Quick, what goes through your mind when you hear that perennially peppy, 1980’s-era jingle? Retro commercials featuring grass-tufted, terra cotta figurines? Amorphous, bulbous creatures — were they sheep? Rams? Mini Loch Ness monsters? — and Afro-headed dudes just scarcely more cuddly than their 1970’s predecessors, the Pet Rock?
What about ancient Aztec seeds and sprouts, well on their way to becoming America’s hottest superfood?
Well, move over kale, kombucha, pomegranates and acai — chia is throwing off the shackles of the As-Seen-On-TV aisle of the local CVS and making its way to juice bars, health stores, and quinoa-loving cafes near you.
“It’s definitely hot right now….chia is flying off our shelves, particularly the seeds,” confirmed Roland Auer, a manager/co-owner of Perelandra Natural Food Center in Brooklyn Heights. “People like to throw them in salads, on yogurt, stuff like that.”
Derived from Salvia hispanica — a flowering plant native to Guatemala and Mexico —chia contains massive amounts of omega 3 fatty acid (60% of the seed, more than eight times the amount of wild salmon) and protein (19-23%, two times more than any other seed or grain), which can be helpful in combating digestive disorders, diabetes, and heart disease.
So it hardly comes as a shock that Joseph Enterprises (the company behind the original chia-covered companion) is now embracing the super sprout as more than just gag-gift fodder — marketing their own brand of seeds and softgels on the official website.
“Chia today is staging a comeback: from the nearly forgotten food of the Americas to (use in) nutritious drinks and as a food source!” it reads. “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Omega 3 Chia seeds are the worlds richest whole food source of omega 3, dietary fiber, calcium, and antioxidants…which support cardiovascular, digestive, bone, joint, neurological, visual, and immune health!”
Be that as it may, they’re also wicked awesome at fleshing out the sides of stout ceramic hippos, or for growing from the earthenware scalps of special edition Barack Obama’s.
For more info, recipes, or your very own Chia Kung Fu Panda, visit chiapet.com