Chia seeds and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye, like when they sneaked into my sugar jar and pretended to be an insect infestation, or when they added crunch and lumpies to a pudding that should have been smooth and creamy. I believe they are really good for me, and I always add them to smoothies, but they go into the Vitamix to become one with my breakfast drink. When I was offered a copy of Chia, by Laurie Boone, for review, I was intrigued — maybe I just needed some good instruction.
The book is divided into six chapters, the first five of which each speak to a different health benefit one would expect to receive from eating chia seeds. Each chapter contains health information, and recipes related to the health goals described in the chapter. The chapter topics include: healthy weight, super stamina for peak performance, the healthy gut, strong heart and better blood sugars, and chia for glowing beauty. Chapter 6 contains general, essential tips for working with chia, and 'templates' for creating your own recipes. Chia seeds are high in protein, fiber, minerals and essential fatty acids, and after reading through the book, and being convinced that adding more chia seeds to my diet would be a good thing, I looked at the recipes, and found quite a few that interested me. There are 75 recipes to accompany the health information, and since this is a cooking blog, it seemed appropriate to try a few.
I decided to start with the basics, and tackle my nemesis, chia pudding. You're probably shaking your head and wondering what my problem is, but although I like both crunchy and creamy foods, I don't like them mixed together. You will never catch me adding nuts to brownies or eating a bowl of (vegan) mocha almond fudge ice cream. So, I regarded the recipe for Velvety Banana Chia Pudding with suspicion. Instead of coconut milk I used unsweetened soy milk blended with a few cashews, and I doubled the vanilla, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. And guess what? I was wrong about chia pudding — I loved it. So did my husband, and the pickiest eater of all time — Miss E. I used, black chia seeds because that's what I had in my pantry, but maybe white ones would have been prettier. They both taste the same and have the same nutritional value.
The next recipe that caught my attention was Chia Corn Cakes. The book isn't 100% vegan, and occasional recipes might contain an egg or honey. Following the tips found in chapter six, I made chia gel, and subbed it for the egg. Also as suggested if subbing chia gel for an egg, I added 1/4 cup of a different flour (in this case, garbanzo flour) instead of the milled chia in the recipe. (I didn't even know you could buy milled chia — and it's kind of pricy.) The corn cakes were great, and I'm sure I'll be making them again.
The cinnamon and spice sweet potato crisps sounded tempting, so I got out my mandoline and made paper thin slices from a sweet potato, as directed. The recipe said to use three medium potatoes and spread the slices in a single layer onto three large baking sheets, but after cutting just one, I had more than enough slices to cover three baking sheets. And I was real tired of slicing. It also took a lot longer to get them crisp in the oven than the recipe said. They were delicious and fun to eat, and I'm glad I made them, but probably won't do it again — too lazy.
The recipes are vegetarian and gluten-free. Most of the recipes are vegan, and those that are not, are very easily converted. The book contains a great deal of nutritional and fun information about chia seeds, as well as clever ways to integrate them into your diet.
About the author
Lauri Boone, R.D., is a registered dietitian and raw food instructor. She is a regular contributor to One Green Planet and has written articles for Crazy Sexy Life and has appeared in numerous media outlets including CNN, BBC Radio, NPR, the Huffington Post, Fox, Oxygen magazine, and the Vegetarian Nutrition Update. She has worked with clients in private practice and conducted nutrition classes for a variety of groups including Whole Foods Market, DC United Major League Soccer, and Avon 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. She lives in Victor, NY.
Fair Winds Press offers nonfiction books in a range of practical categories, including nutrition and cookery, fitness, parenting, beauty, treating sickness, mental health, and using new medicine..
I received a free copy of the book for review purposes. I was not paid to write the review. All opinions are my own.