Move over almond milk, there’s a new kid on the block and this one’s even more formidably nutritious! Unsweetened almond milk will remain an irreplaceable component of my morning lattes and bowls of gluten-free cereal. But there’s nothing quite as nutrient-dense as the chia seed, and I recently discovered a way to ingest significant amounts of them…enjoyably.
It all started with my recent bid to add more fiber to my daily diet. And since I’m not exactly mad about vegetables (though I do force them down) what better way to load up on it? Depending on what labels you’re reading, chia seeds have between 3 and 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. Eating three tablespoons a day has me well on my way to getting the recommended 25 grams of fiber per day (38 for men). There are many ways to enjoy the humble chia seed: in baking, smoothies, yogurt, or on cereal. My theory is, like the teeny-tiny flax seed, the chia needs to be ground or burst open prior to eating or they’ll pass right through you, un-utilized.
Some of you may be familiar with the practice of soaking chia seeds in water till they thicken, and then drinking the gelatinous, seeded water. I did that for many years; here’s what I do now: When the seeds become plump and the water nice and thick, I blitz them in the Vitamix or blender for about a minute. The seeds are pulverized, which results in a thick and creamy drink.
Sometimes I drink it as is, for a filling snack with the benefit of hydration. The chia seeds, when in this state, have a slight nutty flavor. If I want to up the nutrition for a pre- or post-workout boost, I’ll use coconut water instead of filtered water.
And for those occasions (which I admit are regular) when I’m craving something sweet, I resort to this little ace in the pocket: A chia seed version of chocolate milk…you know, like the kind we grew up drinking. Made with whole milk and those clever canisters of powder. They were ingeniously designed to fulfill a quickie chocolate craving, but were loaded with SUGAR. I suspect their invention and subsequent relentless advertising campaign had much more to do with bolstering dairy sales because a nice cold glass of oh-so-good-for-you milk was always the suggested foundation. Despite such inferior building blocks, I absolutely loved this concoction, and rejoiced whenever I was allowed to have a glass of it.
Since being converted to clean eating, I usually get my childhood chocolate drink fix via almond milk and a scoop of protein powder, but Chocolate Chia Milk, with its infusion of fiber and Omega 3’s is my new and very adult after-school-snack. It fulfills the dual purpose of providing a whopping 15 grams of fiber plus it makes the chocolate lover in me happy. The addition of delicious protein powder is a natural extension and leaves me feeling stable and unstoppable…not as if I’ve had a vein plunged with a giant syringe of fructose.
Chocolate Chia Milk is superb as a quickie breakfast, dessert, or mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Bottoms up!
3 tablespoons of chia seeds (white or black)
20 ounces of purified water
1 scoop of chocolate vegan protein powder (such as Orgain or Sun Warrior)
Pour chia seeds into a glass bottle with a fitted lid or a plastic, reusable protein drink container large enough to accommodate about 22 ounces of liquid. The drink calls for 20 ounces of water, but you’ll need extra room for mixing and shaking the seeds. Add purified water to the container and immediately close lid tightly and shake for at least a minute. Chia seeds clump together when wet so it’s important to not let them sit, even for several seconds. Eventually, the seeds will remain separated. Set bottle aside for a few hours or overnight to let the seeds plumpen.
Pour chia seed water into a blender or Vitamix and add a scoop of protein powder. Blitz for about 30 seconds or until frothy and seeds look pulverized. Even when thoroughly blended, the seeds will tend to separate out a bit from the water, making it necessary to swirl this delicious chocolate drink every now and again. No biggie though. It’s the most enjoyable way to get half my fiber that I know of.