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Chia Seeds

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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.

Health Benefits:

  • 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

Antioxidants

  • 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.


Mild Taste

  • 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.

Versatile

  • 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.


Gluten-Free

  • 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.

High-Quailty Protein

  • 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!

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Chia Gel Basic Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups water

Preparation:

  1. In a mason jar add the seeds and water together. (slightly warm water will form gel faster)
  2. Shake container for 15 seconds, with the lid on.
  3. Let stand for 1 minute and shake again. This mixture (i.e., basic chia gel) will store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
  4. 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!

Notes:

  • 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.

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22 thoughts on “Chia Seeds

  1. Patricia says:

    Can I use dry chia seed directly into my smoothies?
    what are the benefits of preparing chia gel?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Patricia, yes you can add them to your smoothie dry. They don’t have any enzyme inhibitors so they technically don’t need to be soaked before consuming. Having a chia gel on hand is nice if you want something to be instantly thickened. Though adding dry to liquid will thicken too, it just needs a little time to sit and do its magic. I go through phases where I make up large jars of the chia gel. In the morning I would pour some into a bowl add some fruit juice, stir and eat. So good for you!

  2. David says:

    Hey There…. Okay BLECH. Just BLECH. :) Okay for the past couple days I have been adding 4 tablespoons of Nutiva Milled Chia seeds into my protein smoothie. The taste was a bit off, but because I sweeten in with stevia, plus so many other super foods it wasn’t that strong. Just off a bit. But last night I made some salad dressing where I added about 8 tablespoons to about 1 cup or more of water, with 4 garlic cloves, Sea Salt, Cumin. I tasted a tiny bit with my finger tip and it tasted great. After 10 minutes I poured it over my quinoa, it was SOOO bitter, I couldn’t taste anything, but the bitterness. At first I thought hmm maybe it was from not washing my quinoa well enough. But I taste the remaining left, and it was fine.

    So I grabbed the bag of chia and downed a large teaspoon of it, and it was BIITTTTEERRR. Also the chia was also making my shakes taste a bit off. So this has been my first time after 9 years of raw eating, trying anything chia seed related- Is this how they taste? I hope not. I want to eat it for its omega 3′s, but man it’s intense. So I’m asking a pro, since everywhere I have read says it virtually has zero taste, Did I get a bad batch? I hope so. I wanted to make crackers, etc with it as well, since ground flax is very time limited in terms of its omegas.

    What say you? smile.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning David…

      Well, in my experience… you either got a bad batch of chia seeds or it was the quinoa. If you don’t soak and rinse the qunioa, it will have a bitter taste for sure. I spent several months eating plain chia get for my breakfasts and it never had a bitter taste, so make sure you are rinsing your quinoa and try a different batch/brand of chia seeds and see if that makes a difference for you. Good luck! amie sue

  3. David says:

    Thanks Aime. Yeah it was the Chia Seeds. As I had the same bag of quinoa earlier today and it was fine. I contacted the company, just to ask, and they were so cool about it and said it shouldn’t have tasted that way, and they for no cost are sending me a replacement, even though I didn’t order it from them, but through a diff website. So all they asked was the batch date on the bag, etc. They said it was probably just that specific batch. So we shall see. But if it happens again, which I doubt, I will try a diff brand.

    I was thinking, I know people don’t eat these seeds if they taste that way, hehe.

    • amie-sue says:

      Ah, good, that makes sense. Believe it or not but last night as I was tossing and turning in bed, this conversation came to mind. I was thinking how every once in a while I buy a Kombutcha tea that has chia seeds in it. LOVE those… but anyway, sometimes I notice a few black chia seeds floating around. I never gave them much thought but I have noticed that the few times I have bitten down in direct contact with the seeds in it, they taste bitter. So, I think a few bad seeds squeak their way in. I am happy to hear that the manufacture is making it right and sending a free exchange. Keep me posted if you would. Have a blessed day David. amie sue

  4. Lay Koon says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    Good day! Any difference between black and white chia seeds other than the colour?
    Have you come across salba seeds? Are they really better than chia seeds? Cheers, Lay Koon

    • amie-sue says:

      Lay Koon…

      As you know, chia seeds come in two colors: black and white. While white seeds are rarer than black seeds, there is no significant nutritional difference between the two. White seeds are often more expensive because of their rarity, but some people prefer them because of aesthetic reasons. The seeds come from the salvia hispanica plant, originally grown and harvested in Central and South America thousands of years ago by the Mayans. Here is an interesting article if you are interested… http://www.dancingalgae.com/chiaseedsblackorwhitepagetwo.html

      Salba is a type of chia different than the–mostly Mexican or Southern U.S.–chia purchased in the U.S. Salba for the U.S. is mostly grown in Peru. Salba seeds are white chia seeds. The scientific name of salba and chia seed is Salvia hispanica or Salvia columbariae. I have seen Salba seeds in the store but I don’t really see a difference. I think the main thing to keep in mind when buying chia seeds is to put aside the color, and aim for freshness and organic. Those are my two criteria. I find when I often purchase them from bulk containers that there bits of other fragments mixed in and you run the risk of them being old.

      I hope that helped some Lay… Happy New Year! amie sue

    • chia lover says:

      there is no difference between black and white chia seeds other then the color. When produced, seeds are mixed coloured so when you want with seeds only then these are separated from the others.

  5. Michelle says:

    I soak a batch of chia seed (ratio of water was much less than chia) with goji berry in a container in my fridge and use them every day in my smoothies. But after a while of not being used, Some thick, white stuff is formed mostly on top. I was wondering this is because of the thick gel, or it’s mold?! I doubt if it’s mold cause it in the fridge, and it’s nothing but water, chia, & dried goji berry. But was wondering, what if it is? Is there any possibility?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Michelle, I guess the possibility is always there. Do you make this chia gel often this way? Has it happened before? It might be sediments off of the chia seeds or the dried berries that is being captured in the thick chia gel. I really don’t know. Try making the chia gel without the goji berries and see if it does it again. Could be something on the berries. Sorry… Have a great evening. amie sue

    • Eileen says:

      Dried fruits have high levels of yeast on their skins. Grapes come to mind – not a good idea to soak fruit and seeds together for more than a short while.

      • amie-sue says:

        Hello Eileen,

        Interesting.. Never heard this. Can you please provide me with some links as to where you read this? I would love to read up on it. Thanks, amie sue

  6. Michelle says:

    Thanks Amie-Sue. I hesitantly tasted it, and wasn’t taste any different than before. The texture of the white stuff mostly was similar to a foam, but in a way looks like mold. I put dried goji berry and chia seed together in one container only to save room in fridge, and so they’ll be ready as one ingredient in my smoothies. But I as you said, I’ll try separating them to see what happens. Thank you:)

    • amie-sue says:

      Always better to air on the side of caution. I will be interested in hearing if it happens again with the ingredients separated. Have a great weekend Michelle. amie sue :)

  7. Love chia seeds! Best discovery when making the transition to a clean and healthy Raw Vegan Lifestyle. Actully just had some in my raw buckwheat porridge. Soaked overnight in homemade almond milk! :D

  8. Carolina says:

    I love also chia seed, since they are a perfect complement for your dishes and your mood. They are very very rich in omega-3 fats.
    Please, see this link for more nutrional informtion:
    http://www.nutrition.org/asn-blog/2012/03/the-real-scoop-on-chia-seeds/

    This one is a the most complete web page about chia seeds, but it is in Spanish:
    http://chia-chiaalimentomilenario.blogspot.com.es/2009/11/informacion-cientifica-n-1.html

    Love and peace

  9. arwa says:

    what is the quantity that we should take in a day.

    • amie-sue says:

      Arwa,

      I don’t think there is a set quantity, but I would start out with 1 tsp a day and work up to maybe 2-4 Tbsp. Chia is full of fiber and may take your body time to adjust. This is just a recommendation, listen to your own body as to how it responds and adjust from there. Have a happy day, amie sue

  10. Joseph says:

    Do you prefer to grind or mix them whole with water or milk before consuming?

    • amie-sue says:

      Nope, it just depends on the recipe and the role that they are playing in it. Chia seeds don’t require being soaked or ground in order for the body to digest them. amie sue

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