Today’s Alchemy Lab is about Chia Seeds and comes with a recipe of an easy-to-transport, sugar-free, raw and vegan Chia Pudding.
It seems that April is all about moving.
There are indeed new projects blossoming here and there;
people leaving their comfort zone;
and plain old real life travel.
So today’s recipe – loosely travel-related for its portability (also Google “agua de chia”) – is based on a “superfood” most of you surely have heard of or already are enjoying:
You probably know that I don’t trust the term superfood because of the notions it has.
It’s too easy to mistake a “superfood” for This One Thing I Need To Eat And Never Worry Again, while in fact, the real art and science is to put together a Balanced Diet – which is a lot more complicated (and fun).”
Nutrition-wise the tiny seeds of the Salvia hispanica plant (in the middle) are close to the flax seeds (on the left) and sesame seeds (on the right): chia seeds are rich in fibre, Omega-3 fatty acids, Calcium, and protein, and several Health Gurus claim that this powerhouse-superhero-superfood can help with blood sugar levels as well as fat burning (I’m eagerly waiting for clinical studies to support those bold promises though).
In addition, soaked chia seeds behave in quite a unique way, “drinking up” the liquid and creating a dense, gel-like texture. They can take up to ten time their weight in water!
This makes them of course an ideal ingredient for:
– raw desserts and smoothies;
– homemade sport gels and cooling beverages;
– and vegan baking (awesome egg replacer).
An allergy sufferer myself, I am eager to double-check (super)foods that are new to me in advance.
And so as I first bought a batch of chia seeds about a year ago – or was it more? – I stumbled upon a few very important warnings that most excited chia fans forget to mention:
1. Chia seeds might not be suitable for individuals who are allergic to sesame/mustard/oregano/thyme aka the Lamiaceae family.
2. Chia seeds might be massively lowering diastolic blood pressure.
3. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids = can act as a blood thinner.
4. Since chia seeds soak up 10 x their weight in water/liquid, they can lead to digestive problems if consumed dry. In the EU, chia as a bread ingredient is limited to 5% of the overall recipe.
Does it mean “don’t eat them”? Of course no.
There are dozens of dozens of foods that I could label “BLOODY DON’T EAT THIS” right now that are not chia seeds.
But *I* am the only person fully responsible for what ends on her plate.
And *YOU* are the only person solely responsible for what ends on yours.
And anyone can get a reaction to bloody darn anything.
This doesn’t mean we should stop living and exploring.
This means that:
We should strive to learn as much as possible about ourselves and both the health benefits and the potential risks of our food.
Now back to the superseeds.
So far, I haven’t had any allergic or other bad reaction, but then again, I tend to not overindulge in chia:
My daily intake of chia seeds never exceeds 2 tablespoons;
Like in the recipe you’re about to read, I always soak chia to make a gel or a pudding, so the seeds take in all the liquid and don’t “steal” from me.
This is honestly the most creamy, comfort-food-like, delicious and silky vegan and raw dessert I’ve ever whipped up.This pudding is about healthy fibre, healthy fats, and minerals.
It’s super nutritious and filling.
Free from sugar, substitute sweeteners, milk, eggs, and soy, it’s all about unprocessed and pure ingredients, but what do I babble? Made?
It basically makes itself.
You just mix it and let it sit in the jar.
Ingredients you’ll need per serving (50ml jar):
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
Note: the more seeds you add, the dryer the pudding will get; and if this is your first ever chia-based recipe, start slowly with a smaller amount.
1 tablespoon cashew butter (pure, store-bought or make your own from soaked cashews)
3-5 middle sized dried apricots, unsulphurated, chopped
Almond milk (make your own or get carrageenan-free one) – enough to fill up the jar.
Now just mix well and let the chia seeds work their magic.
Allergy info: almonds, cashews, chia seeds.Cashew and apricots both provide a mild, very satisfying sweetness, different from sugar, xylitol, or stevia altogether.
ALTERNATIVE RECIPE: If I’m not in the mood for this silky creamy goodness, I skip cashews and almonds and apricots, and take grapefruit juice and goji berries instead for a refreshing and mildly sour ‘pink jelly’ snack.”
Made and easy to transport in a mason jar, this is already a favourite lunchtime snack and BYO dessert.
And now tell me, Adventurers: