The phrase “clean, green New Zealand” does not, as is often mistakenly suggested, refer to our high standard of environmentalism. Far from it, in fact. Nor does it refer to the colour of our deepening national envy for Australia.
It refers, rather, to the state of our healthy, if oddly coloured, collective colon.
So why, then, are we blessed with such a loose and Kermit-coloured national stool? The answer lies in a powdery, mulched seaweed drink. A drink that is perhaps as much of an icon of the 1990s as Seinfeld, or the Pulp Fiction soundtrack… Spirulina.
On it’s own, Spirulina is, for want of more prosaic language, f**king gross. Think crushed aspirin and tugboat barnacles. But blended into a smoothie, with (that other popular local green) Kiwifruit, banana and juice, it is almost palatable, leaving a quirky tang in the mouth that leads you to believe it must have some non-specific healthy properties.
You’ll find Spirulina smoothies on the menu of any urban cafe that plays a lot of dub-reggae, and has dreadlock-haired waiters with armfuls of vaguely Polynesiany tattoos. When taken regularly, along with the caffeine of a flat white coffee, and a little light exercise (say, netball or social touch rugby), it stimulates the kind of almighty bowel-motions that are the stuff of legend in the Retirement Village wastelands of Pakuranga.
However, it should be noted that any actual health benefits Spirulina may possess - beyond contributing towards a good daily shit – are at best speculative, and, at worst, homeopathic. There’s probably some waffle on Wikipedia about antioxidants – beta carotene this or lycopene that. Frankly, this author is just too lazy to conduct even the most cursory soft of internet research that passes as balanced journalism these days.
Perhaps a cleansing Spirulina smoothie will provide the kind of load-lightening relief I need to get off my heavily impacted arse, and write some facts, instead of just making sh*t up all the time?
Don’t count on it.