first heard about chia seeds at a vegan class taught by
Colorado Springs, Colo., cookbook author Alan Roettinger. He
extolled the virtues of using the seeds in dressings and noted
that when they are soaked in water, they swell up and become
seeds are a true super food, rich in essential fats, protein,
fiber and minerals," he said. "I use chia most often
before my workouts, in a simple drink I make by stirring a
couple of tablespoons into a glass of water or juice and
letting them soak for about 10 minutes. Their hydrophilic
(water-loving) quality enables them to absorb 10 times their
weight in water, which is then slowly released ó along with
the fats and protein ó as I exercise."
said itís better than simply drinking water because it keeps
him hydrated longer.
fats are an excellent, clean-burning fuel, too," he said.
"I also use chia in smoothies, salads, cold soups, and
snacks. Blended into fruit purees, theyíre a terrific
thickener for healthful sauces and puddings."
endorsement got me thinking about these interesting little
seeds. I wanted to learn more, so when I saw Christina Summersí
"Cha-cha-cha-cha chia chia!" cooking class being
offered, I signed up immediately. Summers owns Forks ní
Spoons Vegan Cooking Made Simple cooking school in Colorado
waited for our chocolate chia seed pudding to plump up,
Summers told us about the health benefits of chia seeds. She
noted that they are gluten-free, high in fiber, protein and
omega-3 fatty acids, and help regulate blood sugar. I did a
little more digging and found that they are cholesterol-free
and that one 28-gram serving of these super seeds boasts 4.4
grams of protein, nearly 10 percent of the daily value, and 11
grams of dietary fiber, about a third of the recommended daily
intake for adults.
seeds are part of the mint family that is native to Mexico and
Guatemala. Their history dates to the Aztecs as an important
food crop, but they didnít become known in North America
until about 30 years ago. They come in white, dark brown or
black. Unlike flaxseeds, which have to be ground in order to
benefit from their nutrition, chia seeds can be eaten whole or
easy to incorporate chia into your diet. The seeds are
tasteless. But remember they will swell up when mixed with
liquid and could make your recipes thicker. Youíll find them
in health food stores and some supermarkets.
Summers finished telling us about the miraculous chia seeds,
our chocolate pudding had doubled in volume, from 2 cups to 4
cups. And it tasted delicious.
seeds added a crunch to the texture of the pudding. If you donít
like that, you can whirl it in a blender for a smoother feel.