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5 Simple Ways to use Chia Seeds

Ch, ch, ch, ch, chia! Bet you remember the commercial for chia pets.  Never thought you would actually be eating chia or figured it could be so healthy?

Chia is an edible seed from the desert plant called salvia hispanica, a member of the the mint family.  In Pre-Columbian times they were a mainstay of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of the Aztec warriors.  One tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours!  The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow, help relieve soreness and joint pain.

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds.  Chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. Unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body.  Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin and zinc.

Nut-like in flavour, Chia is a winner in porridge, yogurt, salads, salad dressings, smoothies and baked goods.

Here are five simple ways to use chia:

1. You can mix the seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sweetener to make, “chia fresca“, a drink known in Mexico and Central America.

2. Chia is a great little seed for gluten-free baking.  You can grind the seeds to use as the primary flour in pancakes, cookies, breads, cakes, muffins or brownies, or leave the seeds whole to add a little texture to your baked goods.

3. Chia is wonderful to use it as a binder or egg replacer for vegan baking.

Here’s what you do:  To replace 1 egg, mix 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds with 1/2 cup cold water, juice or milk.  Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.  This will make 1/4 cup of chia gel.

Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.

4. As a binder, a small amount of chia can replace guar gum or xantham .  Try 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground chia in your next recipe for veggie burgers, or meatloaf instead of eggs and breadcrumbs.

5.  I’ve never tried it, but why not coat some halibut with chia and serve it over a mound of tossed greens?  Top it with a fruity salsa made from papaya, lime and mint. I think that is what I will do tomorrow!

Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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