Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chia Seeds

The other day I wrote about flax, but chia seeds, which are native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, are perhaps even more beneficial.  They are little black seeds without any strong taste to speak of.  They look a little like mustard seeds, and have a longer shelf life than flax.

The omega 3:omega 6 fatty acid ratio in chia is about 3.  This is even better than that of flax, which comes in at about 3.8, which admittedly, is also impressive.  That makes both excellent choices when looking for foods with anti-inflammatory properties. 


(If you were wondering about how much that is, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds weighs 12 grams, which is 0.4 oz.)

Both are rich in fibre, and very low in net carbohydrates, but chia seems to have an edge on flax when it comes to the full nutrient picture as it is a rich source of calcium, phosphorous and manganese.  Flax, on the other hand, is a decent source of iron.  It is also somewhat cheaper than chia.

For a more comprehensive look at what both of these seeds can do for you, take a look at

Some people like to mix their chia seeds with water to form a gel-like substance which they then mix with their food.

Another method is to simply sprinkle a tablespoonful of seeds over your food, which bulks it up as you digest it, creating a sensation of fullness.

You can also make a delicious 'porridge' using a spoonful of chia, a spoonful of ground flax seeds, some ground walnuts, mixed with a little water or almond milk, and a grated apple or pear.

If you've been buying chia seeds, how do you prefer to eat them?

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I love baking bread.  I'm good at it.  And I still do it from time to time for our children.  I just stopped eating it myself.

Since going off the grain ride, I've noticed something strange.  When I make bread, the smell is heavenly.  It draws me in, and I want to eat it. 

However, the taste is not the same as the smell.   I noticed this long ago when I first started baking bread, but this difference is much stronger now. 

I also notice it sitting in my stomach afterwards.  It's hard to describe the feeling.  I could almost describe my reaction as disappointment. 

One night last week I decided to give bread a try again.  I made a dinner of poached eggs on fresh wholegrain bread with sauted spinach. 

The following morning I felt most uncomfortable.  It wasn't that the quantity of food had been too much;  it was the effect of the bread.

It was a reminder to me to stay the course.  

Every day we fill up our plates with plenty of other delicious, flavourful ingredients that give plenty of sensory pleasure, so this has nothing to do with deprivation.  Our food choices have become much more colourful than before.

If the promise of sensory pleasure from the smell of bread is illusory and the aftereffect is discomfort, it's a good reminder to stay away from it.  I don't mind passing it up.  It's tempting, but not overwhelmingly so.