Chia Pudding — June 13, 2021

Chia Pudding

**********************************************

two pots of 3-Ingredient Chia Pudding

It’s also vegan, gluten-free, pChiaaleo and keto

The perfect chia pudding is a delicious, creamy, smooth, nutritious, and versatile pudding…which consists of only three ingredients—chia seeds, milk and a sweetener of choice…is great for topping with fresh fruit, coconut, hemp seed, granola, yogurt, nuts, nut butters, and jams.

The perfect chia pudding’s amazing texture and flavor lead to endless topping possibilities….and will leave you feeling perfectly satisfied, satiated and energized throughout your day.

Eating chia pudding as a snack or on-the-go breakfast option will provide you a delicious, comforting treat that is packed with protein, omega-3, antioxidants, and calcium…in fact, more calcium than a glass of milk, more antioxidants than a handful of blueberries, and more omega-3 than a piece of salmon.

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 130 calories, 11 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, and 9 grams protein—five of which are omega-3s…

Even though chia pudding actually only requires three ingredients—milk, chia seed, and sweetener—you can tweak it to make it into so many other flavors and textures.

So when you make chia pudding, you not only reap the nutritional value of the chia seeds, but also the added benefit of the milk or milk alternative and the sugar or healthy sugar substitute.

Okay, like almost everything else in my life, I am making this way more complicated than it really should be…

So let’s all go grab that bag of chia seeds out from the back of the pantry, shall we?!

Chia pudding can be made vegan, gluten-free, paleo and keto—all depending on the mix-ins

****************

Chia Pudding:

Chia Seeds…2Tbsp…Chia seeds have pretty much no flavor on their own, but will absorb whatever else—liquids, sweeteners, spices, and other stuff you add to your chia pudding.

Only use chia seeds, no other type of seed, to make chia seed pudding…(seems kinda obvious, otherwise it wouldn’t be chia seed pudding…right(?!))…but no other type of seed will work.

Also make sure that your chia seeds are fresh.

If your first attempts at making chia pudding is an epic fail, try switching brands. Many people claim that chia seed from Trader Joe’s do not absorb as much liquid and will not work as well as many of the other brands out there.

Typically your want your ratio of chia seeds to milk to be 3Tbsp chia seeds per 1C liquid, but adding more chia seed will result in a thicker pudding.

Milk or Milk Substitute…1/2C milk or milk substitute—such as unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew milk…actually how much milk you need to use depends on how much chia seed you’re using. Four tablespoons of chia seeds per cup of liquid will give you the perfect chia pudding consistency.

Sugar and Spice...2Tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, honey or other sweetener of choice…1tsp vanilla…1/4tsp cinnamon…( based on personal taste preferences)

Toppings of choice…fresh fruit granola, nut butter, nuts, etc

****************************

Common sense would tell you to simply dump all the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Then after it is blended, cover and refrigerate until thick and creamy, at least two hours and as long as a week.

But actually you have two options as far as using your chia—either leaving the chia seeds whole and whisk the ingredients together…or grinding the chia seeds in a coffee grinder, depending on how smooth your pudding to be.

The first method involves placing all of the ingredients in a blender all at once.

The second method involves blending everything except the chia seeds and adding them later. You will want to do this if you’re adding any flavors—such as strawberries, spices, chocolate—to the pudding at this point instead of waiting to add them after the pudding has set.

Regardless if you grind your chia seeds or not before finishing your pudding, let the mixture sit for about ten minutes before stirring again. This will keep the chia seeds from all clumping together at the bottom of your jar, leaving you with lots of liquid on top instead of a well combined, creamy pudding.

Shaking or whisking a few times within the first hour will also keep it from clumping.

If your pudding isn’t as thick and creamy as you had hoped that it would be whenever you get ready to eat it, simply add more chia seeds, stir, and refrigerate for another hour or so.

Add any other add-ins and toppings of your choice whenever you get ready to eat or serve it.

I like to make big enough of a batch at one time to last for an entire week. You could also make your pudding and then refrigerate it so that it will be ready to eat the next morning.

**********

Variations

**********

Banana Split Chia Pudding…Allow chia pudding to sit in fridge long enough to gel. While doing this, toast 1/4C unsweetened coconut flakes in a preheat sauté pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about three minutes. Let coconut cool. Spoon chia pudding into two serving dishes. Top each serving with sliced banana, strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

Chai Chia Pudding…Add 1tsp cinnamon and a pinch of cloves.

Chocolate Chia Pudding…Add ¼C cocoa powder before sticking pudding into fridge to set.

Kiwi Chia Pudding...After your chia pudding has set, blend three kiwi in blender or food processor until smooth. Layer chia pudding and kiwi puree twice in two glass containers. Top each parfait with blackberries, blueberries, more sliced kiwi, and a few flakes of toasted coconut.

Mango Chia Pudding…After your chia pudding has set, peel your mango and remove the flesh. Blend the mango flesh in a blender or food processor until smooth. Layer your chia pudding and a layer of the smooshed up mango in a serving dish twice. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Matcha: Add 1Tbsp matcha green tea powder before sticking pudding into fridge.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding…Add 3Tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter and 3Tbsp jelly or jam of choice before sticking in fridge.

Pecan Pie Chia Pudding…Add ½tsp cinnamon and 1/2tsp almond extract to base before sticking it in the fridge. Add ½C chopped toasted pecans to finished pudding.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding…Add 1tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1/2C canned pumpkin to chia pudding before sticking it in the fridge. Toast 2Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes. Top your finished chia pudding with coconut and almond butter drizzle.

Raspberry Chia Pudding…Mash 1/C raspberries in a small bowl. Add 2Tbsp granola and raspberries to finished pudding.

Strawberry Chia Pudding…Add ½C strawberries to the finished chia pudding.

Chia Seeds—No Longer Just a Pet, But Your BFF — June 6, 2021

Chia Seeds—No Longer Just a Pet, But Your BFF

When I was growing up…in the days before pretty much anything other than digital watches existed…we used to have to suffer through the ads whenever we wanted to watch whatever one of the three available channels happened to be showing at that time.

Anybody else remember when the only available stations were ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS?!

One of the commercials that you’d hear/watch the most often was for chia pets…

I always begged my parents to buy me one…they looked so adorable…

Yet they never would…

I promised myself that when I grew up, I would buy my own chia…

And now I do…quite often…

But not to watch hair grow and look cute, but to gain their nutritional and health benefits.

Chia seed are valued by health-conscious people and nutritionists for both their health benefits and their nutritional value…as a superfood and an ingredient that can be added to less nutritious items—such as baked pastries and snacks—in order to label them as healthy and nutritious.

But first let’s find out exactly what a chia seeds is…

**********************

What is a chia seed?

*********************

Chia seeds are the tiny seeds of the chia plant, a flowering plant belonging to the mint family, that is native to Mexico and Guatemala…flat ovals with a shiny and smooth texture that can range in color from white to brown or black.

Chia seeds were a staple food for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans…making up an important part of their regular diets…used for medical benefits, especially for their ability to provide sustainable energy…(after all, the word “chia” is actually the ancient Mayan word for “strength”….and treasured to much that the seeds were often offered to Aztec gods in religious ceremonies as far back as 3500 BC.

Today the seeds are grown in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Australia, and the United States…and the chia seed market is projected to reach more than two billion dollars in sales by 2022.

Since the days of chia pets, chia has been declared a “superfood”…making it a popular treat for health-conscious people all over the world…added to porridge, salads or yogurt….used to thicken sauces…as a replacement for eggs… made into pudding…used in baked goods…and so forth.

And touted for their health benefits—such as lowering cholesterol, improving gut health, reducing appetite and weight, lowering triglycerides, and improving blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.

Let’s take a closer look….

******************

Nutritional Value

*****************

Chia seeds…1/2C…Despite their small size, chia seeds are chock full of important nutrients…including iron, calcium, antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.

One ounce of chia seeds contains…

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.

Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet…because these tiny seeds deliver such a powerful nutritional punch for very few calories.

Not only do chia seeds offer these important nutrients at a higher amount calorie for calorie than most other foods, they are also a whole-grain food…usually grown organically…non-GMO…and naturally free of gluten.

Antioxidants…Chia seeds contain high levels of the antioxidants that your body needs to protect you from the free radicals, which can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. These antioxidants keep the seeds from getting rancid.

Calcium…Chia seeds contain high levels of calcium…18%RDI per ounce…which is more than most dairy products.

Fiber…Chia seeds contain twelve grams of carbs per ounce…eleven of which are soluble fiber, fiber which doesn’t raise your blood sugar or require insulin to be disposed of. as opposed to “digestible” carbs like starch and sugar.

Protein...Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein…14% protein…which is very high compared to most plants and is very important, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.

Protein is important for many reasons, but for me personally perhaps the best benefit is the fact that protein is by far the most weight loss friendly dietary nutrient because protein lowers your appetite and obsessive thoughts about food by as much as sixty percent.

Not only do chia seeds contain large amounts of protein, they also contain many of the essential amino acids that help your body use this protein more efficiently.

****************

Health Benefits

***************

Chia seeds have become a more and more popular “staple food” in the last few years not only because of their nutritional value, but also their alleged health benefits…which include…

Blood Sugar Control…Chia seeds are high in fiber…fiber that not only lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes…but also metabolic syndrome and heart disease…fiber that is also so important for reducing insulin resistance and improving blood sugar control.

Blood sugar levels often spike temporarily after meals, but eating chia seeds may prevent this, but studies have shown that eating bread made with chia seeds is less likely to affect your blood sugar than more traditional breads.

Bone Health…Chia seeds contain several nutrients—including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus—that are important for keeping your bones healthy. Gram for gram, chia seeds contain more calcium than dairy products. One ounce of chia seeds contains 18%DV calcium.

Digestion…The fiber contained in chia seeds helps prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

Heart…Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent heart disease—including heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death—by lowering LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels…reducing plaque…lowering blood pressure…reducing inflammation, insulin resistance, and belly fat…raising “good “ HDL cholesterol….reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension.

Inflammation…Inflammation, such as red and swollen skin, is your body’s normal response to infection or injury, This inflammation helps your body heal and fight off bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents…but sometimes excessive inflammation can lead to health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

Inflammation is measured by inflammatory markers. Studies have shown that eating chia seed regularly can reduce these inflammatory marker by as much as 40%.

Chia seeds contain antioxidants that help fight off this inflammation.

Weight Management…Chia seeds can help you maintain a healthy weight because they contain high amounts of fiber…39%DV per ounce….nearly 5g per 1Tbsp…as well as protein. Soluble fiber found in the seeds absorbs water, causing them to expand in your stomach and making you feel fuller faster while eating less. Chia seeds also contain high levels of protein, omega-3-fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid which may also be useful for weight loss by helping to keep you from feeling so hungry and eating so much.

*********

The How

*********

Chia seeds will “stay good” for up to five years if stored in a cool, dry spot.

Chia seeds can typically be found in any major grocery store, but can also be bought off Amazon.

Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor…in fact, they have hardly any distinctive flavor, if any, and will not compete with other flavors in any given dish…making it possible to make a given food softer and more delicious…as well as more nutritious.

Chia seeds are a highly versatile ingredient. They can be used raw—sprinkled into salads, soups, stews, salad dressings, vegetable dishes, rice dishes, marinades, cereal, porridge, pudding, yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. They can also be used to cook with—as in baked goods such as crackers, cake, bread and muffins. They are great for thickening sauces and using as an egg substitute in recipes. They can be mixed with water and turned into a gel because of their ability to absorb both water and fat.

In the next few posts, we will take a look at ways that you can actually use those chia seeds you probably bought when you first decided to eat healthier, but still haven’t figured out what to do with…

So keep reading…

Thanks…