The Benefits of Chia and Coconut Milk (Yummy Recipes Included!)

By  Jeani-Rose Atchison

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

I can’t answer for you, but I do NOT feel like cooking food in the heat of summer. Mostly raw, fresh vegetables and fruit is about all I can get myself to eat. Right now those of us residing in Australia are in the middle of a heatwave that has left the majority of us feeling sluggish and somewhat sloth-like. Basics like laundry and housecleaning are not done with much vigor (not that I ever did it with vigor).

Feeding my five daughters is a continual cycle regardless of weather though. Thankfully their taste lately is for simple fresh fare as well.

But they are kids. Their bodies are growing at such a fast rate that they burn that type of food up quickly. A young person’s nutrient requirements are different than mine, and they need higher amounts of protein and fats to feel satisfied. Right now our six year old is eating more than anyone in the house, and must be going through a major growth surge. Sigh, she will probably tower over me just like her eldest two siblings have done.

This morning Arianne asked me for breakfast… again… and stated that her smoothie and toast just wasn’t enough. That was fine by me as there was a treat waiting for her in the fridge.

Fortunately, the girls love a variety of nuts and seeds. They will eat Chia soaked in water by the spoonful throughout the day. Caoilinn and I take a few spoonfuls before our martial arts classes because we feel it gives us strength and stamina. Adding Chia seeds to anything enhances that meal. Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) is the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids known, and contains natural antioxidants. High in easily digestible protein this plant is a member of the mint family and originated in southern Mexico and Guatemala.

Check out Carolanne Wright’s article on Wake Up World for more info.

I have also soaked Chia in our kombucha or in juice, but thought today the meal needed to be heavier than that. A while back I had some coconut cream and so thought I would give that a try. Wow! Instant hit. A lovely tapioca or sago-like pudding that did not last long after I made it.

I love coconut cream in smoothies and main dishes such as curry. It is rich and gratifying, with a texture and full flavour that is appealing in so many different recipes. Be wary though if you are buying canned coconut cream, as Bisphenol A. (BPA) is used in the lining of certain canned foods. BPA leaches into canned foods that are acidic, salty or fatty, such as coconut milk or cream.

BPA creates estrogenic activity. Research has linked low-level estrogenic activity associated with BPA exposure to diabetes, ADHD, heart disease, infertility and cancer.

This is an excerpt from the US Food and Drug Association’s report on BPA: the National Toxicology Program expressed “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.”[5] The Program also expressed “minimal concern for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A”

The good fat found in whole foods such as coconuts is used by your body as a source of essential fatty acids, as a source of heat and energy, as padding for organs and nerves, as well as a regulator of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Essential fatty acids are necessary for adults and children for brain and nerve functioning.

The critical difference between coconut and animal fat is that coconut is comprised of medium-chain and not long-chain saturated fatty acids. Medium-chain saturates digest easily. These fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats. Instead they are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy. Medium-chain fatty acids also speed up the body’s metabolism, burning more calories and promoting weight loss.

Well, there you have it on coconut cream. Look for organic non-BPA containers of coconut cream or make your own, which is not difficult to do if you live in an area like we do where coconuts are plentiful. The added bonus is that making your own saves money on purchasing ready made versions and lessens your environmental impact.

Even cold climate individuals can make coconut cream using this simple process.

Recipe:  Homemade Coconut Milk instructions

4 cups water

1 1/2 – 2 cups organic shredded coconut

Heat water until hot (but not boiling).

Add shredded coconut and water to blender

If all of the water won’t fit, you can add it in two batches.

Blend on high for several minutes until thick and creamy.

Pour through a colander to filter out the coconut pulp, then squeeze through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag.

If you separated the water into two batches, put the strained coconut back into the blender with the second batch of water.

Use immediately or store in the fridge. Fresh coconut milk should be used within 3-4 days of making it for the best flavor and texture.

Note: If using fresh coconut use 100g – 300g coconut meat, brown skin removed, broken into small pieces and add coconut water equal to approximately three times the weight of your coconut.

Recipe:  Chia Pudding

1 cup organic coconut cream or milk

1/4 cup organic chia seeds

1/4 cup organic dark agave syrup or coconut palm sugar

1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract

Mix well to combine and let sit for about an hour, or place in the fridge overnight. This makes a great breakfast or dessert. You should have seen the smiles when I added coarsely chopped macadamias and gojii berries! Be creative and have a play with this pudding, raw cacao or other berries could also be stirred in depending on your taste.

Well, the breakfast crisis is over, on to the next uncooked meal!

Previous Articles by Jeani-Rose

About the Author

Jeani-Rose Atchison is a health advocate, and  home-schooling  mother of five who also finds time to write about nutrition, whole foods and environmental concerns. She authored,  Every Day Vegan  – 300 recipes for healthful eating which is a mainstay in vegetarian kitchens. Atchison’s latest book,  Food for Thought  – Thought for Food is chock full of delicious whole food recipes. It also takes a controversial look at the food we eat today and the processes involved in bringing it to your table. Can your food make you ill? The answer may shock you!

To find out more go to Jeani-Rose’s  Facebook  or  Website.

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