chia seed and flax seed

So you’ve been reading about chia seed.   (I know this because I get lots of questions about it.)   Yep, I’m talking about the little things that grow the chia pet, now getting lots of attention as a power food.   And it is.   A highly expensive one (I bought a pound of it recently for about $18).

Chia seed has 7 times as much iron as spinach.   At 18%, it has more protein than beef, and its amino acids comprise  a complete protein.   It slows conversion of sugars in the bloodstream, so it’s great to eat with a  high-sugar meal.   (I mean  like potatoes or fruit–hopefully y’all have abandoned or are at least minimizing refined sugars.)

Its mucilaginous properties mean it absorbs toxins, and it’s fantastic for weight loss.   I don’t like to eat after dinner, so if my dinner was light and I get really hungry later, what I do is eat a large spoonful of chia seed and chase it with a big glass of water.   It absorbs 10 times its own weight in fluids, so it fills you up when you are hungry with hardly any calories.

It tastes mild–tastes like nothing, really.   You can sprinkle it in cereal, or put it in a smoothie–but it will dramatically thicken your smoothie.   For that matter, it’s a great thickener!   Put 1  tsp. chia seed in 3 Tbsp. water, and you’ve got yourself an egg replacement.

It’s packed with those rare Omega fatty acids that your body cannot manufacture and must receive from foods–in perfect proportions.   And it stores for a very long time!

I highly recommend it.   I’ll find a way eventually to get it for cheaper in a local group buy (maybe national–we’ll see!).   I wish it were less expensive.

Now flax seed is still quite inexpensive at less than $1/lb.   You can watch my YouTube video making flax crackers if you want to hear more about its virtues, or read Ch.  4 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. (All my demos are on GreenSmoothieGirl.com under the Videos tab now–and I have lots of new ones coming.)

Just want to share a thought from GSG reader Rochelle T., who happens to also be my cousin, whom I set up with her husband 19 years ago!   (I have 65 first cousins, 49 of them Romneys, but she’s the one I’ve been closest to my whole life–now she has 5 children.)   She was trying to figure a way to get flaxseed in her diet every day.   She just eats a spoonful of ground flax seed every morning, chasing it with water.   She says it’s nutty and pleasant tasting and it’s a great habit she’s gotten into.   Great idea.   Keep in mind that grinding flax seed (unnecessary with chia) makes its nutritional properties much more available.   Just don’t grind it far in advance, as it goes rancid quickly.

Hope this is helpful!

34 thoughts on “chia seed and flax seed

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  1. Oh thanks for doing this post! I recently bought some chia seed because I saw some recipes for chia gel and heard it was supposed to be super good for you- but I haven’t done anything with it yet! Ahh! Hopefully I can find some good recipes, maybe you have one or two that you could share on here.

  2. Thanks for this chia/flax post, Robyn.

    I was recently in UK visiting my mother and knew it would be difficult for me to stay raw or at least high-raw during my visit. So I took a pouch of chia seeds and every morning, I would mix two tbsp of seeds with double (or more) quantity of water, and then mash a banana into it with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. A great, nutritious and easy breakfast. Of course, I would also have my green smoothies during the morning or on the go.

    Incidentally, when I returned to Ottawa, Canada and stood on the scales at the gym, I was shocked to see that I had lost around 5 lbs during my 2-week stay, even though I was eating all the time.

    This plant-based lifestyle is truly amazing. And hooray for green smoothies.

  3. Bummer – chia seeds are not allowed in the European Union. They have yet to be approved and cannot be sold or imported here. That along with stevia not being allowed is a bit upsetting… Oh well, perhaps things will change soon!

  4. Thanks for posting about chia. I have bought a 5 lb bag and it has been in my cabinet for a while. I forgot about it and why the heck I bought it! Now I remember! Thank you!

    I will go and eat some right now!

    I wonder if it would be a great source of Omegas for my ADHD son. He needs all he can get from natural sources. He takes only 1 packet of Coromega each day and then he gets the rest of his omegas from ground flax on his breakfast each morning and eating walnuts for a snack. I am wondering if this would help? I don’t like that Coromega has eggs and fish in it but I’ve heard from several N.D.’s and M.D.s it is the best for children like him. I am suppose to give him two a day but I don’t. I want to give him things that are whole foods.

    Do you think this will help him, Robyn?

  5. Great post! I have been using Chia in my smoothies and it is great for when i don’t want to use a banana but still want a creamy consistency. I buy mine from nutsonline.com in bulk for around $5 something a pound…a ton cheaper than what I paid at the health food store.

  6. Wonderfully informative post! I am a great fan of chia. It has done wonders for many of my friends. I was introduced to chia by a friend who suffers from arthritis, fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis. After 2 weeks of eating 2 tablespoons of chia per day she was off her 3 pain meds and feeling great.

    Now, as to the safety and “organicness” of chia. Where do you think all this chia has come from with the sudden popularity of it? Much of the chia grown is grown very cheaply for chia pets or animal feed. It is NOT grown as “food grade” for human consumption. As typical with anything gaining popularity there will be profiteers out to take you money. If the seller says “certified organic” you need to consider who might have certified it. It may have been his cousin Joe who who knows all about organic gardening because he keeps a mulch pile.

    If it’s not Certified Organic by the USDA, at least in the U.S. it is not truly organic. Chia only grows well between 24 degrees north and south of the equator. Places where the USDA does not have a strong presence.

    My seed source has it grown to exacting specifications, inspects the planting, growing, harvesting and handling and then has an independent laboratory test random samples for purity. This I trust.

    You can buy cheap chia. Consider where it comes from. http://www.cheelabrand.com

  7. Nutsonline.com has good prices on Chia. I recently ordered 5lbs of their white chia.

    UNFI also has good prices if they are in your area.

  8. Oh….This is also GREAT for those of you who may have or know who has acid reflux. Just take a tsp with NO water and wait 20 minutes. Then drink some water. It will soak up all the acid in your stomach. No more need for Tums. IT WORKS! My husband used this in the beginning of our green smoothie journey and my sister in law who is on a SAD diet uses it for her horrible acid reflux.

  9. Robyn,

    I routinely add flax seeds to a raw fruit, nut and oat mix I eat like granola. While I will look into the chia, should I be grinding the flax and adding it daily vs adding it whole when I make the mix and chewing well?

    I always add some fresh ground to my salads daily – just a te in a coffee grinder and sprinkle it on the salad.

    Also, we have raw flaxseed crackers available thru Whole Foods Markets here by TWO MOMS IN THE RAW that are fantastic. I can have no processed grains (I have gluten intolerance) only raw so they are wonderful for me and anyone just wanting to go more raw. I am hoping they may become available on greenpolkadot.com.

  10. I’ve been grinding flax seed and keeping it in a tupper in my fridge and adding to my smoothies every day….now I’m reading that I need to use it just after grinding. Would flax oil be better? It’s hard for me to grind the seed just before using it, b/c my blender jar is usually wet.

    Also, I’m going on a trip to Virginia soon, and will take my blender, but won’t have my alkaline water. I’ve heard that adding trace minerals would help with that…true or false?

    Any good tips on traveling and eating/drinking the good stuff are most welcome!

    Thanks, Robyn!

  11. Okay to keep a few days’ worth of ground flaxseed, just use it as soon as possible afterward. Flax oil is good, but of course flax is the whole food which is always best.

    Trace minerals are needed if you’re not getting any from other sources. (Original Crystal Himalayan Salt has them all, FYI.) It won’t make your water alkaline.

    Grind the flax BEFORE using it for anything wet?

  12. Thanks. I always make a blender full and drink it over 2 days, so I have to wash it before making the next smoothie. Guess I’ll have to start either making just one days’ worth or put the 2nd days’ in something else so I can wash and dry the blender.

    Thanks for the VMG….it does hide nicely in the smoothies and I feel much better. And the Bee Pollen and Maca, too. So nice to have a way to get stuff in that doesn’t taste so great on its own.

    Now, do how to keep all this stuff cool on the plane, in the car, etc? Do I need to take a cooler w/me? The airlines may not allow the cold/ice pack stuff. Guess I could just leave my stuff at home and buy more when I get there.

    You’re the best, Robyn!

  13. I am wondering if anyone has had issues with dehydration and or magnesium depletion after adding chia seeds to their diet. My son had been taking 2 scoops of chia seeds daily for a few weeks, he developed a muscle twitch in his neck which became so severe it would cause his head to jerk backward uncontrollably. Someone suggested a magnesium deficiency, so I stopped the chia seeds and added almonds, and other seeds and nuts high in magnesium. The symptoms seem to abate very quickly.

    Has anyone else had an experience like this after taking chia seeds?

  14. Wow, never heard of that, but please, everyone, if you eat chia, remember that it can absorb 10x its own weight in water, so drink at LEAST that much with it!

  15. me & my wife have been using chia for awhile & feeling great. trimming down & increased energy (very increased). just ordered 55lbs on line @ $4 a lb. should be ok for a couple yrs

  16. Nice article. If you take a daily spoonful of flaxseed oil or 1-2 heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseed , you are giving your entire body a healthful supplement. And the best thing is that flaxseed has a pleasant, nutty flavor – tastes good! For me the flax seed is best and healthiest foods. It has lots of benefits.

  17. I just started eating Chia Seeds, and I am hooked! They make me feel so good and are a great addition to my diet! They can be expensive, yet if you live in the states there are some great GNC coupons that you can use to purchase large bags of the miracle seeds!! I just ordered two more bags and I keep one at work for a quick fix (if needed)! Thanks for sharing some recipe ideas, I am constantly on the search for new ways to incorporate Chia Seeds into my diet!

  18. I just started eating Chia Seeds, and I am hooked! They make me feel so good and are a great addition to my diet! They can be expensive, yet if you live in the states there are some great GNC coupons that you can use to purchase large bags of the miracle seeds!! I just ordered two more bags and I keep one at work for a quick fix (if needed)! Thanks for sharing some recipe ideas, I am constantly on the search for new ways to incorporate Chia Seeds into my diet! Off to go make some yogurt with CHIA seeds now!

  19. I agree with Rick; cheapest known-good place online is nutsonline.com — currently $6/lb for non-organic. Local health markets can be even better; my local Whole Foods has organic for $7/lb.

    I combine the seeds with any non-carbonated liquid I like (juice, milk, tea) and stir a lot for 10 mins. Easy and delicious.

  20. It is truly amazing how satisfyingly full I feel after eating a yogurt/grnd flaxseed, chia and berries. Followed up by a 16 oz. glass of water’. I use 1 tbsp. each of ground flaxseed and chia seed. The feeling is not bloated just a content belly for quite some time. I am going to add chia seed to my soups to thicken and add more nutrition.

  21. I just started drinking the chia seeds in water per the suggestion in the detox manual and I love it. I would love to give this to y kids but I read a lot about how they should be soaked first unless you are going to take them with lots of water as they will absorb the water from your body. How do you recommend feeding them to children? Two of my children are pretty picky eaters….

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