Cha, cha, cha, CHIA! Those of us who are of a certain age will remember that song from the ubiquitous infomercials for the Chia Pet. Well, the chia seed is making a significant comeback, though most of us don’t associate it with the popular little sculptures that came to prominence in the 1980’s.
Haven’t heard of chia seeds? Please, read on!
This special seed comes from a small flowering plant in the mint family.
Chia seeds were once used by the Aztecs as their main energy source. These tiny little seeds are similar to flax seeds but with some subtle differences. They contain healthy fats, are packed with protein, antioxidants, soluble fiber and tons of healthy vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in a normal diet.
Chia can help to restore your body’s energy levels – and who doesn’t want more energy?
They also decrease inflammation because of their omega-3 fatty acids. Similar to cornstarch, chia can be used as a thickening agent and as a substitute for whole grains in your diet. Whole grains help to stabilize your blood sugar levels, as opposed to the spikes and falls that result from consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Chia Seeds nutritionally help with:
- Improved Moods
- Good cholesterol
- Joint and Pain Relief
- Decreased Food Cravings
- Energy Levels
Chia seeds can come either in black or white seeds.
There is no difference in taste or nutritional value between the black and white seeds. Chia can be used in smoothies, sprinkled on salads, ground and added to flax seed crackers, homemade applesauce or into a dessert pudding (see “Not Yogurt” Chia Seed Pudding page XX). And kids, being naturally adventurous, love chia seeds!
Be sure to soak your chia seeds for at least 15 minutes before adding them to your smoothie or favorite recipe! Soaked chia seeds will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
With love for you and the chia seed,
Better Than Yogurt Chia Pudding
Makes 2 cups
- 1 ½ cups Homemade Almond Milk
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 1 ½ TB. honey
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt
In a bowl, combine almond milk, chia seeds, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt together. Stir with a spoon until well combined. Let sit and soak at room temperature for 20 minutes or cover and put in the fridge overnight for a yummy breakfast the next day.
Variation: Substitute the homemade almond milk for a commercial unsweetened nut milk or hemp seed milk.