Tag: omega 3

Raspberry Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are tiny superfood heroes. They come in either white or dark brown/black and have a huge nutritional profile. They contain Calcium, Manganese, and Phosphorus and are packed with fiber, protein, and healthy Omega-3 fats. They are basically tasteless so you can add them to nearly any kind of dish. Add raspberries, cocoa nibs, and coconut and you have a decadent yet healthy dessert.

buffalo cauliflower

TOTAL: 4 HR, 15 Min

Prep Time: 15 Min
Chill Time: 4 Hours

Serving Size: 4 People

Ingredients

1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
3 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. coconut nectar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh organic raspberries
1 tbsp. coconut flakes (optional)
1 tbsp. raw cacao nibs (optional)

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine milk and chia seeds and stir until there are no lumps.

Add coconut nectar and vanilla and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Place raspberries in a Vitamix or food processor and puree.

Mix the raspberries with the chia pudding until completely mixed.

Serve in a glass or bowl and top with coconut and/or cacao nibs (optional). Happy V Day!

Omega 3s: Can You Get Enough of this Critical Nutrient From Plants?

Omega 3’s in veggies such as those in my Green Drink are an excellent source of this critical nutrient. Lots of people know that certain fish are rich in omega 3’s. But did you know there’s plenty of excellent vegan and vegetarian sources as well? 

Before I became “Chef V,” I was–and still am–a certified nutritional therapist. A nutritional therapist works with people to alleviate (and prevent) diseases through food, and believes that the best way to correct imbalances in the body is through diet.

Out of any nutrient or topic in my nutritional therapy program, omega 3 essential fatty acids was perhaps the biggest bulk of the curriculum.

And for good reason. Most people eating a Standard American Diet (SAD; how appropriate is the acronym, by the way, right?) consume far too little omega-3s. And far too many omega-6s.

Both 3s and 6s are important for health. They are both essential, which means you have to get them from your diet; your body can’t manufacture them on its own.

But junk, processed and packaged foods are made with cheap cooking oils. These oils (the most common in packaged/prepared foods are cottonseed and soybean) contain way more omega 6s than 3s. And the problem with having too much processed forms of omega 6s is that it causes inflammation

Omega 3s in Veggies: Powerful Inflammation Fighters

Inflammation can manifest in several different ways, from weight gain to joint pain.

But Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the body. They also help lower cholesterol levels and normalize blood pressure, and increase insulin sensitivity.

Moreover, 3s can help prevent heart disease, prevent memory loss and even help women have a less painful PMS.

There are several other health benefits from omega 3s.

But what I want to focus on here is omega 3s in veggies. That’s because most of the attention given to this topic is from one food in particular: wild salmon.

Now, don’t get me wrong, as a nutritional therapist, I strongly believe wild salmon is indeed one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. I’ve created several recipes featuring it.

What to do, though, if you’re vegan or a vegetarian who doesn’t eat fish?

For one, begin your day with 16 oz. of Organic Green Drink.

There is no exact recommendation for how much omega 3s you should get from either supplements or food everyday. But experts believe you should have at least 500 mg. Organic green drink contains a very decent amount of 3s, over 20% of that amount per 16 oz serving.

If you have any health complications, you should probably have way more than 500 mg per day.

Omega 3s in Veggies: Good For Your Skin!

It doesn’t take a degree in nutrition to realize that eating a diet consisting of mostly plants is better for your skin.

It turns out that omega 3s are an important nutrient for skin. These essential fatty acids help with skin hydration, and normalize the amount of oil. DHA is one of the three fatty acids in omega 3s. It’s the most important of the three for skin health, as it also can help prevent acne, wrinkles, and blemishes.

EPA is another omega 3 fatty acid. It also plays an important role in skin health. If you worship the sun like I do, you’ll be glad to know EPA prevents collagen damage when you’ve been in the sun too long.

Omega 3s in Veggies: As Good As Fish

Mainstream nutrition courses teach that EPA and DHA are more potent sources of 3s than ALA, the third fatty acid. Unfortunately, if you’re vegan, the conventional point of view is that ALA does not convert well into the more potent EPA and DHA.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the health benefits of 3s if you’re vegan. It might mean, however, you just need to eat more variety of foods rich in ALA.

Besides the veggies in my green drink, great sources of ALA are chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and spinach.

You can get sufficient omega 3s in your diet from vegan sources. However, if you do have a compromised immune system or other health problem, you might want to consider taking a supplement.

That obviously means that if you’re vegan, you’re not going to take cod liver oil or other fish oil supplement.

However, what you can take is an algal oil supplement. Marine algae is a sea vegetable, which makes algal (or algae) oil one of the best omega 3s in veggie sources on the planet, if not the best.

According to Berkeley Wellness, algal-oil supplements can produce similar improvements in blood DHA levels to fish-oil supplements. This was true both in vegans and had low levels of DHA to start and in omnivores, who had higher levels of DHA at baseline.

The only bummer about algal oil supplements is that they are more expensive than fish oil. But in the long run, the money that you’ll save preventing disease will be totally worth it.

Omega 3s in Veggies: Can You Get Enough Without Fish

If you’re not vegan and are able to eat wild salmon a couple times a week, you’ll probably consume enough 3s in your diet.

However, for those who consume no animal products, ALA is inactive in the human body. And as I say above, it doesn’t convert that well into EPA and DHA, the two other omega 3s that, in studies, have shown positive impacts on health.

That’s why if you are vegan or strict vegetarian, your eating philosophy should not only be not eating meat, but also eating plants an overwhelming majority of the time. Just like people who do eat meat should do as well.

I personally believe Mother Nature provided us with all the nutrients we need from plants. But EPA and DHA, which are abundant in salmon, might be my exception to the rule.

For this reason, if you avoid animal products, eat a lot of flax-, chia- and hemp seeds. To be on the safe side, splurge on an algae oil supplement.

And don’t forget to start your day with Green Drink!

Chia Seeds: Tiny in Stature, Humongous For Health

Chia Seeds: Tiny in Stature, Humongous For Health

Chia seeds are the less popular sibling of flax seeds. These days, you can’t go down a grocery aisle without seeing flax seed muffins, flax seed waffles, etc. But chia? Try to name one product with chia. Bet you can’t! But here’s why you should consider eating more chia. And, Chef V’s got a killer recipe for chia pudding to share. Yum!

Now I may be dating myself here, but do you remember chia pets? If not, Chia Pets are plants that come in terracotta pots in the shape of figurines like puppies. You simply soak the pet and the chia seeds in water. Within a few days, your new puppy sports a rich coat of chia seed sprouts.

If you’re intrigued, chia seeds isn’t a fly-by-night silly fad like, say, pet rocks. You can still buy them at big box stores.

Before I became a certified nutritional therapist, the only thing I knew about chia was that’s what Chia Pets are made from. Now, as part of my mission to make cleansing easier, I incorporate chia both into my own diet and encourage my followers to do the same.

In a little bit, I’ll share with you an easy recipe for chia pudding, which makes for a healthy dessert. It also makes for a great way to break a fast, (30 minutes after having a Green Drink) if you’re doing intermittent fasting.

Chia: tiny superfood packs a powerful nutritional punch

Chia seeds are tiny superfood heroes. They come in either white or dark brown/black and pack a huge nutritional punch. Rich in calcium, manganese and phosphorus, chia seeds are also high in fiber, protein and healthy omega fatty acids. Because they are neutral-tasting, they are very versatile. So you can add them to nearly any kind of recipe.

But first, let me share with you why chia seeds are the mighty mouse of nutritional heroes.

Chia seeds are high in protein. In fact, up to 25% of chia’ nutritional profile is protein. They are also high in healthy fats. Approximately one-third of chia is dietary fat. Moreover, chia seeds are high in fiber and antioxidants.

You’re probably aware of the fact that omega-3 fatty acids are good for you. Especially if it’s from sources like wild salmon. It turns out that a majority of the fat content comes from omega-3 fatty acid. Because chia seeds are from a plant, the type of omega-3 in them is called “alpha-linolenic acid” or ALA for short. Plant omega-3, or ALA, is not as potent as an anti-inflammatory compound as EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the types of omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other cold-water oily fish.

Still, it’s important to eat a mostly plant-based diet. And some of the ALA you do eat from chia seeds converts into EPA/DHA. Moreover, according to Tufts University milled chia seeds (as opposed to whole chia) converts better into EPA.

Chia Seeds

Chia: More Health Benefits

In addition, chia seeds contain another type of fatty acid, omega-6s. On one hand, omega-6 fatty acids are to blame for the high rates of metabolic and inflammatory disease in western society. But this has more to do with the fact that seed oils are used in processed foods and spoil easily when they are cooked. But when you add chia to recipes like the one for my pudding I’m about to share with you, the omega-6s can actually benefit your health.

According to this study, the omega-6’s in chia may actually protect against inflammation. Also, they may also protect against blood clots. Chia seeds, which are naturally gluten-free helps lower fatty deposits in your blood. It also normalizes cholesterol. Consequently, chia lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease. These little superfoods that are barely than the period at the end of this sentence protects the liver. And, according to research, they may also protect against diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune disease and cancer. (Unfortunately, few human studies exist proving the health benefits of chia.)

Chia also contains healing compounds. Research proves these compounds act as potent antioxidants. Quercetin is one of them. It has anti-inflammatory abilities. It may also help protect against cancer and blood clotting. Other antioxidants in chia include caffeic acid (coffee is another example of this polyphenol), as well as kaempferol and myricetin. The latter possesses  anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties, according to this study.

chia seeds cooking

Chia: Better Than Flax?

Chia seeds seem not to enjoy the same commercial success as flax. Products with flax seeds seem to be everywhere in the supermarket. But should chia be stealing more of the spotlight?

Maybe so.

The Tufts article says eggs from hens fed with chia have higher omega-3 content than eggs fed from flax seed (or the seed used to make Canola oil).

Another benefit of chia may be that chia seeds don’t quickly go rancid, like flax seeds are prone to do, says the Tufts University article. (Which is why it’s good practice to refrigerate your flax seeds.)

Speaking of eggs, if you’re vegan, Tufts University says that chia make for a great alternative to eggs in cooking. That’s because their sticky, gel-like coating when soaked in water acts like a bonding agent. Use one tablespoon of chia powder dissolved in a quarter-cup of water as a substitute for one egg, says Tufts.

chia seed pudding

Chef V’s Chia Pudding

Alright, alright, it’s recipe time. Enjoy. I love feedback. Tell me what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 2½ cups Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw coconut nectar (I like Coconut Secret®)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: pinch of sea salt
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: Fresh fruit, dried fruit, shredded unsweetened coconut, raw nuts

Directions

Place all of the ingredients except for toppings in a bowl and stir until well combined. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then stir with a fork. Repeat this process every 5 minutes for about 30 minutes, or until the chia seeds have soaked up all the liquid. Chill pudding for 2 hours before serving. Top with your favorite garnish and dig in.

Chef V

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