Chia: The New Avocado
I have found something that I love almost as much as avocado: CHIA SEEDS! Yes, those capital letters are me screaming/squeeling because I love it so much. I first bought chia in Atlanta while we were on tour, but didn’t really know what to do with it, so it sat in the RV pantry for the rest of the trip. I recently re-discovered this little gem and NOW I know what to do with it and wanted to tell you too.
Chia seeds are an ancient superfood…and although it seems like they have just become popular, they have actually been around for long, long time. The Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans all knew about these little balls of energy. Back then, they were referred to as “Indian Running Food” because it gives a sustained burst of energy and increases endurance (take note, all you athletes out there!).
Why should you eat chia?
Chia seeds are said to contain:
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
- 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids…
They are also a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fiber.
Stats courtesy of: Raw Reform
Chia seeds are different than flax because they won’t go rancid after a long time…and they don’t have to be ground to get the full benefits. Chia is also excellent for diabetics (and everyone for that matter) because it helps to regulate digestion and blood sugar levels.
If that’s not enough to convince you, I don’t know what will. But now, I’m sure you’re wondering how to eat them (I know I was). First, you want to soak them to produce the “chia gel”. You can use them dry in granola, salads, etc…but I think they are much better hydrated. Then…take:
2/3 cup chia seeds
4 cups filtered water
Add the chia seeds to the filtered water. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Stir. Let it sit for 15 more minutes. Stir and put in the fridge. I just keep them in an open bowl because we go through them so fast and it makes for easy access!
At this point, you can use them for anything. Our favorite way to eat it is like cereal topped with fruit…peaches being our fave (see photo above). I start with a bowl of chia (start with a little because it’s VERY filling)…add 1 tablespoon lucuma powder, a bit of stevia, non-alcohol vanilla syrup and stir really well. Top with the fruit of your choice. Matt likes a little agave drizzled on top. I also like it with almond butter and bananas. If you’re looking for a new raw breakfast idea…this is it! Although we eat it for supper quite regularly too :)
Another way to use chia is in smoothies. It completely disappears when you “smoothify” it…so this is a great option for those who may not like the gelatinous texture.
You can also throw a couple of tablespoons of dry seeds in your water bottle before heading out the door and drink it with your water throughout the day or after a work out…it’s very refreshing (especially cold out of the fridge).
If for some reason we can’t buy food for awhile, I’m pretty much sure I’ll be set with my 5 lbs of chia. Maybe I should order more just in case :) My favorite place to get chia is from The Raw Food World. They have really high quality food and great customer service.
P.S. Yes, these are chia seeds…of “The Chia Pet” fame. Same thing :)