Mighty Little Chia Seeds

chia
I recently watched the documentary, “Forks over Knives” and it has me reeling. The research they present showing the ill effects of ALL animal protein is staggering, saddening and alarming. It made me start to re-evaluate the way we eat. It also had me making my way to the library for some vegan cookbooks. I always aim for homemade and healthy, but we love our dairy in this house. And meat. (Charlotte’s proclaimed favorite meals are tacos and pot roast.) Try to go from a low-carb high animal protein diet to vegetarian and vegan leaning… wow. I still have no clear idea what to eat, how to cook. Now, lets just be clear- I have no plans to go completely vegetarian or vegan but I hope that meat and animal products can become something rare instead of represented in every meal, every day. Fast forward to yesterday when I was walking aimlessly down the aisles at sprouts and saw chia seeds on sale ($7 off!) One thing that can almost always be vegan is a smoothie. Add almond milk if you need something creamy and maybe coconut yogurt instead of dairy. So in hopes of raising our health, I grabbed a bag and went home to research. Wow, what little powerhouses.

The chia seed comes from the desert plant, Salvia hispanica, grown in southern mexico and it has been consumed in that region since about 3500 BC. They were a main component of the aztec diet and consumed by the Maya as well. Chia seeds are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, fiber, omega-3’s and essential nutrients. One ounce contains 11 grams of fiber, a whopping 42% of your daily recommended amount, they have more omega-3’s than any other source per ounce, (including flax seeds and salmon) and chia seeds also provide your body with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

Chia seeds have a neutral, slightly nutty flavor and can be added to almost anything- cereal, salads, smoothies, water or juice. When combined with liquid, chia seeds make a gel that is hydrating to your body. Add chia seeds to a glass of water with some lemon and/or lime. Add them to juice let stand for 10 minutes or so for a tasty chia pudding. For anegg replacement, add 1 tbsp of chia to 3 tbsp of water to equal one egg. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes until a gel forms. There is some research that they may help with weight loss since they can help you stay full longer.

So here’s to healthy living, fewer animal products and a happy family.

Sources
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442472548
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA365093/Chia-for-Health.html
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7928/the-amazing-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds.html

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