and minerals.

Do you know strawberries are not really fruit as their seeds are on the outside? They are bursting with nutrients, including Vitamin C, folate, B Vitamins, Vitamin K (needed for bone health), they are rich in powerful antioxidants and are thought to help prevent heart disease, cancer and inflammation. The leaves can also be eaten or made into tea.

Try to buy organic strawberries as this fruit is considered one of the ‘dirty dozen’, being one of the most sprayed fruits and retaining chemical residue.


(Apologies for the smoothie photo, no natural light at all when I took it, the smoothie actually looked much lighter and slightly pink).


1 Small Banana

10 Strawberries, washed and hulled

Handful of Pumpkin Seeds

1 Heaped Tbsp Chufa de Valencia Tiger Nut Flour

1 Heaped Tbsp Golden Linseeds, partially ground

1 Medium Glass Rebel Kitchen Organic Raw Coconut Water

1 Heaped Tbsp CoYo Plain Coconut Yogurt

1 Tsp Juicemaster Wheatgrass Powder

Blend and add ice.


Juice Master



Here’s a short but energetic video by The Undertones – watch the keyboard ‘player!’

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Summer Lovin’ Fruit Smoothie!


I LOVE summer fruits! They are here and gone all too soon. Normally I eat them as they are, all soft and ripe and oozing with juice,  or at most, chopped into a summer fruit salad with coconut yogurt and cinnamon. Today, however, I had an under-ripe nectarine, an over-ripe plum and a small galia melon that was on its way to becoming alcoholic!

Into the blender they went.

(This is a smoothie you can drink, no cutlery needed this time!)



(All organic, vegan and gluten-free)

Soak a heaped Tbsp of Buckwheat Flakes in the blender


1 Small Glass Chi Coconut Water – unsweetened –

while you get the other items ready.

1/2 Small Ripe Galia Melon, deseeded and flesh chopped

(Squeeze the juice from the skin into the blender – waste not, want not!)

1 Nectarine, pitted and chopped

1 Plum, pitted and chopped

Small handful of Cashew Nut Pieces

(Cashew nuts contain magnesium which helps you relax and lifts your mood)

Heaped Tbsp CoYo Plain Coconut Yogurt

Blend and serve.

You could try adding a pinch of Cinnamon or Ground Ginger, if liked.

Here’s some summer lovin’ with John Travolta & Olivia Neutron Bomb! (If you’re reading this via email, you need to click onto the blog to see the video).

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Pink Coconut Green Smoothie

Ingredients for Pink Coconut Green Smoothie

I finally managed to get hold of some Chi 100% Raw Organic Coconut Water! We found it at Ocado this week. It’s pink due to the activity of the antioxidants in the young Thai Nam-Hon Coconuts and is sustainably produced, fairly traded and unheated with no additives whatsoever. It is also naturally sweet and not made from concentrate. For an added bonus, the company donate to Drop4Drop who provide waterwells where needed most.

The drawback is that it is more expensive and has to be used within 24 hours, although I’m on my second day and it is still fine. For me, it is this week’s treat.

(Oh, and if only it didn’t come in a plastic bottle).

I decided to use some in my breakfast smoothie, which is rich in antioxidants, electrolytes, protein, healthy fats, B vitamins  and selenium from the Brazil nuts!

Coconut water makes a lighter smoothie and is a much healthier and tastier alternative to sugary, chemical-laden so-called energy or post-workout drinks.

All ingredients are organic.


1 Small Glass Chi 100% Raw Coconut Water

1 Ripe Banana

3 Romaine leaves

2″ Cucumber, peel left on, chopped

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp CoYo Plain Yogurt

1 Tbsp Golden Linseeds

3 Brazil Nuts

1 or 2 Medjool Dates, pitted

1 Tsp Juicemaster Wheatgrass Powder*


Blend, add ice if preferred and enjoy!

Pink Coconut Green Smoothie



Copyright: Chris McGowan

Happy Star Wars Day! Yoda’s Youthful Green Smoothie


 This Green Smoothie was created in honour of The Wise One’s special day!

It’s not guaranteed to bestow long life  – I think 900 years is pushing it a bit – and a wealth of wisdom, but a host of healthy anti-inflammatory nutrients including healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, electrolytes and Vitamin C, will nourish and hydrate your skin and body, while it’s omega oils will also feed the brain.

Due to it’s vegetable content, it’s perhaps more a lunchtime smoothie than a breakfast one.

All ingredients are organic except the live yogurt, but it has no sugar or additives.


Half a ripe Avocado, chopped

2″ of Cucumber, chopped

1 Apple, chopped

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp CoYo Plain Yogurt

2 Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped

1 Glass Unsweetened Coconut Water

Blend and serve.

May the Fourth Be With You!


Copyright: Chris McGowan