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Ch-ch-ch-Chia

by Lisa on December 27, 2009

Did you ever have a Chia Pet? My bro-in-law (before he was my bro-in-law) gave one to me for Christmas one year. It was a weird concept—spread seed goo over a ceramic animal (not sure what kind of animal), and then let it sprout and grow.

Result: pointless, weird-looking, primarily non-functional clutter–sort of a plant!

Why, I wonder, did the inventor of the Chia Pet not just promote the consumption of chia seeds? I’m kind of surprised I have not learned much about them till this year, but I guess that’s the way knowledge comes—I think you may be surprised and interested too.

Chia seeds were used by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans as a staple to their diet. It is said that just a tablespoon could sustain a warrior’s activities for an entire day.

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

The benefits:
1. Rich in Omega-3′s (more than flax)
2. High antioxidant levels (preventing it from going rancid)
3. Can be eaten whole or ground
4. High in calcium, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, niacin, molybdenum, and iron

In the 1500s, the Spanish took over the Aztecs in Mexico, and since the chia seed was closely linked to religion for this culture, there was a ban placed on it. It’s back now on a large scale, and being produced and distributed as a health food.

Uses:
1. Add to salad, yogurt, smoothies, etc.
2. Buy chia seeds already ground and substitute for part of your flour portion in recipes

When chickens or cows are fed chia based feed, their products (meat, milk, and eggs) become enriched with Omega-3′s. It can be added to baby food, and really anything else. It has a nutty sort of taste.

You can also make a pudding out of it:
1 cup chia seeds
3 cups nut milk (almond, coconut, etc)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or replace cinnamon with raw cocoa powder)
pinch sea salt

Cover in fridge for 20-30 minutes…..Pudding! Will keep for several days (recipe from Sarma at http://www.oneluckyduck.com/). If I make anything else with it that’s good, I’ll share the recipe.


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