Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cha Cha Cha Chia... Seeds!

I first heard about the wonders of the chia seed from my favorite food/dog blogger Ricki of Diet, Desserts and Dogs who grinds them and often uses them as a replacement for eggs and to thicken smoothies. Then, Elana of Elana's Pantry wrote about a chia pudding she made that tasted similar to tapioca pudding. I was so intrigued by these little seeds that decided to do some research.

Apparently, the chia seed can hold 12 times it's weight in water, making it a great food to ingest both before and after any tough workouts. Also, it's incredibly high in soluble fiber, making it a food that actually slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugars in your stomach, making it an optimal food to keep your energy high. And, in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds there are 7 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, and 5 grams of omega-3.

I think I found a new superfood. In fact, on days I practice Bikram Yoga, I eat some of this chia pudding beforehand. Originally, I used to get ridiculous headaches and become easily dehydrated when I did difficult workouts (i.e. those that make me sweat buckets). Now, and (mind you, I've only been doing this for over a week) after sweating A TON, I haven't had the headache/dehydration problem when I have eaten chia beforehand.

My recipe for chia pudding is basically Elana's recipe, slightly modified. So really, all credit goes to her. But here's how I do it:

Pre-Workout Chia Pudding (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian)

makes four servings

2 cups hemp milk (or almond, rice, etc.)
3 tablespoons chia seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon agave nectar (only use if your milk is unsweetened)
1 dash of salt

Place all of the ingredients into a large container with a tight fitting lid (I have a half-gallon tupperware-type container that works well for this) and shake vigorously for about one minute. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for at least a half hour, or overnight.


Brad said...

Been eating Chia Seeds for only a few weeks now, and I notice better endurance in my weight training & cardio at the gym. Of course not the same as a stimulant like Caffeine that provides false energy, but simply don't feel as 'drained' by the end of the workout. I will have to try your pudding recipe... looks tasty.

Liz said...

Great point Brad. Thanks for the comment. My workouts have been interesting since cutting coffee out of my diet; I don't have huge burts of energy, but my endurance seems to be better.

Jenny said...

Hmm, interesting, might have to try this! Yeah class last night.. wish I had gone, thought I'd get some work done but didn't. What a waste of an evening. Oh well! I heard Pat might be teaching and that's not my favorite so I opted out.

sallybranwyn said...

Hi Liz, I haven't met you yet, but i feel like I have since I've been reading your blog for so long!

Any idea what the headache after a hard workout thing is about? That happens to me about 60% of the time and it makes working out kind of a dreadful experience.

Ricki said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I eat chia pudding all the time (try it with strawberry soymilk--to die for!!). (PS Re: your comment on my blog--nice to be sweats twins. As I said in my response, it shows that we'll get along once we're in-laws!) ;)

Liz said...

Jenny, if you like tapioca pudding, I think you'd like this. I hear you on class, if I heard the same I might not have made it either.

Hey Sally! I think it's hydration/electrolyte/sodium based. I sweat a lot anyway, but when I workout, I sweat A WHOLE LOT which obviously depletes me of water, electrolytes and sodium -- all necesssary to feel well. I find that drinking something like gatorade (though I hate to because of all the high fructose corn syrup in it) will get rid of the headaches and dehydration. But! I've also recently started drinking cold coconut water and it has the same effect.

Ricki -- having it with strawberry soy milk sounds amazing! Good call. Off to put on my sweats... :)

Healthy Natural Systems said...

I've never had my own chia pet or chia head or whatnot, but they look cool on TV. I just eat the seeds and I swear, they help sooo much as far as energy and feeling good throughout the day goes. I honestly started feeling so much better on a day-to-day basis after I started putting them in my smoothies about a year ago. The one's I get are Chia Pure. Chia Seeds Right Now they are even buy 1
get 1 free!