Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch Chia

Do you remember the classic Chia Pets?  Those funky sculptures you douse in seeds and water, then neglect and it still grows into furry green coolness.  Gotta love it!  Well, chia isn't just for  house plants anymore.  Those seeds that grow groovy greenness are packed full of great things for our bodies too. (Did you like the alliteration?)

Chia Nutritionally
Chia Seeds
Every one ounce serving of chia seeds (a little less than 1/4 cup dry) packs a whopping 4,915mg Omega -3's, 1,620mg Omega-6's, and is a complete protein with all 11 of the essential amino acids coming to the party.  Chia seeds also boasts 11 grams of dietary fiber per serving!

The downer: Chia seeds are great, but all that Omega-6 and Omega-6 goodness comes at a high fat content, 9 grams per serving (less than 1 gram saturated)

Why do I Chia?
Chia Gel
I love Chia for hydration.  Yes, for helping me drink enough water and stay properly hydrated.   I have this problem.  Water goes right through me.  I drink, then I pee like crazy.  I tend to feel dehydrated no matter how much I drink (and subsequently pee).  Chia helps the water stay in my system longer, bypassing my hyperquick elimination process.
How does that work?  Remember how you can neglect the chia plant and it will still grow? Chia seeds absorb a ton of water (9 times their weight).  Little fiber on the outside of the chia grab onto water forming a gel like capsule around the seed.  Your body can't break this down immediately.  So the water stays in your system longer, helping you feel fuller longer, irrigate the colon and prevent problems like constipation.  Check out this cool illustration of chia in action.

How to Chia
Chia is tasteless so you can use chia in almost anything.  I mix 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds in 8 oz water and let it sit for 10 minutes.  I chug the chia and water before I exercise and instead of hitting a pit stop 1 mile into the run I am good to go!
Chia in a concentrated suspension will have the texture of tapioca pudding.  This recipe taps into that chia pudding idea, but with the added goodness of almond milk.
Banana-Almond Chia Breakfast Pudding
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp raw almonds
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
1/2 banana
The evening before, blend together water and almonds in a blender until the almonds are in small chunks.  Pour blended mixture into a seperate bowl.  Stir in chia seeds.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, cut up half a banana.  Stir the chopped banana into the chia almond mix.  Enjoy!

How do you use Chia Seeds?

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