By a show of hands: have you or anyone you know ever gotten a Chia Pet as a novelty gift? For those who haven’t, A Chia Pet is a clay figurine and a packet of little seeds you wet and spread on the surface to “grow hair” — as you can imagine, not a terribly useful gift. But for hundreds of years, chia was considered a staple, revered as a superfood, and even used as a currency in the Aztec empire.
As we look to the past to rediscover natural and diverse foods that got left behind and forgotten in the age of fast food and TV dinners, we find that chia has been under our noses for a generation… and we’ve been playing with our food.
Chia seeds are a rich gluten-free source of vegan omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and soluble fiber. Hydrophilic in nature, the seeds absorb water to expand to nine times their size. Once expanded, the seeds form a mucilage in your stomach which slows the digestion of carbohydrates, prevents large changes in blood sugar levels, creates a longer-lasting feeling of satiety, and increases the bulk and softness of bowel movements.