I know, I know….I missed a week in my five week series. It was supposed to be posted last weekend, but my week was a little crazy (I’ll tell you more about that in another post.) A sincere apology to my fans. YES, I said fans. Plural. There was a time when I had just the one fan, Mom. But last weekend, I found a second one, Elaine. (Hope your surgery went well, Elaine. Sending loving thoughts.) So, as to not disappoint my fanSSS, here is part 3 of my 5 part healthier eating challenge featuring my favorite super-foods.
Just to re-cap: Here’s the challenge: 5 weeks, 5 super-foods, and 5 ways to prepare them! We all want to eat healthier, right? However, the secret to healthier eating is NOT to obsess about all of the foods you CAN’T eat, but rather focus on adding new, health promoting foods to your existing diet. For 5 weeks, I will be presenting one food a week for you to try….or to try in a new way. All you have to do is try just one of the five recipes presented each week and decide….is this a food I can live with?
Week 3: cha-cha-cha CHIA!
Chia pets have been around since the seventies: you simply moisten a terra cotta figurine and the chia seeds sprout to produce hair or fur. Here is what an early chia pet looked like:
Through the process of evolution and insane marketing, this is what a modern day chia pet looks like:
Did you know however, that chia seeds have more uses than just growing beards on Duck Dynasty dudes? They are super good for you!
First of all, let me tell you five of the benefits of eating chia seeds, taken from our book 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It (thanks, Susan!)
- They make you feel full, which may aid in weight loss. When left in juice or water for about 15 minutes, they absorb the liquid and thicken the consistency (great for smoothies!).
- They are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. If you want to learn more about Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 fatty acids, you can read pages 49 to 53 in our book. I don’t want to go all technical on you, but here is my understanding: Omega 6 is bad, Omega 3 is good. Omega 6 increases the inflammatory response, which is the root cause of all evil in the body, such as cancer and heart disease. Omega 3 creates an ANTI-inflammatory response. Many people take fish oil capsules to increase their daily ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids. However, just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains the Omega 3 equivalent of FIVE fish oil capsules!
- One ounce of chia seeds provided 18% of your recommended daily dose (RDA) of calcium, once again dispelling the myth that only dairy contains calcium.
- While you can get 30% of your RDA for calcium from a cup of milk, you get ZERO fiber from milk…or from any other animal based product for that matter. Chia seeds on the other hand are a good source of calcium AND fiber, giving you 42% of your RDA. Fiber is not just good to get your bowels moving, it also has anti-cancer properties by helping to move toxins out of the body. And did I mention that fiber helps you to feel full, which really helps when you are trying to lose weight.
- One ounce of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein. Used in a smoothie or sprinkled on your morning cereal, it is a great way to get in a dose of protein early in your day.
Now for five ways to eat these delightful little seeds:
1. Sprinkle Them Everywhere
You can add a tablespoon of chia seeds to pretty much anything you are eating! While sitting around the staffroom table at lunch time yesterday, the topic of chia seeds came up. (We are a very health conscious staff!) One woman said that she “hides” chia seeds in many foods that she makes for her kids, such as pancakes, burgers, pizza, and muffins. Chia seeds are also great sprinkled on your cereal, and will give your smoothie a rich, thick consistency, helping you to feel full longer.
2. Create Your Own Smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to start your day with a cancer-fighting punch! There are many possible ingredients for smoothies, and since the possibilities are endless, I have created this generic recipe for you to follow.
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (or cow’s milk if your body really needs that added fat and cholesterol. Regular cow’s milk contains 8 grams of fat and 30 mg of cholesterol per serving, whereas the same amount of almond milk contains only 3 grams of fat, and ZERO cholesterol. Both almond milk and cow’s milk contain the exact same amount of calcium, 30%)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, if using fresh, throw in a handful of ice cubes to cool the mix
- 1 cup greens, try spinich, kale, lettuce or other greens of choice, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup frozen berries, remember, when it comes to cancer prevention, the darker the berry, the more anti-oxidents
- 1 tablespoon nuts, such as cashews, almonds or walnuts, optional, but gives it an extra boost of protein
Always look for organic produce. Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth! Here is where you can use your imagination to create your own unique smoothie recipe. Try combining anti-oxidant powerhouse berries (such as blueberries or blackberries) with fruit, such as a banana or frozen mango. If your smoothie is a little tart, try adding a teaspoon full of natural sweetener such as agave, pure maple syrup or honey, or some fruit juice. If it is too thick, just add more liquid to get the desired consistency.
3. Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding
Using very little sugar and all wholesome whole ingredients, you can make this chocolaty dessert that just happens to provide a boatload of Omega 3 fatty acids.
- 1 banana very ripe
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2-3 tablespoons pure powdered cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or 10 drops stevia or 1 tablespoon honey (if you don’t have healthier alternative to sugar, I guess you can use 1-2 teaspoons of sugar),
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
In a blender or processor, blend water and banana until very thin. Add other ingredients except chia seeds and blend very well. Stir in seeds with a spoon. Let it sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally while it thickens up. Pour into 2 or 3 small dessert dishes, garnish with berries (optional) and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!
4. Strawberry (OR Blueberry) Chia Seed Jam
Simple and fun and you’re turning jam into an Omega-3 powerhouse! Magic! (Now I know what I will do with all of those wild blueberries my mom picked for me!)
- 1 pound strawberries (or any berries) washed, hulled and chopped into quarters
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (or less if you don’t want it sweet)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
If using blueberries or raspberries you do not need to chop, just wash.
Add fruit along with sweetener to a saucepan and heat over medium heat.
Once the berries heat up, carefully smash them with a fork or masher until you get the consistency you like.
Allow the fruit to come to a boil and allow to gently boil for about 5 minutes until it forms a sauce.
You can taste it here to see if you’d like to adjust the sweetener.
Stir in 2 tablespoons chia seeds and stir allowing to cook for one more minute.
Remove from heat
Wait until the jam thickens about 10-15 minutes. It will thicken as it cools. If it’s thin, add another teaspoon or two and stir well and allow to sit.
When it’s cooled to room temp, you can eat.
Keep in airtight jar in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
5. Almond Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding
This light and fruity dessert also makes a great breakfast food or snack.
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 (16 ounce) package fresh strawberries hulled
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Puree almond milk and strawberries in a blender until smooth; pour into a bowl. Stir chia seeds, honey, and vanilla extract into the strawberry puree.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
So, there you have it folks, 5 good reasons to eat chia seeds and 5 delicious ways to prepare them. If you are serious about eating for cancer prevention, I encourage you to sign up for our FREE 4 day Cancer Plan 4 Life Kickstart program, (click the button below) where you can access these plus hundreds of other delicious, cancer-fighting recipes. Survive and Thrive!