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Fig Chia Pudding with a Strawberry Swirl

Chia pudding I find is one of those things you either love or hate. It’s the texture that gets most people – slimy, seedy, rubbery, tough, gooey, smooth, thick – you name it! But for those of you that can get past the texture (or actually enjoy it!), with your chia pudding comes an immense array of benefits!

BENEFITS

The following is a list of the many benefits a serve (2 tbsp) of chia seeds can provide to you!

  • MORE NUTRIENTS FOR LESS – Chia seeds provide only 573 KJ for an immense amount of nutritional power, including, fibre, protein, omega 3’s, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus!

  • ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY - Antioxidants are powerful substances that fight the production of free radicals (naughty), which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer. Foods such as berries are well known for the antioxidant benefits, though chia seeds have in fact been found to hold greater antioxidant power! Lots of people opt for antioxidant supplements to reap the benefits, though supplements are never as effective as getting the nutrients from food sources!

  • FULL OF FIBRE – One serve of chia seeds provides a hefty 11 grams of fibre and a mere 1g of carbohydrates, making it a low carb, wholesome option! Due to their high fibre content, chia seeds increase fullness, helps maintain blood sugar levels, slows absorption of your food and feed’s the friendly bacteria in the intestine, which is crucial for health and optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients!

  • PROTEIN PACKED – Chia seeds are a great plant based source of protein! Providing 4g of protein per serve! What makes them super special in regards to protein is that they contain a good balance of essential amino acids (the amino acids we NEED to receive via diet as our body cannot make them), so our bodies are more able to make use of the protein provided. One of the many issue with plant based proteins is that they do not provide essential amino acids and so our body is unable to effectively absurd them due to being “incomplete” sources. This is why food pairing is essential when consuming a plant based diet, to ensure optimal protein absorption through consuming all essential amino acids in one serve.

  • BONE BENEFITS – With high levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein, chia seeds contain many important nutrients that are essential for bone health. Most impressive is the Calcium content, with one serve providing a whopping 18% of the RDA! Gram for gram, this is higher than most dairy products and so is considered an excellent source of calcium for both people who do and don’t eat dairy.

USES

The thing I love about food is that there are endless possibilities of ways you can use it, some which can make the food more tolerable, some which can increase the nutritional properties and some which don’t even require eating! Here are some of my favourite uses for chia seeds:

  • Vegan egg substitute – (Use 1 tablespoon finely ground chia and 3 tablespoons of water per egg called in a recipe)

  • Chia pudding – duh

  • Thickening agent for meatballs, soups, gravies, smoothies etc

  • Jam

  • Nutrient booster – sprinkle over ANYTHING for extra fibre, protein and nutrients

WATCH OUT!

I must admit I am one of those people who when told “less is more” ignores that advice COMPLETELY and will instead use half the product in the first use or drench my whole meal with the “SUPERFOOD”. I think that especially in regards to products and foods that are deemed “healthy” for you, people are more likely to consume/use extra in the hope that it will make them SUPER HEALTHY, SUPER QUICK! Though I have come to realise that sometimes having too much of a good thing can actually to more harm than good! The maximum amount of chia seeds you should have per day is 15-20grams for adults, 10grams for 10-18 year olds and less than 1 tbsp for children under 10. Some of the not so happy side effects that can occur if you overdo it are:

  • Gastro issues – you may experience bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and excessive gas _- NO THANKS!

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure) - Because of their high source of Omega-3 fatty acids, they can actually cause your blood to thin out, which can in turn cause your blood pressure to lower drastically if you already experience low blood pressure or you are already taking prescribed blood thinners. Therefore, make sure you double check with your doctor before taking chia seeds!

RECIPE

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 cup coconut milk ( Canned for extra creaminess)

  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries

  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes

  • 2 Figs

Instructions

  1. Grab two bowls and place 1.5 tbsp of chia seeds and ½ cup of coconut milk in both. Mix these well to ensure they are thoroughly combined and that the chia seeds do not separate from the milk

  2. Add ½ of the rice malt syrup and vanilla to each bowl and mix everything very well again

  3. Refrigerate overnight

  4. In the morning, puree the strawberries in a food processor and stir half of the puree, through each bowl

  5. Top the pudding with coconut flakes and a fig each and ENJOY!

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