How-to: Chia Seed Pudding
Who would have thought you could reap so much yumminess and nutritional powers from a seed that grows grass out of Homer Simpson’s head. Chia seeds, I’m looking at you.
Have you heard of this crazy, hippie, veg-loving, seed-eating, superfood chia bandwagon? Have you gotten on the bandwagon? The newest rage isn’t growing chia pet grass, but eating the seeds instead! Its radical.
Why in the world have we started eating chia pet seeds?
Because they have nutritional history, baby. Chia seeds have grown in South America for thousands of years, dating all the way back to 3500 BCE. The tiny black and white seeds were harvested by Aztec and Mayan cultures who used their versatile nutritional powers to sustain their societies. They ground up chia into a flour, pressed them into oil, and mixed them with water for the original ‘energy drink.’ Today, chia seeds continue to be a staple within South American cuisines, most notably Chia Fresca: chia seeds mixed with lemon water.
So why are chia seeds so healthy? The proof is in the (chia seed) pudding. Chia is packed with fiber and at 11 grams per ounce; it provides 42% of your daily-recommended intake. Fiber is incredibly important to your diet, and unfortunately is not consumed enough by most people. Fiber is superb because it cannot be digested in the body, and instead quickly passes through the digestive track and grabs onto toxins as it goes.
Chia also has tons of Omega-3 fatty acids and some Omega-6’s too. These two fatty acids are only obtained through food, meaning they cannot be produced in our bods. This means we must turn to food to provide this essential nutrient for health; hi chia seeds! Omega-3’s aid in cell growth and blood clotting, while Omega-6’s help to reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Omegas also support gorgeous hair, skin, and nails too.
But wait, there’s more! Chia seeds have calcium, which is important for maintaining strong and healthy bones, muscle function, and nerve transmission. Per ounce, chia delivers 18% of the daily-recommended intake – three times more than skim milk!
Chia seeds can absorb 12 times their weight, hence chia seed pudding. This gel-like formation may also take place in the stomach after consuming chia seeds, research shows. The gel creates a barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that breaks them down. This makes the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar a slower process and maintains healthy blood sugar levels in the body.
Are you convinced of their superpower abilities? Time to join the seed lovin’ bandwagon! I’m all in.
So this is all about the chia seed pudding. Because of their soluble fiber absorbing liquid, the tiny seeds magically turn into a pudding of goodness. The texture is tapioca-like, a bit squishy, and may gross you out a bit. But, try it please! Your entire body will thank you, and you just may become obsessed!
Chia Seed Pudding
2 cups unsweetened milk of choice (almond, cashew, coconut, hemp, rice, etc.)
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a bowl, gently whisk milk, chia seeds, sweetener, and vanilla extract until combined. Let stand 20-30 minutes. Whisk again to redistribute the seeds within the mixture. Cover, and place in refrigerator to set overnight.
The next day, spoon some of the mixture into a glass and load up with all your favorite toppings. Some ideas are below. Leftover chia seed pudding will keep in a container for 2-3 days.
Seeds & Nuts:
Cacao powder (add 3 T to mixture to make chocolate chia seed pudding)
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg)