For years I'm sure you've heard that chia is a “super food.” I’m sure it's been mentioned that chia seeds are a great source of high omega 3s, antioxidants and fiber, but I didn’t give much thought to it except for trying an occasional chia pudding or noticing that chia is in our # 1 selling meal replacement, Raw Meal.
I got a lot more excited about chia last year when Garden of Life bought its own organic farm and became a proud supporter of organic family farmland where crops are sustainably grown and harvested. I also learned that most chia is grown commercially in countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Australia, and Guatemala, so chances are that the brand you see in your local health food store is shipped from another country and not USDA Organic. That’s why we’re so excited about our new RAW Organics Super Omega 3 Chia Seed, which is grown here in the states, is non-GMO, raw, vegan, and has the USDA Certified Organic seal smack on the front of the package! (I’m making a big deal about this only because there seems to be a lot of “plant confusion,” when people assume their product is organic and are totally unaware it isn’t organic without the USDA’s seal of approval! Don’t be misled if organic is important to you!)
I also became interested in chia during a recent trip to Belize and Guatemala where I observed people drinking chia seeds and adding them to cereal, oatmeal, and salads. I learned from a chef in Belize that chia seeds have been important to the Aztecs and Mayans for thousands of years and that the name “chia” is the Mayan word for “strength.” Legends mention that Aztec and Mayan tribes were wild about the magical powers attributed to chia because it provided extra stamina and energy for days. I don’t know about that, but I do know that a lot of today’s top athletes and Weekend Warriors regularly use chia and it’s probably for the same reasons. All I have to do is check Facebook, Twitter and our other social media sites and I see many of our sponsored Garden of Life athletes regularly sharing their favorite chia recipes.
Aside from the numerous health benefits of this super food, it’s also very handy to include in any diet or weight loss plan. Amazingly, chia actually absorbs 12 times its own weight and expands inside your stomach to help make you feel full and curb your appetite. Adding just a tablespoon of chia per day can lower caloric intake and actually double the total amount of fiber absorption. I’m guessing this is why some people who say they are “Raw Meal Addicts,” are not hungry for lunch or even dinner when they have a Raw Meal smoothie for breakfast. It could be because chia is working its magic!
I could go on and on about my new love affair with chia, but instead I’d rather share this quick and simple smoothie recipe with you. If you’ve never tried chia seeds before, this is a fantastic way to get started because you will love this smoothie! I could drink it every morning and be a happy camper! Best of all, you can blend it up or shake it up in your nifty blender cup and be out the door in five minutes. Here’s how to do it:
1 cup vanilla almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 tablespoons peanut butter (natural or organic brand if you have it)
1 scoop of Garden of Life’s Raw Protein Vanilla (or any flavor you prefer)
1 tablespoon Garden of Life Super Omega 3 Organic Chia Seed
A few ice cubes
Blend it up, shake it up and get ready for peanut butter protein chia BLISS! Do I even need to mention that your kids will probably love this, too? You don’t need to bore them by saying that chia promotes heart and brain health, helps maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar and promotes health digestion and elimination. That can be your little secret.