Do you remember these? Popularity for Chia pets was growing all over the place when I grew up. (every pun intended)
You just spread some seeds on your clay figure, add water and poof! Would you ever think you could eat those things? You might be surprised of the overwhelming benefits!
Many of you may have seen on recent shows of Dr. Oz Show or if you watched two weeks ago on NBC Nightly News they featured Dr. Bob Arnot, author of The Aztec Diet who focuses on the chia seed as a staple "superfood" and a core component of this particular diet. Everything I have read, studied and tried with chia truly seems to live up to the hype.
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. "Chia" means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids (often more than what you can get from fish), carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.
Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flaxseeds, however studies do show they are BETTER absorbed by the body when ground up). One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat (the good kind), 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.
The mild, nutty flavor of chia seeds makes them easy to add to foods and beverages.
I add two tablespoons of chia seeds, ground to a powder with a coffee bean grinder, to three smoothies a day. Chia seeds expand up to 7-10 times their size when put into liquid. The smoothies thicken over the period of time I take to drink them. They continue to thicken when in your stomach and help you feel fuller and control hunger. Now... a bunch of science nerds who have conducted some studies will tell you that chia does not directly contribute to weight loss... Well NO SHIT SHERLOCK. My patience with these "Studies" grows thin as they are often biased or are too specific with criteria and do not focus on the bigger picture or overall goals.
Chia by itself will not make you lose weight... BUT it is extremely highly nutrient dense. When combined with other highly nutrient dense foods and ingested you will be able to have a meals with very low calorie counts (I'm talking 340-440 calories per meal) get all of the nutrients you need to be very healthy and lose weight because you feel full and not have the urge to eat more calories than needed in a given day. This where the weight loss comes in as well as all of the other health benefits of eating chia seeds. Chia seeds are proven to help lower blood pressure as well as help manage blood sugar levels contributing to a heart healthy and diabetes free (or well managed) lifestyle.
So far after a week of following principles within this diet... not being as strict as I could have been... I lost almost 4 lbs in my first week. I am quite heavy so I cannot be truly impressed because I am in the "honeymoon phase" where you always lose fat faster in the beginning of a diet. In theory if I start to exercise I should be able to lose up to 1 lb a day since the chia does offer an energy boost and with the exercise I will burn more calories. Since I am only eating high nutrient dense foods... my body is not starved of essential needs and losing the weight that fast should not have a detrimental effect. We will see over the upcoming weeks when I start to put this to the test.