I first met chia in the form of a quick-growing plant “pet.” More recently, I was re-introduced to chia at Boston’s Multi-Sport Expo, where I was speaking and selling my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. The Chia folks were in a nearby booth. They graciously offered me several samples of Chia Chargers (www.chiacharger.com) and I graciously accepted them.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that I was hungry enough to investigate my “emergency food stash” and laid my hands on the Chia Chargers. They are small, unbaked “cookies” made with cha seeds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cranberries, oats and agave. What a pleasant surprise—the Chia Chargers actually tasted really good and had a fun “crunch” from the chia seeds. The 120-calorie “cookie” was very satiating.
Chia seeds are being touted as the latest super food. They offer some protein, fiber, and health-protective phytochemicals and ALA omega-3 fats. Chia is an omega-3 alternative to flax, and in my opinion, tastes better than flax. In fact, it has very little taste at all … just a nice crunch (sort of like poppy seeds).
Chia seeds can absorb a lot of water. When you eat chia, the seeds absorb the water in your stomach and form a gel. This slows the rate of digestion and has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. That makes them satiating (that is, they keep you feeling fed).
Some chia-fans claim chia seeds help athletes remain hydrated during endurance exercise. I looked for research with athletes and chia, but found nothing. So I’m waiting for science rather than anecdotes to validate that claim.
For those of you with dietary restrictions who are looking for a tasty, healthful and portable snack, Chia Chargers are soy-free, dairy-free and vegan. They are sturdy “hiker’s food” – a substantial alternative to traditional sweets. Chia Chargers can yummily tame the 3:00 p.m. cookie monster and leave you feeling content and energized. Try them, you might like ‘em!
Disclaimer: I have no connection with Chia Chargers other than having meet the hard-working staff at the Chia Booth who gave me some samples. (I only wish I had taken more!)
If good health is your wish, get caught on fish! Yes, you know you should eat more fish to reduce your risk of heart disease—but what if you just don’t like the taste of salmon or strong-tasting fish? What can you do?
Try Barramundi! Barramundi, which means “fish with big scales” in an Australian aboriginal dialect, are a sweet, mild-tasting white fish (similar to cod). Yet, they have the omega-3 content of wild Coho salmon without the “fishy” taste. Unlike other omega-3-rich fish that eat smaller fish, Barramundi have the rare ability to make omega-3's from plants. This means Barramundi are not mercury-laden. Eat as much as you want!
Another selling point is barramundi farms are eco-friendly. They are raised using sustainable aquaculture and have a smaller environmental footprint compared with other fish farms. They were crowned the 2009 “Seafood Champion” for ocean-friendly production practices.
Barramundi are definitely worth seeking out (either fresh or frozen) at Whole Foods, Costco, Legal Seafoods, and likely your local supermarket. A good catch!
(Disclosure: I have NO financial connection to the barramundi business.)