You've probably heard of chia, a la the Chia Pets of the 1980s. Turns out that the seed we've been spreading over terracotta animals for years is actually a beauty food- an incredible source of omega fatty acids, fiber, minerals and antioxidants! In fact, Dr. Oz says that chia "has among the highest antioxidant activity of any whole food, outdistancing even fresh blueberries."
Chia's omega 3s make it a wonderful food for skin as an anti-inflammatory circulation booster that keeps skin supple and even offers some sun-protective benefits. And for hair, chia's essential fatty acids build the cell membrane in your scalp and keep your hair's natural oil balanced and healthy.
Bet you're wondering how to eat them. Here's a recipe that can serve as a breakfast on-the-go, a snack or a dessert, depending on the sweetness and your appetite. It has a texture akin to tapioca, since each chia seed develops a thick, jelly-like outer coating when it comes into contact with liquid. At first your pudding will seem runny, but give it time- after an hour in the fridge you won't recognize it. Make it to impress your vegan friends!
1/4 cup chia seeds (buy a bag a Whole Foods or your local health food store)
1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
Dash of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, leaving some room for the pudding to expand. Let your pudding chill for 45-60 minutes in the fridge, stirring well halfway and before eating to break up any large chunks.
If you've used plain almond milk, you can sweeten the pudding to taste with honey, stevia, agave or maple syrup.
You can also add 2 tsp cocoa powder to make your pudding chocolate! Experiment with dried or fresh fruit in your pudding- there's no wrong way to make it.
And don't forget to look at the amazing nutrition information on your bag of chia seeds. Just 2 tbsp pack 10% of your daily calcium and 8% of your iron- and you're getting twice that amount in this pudding!