Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I have a group of friends through church that started a "healthy cooking" group.  Each month someone picks a topic and hosts at their home.  We've done green smoothies, quinoa, veggies, home made yogurt, and the last one was chia.  I have to say chia was very new to me, but good stuff.  I have started using it more often.  In fact.  I often make chia waffles now.  (I just wish I could remember the exact recipe I was using for the chia/chunky monkey waffles I was making back at the end of Nov/beginning of Dec.  Time for some more experimenting.  :)
Normally I don't do a post that is just information, but I love this, and don't want to lose it.  Truth be told, it is rather miraculous that I still have the paper since we did this class back in November.  That is a long time for something to hang out in my kitchen and not get spilled on, used as a grocery list, and/or thrown away.  
This class was taught by my friend Amoreena.  I'm just retyping the wonderful information she gave us.  It includes some fun historical facts as well as some great nutritional facts about chia.  If you'd like to try chia, I'd suggest ordering on  At least in my area that is the easiest and most economical option.

Chia Facts
  • The chia plant (salvia hispanica) sometimes referred to as the chia sage, originated in the central valley of Mexico and is a member of the mint family.
  • Records indicate chia seeds were used as a food source as far back as 3500 B. C.
  • It was the third most important crop of the Aztecs, who recognized it as a "superfood" and prized it so highly that it was often used as currency
  • Aztec warriors and runners are believed to have sustained themselves for an entire day on just a tablespoon of chia.
  • After the Spanish conquest, chia seed nearly disappeared as the Spaniards banned foods that were linked in any way to Aztec religion or tradition and virtually wiped out the complex agricultural system extablished by the Aztecs in order to grow foods that were popular in Spain instead.
  • Chia seeds have more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant food, including flax seeds.
  • Chia seeds are about 20% protein.  Most nutritious plants are incomplete proteins.  Chia however, is a complete protein like meat, but without the high levels of saturated fat.  Being a complete protein, chia has all the 9 essential amino acids in proper proportions including other nonessentials.
  • Chia is hydrophilic and can absorb more than 12 times its weight in water.  This makes it helpful in maintaining body hydration, something that is especially beneficial for athletes who need to remain hydrated during races and endurance activities.
  • Chia seeds when soaked in water for 30 minutes form a thick gel.  This gel also forms in the stomach when chia seeds are consumed.  Bad??  Nope, researchers believe it actually slows down the rate at which digestive enzymes turn carbs into sugar, making it especially beneficial for diabetics and others with blood sugar issues.
  • Chia gel can be used to replace eggs and oil in recipes.  (see below, recipe posts to follow)
  • Chia seeds are so high in antioxidants that they do not spoil easily and can be stored for long periods, unlike flax seeds.
  • Chia is high in fiber.  Two tablespoons of Chia contains 2.3 grams of high-quality fiber, which is equivalent to 41% of your suggested daily fiber intake.  According to nutritionists and dietitians, the ideal ration of insoluble to soluble fiber should be about 5:1.  When compared to other good sources of fiber, Chia reigns supreme because it comes with 5.3 grams of soluble fiber and 35.0 grams of insoluble fiber.  That would be a 6:1 ration, so pretty close to perfect.
  • Chia is a great source of vitamins and minerals.  Organic chia seed Has 6 times more calcium than milk, 11 times more phosphorus and 4 times more potassium than milk.  It has higher vitamin b and more niacin than soy, rice, or corn.  2 Tablespoons of chia will satisfy 22.25% of your daily calcium 32.5% of your recommended magnesium intake, 29.25% of your iron, 6% of zinc and 33.25% of phosphorus. 

So, for a tiny little seed, it sure packs a punch right?  Now, how do you use it?
  1. Mix it with what you already eat.
    1. smoothies, sauces, oatmeal, yogurt, salads...
  2. Use chia gel (1 part chia, 3 parts water - mix and let set.)
    1. 1 egg +1/4 cup chia gel or 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, 3 Tbsp. water
    2. can replace up to 50% of the oil used in a recipe
    3. can be frozen or will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

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