Chia Seeds

A few months ago I finished reading Born to Run by Chris McDougall. In it, he talks about the Tarahumara, a hidden tribe of super athletes. He explains that there is a way to run long distances without injury. One of the things he faults are running shoes.

You know how easily influenced I am, so after reading this book I now have a bunch of new obsessions. One is wanting to get the Vibram Five Fingers and start running with them.

The other thing he talked about was the miracle diet of the Tarahumara. They use pinole and chia seeds.

Pinole is like corn meal. Chia seeds are some crazy kind of super food I never heard of. I mean, I saw the Chai pets growing up, but not to eat!

Picture of Chia Seeds from

Apparently Chia seed’s high level of antioxidants help prevent cancer by preempting cell mutations, it’s alpha-linolenic acid helps reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol.  It can lower the rate of carbohydrate conversion to sugar, helping to manage diabetes, It’s loaded with fiber for digestive health. It has a ton of Omega-3 fatty acid which should help with fatigue, inflammatory conditions and also helps boost immunity. I’ve even heard people use it to feel fuller and therefore lose weight. And that it gives you more energy.

It’s got 5 times the amount of calcium! Fifteen times more magnesium than broccoli! Two times more potassium than a banana! And three times more iron than spinach! Fiber! Protein!

It can lessen the wrinkles on your skin! It can help you sleep! It can give you more energy!

Chia, where have you been all my life?

I went right out and bought a bag at whole foods. I’ve been sticking it in our morning smoothies. I’ve been sprinkling it on oatmeal, yogurt, and even the leftover chili I ate the other day. I even made it a ‘Chia Fresca’ from seeds, water, honey and a squeeze of lemon.

I aimed to eat a tablespoon or two every day for two weeks.

After a month of this, I checked my results.

I did not lose much weight. Thank you evil Valentines Day. So far I’ve only managed to drop a few pounds.

I will say the Chia seed made me feel fuller but my old habits ignored it and I still snacked when I shouldn’t.

Do I have more energy? Not really. Waking up 3 or 4 times a night every night is exhausting and I don’t think any legal substance can change that.

Did my wrinkles lessen? Unfortunately not. Again, I think if you could miraculously unwrinkle yourself with a few seeds, everyone would know about it.

This exercise made me think back to a conversation my roommate Fionnuala Hanahoe and I used to have in Hong Kong. We would wake up every weekend completely hung over. Why was that? We wondered. Must be because we mixed our drinks.

So the next weekend we decided we would try not mixing drinks. Maybe that was the cause? We just drank beer the next weekend and guess what? We woke up completely hung over.

So must be the beer. The next weekend we just drank Vodka. We woke up completely hung over. After about a month of experimenting we realized something we had overlooked. If you drink too much, you wake up hung over.

There are no secrets to weight loss, people. The only thing that’s ever worked for me is a simple equation – calories. Eat less, exercise more, you’ll lose weight.

Still, I’ve continued to eat chia seeds when I can. Once a day I find they will fit nicely on my morning cereal, a greek yogurt snack or a smoothie. They are still a ‘power food’ and I want to eat healthy things, and if it makes me feel a little more full then that’s a good thing too.

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1 thought on “Chia Seeds

  1. The story about drinking in Hong Kong is hilarious! I have some chia seeds, but unfortunately I have had the same small bag for months. They get stuck in my teeth and they get a little too soggy for me. Still, after reading your blog post, I will probably dig the bag out and eat some today….and maybe tomorrow.

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