At Landish, we strive to source smarter ingredients that are not only good for your health, but also for the environment. Two North American-farmed aquatic superfoods, Florida-farmed water lentil and California-grown spirulina, perfectly reflect this mission.
What makes aquatic plants so attractive as an alternative protein source is that their protein content is high-quality, containing all 9 essential amino acids, and they’re incredibly micronutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich, and have a very small environmental footprint, especially compared to animal proteins and even plant-based ones such as soy. For this reason, experts in sustainable agriculture are looking to these aquatic plants and organisms with the vision of creating a more sustainable and secure food system.
Water lentils, also known as lemna or duckweed, are the smallest flowering plant in the world and are naturally grown on still water, typically in tropical climates. Though small, the benefits of consuming this aquatic plant are anything but, as this superfood is both highly nutritious and sustainable.
Try it in our new Lion’s Mane Matcha Latte and stay tuned for another product launching this spring!
Water lentils are a complete protein and higher in amino acids and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) than any other plant source. With a PDCAAS (a measurement system used to evaluate food’s protein quality by comparing its amino acid composition to what our bodies can use) of 0.98/1, the protein quality of water lentils is comparable to eggs, whey protein and meat!
Water lentils are also a good source of vitamin B12, typically only found in animal sources, providing 750 percent of the daily value per 100 grams of dry plant. More importantly, the B12 in water lentils is bioactive, meaning it can be effectively absorbed and utilized by the body. If you’re a plant-based nutrition enthusiast, you might recognize this as incredible news!
Water lentil is also high in minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, and is an excellent source of dietary fibre, powerful antioxidants and essential fatty acids, such as omega 3.
What makes water lentils so attractive as a sustainable protein source is that they require very little resources to grow, yet they produce a much higher yield than most crops.
Approximately 70 percent of the world’s available fresh water goes toward crops and raising livestock, while water lentils do not require fresh water and can even be grown in the desert! Through mitosis, water lentils reproduce themselves every 24 hours and can be harvested daily.
Water lentils and other aquatic plants also produce no food waste, as 100 percent of the harvested biomass is used in the final product. Food waste is a huge environmental issue, with 40 percent of produce thrown out for various (very frustrating) issues related to the supply chain (if you’re interested in learning more about this topic, look out for our upcoming blog post on upcycled fruits and vegetables!).
Here at Landish, we’re excited to be working with a florida-based food startup that have revolutionized the growth and production of water lentils through their aquafarms and proprietary technology.
By transforming marginal, non-arable land into aquafarms housing hydroponic ponds, our supplier-partner grows water lentils without conflict with other crops or the use of chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.
During processing, 98 percent of the water used is recycled, resulting in a very low consumption of water per kilo of water lentil production compared to that of animal proteins and even other plant-based proteins such as soy or pea. And due to the minimal processing requirements, the CO2 emissions are quite low as well.
Spirulina is a spiral-shaped fresh-water blue-green microalgae that derives its energy from the sun and packs an incredible amount of complete protein, micronutrients and antioxidants.
Spirulina has been consumed by humans thousands of years and is now cultivated as a sustainable superfood. Though its increasing popularity is a more recent phenomenon, spirulina’s documented consumption dates back to the Aztecs living in Tenochtitlan, modern day Mexico City, where it was collected from the lakes and dried into cakes. It was also historically consumed around Lake Chad in Africa.
Spirulina presents immense potential for the future of nutrition, with it’s incredible level of nutrient density and ability to fight climate change. NASA has even used it as a dietary supplement for astronauts in space!
Much like water lentils, spirulina contains all 9 essential amino acids, and has a protein content of 70 percent––approximately 3x more protein than beef, chicken, pork and fish. The protein found in spirulina is also highly bioavailable, meaning it can be effectively absorbed by the body.
Spirulina also contains key vitamins and minerals, including 10x more iron than beef, 15x more vitamin A (beta-carotene) than carrots, zinc, iodine, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. It also contains phycocyanin, a powerful antioxidant and significant source of gut-healthy prebiotic polysaccharides, which helps to fight free radicals in the body.
Spirulina has been recognized as a sustainable superfood as far back as 1974, when the United Nations named it as one of the best foods for the future.
Similar to water lentil, spirulina requires little resources to grow, yet it yields more nutrition per acre than any other food. As a reference, spirulina requires less than 500 L of water per kg, while it takes 4,300 L of water to produce 1 kg of rice and 15,400 per kg of beef. Compared to soy, spirulina uses a third of the amount of water and 20x less land, and is 3x more energy—efficient. Spirulina also has an insatiable appetite for CO2, sequestering it from the atmosphere in the form of phenomenal nutrition.
Landish’s spirulina is the cleanest in the world and is sourced from an aquafarm located in the Sonoran Desert of California (there are currently no producers of commercially available spirulina powder in Canada). Our supplier-partner doesn’t use irradiation, chemicals, herbicides or pesticides, and are subject to California’s world renowned, extremely strict health and environmental standards.
Although Landish spirulina isn’t organic, it is of the highest possible quality, while being cleaner and safer than spirulina labelled as “organic”. Up until 2005, the spirulina that we source was categorized as USDA Organic and is still organic in all regards (e.g. free of pesticides and herbicides and Non-GMO Project Verified) except one: its use of a mined, water-soluble form of natural nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants and microalgae.
In 2005, the USDA removed nitrogen fertilizers (used in virtually all conventional farming) from its list of organic-approved fertilizers in order to protect waterways from nitrogen runoff, which can cause excess algae growth, disrupting ecosystems. The USDA brought in a new standard, allowing the use of organic matter like compost, manures, cover crops, fish meal, feather meal, blood meal, bone meal, etc. as sources of nitrogen in organic farming.
Our spirulina-growing partner made the highly informed decision not to switch to the new organic sources of nitrogen fertilizer for three key reasons:
Spirulina labelled as “USDA Organic” is produced in China and India. This is not a problem in and of itself, but in the case of spirulina, as you can see, California-grown is the best.
For a sustainable and nutritious source of protein, try our Landish Spirulina Nutritional Shake. This energizing beverage is great for breakfast, an afternoon pick-me-up or a pre/post workout snack. Order it now!