Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-CHIA! Energy for you!

I recently discovered chia seeds and learned how GOOD they are for you (more antioxidants than a cup of blueberries). Before I went Paleo and when I had vowed to eat a regular breakfast that was NOT a Starbucks breakfast sandwich, I was making an overnight oats recipe which included chia seeds. I didn't know what ingredient was working for me - the oats, the banana or the chia seeds - but something was good about that combo and if I could get some down on race day, seemed to really sustain me.

Now that I'm off the oatmeal, I had sort of let the bag of chia seeds just sit there. But then my friend Mandi with an I sent me an article by Blogger Ironmom that talked about all the artificial ingredients otherwise healthy runners consume each year in energy gels and Gu's and snacks. I hadn't thought about that yet - what was I going to eat while doing my long training runs? I've only recently tried and become a fan of coconut water, which replaced my post-run Gatorade. (It took a few times and a heat exhaustion moment before I became a fan, but now I'm cuckoo for coconut!)

The article mentioned making your own energy gel out of chia seeds and coconut water. There wasn't a recipe, so I just sort of made it up and added a dash of natural agave nectar for a sweetener. (I've since read a recipe that says 1 part chia seeds to 9 parts water). You can use normal water as well, I chose the coconut for the extra potassium and electrolytes. I mixed it in a small tupperware and set it in the fridge overnight and then in the morning, I spooned it into a baggie to carry in my Camelback.

It's not the most appetizing-looking concoction -- it kind of looks like caviar. And eating some from a baggy is not as convenient as tearing open an energy gel and sucking it down. But if you don't stare at it and spend a lot of time thinking about the things it looks like and whether that's gross or not ... it's not gross. I'm kind of a conceptual eater so if my mind wanders I can easily gross myself into gagging. This did not happen this weekend. I liked it!

If I keep this up, I think I'll buy some refillable tubes like this:

Did it work? I'm not sure. I only tried a little bit and quite frankly, I've had such a hard time lately with energy on my runs, I don't think I would notice if this gave me a boost or not. I plan to make more and give it a solid "go" on my next long run. I think my body is actually starting to turn around a bit and embrace this Paleo thing and so maybe I can feel some of that energy people who go Paleo keep talking about!

Health benefits of chia seeds:

  • Good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids (more than flax seeds), fiber, protein and phytonutrients
  • Good source calcium, protein and are rich in boron (which helps the body assimilate & use calcium)
  • They absorb water so when consumed the chia seeds can help you stay hydrated and retain electrolytes
  • Easily digestible
  • Increase stamina and endurance
  • Help to slim you. They are filling but also bulk up and help cleanse your intestines of old "junk"

1 comment:

Mandi Runs said...

Awesome! I love those little tubes you can buy! I am going to try to make some of this too, thanks for going Paleo, you are making me think about what I am putting into my body too!

I am so proud of you for making such an effort. You rock!