Whilst linguistically speaking the cha-cha is "a ballroom dance with small steps and swaying hip movements, performed to a Latin American rhythm. e.g. his feet began to move in an unmistakable cha-cha", the chia seed, like the cha-cha originated in Latin America. Ha!
So why has the re-emergence of this tiny black, white and speckled seed caused so much excitement?
With good merit I say. Salvia hispanica L (aka chia seeds) originated in Guatemala and Mexico in the pre columbian and Aztec periods and are touted for their neutraceutical benefits. The chia seed is well credentialed for its position on the functional super foods' list and has every right to have made its way back onto the dining table.
Nutritionally speaking, they punch way above their weight with 1 tablespoon (12g) of chia containing a whopping 2500mg of the essential Omega 3 Alpha Linolenic fatty acid, 3g protein (including high levels of the lovely Tryptophan) and 4g fibre (hello healthy gut flora).
Omega 3 fatty acids are famed for their anti-inflammatory health benefits including their ability to balance blood serum lipid levels, reduce LDL and increase HDL cholesterol.
Chia seeds are full of phenolic antioxidants including Quercetin, Kaempferol and Myricetin which protect the body from free radical oxidation and reduce inflammation. They are rich in minerals such as Calcium, Phosphorous, Manganese, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc, which translates to healthy bones and teeth, improved immunity and haemoglobin synthesis.
The amino acid, Tryptophan, which is the precursor to one the 3 important mood modulating neurotransmitters, serotonin, is found in high quantities in chia seeds. 2 tablespoons contains 202mg (equivalent to 60g serve of turkey).
Chia seeds are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 10 times their weight in water. This makes them a fabulous hydrator and appetite suppressant. Their high protein and fibre content will ensure that adding them to any dish will decrease Glycemic load (meaning more balanced blood sugar levels.) Their high fibre content will increase gut transit time, assist with the beneficial maintenance of healthy gut flora and induce satiety. But wait there’s more.
Chia seeds are also an incredibly versatile cooking ingredient. Once you learn their magical culinary powers, you will be converted.
Chia seeds can be used to thicken stews, soups, & casseroles, as a base for warm and cold breakfast puddings, as a base for warm and cold dessert puddings, to thicken jams, mousses, custards, sauces & mayonnaises and as an egg replacer (1 tablespoon chia + 3 tablespoons water = 1 large egg).
I have been trying to wean my family off a well known (fairly healthy) breakfast cereal for some years now and I have danced many a cha-cha in the effort. It was the chia breakie pudding that finally converted them ALL at the same time. Alleluia! It is a pretty versatile dish and can be prepared as a raw dish or on cold, rainy days can be served warm. Start with the seasonal fruit, add the liquid base of milk, yoghurt, coconut or almond milk or coconut water. Next add the chia seeds and spices. Ready to break the fast.
The recipe for a delicious chia pudding can be found here
Chia seeds are a member of the mint family and may have an allergenic effect in people who are allergic to sesame seeds and/ or mustard seeds.
Delicious, nutritious, organic goodness to help you cane coastrek.
Athletes sometimes find it difficult to eat during an endurance event so it is important to ensure that your body is well nourished in the days leading up to the adventure. You can help your body during your training by ensuring every morsel that goes into your mouth is packed with nutritious goodness. That’s where the eye of the inca comes in.
The Eye of the Inca - launched especially for Coastrek is a delicious zesty bliss ball made with organic whole foods and packed with protein, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals and best of all a delicious zesty taste.
The Eye of the Inca is low GI for sustained energy release.
It contains protein for cell and muscle recovery & to keep you feeling satiated.
It has B vitamins to power ATP production which ultimately gets your muscles moving.
It is full of Minerals like Calcium & potassium to move those muscles and spare your bones and teeth which act as calcium reserves when your body aint getting enough.
It is packed with Antioxidants to stave off all those free radicals created with the seriously hard workout you are giving your bod.
and finally the Eye of the Inca is full of Deliciousness to keep a smile on your face and distract you from any minor aches and pains or desirous feelings of coastrek completion.
Thanks to everyone who came in for tasting - the final tweaking has led to a delicious Eye of the Inca.
You’ll want to walk longer so you can eat more!
These Blissful Balls of goodness are also ORGANIC.
Ingredients - all organically certified
sulphur free apricots, Inca berries, pepitas, coconut, pea protein isolate (protein powder) and buckwheat nibs
If you'd like to purchase, please head to the online shop
Creative cooking with veggie scraps
Since my Asian journey, I have become acutely aware (that is a level above aware, which is what I think I was before I went away) of how we in developed countries are so removed from our food...every part of it.
One of the most delicious meals we had, was prepared for us in a simple dirt floor kitchen from a "bit passed it looking" pumpkin, a piece of taro, some pumpkin leaves, sweet basil leaves and water. The resultant soup was warm and tasty. The pigs looked hungry the next morning so I reckon that particular corner in that particular hut WAS the compost heap.
Anyhow my compost heap is way too full of veggie scraps that I reckon we could probably eat really well from.
So now I rise to the challenge - I am cooking with (pre) compost - that would be the stalks, stems and leaves of veggies that are usually tossed. Some of them have amazing properties, leading to very pleasing outcomes.
Can you guess why my rhubarb is sooo red? And no it's not photo shopped.
Anyone interested in this type of recipe? Oh sooo much fun in the kitchen.
My 11 year old is helping with food styling....mmmm...we both need professional help! She says it tastes better out of a jar and that's fine by me.
We have been a little adventurous with our smoothies lately and the vast majority of them have been green. Yes one of my children had a mini tantrum when presented with it, a little reminiscent of the Green eggs and ham character who is harassed relentlessly by Sam-I-Am.
Green smoothies are just so vogue right now so you really must try one. (Tip request that child closes eyes to taste and all will be well. This I did with my second Guinea pig and she deemed it delicious.)
Tanti throwing child also came around and reluctantly admitted that the kale could not be tasted and that the smoothie was ...yummy.
Below is the recipe for the classic banana, strawberry smoothie. NO Tantrums guaranteed.
Banana & Strawberry Smoothie/ icecream
1 tablespoon linseeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup activated almonds (soaked in acidulated water overnight)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup yoghurt
water to thin
Process the seeds in your thermomix or blender. Add almonds and coconut and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Process until well blended. The mix will be solid like ice-cream. Now you have a choice. If you would like the thinner smoothie version, add iced water as desired half - whole cup. Blend and pour.
If you like the look of the more solid version below. Simply spoon into a glass and serve with a spoon. Either way enjoy.
We often talk about hiding the vegetables in meals from the kiddies.
To be honest I find it really difficult myself sometime to eat the daily recommended amount of veggies.
Fruit recommendations (2 per day) I find easy to eat as we usually have a fruit smoothie for breaky or afternoon tea.
The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) recommends 5 serves a day - that's 2.5 cups of veggies or 5 cups of salad.
Diana from the Natural Chemist also tells us that 50% of the food on our plates should be vegetables. When you take a moment to visualise your daily consumption patterns, most people realise that it can be tricky to eat enough veggies.
We all know that Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals and we mostly know why our bodies need them. for example Vitamin C is an antioxidant and the B vitamins are critical in the production of energy in our bodies. What is less well understood is the benefits of the phytochemicals in vegetables. It is believed that it is the phytochemicals that protect us from chronic diseases such as heart disease, artherosclerosis, diabetes and stroke.
We have an ancient juicer (that has to be coaxed into finishing the job somedays but I don't love the concept of composting all of that gorgeous fibre.)
Check out the veggie smoothie I made today. It is so smooth and so delicious I just had to show you a piccie.
1 whole carrot, chopped
1 whole orange, peeled
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 whole vine ripened tomato
3cm cube beetroot, halved
few sprigs parsley
tray of ice cubes
125ml water to thin (plus extra if desired)
Place all ingredients in the thermomix. Process at speed 10 for 2 minutes. You might wish to add more water for a thinner more juice like consistency. The one I made is thick like a boost style juice (but about $5 cheaper). Enjoy!
Omega3 Seed & Nut Dukkah
1/4 cup Linseeds
1/4 cup Chia seeds
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1 cup toasted flaked coconut
1/2 tspn cinnamon
Makes 2 1/2 cups. Serving size 2 Tablespoons.
Blitz linseeds, chia seeds and half sesame seeds in a seed grinder until very fine. Transfer to a food processor and add remaining ingredients. Process until quite fine.
The reason you need to blitz the smaller seeds separately is so that your body can absorb their nutrients, otherwise they will go straight through you (with the exception of chia which will get stuck in your teeth.)
Store in airtight jar in the fridge (so omega3s do not go rancid.) This is delicious on fruit salad, home made muesli and poached fruit.
1 cup silken Tofu
4 Tablespoons omega3 seed & nut dukkah
In a small bowl whisk Tofu until smooth. Add passionfruit and dukkah and mix until well combined. Serve on top of your fruit salad or spread on wholegrain toast with banana.