Breakfast of champions?

January 21, 2012

I almost never read the back page of the Friday Journal section of the Wall Street Journal. (I bring it home after work to do the crossword on the next to last page.) Sports news just doesn’t interest me – unless it’s about something other than sports.

The weird photoshopped image of a football player (Ray Rice) looking like an overgrown head of lettuce didn’t exactly draw me in either. But then I happened to notice the subhead, which mentions chia seeds.

I first heard of chia seeds from a co-worker a few months ago, when we were doing Dr. Ann’s Eat Right for Life program. I was surprised to learn that the tiny seeds used to grow chia pets were actually useful for something other than gag gifts.

Chia seeds weren’t mentioned in Dr. Ann’s book, but they seemed the sort of food she would recommend. They’re high in protein, soluble fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as antioxidants and minerals. Plus they absorb lots of water so they should help in reducing hunger cravings.

I bought a bag one day, along with a new jar of tahini to make hummus, from the health food section of the local supermarket. Then the bag just sat in my cupboard for several weeks. Even though I’ve been trying to eat more healthful foods, I’m just not into eating a lot of “weird” foods.

Then one morning recently I decided it was time to try adding some to my oatmeal. I had no idea what it would do to the consistency if I added it before cooking, so I added it after cooking, along with my blackstrap molasses. It had very little effect on consistency or taste, though I noticed a slight difference in texture and taste.

I added a tablespoonful of the seeds to my oatmeal again this morning. I don’t know if the chia seeds were responsible for my not feeling need of any midmorning snack, but they might have been. (Last Saturday, when I first tried them, I didn’t get hungry for lunch until later than usual, so they may be working in that regard.)

A bag of chia seeds seems quite expensive – I paid over nine dollars for 12 ounce bag. But then, when you consider that the bag holds about 28 servings (one tablespoon each), it’s quite inexpensive compared to what I pay for most forms of protein.

I don’t care much whether chia seeds help Ray Rice win football games. But if they help me get in better shape, I don’t mind having that in common with an NFL football player.