Years ago, I was sitting on my couch watching MTV’s ‘True Life’ about a body builder. The show was snooze-worthy, but something the teenage Hulk said stuck with me: “Your body is a machine. How well it performs depends on what fuel you put in it.” Simple enough, but it’s only now as I reach my almost-30 peak that I’m coming to understand how important it is to keep myself well-oiled, as it were.
Part of this recent exploration into a higher-performing me [a me who still can’t stand most green veggies, doesn’t enjoy seafood all that much, and would rather eat Fudgesicles than strawberries] is trying to incorporate ‘superfoods’ into my diet. Besides an adventurous foray into black garlic, nutritional yeast, Vega One and, yes, plain ‘ol broccoli, I’ve also discovered something called chia seeds.
Chia seeds, originally eaten by the Aztecs as a staple food, were re-discovered by Dr. Wayne Coates, an agricultural engineer and ultra-distance runner. Chia has an insane amount of omega-3 fatty acids [4 grams per 2 Tbl. serving, including the essential one called alpha-linolenic], as well as tons of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and protein.
Other pluses? They’re easily digestible, have an extremely long shelf life, and can be eaten raw, ground, or in water [chia seeds turn into a jelly-like substance when wet…not as terrifying as it sounds, I promise].
But what I personally enjoy the most about these seeds is their multiple uses for foods, including baking. In Dr. Coates’ book, Chia: The complete guide to the ultimate superfood, the Dr. and health writer and certified holistic health counselor, Stephanie Pedersen, give a breakdown of chia, as well as over 75 recipes that include chia.
Enter these legit amazing chia seed muffins. I know what you’re thinking: “Great. Seeds? Muffins? Health food? I’m going to need a sedative just to eat it.” WRONG. These are some of the best muffins I’ve ever tasted…and it’s not just because I’m in superfood La-La Land. The muffin is dense, moist, and tastes like a cinnamon and vanilla cupcake.
AND [drumroll] it’s healthy! Lots of chia, nonfat vanilla yogurt, and whole wheat flour go into these delicious little babies.
Does this mean I’m going to go run a 5K? Karate-chop the evil-doers of D.C. in the blink of an eye? Become the Robo-Meris machine I’ve always dreamed of becoming? No. But do I feel less guilty about passing on the salmon? A bit. And does this also mean I have to invest in more dental floss for post-seed consumption? Oh yeah 😉
- Hand mixer
- Muffin pan
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt, rm. temp.
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. King Arthur Flour’s Princess Cake & Cookie Flavor [optional]
- 2 cups whole wheat flour [I like to use KAF’s white whole wheat flour]
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp. low-sodium salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 2 Tbl. sugar + 1/4 tsp. cinnamon [for topping; optional]
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with wrappers or lightly grease a muffin tin.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and princess flavor.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, chia seeds, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add this dry mix to the wet mix and blend until JUST combined. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a tiny dish. Sprinkle on top of the muffins.
Bake until golden brown, 15-20 min. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before placing on a cooling rack. Keeps covered, or refrigerated, about a week.