It’s time to talk about the wonder food that is chia. A lot of people think that vegan food is different, exotic, expensive, and hard to find (what some might call “esoteric food”), and talking about this food that few people know would only reinforce this myth. But, on the other hand, it is important to show the immense variety of products that nature offers us, which helps to dispel another myth, that vegans can’t eat anything.
Before getting into this superfood, which is in fashion in some countries in the northern hemisphere, a warning that beans and rice are also vegan and that no one needs esoteric food to adopt a 100% plant-based diet.
Chia is a plant (its botanical name is salvia hispanica) cultivated for many centuries in southern Mexico. The Mayans and Aztecs were very fond of chia seeds, which in addition to being an important part of their diet (it seems that after corn and beans, it was the most consumed vegetable), was also used as currency.
They were confined there in Mexico, where they never stopped being cultivated, until natureba people discovered, a few years ago, that chia seed is one of the most complete, nutritious, and functional foods there is. In addition to being extremely rich in fiber, they are a complete protein, have twice as much potassium as bananas, three times more antioxidants than blueberries, six times more calcium than milk, and eight times more omega 3 than salmon.
Chia, like flaxseed, is a mucilaginous seed, that is, in contact with liquids it turns into a gel (thanks to the high fiber content), which slows down the speed at which the body assimilates sugars (carbohydrate is also sugar). ).
The seeds absorb 12 times their weight in water, hydrating the body and protecting the intestinal mucosa. As if that wasn’t enough, chia is very easy to digest and has few calories. It is said that Aztec warriors could run for 24 hours after ingesting just 1 cs of chia.
I don’t know if I believe this, but one day Anne put 1 tbsp of chia in her porridge dish at seven in the morning, worked (walking and running) for hours, and didn’t feel hungry until after three in the afternoon. But if anyone takes the marathon test, please share the results with me.
You must be wondering “Where to buy this wonder of nature?”In Europe and North America, you can find chia in almost every organic/natural product store.
Ask the health food store you go to if they know chia. If several people ask, I believe they will get informed and start selling. It is produced in Mexico and Argentina.
For those lucky enough to find chia close to home, the question now is “How to prepare it?”. Nothing simpler! Chia can be eaten raw in a number of ways. It can also replace eggs in cakes and breads, just like flaxseed, but as it costs a small fortune, I prefer to consume it raw, to make the most of the nutrients.
Chia Cost And Availablity
It may cost quite a bit but it lasts for months if you use it sparingly because I only use 1cs at a time (1cs gives all the omega 3 we need in one day) and I don’t eat it every day.
The basic recipe is: mix 1cs of chia with 1/2x of water and let it hydrate for half an hour, stirring occasionally. At the end of this time, a gel will have formed, as in the photo below.
You can also prepare a larger quantity and keep it in the fridge. Chia gel keeps for a few days without losing its nutrients. Then this gel can be consumed in several ways.
Chia has absolutely no taste and has a texture similar to tomato seeds. Because it has a neutral flavor, it can be mixed with other foods without changing the original taste.
1. Mixed With Yoghurt
You can add the gel to porridge (after it’s ready) or fruit smoothies, for example. It is also great with soy yogurt, as in the photo (1/2x gel mixed with yogurt).
You can also use other liquids to hydrate chia. I love using almond milk, for example.
2. Mix With Fresh Fruit
Once hydrated, I use the chia/almond milk mixture in a variety of ways. The simplest is to mix it with fresh fruits, crushed or in pieces: pears in cubes, grated apple, peaches in pieces, mashed banana (as in the photo below)…
If you don’t like the texture of the seeds (some people find it too viscous, but I don’t mind at all), grind the gel with the fruits in a blender.
3. Mixed With Strawberries
In this photo I mixed the chia/almond milk mixture with strawberries. Delight! A thousand times better than the yogurts full of sugar and chemicals that made me salivate in the old days.
5. Mixed With Banana And Chocolate
A super nutritious and delicious snack or dessert idea is to make a chia pudding. I prepare the chia gel with almond milk (the proportion is the same: 1 tbsp of chia for 1/2x of almond milk) and then I grind it with 1 frozen banana (sliced) and 1 or 2 cc of cocoa powder. If I’m in the mood for a sweeter pudding, I’ll add 1/3 of a date too (I’m very, very sensitive to sweets). It is sublime!
If you’re lucky enough to find chia seeds, take advantage. This functional food is a real health mine. Flaxseed, although a little weaker when compared to chia, remains an excellent source of fiber and omega 3 (more than fish, yes, yes!). And anyone who goes around saying that vegans only eat expensive and hard-to-find foods gets hit.