Ancient cultures throughout Central America have long enjoyed chia seeds as a key part of their food and medicine. The seeds were even used as currency. The Mayans and Incans revered the tiny, but nutrient-dense, chia seed as a staple food along with corn and beans. In fact, “chia” is the Mayan word for “strength.” We all know the wonders of flax, but chia seeds are nutritionally superior to flax, soy and the like because they are the richest vegan source of Omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. Chia is excellent for digestion and detoxification, as it absorbs over twelve times its weight in water, in comparison to the seven times of flax. This is amazing because our immunity lies within the health of our guts, and since chia promotes speedy digestive transit time, it removes toxins from our bodies quickly. Chia seeds also help with relieving constipation, diarrhea, and inflammation.
Chia seeds are gluten free, grain free and have three times more iron than spinach, 5 times more calcium than milk, 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, and 15 times more magnesium than broccoli!
So now that we’ve established that these seeds are tiny but mighty, how do you actually eat them and incorporate them into your diet?
Add a couple tablespoons of chia to your morning smoothie. Add them after everything else is blended, then blend on low for only about 10-15 seconds. Allow 5-10 minutes for the chia to plump up. Enjoy!
Add 2-4 tablespoons of chia per cup to homemade lemonade (1 part lemon juice to 4 parts fresh spring water). Sweeten with stevia instead of sugar, and you have a yummy sugar free detox drink!
3. Breakfast Porridge
Mix 4 tablespoons of chia with a cup of your favorite vegan milk. Stir it up and let sit for 20 minutes, or place in the fridge overnight for a fast easy breakfast. Sweeten to taste with stevia or a banana. Add vanilla and your favorite toppings like cinnamon, chopped nuts, dried or fresh fruit or even a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top. I like making these in old tahini jars overnight for an on-the-go breakfast. Stir it up and enjoy!
4. Sprinkle chia seeds on salads, yogurt or oatmeal.
Make sure to up your water intake so the chia doesn’t dehydrate you. Remember, these little powerhouses absorb over 12 times their weight in water.
5. Egg Substitute
Mix 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds with 3 Tbsp. Water. If you have a coffee grinder or food processor, grind the seeds into a meal first for a smoother texture. You can also purchase pre milled chia. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 or minutes to become emulsified into a gel. Use this gel as an egg susbtitute in baked goods or pancakes.