Don’t eat your potted pet…
Remember those little Chia sculptures that blew onto the scene about 30 years ago? We’d water them and give them a little love, and they rewarded us by growing hair and fur in all the right places. They were cute but decidedly not edible.
Eat chia seeds instead
These don’t ring a bell? You may be too young (or too old…) to remember. If the latter, take heart. Those miracle chia seeds are now a health food that works to improve your memory!
It’s not all magic, although much is anecdotal. The theory rides on the unusual amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in these seeds, the same thing that gives walnuts and flax seeds their good name. Our brains depend on omega-3 to work well. That part is true. So it stands to reason that the more chia seeds we eat, the better our memories will be. This assumption is now under study.
Chia seeds come in black and white. The taste (very bland) and the nutrition (great) is the same in both. Don’t buy red seeds, as these are not mature.
Add a handful to your cereal bowl. Sprinkle chia on your salad. Throw them into your smoothies and yogurt desserts. Just one ounce, or 3 tablespoons, fills you up, fights belly fat, and improves heart health.
Chia seeds achieve all this because they are believed to boost energy, stabilize blood sugar, aid digestion, and lower cholesterol. That’s because they provide excellent amounts of calcium and manganese, fiber, and protein, along with the omega-3s.
Try this easy recipe. The proof is in the pudding!
Chocolate Chia Pudding
Makes 1-1/2 cups or 3 servings
- 2 tablespoons sugar or stevia equivalent (if using stevia, add it to the wet ingredients even if it’s a powder)
- 2 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup skim milk (or unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix the dry ingredients well, so there are no lumps.
- Combine the wet ingredients in a microwave-safe dish. Heat in the micro for a minute, or until the milk steams. Heating the liquid makes it easier to dissolve the cocoa. Do not let it boil.
- Add a small amount of liquid to the dry ingredients. Stir until it makes a smooth paste. Stir the rest of the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix well. Cover and set aside.
- Stir every 20 minutes, three times. This keeps the seeds from clumping together, so you end up with a smoothly delicious pudding.
- Then put the covered pudding into the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Serve to the kiddies just as it is. You can spice it all up with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, almond extract or fruit extract. Or you can add whole pieces of fruit.
For one serving, I used 1/4 cup crushed raspberries in 1/2 cup of the basic pudding, and layered that with Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia. Yummy! At 200 calories, I got more than 10 grams protein and half my daily fiber requirement.
See how the pudding holds its shape rather than clinging to the side of the bowl? Like jelly!
The chia seeds swell when they get wet to make a kind of jelly. This trick is down to chia’s soluble fiber. The softened gel makes your dessert creamy and thick. If you want it thinner, add more milk. Thicker, add more seeds.
The seeds have no taste. Their purpose is to change the texture and give your health a boost.
This pudding makes a great base for building a satisfying and nutritious breakfast. For a person like me who eats hardly any bread, pasta, or cereal, chia seeds are a welcome fiber boost.
The pudding can also be served as a dessert at lunch or dinner, especially to kids who might prefer its mild chocolate taste. On the down side, some kids might find the uneven texture off-putting. I liked the texture much better than yucky Jello, though. It feels more like a pudding.
Chia pudding dressed with crushed raspberries and layered with Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia. A smattering of ground pistachios finishes the dish nicely.
Make your own chia pet
Let’s finish off this post with a fun craft idea. Use your food-grade chia seeds to sprout your own potato head. Click the link for instructions. If you use edible seeds, you can harvest the hair for your salad!
But don’t eat your store-bought potted pet, no matter how luxuriant that head of green hair looks. The seeds in pets are not approved for human consumption.
Vinny’s posted several articles on omega-3. Read them all and help your family get better marks at school.
- How to make sardines taste good – Omega-3 on a budget.
- When it’s hot it hurts – Omega-3 gourmet style: salmon baked in banana leaves with a green chili and cilantro chutney.
- Where’s walnuts? – Discover the nutritional wonders of walnuts, including the fabulous omega-3.
- Something’s fishy – Make two great recipes for barbecued salmon and control inflammation.
- Three cheers for Miss Macadamia! – A nutty beauty contestant explains the importance of the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.