Novel Groove: Coco-Chaco-Chia Pudding

Aloha everyone, I have been experimenting in my kitchen again and you know what that means… a new, awesome recipe for you to try!

I just finished reading this great book, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and I am now super-hyped on barefoot running and eating chia seeds. The Tarahumara or “Running People,” legendary for their amazing endurance and vigor, make a drink called iskaiate from chia seeds, lime juice and sweetener. This drink is said to give them super running powers, although I’m sure it’s not that simple.

I have been trying chia seeds in everything from smoothies to fruit salads to my latest creation: “Coco-Chaco-Chia Pudding,” which I will be sharing with you here. This recipe took a few tries to get right, but I think I finally nailed it. First, allow me to share a little bit about chia seed health benefits.

Chia seeds are high in protein, antioxidants, B-complex vitamins and various minerals. The best thing about chia seeds, however, is that they are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, also known as EFAs. Why is that so great? Well, in our modern diet, we are consuming way too much omega-6 and hardly any omega-3 EFAs. Research suggests that an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 can eventually cause various health problems including arthritis, obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression and heart disease.

Most packaged foods contain high amounts of omega-6 EFAs due to the vegetable oils used in them. For this reason, it is easy to see why the average person consumes 20 to 50 times the amount of omega-6 to omega-3; The ideal ratio is 1:1 by the way.

When we consume imbalanced foods regularly it can create imbalances in our bodies as well. This is why it’s a good idea to get as much omega-3 in your diet as possible. I believe that supplementing with chia seeds can help.

The following is a  great dessert recipe that can be adapted to your taste and dietary needs. Less or more sweetener may be used depending on what you prefer. If you cannot have any sugar, then I suggest using stevia or xylitol, which are natural sugar substitutes.

Coco-Chaco-Chia Pudding

Servings: 3-5

1 can of coconut milk

2 tablespoons cacao (cocoa) powder

1 tablespoon maca powder

2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup (more or less to taste)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds

In a large bowl combine cacao (cocoa) powder, maca, honey or agave, vanilla and a little coconut milk and stir. Add a little more coconut milk and stir again, making sure to get all lumps out and make smooth. Repeat this process until all the coconut milk is blended in. Next add the chia seeds and mix well. Cover and put in the refrigerator for six or more hours. When well chilled and gelled, stir once more and serve.

Look for all ingredients at your local health food store or check the natural foods section of your grocery store. Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

For those who want to do delve in and do further research on these topics, visit the links below.

∫ chiaseedshealthbenefits.com; www.chrismcdougall.com; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_running; www.nomeatathlete.com/tarahumara-pinole-chia-recipes; www.optimal-heart-health.com/omega_3.html; http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/03/13/omega3-fats-part-one.aspx; http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/09/23/the-incredible-importance-of-omega-3-s.aspx; www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=96; www.eatwild.com/articles/superhealthy.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol

Enjoy, and live well.

• Shastin Snyder is a Kaua‘i resident, an aspiring artist, chef and free-thinker. She can be reached via email at novelgroove@gmail.com.

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