Besides the dedication, training and quite frankly mental strength, if there’s one thing that running has taught me is that you’ve got to fuel up to run well. Now I know it’s all en vogue to be into food and try your hands at creating your own bake-off speciality but I just can’t sum up this kind of enthusiasm at home for something I’m going to gobble up in 20 minutes flat.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the craft behind it and how chefs spend years dedicating their lives to perfecting and producing amazing dishes. In a way, it’s a similar process for fashion designers or anyone who really wants to be the crème de la crème in their field. I also enjoy and appreciate a good meal (as long as I’m not the one who has to cook it). I have tried to be enthusiastic about recipes and do have a repertoire of staple tomato-based veggie dishes but anything beyond this is too arduous a task for this lazy and slightly reluctant chef (if you can call me that). Put simply, I eat to run.
And when I say eat to run, I mean I try and consume enough of a balance so that I can perform well when it comes to race day. As a veggie who doesn’t eat meat, fish or much cheese, this can be a relatively difficult task. Thankfully, there are foods out there that I don’t have to prepare such as seed-based bars, high protein yoghurts, healthy lunches which include my food-of-the-moment avocado and supplements that you can add to give you a boost in nutrients.
One of my favourite of these so-called supplements (I use this term loosely) is Chia seeds. It was my big bro who first drew my attention to this nutrient-dense superfood. We may not have that much in common but what we do share is a love of sport. He organised a five-a-side footie match the day of his wedding for god sake. Anyway, he may have read it somewhere when he was training for his first (and last) marathon that Chia seeds help your performance. I remember him banging on about Chia seeds and like a numpty, I ignored his advice. It’s only two years later that I’ve finally come around to the power of Chia. Here’s why:
- Great source of Omega 3 for veggies like me – as a veggie for almost 20 years, the thought of eating meat or fish turns my stomach. God, even looking at the fish counter in supermarkets makes me shudder and I can’t touch dead flesh without using plastic gloves. When I cooked chicken at New Year’s the task of washing the flesh alone ended up in a shrieking fit. Putting this aside, I’m clued up enough to know that my diet may be lacking in certain things such as Omega 3. This group of essential fatty acids have been linked to a healthy heart, glowy skin glowing, silky hair, strong bones not to mention keep the grey matter in check. No wonder fish, one of the main sources of Omega 3, is heralded by so many dieticians. As the highest plant-based source of Omega 3, Chia seeds are the perfect alternative for this non-animal eating individual.
- Easy to eat – as I have mentioned above, my life in the kitchen does not mirror my life on the road. When it comes to recipes, I steer away from adventure and that’s why I love these Chia seeds. You can add them to fancy recipes and indeed there are a number of yummy looking dishes at thechiaco.com.au or you could sprinkle them on your cereal, yoghurt or add them to anything you eat daily à la SpeedyBecs (in case you were wondering that’s me). It only takes one tablespoon of these super seeds to get 100 percent of your plant-based Omega 3 and 25 percent of your daily fibre.
- Aides a sluggish digestive system – I’m the first to admit that sometimes my body takes longer than it should to digest certain foods. These Chia seeds give my system a kick-start due to their high fibre content and help to regulate everything down there.
- Makes me feel fuller for longer – once in my digestive system, these seeds form a thick gel which helps me feel full and less likely to reach for those less than nutrient-dense foods (or in my case sweets).
- Keep my energy levels stable – with a low GI (glycaemic index), Chia seeds allow for a slow release of energy, which is vital whether you’re an athlete or not. Essentially, this means you do not experience that 3pm sugar crash and are tempted to reach for a choccie biccie to boost your energy. If they were good enough for the Tarahumara or running people of the canyons of Mexico, then they are good enough for this wannabe endurance runner.
- Packed full or protein – granted, I will probably not consume as much as my meat-eating friends but Chia seeds are 20 percent vegan protein which as we all know is essential for building strong muscles for running marathons and are a great source of this essential bit of body composition.
- Help with hydration – apparently this has something to do with the micro-fibres on the coating of the seeds but they are said to between nine to 12 times their own weight in water (depending on what you read). Whatever the case may be, this makes these seeds perfect to eat pre-race to prolong hydration. A word of caution here though: make sure you drink loads of water too when eating Chia seeds.
I have to say that the small packets or what they call “shots” from the Chia Co suit me quite nicely. I can easily add them to my daily yoghurt like you would sugar and I’m finding I do feel fuller for longer. What’s more, their seeds are 100 percent natural, raw, chemical-free and gluten free so at least I can do something nutritious to counteract my love of sweets.
The Chia Co also do a bunch of other stuff and I spied some Oats + Chia Pods and Bircher Muesli + Chia Pods on their site. They’re ready-made wholesome pots that are perfect if you’re looking for a quick fix or a reluctant chef like me. I grabbed a couple of them at the recent Be:Fit event and they went down a treat for brekkie.
Discover more about The Chia Co and how it can help whether you love being in the kitchen or are a lazy chef like me.
Has anyone else tried Chia seeds?
I was sent a box of Chia seeds to try but this is my own opinion and I really am a shockingly lazy chef.