Recently I’ve been using a lot of chia seeds in my recipes. I find them perfect for grain-free cooking, and loaded with nutritional benefits. People often ask how to use chia seeds in recipes. Aha! I have some amazing secrets to share with you. Chia seeds expand to absorb 9x their volume in liquid, which makes them ideal in gluten-free, grain-free baking. When chia seeds are used in breads and sweets, the dough gets sticky almost like gluten, but without the negative side-effects of bloating and weight gain. They can sometimes be used as a partial egg substitute. Chia seeds grow in two colors – black and white. I use the more common black seeds in dark recipes like blueberries and chocolate. For most breads and cakes, I prefer white seeds for a more traditional color. In some recipes it helps to grind the seeds in a hand-held grinder before adding them to a recipe.
Buy chia seeds in any health-oriented grocery store, at VitaCost.com, or Amazon.com. To see how they’re used, scroll down below for links to my favorite chia recipes, such as Paleo Irish Soda Bread, Paleo Breakfast Cookies, and Ooey Gooey Vegan Chocolate Cake!
What is so special about these little seeds?
Chia seeds were used by the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas. The word “Chia” actually means “strength” in the Mayan language, and it was considered essential food for runners. Messengers could run all day with the help of these tiny seeds. Chia seeds were taken as medicine, and were traded at a higher value than gold because of their health properties. Independent researchers have studied the nutritional makeup of chia seeds. Their findings show:
- Chia seeds are a complete source of protein, with twice the protein of any other seed or grain.
- Chia seeds are high in fiber which cleanses the colon and digestive tract without negative side effects.
- Chia seeds are low in carbs. They help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which makes them an excellent food for diabetics.
- Chia seeds promote weight control because they are low in calories, yet they’re filling, so one can feel satisfied after eating them.
- Chia seeds are mild in flavor, so they don’t change the taste of foods.
- Chia seeds are the perfect food for endurance and fitness, as they absorb water and balance electrolytes, to keep the body hydrated.
- A true nutrient-dense superfood, chia seeds are packed with 500 times more calcium than milk, protein, iron, omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids, plus more anti-oxidants than blueberries.
For a simple superfood digestive cleanse, stir 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds into a 1/2 cup of water before bed. Let it soak overnight. In the morning add 1/2 cup of boiling water and stir well. I take this every morning as a digestive cleanse.
My Favorite Chia Recipes – Click to View:
“Chia seeds may be one of the healthiest things around.” ~ Dr. Oz on the Oprah show