Is the words of Rihanna – where have you been? I was recently send a large bag of chia seeds from my wonderful sister and her boyfriends for my birthday. I have been seeing chia seeds EVERYWHERE lately but like many other healthy things/trendy health supplements, I am very slow jump on board. Since I have gone vegetarian my major concern has been my protein intake.  When I read more about chia seeds I was pleasantly surprised that they are extremely high in protein and their carbohydrate content are almost purely fibre. So basically they are small specks of perfection.

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Naramata, British Columbia CANADA

My chia seeds came from Real Raw Food which is a family owned and operated company out of Naramata, BC. Naramata is in the interior of British Columbia, a short drive away from Penticton. Naramata is full of winery and beautiful, lakeside scenery. My sisters boyfriend and his family own the company which is where I got the chia seeds, as well as some other delicious treats. I am currently using black chia seeds and have yet to try the white/light chia seeds.

chiacucharaMy favourite ways to eat chia seeds are in chia crackers, in smoothies, and onto of granola and yogurt. I find it to be such a simple way to get a ton of protein and fibre in a short amount of time with a small calorie count (although I don’t support calorie counting, careless eating without attention to portion sizes is the simplest way to gain unnecessary weight). Along with having great nutritional content there are so many benefits to eating chia seeds. They are high in Omega-3’s which is the fatty acid that fights free radical damage (you need to limit your intake of 6 and 9 but load up on 3’s). They are very high in magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese which are essential to cell health – one ounce of chia seeds contains about 30% recommended daily intake of each. Their high protein, fibre, and omega-3 count can help heal things like heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.

These are just a few bonuses of eating chia seeds. Yes, they are “trendy”, but they are extremely easy to work into your diet. Many people already make smoothies at some point, just throw a bit of chia in there!

Want to give chia seeds a try? Here are my 3 favourite ways to get chia seeds into my everyday diet.

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PEACH PERFECTION CHIA SMOOTHIE
(DAIRY FREE)

This smoothie is the perfect day starter. It’s light but packed with protein and is dairy free. My digestion seems to be super sensitive to dairy, although I wouldn’t go as far to say that I am lactose intolerant, so I try to keep my intake of dairy limited to ensure that I don’t feel like a pregnant manatee.

3/4 Cup of Coconut Milk (I use Silk brand 100% coconut milk)
1/2 Cup Frozen Raspberries
1/2 Cup Frozen Peaches
1/2 Medium Sized Avocado
1/4 Cup 100% Cranberry Juice
2 Tablespoons Black or White Chia Seeds

All of these measurements are approximations – sometimes I add more raspberries or peaches. I prefer frozen fruit because I like a more sorbet-like texture to my smoothies. If you like your smoothies to be thinner in consistency just add a bit of water until you get the desired smoothness. This smoothie has a total of 17g of protein and 34g of dietary fibre. Yummy, good for your small and large intestines, and is a huge portion of protein to keep you going!


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CHIA SEED POWER CRACKERS

I originally found this recipe on http://www.mayihavethatrecipe.com because I was looking for an alternative to protein bars, which tend to be high in non-fibrous carbohydrates and saturated fats.

1 Cup Flax Seeds
3 Tablespoons Black or White Chia Seeds
1 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
3 Tablespoons Pumpkin Seeds
1½ Teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
1 Table Date or Agave Syrup (optional)

Preheat oven to 200F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, soak flax and chia seeds in water for 15-20 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well

Spread the mixture evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake at 200F for an hour and a half. Flit it over and bake for another hour and a half. Turn the heat off and let it cool inside the oven.

Once cooled, brake it into “free form”, uneven pieces (makes approximately 35). For even size crackers, score the dough with a knife before baking or be badass and have uneven crackers. You rebel you.


Coconut-Girl

COCONUT AND CHIA SEED GRANOLA

This tropical granola I originally found on Skinny & Sweet when I was looking for some good high protein breakfast ideas. The recipe makes about 13 or 14 servings so it is perfect to keep sealed in an air-tight container and have for breakfast a couple of days a week. Per serving there is about 4g of fibre and protein, so it is a nice light breakfast option!

4 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil
3 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Pineapple Juice
3 1/4 Cups Oats
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

In a large pot, combine the oil, brown sugar, honey, salt and pineapple juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Allow the mixture to boil for several minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the oats, ginger powder, coconut and chia seeds. Stir until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a half sheet pan, and spread into a thin and even layer.

Preheat the oven to 275° F, with a rack in the center position. Place the granola into the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure even baking. Once the granola is crisp and golden, remove from the oven. Allow the granola to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring it to a storage container. The granola will keep at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.

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