Crunchy. Bland. A cross between birdseed and the neon orange salmon roe they roll sushi in. (Question: those eggs are dyed right? Salmon can’t possibly have neon orange eggs can they?? Or do they just make them that color so they’re easier to spot when all 200 of them get caught in your teeth? That’s really kind of nice of them, now that I think of it. Thank you, salmon-egg-dyers of the world!) Anyhow, crunchy salmon eggs – that’s pretty much what chia seeds taste like. So why am I throwing back handfuls of these seeds like Sookie slams margaritas?
1. I got them cheap. (Thanks to Gym Buddy Allison who is such a super bargain shopper that her entire basement is full of hundreds of Sobe drinks that she got for FREE. Seriously, a whole pound of chia seeds plus a bag of cinnamon bears cost me 1$)
2. They are the Holy Grail of health nuts. Er, seeds. If you’ve been ’round these parts long enough then you too have heard the campfire tales of the elusive chia seed with it’s plant-sourced Omega-3’s and tapioca-like gelling abilities. Before we continue any farther, we are indeed talking about these chia seeds:
Oh yes, the kind you used to grow green hair on clay heads as a kid is actually a super-duper nutrient dense seed. Not only are they the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids (they kick flax seed’s butt so bad MMA fighters take notes) but they also have a ton of fiber, protein and such a stellar nutrient profile that legend has they cure everything from runner’s leg cramps to gout. However, like all truly great health foods, it is ridiculously difficult to find. (Related tangent: I once asked my local grocer if he had any purslane – greens known for their omega-3 fatty acids – and he replied, “You mean the new designer purse line at Target?” Setting aside the obvious question of why my burly, male, mid-50’s grocer would follow designer purse lines at Target, the reason I was asking about the plant is because chickweed (as it is also known) grows practically everywhere – except in my yard. My neighbor however has an abundant supply in the cracks of his driveway. You should have seen his face the morning he walked out to start his car and found all of my kids and I eating the weeds that grow in his driveway. He didn’t know whether to call the cops or sit down and try a bite. So obviously I needed to try and find a more reliable – and less car oil drenched – source. Sadly, I never did.)
Chia seeds first landed on my radar a couple of years ago when some of my favorite bloggers started mixing them into smoothies and puddings and whatnot. I love me a good food fad! So I immediately set out to find them. Nowhere in Minnesota carries them. Not even the Whole Foods that I drove 45 minutes just for this one item. (Environment be darned, this is my health we’re talking about! Oh, wait…) The endless searching made them take on mythic proportions in my mind. Oh if only I had chia seeds, I rhapsodized, not only would I poop rainbows and unicorns (owie!) but they’d be smarter, less ADHD unicorns! (Weirdly, chia seeds are being touted as a natural cure for ADHD – somebody alert Lindsay Lohan!)
And now I have some. And they taste like birdseed. And the bag is mocking me. Because all I can think to do with them is find some of that magic paste and use it to glue the seeds to Jelly Bean’s adorable little head and see if I can’t get her to grow some decent hair after her next bath. (I finally get a girl and she still has naught but duck fluff covering her pate! It’s adorable duck fluff but still, how am I supposed to give her Shirley Temple curls with fluff?)
Have you tried chia seeds? Do you love them? Help me! What do I do with chia seeds now that I have them? What random ingredient have you gone on a crazy goose chase trying to find? You ever have a chia pet?