Who remembers that crazy Chia Pet phase? And the ridiculous commercials for those ridiculous chia pets?
Well, chia has made a comeback. You’ve heard me (and probably others) squawking about chia seeds for some time now, so I guess I should tell you what all the fuss is about.
As you know, my dad got some chia seeds for Father’s Day. I thought about a chia pet instead, but with two Pulis, my parents really didn’t need another pet. What they really needed were superfoods to keep them healthy.
What’s a Puli? This.
They have these. With shorter hair. Reminiscent of a Chia Pet, actually. Hmm. Okay, let’s refocus.
Chia seeds are amazing. When they get wet, they form a gel that helps food glide through your digestive tract, but they still have a crunch to them. Nifty, right? And they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids for heart healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.
One tablespoon has only 60 calories (give or take – different brands list different stats). And it gives you a good dose of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.
Additionally, chia seeds are a complete plant protein and gluten-free. This makes them a great option for vegans or vegetarians, as well as those with gluten intolerance or Celiac.
Let’s talk about fiber. In that single tablespoon, you get a whopping 5g of fiber. Gals, you need at least 25 grams a day. And guys, you need at least 38 grams. Pregnant gals, you should aim for 28 grams. For men and women over 50, you need at least 30 grams and 21 grams, respectively. So with just one tbsp, you’re making a good dent in that fiber requirement.
With all that fiber, and because the seeds grow when wet, they not only help with digestion, but a little bit fills you up and aids in weight loss, too. Chia seeds also help balance blood sugar, help lower cholesterol, and prevent against heart disease.
Although these are all great benefits, too much of anything is never a good idea. So don’t start eating insane amounts. A couple tablespoons a day is plenty. And for those of you on blood thinners, chia might not be for you. Talk to your doc.
I recommend organic only, of course. You can find chia at Whole Foods, your local health food store, or online. I like the Navitas Naturals brand because they’re raw, vegan, kosher, gluten-free, and organic. And I like the company. But there are a lot of other great brands, too.
I’ll put chia on just about anything. I put it in my oatmeal for breakfast, in salads, on veggies, on soups, and in smoothies. You can also put it on yogurt, in cereal, or grind it and bake with it. They really don’t have much of a flavor so they work well in a sweet or savory dish.
And here’s my new fave dessert:
2 tbsp of chia seeds
1/4 cup of almond milk
15 frozen raspberries
1 tsp of raw cacao nibs
1 tbsp of hemp seeds
liberal shakes of cinnamon
2 shakes of cloves
Here’s what you do. Get a bowl. Add in everything but the cacao nibs. Mix until it’s all mixed up. Mush the raspberries. Make sure it’s mixed really well. Then let it sit on the counter or in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. Let it get really thick. Then sprinkle on the cacao nibs when you’re ready to eat so they stay crunchy.
Now, I should warn you that I don’t like it too sweet. If you like more sweetness, you can add 1/4 – 1/2 ripe banana, 20 frozen blueberries, 1 tsp of coconut nectar or some raw honey.