Monday, February 1, 2010

To Chia or not to Chia....

So what are these Chia seeds that I joke so often about and which Lila - my BFF fitness guru in San Francisco - introduced me to? They are basically flax on steroids. Omega 3's up the wazoo, all the fiber you need, good protein and great amounts of calcium, which helps when you give up dairy - which I recommend every woman do. (Dairy and alcohol are two serious problems for anyone with a breast cancer oncogene). Chia seeds, as I mentioned, are also what the Tarahumara Indians in Chihuahua, Mexico - those ultramarathoners who don't get cancer - eat each morning on their oatmeal. If you haven't already ordered "Born To Run" by former AP war correspondent Christopher McDougall, please do so. It is such a great read about his search for these superathletes who can run 100 miles in their bare feet. Ironically, when they tried to run in Nike running shoes after they were brought to compete at an ultramarathon in Colorado, they lost. The following year they arrived and instead carved up the rubber tread from a Goodyear tire put them on the bottom of their feet, took a last toke on their Marlboro Reds and ran the race and guess what? They won. It was the Chia seeds, I'm convinced.

So what are Chia seeds? They are not a supplement. They are a whole food. According to Sarma Melngailis who wrote "Living Raw Food" - a great cookbook for raw food enthusiasts, "these seeds figured prominently centuries ago in Mayan, Incan, and Aztec cultures, where they were valued as an endurance food and even used as currency. (Chia is the Mayan word for strength.)" I put a scoop of Chia on my oatmeal or in a smoothie. i even trick my kids into having them, by disguising them in the smoothies. I tell them they are berry seeds, if they get really inquisitive because right now anything too healthy or, for goodness sake, too organic is looked at by them with great suspicion (though I did make them watch Oprah last week when she had Michael Pollan ("eat real food, mostly vegetables, not too much") on to talk about how our food supply has become so tainted. He was promoting the new documentary "Food Inc."

Not all Chia are created equally. This is how I order them - a bag a month.
It's becoming a habit.
But let me tell you something whenever I haven't gotten chemo - it is usually because I slacked off the chia.
By the way if you have not done so already, consider switching from white rice to quinoa - tastes much the same but quinoa is a protein and a supergrain - so much more bang for your buck. I eat it with olive oil and salt on it and it is great. You can cook it with some vegetable broth rather than just water for more nutrients and bang. i am all about bang right now. That is why we opted to have lunch today at Pain Quotidien in Georgetown. It's a chain but it is a place that you can go and be confident with its vegan options. I had black bean hummos on an open-faced tartine with avocado sliced on top of it and yummy spicy tahini drizzled on top of a dark nutty bread. Yum.