Some ideas for adding chia seeds to any diet

There it was, calling to me, a bag of chia seeds that have sat on my desk for weeks since my visit with Rhonda Dunlap, vegan expert and great cook.

The seeds are incorporated in many of her delicious recipes for texture, taste and health benefits. She even uses them as an egg substitute when baking and cooking to follow her vegan plan.

Chia seeds are definitely “in” this year. Even Dr. Oz has talked about them.

My curiosity led to the bag on my desk.

After researching many sources, the common thread of information regarding these seeds of the Salvia hispanica plant is that they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, considered important for heart health and are high in fiber, calcium, protein and antioxidants and are sometimes found on super foods lists.

Mixed with liquid they create a gel-like substance that can work as a thickener for dressings, smoothies and other recipes besides giving a full feeling to cut down on overeating.

But do your research. Many websites, such as vegkitchen.com, address frequently asked questions about chia seeds. Check with a pharmacist regarding medications taken and interaction. Remember, you can always overdo even a good thing.

While writing this, I heard about a recall on powdered chia. I checked it out, I had seeds and they weren’t from the mentioned companies, I forged ahead.

Always keep up to date on any food recalls.

Some chia seed fans eat a teaspoon or two every morning along with a glass of water. I like their crunchiness and taste! However, floss, a pick, toothbrush and toothpaste are a must before leaving the house if you’ve eaten them out of the bag.

Here is what my husband Fred and I have tried:

■ Strawberry smoothie made of low-fat milk (dairy, almond, soy or coconut), a teaspoon or two of vanilla, tablespoon chia seeds and a little agave nectar. I didn’t use a recipe but there are many out there. Local peaches will be tasty in a smoothie like this.

■ Healthy pudding from the list of 10 uses for chia seeds found at wellnessmama.com.

■ Creamy Coconut Chia Seed Greek Yogurt Pudding with Raspberry Puree recipe from jeanetteshealthyliving.com — from “recipe index” in the menu bar, choose “by category,” the click on “sweets,” and scroll through the options until you find this recipe. Yogurt hater/raspberry lover Fred liked it.

■ The Asian Chia Seed Salad Dressing was a hit on a green salad, in a quinoa salad and I plan to try it with stir fry. Find it at ziplist.com/recipes/546962-Asian_Chia_Seed_Salad_Dressing. I used agave nectar, but any sweetener, including honey, would work. I omitted the miso, but used the sesame oil and added an extra teaspoon of seeds. Next time I’ll add fresh, minced garlic.

■ Added to potato salad? So good!

And there are many, many other ways to use chia seeds: in soups, spreads, breading on meat, in baked goods and desserts.

And here’s a tip: Grinding chia seeds in a coffee grinder gives them a nice texture.

I’ll keep you up to date on what all we try, and you’ll have to let me know your ideas.


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