Airtight Containers | Life Without Plastic Boutique

Airtight Containers | Life Without Plastic Boutique: "

What a great website! Non-plastic (stainless steel) food & water storage, baby and children's food products and toys, and much more. Cute designs too!

Addicted to Cheese & Dairy

Ever wonder why cheese is so addictive? Even those going on a primarily plant-based diet tend to continue craving and eating cheese. Did you know that cheese has trace amounts of morphine? Really. Cow and human milk have trace amounts of this opiate drug to ensure that babies will bond to their mothers and the vital milk they need to grow.

Here are a few informative articles about dairy and cheese.

"In 1981, Eli Hazum and his colleagues at Wellcome Research Laboratories reported traces of the chemical morphine, a highly addictive opiate. It turns out that morphine is found in cow milk and human, purportedly to ensure offspring will bond very strongly with their mothers and get all the nutrients they need to grow.

Researchers also discovered the protein casein, which breaks into casomorphins when it is digested and also produces opiate effects. In cheese, casein is concentrated, and so is the level of casomorphins, so the pleasurable effect is greater. Neal Barnard, MD said, “Since cheese is processed to express out all the liquid, it’s an incredibly concentrated source of casomorphins—you might call it dairy crack.” (Source:"

Read more:
Dr. Neal Barnard and physically addictive foods (video)
Neal Barnard MD discusses the science behind food additions. Willpower is not to blame: chocolate, cheese, meat, and sugar release opiate-like substances. Dr. Barnard also discusses how industry, aided by government, exploits these natural cravings, pushing us to eat more and more unhealthy foods. A plant-based (vegan) diet is the solution to avoid many of these problems. Neal Barnard is the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). (Click here to watch video)

Starr’s ‘Scary Dairy’ Story: Do You Have These Symptoms?

Here is a great article about dairy.Here is an excerpt of dairy reactions:
- Post nasal drip (constant clear mucus coming out of the nose when one is not ill)
- Dark circles or wrinkles under the eyes
- Swollen looking eyelids
- Red ears and red cheeks
- Eczema
- Inability to sit still
- The need to wrestle with someone or constantly move
- Inability to focus for longer periods
- Aggressive attitude and ill tempered
- Fits of pure rage that can last quite a while during which the child screams at the top of their lungs, sweats, eyes get glossy, may yell profanities…after which they are sorry and exhausted…
- Head banging (I know…it sounds terrible but I knew a child who started this behavior upon switching from dairy formula to Whole D when she turned one….fortunately the mom stopped the milk and her child became calm once again
- Trouble sleeping and/or falling asleep
- No naps, short naps, or hard to fall asleep at nap time
- Fatigue and tiredness (from lack of sleep no doubt)
- Catches every cold in town and takes forever to heal due to the incredible congestion
- Chronic ear infections (due to dairy NOT the ear canal laying flat or whatever lies ‘they’re’ spreading)
{Read entire article}

Life is a blossoming...

I love Deepak Chopra's quote, "Life is a blossoming, not a race". What an empowering attitude shift to carry forward in our life. The image of a flower unfolding is so soft, natural, and beautiful... versus racing towards a deadline that creates a feeling of pressure and an "end".

This is an excerpt from Deepak Chopra's article "Do you struggle with time?".

"How much better not to feel any time pressure, to blossom fully despite the fact that death exists. The attitude that life is a blossoming, not a race, can be achieved. But to do that, you can’t believe that time is running out. Sending that message to your body’s cells is the same, ultimately, as programming them to age and die."

Read more:

Buying GMO Free Foods

Here are some excellent resources for buying and consuming GMO-Free foods.

Remember the four simple tips to avoid GMOs:


Tip #1: Buy Organic
Organic producers cannot intentionally use GMOs.

Tip #2: Look for "Non-GMO" Verified Seals
Non-GMO Project

Tip #3: Avoid At-Risk Ingredients

If it's not labeled organic, or doesn't have a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal, then avoid processed food products ingredients made with these GM crops: Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Cottonseed and Beet sugar.


  • Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrups
  • Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose
  • Modified food starch*


  • Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone
  • Vegetable oil* and vegetable protein*

Canola Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)

Cotton Cottonseed oil

Sugar Avoid anything not listed as 100% cane sugar since GM beet sugar recently entered the food supply. To avoid it, look for organic and non-GMO sweeteners, candy and chocolate made with 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar.

Aspartame The artificial sweetener also known as NutraSweet and Equal, which is derived from GM microorganisms.

Become familiar with our list of invisible GM ingredients.

Also, more than 50% of Hawaiian papaya is GM, and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash.

Invisible GMO Ingredients

Aspartame, also

called NutraSweet®,

Canderel®, Equal


E951, BeneVia®,


baking powder

canola oil

caramel color


citric acid

cobalamin (Vit. B12)


condensed milk



corn flour

corn masa

corn meal

corn oil

corn sugar

corn syrup


cottonseed oil









food starch

fructose (any




glutamic acid









high fructose corn

syrup (HFCS)




vegetable protein


inverse syrup

invert sugar



lactic acid






malt syrup

malt extract





milk powder

milo starch

modified food


modified starch

mono and



glutamate (MSG)


oleic acid


phytic acid

protein isolate



soy flour

soy isolates

soy lecithin

soy milk

soy oil

soy protein

soy protein


soy sauce


stearic acid

sugar (unless




teriyaki marinade

textured vegetable



tocopherols (Vit E)




vegetable fat

vegetable oil

Vitamin B12

Vitamin E


whey powder

xanthan gum

Other resources:
To learn more about eating non-GMO in restaurants.
Find local sources of organic food and GM-free meats.
Avoid Aspartame in non-food items.
Find sources of non-GMO seeds.

Read more:


Thanks to Dr. Mitra Ray for sharing this article.

Striving for an unblemished complexion? Bypass the skin care aisle and head to the produce section! Eating more raw veggies might reduce breakouts by as much as 30%, according to new research.

A recent study from the University of Oslo compared dietary habits with incidence and severity of acne among 3,775 college students. Researchers found that women who ate more than five servings of raw vegetables daily enjoyed significantly fewer skin eruptions. "This has never been shown before," announced study authors. Less statistically significant, though interesting: both males and females who often ate potato chips suffered 5% more breakouts, while a frequent sweet tooth translated into 4% more "bad skin days."

Why might this be? Previous research suggests that many of the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables help reduce inflammation associated with skin problems. Fending off wrinkles rather than pimples? Produce bolsters skin health on this front too: British researchers found fewer signs of skin aging among women with the highest vitamin C intake. By contrast, sweets and meats contribute to toxins that undermine skin elasticity. More evidence that true beauty comes from within -- at least within your diet!

Bonus: Exercise for a glowing complexion. Contrary to myth, workouts do not contribute to breakouts -- and physical activity may even help reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Finding Peace with Unbearable People

I found a great article and exercise about How to Get Along with People You Don’t Like (And Make Your Life More Peaceful in the Process).

In a nutshell, Brian Vaszily explains the importance of identifying the people who we dislike or make us feel anything but fabulous (not usually hard to find). Then to dig for something, anything, that is of a positive nature in them. Something worth emulating. And then to focus on those qualities. Of course, this is not to say we should put ourselves in harms way by being in a hostile relationship, but to give us a chance to find peace in those relationships that seem to wrap themselves around us.

As Wayne Dyer says, "Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world."

Enjoy Brian Vaszily's article at

This is another great time to mention Bryon Katie's Work, which is another incredibly powerful way to help deal with people you don't like or can't stand. Katie has an amazing process of turning our suffering into joy. Check out her work at:

Deepak Chopra: The Happiness Prescription

Deepak Chopra: The Happiness Prescription
With the Deepak Chopra: The Happiness Prescription video, you'll discover 10 keys to a happy and fulfilling life. No matter your beliefs, religion or background this groundbreaking video offers solutions for everyone to find love, peace and harmony. If you enjoy this video, please visit Gaiam for more health and wellness videos at

Truth & Lies About Clutter

I loved this article about the truth and lies behind clutter. Brilliant. Here is Lie #6.

Lie: Okay, so I haven’t worn it this year. You just never know! I could never get rid of those sexy black stilettos that I’ve never worn! They’re Anne Klein and were only $10! The perfect sit-down-and-just-admire-my-shoes event is sure to be in my future!

Solution: If you’ve never worn it, even on Halloween, you’ll probably never wear it. Give it away. Like I said before, waste equals waste. How do you discern which clothes you actually wear and which ones you don’t? Try going two or three weeks without doing laundry. Wear all of your wearable clothes. Whatever is left in your closet at the end of two or three weeks you probably don’t need. If you won’t wear it even when you’re desperate for clean laundry, you’ll probably never wear it.

Click 10 Common Lie We Tell Ourselves About Clutter (from Care2)

To give you some ideas on how to clear clutter, here is a shortened version of the following, excellent article.

Here are 12 Tips to End Clutter!
by Divine Caroline

1. Give each item a home
If you don’t know where something belongs, it can easily become part of the clutter in your house.

2. Assign each item a home
Not only does this create a place where it belongs, but it also saves mental processing when you need to put stuff away instantly, or locate them later.

3. Keep the flat surfaces empty
The flat surfaces in your home are likely to be the easiest targets for clutter. Clearing off a surface (tables, counter tops) are also the easiest way to create an environment that appears clean and organized.

4. Whenever you need to choose, always choose to put things out of sight
Make it a point not to place mail on an open surface when you come home. Keep your mail in a box, or in a cupboard.

5. Clean as you go
This habit gives two things. First, you won’t have to clean up after a pile accumulates. Second, a clean home discourages others from leaving their clutter around (proactive de-cluttering). Clearing off surfaces seems to have an instant calming effect on me.

6. Downsize your stuff
Ridding ourselves of unused stuff removes the clutter and is mentally liberating.

7. Set a timer
It’s been said many times before, but setting a timer and cleaning like crazy for fifteen minutes really does work. .

8. Multiple projects
I’ve found it helpful to write out on paper, all the sections of my home that need organizational love. After that I make each one a mini-project, where I’d tackle one every week. Make sure that each mini-project has a measurable goal, where it is achievable within an hour. If an area requires many hours, then break it up into several mini-projects.

9. Use Labels.
This might sound extreme, but when I last cleaned out my dressers and closets (after three years of resisting to change), I gave each type of clothing a home, and I labeled the locations within dressers to reminder myself.

10. Get Boxes
I’ve found that attractive boxes serve as great storage for loose items. The idea is to group like items together into boxes, so that they will be easy to find when needed, but hidden from the surface when they aren’t.

11. Try Drawer Dividers
These are awesome if you keep your underwear, socks, and t-shirts in one drawer; a divider will keep them separate.

12. Make Utility Drawer Containers
Find small boxes (I use soap boxes, small Glad tupperware, and store bought utility drawer containers) for your utility drawer.

Read the whole article.

True Healing Video by Larry Dossey

Healing is something far more profound than curing disease. In this video, medical pioneer Larry Dossey shares how healing is a process of connecting with our infinite non-local nature, which helps us transcend our fear of death and alleviate suffering at the root level.

Green Leafy Vegetables Associated with a Lower Diabetes Risk

Increased consumption of leafy green vegetables is associated with lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a British Medical Journal meta-analysis finds.

Researchers examined data from six prospective cohort studies that measured individual consumption of fruits and vegetables. The studies also assessed the development of diabetes over a median of 13 years. Intake of fruit or vegetables, either alone or combined, was not associated with lower risk. In the four studies that specifically measured the intake of leafy green vegetables, a 14% reduction in diabetes risk was apparent between the highest and lowest levels of consumption.

The authors cite the antioxidant effects of beta-carotene, polyphenols, and vitamin C as possible mechanisms for this effect.

Editorialists comment that dietary advice "may be just as beneficial, if not more so, than prescribing drugs" to patients at risk

Art in the School House

Hello Colorado Friends!

I wanted to let you know about an art show I'll be having a booth in next month (Sept 10 & 11). It's a school fundraising event for Serena's former school, The Patchwork School. You can view more information at:

I'll be selling my Whimsical Love prints and magnets along with my Prayer Gardens. 50% of the proceeds go to the school.

Hope to see you there!

Calcium Supplments a No-No?

A new analysis study done by researcher Ian Reid, MD, of New Zealand’s University of Aukland, found that women who are taking calcium supplements are increasing their risk of heart disease by 20-30%.

Dr. Reid told WebMD, “I think we need to seriously consider whether calcium supplementation is a good thing for most people, given that it is associated with a very small decrease in fracture risk." He went on to say, which we've been learning for years...“We encourage our patients to get their calcium from the foods they eat and not from supplements.”

To read the entire article on WebMD, click here.

Dr. Carol Watson, ND says "Doctors who study calcium now understand that the amount of calcium absorbed depends on its interaction with other dietary constituents. In other words, the absorbability of calcium is mainly determined by the presence of food constituents. One study (taken from a research article written by Robert Theil, Ph.D., N.D.) found that whole food calcium is 8.79 times more absorbed into the blood than calcium carbonate and 2.97 times more than calcium gluconate".

When you think of getting calcium from your food, remember dairy is not the best source. Dairy is acidifying, which can cause damage to your bones as your body attempts to rebalance it's pH by stealing alkalizing minerals -- like calcium found in your tissues and bones.
Plant foods are the best sources.

Here is a list of plant-based foods that are high in calcium:

* Almonds – 1 oz. (about 23 nuts) - 75 mg.
* Blackstrap Molasses – 1 T. – approximately 137 mg.
* Beans
o White beans 3/4 cup has 120 mg
o Navy beans 3/4 cup has 94 mg
o Black Turtle beans 3/4 cup has 75 mg
o Chickpeas 3/4 cup – 58 mg
o Tofu 150g – 350 mg
* Brazil Nuts – 2 oz. (about 12 nuts) - 90 mg.
* Broccoli – 2 cups boiled - 124 mg.
* Celery - 2 cups raw - 81 mg.
* Collard Greens - 1 cup boiled - 266 mg.
* Flax Seeds – 2 T. - 52 mg.
* Instant Oats - 1 packet – 165 mg
* Kale – 1 cup boiled - 94 mg.
* Kelp - 1 cup raw - 136 mg.
* Oranges - 1 medium - 52 mg.
* Papaya - 1 medium - 73 mg.
* Sesame Seeds – ¼ cup - 351 mg calcium.
* Spinach – 1 cup boiled - 245 mg.
* Swiss Chard – 1 cup boiled - 102 mg.
* Tahini(sesame seed butter) – 2 T. raw – 126 mg.

Impact of fresh, healthy foods on learning and behavior

What happens when you change the food within a school from processed, standard American diet foods to a healthy, vegetarian meals? Watch this amazing 5 year study in an Appleton Wisconsin school.

Neal Barnard on Chocolate, Cheese, Meat & Sugar

I love this entertaining and certainly thought provoking video.

Chocolate, Cheese, Meat, and Sugar:
Physically Addictive Foods

Neal Barnard MD discusses the science behind food additions. Willpower is not to blame: chocolate, cheese, meat, and sugar release opiate-like substances. Dr. Barnard also discusses how industry, aided by government, exploits these natural cravings, pushing us to eat more and more unhealthy foods. A plant-based (vegan) diet is the solution to avoid many of these problems. Neal Barnard is the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

The Beautiful Truth

One of my favorite, eye-opening movies on the impact of food and health. You can watch the entire video online!

Grape Seed Extract Kills Leukemia

Here is an excerpt of an article by Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor written in Natural on how grape seed extract combats leukemia.

"Now there's another reason to appreciate the healthy phytochemicals contained in grapes. Researchers from the University of Kentucky have found a natural substance in the fruit that's deadly to malignant leukemia cells. The powerful cancer fighter, derived from grape seeds, triggered the death of 76 percent of leukemia cells exposed to the extract in a laboratory experiment.

The scientists just reported this study in the January 1, 2009, issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. They also published data that reveals the cell signaling pathway that grape seed extract impacts to trigger the death, or apoptosis, of leukemia cells. The University of Kentucky researchers concluded the extract "turns on" a protein known as JNK that regulates the cancer-cell killing pathway."


Chocolate: Is it Good For Us?

Most of us will agree that chocolate is incredibly delicious and a favorite treat. But whether chocolate (or raw cacao) is good for us is a question many experts have yet to agree on. Some say it is the best food ever -- chock full of antioxidants, magnesium, and other great nutrients -- giving it a place high on the ladder of the ultimate super foods list. On the flip side, opponents say chocolate is addictive and contains chemicals, contaminants, additives and poisons that should keep this substance out of our diet entirely. So what is the answer to the question of whether chocolate is healthy or not? Here are some things to consider:

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea.
  • Rich in Magnesium: Which is good for our Heart and Circulatory system.
  • Aphrodisiac: This is definitely a bonus!
  • Decreases the appetite in some people: Helps people manage their weight.
  • High in serotonin and dopamine: This helps us feel happy and combats depression.
  • Contains flavanols: This helps the blood flow smoothly, essential in keeping blood platelets from sticking together.
  • Contains high fiber and iron: These are both beneficial to the body.

  • Chocolate/Cacao contains chemicals, additives and contaminants (1)
  • Some negative Chemicals are (2):
  • Theobromine: known to cause a host of symptoms including abnormal glandular growth, nervousness, depression, anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, and itching.
  • Caffeine: highly suspected of being a carcinogen, and is directly linked to heart and circulatory problems, glandular difficulties, nervous disorders, osteoporosis, birthing abnormalities, and so forth.
  • Theophylline: causes stomach problems, nausea, vomiting, and nervous disorders.
  • It acts as a stimulant and agitates the kidneys and adrenal glands: This can cause: insomnia, nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night, shakes, and extreme energy shifts.(3)
  • It can be addictive.
  • It might cause allergic reactions.
  • It can come with unhealthy baggage. Look at the other ingredients alongside your favorite chocolate treat if it isn't plain and simple raw cacao nibs or pieces. Many chocolate treats have dairy, sugar and a lot of other additives that you might have a negative reaction to. Sometimes the chocolate isn't what is bothering people, it's all the other stuff.

Tips on Eating Chocolate:
With that said, here are some tips to consider when you decide if you should keep chocolate in your diet.

Remember: “One person’s panacea is another person’s poison” – listen to your body and its response to eating it. If you have adverse reactions (such as migraines, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, increased heart-rate, gastro-intestinal problems, rash, itching, hives, or anything else) avoid consuming chocolate and/or cacao. Instead, you can replace it with something that resembles chocolate, a food called carob. Carob is made from a fruit, with a resemblance of the chocolate taste. Instead of being a stimulant, this mineral rich food actually has a calming effect.

If you don't have adverse reactions to chocolate, eat it in its most natural form, raw cacao nibs or powder. Or at least aim for eating dark chocolate with a small ingredient list. Don’t eat it in large quantities or on a daily basis. Eat your chocolate in moderation -- as the treat it deserves to be -- and enjoy it immensely!
(1) FDA Defect Levels Handbook:
(2) Ty Stanley, Diet by Design: Fruits, Nuts and Natural Foods (New York, Teach Services, December 1998) and
(3) Ibid

10 Tips to Maximize Your Energy

Most of us live busy lives that leave us exhausted. We want more energy, but fail to develop the habits that will bring that energy to us. As Charles Nobel said: "First we make our habits, then our habits make us." Plug yourself into habits that make you energized! Here are some simple tips to a healthier and more energetic you!

1. Chew your food to liquid before you swallow
This allows you to digest your food easier (saving your body's energy for other important tasks); gives you the most nutrients out of your food for fuel; and creates a healthier alkaline internal environment (promoting increased health and vitality).

2. Drink water at least every 1-2 (waking) hours
Even when we “think” we are hydrated, we generally are not. This causes fatigue. By drinking every couple of hours we will not allow ourselves to become dehydrated. When you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated - and exhaustion is sure to follow.

3. Make health food choices
Healthy foods primarily consist of raw, plant-based foods. This means, eat fresh, raw, and organic (when possible) vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and sea veggies. This provides your body with optimal energy as well as creates a healthy environment to thrive.

4. Eat often, but don't over eat
Between meals eat a palm-full of protein and/or veggies every 2 hours. This provides the extra fuel your body needs and also keeps your blood-sugar and cravings in balance. In addition, you won't be starving when it comes to meal time and you'll be satisfied with a smaller, lighter meal. Rule of thumb, eat every 2 hours and don't skip out on meals.

5. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night
This, like many suggestions, seems like a no-brainer. But without regular sleep we are robbing ourselves of the rest and repair time our bodies need. In addition, the longer we stay up at night, the more we tend to eat to try to compensate for our fatigue, which puts on the weight (not to mention drains our energy). Try to keep your hours of sleep regular, by going to sleep and rising at the same time every night. You will get a deeper sleep this way.

6. Eat high-nutrition foods, first thing in the morning
First off, never skip breakfast. In fact, try to eat within the first hour of waking. In addition, try to include some type of high-nutrition food, like vegetables, chia seeds , goji berries, maca root, spirulina, coconut, cacao – YES Chocolate (in the raw -- great in a smoothie). Click Super Foods for more power foods. Power foods make excellent snacks too!

7. Remove sugar, simple carbohydrates, caffeine, and stimulants
Don't be fooled by these "quick energy fixes". Sugar, simple carbohydrates, caffeine and other quick stimulants only drain you in the long run. Remove them and your body will naturally find a better steady stream of energy. It generally takes about 3 weeks to feel your stamina build and the cravings cease. It's well worth the effort!!

8. Find something that inspires and excites you!
This automatically raises your energy! Remember how much you got accomplished on a project you were super jazzed about? Or remember how much extra energy you had when you first fell in love? Tap into your power and do something daily that really excites you!

9. Move your body and sweat!
Find a fun daily movement or exercise that you enjoy doing. You need to move your body to keep your energy flowing - literally! And a moving body is a slimmer body.

10. Supplement your diet
Even with the best of diets, it is still hard to obtain everything we need with our food. Find a whole food supplement (not synthetic vitamins & minerals) that is of high quality. Do your research. Also, add spirulina or chlorella to your diet. And, if you are a vegan, it is usually best to supplement vitamin B-12 into your diet.

Chew Your Way To Health

We all know it's a good idea to chew our food -- frankly, because we don't want to choke on it. However, most people put food in their mouths, chew a few times and swallow -- as if seeing how quickly we can get it into our tummies. We have either unconditioned ourselves or have never developed a healthy chewing habit to begin with. Let’s take a moment to find out why it’s a good idea to liquefy your food before you bring it down the hatch!

Chewing food thoroughly can give us

  • Better Digestion by mechanically and chemically breaking food down, and stimulating the entire digestive process.
  • More Energy by allowing the nutritional value of our food to be absorbed and converted into energy more easily. Sluggish digestion creates a sluggish body.
  • Stronger Bones by converting acidic foods (like grains) to alkalizing foods with enzymes in our mouth (otherwise our body would have to buffer the acidic food we swallow by leeching minerals from our blood and bones).
  • A Clearer Mind by bathing the brain with the right nutrients and creating a higher oxygen supply in the blood (slightly alkaline blood absorbs oxygen better).
  • A Stronger Immune System by bringing the right size and pH of particles into our digestive tract to receive the right nutrients for health and to keep a balance of healthy bacteria in our gut (especially since 70-80% of our immune cells are found in our digestive tract).
  • Stronger Bones by maintaining an alkaline pH so our body doesn’t have to leech alkalizing minerals from our blood and bones to buffer the acidic foods.
  • A Healthier Body and Happier and More Productive Life by utilizing the power and energy from our foods, having healthy body systems, and allowing us to slow down and enjoy not only our food but life around us too.

So how many times should you chew? First remember that carbohydrates that are higher in fiber we automatically have to chew more, as they don't just dissolve in our mouths. This is good. Experts say we should chomp and chew between 30 and 100 times. (Wow, there goes dinner conversation!) But if you don’t want to count, aim to liquefy your food before you swallow. As Ghandi put it:

"Chew your drink, and drink your food".

Ch-Ch-Ch Chia! The Super Food

Almost all of us have heard of "chia" because of the catchy infomercial of the beloved growing Chia Pet. But did you know that the chia seed is a power food packed with lavish amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats, (great for the heart, for lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammation among other things). It also has twice the amount of protein than any other seed or grain (having all 9 essential amino acids), has 5 times the amount of calcium than milk, and is chock full of fiber (making it excellent for weight loss, diabetics, and improving digestion). It also has more antioxidants and nutrients than the flax seed does and has a neutral taste. The abundant amount of soluble fiber forms a gel which slows down digestion, helping decrease the blood sugar levels (great for diabetics).

The best way to eat chia seeds is to first hydrate them into a gel. Otherwise, they can be a quite dehydrating (as they can soak up to 9 times its volume in water.) Mix 1 part dried (organic) chia seeds with 3 parts liquid (water or milk of choice) and let sit for 20-30 minutes and you have a gel you can store in the refrigerator. Water-based gel can last up to 3 weeks.

Here are some great benefits from chia seeds.

1. Digestive Aid: Use 2-3 tablespoons chia gel with each meal for better assimilation of food, increase nutrient absorption and encourage better elimination. It also prevents indigestion and heartburn without risk of harmful side effects.
2. Diabetes: The chia seed is an exceptional food for diabetics as it slows the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar which stabilizes blood sugar and regulates the body’s absorption of fluids, i.e. electrolyte balance, more efficiently.
3. Energy & Stamina: For centuries the Indians of the Southwest and Mexico used this tiny little seed as a staple food. Known as the running food, its use as a high-energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs.
4. Heart & Cardiovascular Health: High in the good fats (especially Omega-3's, the chia seed can aid in reducing blood pressure, inflammation, and improve elasticity of tissues.
5. Power Food: The chia is a complete protein, has high calcium, antioxidants, and other nutrients. It is an easily digestible, natural, raw, whole food that your body knows what to do with. It is a perfect food to add into your daily diet!

Uses for chia seeds:

1. Food Gel: Make foods gel, creamy, and thicker. Add hydrated gel to fruit spreads and jelly, smoothies, soups, pudding, yogurt, sauces, nut & seed milks and more.
2. Crunchy Topping: Sprinkle the seeds on salads, main dishes, in nut and seed butters, and more.
3. Baking: Mix chia seeds in muffin, cookie, cake, bread batter or pancakes. You can use the egg replacer technique (below) or grind up chia seeds in a coffee grinder and replace a quarter of the flour with the ground chia seeds.
4. Egg Replacer: 1/4 cup of chia gel (1 part chia to 3 parts water) will substitute for eggs in baking (sorry, won't work for omelets!)

If you are interested in learning more about chia seeds, I would love to share more information. Please check out a few recipes below!

You can purchase chia seeds at most local health food stores. Click the Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds to buy them online. I'm locating some "white" chia seeds to make tapioca pudding that actually looks like the real thing!

Chia Fruit Spread

Serves 2

4 T. fruit spread, jam or jelly (strawberry, blueberry, etc.)
2 T. water
1 T. chia seeds
Mix together and let stand for 30 minutes. Spread on toast or bread. If you are using strawberry jam, the chia seeds actually look like strawberry seeds! A great way to disguise this super-food to your kids. And remember the high fiber content will slow the absorption of the sugar!

Chia Pudding

This is a sweet, comforting and healthy snack, breakfast or dessert that couldn't be easier!

1 c. chia seeds
3 c. milk of choice
3 - 5 T. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
pinch of salt

Mix ingredients in a glass bowl and stir well, removing any clumps. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate. This pudding will keep well in the refrigerator for days.

For CHOCOLATE PUDDING, omit the cinnamon and add 1 tablespoon raw cocao powder to the recipe.

(From "Living Raw Food" by Sarma Melngailis)