Chia Seeds: Not just for your Chia Pet

When posting yesterday’s blog about my Vegan Overnight Oats, I realized that many people probably do not know what chia seeds are or, for that matter, where to find them. Chia seeds are something I am very glad to have been introduced to. They are one of nature’s superfoods and were considered a staple in the Aztecs’ diet, who ate chia seeds for strength. They are an excellent source of omega fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, protein, and dietary fiber. Similar to the use of flaxseeds, they can be incorporated into many different foods and recipes. Used in my overnight oats, they served the purpose of not only providing nutrition, but also adding thickness to the oatmeal. The soluble fiber within the chia seed creates a gelatinous mixture when mixed with liquid. This makes it a good addition in soups, stews, pudding and smoothies, but also works well sprinkled on salads, stir fries or in baked goods. The gelatinous reaction created by the chia seed also works in your favor inside your body. Once in the stomach it actually creates a barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down. This means that the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar takes longer, thus giving you sustained energy over a longer period of time.

So, as you can see, I am very glad to have found this addition to my diet and cannot wait to try using my chia seeds in various ways. I will keep you posted on recipes. As far a buying chia seeds, they can be found in most health food stores. I buy mine from Whole Foods, but if you do not have access to a similar store then I would check online. Feel free to add any tips you have for using chia seeds or recipes!

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