Chia seeds made their way to the public in the 1970s as the Chia Pet. They are one of the many superfoods we all have heard of but most aren’t aware that they are not only edible, but a super powerhouse of nutrition and high, long lasting energy that can keep you feeling satisfied with no cravings for hours. Think about how expensive diet pills are, or those meal plans that you have to purchase in order to lose weight. Chia seeds can replace all that for much less money and a lot of nutrition that those other things don’t supply. For weight loss, add to as many foods as you can, to feel satisfied longer. Chia seeds don’t add any flavor to your foods but actually intensify the flavors. Chia seeds do not have to be organic since they grow easily and pests don’t bother them. They are available in white or brown, either is great. White costs a little more, but is worth it if you don’t like the brown color in your foods.
Chia seeds contain omega 3s in a vegetarian form, as well as protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, lots of fiber and the ability to keep you full for hours with very few calories. All of these benefits help combat chronic illness such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Chia also contains calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals necessary for optimum health. Taken daily, they assist with regularity and colon detoxing, along with drinking plenty of water. They act with a sweeping motion through the intestines and colon, even helping those with diverticulitis/diverticulosis. Taken before a workout, can give energy for a better and longer exercise session and keep you hydrated longer. For regularity and curbing the appetite, consume right before meals and/or first thing in the morning like a fiber drink or even add to your metamucil type drink.
Now the question is, how do you eat chia seeds when you’ve only seen them growing on little clay dogs?
1. Go buy a bag or cannister at the store. Many places are carrying them; supercenters, wholesale warehouses, and healthfood stores. In dry form, chia seeds are very “shelf-stable”, meaning they last for several years at room temperature. Chia seeds can be puchased online for about half the price as in stores. But for now, just go buy some and get started. Just don’t ever try to wash them. They will immediately become sticky as they absorb the water.
2. Presoak some of the seeds to use in smoothies and some foods. Take two cups of purified or bottled water, milk, almond milk or coconut milk and add 1/3 cup chia seeds. Whisk several times in the first 5 minutes then store in the fridge. This will make a chia gel. Chia gel made with water can be stored up to 2 weeks covered in the fridge. Made with a milk product w about will keep about a week.
3. Add to your daily foods, as much as you feel comfortable with – 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons is good to start with, and don’t worry about overdoing it. The more the merrier! 2 Tablespoons is a good goal to work up to, adding it to various meals throughout the day. Chia gel or dry chia seed can be added depending on the foods. Following is a list of some things you can add it to. Use your imagination after that:
Add dry chia seeds - sprinkle on foods to add an extra nutrition boost without changing the flavors.
Oatmeal, grits, cold cereals
Can be consumed dry, followed by a glass of water or any other liquid
Mix with any liquid such as orange juice and drink straight down if you don’t have time to wait for the gel – this is a great breakfast drink!
Add chia gel (water or milk based) – replace 1/3 to 1/2 of any fats such as butter, oil, or margarine in
Dressings, dips, sauces
Muffins and cakes
Dry seeds or chia gel can be added to smoothies with fruit, one of the milks mentioned above, a handful of greens such as spinach, spring salad mix or regular romaine lettuce. Not iceberg, there’s not enough nutrition in that to call it “greens”. Add ice and blend. This will keep you full for hours and you’ve already gotten a fruit and veggie in for the day. Sadly, most breakfasts don’t contain either.
For a instant “pick me up” healthy treat, keep this recipe on hand in the fridge.
Chia Pudding Recipe
2 cups of milk (regular, almond, or coconut)
Natural sweetener such as honey, stevia, even a little sugar, to taste
1/4 tsp vanilla extract, or to taste
Pinch of himalayan or sea salt, another healthy addition (don’t leave this out)
1/3 cup chia seeds
Mix all together thoroughly using a whisk. Whisk several more times in the first 5 minutes and then again at 15 minutes. Eat freely as much as you want but, as with any food, don’t stuff yourself silly!
“Orange Julius” with a nutrition boost
Mix orange juice with 1/3 cup or more of the chia gel (water or milk version)
Blend with a high speed blender for an instant “Orange Julius”. Add some natural sweetener to your liking. The chia seed addition will prevent the blood sugar spike and fall that occurs when you drink the juice alone. To make a complete breakfast, add a scoop of whey protein powder and you’re out the door!
These and more are great for “on the go”, “no time for breakfast”, or “I’m starving and there’s nothing to eat except these chips in the pantry”, times! Instant fullness and satisfaction and no drive thrus or bingeing on chips or snacky foods. Healthy, fast, and inexpensive. That’s the chia seed!