The Chia seed is an ancient SuperFood used by Aztec and Mayan warriors to increase their energy and stamina, way back in 3500 B.C. Chia is the highest plant-based source of Omega-3s, fiber and protein. Many health experts agree that these tiny seeds are the next big thing in nutrition. In addition to protein and Omega-3s, they are packed with protein, healthy oils, fiber, disease-fighting minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The Chia seed also has three times more calcium than milk, for an excellent non-dairy source of this bone-building nutrient.
Chia seeds can be added to just about any recipe, providing extra nutrition without changing the taste or texture. When you add chia seeds to liquid, they form a gel and absorb ten times their weight in water, making it an excellent source of hydration. The seeds take on the flavors of whatever food you mix it with.
I try to eat Chia seeds every day, mixing a tablespoon or two into oatmeal, smoothies and soups, or sprinkling it on top of salads.
This month’s SuperFood at a glance; Chia seeds are:
• A complete protein with all of the essential amino acids intact. This is a great protein source!
• A super source of Omega 3 fatty acids (the same Omega-3s that we get from fish oil and flax.) Omega 3 fatty acids are well-known for controlling inflammation in your system.
• High in fiber, which helps pull toxins from the digestive system. Fiber also keeps things “moving” and makes you feel fuller, longer.
• Rich in antioxidants (more than blueberries!) which protect your cells and tissues and keep you looking and feeling YOUNG!
• A source of sustained energy and known to help relieve inflammation in the body.
• Research shows that the concentrated amount of antioxidants and Omega-3s in Chia seeds may help improve brain clarity, concentration and memory.
Drea’s Recipe Corner
Banana Nut Loaf
Makes one loaf
5 large over-ripe bananas
1 cup almonds
2 cups pecans
1 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour
1/2 cup of maple syrup
3 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp cinnamon
Start by pre-heating the oven to 300 degrees . Then blend the almonds and pecans in a food processor so that they form a flour-like consistency; this should take about 30 seconds. Once the mixture is smooth, add it to a mixing bowl with the buckwheat flour, maple syrup, chia seeds, and cinnamon, mixing them all together. Next, mash the bananas together util smooth before stirring them into the flour/nut mixture; at this point the mixture should be nice and sticky. Grease a loaf tin with coconut oil and then pour in the mix and allow it to bake for about an hour. Slice and store in snack-size freezer bags for the perfect travel treat! They will defrost naturally in your carry-on or backpack!
From Dr. Mark Hyman’s, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp water
1/4 cup coconut flakes
Combine the cashews and oats in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are as fine as breadcrumbs. Add all remaining ingredients, except coconut, and process until it forms a large ball. Roll out 12 equal balls and pour the coconut flakes out onto a large plate. Roll each ball in the coconut until completely covered. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Store leftover Dirt Balls in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Homemade Trail Mix Bars
3 cups puffed whole-grain cereal (e.g., puffed wheat or Kashi)
1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds (or a combination)
1/2 cup (or up to 3/4 cup) chopped dried fruit such as cranberries or blueberries (or a combination, NO added sugar)
3 Tbsp ground chia seeds
1/3 cup creamy nut or seed butter (e.g. cashew, almond – NO added sugar)
1/2 cup raw honey (OR brown rice syrup, light molasses, sorghum, or pure maple syrup)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch square metal baking pan foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl mix the cereal, nuts, dried fruit and (optional) flaxseed; set aside. Place the nut butter and honey in small heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly for about 1 minute until bubbly and smooth. Pour hot mixture over cereal mixture in bowl, stir to blend (mix well to coat all of the cereal). Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using a large square of wax paper or foil, firmly press mixture down into pan to firmly compact. Bake until just golden around edges, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Remove bars using foil liner and cut into 16 bars or squares. Wrap in tin foil or plastic wrap and store in zip bags for travel. Makes 16 servings.