Everyone has been hearing about Chia seeds for quite a bit…
Years ago it was the fun Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! pet commercials, and really almost every kid wanted one of those. Maybe it was the annoyingly catchy song that was hammered into your head several times a day, the unique clay pot shapes (from sheep to Homer Simpsons head), or the fact that you would plant the seed and in matter of a week or two you would have a full grown plant.
But now Chia seeds are being placed into our diets… every smoothie/ juice place now offers it as a supplement, yogurts are being sold with it, drinks in the markets have them swirled into them and chewy bars are popping up everywhere.
“Great choice, I feel so much healthier!”, I think as I bite down on a chewy-chewy coconut flavored bar… but then I think, “hmm what the heck is this really?”
What are chia seeds?
Edible seeds that come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, which is a member of the mint family that grows throughout southern Mexico.
While you may be more familiar with them as sprouts growing on your novelty Chia pet planters, these tiny seeds are anything but new to the community. It is said that Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas used chia as part of their daily diet and as an energy food.
Did you know? Chia means “strength” in Mayan language, and they were known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance while running long distances or during battle
These gluten/ grain free seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are a better source than flax and more Omega-3s than Salmon, one tablespoon of Chia Seeds has more calcium than a glass of milk, and more antioxidants than blueberries.
According to Mountain Rose Herbs they contain “Essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 30% protein, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, silicon, and anti-oxidants.”
How do you store them?
They can be stored for a long time without becoming rancid like so many other fatty acid-containing products. I like to place mine in a plastic container to avoid spills from the bag they come in and in the refrigerator.
How do you eat them?
They can be eaten whole, which means you don’t have to grind them up like you do flax seeds and are a good source of fiber at about 6.9 grams per serving.
Simply sprinkle them onto anything you’d like and see the magic happen.
When mixed into any liquid, they soak it up and become softer and more gelatinous in texture, which is quite enjoyable in beverages, yogurts and puddings.
Eaten naked, they really don’t have much of a flavor but they have a little bit of a crunch.
What can I do with them?
Since Chia seeds don’t have to be ground to be eaten, you can feel free to In fact, in Mexico they mix it into different agua frescas and most commonly serve it in a lemonade, or you can even make pudding by simply adding your chose of milk (regular, almond, coconut), sugar or substitutes, and letting it sit for 20 minutes.