Chia Seeds have come a long way from those trendy Chia Pet gifts we were getting and giving in the 70’s.
I first became aware of chia seeds a couple years ago in a raw food class and then again last year while attending a food class on pressure cooking. That teacher mentioned (or rather reminded me) that chia seeds were a complete vegetable protein, that eating them would improve my overall health, and that because of their health benefits, I should be throwing some into my food every day. Hmmm….Why wasn’t I doing that? Before I left the class, I purchased my first bag of chia seeds and was determined this time to take heed and start reaping the benefits of this wonder seed.
And then, of course, I put that bag on my pantry shelf and mostly forgot about it. Every once in awhile, the bag would catch my attention, and I would say to myself, “Oh yeah.. I need to open it up and use those seeds.” Pathetic, I know.
Then last weekend, I got another reminder aka JOLT: why aren’t you using those chia seeds? I was at a food event sponsored by Del Real Foods. One of the beverages they served was lemonade with chia seeds and boy was it tasty. As I was enjoying my refreshment, all that chia seed hoopla came rushing back to my mind and I decided, if this health-conscious corporation could add chia seeds to the food fare it was introducing, so could I at my health-conscious home.
2013 was the year of the chia seed. Nutritionists, foodies, and the health world were all touting the remarkable little chia seed. Why? Because it is one of the best plant sources of Omega-3 oils. It is high in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. And unlike the flax seed, they don’t have to be ground to be used nor do they go rancid. Chia seeds are also very high in fiber. When mixed with a liquid, they form a thick mass due to its high content of beneficial mucilages. This slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, leading to a feeling of fullness and reduces the spike in blood sugar. So, if you are looking for an added way to help you lose weight, eating chia seeds will keep you feeling fuller longer, helping to prevent overeating. Here’s a news report done on ABC News last year summarizing the chia seed revolution:
Chia Seeds are EASY to use. They are so SMALL and TASTELESS that they can be added to anything. ALL AGES can benefit from its nutritious qualities. Just one ounce a day is all you need. I was particularly attracted to them because I am allergic to bananas and am always looking for another source of potassium. I enjoy the texture they take on when immersed in liquid for a while. It reminds me of boba, the Asian tapioca found in some teas and smoothies. And of course, anything that helps to curb my appetite is welcome.
For our #CincoDeMayo feast, I replicated the CHIA SEED LEMONADE drink I had at the Del Real Foods event. Everyone loved it. Just squeeze the juice from 5 or 6 lemons, add water and Stevia to taste to make the lemonade. In a glass, pour over crushed ice. Stir in one teaspoon chia seeds and add a lime slice for garnish. Serve. It is so refreshing; something to remember with summer approaching. You can make a batch and put it in a punch bowl for a party. Sharing the chia seed love.
I also learned that chia seeds added to water can serve as an EGG SUBSTITUTE in baking. Mix one teaspoon chia seeds in one tablespoon water. Wait until they are swollen before you add it to your recipe. One tablespoon mixture equals one egg. Perfect for the vegans in your household.
I am a chia seed fan. How about you?