April 7, 2013

Cha Cha Cha Chia! Chia Seeds

When I first talk to people about chia seeds, I know this is what they are thinking:

But, really, this is what I mean:

I first tried chia seeds at a resort gym in beautiful Cabo, Mexico- they were floating in some lemon flavored water. They looked like little black dots with gel around them.

Cabo Mexico
(Gym not pictured!)

The resort gym must have been asked a million times what the small black things floating in the water were, because they had a flyer with a short explanation.

Chia seeds, or salvia hispanica, belong to the mint family. They are packed with nutrition, especially omega-3 fatty acids- which is great if you don't eat fish or flax seed.  One ounce contains 9 grams of fat, 11 grams of dietary fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

When chia seeds sit in liquid, they develop this funny little clear jello-like capsule around them. Supposedly, once they land in your belly, the jelly casing helps you feel fuller longer.

Despite having never heard of them until that trip, when we got home I ordered mine easily from Amazon. The three places I've been able to painlessly add chia to my routine:

1. Half teaspoon in my morning tea and coffee
It's a little odd to get used to these little solid bits in your morning drink, but once you do, it seems odd NOT to have them in it. I keep a little Tupperware container in my car for any coffee shop stops, too.

2. One teaspoon in smoothies
I pretty much smoothie any fruit or veggie in my path, and I throw in a teaspoon of chia with all of them. I'm a huge Vitamix fan, and it chops the chia up so fine, I don't even know it's there (works the same with spinach, too!).

3. Sprinkle on salads
Along with garlic sea salt and pepper, sometimes I'll add some chia. Why not?

Chia seeds might be small, but I've found them to be a mighty addition to my diet.

Next up: organic gardening, year 2!

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