Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cha Cha Cha Chia!!!

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 SheetChia Cheat Sheet Chart, by Angela Stokes 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 but you can also find it in most health food stores now a days as well.

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:

Chia Gel:
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.

Chia Fresca:
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.



Eva Rawposa said...

Found you on RFR ~ just wanted to say your blog looks GREAT!! :)

Jodi Clark said...

Thank you Eva!

TanjaJo said...

This was really interesting, Jodi. Thank you!

kathleen said...

Good information Jodi! The Chia Cinnamon Raisin Pudding would be delicious. I've made similar with goji berries or you can use any berries dried or fresh. I like the tapioca consistency. The simplicity of your blog is refreshing!

Jodi Clark said...

Thanks Tanja.
Kathleen I like your idea with the goji berries- will have to try that! Thanks!

Cindy Cummins, Skylight Massage said...

I like the photos of chia pudding and the chia recipe from Mexico!

Thanks for inviting me over to your blog! ;)

I think if you create some posts with your personal food intake and exercise along with progress in your health and weight loss goals it could be really personal and interesting too.

The benefits of chia could, in my opinion, be made more interesting with an example from a day you used chia and it helped you. I like it when you mention your favorite recipes and what you are having for breakfast lately.

I liked your honesty on your first post about not really being vegan. Maybe sharing some of the transitions though about how your diet does change over time could be really neat.

This is very professional and well-done Jodi, I'm excited for you!!

Deborah and Larry said...

Hi Jodi,
Can't say enough about the goodness of chia. A summer does not go by without many, many glasses of chia fresca. Glad to see your blog ... makes me smile. Give puppy a big ear rub for me.

Jodi Clark said...

Thanks Cindy for all the input! I will work on those points. To be honest writing this about chia has reminded me to get it back into my diet- which is kind of why I will write on things to reeducate myself. I am just getting back to using the gel but will see what changes I feel and report back!
So much to share!

Jodi Clark said...

Thanks Deborah and Larry. So glad to see you here! I'll certainly give Lili a good love-in!

Jodi ~Getting Raw said...

Dr. Oz just introduced his audience to the benefits of Chia on his show. I hope people learn to use it more. So good for you!


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