ch-ch-ch-chai chia

There’s a lot to be done with chia: you can make it your pet, turn it into pudding, sing a ditty about it, or rub it all over your body. I prefer the pudding, but whatever your chia fetish, just know that it’s a healthy one. (Hmmm, I’m actually not so sure about that.)

What I am sure about: chia seeds (yes, the same ones used with those adorably frightening chia pets, chia people, and, most recently, Chia Obama) are rich in protein (and complete protein at that!), omega-3 fatty acids (even more so than flax), and antioxidants. When compared to other good sources of fiber, chia reigns supreme, beating out even the dry figs and prunes grandma used to feed you when you couldn’t make #2 as a wee one. A true superfood, these teeny tiny seeds are also packed with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. (Don’t tell Popeye, but chia has over 6x more iron than spinach!)

Chia seeds were a staple in ancient Mayan and Aztec diets. They used chia primarily to increase stamina, and thousands of years later, this miracle seed is still being used by runners for long-lasting energy.

Chia seeds have the ability to absorb 9 to 12 times their weight in water. Like flax, a gel-like sac forms around each seed when soaked in liquid, so you can simply toss a tablespoon in a glass of water for your daily dose of protein and omega-3s. They are virtually tasteless, though have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Add dry chia to smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and salads for added nutrition. Or, try this delicious pudding on for size! (You can eat it, too, though it won’t be as moisturizing.) It’s great for breakfast, desert, or snacking, and can be stored for up to a week in the fridge. For all those tapioca pudding lovers out there, this one’s for you!

All together now: ch-ch-ch-chia!

chai chia pudding
vegan gluten-free recipe | yields about 3 1/2 cups

2 cups of your favorite mylk (I used Edensoy Milk)
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons agave/raw honey/ stevia
1 1/2 tablespoons loose chai tea / 2 chai tea bags
splash vanilla extract
1/8 cup dried fruit of choice (I used raisins and currants)
1/8 cup chopped/slivered nuts (I used almonds)

Gently simmer, but do not boil, mylk and filtered water in a pot with chai tea for about 10 minutes. Strain liquid into a glass bowl and mix in dry chia seeds. Let sit, covered, in the fridge overnight, stirring occasionally to reduce clumping. (You can soak the seeds for less time, just until you see a gel-like sac forming around each seed, though soaking them for longer increases the amount of available nutrients.)

Just before serving, sprinkle pudding with dried fruit and nuts.

Nom nom nom chia make me happy.

How do you like your chia?


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