WTF Wednesday is back!
The past week has been crazy busy for me, with quitting my job, moving house and preparing for speaking gigs. As a result, I wasn’t able to blog or even podcast last week. I felt pretty crappy about it, but then I remembered what my doctor told me, so I took the pressure off and told myself not to stress. It’s not worth running myself into the ground!
But it’s now a new week, a new Wednesday, and a new WTF. Today, you’re going to discover more about The Amazing Chia Seed.
WTF is Chia?
Chia is an ancient seed that comes from a Mexican desert plant. (It rhymes with ‘Sia’ and ‘Mia’ and ‘Kia’…ok you get the idea!) The seeds were eaten by Aztec and Mayan warriors, and legend has it that only 1 tablespoon was required to sustain an individual for 24 hours. Pretty sweet!
Chia seeds are now grown in Australia by The Chia Co, which is great news for those who like supporting local.
Why should I eat it?
- It’s chock-a-block full of good stuff, like Omega 3 ALA, antioxidants, iron, potassium, vitamin C…the list goes on. That’s why it’s known as a Superfood!
- It’s also loaded with fibre to help with digestion
- To compare with other foods, I’ve included the following data from bodybuilding.com:
A 2 tablespoon serving of Chia seeds includes:
+ Five times the omega-3 content of a 1/4-cup serving of walnuts
+ Twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach
+ As much calcium as a half-cup of milk
+ As much potassium as a third of a banana
+ More than twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal
- The Tarahumara (a tribe of Mexican ‘superathletes’ who run crazy distances) use Chia as one of their staple energy foods, simply mixed with water and lemon or lime juice. Christopher McDougall documents the Tarahumara in his book Born To Run. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you check it out. It inspired me to run again!
- It has a pretty neutral taste, even though it looks totally odd.
How do I use it?
- A daily recommended serving is only 1 tablespoon.
- I like to mix a tablespoon into a glass of water and skull it about an hour before a workout for an energy boost, without making me feel full.
- Sprinkle on salads. **Be sure to drink lots of water if you eat them raw, as they absorb a buttload of liquid. And you don’t want your insides shriveling up.
- Use it as an egg replacement in baking – great for vegans or if you’re running short on regular eggs. I did this the first time I made Paleo Banana Bread.For 1 egg, mix 1 tbsp Chia with 3 tbsp water, mix it up then let sit in the fridge for 10 minutes to thicken to a goop. Too easy.
- Use the magical thickening power of Chia in my very convenient, no-spill supercharged Paleo Brekkie-To-Go.
- As a recipe saviour! If you accidentally make something too runny (smoothie, soup, cake mix, casseroles etc), just add some chia to thicken it. You can even grind the seeds to a powder in a coffee grinder first for a smoother texture.
- Lots of people add Chia to smoothies. (I personally don’t, because I find it gets too thick.)
Ok, so where the fork do I find it?
Woolworths have their own brand of Chia now, however I prefer to buy mine in big bags from health food shops. They come in black, white or mixed. (Doesn’t matter which type you get; they all have the same health benefits. The white ones are just less obvious if they get stuck in your teeth!)
A 500g bag of Chia will cost around $18 – $22, depending on the brand and the store. At 12g for a 1 tbsp serve, that’s about 40 serves per bag. So it will last you a while :)
Have you added Chia seeds to your diet? How do you use them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!