These tiny little black seeds may look unassuming, but don't be fooled!
Chia is a true superfood; as well as being an absolute powerhouse of nutrition, it can be the foundation for some downright magical culinary creations.
Chia Seeds, or Salvia Hispanica, come from a desert plant that grows in Southern Mexico. Apparently, they were highly prized by the Aztecs and Mayans, mainly due to heir endurance boosting and energy sustaining properties. Also, it is said that just two tablespoon could sustain a warrior for twenty four hours!
As for me, I try and get some Chia in me every single day. I hope that you'll soon understand why, and that you'll then join me in my love for them...we can start an appreciation society!
Did you know that Chia Seeds are...
♥ the highest Omega 3 content of any plant food that we know about
♥ roughly 16% protein, and contains all nine of those essential amino acids
♥ a rich good source of calcium aswell as boron, (the mineral required to effectively assimilate calcium) phosphorus and manganese
♥ packed full of both soluble and insoluable fibre and are bursting with antioxidants
♥ gentle on the body because they are easy for us to digest
1. fiber + protein + antioxidants + vitamins + minerals + calcium + omega-3
2. easily digested + easy absorption + aid in digestion process + energizing + filling + thickening agent
I mean….why wouldn’t you eat chia seeds?? Also, unlike flax, you do not need to grind chia seeds to aid in nutrient absorption and ease of digestion!
Finally, Chia loves water! Capable of absorbing up to ten times its own volume in liquid, these small seeds are deeply hydrating.
[Below Chia Seeds soaked in water for 30 minutes.]
It is this particular property that makes Chia so much fun to play with in the kitchen not to mention how exciting it is as recipe ingredient.
You can easily make a kind of gel by mixing together a tablespoon of the seeds with double the quantity of water and leaving to absorb for as little as five minutes. This mixture then makes a wonderful, thickening addition to any smoothie, dressing, pudding, mousse or 'milk'shake!
Also, remember that Chia seeds don't require refrigeration, are easily transportable, and need nothing more than liquid and a container from which to eat them from. For me, this makes them the ultimate travel food!!
How to incorporate chia into your diet and how much to incorporate?
To receive all the power this tiny seed has to offer, studies suggest to consume about 2 Tablespoons a day. Seriously, it's so easy to do that. Here are some ideas and recipes to try:
-sprinkle on your morning oats, cereal, yogurt, granola, toast
-add it into your smoothie for an added punch of Superpower
-add it to your salads
-put into any sauce or dressing that you wish to thicken
-use it to replace an egg in baking (1 Tablespoon Chia + 3 Tablespoons water in bowl left for 5 minutes to thicken)
-sprout it and eat it raw
-throw it on your soups or pastas when you are about to serve
-bake with it: cookies, snack balls, protein bars, pudding
Many suggest that 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds per day are a good idea to supplement your diet with in order to benefit from chia's potential.
If you like to bake, they are great for egg replacements. 2 tbsp chia seed with 1/2 cup water (warm water to gloopify quicker) makes about 1/4 cup gel to replace one egg.
By far my favourite thing of all to do with Chia is to make some luxurious and filling, yet totally light and nutritious, puddings. These make for perfect eating at any time, and are super quick to whip up! I really like to have them for breakfast, topped with some fresh fruit.
The final texture is similar to tapioca, and can take a little getting used to. If this doesn't do it for you, fear not! You can make up a pudding and then pop the lot into a blender. The result will be a thick, creamy and oh so smoooth delight for your both taste buds and your body.
You can be really creative with these puddings, using whatever nut milks, fruit juices or add ins that you are feeling drawn to.
With Chia..the only limit is your imagination!
Here, just for you, are my current top two Chia concoctions:
Chocolate Orange Chia
- 1 Cup of Orange Juice
- 3 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of Raw Cacao Powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon of Lucuma Powder
- 1 Tablespoon of Raw Almond Butter (optional)
Mix together the cacao powder, lucuma and Chia seeds. Then add the orange juice, stirring as you go. Leave for five minutes, then stir really well, being careful to get rid of any clumps. I then leave this to thicken in the fridge a few hours, usually over night. If you want to eat it sooner, simply add another tablespoon of Chia seeds. When ready to eat, give it another good mix, and finally swirl in the raw almond butter!
Creamy, Dreamy Super Pudding
- 1.5 Cups of Water
- 1/4 Cup of Shelled Hemp Seeds
- 2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of Lucuma Powder
- 2 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour (if you can't get hold of this, just add another spoonful of Chia)
- 1/2 a Teaspoon of Chlorella Powder
- 1/2 a Teaspoon of He Shou Wu Powder
- Fresh berries of your choice
To make a superfood charged hemp milk, blend together the water, hemp seeds, lucuma, chlorella and he shou wu (these two ingredients are optional, but recommended for extra magic!) until smooth.
In a bowl, mix together the Chia and coconut flour. Add the hemp milk, and stir like crazy. Have a rest for five minutes, then mix again. I leave this one in the fridge for about five hours or it's a good thing to make before bed and then you have pudding for breakfast! If you have less time, you can use less water or add another spoonful of Chia seeds. When ready to eat, give it one last thorough stir then top it with the fruit. Sit down, and enjoy!
Here's one more worthy chia seed note to mention..
What most people aren’t aware of (due to all the praise towards flax on the health food scene), is that flax contains a high amount of phytoestrogens; plant chemicals having oestrogenic effects.
Phytoestrogens occur in nature to help regulate breeding cycles and, in synthetic form, are used in farming for the same purpose. Phytoestrogens are also the same chemical that has caused much debate regarding soy products. Some people think it’s a positive, while a growing number of people think it’s a negative.
Lastly, while flax seeds are ultra sensitive to heat and therfore rancidity can occur fairly quickly, Chia seeds also have a much richer content of antixoidants making them a lot more shelf stable and their delicate oils kept fresher for longer!
Pretty cool eh?
If I had to pick three ingredients for someone to look into further, I would say chia seeds for sure!
To view more sweet and informative articles by Lana, please get yourself over to HER BLOG