This past September I discovered delicious recipes in both the cities and the mountains of Peru that use grains and proteins as their base. I brought back a lot of quinoa and kiwicha, which are high in protein, low in carbs and can be incorporated into any meal from breakfast porridge to dinner soups, salads and side dishes.
Among the foods I discovered were Chia seeds, better known here for sprouting into pet plants on terracotta shapes. It turns out these same seeds are an ancient super food that has been used by the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas for centuries. In fact, Chia means “strength” in the language of the Mayans and was considered running food because messengers could run all day with the help of these tiny seeds. The name may also be derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily.
Considered a super food, these seeds have incredibly high levels of omega 3 and omega 6, both of which are essential for brain function, reversing depression, and overall heart health. They are high in protein, fiber, contain anti-oxidants and are very low in carbs. Because of its high amount of good fat, the seed, a species of flowering plant in the mint family, manages to survive and thrive without any chemical interference.
Lucky for me and all those with New Year’s resolutions to work out, get in shape, stay in shape or eat healthier, chia seeds are catching on in the health world and are becoming easier to find so you won’t have to travel the world to find them, not that I think you shouldn’t.
Because my dad is on a heart-healthy diet, I decided to introduce him to the seeds. I started by putting them in fruit juice, which was delicious, then I spiked his vodka with them, (not as delicious, but we didn’t notice) and today I made chia chocolate pudding. This pudding is so rich and delicious, it’s hard to believe that it’s also healthy and it literally takes five minutes to prepare.
Four 4 servings:
- 4 cups unsweetened almond milk. You can also use, soy, coconut or rice milk
- 8 tablespoons chia seeds
- 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Stir every once in a while to keep the seeds from clumping. Top with fresh fruit, granola, nuts, mint or eat as is.