Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cha, Cha, Cha, CHIA!

If you are as old as I am, you remember owning or as least seeing the commercial about the fun gift ~CHIA PET!

Well, these seeds aren't just fun to grow, they are fun to eat and good for you too!

Chia is a tiny seed with unique properties.  It is actually a flowering herb found in the mint family.  It was an important grain to the ancient Aztecs and Mayans.  It is still grown today in Mexico and Guatemala.  It was used as a “running food.”  When going on a long journey or a running messages from place to place, it would be brought along when traveling and just a teaspoon or two would be eaten at a time and give energy for 24 hours.  Chia can be stored for a long time without going rancid, and doesn’t need to be ground like flax.  When combined with water, a gel forms around the seed.  This gel, is believed to slow down the digestion of chia, extending the time it takes to convert into glucose.  Also, the gel (chia absorbs 12 times its weight it in water) provides prolonged hydration.  It is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Chia is a high source of omega-3 fatty acid, helping your body absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E.  Chia also has calcium, magnesium, and boron; the magnesium and boron boost the absorption of calcium.  It can be used in porridges, drinks, baked goods, and smoothies. It is considered a good food for diabetics due to its slow absorption and slow glucose conversion.  It has a slightly nutty taste or some say little taste at all, making it a great grain to supplement in your foods.


Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding
2 ½ cups coconut milk (we use the vanilla, but you can do unsweetened or chocolate) almond would work as well
½ cup chia seeds
6 TBSP cocoa powder
½ cup of sweetener (or less)
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of Real Salt or sea salt

Put ingredients in blender in order listed.  Blend until smooth.  This mixture will get thick!  If you don’t have a very powerful blender (such as the Vitamix or Blendtec) use a coffee grinder to grind the seed first.  Pour into glass storage container and store in fridge.  This is yummy topped with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, and/or berries!  We usually make a double batch of this, because it goes fast!

Note: for sugar free use Xylitol with stevia or sugar substitute of choice

Egg Substitute
1 TBSP finely ground chia seed mixed with 3 TBSP water, set aside until it thickens, add to recipe

Thickener for meatballs, soups or gravies
Just add a tablespoon or two to your recipes.  Grind finely if the texture bothers you.

Homemade Energy Gel
1 cup coconut water
1-2 TBSP chia seeds
Flavoring of choice
Mix together and let sit until gel forms.  Use when running, exercising, or rehydrating children

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