Farm & Garden

Be Your Own Chia Pet! Chia>Flax

March 06 2012 - 11:46 AM

Most people have only heard of the Chia seed because of those infamous Chia Pets. But did you know this edible seed is actually incredibly good for you? These tiny seeds can help with weight loss, plus they have even more Omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds. They can aid in digestion, reduce inflammation in your body, boost your energy and more.

Since these tiny seeds are basically flavorless, it’s easy to incorporate them into your diet. One of their most unique properties is that when combined with water, they form a sort of gel that is an incredible substitute in baking. Since the gel is an expanded form of the seed, it supposedly tricks your stomach into thinking you are fuller than you actually are. Just combine 1 tbsp Chia seeds with 9 tbsp water to make your gel. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, and you’ll have a thick gel. It looks fairly disgusting, so be sure to warn anyone you might share a fridge with if you are storing any gel.

The gel can work as a calorie-free substitute in baking for butter or oils. I’ve used it in a baked oatmeal recipe before, and it worked perfectly. It’s also a great binder in burger recipes as an egg or bread crumb replacement. Chia gel can make your veggie or turkey burger totally gluten-free.

I’m personally a fan of stirring in a tablespoon or two of raw seeds into my whole wheat cookie batter, or topping my salads with some. They can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, stir fries and more. Just a warning – while the seeds don’t have much of a flavor, they do have a unique texture. Since they become gel in water, they can do the same in your mouth if you eat too many of them at once. I would recommend being careful not to overdose on Chia seeds in any one dish.

You can find Chia seeds at any local health food store or even on Amazon. They aren’t cheap, but even a small bag will last you a long time. Plus, the seeds can be stored a long period of time on your shelf without going bad.

–Marly Schuman