Posts Tagged ‘chia seeds’

Chocolate Chia Protein Pudding

I told you the other day about my early adventures in the kitchen, when I first started experimenting and did so with the infamous, "Oatmeal Pie."

There was another time I was in the kitchen with my mom…I’d guess 6 or 7 years old.  I was helping her make something with melted chocolate.  She was certainly courageous, giving me a little freedom with that recipe.  So my mom, now known on Nonni to Ella and Sophia (which is Italian for Grandma), had the standing mixer on mixing the batter for the cookies we were making.

And when I say we, I mean she.  Fortunately.

Though she did allow me to pour the melted chocolate into the bowl of the standing mixer as it was mixing away.

I dropped the ramekin full of chocolate into the mixer, which of course broke and since the mixer was still going it also started shooting chocolate all over.  It was on my face, the cabinets and even the ceiling.

Funny now.  Not funny then.

Well, don’t let that scare you.  I’ve come a long way in 30 years.  And fortunately today have a partner in crime to play mad scientist with in the kitchen.

And today we are back today with another installment of "The Doctored Kitchen" minus any broken dishes or chocolate all over the ceiling. 

So last night we were tinkering around in the kitchen again after the girls went to bed.  And created a masterpiece we both enjoyed for breakfast. 

chia seed protein puddingChocolate Chia Protein Pudding

This time we chia seeds were our unique ingredient — kind of like iron chef, though we’re not close to that talented.

First, a primer on chia seeds since they’ve quickly grown in popularity.  They’re one of the latest "superfoods" to hit store shelves …

…not really "new" at all, Chia seeds have been around for 1000′s of years.  The health benefits of Chia seeds hav recently caused them to pop up at most grocery stores around the country.

Are Chia seeds all they’re cracked up to be, though?

If nothing else, they at least make great "pets." Ch ch ch Chia…yes, it’s THOSE chia seeds, though they’ve been around for 1000′s of years before those infomercials.

And they actually have some great health properties. 

They’re a great source of fiber (11 grams per 2 TBS), provide healthy omega-3 fats, are loaded with calcium and have a unique ability to absorb water.  In fact, they can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water so when you add them to a cup of water, they actually form a gel.

chia seed superfoodAnd that’s where our Chocolate Chia Protein Pudding comes in.

What you’ll need.

Serves 1

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 TBS Spectrum Decadent Blend (this has chia)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp honey (or pure maple syrup)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Sliced strawberries
Small handful toasted almonds

NOTE: If you can’t find Spectrum’s Decadent blend, which also has flax, chocolate and coconut in it, you can use plain chia seeds (then it’s just chia protein pudding because Decadent  is where the chocolate comes in).

Also, Kara preferred this same recipe above but instead used Coconut Greek Yogurt

Directions:

Mix 2 TBS of Decadent (or chia seeds) with the almond milk.
Let sit for at least 30 minutes, to allow it to gel
Add the yogurt and mix well
Add the honey, vanilla extract and mix together
Top with sliced strawberries and toasted almonds

Calories Per Serving based on plain Greek yogurt and made with Decadent (vs. regular chia seeds)

Calories: 268, Carbs: 19, Fiber 5 g, Protein 17 g, Fat 14 g

Healthy Superfood or Just Hype?

I was recently presenting at a conference called the Institute of Food Technology …

…I was part of a panel talking about whey protein and its role in the diet.

But then after the presentation, I had a chance to walk around the exhibit hall a bit before heading back to the airport to catch my flight.

First, it’s weird to think of "Food Technology" — why does technology need to be part of food anyhow? 

At the same time, there clearly is a role for a lot of what was there — various herbs, spices, and other very useful additions to the diet.

But when I was offered a "fiber filled ice cream sandwich" I thought it was a bit odd — really, now we’re trying to make ice cream into a "health" food.

Which brings up the next point.

Let’s explore some common foods that are advertised and marketed as the latest, greatest "health" foods — but are they really — or are they more hype than anything?

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee)

Acai berry is often advertised as a super antioxidant, one that can boost weight loss and help shed belly fat.  But what is it, anyhow?

Acai is a dark berry from South and Central America.  It is high in antioxidants — like all dark colored berries — and is typically found in the freezer sections of stores, like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  Of course you can also buy dietary supplement extracts as well. 

While it is a decent source of antioxidants, in our opinion the price doesn’t justify using the berry daily over other dark berries, like blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, for example. 

As for the weight loss claims — there is a better chance the Earth is flat than there is for the magic weight loss properties of acai.

Chia Seeds

We covered this one earlier this year.  Click here for a short video about chia seeds

 Very simply, these seeds (which look like sesame seeds), are a decent source of the same omega-3 as flax seed (called ALA).  They’re also a solid source of fiber.  Do they have some health properties?  Sure.  Are they worth the cost — I’m not so sure about that. 

I’d personally opt for flax seed if it’s an "either or" decision when comparing the two.

Agave Syrup

This sweetener has been hyped up recently as the greatest thing since sliced bread…the most common claim is that agave won’t raise blood sugar, so therefore won’t be stored as fat quite as easily as other forms of sugar.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details of the composition, agave isn’t actually much different than honey, with a large portion of the sugars coming from fructose.  Well, there is some thought that eating too much fructose may negatively effect triglycerides. 

All in all, I wouldn’t hang my hat on this one. 

If you’re going to use a sweetener, opt for a raw, local honey.  But, that’s certainly not magical either — added sweeteners aren’t great, regardless of the type you choose, including agave.

Bottom Line

When it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, particularly when it comes to foods and/or supplements making outrageous health claims.

 

 

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