I always feel that it’s rather pointless to regurgitate information about beautiful plant based ingredients since the internet is busting at the seams with knowledge much more detailed and researched, of the nutritional value and amazingness of chia. It’s always hard for me to merely repeat copy-and-paste style unless I have personal experience (about anything really), written about in this website. Hence, I shall only provide a few facts that I can definitely confirm about this tiny seed.
Nutritional value – according to research
I read that two tablespoons of chia seeds (1 ounce or 28 grams) contain about 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 7 grams of unsaturated fat, 18% RDA for calcium, and trace minerals including zinc and copper. They are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body. The complete protein part is what gets me howling while doing happy dances under the moon.
Egg and Protein substitute (dairy free)
I started excluding eggs almost completely from my lifestyle. For roughly a year, I ate no eggs and then started again because old habits die hard. Please note, this is my opinion and experience, each person has their own journey and (thankfully) views; mine is that once I started eating eggs again, I would have acid reflux and wake up the next morning with a slimy, filmy feel on my tongue and my breath was gunky (something I never noticed while I was eating meat and eggs but once I stopped, noticed the difference in the morning and only then realized how dairy products affects one’s gut). In my view, an egg is basically a liquidized baby chicken – a dead little body and it figures that my breath would reflect that as well. Then, I started getting into wanting to not just love dogs, cats and horses but all animals. Will I never eat eggs again? I don’t know what the future holds, I have never been hungry or in starvation so I choose not to put a label on myself, but while I can make a choice, I choose not to eat eggs. So what was I saying? Ah yes … CHIA! Chia is a great protein substitute for those who run screaming through the streets worried about all the protein they would be missing out on. In addition, if one loves baking but does not want to use eggs, two teaspoons of chia mixed with a teaspoon of water is a very effective proven replacement for egg when baking (wait for it to solidify and please know that it takes a bit of tweeking ).
When I first became aware of the apparent nutritional value of chia seeds, I would put three even four tablespoons full of it in my smoothie. Not a good idea. Firstly chia becomes gelatinous and thickens alot so you will end up with a very stiff smoothie unless you want to turn it into a dessert. Secondly, although it is a seed, one teaspoon in a smoothie suffices because it does have calories albeit less. I’m guessing the claim that chia is good for weight loss most likely lies in the fact that one spoonful of chia in a smoothie or even in water (if you are an avatar) is very filling and keeps one full for a few hours. (Please check the internet for countless smoothie recipes with chia seeds). So basically chia is filling, nutritious and low calorie. Wait, there’s got to be a catch. This all sounds too perfect.
If chia were a movie
If chia were a movie, it would be a bit boring and need a few beautiful actresses to give it oomph. The catch about chia is that it is a bit like tofu … rather tasteless. Any visual or culinary enjoyment needs to be added. I love to make my own chia porridge or dessert with home made almond milk (cashew or walnut milk would be delicious too but almond milk is lower in calories) and soak one or two teaspoons full of chia over night in the milk or, until it gets a porridge gel-like consistency. The fun starts from this point on where I top the chia porridge with a bit of maple syrup, banana, berries, nuts etc.; the world is basically my porridgy oyster at this point. I also love to take the chia porridge and slowly warm it up and infuse it with a cinnamon stick or two and cardamom – remove after infusing. So delicious. There are also many baking recipes with chia seed replacing gluten.
Why not traditional oatmeal with yogurt?
You might ask the question why would one simply not go for oats with yogurt. Why almond milk and chia? When I eat oats and or yogurt, I feel bloated and it just seems to linger in my gut whereas chia is so much easier on my digestive system, no bloating and it passes through quickly even helping digestion – to this I can attest, my bowl movement is definitely much better each time after consuming chia.
A small packet of chia goes a long way for smoothies, desserts, snacks, porridge.
Guard your heart
This post has not even began to touch on what researchers suspect chia to be good for. During the last four years, I have heard of at least five women in their early 40s who suddenly died in their sleep or dropped dead literally (no disrespect intended) due to a failing heart. Chia is rumored to protect against heart disease – when one hears of these kind of tragedies, adding a little chia to your lifestyle does not seem too bad of an idea ♥️