FUNCTIONAL FOOD | Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

We all remember the “Chia Pet” commercial from the 90s, right? “Ch-ch-ch-Chia!”
This week I wanted to share with you a delicious Chia Pudding recipe adapted to include a seasonal fruit, peaches!  I love being a ‘beach bum’ in summer working on my tan but I also enjoy including fuzzy and juicy peaches in anything I can think of this time of year.

There are a variety of Chia Pudding recipes out there that, more often than not, are always missing something: texture, taste, nutrition, sweetness, etc. A good friend of mine recently told me that she once tried to make Chia Pudding and that it tasted like “bland baby food” (Oh, I’m looking at you, Jasmine! ;) so I went on a quest to make the traditional Chia Pudding a little more dimensional, seasonal, and actually tasty–while still maintaining its integrity.

What I have noticed the most is that people tend to be so stingy with their chia seeds! I mean, two tablespoons of chia seeds does not constitute as Chia Pudding, people. What are we, little birds?!! This two-tablespoon amount may work when adding it to a smoothie, but not when you are using them to make a Chia Puddin’. Come on! These are good fats; and I’ll say it again: fats don’t make you fat! Plus the fat in chia seeds are naturally occurring; they haven’t been altered or damaged by processing, heating, or refining.  

With this recipe I’m going to try to satisfy all the requirements of a tasty Chia Pudding so that you kittens may enjoy an easy, cooling, tasty and nutritious breakfast (or snack) during the summer–maybe even year round. It will provide your beautiful bodies with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, complex carbohydrates, calcium, potassium and magnesium to soothe and help those muscles recuperate. And for those of you who worry about protein, chia seeds are actually a complete protein: they contain all of the essential amino acids are bodies cannot make and that we must find/obtain from food.

photo cred:  Gina Mehta

photo cred:  Gina Mehta

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup nut (or seed) milk or coconut milk
¼ cup coconut meat or dried coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1 ripe peach
½ ripe banana
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom

Instructions:

Blend the nut milk, cinnamon, cardamom, peach, coconut and banana. This is a key part of giving this pudding some real flavor!
Put the chia seeds in a cup/small bowl and add blended peach-and-nut milk mix.
Stir well; fork recommended. And I mean really well. Make sure all the chia seeds are mixed with your peach-and-nut milk mix. Some chia seeds will try to isolate themselves and stick to the sides of your bowl/cup; make sure you get all those little buggers.

Let sit for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. (I usually do it the night before; the more time the better).

Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids (and when I say I mean really high -- high like a mother f! In fact, this recipe alone will provide you with about 864% of your daily reference intake (DRI).

So what’s the deal with omega-3’s? We all keep hearing how important it is to get them in our diet. Here is the scoop:

Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids. Wait. What are those again? Essential fatty acids are those that our bodies cannot make/produce so we must obtain them from our food/diet. Omega-3’s are anti inflammatory, they play an important part in weight regulation, they are precursors for hormones, they help regulate blood temperature, they are a primary source of energy for our beating hearts, they protect organs and cells and they even support our brains.

These little magic seeds (chia seeds, that is) also contain a hefty amount of fiber, which plays a key role in keeping you feeling full after a meal, regulating blood sugar levels, digestion, and helping to eliminate any extra cholesterol your body doesn’t need. They contain B vitamins, a ton of vitamin K (which helps regulate blood coagulation and aids to build strong and healthy bones), along with extremely significant amounts of calcium, magnesium (the relaxation mineral, remember), potassium, iron, selenium, manganese, copper, and zinc. Hello strong bones, beautiful hair, and sharp brains.  All for all, I will refrain from using the word superfood as it can get old, but this little seed definitely is a powerhouse!

Peach: Good source of carotenes and flavonoids (antioxidant and anti inflammatory benefits). These fuzzy gals can help prevent heart disease and even cancer.

Cinnamon: Can I just put you on everything? I swear, if I could, I’d put cinnamon on everything and eat it, I would. Cinnamon helps circulation, lower blood sugar levels, and is also a digestant: less crummy in your tummy :D

Cardamom: A good source of manganese (an antioxidant mineral). It helps relieve gas, is a digestive aid (like cinnamon), and is rich in zinc.

Coconut is worthy of a post of its own, but some it’s nutritional highlights include increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), it is an antibacterial (helps destroy disease-causing organisms) and has anti-stress effects. It can help the body from storing fat, and encourage it to burn more calories (but who’s counting? Counting calories is SO 2007!)

Happy eating!

Love,
Gina

Every two weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.