Friday, October 21, 2011


I recently found out about chia seeds while I was on a call with my health coach. I don't remember what she said I should do with them, but I did remember that she said I should try them. So I did. You can get them at Whole Foods for sure, not really sure where else but check your local health food stores.

I spent a few minutes looking up what exactly I should do with these seeds. Apparently, they can be used in just about anything. Literally. Here is a link to 40 things you can do with them plus some actual recipes. The consensus is that you can use them whole and raw, ground and raw, whole and soaked in water, whole and cooked; just about any way that you want to use them. They are small like poppy seeds and have a slightly nutty flavor, but are said to take on any flavor they are mixed with.

What makes these little black balls so healthy?

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, 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.
Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a 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. (source)
I had grand visions of what I was going to do with these seeds...but instead I just made granola bars. Since chia seeds are high in fiber, I figured it would be best to start off with small amounts. If you are wondering why...let me refresh your memory with the story of what some types of fiber do to me. Anyway, back to granola...
  • 3 c. Irish style oats
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp. wheat germ
  • 3 tbsp. flax seeds
  • 1/2 stick organic butter
  • agave nectar (can use honey as well), enough to make a goo
  • 1/2 c. 100% cocoa chocolate nibs
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds
Toast the oats in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Combine everything else in sauce pan (medium heat) except chocolate, almonds, and coconut.
Simmer while oats are roasting.

In a large bowl, combine roasted oats with chocolate, almonds, & coconut
Pour in goo and mix.
After done "tasting", spread mixture in an 8x8 baking pan.
Pre-cut into bars.
Bake in 300 degree oven for 25 minutes.
Leave in pan and put in refrigerator until cool and hard. 
Or, just eat warm and crumbly right out of the oven!
You can use this as cereal, with yogurt, as granola bars, or a warm topping over ice cream. AND...even though this is a sweet food, it is packed with super foods (chia seeds, flax seeds, 100% cocoa chocolate nibs, almonds, coconut, wheat germ, and whole oats). Yes there is butter in it. BUT FAT ISN'T BAD! Get that out of your head. Everyone needs fat in their diet for our bodies to function properly. And if you are concerned with weight loss, I eat at least one full fat food (butter, olive oil, coconut, avocado) every day, and I have lost a total of 10 lbs in the last year. Figure that one out...oh wait, they have. The "eat low fat products to loose weight" recommendations were not based on science. 

My new rule of thumb is to use the highest quality, most natural, least processed foods I can find.  I am not concerned any more with cutting out one type of food or another because it is labeled as bad. TRUTH: "bad" foods go in and out of style like clothing. One decade it's protein, the next it's fat, the next it's carbs. This has been true of the last century. Just in my lifetime I have seen the badmouthing of fat and carbs (I'm not even 30 yet). 

P.S. Just got a new camera...notice how profesh my pictures are starting to look?

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