How many of you have seen those funny, sorta cheesy, yet cute Chia pets?
Did you realize those crazy plant pets had actual health benefits?
Maybe not by sitting on your desk or kitchen window :) but in your body.
Chia seeds is something I recently learned about through my mom actually. She was over at my house one day and poured these tiny black seeds all over her cereal. The thought of seeds on my cereal at 1st just seemed strange, but when I took the time to look into it more – it sounded awesome!
So I ordered myself a pound of chia seeds & began the research.
Want to know what these tiny seeds contain?
Sure you do! :-D
* They contain the highest plant source of Omega-3 on the planet!
* They are great for …
* Heart Health
* Mental Health
* Digestive Health
* Great for Diabetics
* Effective for Treating Hypoglycemia.
* They contain more Antioxidants than blueberries.
* They are a complete protein with all 9 amino-acids.
* They are an excellent source of Calcium, Magnesium & Iron.
* They are 100% natural and raw.
* Chia seeds are Certified Kosher, NON-GMO & GLUTEN-FREE.
* Chia Seeds also are an effective aid to healthy weight loss. The fiber in chia is a slowly metabolized carb & can help to curb the appetites. Chia has been shown to help lose weight when included with a balanced and healthy diet.
Need some more benefits? Here you go…
Promotes Cardiovascular Health:
According to the American Heart Association, Omega-3 fatty acids can normalize blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, while helping promote healthy heart and blood vessels.
Assists Joint Function & Mobility:
With six times more calcium than milk, and with greater amounts of high-quality protein than the one found in soy, Chia also helps strengthen muscles and bones.
Improves Digestion & Natural Detoxification:
Chia can absorb a whopping 12+ times its weight in water – flax seed only absorbs 6-8 times its weight. Chia´s insoluble fiber reduces digestive transit time and removes toxins as it passes through the digestive tract.
& as stated above…
Supports Healthy Weight Loss:
Chia´s high fiber content and its ability to reduce blood sugar levels after meals inhibits the appetite, thus making it the perfect food for healthy, effective weight loss. Thanks to its neutral flavor and color, Chia integrates seamlessly into any healthy recipe.
There is lots more to learn about these nutrition packed seeds & if you are interested in learning more, check out the Chia Seed’s website. All the information above was taken from that site – but I also read a number of other sites with great information very similar as well.
So the real question is, how can I use these? besides throwing them on my cereal :-)
Well, one other really interesting thing about Chia, if you read above :)
It can absorb 12+ its weight in water! Which results in what they call CHIA GEL.
1 tbsp dry Chia seeds
9 tbsp filtered water (or other liquid)
Stir together the Chia and water with a fork. This helps to prevent it from clumping. As you can see in my photo of the chia in water, some of it sunk to the bottom and some floated. So give it a good stir. Leave the mixture for 10-15 minutes on the counter. After that time the bowl or glass will have a thick gel type substance. If you look closely you will see the seeds suspended inside the gel substance. You’ve turned 1 tablespoon of seeds into 9 tablespoons of useful gel. This is Chia Gel, and it can be used instead of butter or oil in recipes.
I decided to put this recipe TO THE TEST in a Healthy Delicious Zucchini Bread.
Here is the recipe w/ my tweaks using the Chia Gel:
* 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil (Instead of Veg. Oil, I USED a 1/2 cup of Chia Gel)
* 1/2 cup applesauce
* 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
* 1 cup white sugar (or raw sugar cane)
* 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups grated zucchini
* 1 cup chocolate chips (optional – I did one loaf with, one without)
1. Grease and flour loaf pans or muffin tins (or use parchment paper/muffin cups)
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
3. Sift flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together in a medium sized bowl.
4. Beat eggs,
oil (CHIA GEL), applesauce, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl.
5. Add dry ingredients to the mixture and beat well.
6. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips (if using) until well combined.
7. Pour batter into prepared bans.
8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes for loaf or about 20 minutes for muffins, until tester inserted into the centre comes out clean (I find the time really varies depending on how full I make the pans, so that tester really is key!)
9. Remove bread/muffins from the pan and completely cool.
10. If you are making cupcakes, let them cool completely (ideally overnight) and then add cream cheese icing to the top.
This recipe makes TWO loafs. Or 24 muffins.
Again this was adapted from PhD in Parenting.
SO, if you are looking to try something new – that is a super food :) – then give Chia a chance.
My pickiest son Taite tried this Zucchini bread and gobbled it up (his loaf of course had chocolate in it hehe), that in itself is evidence that chia as an oil or butter replacer makes no difference in the taste :-) – Enjoy!
O, and if you are Chia Seed Users already ;-) – how about sharing your favorite ways to incorporate Chia into your food.