Adventures in Raw Fooding in the Forever Wild Adirondacks
Monday, March 30, 2009
wonderful economical seeds with great possibilities.. why are they good? how can you use them? i have gathered a plethora of info for your perusal and a few fast easy delicious recipes. sit back my friends and enjoy the ride- in the end i think you will love them as much as i do!
The word chia often conjures visions of those terra-cotta figurines that, when slathered with chia seeds, grow green "hair." In reality, these healthful, edible seeds are a better source of omega-3 fatty acids than flaxseed (the fats protect against inflammation and heart disease). Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows in southern Mexico.In pre-Columbian times, chia seeds were a component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors; they even played a role in religious ceremonies. Supposedly, 1 tablespoon of the seeds could sustain a person for 24 hours.
Imagine having greater energy, endurance, and ‘go power.’ Chia provides sustained energy, super nutrition, and offers many other healthy benefits, including building lean muscle mass, supporting cardiovascular health, and stabilizing blood glucose levels. The list of benefits goes on (see below).Native Americans in what is now Mexico and the southwestern United States consumed the seeds of the chia plant for hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans. Chia was cultivated or gathered by the Aztecs, Mayas, Tehuantapecs, and other Native American peoples. In most of these cultures, chia was a staple food considered to be sacred, and was consumed specifically for greater energy by runners, warriors, and athletes. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to relieve joint pain and skin conditions. It was a major crop in central and southern Mexico well into the 16th century, but it was banned after the Spanish conquest because of its association with the Aztec "pagan" religion. Over the past few decades, commercial production has resumed in Latin America. And here is more good news: Insects hate the chia plant, so it's easy to find organic seeds.Unlike flaxseed, chia seeds can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid and don't require grinding (whole flaxseed is tough to digest). Chia provides fiber (about 2 tablespoons--25 g--give you 7 g of fiber) as well as other important nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, and zinc.Very few formal studies have looked at chia's benefits, although I expect that more will soon. In a preliminary study from the University of Toronto, researchers fed 21 diabetics either a supplement made from chia or grains with similar fiber content. After 3 months, blood pressure in patients taking chia dropped (10 points diastolic, 5 points systolic) while the grain group's BP remained steady.
Enjoy the seeds' nutlike flavor and consider them to be a healthful and interesting addition to your diet. You can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, yogurt, or salads; eat a handful of whole seeds as a snack; or grind them up and mix with flour when making muffins or other baked goods.
Or make your own "chia fresca," a drink popular in Mexico and Central America: Stir 2 teaspoons of the seeds into 8 to 10 ounces of water (you'll end up with a slightly gelatinous liquid). Add lime or lemon juice and your favorite sweetener to taste, and enjoy.
• Super-Energizing For Increased Endurance and Sustained Energy. A Balanced Blend of Protein, Essential Fats, Fiber, Complex Carbohydrates, and Antioxidants. Chia is unrivalled among all seeds and grains for providing energy to your mind and body. Native peoples knew about chia and made it their power food of choice. The energy and endurance of native athletes, runners, and warriors is legendary. Now you can benefit from their knowledge about chia!
• Improves Cardiovascular Health. Provides Extremely High Levels of Heart-Healthy Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Chia’s oil contains the highest-known percentage of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, an incredible 62%–64%! Foods really can be the ‘best medicine.’ And chia’s benefits just get better!
• Stabilizes Blood Sugar. Reduces Blood Glucose Swings and Supports Conditions of Hypoglycemia and Diabetes. Chia’s soluble fiber exerts a stabilizing influence on blood glucose levels by regulating the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and assimilated in the body. This creates steady, stable blood glucose levels...which also means steady, high energy levels. That’s the ‘magic’ of chia, based on the best nutritional science and traditional tribal knowledge!
• Reduces Cravings for Sweets and Junk Foods. Chia’s Soluble Fiber Allows the Measured Release of its Natural, Unrefined Carbohydrate Energy into the Bloodstream. This is exactly the opposite of a blood sugar rise followed by a crash, which happens when consuming foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates (e.g., white-bread products), and concentrated sweeteners (such as high-fructose corn syrup). Some people may not even know what normal blood sugar regulation feels like (due to poor diets or long-term blood sugar problems). Chia can help restore normalcy to blood glucose levels, especially for individuals suffering from lifelong consumption of ‘standard American diets’ (SAD) in our sugar-and-carbs-gone-wild civilization.
• Improved Mental Focus and Concentration. Chia’s Balanced Essential Fats (Omega-3 and Omega-6) Can Signficantly Boost Brain Power...and Brighten Mood (EFAs are known for their antidepressive effects). Essential fats make cell membranes more flexible, and enable more efficient membrane function, including better nerve transmission and nutrient transport into cells. A healthy nervous system supports more efficient brain function. In fact, the essential fats in chia are well-known for helping improve brain function!
• High-Quality Protein. Chia Contains 20% or More Protein...a higher percentage than found in other grains, such as wheat, corn, rice, or oats. Plus, chia is high in Natural Antioxidants (unlike flax), which means it stays fresh far longer and supplies powerful dietary antioxidants. In addition, chia’s high-quality, vegetable-source protein works synergistically with its other benefits (like reducing cravings and cardioprotective properties). The cumulative effect of consuming chia is super nutrition giving you exceptional staying power and supporting your active, healthy lifestyle!
• Promotes Lean Muscle Mass. Chia’s High-Quality Vegetable Protein Helps Build Increased Lean Muscle Mass. Therefore it is useful for weight loss and weight maintenance. Chia is suitable for all lifestyles and dietary regimens, including low-carb diets and vegetarian diets. In addition, chia’s essential fatty acids (see above) actually boost metabolism and contribute to optimal metabolic function, thereby serving to build and maintain lean muscle mass.
• Gluten-Free. Unlike Typical Grain-Source Proteins, Chia Protein Contains No Gluten. Chia thereby is an ideal food for individuals having gluten sensitivity, carbohydrate intolerance, hypoglycemia, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, or for anyone wishing to avoid common gluten-containing grains like corn, barley, and wheat. (Moreover, simple carbohydrates—including high-gluten foods—are implicated in obesity and blood glucose instability, and generally provide poor nutrient-density.) Chia is a gluten-free, nutrient-dense alternative to grain-source proteins!
• An Ideal Superfood. Chia is an Excellent Functional Food for Most People, including individuals exhibiting food allergies, food sensitivities, or food and chemical hypersensitivity. One study found no evidence of allergic response to chia, even among individuals having peanut and tree nut allergies. Plus, chia is an ideal superfood because it is portable, won’t easily spoil (i.e., protected by natural antioxidants), and safely can be stored for extended periods; chia can be eaten raw, but also remains fresh after grinding; and even after being ground and mixed with water, chia (as a gel) can keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Chia absolutely puts the “super” in “superfood”!
• Super-Hydration and Electrolyte Balance. Chia’s Soluble Fiber (i.e., Hydrophilic Colloids) Massively Retains Water...keeping you well-hydrated and maintaining your electrolyte balance. Chia seeds hold 12 (or more!) times their weight in water. When consuming chia seeds that have been hydrated, you thereby obtain that hydration for yourself for hours! Because when chia is placed in water, juice, or mixed (whole or ground) into moist foods, it greatly swells and thereby provides effective super-hydration for your body. This uniquely powerful swelling capacity also provides special properties (i.e., thickening) you may find useful in the kitchen...or anywhere you happen to be when you need hydration. Given that water is the major component of our bodies, chia’s value for hydration is very significant indeed, especially for active persons, and can make a huge difference in your levels of hydration, and thereby in your quality of life!
• Supports Healthy Elimination and Detoxification. Healthy Oils and Soluble Fiber work together supporting greater regularity and comfort...beneficial effects not to be underestimated! Considering that most Americans are deficient both in essential fats and soluble fiber, chia is an obvious choice for supporting better elimination and natural detoxification, naturally.
• Uniquely Balanced. Chia Offers Amazingly Balanced Ratios of Macronutrients. In fact, chia’s ratios are better balanced than most grains, seeds, and many other foods. That’s why chia is considered by many to be Nature’s perfect food! Add chia to your diet, and witness your own transformation for yourself!
• Sustainably-Grown. Our Chia is Grown Using No Chemicals, Herbicides, Pesticides, Fungicides, or Artificial Fertilizers...and No GMOs! Why does this make a difference? Because sustainably-grown seeds are hands-down healthier for you...and for the planet. Chemical-free chia both better sustains your health and contributes to sustainable agricultural practices by reducing or eliminating toxins associated with industrial agriculture. That means a happier, healthier, more wholesome planet! Sustainabililty matters!
• Completely Natural. Special note on seed color: Independent studies positively show that differences in seed color (i.e., black or white) are not associated with any substantial differences in composition or nutritional value. Rather than seed color, differences in nutritional composition among chia seeds primarily relate to external growing conditions (e.g., where and how they are grown), including factors as various as climate, soil type, etc. Thus all colors of chia seeds are equally nutritious if they are grown under the same conditions. For more information, see Ayerza and Coates (2006). So mix it up! After all, Nature truly 'knows best'!
the chia seed cheat sheet a pdf you can download. there is info and also recipes in this pdf. angela sells the seeds, but she is not local here, so i went to my health food store and asked to order them. yes, i needed to get a larger quantity but since they don't go bad and i am using them in so much, it is certainly worth it.and no shipping charges. since i paid cash i got an additional 5% off!here is a recipe that i can eat every day
chia "tapioca style" pudding:
i make my almond milk then i mix into 1 cup of almond milk 2 - 3 Tablespoons of chia seed, sweeten to taste with agave/honey and sprinkle cinnamon stir every couple minutes to prevent clumping and it will be ready to eat in about 10 minutes. i love garnishing it with berries.
sometimes i prepare it in a canning jar and just shake it instead of stirring it makes a nice container to keep in the fridge for instant snacking.
it is satisfying and filling and give me energy to accomplish the things i want to get done.
I am a certified Alissa Cohen Living on Live Foods Chef, Instructor and Teacher in upstate NY. I first discovered Raw Food for its health and weight balancing benefits. My special talent is for recreating dishes that have dazzled me at fine eateries, replicating familiar cooked dishes that will win over taste buds and encourage anyone that eating raw can be really delicious and exciting! If you enjoyed the tasty recipes that will be posted here on this blog, be sure to check out my upcoming book “Raw Delights”, which is due to go to publishing soon. It's release will be announced on the website: www.AdirondackRawFoodConnection.com.
the information contained in this blog is for education only and is not meant to help diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. it is valuable to seek the advice of an alternative health care professional before making any changes to your existing diet. there, that's said- now go and play with your food!