Sometimes, we just need a little sweetness (without the aftermath of headache).
I’ve had a hankering for this chia seed pudding lately…I just haven’t found the time to make it…so, I was a little rushed in making it tonight, but I just couldn’t wait any longer!
Normally I wouldn’t recommend making this at 9:38 PM, as I did. As you’ll see below, many of the ingredients in this (and most) chia seed puddings are actually very energizing, in a natural way. I recommend having this delectable snack during the middle of the day, or even treating yourself to a bowl of this for breakfast!!
Needless to say, Michael and I were up til midnight after downing a couple bowls each 🙂
YIELD 3-4 Servings | PREP TIME 10 Minutes
1 8-oz can organic full-fat coconut milk
½ cup chia seeds
¼ cup cocoa powder
⅛ cup cocao nibs (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
10 cracks of the sea salt grinder
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or two if you have a real sweet tooth!)
Open can of coconut milk, pour into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Add chia seeds to coconut milk, and combine so that all seeds are wet. Add all other ingredients, stir to combine.
Top with fresh or frozen fruit (berries!) 🙂 and a little extra milk if you like (I’m on a Milkadamia kick right now)
Read on for the lowdown on why I choose the ingredients I do, when to eat a snack like this, and how much!
Why: well, why not?
Chia Seeds: because they are rich in many wonderful and important nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus (three key electrolytes), protein, fiber, and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are rich in Vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant; they also provide a good dose of iron and iodine, both of which are critical for proper energy production (and thus, feeling energized throughout your day!) All told, chia seeds can do wonders to help promote a healthy digestive tract, and encourage healthy, stable levels of energy.
Cocao Nibs: and why not chocolate chips?
Cocao nibs (we used this variety from Nativas Organics) are raw chocolate, and thus still contain all of those powerful antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, and immune-boosting minerals like iron and magnesium for which chocolate is generally praised. Like chia seeds, the micronutrients present in cocao are great for energy production, and they can help to stabilize mood (think: positive vibes).
The difference, however, between cocao and most chocolates (bars, chips, nips, what have you) is that most chocolates are processed in such a way that they lose some of the natural, inherent benefits known to be offered by the raw cocao. What’s more, many chocolate bars and chips on the market usually have sugar (and sometimes milk or milk products) added to them, thus changing the nutritional makeup of the food.
In this case, we used both cocoa powder, and cocao nibs. So what’s the difference there? Well, there should be little difference, save for the grinding process (which turns nibs into powder).
You can find raw cocao powder, or you can use regular old cocoa powder. While realistically there should be no difference between the two, the common practice is to label cocao powder differently so as to imply that it is the raw, and therefore, less-processed version of cocoa powder.
Theoretically cocao powder should still contain a wealth of fats and antioxidant benefits, where cocoa powder implies a higher-temperature process that removes many of the vitamins. You see, cocao is rich in fat, and fat react very easily with oxygen, so if you were to grind something rich in fat, you would expose those little fats to oxygen, and the resulting powder would literally spoil! If you remove those fats, then there is less opportunity to spoil…thus allowing the cocoa powder a much longer shelf life. Where cocoa powder is generally heated to the higher temperature, thus losing many vitamins (and antioxidants), cocao powder should be heated to a much lower temperature, thus preserving many antioxidants. The fats in the cocao powder, then, are still exposed to oxygen, but the difference is the cocao powder still maintains many antioxidants, which can greatly reduce the amount of spoilage going on in the package. Antioxidants literally slow the spoilage process…they are, after all anti oxidants.
Regardless of whether you choose to buy cocoa or cocao powder, please do ensure that whatever you buy is simply that: cocoa powder – without the added sugar, coloring, flavoring, or oils.
And that’s why we add the nibs: so that we can at least ensure that we are getting all of the health benefits of the raw cocao.
Coconut Milk: plain and simple, I do it for the fat! “Medium-chain triglycerides”, otherwise known as medium-chain fats, is a category of fats, within which all the fats (triglycerides, as we call them from a chemistry – chemical – standpoint) contain fatty acids that are of medium length (in other words, not super short, and also not super long). The human body can absorb (from your digestive tract – i.e. from your food) medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) much more quickly compared to long-chain fats, thus making them an excellent source of energy!
In addition to providing energy, certain MCTs found in coconut oil – like lauric acid – are known to have fairly powerful antimicrobial capacity.
So that’s why I buy full-fat coconut milk, too: so that I get all of those great MCTs.
Cinnamon: In addition to adding great flavor to the final dish, cinnamon has many anti-inflammatory properties. There are many things that we do and eat our daily lives that actually promotes inflammation in our bodies – no one is free of pro-inflammatory exposures. That’s why incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into one’s regular diet is so important: we’re constantly facing an onslaught of inflammation, so we should continuously support our bodies to mitigate the inflammation. One key way we can do that is by eating more real, whole foods, because many of them provide anti-inflammatory properties, in one way or another.
Maple Syrup: just to sweeten the deal! 🙂 You could alternatively use honey, or if your really like agave, or coconut sugar. You could even use raw cane sugar. I would choose maple syrup of honey, because both – if raw – provide an excellent array of minerals that would otherwise not be found in bleached, refined white sugar.
Well, by now you might have gotten the idea that 9:38 PM is not an ideal time to eat a snack like this!! And I concur. Due to the high energy content of this snack/dessert, I recommend having this in the earlier parts of the day. You could have it as a pre- or post-workout snack; or you could have it as an afternoon pick-me-up instead of that second (or third) cup of coffee!
For me, about ½ cup of the pudding, plus about ¼ cup of berries, was enough to make me want one more serving 🙂 I wouldn’t do more than 1 cup of pudding per snack. I don’t recommend using this as a meal; rather, as I said, it makes a fine snack! If you’re hungry enough for more than 1 cup, then you’re probably better off to skip the snack and go straight for a full meal!
Share your comments below!
Have you made chia pudding before? What’s your favorite way to make it? Any suggestions for things to do differently? Ever tried mango chia pudding? 🙂