This Chia Seed Walked into a Muffin..

 What's It All About...?

Chia seeds have been a staple food source for the American Native people for centuries. Aztec warriors would eat Chia during hunting trips, and the Indians of the Southwest would eat only Chia seed mixed with water as they ran from the Colorado River to the Pacific Ocean to trade products.

A list of the health benefits this tiny seed offers us:

  1. Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are the best plant source of omega-3's known. They contain over 60% essential fatty acids. They contain more omega-3's than flax-seed. Omega fatty acids are important for concentration and brain health as well as other metabolic processes.
  2. Easy access - As we've discussed here, Flax seeds provide us with fantastic health benefits. Chia seeds are even better than flax in terms of ease of access to the nutrition. Chia seeds do not need to be ground for their nutrients to be available to the body.
  3. Antioxidant protection -They are loaded with antioxidants
  4. Vitamins and minerals - Chia seeds provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, zinc, and even boron (which helps the absorbing of calcium by the body).
  5. Gluten Free - Chia is a gluten-free source of fiber and nutrition: (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
  6. High source of protein - Chia is composed of over 20% protein, which is about 2 to 3 times higher than other seeds and grains. If you are a vegetarian looking for protein sources, check out Chia!  The protein source in Chia is readily digestible and available to the body.
  7. Low glycemic index - Chia has an extremely low glycemic index of 1, and actually helps to lower the rate at which other carbohydrates are converted to sugars.

Unlike flax, Chia seeds won't go rancid and they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body.

When added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, Chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.

Chia has a nutty flavor. You can mix seeds in water and add your favorite juice for a refreshing drink.  Sprinkle ground or whole Chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods.

Some Tips...

  1. Blend chia seeds into your smoothie
  2. Make a “lassie” by blending chia seeds, yogurt and fruit juice
  3.  Add ground chia seeds to flour when making bread
  4. Add whole chia seeds to cake batter to make a poppy seed like cake
  5. Add seeds to stews to thicken
  6. Throw some seeds into stir fry
  7. Sprinkle seeds over salad
  8. Pureed fruit, chia seeds and a little fruit juice is a good topping for ice cream
  9. Stir whole seeds into cooked lentil dish
  10. Soak seeds in the beaten eggs and veggies to make a frittata
  11. Cook brown rice in vegetable stock and stir chia seeds through when rice is cooked
  12. Add whole or ground seeds to cookie mix
  13. Mix ground seeds with ground organic, free-range ground chicken and spices to make meatballs

Can you think of more ways to use them? Write and let me know...

Be Well! 

Are You a Bean? or ... the Lentil Love Affair

Da Facts

The lentil (Lens ensculenta) is a legume that grows in pods containing one or two lentil seeds.  They are believed to have originated in central Asia.

Lentils have been eaten by humans since Neolithic times and were one of the first domesticated crops.  In the Middle East, lentil seeds have been found dating back more than 8000 years.

In the Old Testament, Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of lentil soup. The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup the "sweetest of delicacies." Lentils have been found in Egyptian tombs dating as far back as 2400 BC.

In India, the lentil is known as dal or daal. For many centuries, lentils were considered to be "the poor man's meat." In Catholic countries, those who couldn't afford fish would eat lentils during Lent instead.

There are many varieties and colors of lentils, including brown, yellow, black, orange, red and green.  Beluga lentils are black and one of the smallest varieties of lentils, having an appearance similar to caviar.

French green lentils are small, delicate, and flavorful and hold their shape after cooking better than many other types of lentil. The most common lentils used in the United States are green and brown, since these varieties are best at retaining their shape after cooking.

The optical lens is named after the Latin word for lentil, lens. Unlike most other beans, lentils don't need to be soaked before cooking.

More Facts

With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine , and lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world which have large vegetarian populations.

Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids, including methionine and cysteine.

Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%). Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish.

   References:

Randy Sell. "Lentil". North Dakota State University Department of Agricultural Economics. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2011-12-14.

Raymond, Joan (March 2006). "World's Healthiest Foods: Lentils (India)". Health Magazine.

Da Story

As a child and up to now, lentils have been one of my favorite beany legumes! There are two traditional Lebanese lentil dishes that Mom made quite often, and that I devoured... 1) Mjaddara : a lentil and rice mash that is better than chocolate fudge; and 2) Shawrabit Adas: 'Lentil Soup' with Swiss Chard and Cumin.

Both dishes were on the Top of my Comfort Foods list.  On wintry days when I visited my Uncle Yusef's house where Tehta (Grandma) lived, we'd huddle around their kerosene stove in the 'winter room', sitting on long cushions that bordered the wall, and eat bowls of Mjaddara with pita bread, pickles and shredded cabbage salad. My 3 cousins and I would listen to the adult conversations, poking fun at whoever was featured in each story, or play silly word games.

Lentils are versatile.  You can add them to salads, to chilies, and soups.

Click on the Recipe Names to go to the recipes.

~ Sahtein!

Berry Lemon Zest Pancakes - High Fiber

What better way to start the weekend than with a treat.  I don't often indulge in a mostly carb breakfast, but once a week, a high-fiber-carby-yummy treat is good for the soul...and that's good for the body.

 

I chopped some of the strawberries into the batter...added 1 Tbs. of flax-seed to the already hi-fiber buckwheat mix, an egg, the blueberries and 1 tsp. grated lemon zest.

Oh, and instead of milk I use Almond milk.

 

Oops! I forgot to show you the bar of 85% dark chocolate! Well, that's in the next photo...but I used 1 ounce to melt on and between the hotcakes.

 

Add the green tea with pepper and probiotics sprinkled on the rest of the strawberries, and you're ready to soothe the beast within!

P.S. If you like your cakes a little sweeter, use Farmer John's Maple Syrup made with Xylitol.

~ Cheers!

 

 

Breast Cancer Diet - Do's and Dont's

The following is a preview of the recommended diet for people who are currently overcoming breast cancer, or who are survivors and wish to stay cancer free.  This is based on the suggested diet I received from the integrative therapy professionals I discussed in 'My Journey Part I' post under “About”.
I feel it is important to think of our diet as a treatment, just as you would chemotherapy or any other therapy...don't tamper with foods on the No list, don't think it's OK to cheat for a day or two. Think of this as your long term cure.  So, give it respect and it may give you life!
That's my intuitive understanding of our mind-body work.  What you wholeheartedly believe, your mind will believe, and it will work to bring that belief into reality. If your mind-body feel you lack faith in what you're doing or thinking, you lose the majority of the beneficial effect, if not all.
After a couple of weeks it will become easier to stop thinking about missing this or that food. Think of cravings as your old ignorant cells talking.  If you have or had cancer treatments, your body is transforming.  Many cells that were part of your body have been shed, and you are creating fresh, un-programmed ones as you move towards new health.
I feel we are reinventing ourselves on more than one level during a healing process.  And wouldn't it be interesting if that's the role of cancer in our lives? By creating a fresh new cellular structure, it enables us to let go of old habits and beliefs that were programmed in them, and pushes us to new heights and depths of understanding...and challenge us to stay there!
I know my thinking has undergone a shift, and my body and the way I think of it sure have as well.
Below is a starter list of Yes and No foods for breast/prostate cancer.  If you'd like a comprehensive list with menu ideas, please write to me.

YES Foods:

  • All Vegetables except white potatoes: every color, raw or lightly cooked
  • Legumes/Beans: garbanzo, adzuki, black, lentil, kidney, lima beans, green beans...
  • Whole grains: barley, oats, rye, whole wheat...
  • Animal Protein: Omega 3 organic eggs, 4 oz. organic white meat chicken, 3 oz. grass-fed beef, all wild-caught cold water fish, very little organic butter (not heated)
  • Dairy substitutes: Almond or Rice milk, soy milk in moderation (especially if you have estrogen based cancer)
  • Spices: all of them
  • Nuts/Seeds: All except peanuts and cashews.  Make sure you only buy dry-roasted nuts

NO Foods:

  • All Dairy except Whey protein
  • Non organic vegetables and fruits
  • Processed foods
  • Sweeteners: Sugar, artificial sweeteners, honey, agave..
  • Simple carbs: white flour, rice flour, white potatoes, starchy food, rice, cornmeal (unless mixed with high fiber flour for baking), most boxed cereals (choose low sugar, high fiber)
  • Beverages: sweetened drinks, drinks with food coloring, caffeinated beverages (teas are an exception)
  • Fried foods
~ Get creative!

Low Fat, Tasty Black Bean Dip

This recipe is full of fiber, as well as antioxidants from the garlic and tomato paste. Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the IF in either lentils or chickpeas.

While some of the total carbohydrate content in black beans is lost along with the discarding of the soaking water, the amount of resistant starch remained unchanged. (Resistant starch is a type of carb that will typically make its way all the way down to the large intestine without being digested. Once it arrives in the large intestine, it can help support the growth of desirable bacteria in that area of the digestive tract.)

The seed coat of the black bean (the outermost part that we recognize as the bean's surface) is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin, as well as the super anti0xidant Quercetin.

Many public health organizations--including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society--recommend legumes as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health. 3 cups of cooked beans per week is considered the minimal amount of recommended legume consumption.

Read more here.

Serve Dip toasted whole wheat pita bread triangles (toast them yourself in a toaster oven), or high fiber crackers. Also good with carrots and celery.

Tasty Black Bean Dip

• 2 c. cooked drained Black beans • 4 tsp. organic Tomato paste • 3 Tbs. Water or Green tea • 2 cloves Garlic, minced • 2 tsp. Lime juice • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste) • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper (to taste) • 2 organic Green Onions, chopped • 2 Tbs. organic mild Green chilies, chopped

Olive oil (optional)

Process all ingredients except green onions and chiles in a blender or food processor until smooth. Garnish with remaining green onions and chiles and place in a serving bowl.

I like to drizzle a little olive oil on mine.  A little Olive oil every day is recommended for breast cancer patients.

Makes 2 cups

~ Buen provecho!