Month: November 2018

Are Chia Seeds Good For You?

I’ll admit that I quickly became excited about chia seeds when they first entered my world. I did a bit of research after reading about them in Born To Run, and got excited about this newly discovered supposedly excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

I ordered a big bag off Amazon.com and started incorporating some into smoothies and otherwise eating them by the spoonful. Recommending them to family and friends, I was a major chia fan to say the very least.

If you’ve never heard of chia seeds, here is a quick rundown:

  • They were a major food source of the Mayan and Aztec civilizations
  • They ARE the same seeds that grow chia pets (just don’t eat these ones, they’re processed differently)
  • They are very high in Omega 3 fatty acids (even higher than flax seeds)
  • They are becoming BIG TIME popular with a mention on Oprah by Dr. Oz
  • Hold approx. 12 times their weight in water, and thereby aid in hydration
  • High in antioxidants

A one ounce serving contains approximately:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids:  5g
  • Omega-6 fatty acids:  1.6g
  • Fiber:  11g  (primarily soluble) – total carbs 12g
  • Protein:  4g
  • Calories:  137
  • Calcium:  180 mg

Pretty good stats right?

These stats are great for such an inexpensive food, but they don’t form the complete picture.  Much like flaxseeds, the Omega-3 fatty acids contained in chia seeds are in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) form. Herein lies the problem. The main benefits of Omega-3 ALA consumption is to try and get our bodies to convert it into EPA/DHA fatty acids (the kind found in fish oil), but in most cases our bodies just don’t seem to be efficient at making the conversion (sources: 1,2,3). ALA bio-conversion to EPA is very limited and conversion to the even more important DHA is practically absent. I said “in most cases” because there has been some evidence of the conversion rate being higher in vegans and EPA conversion higher in chronically-ill African-Americans (sources: 1,2).

To put all this more simply: most of the Omega-3’s we get from chia seeds get wasted.

Getting enough of the right (EPA/DHA) Omega-3 fatty acids is extremely important for overall good health – one of the most important dietary things you can do in my opinion. In order to reduce chronic inflammation, we should try to get closer to a 1:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. This is vitally important. Most of us get far too much Omega-6 fatty acids, with the typical American’s ratio more around 30:1.

What does all this mean for you?

Most people should be supplementing with Omega’s 3’s to get the O6 to O3 ratio closer to 1:1. And as long as your not vegetarian/vegan, you probably should be taking fish-oil instead of relying on chia seeds. Chia seeds (or flax seeds) just can’t give you the proper Omega-3 benefits.

That being said, I’m going to recommend you still eat them, but for different reasons than you’ve previously heard. Chia seeds are mainly a good food option for their high content of soluble fiber and antioxidants as well as their hydrating properties (when prepared as a gel). So yeah…don’t give up on them just yet!

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

Egg Connoisseur

Ever since my husband started the SCDiet, our egg consumption has skyrocketed!

Before Eggs didn’t consume our lives, we were purchasing them from Kroger’s………blah.

But once I found the secret egg man, things changed.  Read more to find out how I met this crazy man.

One rainy morning my sister had me over for breakfast.  And yes, we had
Eggs…Scrambled eggs!  The first thing I noticed about her eggs was the shell color.
They were not just white or brown, but they were green, blue, and yellow!  I screamed, “where did you get these eggs!”
She replied “my friend Seth, he raises his own chicks just down the road”.  As excited as I was about the different colors, she had me hooked when she cracked the first egg open and plopped it into the mixing bowl.  I felt my mouth drop, my eyes widen, and a little drool drip from my lip. These eggs were not only good lookin on the outside but beautiful on the inside too.
The yolk was so vibrant that it nearly blinded me. I was able to finally use my food chemistry knowledge about the anatomy of eggs and point out to her the albumin, and inner/outer membrane. Kroger eggs don’t even compare to these eggs.  It was at this point I decided I would never eat another Kroger egg again!
So I bet you are wondering about the crazy egg man.
After consuming the rich and delicious scrambled eggs with some piping hot coffee I stated to my sister “I’ve gotta get me some of these”. The next week my sister introduced me to Mr. Crazy Egg Man (AKA Seth).  He gave me four cartons of eggs for the week (remember eggs consume our life now). He said “Here ya go mam, can I get you some goose eggs, ostrich eggs, duck eggs, or quail eggs to go along with those chicken eggs.  I didn’t know what to say…so I stuttered and spit out the words “You are a crazy egg man!”  So that’s the story of the crazy egg man.

Since eggs became a major staple of our diet. I decided to research them a little bit more and share some knowledge with you that I stumbled upon.

When shopping for eggs, its best to buy pastured eggs (and local if possible).  Pastured eggs are more nutritious than factory eggs.

Pastured eggs contain:

more Omega-3’s
10% less fat
40% more Vitamin A
34% less cholesterol
5 times more Vitamin D
3 times more Vitamin E
8 times more beta carotene

Pastured eggs are not only healthier for your body but for the hen too.

Pastured hens get to roam around outside and soak up the sun, while factory hens are forced to live indoors in crowded cages.  Since factory hens are not able to roam free on pasture and have to live in their own feces they get sick easier and have to be pumped full of antibiotics. Pastured eggs do not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs.  And they get to live a stress free wonderful life.

Diet of:

Pastured Hens Vs.       Factory Hens

Bugs                                   Grain based

Earthworms                    Antibiotics

Grass                                  Feces

other critters

So pasture eggs are not only good for you but are delicious too!!
Try this recipe with the first batch of pastured eggs you buy.  You will be obsessed!

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

6 Lightning Fast Mini Dinners

Warning:  this strategy might not work so well if you have kids or a grumpy spouse

I don’t know about you, but when summer comes around, I’m not big on slaving away for hours over a hot stove. I like to enjoy some free time outdoors. You know – get outside and really experience life.

I’m not against cooking nice filling dinners in the summer, but doing it every night is a real time drain. I’d rather be hiking around a neat park or reading on a blanket in the shade. I’d rather be playing tennis and taking the dogs to play at the dog park. You with me?

When you don’t get home from work until 6 or 7pm, spending an hour or more on dinner is a good way to drain the rest of your energy while simultaneously killing your good mood.

photo by Antikris
photo by Antikris

As long as you get an adequate breakfast and nutritious lunch (lots of veggies), there’s no need to go overboard with big dinners all the time – especially if you’ve packed on some winter pounds.

Here are some ideas for tiny snack-like dinners that you can prepare and eat in just a few minutes. They all have enough protein to give you some energy to go out and explore the world.  And you could always toss them in a cooler with some wine and go for a picnic in the park.  (Tip: If you get hungry again close to bed, sip on some warm milk with cinnamon and nutmeg.)

1.  Banana w/ nut butter and granola. Grab and partially peel a banana. Use a knife to spread a blob of your favorite nut butter on the next bite of banana. Dip it into a bowl or bag of granola to coat.  Eat and repeat.

2.  Tuna in a pouch. (made using the solid-white albacore tuna in air-tight pouches)  Cut open the tuna pouch and throw in a small forkful of mayo (or avocado instead) and some random stuff from the fridge. Maybe toss in some grapes or nuts or a little lettuce and some radish. Eat straight up with a fork or on crackers (my favorite crackers are Wasa).

3.  Fresh mozzy’s. Cut up a fresh mozzarella ball and put on toasted bread, crackers, or in a wrap with fresh basil and tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and enjoy.

4.  Simple  salad. Grab a handful of spinach or micro-greens and throw on a hard-boiled egg  (precooked earlier in the week) or goat cheese. Add a couple other veggies of your choosing (onion, radish, broccoli, etc) and drizzle with a quick dressing (whip together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fancy brown mustard). You can crumble some cracker on top if your feelin’ it.

5.  Cottage cheese with strawberries. Pretty simple stuff here, just slice strawberries on some cottage cheese (or yogurt if you’d rather) and eat with a fork or wrap in lettuce and eat with your fingers.

6.  Yogurt dipped veggies. Combine just a little bit (to suit your taste) of a ranch seasoning packet with some plain yogurt. Serve with raw veggies of your choosing.

So, there you go. I’m giving you permission to eat small for dinner once and a while. Permission to get out of the kitchen and out enjoying the world.

Do you have any idea’s of your own?? Leave them in the comments.

 

Categories: Eating Strategies Food Rules