I have a new staple in my life. Chia seeds.
Ch-ch-ch chia. You remember that annoying late night infomercial, right?
Not what I’m talking about. This is what I’m talking about.
The little I knew about the chia seed was enough to make me want to look more into what makes this seed so much cooler than other seeds like flax. Flax is still cool, though. We’ll give flax seed one point. Chia gets two in my book, though!
I wanted to research more about why this seed was as “magical” as its been referred as. Do research. Always do your research. Always know what you’re talking about. I’m gonna go ahead and make that my motto now.
With that said, I figured I’d share this wealth of knowledge that I, as I chia seed expert, now possess.
Yeah, we think about chia pets when we hear ‘chia’ but what’s cool (and there will be a ton of cool things…heads up) is that the seed was used hundreds of years ago–way back before the the chia pet craze–by the Aztecs and Mayans as a way to keep up their endurance and energy levels while hunting. Ingenious sons of guns. They somehow figured out that the seed is filled with so many nutrients. It’s highly rich in soluble fiber, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, calcium, potassium, and it provides an abundance of antioxidants.
Each individual seed is surrounded by a case. When the seeds are hydrated, the coat swells up and turns gelatinous-like.
Endurance runners actually use these seeds because of their ability to absorb water easily, lengthening hydration and the retention of electrolytes. I’ve actually been putting about 1 tablespoon into my 20 oz water bottle, squirting lemon juice into the mix and adding a little bit of stevia. It makes for a yummy and interesting lemonade.
Another cool fact about seeds…you don’t just have to eat the seeds plain to benefit from their nutritional value. They are so versatile and take on the flavor of whatever you combine them with. You can eat them in oatmeal, blend them into smoothies, throw them on peanut butter toast, even make jam with them.
I finally tried a recipe over at PowerCakes‘ blog. I’d been wanting to make chia jam filled power muffins for the longest time and I finally got around to making them. They’re relatively easy to make. I followed the recipe exactly…except I used regular flour instead of coconut as the recipe called for…but the batter turned out pretty thin. I threw a banana into the batter and mashed it up pretty good. That helped hold the batter a little more and resulted in super moist cupcakes!
Here’s the recipe. Find it here on PowerCakes’ site.
For the jam:
- 1 1/2 C frozen or fresh fruit of your choice (I made mixed berry chia jam)
- 1/4 C chia seeds
- 1 T water
- Stevia to sweeten (if desired…the fruit may already be as sweet as you want it to be)
- If fruit is frozen, place in the microwave for 2 minutes.
- Add fruit into a blender.
- Pour blended fruit back into a bowl.
- Stir in the chia seeds, water and stevia.
- Place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours to cool off and thicken a bit.
For the muffin mix:
- 3/4 C flour
- 1/4 C protein powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 C applesauce
- 1 C almond milk (any milk of your choice)
- 3 egg whites
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- A few packets of stevia (sweeten to taste)
- Banana for a more moist, sweeter muffin
- Mix all the dry ingredients
- Stir in wet ingredients
- Line a pan with cupcake liners and fill bottom with batter
- Spoon chia jam into the middle (~1 T)
- Smooth over the remaining batter to fill out each muffin
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 min
Such a delicious result. I’ve eaten them to power me before and after workouts! Thanks again, PowerCakes.