Sunday, August 09, 2015

Chia seeds, PB2, and Sunday organizing for the week

During the Summer I had forgotten how busy Sundays have to be to get ready for the week. If I put off doing the cleaning and laundry on Saturday, which I usually do, then it HAS to get done on Sunday. After church I eat and then take my Sunday nap. The rest of the evening is filled with chores that have to get done if I am to have a smooth week.

Important to the frugal life is cooking ahead. Not just money, but TIME. Time IS money, and time is time , precious little enough of it to go around. So I usually make a dish like casserole or soup as the main meal, and salads, chop fruit and veggies for snacks, and oatmeal cookies, granola and stuff like that for extras. This week I made

--burnt corn/black bean/mango salad;
--fried some tofu;
--put together two jars of refrigerator oatmeal.
--boiled 5 eggs to have as a shot of protein during each weekday.
--tuna salad for sandwiches
--chopped mango for snacks
--chopped some tofu that I didn't fry to toss into the black bean salad.

The oatmeal is supposed to soak/cook in the milk or yogurt overnight and be soft in the morning. I'll see if I like this method of breakfast-on-the-go Monday and Tuesday and adjust from there. Additions to the oatmeal were raisins and mango.

I was going to make soup but it's so blessed hot! My lunch time got moved to 12:50-1:20 which will be 1:00 by the time I get to eat. I usually have breakfast at 6:00 so that would be 7 hours between meals. The 5 eggs are for one a day to get a shot of protein and keep my energy up. I'll bring a piece of fruit too, and I can eat them while I'm on standing at lunch duty with the kids in the cafeteria. So that is lunches, breakfasts, and snacks ready to go.

Always on the lookout for a low-fat protein that is easy to cook or prepare and is affordable, I found two kinds that I am trying this week. My go-to proteins are quinoa and eggs. Also peanut butter but there is a lot of fat in PB so I ration that one out.

Chia seeds.

Here is an excerpt from Authority Nutrition about chia seeds.
Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain. Here are 11 health benefits of chia seeds that are supported by human studies. Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
Like quinoa, which is used by the indigenous folk of the Andes, (I learned about quinoa while I was in Ecuador in the late 1990s, but it wasn't till the later 2010s when it was imported and available), chia also is from South America. Chia seeds have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Here is more dietary info:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds' lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids -- specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.

Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.

Satiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.

Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.

Egg Replacer
The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. This can used in place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes.

Can Be Digested Whole
Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrient or egg-replacement benefits.
Pretty amazing food, eh? I ordered some from, and since I like to make granola and smoothies, I see Chia Seeds in my future.

The other amazing food I discovered was PB2. It is basically peanut butter without the oil. It's dried peanuts made into a powder, which can be either sprinkled into smoothies or other concoctions, or reconstituted with a bit of water. I know that sounds gross and like every other health food you heard about since Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook in the 70s. But all, and I mean ALL the reviews at Amazon were ga-ga over PB's flavor and ease of use. So I bought some of that too, knowing full well it is more expensive than the grocery store, but I figured I'd try it and then go to Kroger or Ingles, which my friends tell me, is available on the store shelves. Sprinkling a teaspoon or two will give me a good amount of protein and peanut butter flavor without the fat.

We have come such a long way since the health food/vegetarianism of the 1970s when we were relegated to finding limp organic lettuce rolling around the moth-eaten shelves at the back of the store. There is a wealth of good food you can find...if you can just afford it. I feel I got a good deal on
the chia, and I also found a good deal on Amazon for peanuts in bulk. I searched for a long time, but I am sorry to say that almonds are out of reach, as are most other nuts. I'm hanging on to sunflower seeds and peanuts as the last legume stronghold for my shelves.

So that is the food blog for now, I'll let you know how the eggs worked out, chia seeds, and PB2. I sure hope there will be food in heaven, and that it will taste so perfect and we will never get fat. ;)


Grace to You said...

Thanks for the info! You've motivated me to do some research myself.

I'm counting on there being food in heaven - what's a marriage supper without food? :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, you got me here, on the PB2, that is wild, never heard of it until today. You're right, though, glowing reviews on Amazon. Well, might have to get some to try as an experiment.

Every time I see/hear someone mention chia, I think of that stupid commercial, Ch-ch-ch-chia, for those goofy Chia pets. Who knew they would have been more useful in the kitchen as food, than ornamentation on a little clay animal!?

We also soak oatmeal overnight, in water, before cooking it the next morning.


Grace to You said...

What did you think of the oatmeal jars?

Elizabeth Prata said...

Grace To You, I love it!! I've had three now. I put in oatmeal,milk, mango and raisins. Today I added Chia seeds because they arrived from Amazon last night. It makes a filling and easy breakfast. I am looking forward to trying different fruits. As soon as I eat the 8 lbs of mangoes I bought from Bountiful Baskets... ;)

There are lots of theories about whether to eat it hot or cold. Some say it is healthier cold, better for digestion or something. I like ithot. I put it int he mocrowave for 1 monute. Super easy! And best of all, it is filling. Very filling. I eat breakfast at 6:00 and lunch at 1:00, 7 hours in between, with only water and a banana for snack. The oatmeal jars keep me satisfied all that time. :)

Anonymous said...

WOO, you got some BB produce! Happy dance!

Ok, I'm looking at this concept of these cold oatmeal jars. My husband just wrinkled up his nose at the thought of eating cold oats. We've always soaked our oats overnight, but cooked them in the am. I can't eat greek yogurt, but might try it with regular yogurt and whole milk. I'll have to find chia seeds, have never looked for them. If I can buy them locally, I'll do that rather than amazon. Ok, dear husband just conceded... he might try the cold oat thing if it's "banana and chocolate". LOL!

Apparently my husband found PB2 in our local grocery store! He wasn't sure what it was until 5 minutes ago, as I'm sharing your blog with him right now... so now we'll have to pick some up!

Hm, yet again, Elizabeth's cooking blog is inspiring new household meal ideas... Thanks!!!!!!


Elizabeth Prata said...

Great on finding PB2 in the local store! I *can* eat the oatmeal cold but I prefer to heat it up a bit. Just taking the chill off, not too hot. So I nuke it for 1-min. Glad yo'ure inspired! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Chia seeds can also be used for making jam, in place of pectin or Sure-Gel. It would be a natural thickener. I just read about it so haven't tried it yet. Our strawberry & blueberry season has passed but might try peaches yet this year. Laura

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Laura,

I read somewhere that someone had made a gelatin out of it. I hadn't thought if it being a natural thickener. maybe can use in soup?