Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Do you remember the catchy song ch-ch-chia as in the Chia pets theme song? Yes, chia pets are still available and they even come as Duck Dynasty figures (You’re welcome for that random tip of the day). These little seeds have grown in popularity and are being sold in most grocery stores, heck I even saw them at T.J. Maxx the other day. But what exactly are chia seeds and what are the health benefits they provide?

Remember my post about superfoods a few days ago? Well chia seeds can be added to the list for packing a nutritionally dense punch. They are full of omega-3 fatty acids, a terrific source of fiber containing 10 grams per one ounce (about 2 tablespoons) and contain not only protein but vitamins A, B, E, and D and minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium. Chia seeds are actually part of the mint family and come from the desert plant called Salvia hispanica, which could explain why they are a large part of the Aztec diet. The seeds are black and white, and have been used not only for nutritional purposes but also medicinal purposes such as joint pain relief. They have been shown to reduce the pain related to arthritis and inflammation because omega-3s are converted into prostaglandins which are known to have both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

This little seed has been said to boost energy and endurance and provide enough fuel for 24 hours (Aztec warriors used them as sustainable energy), maintain blood sugar levels and assist in weight loss. The chia seed is hydrophilic, meaning it can absorb about 10 times its weight in liquids which provides a means to prolong hydration during endurance events and keep you feeling full much longer. Research has shown that when chia seeds are combined with water, it forms a gel like substance that blocks the reaction between carbohydrates and the enzymes that break them down so it takes much longer to convert the carbohydrates, providing a steady release of energy for longer periods of time. Chia seeds could be wonderful for detoxing the digestive system and help keep you regular. The swelling action of the seeds in the body helps to cleanse and soothe the colon, and absorb toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action.

There are many benefits to this small seed but the greatest thing is that they can EASILY be incorporated and added into your diet without having to do much prep!  Chia seeds can easily be used as a substitute for eggs, thrown right into smoothies or even in your water bottle. I have used them a couple times in puddings and smoothies but found some must try recipes that I think will become staples in my house!

   Chia Seed Pudding


4 TBSP Chia Seeds
1 ½ cups Vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)
Add-ins: stevia, agave, cinnamon, berries, coconut flakes, crushed graham crackers (I use gluten free), chopped almonds.

Mix chia seeds and almond milk in a bowl and let sit for about 45 minutes, mixing every 10 minutes to break up large clumps. When it has reached desired thickness, simply add your favorite toppings and eat up!  

Chia Almond Pizza

1/4 cup chia seeds
3/4 cup water
3 TBSP almond flour
1 tsp oregano
1 TBSP pine nuts
1 TBSP pepita seeds
salt to taste

Toppings-This is where you can be creative!
1/3 cup Tomato paste
Cherry tomatoes
Fresh Basil
99% Fat free ground turkey
Low-fat Mozzarella Cheese

Mix chia seeds, water, almond flour and spices in a bowl until it starts to thicken. Add in nuts and seeds. Once mixed, lay dough in a round shape on wax paper and flatten to desired thickeness.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or when firm, checking occasionally not to burn.
Remove and add toppings before baking for an additional 10 minutes. 
*(picture from glutenfree girl)

Take care of you,


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