Saturday, April 21, 2012

adventures in chia gel and bike path connections

Two weeks ago I did some research on chia seeds, after my food-wise JPUSA friend had mentioned them.  Among the things I learned from the website about chia seeds include:

Chia seeds are said to have:

  • 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,

  • 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that
    helps transfer calcium into your bones,

  • 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,

  • 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries

  • 3 times more iron than spinach

  • copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids...

    They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fibre.

  • So I picked up a big container of them (to the tune of $14.99) and almost immediately forgot I had 'em.

    On Thursday I remembered, and read up on what to DO with my wonderful chia seeds.  The best suggestion I found was making "chia gel."  This involves stirring 1/3 cup of chia seeds into 2 cups of filtered water and letting them sit at least 10 minutes (with a suggestion that letting 'em sit longer releases more of the nutrition.)  Chia gel, I learned, is essentially flavorless and can be stirred into lots and lots of things, where it "distributes" the flavor rather than "absorbing" it.  Why would I add chia gel?

    • for all that wonderful nutrition as listed above
    • it helps fill one up for fewer hunger pangs between meals
    • chia seeds hold 9 times their weight in water, helping the body with hydration and stamina
    • they are supposed to have a detoxifying/cleansing effect on the body as well
    So Friday morning I had a much lighter breakfast than usual, and then created a chia gel/fruit smoothie.  

    Here's what the tiny chia seeds look like in their container:

    I made the gel in a quart jar, as it keeps up to something like 3 weeks in the fridge.  Canning funnel came in handy for working with those tiny seeds, which are all staticky and want to go everywhere.
    Here's what the gel looked like the next morning;

    And then I added a lot of frozen fruit, and let it sit for about 45 minutes while I got ready for work before hitting the "on" button:

    2 bananas, a bunch of mango, some blueberries, a few cherries, a few mandarin oranges, and a few strawberries.  YUMMO.  When I first started blending, there was a lot of black and I thought the smoothie might come out looking nasty.  But it's pretty, don't you think?
    I took it to work with me and it lasted for a couple of hours.  Really, REALLY good.  I'll be happy to use the chia gel some more.

    On a non-food related front, today I did the Duck Creek bike path again, and at the spot that I thought was the absolute end, another cyclist passed me as I climbed a particularly steep part.  Then she disappeared around a corner I hadn't seen, so I followed her...and found more bike path!  Eventually I came to the end of it, at a sign announcing that I was in Riverdale.  

    At that point I had a few minutes that were reminiscent for me of my many great bus adventures in Chicago.  I had a pretty good idea that I was somewhere near the river front path (as in, along the Mississippi River) but I didn't know how to get there.  I've studied the maps online repeatedly, but have just never been able to quite work out how or where the 2 paths might converge.  I used my iphone but the map was confusing.  I debated...might be better to just turn and go back the way I came.  But instead I turned on my bus adventurer skills and did the basics:

    1. Trust that all will be well, and don't panic.
    2. Look - watch - allow time to really SEE.  (It's easy on bus or bike adventures to miss important details, if one gets in a hurry or doesn't pay intent attention.)
    3. Listen intently, trusting that hearing will come.
    4. Try - don't just stand there forever - and know that backtracking and trying again is acceptable and often necessary.
    After a bit of fumbling and kind of walking in circles at a corner, I saw a little skinny bike rut in the ditch, and I followed.  Within about 2 blocks....I figured out where I was!  And found my way to the river front bike path.  Stuff like that makes me laugh like a little kid.  Makes me feel like Christopher Columbus.  Makes me feel like a badass, especially when it happens in the rain (as was the case tonight).  JFTR, I like feeling like a badass.  LOL

    Great stuff.  And my ride rounded out to 26 miles.  Not bad for a ride squeezed in at the end of an otherwise busy day.  

    Hope your Saturday made you smile as well!

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