Chia Coconut Pudding

Omega-3 fats are essential, meaning that our bodies can't synthesize them - we must get them through our diets. They are crucial anti-inflammatory agents and are particularly important during pregnancy, helping with everything from fetal brain development to postpartum mood. Getting sufficient omega-3s can also help prevent menstrual cramps. The easiest way to get omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is through fish, but given concerns about mercury content, fish isn't always the safest choice.

Enter chia seed. Like flaxseed, chia is another food source of omega-3 fatty acids, and it's less apt to go rancid than its seed counterpart. Plus, it's kind of a fun science experiment to cook with: it becomes mucilaginous when wet, kind of like mini tapioca balls. And it's pretty flavorless, so it lends itself to being sprinkled on all sorts of dishes, from cereal grains to smoothies.

I found this chia pudding recipe online and adapted it for ease of use. As you can see from the photo, I get my chia seed from the bulk bins at Whole Foods and store them in a recycled pasta sauce jar in my cupboard. If you're ever in need of an omega-3 boost, this simple pudding should do the trick. It's yummy and easy to make. But beware - it's so rich! I couldn't even finish mine. Enjoy!

Chia Coconut Pudding

1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup dried coconut, shredded & unsweetened
1 cup almond milk (check out my recipe here)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 T. coconut milk (optional)
Chopped fresh fruit (optional)

Place chia and coconut in a bowl. Heat the milk(s) & cinnamon in a small saucepan until steaming but not boiling. Pour milk over seeds, stir and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Top with fresh fruit if desired & serve.

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Almond Milk Recipe

Almond Milk Recipe

We in the US are some of the only adults in the world who consume unfermented dairy after the age of 4. Mother's milk is absolutely essential for your growing baby, but cow's milk has become more trouble than it's worth for kids & adults. This article does a fantastic job of describing many of dairy's dangers.

I support the consumption of fermented dairy products like cheese and yogurt, as long as they're made from organic dairy (raw is preferable). And I also understand why people like milk, cream and all its yummy offspring. Personally, if I could stomach it, I would subsist off whipped cream, cheese, and ice cream. Sadly, I can't - nor can anyone else, without serious health risks.

With dairy intolerances & allergies on the rise in the US, it's no wonder that dairy substitutes have popped up everywhere. Soy, rice, coconut and almond milks line the shelves at Whole Foods and beyond. The problem with many of these dairy replacement options is that they are full of sweeteners and other unhealthy additives.

To make a long story short, I've taken to making my own almond milk. It's so yummy over oatmeal, in teas or hot cocoas, or straight out of the bottle. And it's easy to make, to boot. All you need is almonds, water, and dates (vanilla optional). Enjoy!

Easy Almond Milk
1 cup almonds
2 cups filtered water
4 dates (use more or less depending on desired sweetness)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients on high until almonds are completely pulverized. You could actually drink the mixture at this point if you don't mind the granular texture. Otherwise, use a nut milk bag or doubled cheesecloth to strain the contents of the blender into a reservoir. A rubber band around the mouth of the reservoir helps. (I like to recycle glass peanut butter jars for this purpose). Leave mixture to drain. Squeeze out the pulp. You can save the almond pulp for other treats (try mixing it with coconut, honey and rolling in cocoa for an easy dessert). Refrigerate and enjoy the almond milk within a few days.

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