Behind every corny chia pet…there is a chia seed! I love this super food and if you aren’t already consuming it then here is some healthful information that will make you want to. Chia seed is a member of the mint family and gives a nutty flavor. They are gluten-free and loaded with antioxidants, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, molybdenum, niacin and zinc.
The high soluble fiber content aides in digestion and because they can hold 9-12 times its weight in liquid it is said you can lose weight because it makes you feel “fuller”. Now why is this seed so super? They are one of the richest botanical source of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA which is an omega-3 essential fatty acid. ALA metabolizes into other essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA which is necessary for normal brain function and development. ALA is not naturally made in our bodies so we must obtain it from food. ALA has also shown to protect against cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.
I recently began adding the seeds back in to my smoothies and have noticed the fuller feeling but don’t take my word for it! Try it for yourself. Ancient Aztec warriors used chia seeds for energy, increased stamina, and to relieve joint pain after a long day of battle. It might be a good idea to consume pre or post a good workout! Now lets face it folks…these seeds may be pretty bad ass but this doesn’t mean you can eat crap all day and expect these chia seeds to get you pumped with energy or shed weight. Regardless of how many super foods you are incorporating in to your diet…if your eating nothing but junk you’re not doing yourself any favors. It’s the totality of your diet that counts!
As for incorporating them in to your diet, that’s pretty darn easy. Smoothies are my favorite way to do it but you can also add them to your oatmeal, cold cereal, soy yogurt, baked goods, or salads. A fun way to incorporate them is to make a “tapioca” like pudding with them. It’s super easy and the kids will love it! You can get chia seeds online or at your nearest health food store. Please note that if you have an allergy to mustard seed or sesame seed you may be allergic to chia seed. I have included the recipe below for you to try. If you happen to try it out, let me know what you think and post a comment!
Chia Seed Pudding
Serves: 1 to 2
1/4 whole chia seeds
1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
Chopped fresh fruit, for topping (optional)
Dash of cinnamon
For chocolate flavor: add 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or to taste)
For vanilla flavor: add a few drops of vanilla extract
Optional ways to sweeten:
1 banana (blended in the blender with plant milk) or
2 to 3 dates, pitted (blended in blender with plant milk) or
Agave nectar to taste
Place the chia seeds in a bowl or covered container. Pour the milk over the chia seeds, add dash of cinnamon and stir well. (If using the banana and/or dates, blend them in a food processor or blender with the milk, cinnamon, and ingredients for the flavor you want.
Soak on the counter for at least 20 minutes until thickened, or cover and soak in the fridge overnight. I prefer to soak them over night. If you use agave to sweeten then stir it in well after soaking. Stir before serving, and top with fresh fruit. Enjoy!