When I'm evaluating a food as a potential dietary staple, I'm looking for a few key traits: it should be nutrient-rich, low-toxin, low-glycemic and hopefully, convenient. There are few foods that meet all of these criteria as well as chia seeds.
These seeds come from the Salvia Hispanica plant, native to many parts of Central and South America. Historical records show chia has been cultivated in these areas for thousands of years, and was likely equally as important as a food source as maize in Aztec times.
I could spend a few paragraphs telling you how awesome chia is nutritionally, but this infographic does a pretty good gob:
Beyond this impressive nutrient profile, there's even better reasons why I'm so in love with this chia recipe.
First - It has an almost insignificantly low glycemic load (the measure of how much a food raises blood sugar), so it is a perfect food if you're following a ketogenic diet or modified intermittent fasting, two dietary protocols I follow personally and recommend *highly* to anyone looking to get more performance out of their brain and body. This recipe has a total of 25g of carbohydrate, of which almost all are dietary fibers that will not impact blood sugar.
Second - It's so damn convenient. I keep all of these ingredients in my office and can have a super-nutritious snack in about 5 minutes.
What You'll Need
- 5 Tbsp (about 2.5 oz or 65g) of Chia Seeds
- 1.5 Tbsp Xylitol (natural sugar-free sweetener)
- 4oz Water
- 4oz Vanilla Almond Milk (Califa is best I've found)
- A few shakes of cinnamon
- A few slices of low glycemic fruit like strawberries or blueberries (optional)
- 2 Tbsp Cocotella (highly recommended)
- A 16oz (or larger) jar with lid
How You'll Make It
- Add the ingredients to your jar in this order - water then almond milk then xylitol then chia seeds. Immediately after adding the chia seeds, screw on the lid and shake the jar vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
- Remove the lid and add cinnamon to taste.
- Shake vigorously again about once a minute for the next 5 or 6 minutes.
- Voila! You're done. Told you it was almost too simple to be true.
90% of the time I eat it straight out of the jar, but if you want to be fancy and "plate" your snack, be my guest. You can also add fruit or Cocotella at this point if you want, but neither are necessary (although I highly recommend the Cocotella - see below)
I figured this ingredient would draw the most confusion and/or criticism, so let me explain.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the birch tree. It is a sugar alcohol, meaning it has a taste very close to sugar, but is processed very differently once it enters the digestive system. Where a normal sugar would digest quickly and show up as a blood sugar spike relatively quickly, xylitol is processed and converted to blood sugar very slowly, over the course of hours. Additionally, about half of the xylitol will never be converted to blood sugar and will make it into the lower portions of the digestive tract as dietary fiber, where gut bacteria will convert it into beneficial fatty acids.
Xylitol is completely non-toxic and can be used in place of sugar in most recipies at a 1-to-1 ratio.
Cocotella: Highly Recommended Addition
For all of the amazing nutritional traits of chia seeds, perhaps the one thing they lack is a quickly-processed energy source to keep energy levels and cognitive performance high in the short term. This is where Cocotella comes in.
Cocotella is our small-batch artisan chocolate coconut butter. Like all coconut butters, it is a rich source of medium chain triglycerides (MCT's) a specific type of fat that converts to energy very quickly in the body and has been shown to have numerous cognitive-boosting effects.
This addition takes an already delicious and highly nutritious recipe and makes it highly functional.
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