I bet I know what tune is stuck in your head now?! Cha-cha-cha-chia!
They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fiber. Like flax, chia is highly ‘hydrophilic’ – the seeds absorb water and create a mucilaginous gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly – in under 10 minutes. Soaked chia seeds will appear to contain not seeds or water, but an almost solid gelatin.
This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia. Research believe this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when food containing these gummy fibers, known as mucilages, are eaten. The gel that is formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
In addition to the obvious benefits for diabetics, this slowing in the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar offers the ability for creating endurance. Carbohydrates are the fuel for energy in our bodies. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic changes, diminishing the surges of highs and lows creating a longer duration in their fueling effects.
Add the gel, between 50% to 75% by volume, to any of the non-bake mentioned foods, mix well and taste. You will notice a very smooth texture with the integrity of the flavour intact. In addition to adding up to 50% to 75% more volume to the foods used, you have displaced calories and fat by incorporating an ingredient that is 90% water. Use as a fat replacer.
- Fantastic fiber for digestion support
- Enhances the nutritional value of any food
- Solid support for weight control
- Helps control acid reflux
- High in protein, lipids, & antioxidants
- Slows glucose absorption–an essential for diabetics
- One advantage of chia is that because it has such a high antioxidant content, the seeds stay stable for much longer, whereas flax, for example, may turn rancid. Chia seeds can easily be stored dry for 4-5 years without deterioration in flavor, odor or nutritional value. You can substitute chia in any recipe that calls for flax.
- The taste of chia is very mild and pleasant. That means you can easily combine it with other foods without changing the taste dramatically.
The ‘Dieter’s Dream Food’
- Chia has been called a dieter’s dream food because when added to foods, it bulks them up, displacing calories and fat without diluting the flavour.
- Chia can be used in many types of recipes – savory and sweet ones. In salad dressings, cookie mixtures, smoothies, crackers, ice creams, juices and many others.
- Chia seed protein contains no gluten. This makes it ideal for anyone with a gluten sensitivity or simply wanting to find a replacement for gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye and oats.
- Chia Contains 20% or More Protein…a higher percentage than found in other grains, such as wheat, corn, rice, or oats. Plus, chia is high in Natural Antioxidants (unlike flax), which means it stays fresh far longer and supplies powerful dietary antioxidants. In addition, chia’s high-quality, vegetable-source protein works synergistically with its other benefits (like reducing cravings and cardioprotective properties). The cumulative effect of consuming chia is super nutrition giving you exceptional staying power and supporting your active, healthy lifestyle!
Chia Gel Basic Recipe
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 2 cups water
- In a mason jar add the seeds and water together. (slightly warm water will form gel faster)
- Shake container for 15 seconds, with the lid on.
- Let stand for 1 minute and shake again. This mixture (i.e., basic chia gel) will store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
- You can modify this recipe to suit your needs. For example, you may prefer to grind the seeds (and thereby release the essential fats for better assimilation). Or you may prefer to use more water in order to achieve a less thick gel. Play with the process until you discover what works best for you. In fact, get creative with it!
- This makes a 6:1 ratio (water to seed), which is an ideal ratio for a basic chia gel.
- Experiment with using more or less water, depending on your preference, or the consistency of the food item to which you’re adding it.
- It is often recommend a 9:1 ratio (3 cups water for every 1/3 cup chia seeds) to individuals who desire a thinner gel.
How to Use Chia Gel:
Add this mixture up to equal parts by weight to sauces, drinks, yogurt, salad dressings, jams, jellies, salsa, cereals, yogurt, dips, puddings, soups, or other liquid or creamy foods. The gel won’t affect flavor, but definitely increases nutritional value.