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Chia Seeds: Ancient Superfood

by jenny sansouci on May 4, 2011

When I read the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, I couldn’t wait to find out about the ancient superfood the Tarahumara Indians eat to fuel them on their 50 mile runs through the desert. In the first chapter of the book, McDougall describes it as “a special energy food that leaves them trim, powerful and unstoppable: a few mouthfuls packed enough nutritional punch to let them run all day without rest.”

AH! Bold statement! Obviously, I listened with anticipation (I have the audiobook version) to find out what this miraculous food was going to be. (By the way, the book is incredible, so read it – runner or not, it’s an amazing story).

I was so thrilled to find out that the miracle endurance food is chia seeds!!!

From the book:

“If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn’t do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease….Aztecs used to chomp chia seeds as they went into battle, and the Hopis fueled themselves on chia during their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean.”

So awesome! What is so special about these little gems?

They are packed with:

  • Fiber
  • Protein
  • Antioxidants
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium

How do you eat chia seeds? Well, I put them in smoothies. They are especially great in a pre-workout smoothie! You can also add them to sauces, top your oatmeal with them, or use them as a thickening agent/egg replacement in cooking — once you put them in water, they start to gel up.
A scoop of chia seeds automatically starts the ultimate nutrition party in your body! Get excited about chia!! Get your chia fix here.

Recipe for Chia Fresca, or “iskiate” used by the Tarahumara Indians:
(Great drink to consume before running. The seeds will gel up, so if that weirds you out, just try putting the chia seeds in your smoothies!)

Chia Fresca is also known as “Home-Brewed Red Bull
1 tbsp chia seeds
10 oz water
juice of one lime
1 tsp agave syrup or raw honey (sugar is used in the book, but come on now)

Stir ingredients together, let chia seeds gel up (a few minutes) and enjoy.

Have you ever tried chia seeds?

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