Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Indian Running Food"

I decided to take a short break from my homework to word vomit about chia seeds because I cant get through a sentence of this reading for class without thinking about them. When I get on health kicks, I become obsessed. For example, my mom never fed us brussel sprouts growing up so the second I discovered them they were my dinner side every night for at least a month. If you offered me a choice of chocolate cake or some brussel sprouts it would be such a hard choice. I got that way with kale for a bit too. Kale in my eggs, kale in my smoothies, kale with my spinach, kale EVERYTHING. My new obsession is Chia seeds. Welcome to superfood heaven. 

Raw Chia Seed
 What the heck is a chia seed you ask? 
-Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. They actually don't taste like anything, but you'll die when you hear all the healthy benefits. Most often people mix them in with smoothies or throw them in with your oatmeal, but honestly consume the seeds like their salt and pepper for all your meals if you wish. 1-2 tablespoons a day would be appropriate :) 

Chia Plants

The little black and white seeds were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest. "Chia" is actually the Mayan word for strength. The seeds were used by these ancient cultures as mega-energy food, especially for their running messengers, who would carry a small pouch of it with them. Chia has been called 'Indian Running Food' and gives an incredibly 'sustaining' surge of energy.I've definitely noticed for myself the 'running energy' that chia seems to impart. If I eat chia, then run later that day, I have more endurance.

Try some chias before your run
So the benefits: 

  • Omega 3 fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning that you need to get from food sources because your body cannot produce them itself. Omega 3′s reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. They’re also said to help with weight reduction related to their regulation of blood sugar levels and insulin.
  • Plant-based protein - We all know protein is an essential macronutrient needed for many functions in the body, including muscle building.
  • Antioxidants - Anti-oxidants help rid our body of free radicals, which have been linked to cancer and heart disease.
  • Fiber – Helps with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, prevents constipation and enhances regularity.
  • Magnesium and Potassium – Two minerals needed for good health.
Chia Pudding 

More what you ask? 
  • 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
  • 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that 
  • helps transfer calcium into your bones,
  • 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
  • 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
  • 3 times more iron than spinach

Where are these heavenly seeds? 
The bulk bins at your local sunflower, whole foods, or sprouts. 

A recipe to try: 

Pick Your Own Strawberry Smoothie
  • 1 cup freshly picked strawberries
  • 1 extra ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Granola + honey for toppings
Pick Your Own Strawberry Smoothie

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