Today’s “Super” Food: Chia

I first learned about Chia seeds’  role in sport back when I was reading Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. As an endurance athlete going against the grain (pun intended) insomuch as avoiding pasta, bagels, breads and the like, I was particularly intrigued. The Tarahumara are “the running people” on which most of the book is based, a Mexican tribe of super athletes who run 50 or 100 miles at a time for pure enjoyment” according to a summary of the book. I’ve had the chance to see them in action at one of my husband’s 100 mile running events, the year he ran Angeles Crest, back in 2005. Aside from their graceful  mechanics, their stoic fortitude and unrelenting endurance, their simple approach to running illustrated how natural an activity it is for us to partake in. They didn’t wear corrective shoes meant for pronators, they didn’t carry waist or fanny packs with bottles full of Gatorade and they certainly didn’t load up the night before by attending a pasta party. While their diet wouldn’t be seen as Paleo, per se, as they rely on ‘pinole’ which is ‘a variety of forms of parched or roasted corn, ground into a flour and combined with water and some spices or sugar’, their other fuel source while running is a seed. Chia. Mixed with water, lime and agave. For those who aren’t planning on running 50 miles and up, Chia is seen as a super food. In fact, the Huffington Post even published an article on the Top Ten Reasons to add Chia to Your Diet. So should we go nuts eating Chia? Dr. Cordain provides the information we need in this article, stating that he “wholeheartedly approve of feeding chia seeds to animals and then eating the omega-3 fatty acid enriched meat or eggs of these animals“, and that, “it would appear that chia seeds are a nutritious food that is not only high in ALA, but also is a good source of protein, fiber, certain B vitamins, calcium, iron and manganese.” Bottom line- chia seeds as a superfood can be a part of your True Paleo regime; just don’t overdo it and rely on them on your sole source of fat, fiber and protein. Check them out on Barefoot!