Aside from the whole chia pet thing, I learned about the power of the chia seed while reading Born to Run, a book that tells the story of the Tarahumara Indians, long-distance runners in Mexico’s Copper Canyons. These incredible athletes are able to run for days fueled on pinole and chia seeds while wearing the equivalent of tire treads strapped to the soles of their feet.
I certainly was not Born to Run, and I will never run an ultra marathon, but every book you read changes you some how. Born to Run is no exception:
1. I switched from my over-supportive running shoes to Nike Frees. My feet are stronger, and I no longer make that emergency trip to Fleet Feet with an over-training injury the week before running in an event.
2. My running style has changed from a heel strike to a midfoot strike resulting in a lighter gait and faster run times.
3. I’m more in tune with my body as I run, and I can relax and enjoy the experience instead of longing for the end of the run.
4. And I’ve learned the power of the chia seed.
Chia seeds are an ancient superfood that can add incredible nutritional benefits to your gluten-free diet. When added to water, chia seeds absorb the water and form a gel. They can actually absorb 12 times their weight in water! Drinking soaked chia seeds before a run or toting a baggie of dry seeds with you to munch on along the way can prolong hydration and help you retain electrolytes while exercising. (If you try the dry seed method, just don’t smile at other runners passing by!) This water absorption reaction also occurs in your stomach, slowing down the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar. And because of their expansive nature, they’re known as a dieter’s dream as they help you feel satisfied.
Chia seeds are also:
- High in Omega-3 fatty acids
- Rich in antioxidants
- Complete with all essential amino acids
- Known as a complete protein
- And provide phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc
They also have:
- 2 times more potassium than bananas
- 3 times more antioxidants than blueberries
- More calcium than milk
- And 5 grams of fiber in each 15 gram serving
So I took the benefits of this superfood,
and put them together into this one amazing drink.
You may have first seen my Pomegranate Chia Fresca featured in last week’s Friday’s Find when I praised the simple, naturally gluten-free pomegranate. Whether you’re a runner, a gym rat, a yogi, or you just want an afternoon pick-me-up that’s packed with nutritional benefits, give this refreshing drink a try.
- 1 T. dry chia seeds
- 10 oz. water
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4-1/2 c. fresh pomegranate juice (yield from ½-1 c. pomegranate seeds or use POM Juice)
- 2 drops of liquid stevia
1. Combine 1 T. of dry chia seeds with 10 ounces of water in a small glass or bowl.
2. Stir the mixture gently with a spoon to keep the seeds from clumping together.
3. Allow the mixture to stand for about 10 minutes until they form a gel.
4. Add 2 tsp. of fresh lemon juice, ¼ c. of fresh pomegranate juice, and 2 drops stevia, and swirl until combined.
5. Down the hatch and out the door!
Other ways to use chia seeds:
- Sprinkle them on a salad
- Stir them into yogurt
- Add a teaspoon to gluten-free oatmeal or hot cereal
- Add them to the batter of baked goods
- Soak the seeds in water and add them to you favorite smoothie
- Carry them in a baggie and crunch away while you run!
Have you tried chia seeds? How do you like to use them?