Chia seeds! Have you heard of them? They are incredible from a nutritional point of view, and are also fun to eat. It was a staple food for Aztec warriors. It is part of daily life for the Tarahumara “Running” People of the Copper Canyon’s of Mexico; these guys and girls, as a community, are among the fastest runners in the world, and think nothing of running ultramarathon distances on a regular basis… i.e. it is very much in their culture to run. (See my previous post on the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.)
Here is a very simple recipe for Chia Seed Cocoa Pudding which I made up this morning:
- Chia Seeds: 3 to 4 tablespoons
- Cocoa powder: ½ to one tablespoon
- Water: about ½ cup
- Agave syrup or honey: one squirt or ½ tablespoon
- Lime or lemon juice: one squirt
Mix the chia seeds and cocoa powder in a glass or cup. Add the water and stir thoroughly with a spoon or whisk. Make sure the chia seeds do not clump together or stick to the sides of the glass. Add the agave syrup or honey, and then squirt with a bit of lime or lemon juice. Stir some more. Wait about 5 or 10 minutes until the mixture is jelly-like in thickness and texture. If it is too “liquidy”, add some more chia. If it is too thick, then add a bit extra water. Eat and enjoy!
FYI: The chia seeds, cocoa powder, and agave nectar can be sourced from Ojio. This pudding can be eaten as a filling breakfast meal, or as a post-workout recovery food. It can be mixed with chopped apples or fresh blue berries — there are loads of options!
Nutritional Benefits of Chia
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, which is part of the mint family. It is one of the richest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids (way better than any fish!). Omega-3 is essential for humans; it is needed for brain development, and joint function, for example. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Chia is a very dense protein source, containing all the essential amino acids. This means it can help with rebuilding and repairing damaged muscles. It is also a very concentrated and bio-available source of many antioxidants and nutrients — including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Chia helps with regulating blood sugar levels and thus helps avoid sugar spikes and drops. It’s a natural blood-thinner, and therefore helps maintain good blood circulation. Because chia seeds absorb water so well, and contain a plethora of electrolytes and minerals, it also helps with sustained hydration.
It’s a perfect all-round food for endurance athletes: before, during, and after exercises. But don’t take my word for it… this food fed some of the world’s strongest armies as their basic food rations: the Aztec Warriors and Mayans of Central and South America. They revered this seed for its ability to provide energy, strength, and endurance.