How Chia Got It’s Groove Back.

 

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past half dozen years, you’ve heard about the wonders of chia seeds. For most of us, the first time we heard of these little beauties was the chia pet. While we may have mocked the chia pet, few of us realized that we’d be eating our words a few years later when the health benefits of those little seeds became apparent, and prized for more than just their starring role in an ill-advised novelty gift.

Chia is native to Mexico and many countries of central and South America, and was highly esteemed and cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans. Indeed, chia is derived from the Mayan word meaningsomething that makes you strong.”  These tiny seeds, about two millimeters in length are packed with nutrition; just one ounce- two tablespoons- gives you 4 g of protein, 5 grams of omega-3s, 12 grams carbohydrate- 11 of which are fiber, and almost a third of your RDA of manganese, magnesium and phosphorous and a fifth of your daily calcium needs. No wonder chia was so highly revered by the ancients!

 

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Now that the chia cat is out of the bag, nutritionists and health advocates are tripping over themselves suggesting ways to get more chia into your diet. The wonderful thing about chia is there are many ways to enjoy it; unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to be assimilated by your body, they can be eaten raw or cooked, added to smoothies and porridge, baked into muffins and breads sprinkled into salads or salad dressing.

Okay now I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Chia seeds are so similar in appearance to poppy seeds that you can easily swap them into any poppy seed recipe. Your favourite lemon-poppy seed pound cake?  Try substituting the poppy seeds for chia. Or Using half and half, thus getting the nutritional benefits of both!

 

Your next batch of lemon poppyseed muffins could be lemon chia seed muffins!

Your next batch of lemon poppyseed muffins could be lemon chia seed muffins!

 

And here’s another secret; the sprouted seeds, yes the very ones that grace your chia pet are delicious. Sprouts -alfalfa sprouts, pea shoots, micro greens and bean sprouts are incredibly good for you, and chia are no exception. And of course they are easy to grow too. Next time you have a craving for a sandwich with alfalfa sprouts, why not use chia sprouts instead?

 

Chia micro-greens

Chia micro-greens

 

Or toss them into your next salad; they have all the nutrition of the seeds, plus the added benefit of chlrophyll, important in the manufacture of red blood cells. Four or five days is all it takes to get a full chia sprout on, ready for munching on. Here  is a great little tutorial on how to grow micro-greens if your chia pet isn’t keeping you in enough green.Who knew that that wacky chia pet could fit into your diet in so many delicious and beneficial ways! Just don’t get carried away!

 

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Oh the indignity….

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