Editor’s Note: This feature is presented by our partner Let’s Go Chia.
It’s common knowledge that chia seeds are good for you, but what isn’t as commonly known is what they actually do. Well, it’s a lot. Chia seeds are a great source of plant-based protein, contain fiber to support gut health, are loaded with minerals essential to bone health, boast more antioxidants than blueberries, and include all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce but needs. This is especially important for vegetarians, as protein and amino acids are hard to come by when you’re not eating meat. As Christopher McDougall says in Born to Run, the 2009 bestselling nonfiction book about the Tarahumara Indian Tribe and their extreme, long distance races: “In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone.”
Chia seeds come from Salvia Hispanica, a flowering type of mint native to Mexico that was used as widely as corn by the Aztec peoples. So why aren’t we all eating chia seeds today? The main problem is that there hasn’t been a great way to consume them that has caught on with the Western diet. To really get the full array of nutrients within a chia seed the tough outer layer needs to be bypassed – either by soaking the seeds in water for 15 minutes plus, or by grinding them. Soaking the seeds is not the easiest to do, and produces that strange gelatinous goop that, I’ll be honest, isn’t my favorite texture. But grinding the seeds avoids the goop problem, and produces a powder that can be added to basically any food or beverage.
This is the breakthrough that Lance and Kelli Capel, former Division I collegiate runners came across as they were trying to incorporate chia seeds into their diets. The powdered form of the chia seed also makes it easier to combine chia seeds with other awesome ingredients, like the chia superfood blends that Lance and Kelli are pioneering under the Let’s Go Chia label. So far, there are two Let’s Go Chia blends to help you incorporate chia seeds into an active and healthy lifestyle, with more on the way.
The Anti-Inflammatory Blend is made with three, all-natural ingredients – chia powder, turmeric, and monk fruit. Turmeric is a superfood in its own right with potent anti-inflammatory properties that help your joints, skin, and brain. The monk fruit adds a bit of sweetness (without adding any sugar) and brings even more antioxidants to the table. Lance and Kelli sent me a bag of the Anti-Inflammatory Blend and I was pleasantly surprised by just how delicious it is. I quickly fell into a routine of mixing a scoop of the powder blend with hot water in place of tea (but definitely not in place of coffee, I’m a hopeless caffeine addict) in the morning and evening. The result was a lightly sweet and delicious hot drink – tea is something I usually just drink for pleasure, so I was stoked to be drinking something I enjoyed that also had such incredible health benefits. I also tried it as a cold drink, brewing the tea and adding ice, and found it to be incredibly refreshing, and a no-brainer replacement for a middle-of-the-day soda or sweet iced tea. Lance let me know that the blend can be most effective before or after activity to help with joint-specific pain and low-level inflammation.
Just released this month is the Peanut Butter Protein Blend, made with five all-natural ingredients – chia powder, peanut butter, cacao, pink Himalayan sea salt, and monk fruit. The peanut butter packs the protein, cacao supports a healthy heart and blood flow, and the Himalayan sea salt is full of minerals that helps balance your body’s pH and improves sleep quality. I was always suspicious of the massive bottles of 50-ingredient protein powder that were a staple of many friends’ diets in college, and this protein powder puts my mind at ease with five simple ingredients. Just a couple scoops, a banana and some milk makes a delicious and hearty smoothie, and it also tasted great in more robust smoothies made with frozen fruit, yogurt, nuts, veggies, and more.
This spring, keep an eye out as more mouth-watering chia blends come to market. Lance and Kelli hope to expand their chia offerings in the coming months to make blends that offer a wide range of other benefits, and can be integrated into every part of a healthy and active lifestyle. Lance shared with me their plans to produce an immunity-focused blend from camu camu (a fruit from the Amazon Rainforest with more vitamin C than oranges) and mango, and and a natural energy blend made with coconut and guarana (another Amazonian plant, this one high in caffeine).
Find the Anti-Inflammatory blend here, and the Peanut Butter Protein blend here on Amazon. Or, visit the Let’s Go Chia website, and for a limited time get an extra 15% off the Peanut Butter Protein Blend with the code ‘CHIALOVER’.