I can’t seem to get enough of Chia Seed Pudding and evolving variations thereof. The discovery of it stems from a sugar-cleanse I undertook about a month ago at the request of my nutritionist, Nancy Guberti. I’d put a few pounds back on, thanks in large part to a bevy of gluten-free cupcakes, cookies, brownies…you get the picture. As the jeans got tighter, and I had to admit that making desserts a daily, rather than occasional, ocurrance was not working in my favor.
So I regrouped: In place of white sugar were sweeteners such as Stevia, Coconut Palm Sugar, and Agave. Stevia has the lowest glycemic index of the three by far and the other two I use sparingly. Also gone are flour-based desserts (you know my policy on never again: it backfires. So let’s just say I’ll be eating gluten-free cupcakes and cookies sparingly from here on out). In the picture are cakes and cookies made from black or pinto beans. Sometimes I’ll have a dessert now just for the fun of tasting it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating for pleasure. But I’m more apt to choose something sweet and tasty that also does something for me. Case in point: The Chia Seed Pudding recipe I posted a few weeks ago. I’m so crazy about it: taste, texture, low calorie count, high nutrient count – everything – that I began tinkering with the recipe to include other healthy ingredients. Recent favorites include ground flax seed, ground chia seeds, shredded coconut, coconut flakes, various forms of protein powder, and hemp hearts.
I first discovered hemp hearts on a visit to California two years ago. They didn’t look overly appetizing but after trying some in a smoothie, I was astonished to discover they quelled my hunger for hours afterward. And they have a mild, nutty flavor. Three tablespoons is all you need and here’s what you get: 170 calories, 10 g. of polyunsaturated fat, 10 g of protein, iron, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and 110 percent daily value of manganese. Like I said, you won’t be hungry for hours after downing some. I hear hemp seeds are good in yogurt (the only kind I eat now is goat or sheep milk yogurt or yogurt made from coconut or almond milk) and on salads, but this is my favorite way to enjoy them so far. There was a time when they were so new to the world, hemp hearts could only be bought online – now most health food stores carry them. The bag I found at Uncle Sam’s is made by Manitoba Harvest.
This recipe requires no cooking, only overnight in the refrigerator to thicken. I eat a cup at a time, either in the morning or post-workout. If I’m wanting more sustenance, I add a scoop of egg white or hemp-based protein powder. And if I’m in the mood for more of a hot cereal, I add ground flax and heat a cup on the stove.
3 cups unsweetened almond milk (regular or vanilla)
6 TBS. hemp hearts
6 TBS. Chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
3 packets Stevia
1 TBS. vanilla
In a large glass jar or tupperware container, blend all ingredients and mix thoroughly with a spoon or whisk. This is necessary to do for 2-3 minutes so the Chia seeds don’t clump together. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled, at room temperature, or heated. For a variation, add a scoop of protein powder or 2 TBS. ground flax seeds to a one-cup serving.