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Friday, October 19, 2012

Health Food of the Day- Chia Seeds

I'm always looking for ways to make my diet a little healthier. If I have to sit at a desk all day then I at least want to have a good diet. I've probably tried every diet in the book (most no longer than 2 days) but the sad reality is that taking things out of my diet and restricting myself isn't as easy as swapping or adding something to it. Enter chia seeds- the little miracles that make my co-workers stare at me when I'm making my breakfast in the morning.

I've recently read about the health benefits of chia seeds. They're rich in omega 3 fatty acids and high in fiber (aka they are heart and brain healthy and make you fuller longer). Some articles mention that they slow digestion and help with hydration. There are 11 grams of dietary fiber and four grams of protein. They were originally used my the Mayans and Incans and, yes, they are the namesake behind chia pets. Even Dr. Oz loves them. He was quoted saying, "they just may be one of the healthiest things around." According to they "form a gel when immersed in water, which makes them valuable to diabetics. The gel surrounds carbohydrates during digestion slowing their release into the blood stream and helping to moderate blood sugar levels."

So now we know they're good so how do we eat them. Below are three recipes that incorporate these healthful seeds into your diet. FYI they don't taste like anything so don't be scared to try them. I was able to swap out granola for the chia/flax seed combo because it adds a little texture and crunch. They are also fantastic over oatmeal.

1. Power-up Breakfast Smoothie
-half cup of coffee (strong brewed)
-half a frozen banana
-1 tablespoon of almond butter or peanut butter
-1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds  
-Optional: half scoop of vanilla whey protein powder (I like the taste of  Jay Robb's powder)

2. English Muffin Redux
-1 Rudi's organic multi grain flax english muffin (any whole wheat muffin ill do but this one is delicious and healthy)
-half a banana sliced thin
-2 tablespoons of almond butter
-1 tablespoon of chia seeds sprinkled on top
-1 tablespoon of ground flax seed

3. Updated Parfait 
- 1 cup of organic non-fat greek yogurt
-1 cup of chopped strawberries
-a few handfuls of blueberries
-1 tablespoon of almond butter
-1 tablespoon of chia seeds
-1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
-drizzling of agave syrup

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