Healthy Diet Additions

10 Mar

Just like Charlie Sheen, I have one speed – GO! (Are we over him yet? Or are we all still winning?)

Your faithful road-tester is at it again! I’m constantly on the look out for new and exciting things I can add to my diet and last week I purchased chia seeds and agave nectar. Look out yo! I’m on fire!

Chia Seeds

Chhhhhiiiiiiaaaaaaa!

Nutritional Info

There’s been a lot of buzz around chia seeds lately but I have to admit, I didn’t really know what they were all about. Bad, BAD health blogger! Slap on the wrist!

My trainer gave me a sample to try and it was at that point that I did some research on what these little seed’s benefits were.

After Googling (pretty much my favourite thing to do in the whole wide world), the first thing that stood out to me was that these little suckers hold up to 12 times their own weight in fluid. So you can add them to juices, smoothies and even water and they will thicken and form a gel like consistency. For this reason, when you ingest them, they make you feel fuller than what you actually are. That’s a real positive when it comes to trying to lose weight! Banish hunger for good!

There are also packed with:

  • Omega-3’s
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Phospherous
  • Potassium
  • Protein

I bought 1kg of chia seeds from CHIA Life for $20 + postage. I considered that quite a reasonable price compared to other online sellers! They arrived within 3 days too – speedy!

Apart from adding them to juices, smoothies or water, you can also sprinkle them on salads, stir-fries or cereal. In fact, because they take on the taste of whatever they are paired with, you can add them to almost anything! Apparently you can bake with them in place of butter! Goodbye saturated fat and clogged arteries! I won’t miss you in the slightest! Maybe I’ll get around to baking more cakes and slices? Probably not, let’s face it, it’s not really on the ‘Lose these last pesky kilos’ plan that I’m currently on!

Agave Nectar

This deliciously sweet and golden sticky nectar comes from the agave (uh-gah-vay) cactus and can be used in place of sugar or sweeteners. It is made up of 90% fructose sugars and 10% glucose sugars. Honey has 33% glucose sugars so I have been using agave in place of honey in my morning smoothies.

It has 16 calories per teaspoon, the same as granulated sugar, but because fructose is 42% sweeter to the human brain than granulated sugars you only need to use the smallest amount to get that sweetness hit.

Also, because agave is mainly fructose, and not sucrose like granulated sugar, it does not result in huge spikes in blood sugar levels therefore it has been reported as being a suitable sugar replacement for diabetics and the insulin resistant (although no conclusive studies have been conducted).

Like most health food products there has been a fair amount of debate around the benefits of agave nectar as, after all, it is still a sweetener and we all know too much sweetener leads to weight gain and other health problems. I recommend buying organic, good quality agave nectar and use sparingly for the best results.

Have you tried chia seeds or agave nectar?  What do you think of them?

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24 Responses to “Healthy Diet Additions”

  1. Katey @ Bonne Santé March 11, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Chia seeds are amazing! I blend them into my smoothie every morning after soaking – they gel up like crazy and add some awesome bulk! Also you can definitely use them in cooking to replace eggs (they help everything stick together) so are awesome for people with food allergies/difficult customers like me!
    Just a heads up on agave – I know you probably have it covered but just my two cents; I was annoyed at the controversy for a while because I was using a lot of it, but further research and learning about it at college has led me to believe that it is by no means an ideal sweetener. Yes, the super-high fructose content does not tend to spike insulin, but this has implications for our metabolism. The body doesn’t register that it has eaten to satiety and thus can lead you to eat more > insulin resistance. Also, fructose is metabolised by the liver and things like a agave place a heavy load on it and can lead to inflammation & fatty liver, amongst other things. There is a lot of info out there, and I don’t mean to spam your post but I totally went through the same thing and did NOT exercise moderation with agave (I know you will def. use it sparingly because you are sensible!), and I truly think it is not a natural or healthy substance to ingest regularly.
    Sorry to be preachy! Just my humble opinion 🙂

    • Amanda March 11, 2011 at 10:28 am #

      I totally agree with you. The high amount of fructose is not ideal but like most things, it’s all about moderation. It’s not something that you should consume by the cup load but a teaspoon or less should be fine, right?

    • Amanda March 11, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      Alsoooooo how long do you soak them for?

      • Katey @ Bonne Santé March 11, 2011 at 10:52 am #

        Yes I totally agree – moderation is key! This is impossible for me as I’m a crazy all-or-nothing fiend but I’m sure a small amount is completely a-ok!
        I generally soak my chia for about 10 minutes, I think that’s all it really takes for them to be all gooey and allow your body to absorb everything to maximum potential!
        You can make a ‘pudding’ out of it too which is awesome after dinner – mixed with rice/almond milk or whatever & some berries, cacao or carob, honey or stevia and some seeds. Ohhh yeah, goopy goodness!

    • Alex March 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      hi katy,
      so should i use agave instead of honey as a natural sweetner. i dont use honey much either (or even sugar) but i was wondering which is the lesser of two evils?!

      • Katey @ Bonne Santé March 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

        Hey Alex,
        I can only give you my personal opinion, however I would prefer raw organic honey (if possible) over agave. It is more natural, and is very healing. Obviously, like Amanda said in her post, everything in moderation is the key! If you don’t use sweeteners very much, that’s probably the best way to be safe!

  2. Katey @ Bonne Santé March 11, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Oh, and the Charlie Sheen thing is still funny.
    Haha, what a fool.

    • Amanda March 11, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      Shut upppp that pudding sounds AMAZING! It’s happening.

      Charlie Sheen is the biggest fool of all time.

  3. Alex March 11, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    WINNING!
    i think im going to buy the agave nectar today. ill run down to my local health food store.
    by the way i love chia seeds. they are in my morning mueslie, but thanks for the explanation and providing other uses for them!

    • Amanda March 11, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      Cool! Make sure you read Katey’s comments above about agave too! She’s much more knowledgeable than I! 😉

      • Alex March 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

        thanks Amanda!

  4. Shelley March 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I’ve used Chia for a while now, on everything, but I’ve never thought to soak it for some reason!

  5. Aster March 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Good review post Amanda!
    Have you tried xylitol? My preferred natural sweetener is xylitol as it promotes an alkaline body, re-mineralizes teeth, is low GI and doesn’t taste like ass! (even my fussy boyfriend says it’s “OK”). I’m also insulin resistant and while I don’t go crazy on it, i’ll often make a chocolate treat with cream, raw cacao and a pinch of xylitol, which all ends up being like a rich chocolate mousse- yum!

    • Amanda March 14, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      I haven’t tried xylitol but I have heard of it! The only thing I really sweeten is my smoothie though so I don’t really have the need to use much else than honey and agave. Maybe when I start introducing sweet treats again I will try it. 😉

  6. Petra March 14, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    I have seen and read a lot about Chia seeds lately but this post finally inspired me to go and buy a pack. It’s amazing how soft they get. I have been adding them to everything from quinoa for dinner to my smoothies and yoghurt.

    I also bought some Agave Nectar but am yet to try it – I don’t often use honey or sweeteners but thought it’d be good to have some on hand for when I do!

    • Amanda March 14, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Yay! Out of the two things I reviewed in the post I have definitely used and enjoy chia seeds more. They are fantastic! 😀

  7. Marisa's Low Carb Kitchen Talk March 21, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Hi Amanda,

    I’ve heard a lot of these chia seeds but have never tried them. After reading all the yummy things you can do with them I’m going to try it as soon as I can get my hands on some. That chia pudding sound delish!!!
    🙂 Great post!!!

    • Amanda March 22, 2011 at 9:11 am #

      Excellent! Let me know what you think! 🙂

      • Marisa's Low Carb Kitchen Talk March 26, 2011 at 5:37 am #

        Hey Amanda,
        Well I bought some a few days ago and today I posted a drink called my Chia KoolAid hahaha

        I’m going to sprout into a Chia pet pretty soon!!!

      • Amanda March 28, 2011 at 11:25 am #

        LOL! I’ll have a look! I’m not sure why but email updates aren’t coming through to me from your blog? I thought I subscribed! I will try again!

  8. Marisa's Low Carb Kitchen Talk March 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for checking out my blog. Those ribs did turn out really good.
    I just checked and you aren’t subscribed to my blog.
    Try again and hopefully it’ll work 🙂

    • Amanda March 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      I tried again! Hopefully it works this time!

  9. Marisa's Low Carb Kitchen Talk March 31, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Hi Amanda,

    I think there’s something wrong with WordPress. Usually when someone subscribes to my blog it sends me a notification. But I haven’t gotten one on the day you said you tried again.
    Did you get my post from today?

    Third times a charms 🙂

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