Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

As a child, 1982 was the year I yearned for a Chia Pet. I wanted the ram. I didn’t even know what a ram was, but I wanted it. It was the commercial that won my heart, with it’s catchy tune and fancy time-lapsed photography. Who knew that 30 years later, Dr. Oz’s team and even Nuts.com (one of my favorites) would be all over their nutritional benefits.

Chia seeds (‘chia’ is actually Mayan for “strength”)–which were used widely by the Mayans and Aztecs as early as 3500 BC to increase stamina and energy–are a SUPER superfood because they have a crazy high amount of nutrients for a crazy low amount of calories. And unlike chia’s friend the flax seed (also a Super), they don’t have to be ground to reap the benefits.

Chia seeds are high in:

  • Soluble fiber: the one responsible for lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, filling you up, and keeping you full for a scarily long amount of time. It absorbs 12 times its own weight in 5 minutes. Take THAT, “Grow Your Own Boyfriend“!
  • Calcium: 16% of your daily requirement per ounce (2 tablespoons), which is 3 times the amount you’ll get from dairy foods
  • Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s: Chia is a more concentrated source of skin- and heart-healthy essential fatty acids than salmon
  • Protein: 6 grams per ounce (2 tablespoons)–that’s similar to meat, but it’s a seed!

So how do you eat them? How DON’T you eat them is more the question! You can literally toss a tablespoon or two into anything. They’re tasteless and simply contribute a fun, crunchy texture to your food. Here, I added them to a dessert and a pina-colada-type smoothie with only positive feedback. Here are 40 more ideas. Chia Cheers!

Chia Blondie Ingredients

Chia Blondies
Makes 16 small squares or 9 large squares

1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 flaxseed meal
1/2 cup filtered water
1 15.5-ounce Trader Joe’s Blondie Bar Baking Mix (or other blondie or brownie mix that bakes in a 9″ X 9″ pan)
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance margarine
1 medium zucchini squash (green or yellow), shredded
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soak chia seeds and flaxseed meal in water in a medium bowl for 5 minutes, until a thick gel forms.

Stir remaining ingredients into chia flax mixture until well mixed.

Spread mixture into a lightly greased 8- or 9-inch square or round baking pan.

Bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Feel your cholesterol dissolving, one bite at a time.

Chia Blondies, made with green zucchini

Nutrition Info Per Small Square (1/16th of recipe): 178 calories, 9 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 g monounsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 232 mg sodium, 39 mg potassium, 22.5 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fiber, 13.3 g sugar, 2 g protein, 5% vitamin A, 1% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 6% iron.

Nutrition Info Per Large Square (1/9th of recipe): 317 calories, 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 412 mg sodium, 68 mg potassium, 40 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 23.5 g sugar, 4 g protein, 10% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 10% iron.

What the critics said:
Bitchin’ Husband: “If I have a second, will my hair grow green?” (Ha ha, Funnyman)
6-Year-Old Daughter: “Two more please!”
4-Year-Old Son: “Mom! You never gave me dessert!” (Trying to get another)
2-Year-Old Son: “I not like this.” Two minutes later: “Why you eat my dessert?!?!”

Chia Colada

Chia Colada
Makes 3 1-cup servings

Chia seeds are rich in soluble fiber, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, & help to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, & promote heart health. Salud!

¼ cup chia seeds soaked in ½ cup filtered water for 5 minutes
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 banana
2 cups refrigerated coconut milk
(or 1 cup canned coconut milk plus 1 cup water)

Blend and do the hat dance.

Nutrition Info Per 1-cup Serving: 202 calories, 10 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 8 g protein, 11% vitamin A, 52% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 34% iron.

Detox Day 7: Superfoods for Superyou!

Can you believe it’s the last day? What a super journey this has been! Now that you’re accustomed to inhaling so many of nature’s powerfoods (berries, quinoa, broccoli, kale, spinach, beans, lentils…), I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce a few of the not-so-common ones so you can consider taking your newly found health one step further. What you’re already eating/not eating is HUGE, and these extras might just help you be even MORE superpowered!

Blue Green Algae: Superstar immune-booster. Basically flavorless and comes in powders, flakes, or frozen. Can be tossed into smoothies without changing the flavor. The TJ’s Very Green Dietary Supplement contains spirulina, a popular blue green algae. But, lots of folks swear by E3 Live.

Chia Seeds: Loaded with antioxidants, essential fatty acids (more than salmon), protein, and fiber, these little guys help keep you energized and help reduce unhealthy cravings. They are easy to digest and don’t need to be ground like flax seeds. Add them to breakfast cereals, muffins, cookies, smoothies, pancakes, anything really!

Maca Root Powder: Helps to balance hormones and battle stress by strengthening the adrenal gland. Has proven helpful in treating fertility, poor libido, and menopause. Can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, or rice dishes.

Raw Cacao: Helps elevate mind and mood, and is skyhigh in antioxidants. It contains theobromine which promotes alertness without the side-effects of caffeine. Add it to smoothies, or use it in baking or for puddings. Find it at your local health food store or check it out online as seen here.

Congrats on all you’ve learned, changed, and become this week. Cheers to energizing food and living life to its fullest! I’d love to hear how you benefited from these 7 days–please share! XOXO

Detox Day 5: Alkaline and Feelin’ Fine

Tahini Dressing for Veggies, in SKINNY DISH!

Woohoo to Day 5! You are just a few days away from multigrain tortillas! That is going to be one fantastic burrito 🙂

You may or may not have caught the acid/alkaline breeze in the Detox wind convo. Well, here’s the deal: Our blood and tissues love to be at a pH (measure of acidity/alkalinity) of about 7.35-7.45, which is slightly basic/alkaline. This is where your immune system is an immediate bad-guy destroyer and your overall health is sky high. As you loved learning in high school chemistry, the pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 0 to 6.9 being acidic, 7 being neutral, and 7.1 to 14 being basic (alkaline).

Contrary to what you may think, foods that are more acidic do not make your blood and tissues more acidic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Oranges, tomatoes = acidic. But shocker, they make your blood and tissues more alkaline. As you could have guessed, pretty much all veggies, fruits, dark leafies, unprocessed grains, and other healthy foods help to make your blood and tissues more alkaline, while meats, dairy, eggs, sugary goods, highly processed foods, coffee and alcohol make your blood and tissues more acidic. One reason loading up on healthy fluids, fruits, and veggies, and avoiding all the other foods is so good at helping you detox, is because you’re working the alkalinity. For more on pH, check here and here and here.

Now for some extra credit: Want to check your very own pH? Using your SECOND urine of the day, pee on one of these test strips (or ones similar). Is the Detox working? Hurrrahh!

You never thought this would be so much fun! Keep truckin’ and Happy Weekend! XOXO