If you were around at all during the 80’s you remember the commercials for this silly looking terracotta figurine that once slathered with seeds and watered grew into a fuzzy green hairy figurine. Since then they have even expanded the line beyond pets to include the heads of Brittany Spears and even President Obama. Can you believe it?!
But what you might not have heard is that chia seeds are amazingly good for you!
As a matter of fact they are a super food that ancient civilizations literally survived on and because it was important enough to them to include in religious ceremonies it was banned by conquering cultures and nearly forgotten about for centuries.
Lucky for us it has been making a huge comeback.
So what is it?
Chia seeds are tiny seeds that come from a desert sage plant (Salvia Hispanica) that is a member of the mint family and grows in southern Mexico and other areas of the southwest.
Chia is the Mayan word for strength. It is said that in pre-Columbian times, chia seeds were used in Aztec and Mayan diets and were known to provide energy to warriors and messengers. It was used as a basic survival ration for Aztec warriors with supposedly one tablespoon of seeds being able to sustain a person for 24 hours.
Who should be interested in chia?
Anyone who wants to:
- Keep blood sugar and blood pressure under control
- Improve hydration and retain electrolytes, especially during exertion
- Gain energy and stamina
- Improve endurance
- Induce weight loss
- Reduce cravings
- Protect against inflammation and heart disease
- Improve intestinal regularity
According to the Chia Cheat Sheet from The Raw Food World
Chia seeds are said to have:
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain.
- 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps calcium into your bones.
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- Copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, (which are the essential fatty acids that protect against inflammation and heart disease.)
- They are a complete source of protein.
- Fabulous source of soluble fiber- just 2 tablespoons provide 7 g of fiber
So what do you do with it?
First off it is recommended to get organic seeds from a reputable supplier and not from a chia pet kit.!! The The Raw Food World is a good source.
Chia is easy to add into your diet. It is relatively inexpensive and has a really mild nutty flavor which makes it easy to add into any food or drink. It absorbs the flavor from any liquid it absorbs.
Unlike flax seeds which are very perishable, chia seeds keep for a very long time if kept dry- like up to 5 years. Also unlike flax seeds, chia seeds don’t have to be ground to be consumed.
Just sprinkle whole or ground over your salads, cereals, or any other food you enjoy or make recipes like the ones listed here.
Some favorite ways to prepare chia:
Mix 1/3 cup chia seeds with 2 cups of water. Stir until it is no longer clumping. In under 10 minutes, chia seeds will absorb 9-12 times their weight in water. Wait at least 10 minutes to use it so that the seeds fully absorb the water, the longer the better. If covered the gel will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
We add this gel (about 2 tablespoons a serving) to smoothies or juice. Not only does it hydrate and provide all the other benefits but it also slows down any blood sugar spike associated with the juice or smoothie.
Chia Cinnamon Raisin Pudding:
¼ cup chia seeds
11/2 cups almond mylk (to see how to make fresh click here)
2 tsp agave syrup (can use honey)
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp raisins ( I used cranberries here)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
mix together in a bowl and wait at least 10 minutes.
I usually make this the night ahead, cover and place in the fridge for the morning. It has a creamy tapioca like consistency.
2 tsp chia seeds
10 oz of pure water
juice of one lemon or lime
agave syrup or honey to taste.
Mix the seeds into the water and stir until seeds have expanded somewhat. Then add the juice and sweetener to taste.
It is a little funky at first with the seeds floating around but really it’s no big deal.
This is a very popular drink in modern day Mexico.