When I used to hear the word "chia", first I would think of chia pets, then I think of the natural foods section of the grocery store, where you would find organic chips and acai berries. It was when I was looking for an egg substitute I came across these spunky little seeds which it turns out you can put in just about anything and jack up the healthiness. Chia seeds have the unique ability to make liquid around them turn gelatinous, or more specifically (here's a fun word) mucilaginous, which is what makes them an ideal substitute for eggs. They have been touted as a new superfood because they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, tons of antioxidants, dietary fiber and calcium. They can help you lose weight, give you more energy, the whole bit! Apparently they absorb some of the liquid in your stomach and help to slow down the digestion process, and help to carry out toxins as they go. Read more about them here.
So how do you use these little suckers? You can toss a tablespoon in a smoothie, on your cereal, in salads... the list goes on. I stir in a few tablespoons in a glass of fruit juice to add some pizazz. The great thing is you don't even notice them because they're smaller than a raspberry seed.
Here are a couple recipes using chia seeds:
Substitute for 1 egg: soak 1 tbsp chia seeds in 3 tbsps water
Last week I tried sprouting chia seeds. Sprouting something gives it that extra nutritional punch that comes with eating something fresh and living instead of dried. Here is what you do:
Lay a paper towel on a plate and get it nice and wet. Sprinkle on 1 tbsp chia seeds, well spaced out. (Unlike mine)
Cover with another plate until they have begun to sprout, then put in a bright window. Make sure the paper towel stays wet.
|Day 1 - See the jelly-ness?|
|Day 3 - I try not to think of how much they look like tadpoles...|
|Day 7 - Teeny tiny microgreen chia sprouts!|
Once the leaves are green, just take some scissors to them and snip them above the root, and add to a sandwich, wrap or salad. (Toss the paper towel in the compost)
I did find these a bit bitter on their own, but when added to a salad they just added texture and flavour to the whole thing.