Chia pudding has been an Instagram favorite for years now with no signs of slowing down, and I totally get why. The luster of the presentation is intoxicating. Beautiful works of art, served in overflowing, handmade earthenware, or in adorable petite glass jars, all highlighting those gorgeous gray chia seeds. Seriously, what’s not to love? I’m late to join the chia pudding crazy, and although I’m still smitten with overnight oats, I’m jumping in anyway. Here’s my outrageous coconut raspberry chia pudding. Think light enough for breakfast, yet elegant and satisfying enough to be served as a healthy dessert option to kick off your New Year of more mindful eating.
A Superfood Seed
Chia seeds, which means “strength”, also called “miracle seeds,” “super seeds,” “superfood,” “magical,” and “the food of endurance runners” have been around for centuries. Decades ago, chia seeds were considered an essential food, that possibly contained supernatural powers, of the ancient Mayans, Aztecs, and Tarahumara Indians. History tells us, Mayan and Aztec warriors used chia seeds as their sole food source when traveling long distances. They were highly desirable because a small pouch carried at their waists provided complete nutritional sustenance for several days and could be consumed without stopping.
Aside from being eaten whole, the chia seed was anciently used for many things. These special seeds were used in medicine, ground into flour, mixed as an ingredient in drinks, and pressed for oil. In addition to these practical uses, the chia seed ran deeper in the blood of the Aztecs. These special seeds were sacred and used as a sacrifice in religious ceremonies.
Dr. Wayne Coates
Fast forward a few thousand years to Dr. Wayne Coates, a research professor at the University of Arizona, who was one of the very first to (re)discover chia seeds in the 1980’s. Coates discovered the fact that they grew a thick green mat of grass-like shoots in a matter of hours. But for many years, the novelty of this overshadowed the very real nutritional value that Dr. Coates found in the tiny chia seed.
Roughly 20 years later, the health, fitness and nutrition market exploded. Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles started to become incredibly popular, and the search for protein from plants took center stage. Chia seeds, as a source of protein, became a trendy go-to for many. And with that, chia seeds earned their rightful recognition as a superfood. “Super”, because they contain a very dense concentration of vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, as well as antioxidants, good fats, healthy enzymes, or other healthy properties that help to treat, lower the risk of, or prevent specific diseases.
A Powerful Little Seed
Chia seeds can be black or white (brown indicates that the seed is unripe), but here is no difference nutritionally between the two. But every tiny little chia seed comes with all the proteins, fats, vitamins and/or minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants needed to unlock their nutritional value. Chia seeds have everything necessary to process all the nutrients they contain, and that means, unlike many other foods, your body can use them quickly and efficiently.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
- High in fiber, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium
- Excellent source of essential fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid, an important anti-inflammatory fat
- Possible therapeutic benefit for certain cardiovascular, immune, and digestive conditions
Despite what you may believe, chia seeds don’t have a strong flavor, so, they can be actually included in a wide range of foods for added texture. They also form a slight gel-like texture when mixed with liquid. So, chia seeds can be substituted for eggs or even used as a soup thickener. Chia seeds can also be included in all kinds of baked goods or protein bites for some added energy.
Breakfast or Dessert
This coconut raspberry chia pudding is the ultimate healthy breakfast, snack, or even dessert. If you’re new to chia seeds, this easy chia pudding recipe is a great starting point. You simply stir everything together and refrigerate until thick. No fancy cooking gadgets, no whisking on the stovetop, and no baking required. And what you get is a thick, creamy, delicious pudding that’s healthful. And perhaps the best part, it’s vegan-friendly, gluten free, raw, paleo, sugar free, oil free, nut free, low calorie, low carb, soy free, and keto friendly.
Coconut Raspberry Chia Pudding
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 2 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
- 3 Tablespoons raspberry jam
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut
- fresh raspberries
- Step 1 In a medium bowl, whisk to combine chia seeds, milk of your choice, agave, and vanilla extract. Mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Step 2 To serve, use a small whisk to blend the chia pudding. Mix the in the coconut extract. Divide the pudding into two serving bowls, swirl in the raspberry jam. Top with coconut and fresh raspberries.
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