Chia, how l love thee, let me count the ways....

I adore Chia seeds.  Ever since they came into my life, it has been a love affair that will stand the test of time.  I've had flings with seeds, nuts (haven't we all!), powders, juices....you name it, I still like them all but none have my heart quite like Chia.  Let me tell you why....

 

What are They?

They are a tiny seed, originally grown in South America and used by the Aztec's for energy.  Now grown widely in warm areas for their other many, many amazing health benefits.  They can be white or black and have the exact same nutritional benefits whichever colour you buy them in.  Most of the Chia seed growing here in Australia is up in the Kimberley region of WA.  My favourite brand come from there - Chia Co. This is not a sponsored post in any way, I just love their brand due to their sustainable farming methods, the quality and the belief in their product.

If you click on this link  you will find even  more recipes and information on this amazing and tiny little seed.

  chiaincontainer

I buy them in the 1kg size as we put them in everything so it's much more economical but I store in a glass jar

So What Are They Good For?

They contain primarily Omega 3 and Dietary Fibre, more than any other food from nature and are also very high in protein.  Oh and minerals and antioxidants! Could they be any better? What this means for us, by adding them to the diet, is that we are keeping our bowels healthier and metabolism higher and balancing out our other fatty based foods which are high in omega 6 and 9.  We need all the omega's but they need to be balanced or our body becomes inflamed* (think suppressed immunity, arthritis, joint pain in general, skin problems like eczema and dermatitis). Because our modern day diets have unfortunately become very high in omega 6 and 9 and not enough omega 3, inflammatory and acidic conditions of the body are suffered by nearly everyone.

*hint - any medical condition ending in 'itis' means inflammation of... tonsillitis means inflammation of the tonsils etc.

So reasons to add this seed to your diet ? If you suffer from:

Fatigue or poor sleep patterns

Inflammation

Diabetes type 2 or poor blood sugar level control

Frequent infections

Toxicity

Constipation

Irritable bowel

Brittle hair, nails or poor skin

Osteoporosis or brittle bones

chiauses
Courtesy of Raw for Beauty
Now the beauty of Chia, is that it's so small and relatively tasteless that it can go into and onto anything and everything. It can also be cooked and baked into recipes as it does not lose any health properties with heat.  It comes in many forms,  seed being the original and most popular form but can now be bought as a bran, ground seed, oil and gel.  They are just different ways of using Chia for different recipes etc. however I find the seed the most versatile.
You don't need a lot to get benefits, Adults - 1-2 tblspns a day, children - 1 tblspn a day, toddlers - 1 tspn a day and bubs once on solids can eat 1/2 tspn day.  You can't really go overboard unless you started eating a whole cup of the stuff a day! These are just rough guidelines to give you daily health benefits.
 Chia can be sprinkled on to salads, stir fries, cereal, smoothies, juices, baked into cakes, muffins, quiches, frittatas, the list is endless.  It can replace egg in some recipes (mix 1tspn with a 2 tspns water and left for a while and it becomes the consistency of raw egg).  The other amazing and lovely property about Chia is that it gelatinizes (absorbs water and becomes all gooey!) when left in any liquid so you can make amazing Chia puddings by soaking the seeds in almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, well any milk really and add fresh or stewed fruit, crushed nuts, cacao powder, drizzled raw honey.......seriously, you can really experiment with this and makes a wonderful, filling, healthy dessert, snack or breakfast!

 Guess what else you can do with Chia??

  • Make your own healthy jam! Yes, how clever! Due to the gelatinizing properties, you can use fresh or frozen fruit of your choice with chia and perhaps a little maple syrup or coconut sugar to sweeten (if needed), check this recipe out thanks to Oh She Glows
  • Say Goodbye to soggy sandwiches! If you sprinkle a sandwich or wrap that you are taking for lunch or popping in your kids lunch box, then a sprinkle of chia seeds on top will absorb any moisture leaking out of the fillings and keep your bread/wrap nice and dry! You might even put tomato sandwiches back in the lunch boxes with success!!
  • Chia mousse - 1 cup of chia seeds, 2 cups coconut milk, soak and stir for about 5 mins, then add one teaspoons of raw cocoa powder and you have chocolate chia mousse!
    Serve with cashew cream and fresh fruit or even a fruit puree as a sauce
  • Chia puddings!
  • Choc Smoothie/pudding

chiauses2

Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

Well that should be enough to get you started and let me know if you have any other ideas and share with us any great recipes you have that may incorporate my favourite seeds?

 

Yours in health,

 

Alisha x

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