Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hipocrates
This chia seed pudding is super easy and super duper tasty. I made it for my women at our day retreat recently and it was a real hit so as promised I am sharing this recipe. As with everything I do the recipe is made with the intention of contributing to your health. The ingredients are chosen for their nutritional value and for their healing benefits.
Something I am learning as I host women’s retreat is to keep things simple. Good health isn’t complicated. It does however need to be faced with the intention to make changes that serve you well and with sound advice.
The information I share at women’s retreat are lessons I have learned over the years as I search for answers about my own health. In short I have cut through a lot of bullshit to bring you up to date information that is nutritionally beneficially and easy to action.
What are Chia Seeds?
Straight from Wikipedia: Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to central and southern Mexico, or of the related Salvia columbariae of the southwestern United States and Mexico. Chia seeds are oval and gray with black and white spots, having a diameter around 2 millimetres (0.08 in). The seeds are hygroscopic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based foods and beverages a distinctive gel texture.
There is evidence that the crop was widely cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times and was a staple food for Mesoamerican cultures. Chia seeds are cultivated on a small scale in their ancestral homeland of central Mexico and Guatemala and commercially throughout Central and South America.
Chia seeds come in black or white varieties. My fav is black just because the colour contrast looks great in the pudding.
Benefits of Chia seeds
Protein – 2 table spoons of chia seeds contains about 4 grams of protein. We need a minimum of 30 grams of protein per day to stimulate skeletal muscle production. And women over 40 years of age should be aiming for a minimum of 0.8grams of protein per 1kg of body weight. So if you weigh 60kg you are looking at 48grams of protein per day, minimum.
Amino acids – Chia seeds contain 18 of the 22 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, and histadine. This is rare for a plant based food to offer since most of these amino acids are usually found in animal products. The essential 9 amino acids which must be consumed contribute to muscle growth, collagen production, hair, skin and nail health and cellular repair.
Fibre – found in whole fruits and veg, legumes and seeds, fibre is known to help relieve constipation. But just as importantly fibre lowers your risk of diabetes by regulating your insulin levels, helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces your risk of heart disease and some types of cancers.
Anti-oxidant – antioxidants delay or prevent cell damage. Ultimately a diet high in antioxidants relieves stress from the cells and keeps the ageing process at bay.
Omega 3 fats – these essential fats reduce inflammation, improve blood vessel function, balance hormones and prevent disease. Your brain is made up of mostly fat so the marketing ploy that made so many people scared of fat has possibly attributed to the rise in dementia. Eat Omega 3 fat every single day.
Minerals , they are antioxidant so they help clear out your cells and chia is a healthy source of fibre which is important for gut health.
Benefits of Coconut Milk
Minerals – Coconut milk is a great source of magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese, as well as vitamin C, folate, selenium, and other trace minerals.
Good fat – Coconut milk is a good fat known as medium chain fatty acid. It protects the heart and helps lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, reduces inflammation, boosts circulation and improves digestion.
Nerve function – coconut milk is full of electrolytes so is naturally a good choice for those of you living in the sweaty tropics. Electrolytes improve nervous system activity and muscle function by optimising electrolyte level. It is well known that islander people feed their babies and elderly coconut milk and coconut water as a source of daily hydration (but be aware that coconut water has a high carbohydrate content if you re on a low carb lifestyle).
Weight loss – fatty acids found in coconut milk suppress hunger, increase metabolism and help burn calories. The high fat content of coconut milk will help put your body into a ketogenic state where you burn fat for energy instead of sugar. This state will keep you satiated for longer, a great benefit if you are practicing intermittent fasting.
What is Cacao
Cacao (not cocoa) is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to mental health and function. The botanical name for the tree that chocolate comes from is Theobroma Cacao. The word cacao comes from the Olmec people who inhabited what is now Mexico, and it is believed to be the closest pronunciation to the original name of the plant. History shows that chocolate then changed hands from the Olmec to the Mayans to the Spanish.
Essentially cacao is the raw form of the cacao bean. Once cacao is processed it becomes cocoa and it loses its nutritional value so choosing cacao as a wholefood is very important.
Cacao trees are native to South America, West Africa, and some countries in Asia. More than half the world’s cacao comes from countries in West Africa, including Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
Benefits of cacao
Brain function – In Central and South American culture, the cacao bean has always been used a sacred brain food to maintain mental balance and happiness. Consuming cacao has been shown to stimulate those feel good neuro transmitters. It can help you feel energised, happy, loved up and relaxed all in one.
Skin health – the phytochemical found in cacao protect the skin and is a natural defence against UV rays.
Healthy teeth – on its own cacao has been recognised in preventing cavities and protecting teeth against decay. In Central and South America where the tree is native people chew on cacao beans and cacao leaves as a preventative measure.
Flavonols – Flavonols are nutrient compounds that are found in plants. They have antioxidant properties, help fight certain cancers, and promote a healthy heart.
Amino acid. Dark chocolate has an amino acid called tryptophan, which sends signals to your brain that help you relax.
Copper – Copper is essential for brain development, helps your body take in iron, and assists your body in metabolizing glucose. A 100-gram serving of dark chocolate has 31% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA).
So now you know the many benefits of eating chia seed puddings, let’s get to the fun part of making them.
4 table spoons Chia seeds
1 cup Coconut milk
1/2 Tablespoon Lakanto maple syrup or your choice of sweetener (choose wisely)
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla essence
4 tablespoons Chia seeds
1 cup Coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon Lakanto maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon Cacao
- Put all the ingredients in a glass jar or bowl ( I avoid plastic due to its endocrine disrupting toxins. Read more on endocrine disruptors here)
- Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are combined. Leave sit for 5 minutes. Mix again, getting rid of any clumps and stirring the chia seeds from the bottom.
- Place mixture in fridge (you can put into small jars as single serve or as one big one).
- Leave set for 2 hours
- Serve with fresh or frozen berries
- For a real treat that is both yummy and nourishing make the vanilla and chocolate flavours and layer with berries and nuts/seeds.
If you enjoyed this recipe and you are looking for other healthful ideas you could join me on one of our women’s day retreats where we dive deep into the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle or you can check out one of my other recipes including a simple bone broth, pumpkin loaf or beetroot mud cake.
Let me know what you like and keep an eye out for more lifestyle hacks that will keep you feeling and functioning optimally.