Last night I paid a visit to the Whole Foods down in TriBeca… I absolutely LOVE that place! It’s got everything you could ever need, unlike Food Emporium or Gristedes near me on the Upper East Side. It is so clean, organized, and offers so much of everything that I got distracted the whole time there, forgetting to take photos with my iPhone!
I was immersed in studying the different brands of Chia seeds, the amazing selection of self-help sea salt sold by the pound, and their interesting check-out set up in the back where you choose one of 8 or so colored lines to wait on to pay for your items. A television screen above tells you which register to go to based on your color. I was so distracted by their enormous selection (they even had a sign in the produce section explaining the different sweet potatoes they offered) and by the tempting smells wafting from their kitchen that I forgot to take photos! Plus, it was an interesting sight to see – numerous men in suits squeezing tomatoes and sniffing produce, as would be expected because it is TriBeca, and frankly, that distracted me too. But I managed to get myself together and purchase 3 health food staples that I have been meaning to buy except couldn’t find because the supermarkets near me don’t carry them. I normally would have to go to a designated health food store to find these particular items. I bought coconut oil, fish oil supplements, and Chia seeds. Not the most exciting items to purchase, especially when I was surrounded by fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, almond macaroons, and 3 rows of hot, steaming, just-made-from-the-kitchen, help-yourself meals like lasagna and mashed potatoes. Needless to say, I left TriBeca Whole Foods salivating! It was tough walking away from that place with just these 3 items!
First, let’s talk about Chia seeds. What are they?
Excited about my purchase, today I used Chia seeds in my oatmeal for breakfast. Chia seeds were a diet staple of the Aztecs and Mayans. Grown in Mexico, they provided sustained energy for long hunts and have enormous health benefits. So Chia seeds are great for endurance athletes. I also like Chia seeds because they are high in Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and high in fiber. Remember, Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that helps support normal cardiovascular function and has been shown to reduce incidence of heart attacks and arrhythmias. It has also shown benefits in arthritis, the immune system, is known to help with mental acuity, minimize psychosis, help with cholesterol, cancer-fighting, and for athletes, assist as an anti-inflammatory. Fish oil supplements function in the same manner. Chia seeds are great for digestion and detoxing. The seeds mixed with fluids in your body will create a pasty texture that will help to clean out your intestines.
Chia seeds are low calorie and has calcium, magnesium (good for muscle cramps) and protein. One tablespoon (which is all you need a day) has 60 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of protein, 64 mg of calcium, 40 mg of magnesium, and 2.4 grams or 150% of your daily intake of Omega-3. It is one of the three items I sprinkle in all my foods and smoothies – wheat germ, ground flax seed, and Chia seeds. You can grind them down yet also eat them whole, unlike flax seeds where you would need to grind them down to expose their nutritional benefits. You can put them in yogurt, salads, smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, or bake them into your muffins. Chia seeds should be used within 3 to 4 months of purchase, or can be kept in the freezer for longer use. A 12 oz bag is about $10.
Okay, next post we will discuss coconut oil!