What the food is Spirulina?!

I spend a bit, honestly a lot, of time everyday being amazed by food photography on Instagram.  I always want to reach into my screen and take a bite!  I have been wondering how people made food such intense and beautiful blues.  I noticed these photos are often tagged Spirulina or Blue Spirulina.  What the food is Spirulina?!

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Is Spirulina a natural product?

Yes, Spirulina is a generic term for blue-green algae that grow in some salt-water and also fresh-water lakes in Africa and South America.

Why is Spirulina used in food products?

Spirulina is used as a dietary supplement, due to its high levels of protein, vitamins and minerals.  It is also used as a way of adding some really beautiful, natural colours to foods.
Is Spirulina safe to eat?

Spirulina itself is safe to eat, but Spirulina harvested from the natural environment may be contaminated with toxins or heavy metals.  This is further complicated by its status as a dietary supplement, which means it isn’t regulated to the same degree as a food.

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Spirulina should not be eaten by people with Phenylkeptonuria as it is a source of phenylalanine.  If you have a thyroid condition, an autoimmune disorder, gout, kidney stones, or are pregnant or nursing, spirulina may not be appropriate for you. You should check with your healthcare provider before taking it.
Can Spirulina cause allergic reactions?

Potentially, especially in those who are allergic to seafood, seaweed and other sea vegetables.
Is Spirulina vegan?

Spirulina is a cyanobacteria, a blue-green algae, so it is made up of tiny single-celled bacteria.  These bacteria make their food through photosynthesis, just like plants do.  Spirulina is not really an animal or a plant, but seems to be generally viewed as acceptable for vegans to eat.

Psorta Psarosoupa (Fish soup, GF, DF)

It has been very cold and snowy here.  I have been grateful for my soupmaker.  I used the enforced time inside to test the limits of it by making an approximation of a Greek fish soup, Psarosoupa.  The soupmaker rose to the challenge magnificently.

Ingredients

  • 1 Eschalion shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 new potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 200g white fish fillet (snapper, cod, tilapia, etc), skinned and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot or stock of your choice

Method
1. Chop all the ingredients into similar size pieces.
2. Put all the ingredients in your soup maker.
3. Add water up to the minimum liquid level
4. Choose the “soup with pieces” option.
5. Get on with something else, while your soup cooks.

Please note this post contains an affiliate link, that helps us to fund this website. Thank you.

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Allergy Big enjoying the snow near our home.

Spicy Za’atar, Carrot Soup (GF, Vegan)

This post contains an affiliate link.

This month, it has been really chilly here in the UK with some snow, so I have really appreciated being able to make easy, hot lunches with my soup maker (Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup and Smoothie Maker).  This soup uses Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend containing sesame seeds, sumac, oregano, cumin, and marjoram.

Ingredients

  • 1 Eschalion shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 500g carrots, peeled or scrubbed, and chopped
  • 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot or stock of your choice
  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp. Za’atar spices (plus extra for serving)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Method

1. Chop and peel the shallots, garlic and carrots. Drain the butter beans.
2. Put all the ingredients in your soup maker.
3. Add water up to the minimum liquid level
4. Choose the “blended soup” option, and enjoy the amazing smell of spices filling your kitchen.
5. Serve with a sprinkling of Za’atar spices.

Spanish Bean Soup

I am still loving my soup maker (Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup and Smoothie Maker), and I thought I would try the not very attractively named “soup with pieces” option.

Ingredients

  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot or stock of your choice
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 1 tin of mixed bean salad
  • 1 Chorizo sausage, skin removed and chopped

Method
1. Chop all the shallots and Chorizo sausage.  Drain the mixed bean salad.
2. Put all the ingredients in your soup maker.
3. Add water up to the minimum liquid level
4. Choose the “soup with pieces” option.
5. Get on with something else, while your soup cooks.

Bullet Journalling for Multiple Allergies

This is the second post in a series of posts (Living with Multiple Allergies 101).  In the first post, I shared my four point plan for surviving the early days after a diagnosis of multiple allergies.  My fourth point was “Get organised”!  Well, this is how I do it.  I use a bullet journal (sometimes shortened to bujo).  Please note that this post contains an affiliate link that helps towards paying for the running costs of this site.

Bullet journalling can seem very complex at the beginning; hang in there because it’s really not and it can change your life for the better.  This method of personal organisation was invented by Ryder Carroll so I think the best starting place is a link to his video explaining how bullet journaling works.

Here’s a quick crib sheet of the different modules of a bullet journal:

Index – a table of contents that you update as you go

Future log – a year at a glance calendar

Monthly log – a month at a glance calendar

Daily log – what you need to do today

Bullet journaling involves writing short, bulleted information.  The bullet points used tell you information about the task.  I only use a few: • something that needs doing, / something that is half done (e.g. I have trialled a recipe and taken photos, but not put it up on the blog yet), X a completed task, – a cancelled task, and > something I didn’t get around to that needs to be put on another date.

The great thing about this system is how flexible it is so you can tailor it to your needs.  I don’t have all the modules that Ryder suggests someone uses in their bullet journal.  I have an index at the front to keep track of all the pages.  This is followed by a double spread Future Log for sixth months with jobs marked in it that I know I have to get done at a certain time of year, but not necessarily on a specific day; e.g. buying supplies for the boys’ birthday parties.  I break this down further by having a page as a task list for each month.  I have a double spread for each week and I mark my errands, appointments, etc.

A bullet journal is a combined planner, calendar and to do list, and you can include lots of other information between the log pages.  For example, I shop at multiple supermarkets so I need to have multiple shopping lists on the go.  I find this better than having lots of pieces of paper all over the place.20180123_104723 2

I also use multiple online food suppliers (and I have a bad book buying habit!).  I find this Waiting On list a really helpful way of writing down orders as I make them.  It helps me keep track of any missing parcels.20180123_104606

Finally, a really allergy-specific example is that I keep track of the boys’ food trials.  This is my notes from our rather sad trial of rice that ended with them both being ill.20180123_105203There are some truly beautiful bullet journals out there (search for bujo inspiration).  I use mine in a very practical way.  The only equipment I have is my trusty fountain pen, a short ruler that tucks in the back pocket of my journal, and my slightly extravagant Moleskine Soft Underwater Blue Large Dotted Notebook.  If you would like to see some beautiful and useful spreads, then I recommend this Buzzfeed collection of Bujo ideas for health.

Next week – I will be writing about “picky eating” and our approach to meal times.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

High Woods Country Park, Colchester

The Allergy Brothers love visiting High Woods Country Park.  They will spend hours dragging around huge logs to make dens.20180116_123903

Another benefit of visiting here is the little café in the High Woods Country Park Visitor Centre.  It’s very small with a couple of tables inside and some picnic tables outside.  However, it stocks a really amazing range of Allergy Brother-friendly products.  Allergy Little could choose from the whole range of Bear Paw and Yoyos fruit snacks, crisps, and juices from Cawston Press.  They also stock vegan flapjacks.

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