THE CHIA ‘CHEAT SHEET’ by Angela Stokes
I am sharing the below content directly from The Raw Reform website. The following is not original content but I don’t think I could have said it better myself!
What is Chia Seed?
Chia seed is an ancient superfood that is currently experiencing a glorious renaissance 😉 It is a member of the sage family (Salvia Hispanica). The little black and white seeds were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest.
“Chia” is actually the Mayan word for strength. The seeds were used by these ancient cultures as mega-energy food, especially for their running messengers, who would carry a small pouch of it with them. Chia has been called ‘Indian Running Food’ and gives an incredibly ‘sustaining’ surge of energy.
Why would you want to eat Chia?
Chia seeds are said to have:
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
- 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that
helps transfer calcium into your bones,
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids…
- They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fibre.
Like flax, chia is highly ‘hydrophilic’ – the seeds absorb water and create a mucilaginous gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly – in under 10 minutes.Antioxidants
One advantage of chia is that because it has such a high antioxidant content, the seeds stay stable for much longer, whereas flax, for example, may turn rancid. Chia seeds can easily be stored dry for 4-5 years without deterioration in flavour, odour or nutritional value. You can substitute chia in any recipe that calls for flax.
The taste of chia is very mild and pleasant. That means you can easily combine it with other foods without changing the taste dramatically. People add chia to their sauces, bread batters, puddings, smoothies and more. The flavour is retained, plus masses more nutrition is added 😉
The ‘Dieter’s Dream Food’
Chia has been called a dieter’s dream food because when added to foods, it bulks them up, displacing calories and fat without diluting the flavour. Thus, someone can eat a typical serving, yet only consume about half the calories they might have eaten, because the food has been bulked up with chia. PLUS, the eater gets a bellyful of nutrient-rich superfood goodness, which hydrates and sustains them – magic 😉
What are some other benefits of eating Chia?
- Provides energy
- Boosts strength
- Bolsters endurance
- Levels blood sugar
- Induces weight loss
- Aids intestinal regularity
Chia slows the impact of sugars on the system, if eaten together. Chia gel creates a physical barrierbetween carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, which slows the conversion of carbs into sugar. That means the energy from the food is released steadily, resulting in more endurance. This is clearly of great benefit to diabetics in particular. It also means that I can combine chia with super-sweet tastes like apple juice and not get super-spiked 😉
Absorb and Retain Water
Due to the exceptional water-absorption quality of chia, it can help you prolong hydration and retainelectrolytes, especially during exertion.
Easy to Digest
Whole, water-soaked chia seeds are easily digested and absorbed. Their tiny dinosaur-egg-like shells break down quickly. They feel light in the body, yet energising. Their nutrients can be quickly assimilatedinto the body.Intestinal Broom
Chia seeds bulk up, then work like an incredible digestive broom, sweeping through your intestinal tract, helping to dislodge and eliminate old accumulated waste in the intestines. Many people find their stools also become more regular once they eat chia.
Chia is a very reasonably priced, concentrated food. Our 1lb bags cost $8. 1/3 cup of dry chia seeds (2 ounces) makes about 17 ounces of chia gel. This costs about $1. Depending on how much gel you use, those 17oz will likely last, on average, about four days. That is about 25cents a day.
Chia can be used in so many kinds of recipes – savoury, sweet – it works with anything. You might want to try them in salad dressings, cookie mixtures, smoothies, crackers, ice creams, juices and so on.
Chia seed protein contains no gluten. This makes it ideal for anyone with a gluten sensitivity or simply wanting to find a replacement for gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye and oats.
Which medical conditions can Chia help relieve or support?
Chia is reported to be beneficial for a vast range of issues, for example:
- weight loss/balance
- thyroid conditions
- celiac disease
- acid reflux
- lowering cholesterol
In the traditional cultures that consumed chia, like the Aztecs, chia was also regarded as a medicine. It was used in myriad ways – from cleaning the eyes to helping heal wounds, topically, to relieving joint pain and so on. It was considered extremely valuable for healing.
Chia aids rapid development of tissue, due to its incredible nutrient profile and easy assimilation. It can be very beneficial for those healing from injuries, people like bodybuilders who are always re-forming tissues and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Basic Gel
To make a basic chia gel, simply add 1/3 cup of seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Stir the mixture well, to avoid clumping, then leave it in your fridge, in a sealed jar. This will yield around 17oz of chia gel. You can begin to eat the gel almost immediately if you like. Just 10 minutes is enough time for the gel to be formed. More of the nutrients will be easily accessible after a few hours however, so many people like to make up a batch like this and leave it in the fridge. It will stay good for about three weeks. Then you can just reach into the fridge and take out some of the ready-made gel whenever you need it. You might add it to smoothies, mix it with salad dressings, puddings or granola, or simply take it by the spoonful.
As mentioned above, chia will absorb anything – it doesn’t have to soak in water. We like soaking it in things like apple juice for example. That way, the intense sweetness of the apple juice is also offset by the chia and it tastes yummy ;). We also often blend fruits – for example bananas and persimmons, then stir the chia into that mixture. Again, the longer the seeds are left to soak, the more their nutrients will be readily available to you, yet you could easily eat a meal like this 10 minutes or less after preparing it.
You can also sprinkle the dry seeds onto salads or add them to granola mixes. You may also want to experiment with grinding them first in a coffee grinder, to make a ‘chia flour’ you can then add to smoothies, soups and so on.
I suffer on and off from severe insomnia and have had periods of total mental meltdown from lack of sleep. It’s horrible. The effects of lack of sleep are not only immediate but can be long term as shown in this great info graphic.
I can’t scroll through my Facebook news feed without seeing an article about oil pulling. For months I have had friends emailing me links, texting me links or bringing it up over lunch. I have skimmed most of the articles and listened intently and intrigued as my friends described their experiences.
However, until today, I had never tried this “magic cure all” for myself. I admit, I was very skeptical… and a little grossed out by the thought of swishing anything in my mouth for 20 minutes, never mind oil!
I am totally sold! I swear my mouth has never felt so clean! It’s been 12 hours since I spent 10 minutes swishing and “pulling” coconut oil through my mouth and my teeth still feel smooth and fresh!
While I can not personally attest (yet!) to the supposedly amazing benefits of oil pulling, it is hard to argue with thousands of years of Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic system of medicine that developed 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. Oil pulling’s roots are found in this ancient Indian medicine, where it’s practitioners used oil pulling, chewing sticks and herbal tree leaves, to keep their mouths clean and healthy, according to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. Today, advocates of the practice claim oil pulling can cure everything from gingivitis, hangovers, diabetes, acne and…. cancer??
According to numerous sources, benefits of oil pulling may include:
- Helping to cleanse the mouth of harmful bacteria reducing the amount of fungal growth
- Helping to reduce the germ count which is found in the mouth saliva and teeth plaque
- Helping to strengthen the gums, jaws and teeth
- Helping to prevent gum disease, cavities and even gingivitis
- Helping to prevent bad breath
- Provide a holistic method and remedy for dealing with bleeding gums
- Helping to prevent dryness of the mouth, throat and the lips
- Helping to prevent general soreness around the area of the jaw
Michelle Hurlbutt, RDH, MSDH, an associate professor of dental hygiene at Loma Linda University in Southern California, told The Huffington Post that:
“…while dental hygienists would never recommend oil pulling as a comprehensive dental hygiene regimen, it can be a good way to supplement recommended practices like tooth brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. … [Oil pulling] should not be used to treat oral disease such as gum disease or tooth decay,” Hurlbutt told The Huffington Post. “It’s more of a preventive rinse that could be used adjunctively with your regular mouthcare routine.”
Many believe that the benefits of oil pulling go far beyond the mouth:
- Relief for migraines and headaches
- Reducing arthritic inflammation
- Helping to reduce the signs of eczema
- Helping to reduce insomnia
- Reducing the effects of a hangover after consuming too much alcohol
- Helping to support the normal function of the kidneys
- Helping to reduce the symptoms of bronchitis
- May help to reduce pain
- Some oil pullers have even reported that it helped to improve their vision
Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence to back these claims up. Nonetheless, the internet is infiltrated with blogs, news articles, and tv spotlights featuring oil pulling. There are hundreds of testimonials online from people who experienced many of the benefits listed above as well as help with arthritis, asthma, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems and more. At least one study has shown oil pulling does significantly reduces the strep mutans bacteria in plaque and saliva that causes cavities.
That being said, the logic behind oil pulling is that the oral health affects everything! An interview conducted with Dr. Sanda Moldovan, a periodontist in Beverly Hills and a certified nutritionist (with a Masters in oral biology) who teaches at UCLA’s dental school, found that:
“When we improve oral health, we improve so many other things in the body… People with bad oral hygiene have higher incidence for cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and strokes, and a higher incidence for pneumonia. Men with periodontal disease have a greater risk of erectile dysfunction. Even with diabetes, improved oral health can help control problems in diabetic patients. Also, pregnant women with gum disease have lower birth-weight babies. Yes — everything is connected.”
So can we just brush better and get down and dirty with our floss… like the dentist always told us to do??
Yes and no. People tend to be lazy. How many times have you gone to the dentist and been told you have been totally missing one section of your teeth? How often do you actually floss… morning and night?! Do you clean your tongue? Do you swish regularly with an antiseptic mouth wash? If you are anything like me, your answer is probably no. So why not ensure your mouth is extra clean even when you forget the extras you know you are supposed to do and swish away with some oil while taking a shower or folding laundry or preparing breakfast. In twenty minutes you can have a mouth that is essentially scrubbed clean from the “soap like” action of the oil pulling. The results are worth it!
“When there is a healthier mouth, there is less inflammation in the body, and overall then everything can heal, the skin is better, you’re in a better mood, you have more energy, because gum disease — if you have all this infection in the mouth, your body is constantly trying to fight this bacteria to keep it from entering your body,” Moldovan said. “That is stressful for us. That chronic infection in the mouth, once it improves because we have better oral hygiene, we feel better and look better.”
Based on my personal experience and research, I plan to continue oil pulling as often as possible. I will probably continue to use Coconut Oil versus Sesame Oil (only use organic oils! preferably unrefined!) but only because of my flavor preference. Olive oil can also be used but for some reason this completely weirds me out. I already use coconut oil on everything and believe in its health benefits, so for me it makes the most sense. I also love that it is naturally anti-microbial so that even if all of the oil pulling hype turns out to be just that, at least I know my mouth will be clean!
I am excited to report back in a few weeks to let you know if my teeth are whiter, my breath is fresh and my mouth feels cleaner!
Wanna try oil pulling for your self?
Follow the five easy steps below and then comment to let me know what you thought!
How to Do Oil Pulling:
Simply take a tablespoon of whatever vegetable based oil you choose (Coconut, Sesame or olive) and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Do not swallow it! Work it between your teeth and swish it against your cheeks similar to how you would with mouth wash. You can easily carry on your morning routine: shower, laundry, preparing breakfast, etc, as you do your daily oil pulling. Morning is generally considered the best time to do this, preferably before eating or drinking anything, to achieve maximum benefits.
- Put 1 tablespoon of oil into the mouth. (I used 1/2 tablespoon of Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil for my first time)
- Swish for 20 minutes. “Apparently the timing is key, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy, as this is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time and it should be creamy-white when spit out.” – Wellnessmama
- Spit oil into the trash can. Don’t spit into the sink! And definitely DO NOT swallow the oil as it is hopefully full of bacteria and toxins that are now not in you mouth!
- Rinse well with warm water.
- Brush well. Preferably with a natural toothpaste or one with an added sensitivity compound.
Recommended Products to use for Oil Pulling
- Are you a long time oil puller? First timer?
- What oil did you use?
- Did you see any immediate results?
- What do you think about all the health claims for this practice?
Note: As always, you should talk to your doctor before trying new remedies or supplements.
You have probably all heard of Meatless Mondays… since I already have no meat in my diet, I decided to start a Monday tradition of my own: NO MILK MONDAYS! Imagine how amazing it would be if this went as viral as Meatless Mondays!?
This is how it will work:
- Each week I will post some of my favorite:
- dairy free alternative products and recipes
- nutrition tips
- ideas for going dairy free easily
- and anything else you guys request!
I would love all of you to join in on the posts each week with ideas, questions, recipes, your experiences, favorite products and any advice you might have for people struggling to give up dairy.
Looking for a great reason to join in NO MILK MONDAYS?!
Check out these links:
- Dairy-Free Benefits: The Top 10 Reasons to Go Dairy Free by Alisa Fleming at Go Dairy Free
- “…70% of the world’s population has some degree of lactose intolerance.”
- “…dermatologists are now recommending the dairy-free diet as a first step in treating acne.”
- 6 Reasons You Should Avoid Dairy At All Costs by Dr Mark Hyman
- “Dairy is nature’s perfect food — but only if you’re a calf.”
- 11 Reasons to Stop Eating Dairy by Michelle Schoffro Cook
- “Dairy products are mucous-forming.”
- Benefits of Ditching Dairy (her personal experience) by Heather at The Soulful Spoon
- “…one of the most acidic foods you can eat, which weakens the rate at which your hair, skin and nails grow.”
- Benefits to a Dairy Free Diet at Dairy Free Me
- “…within weeks of cutting out dairy from their diet, symptoms such as anxiety, nausea and stress have decreased.”
- Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living
While can not claim to be dairy free all the time, I do believe my health would benefit from removing it from my diet completely. I try to consume it in limited amounts (honestly ice cream and cottage cheese are my downfalls!) I know there are so many wonderful alternatives out there. My sister is a Paleo fanatic, as are so many of my friends, and I know so many people, both vegan and carnivore, that have removed dairy from their diets with amazing results. I am hoping that by starting these NO MILK MONDAYS I will also be able to cut more… or all, dairy out of my life.