I am a big fan of the old adage ‘everything in moderation’. This applies across the board from the number of miles I jog (not many!) to the amount of gin I guzzle or portions of meat I eat each week. Meat consumption is huge is the western world, with the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Luxembourg (who suspected that one?) leading the pack at an average consumption level exceeding 100k per person in them all.
Countries where meat comprises a lesser proportion of the diet either for cultural or financial reasons tend to be healthier. I am not advocating pure veganism (that tends to suit very specific constitutions, lifestyles and belief systems) but I would argue that a reduction in the average Joe’s daily meat consumption could be no bad thing: for their bank balance, the environment and more general health.
So to this end – what are the alternative sources of a complete* protein available to us? The obvious ‘non-meaty’ candidates are fish, eggs and dairy. But there are also a few very clever entirely vegan options available to you too, namely: hemp seeds, chia seeds, soy beans, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and spirulina. For the purposes of this article, the focus is the almighty superfood that is chia.
Chia seeds are a nutritionally complex form of seed, originating from a flowering plant in the mint family and grown in Central America. They are a complete protein, meaning that they contain sufficient amino acids in the correct proportions to support human needs. They are also rich in omega-3 essential fats, antioxidants and fibre – not to mention being hugely filling.
The seeds can be eaten raw or ground into flour. They tend to taste best when soaked whole in a creamy liquid of choice. The following chia pudding recipe is a nutrient-dense breakfast suggestion, which you can prepare the night before and take with you to work. It is also pretty good as a sneaky snack or healthy dessert option.
Place the chia seeds in a large cup or bowl. Blend together everything except the chia seeds, and pour over the chia seeds. Place in the fridge and soak for 30 minutes. Remove mixture and stir (this is important to prevent clumping). Cover with cling film and place back in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!
Same as the basic chia pudding, plus a splash of fresh orange juice and orange zest!
Same as the basic chia pudding, plus ¼ cup raspberries (frozen or fresh), ~ 20 goji berries, 2 pinches cardamom powder, extra pinch salt and an additional tablespoon of honey.
Same as the basic chia pudding (excluding the honey), plus 2 tablespoons of maple syrup 4t cacao powder, ¼ t fresh grated ginger, 1 t mesquite powder (optional), and extra pinch salt and an additional ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
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