What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia Pet Obama

Ch..Ch..Ch..Chia! It’s time to talk about those little seeds that have been used to grow the hair on SpongeBob and Obama style chia pets: chia seeds!

Chia seeds have a lot more potential than your average decorative fixture. Keep reading to find out why.

What Are Chia Seeds? History of Chia Seeds

Yep, those same seeds that are used for the growing of “hair” on Chia Pets have been used by the Aztecs for years. It is said that Native Americans of the south could subside on chia seeds during battles and wars.

Chia Seeds for Energy & Hydration

The Aztec messengers used to carry chia seeds on their runs when they delivered messages. That’s how much energy these little gems pack.

The reason chia seeds are so useful for runners and athletes is that they are capable of absorbing 9 times their volume in water.

You can make “chia gel” by combining 1 part chia seeds with 9 parts water. The chia seeds gel up as they absorb water.

Chia Seeds For Fiber

Chia seeds, once soaked, make for an awesome source of fiber. You can include chia gel in your smoothies for extra fiber and energy.

Eating more chia seeds helps to cleanse the digestive tract and can also help with elimination. Not to mention that chia seeds are a great way to bulk up a not so filling meal. After eating chia seeds you can feel satisfied for hours.

Chia Seeds For Omega’s

Chia seeds are high in Omega 3’s – even higher than flax seeds. They are the highest vegetable source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

These fatty acids and oils are useful for absorbing fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Chia seeds are also helpful in absorbing calcium, which is important for vegetarians and vegans.

Chiapioca: Chia Seed Pudding

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seeds are fairly tasteless and can be added to tons of different meals including salad dressings, smoothies, and breakfasts. My favorite is pudding!

Tapioca pudding is great, but have you ever heard of chiapioca pudding? It’s a delicious raw pudding made from chia seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 1/2 Cups Nut Milk of Choice (I like Almond Milk)
  • Dash of vanilla
  • Raw honey or stevia to sweeten
  • Decorate with Kiwi slice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a mason jar or other glass container.
  2. Shake well to ensure Chia seeds are submerged in the nut milk.
  3. Store in refrigerator overnight. The Chia seeds will soak up the water and become chewy just like tapioca.
  4. Serve in a tall glass with a straw and slurp up! Or, serve in individual bowls with a spoon and enjoy your energetic feast.

This recipe will store in the fridge for a few days, so feel free to make a big batch and eat a little each day.

This recipe is from my free “28 Desserts You Can Eat Every Day” ebook. Grab your copy now.

Want More Chia Goodness?

If you want to learn more about the chia seed, you can read Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs. You can buy Chia Seeds on Amazon or at your local health food store.

Yum yum good for you chia goodness.

Love, Nathalie

What Are Goji Berries?

A lot of raw food web sites and recipes include goji berries. You might be wondering exactly what goji berries are, and why you should consider plunking down some cash to get some.

Raw Goji Berries

I admit that I managed to eat goji berries before I went raw, and before I even knew they were a superfood.

You see my boyfriend’s family still makes many of their traditional Chinese meals. Which happen to include lots of goji berries in soups, stews, and teas.

When I first told my boyfriend about this “amazing new superfruit” called Goji Berry he thought it sounded kind of familiar.

It turns out in Chinese they write it Gou qi zi, or 枸杞子. He quickly pulled some out of the pantry. Gasp!

Where Do Goji Berries Come From?

Goji berries grow in Asia and Europe. Marketers often refer to goji berries as Tibetan Goji Berries or Himalayan Goji berries, though the majority of goji berries are actually grown in the Ningxia region of northern China.

Interestingly enough, goji berry plants were imported into the UK and are still grown there. Similarly, my boyfriend’s family has a goji plant growing in their backyard.

Though we haven’t seen the plant bear any fruit yet, we have eaten some of the goji leaves.

What Are the Benefits of Goji Berries?

I know a lot of marketers are getting into trouble for marketing goji berries aggressively. Claims that goji berries can prevent or cure cancers, are not uncommon. That being said, I think we need to take all claims with a grain of salt.

The truth is that eating more fruits and vegetables in itself is a great way to prevent or reverse cancers. (I’m not a doctor, and this has just been through my readings of books like The China Study.)

That being said, according to some of the Chinese books I’ve gotten my hands on, goji berries are great for eyesight. They are good for the liver, which is also connected to eyesight.

Goji berries are also good for the immune system because they contain vitamin C.

What do Goji Berries Taste Like?

I have yet to eat a fresh goji berry, though that is on my life’s to-do list. Dried goji berries taste a bit strong, slightly bitter, but with some of that sweet berry aftertaste.

I highly recommend you “wash” your goji berries by rising them under water before you eat them. This serves two different purposes: it removes any stems or other particles, and it softens the berries.

That’s another reason why I think Chinese people use goji berries in their soups and teas. It’s much easier to eat a soaked goji berry than it is a dry, almost crunchy one.

How Do you Eat Goji Berries?

I like to eat them in a nut and goji berry trail mix. Simply soak some nuts and goji berries, or put your dry mix in a zippy bag with some water.

Sometimes I like to soak a handful of goji berries overnight and add them to my green smoothies.

You can also make some Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Fudge.

Or try a goji berry tea by soaking goji berries in warm water and drinking like a tea.

Where Do you Buy Goji Berries?

himalayan-goji-berries

You can buy organic goji berries online at a variety of different stores.

But here’s my secret… I like to buy my goji berries where the Chinese people get them. I go to Chinatown or Chinese supermarkets and get my goji berries for a much cheaper price.

I used to buy organic goji berries from raw food suppliers, but since going to China I’ve changed my mind. My opinion is that goji berries that are labeled organic really aren’t much better than the regular kind sold in Chinatown.

China uses a lot of pesticipes, and even well known raw foodist Shazzie is no longer importing “organic” goji berries due to their high level of pesticides.

Goji Berry: Superfood or Not?

I think superfoods are great, and they also make a great marketing angle. That being said, I do like eating goji berries and I think you should give them a try if you’re curious.

What do you think… are goji berries really superfoods? How do you eat them?

Love, Nathalie