It has taken almost four months to heal my fractured foot and a whole host of stubborn physical complications that have come with it. But now I’m finally rounding the corner. You know the corner; all of us do. It’s that place between being in bed for whatever reason and suddenly feeling well enough to rise; the place where despair turns to happiness, weakness to renewed strength. It’s that place where the moon is suddenly full; and where the receding tide folds over on itself and pulls up to shore again. I’m almost there. I can feel it. I can actually visualize myself putting on my dusty running shoes, grabbing my warm coat from the hall closet and opening the door to let the outside in.
I’m ready to be outside.
What a beautiful relief.
I feel heightened gratitude as I always do when my body shifts out of pain into a more neutral place. Thankful to the cells in the body responsible for making things right, to the cells in this shell that propel me out of bed with a spark of energy. I know that a single spark is all it takes to catch fire.
I’m beginning again to dream of nourishing, anti-inflammatory foods, especially those that begin our days. I’m talking about simple, nutritious breakfast; the most important meal of the day as it breaks the previous night’s fast. What we put into our bodies at this meal really does set the stage not only for how we physically (and emotionally) feel and perform, but how we treat our body for the rest of the day. I don’t know about you but I don’t need anything elaborate and fancy first thing in the morning. Something easy to make and healthy to eat is the winning combination I always go for. One of my go-to favorites is chia seeds soaked in a bowl of warm homemade almond milk and topped with fruit.Chia is truly a superfood, packed with tremendous goodness. It’s particularly good for people like us because it boasts a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids that help “lubricate” the joints and keep them supple. (Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain a whopping 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. And interesting to note, chia has eight times more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids than salmon). In the body omega 3s are converted into prostaglandins, which are known to have both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Besides helping to reduce inflammation, omega 3s boost everyday cognitive function like memory and performance and also improve mood. Deficiency in these fatty acids can lead to symptoms like fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings, and poor circulation.
More Chia Nutritional Facts:
– One tablespoon of chia has 5000 mg of total fiber.
– Chia is a high-quality complete protein. (Chia seeds are 21 percent protein and offer 2 grams of protein per tablespoon).
– It’s rich in calcium. (Ounce for ounce, chia has five times more calcium than the same amount of cow’s milk, plus it contains boron, a trace element that helps transfer calcium into our bones). It also contains other minerals and vitamins like iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, and folic acid.
– It’s hydrophilic, which means it helps us to retain moisture, guarding our bodies against energy-sapping dehydration as well as protecting our joints from wear and tear.
– It contains many phytonutrients, including quercetin and kaempferol, both known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
1 cup homemade almond milk
1/4 cup organic white chia seeds
1 ripe pear or apple, chopped
Prepare homemade almond milk from my recipe here. (I’ve eaten the above chia recipe with store-bought almond milk and it’s just not the same as it is with homemade almond milk, naturally sweetened with dates and vanilla seeds. In fact, it’s not very tasty at all).
Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Do not bring to a boil. When you see steam rising from the milk, remove from heat. Pour 1/4 cup white chia seeds into the saucepan with milk and stir well. The chia seeds will almost immediately begin to expand because of their gelatinous nature. Pour into a bowl and top with your favourite fruit. Add more almond milk to make a delicious morning breakfast.
Medical Considerations: If you eat a low-fiber diet, be sure to introduce chia to your diet slowly. Start with two tablespoons of chia in this recipe instead of 1/4 cup.
If you have a specific digestive disorder, like diverticulitis or IBS, talk to your doctor about what form of chia is best for you. Milled chia, which can easily be added to smoothies, may be a better form for some people.
Reference: Coates, Wayne. Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood. New York: Sterling, 2012. Print.