At a speakers conference a couple years ago I was introduced to Chia. The only thing I could think of was those Chia Pet commercials… and quietly laugh a little.
The speaker, she was intent on sharing her love of chia and… well on us all trying a bit.
So, I did and it was, well… unimpressive. No taste, a little crunch. What’s the big deal?
Since that introduction, I’ve learned more about chia. It was the advertised fiber and protein that got me hooked last year. While training for the Mighty Niagara, I was looking for some easy ways to boost my nutrition.
So I tried a little chia on my yogurt. By little, one-two tablespoons (I started with 1/2T). Obviously there wasn’t enough fiber in my diet, because that’s what I noticed first. Not bad, just noticeable. Cool, an easy way for more fiber. I can do this. It was really the protein boost that got me buying but the fiber has me staying.
The chia seeds form a gel when exposed to liquids. There’s a little crunch, but not much. Even with my goofy braces, it’s not like a cashew… I know, they’re on the no-no list. But there’s no taste and little texture – at least for me. An easy add.
Now I throw it in my oatmeal, sometimes a red sauce. It can go in anything. Haven’t walked into the chia pudding arena yet but plan to. Actually there are some neat, easy recipes on the interwebs. I’ve been told they’re yummy! Just have to do it.
Some claim it helps weight loss. Since that wasn’t my motivation, not sure what it does. Thinking about it a little though, anything that adds fiber to your diet and helps you to feel fuller for longer will probably help. Again… not my goal… can’t speak to it.
Before typing this, Googled “problems with Chia.” While I’ve never had any issues, with anything there can be problems. Hahaha, OK not funny if you’re on the other side of this. Just like you shouldn’t eat a mouthful of Metamucil (or any fiber) or throw it down your drain (unless you’re on good terms with a plumber), you shouldn’t eat more than a couple dry chia seeds at once. I’ve seen it reported that chia seeds can absorb around 27x their weight in liquid – again like a fiber supplement. Just imagine the havoc it can cause to just down a spoonful. So don’t do that. Add it to something and give it a little time before eating.
While I’m willing to try just about anything, it comes down to easy with benefits. At one point I tried flax seed, starting slowly and for similar reasons. Honestly, it was too much work for not enough benefit. Our coffee grinder did more work over that month (because you have to grind the seeds). Chia has no grinding and as long as you don’t down a spoonful, no problems that I’m aware of.
There are a ton of sites that extol the virtues of chia in detail. If you’re interested, start here. Our friends at Wikipedia have details, just remember it’s Wikipedia. Here’s an excerpt of their assessment of Chia (links & all), compliments of the USDA:
According to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus and 30%manganese. These nutrient values are similar to other edible seeds, such as flax or sesame.
If you give it a try…
- Start slow. We’re all different but any increase in fiber should impact your… intestinal process. Take it slow to give your body time to get used to the change.
- Don’t eat it by the spoonful. Find something in your routine you can add it to. For me, it was greek yogurt. And yes, it’s not liquid per se, but there’s enough for the chia to absorb and get happy.
- Remember, again like any fiber, increase your water intake to help your body to process the added fiber.
We’re all different. While I can’t spout the impact on my blood chemistry, it’s a little change that doesn’t seem to hurt and does seem to help. I find it difficult to eat enough fiber so for me that alone makes me a convert.
Where can you get chia seeds? Any grocery should stock it, just ask. From the pic on the post, you can see mine comes from our local grocery store and is organic. Nice. You can Google it and order some over the interwebs if your local grocery doesn’t have it.
Or.. you can mix your seeds with water and slather them on one of your favorite figurines and poof… homemade Chia Pet! …maybe just add them to your yogurt! 🙂