I recently finished reading a book I picked up on impulse from the Buy 2, Get the 3rd Free table at Barnes & Noble. I’d already chosen my two, and and for the 3rd, figured what the heck, it’s free, so if it isn’t any good, I haven’t lost anything. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall sat in my to-read pile for about a year before I finally caught up to it. Once I started reading it, I could not stop. I could barely stand to put it down to go to work. McDougall is able to spin a story with words in a way that makes both writing and 100-mile runs look easy. I spent so much of a Sunday sitting outside finishing it that laundry never got done and I sunburned my nose.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen is about the Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyons in Mexico, and their legendary feats of running. Early on, once he actually finds them, and embarks on a run, the wife of one of the runners hands them small containers which hold some lime juice with what appear to be fish eyes swimming in them. In for a penny, in for a pound, what the hell; he pounds it down and trots off. After maybe twenty minutes, he begins to feel a surge of energy and a clarity of thought. He’d consumed a dose of chia seeds.
Right, the same things you can use to grow your own pets. I had to try them.
The next morning, I stirred a tablespoon or so into some orange juice and waited for about 10 minutes. As they swell and soften, chia seeds do take on a remarkable resemblance to fish eyes. I pounded it down. It was a busy day at work, so I kind of forgot about them. After a while, I realized that I was zipping about the kitchen. My mind was focused. I stood straighter, my shoulders squared. I worked with the efficiency of not one wasted motion. I was a believer.
I started dreaming up new ways of incorporating them into foods - sort of the way many have done with kale. And that is all we’re going to say about kale. Just an ounce, about 2 tablespoons, of chia seeds contains 4.5 grams of protein, 9% of one’s percentage of daily value. They have over 10 grams of dietary fiber, a screaming 42% %DV. They’re also high in calcium and in our friends, omega-3 fatty acids. No wonder I had visions of leaping tall buildings.
Not long ago, I came across a list of the most nutrient-dense greens. Watercress was right at the top of the list, along with mustard, turnip, and collard greens, and chard. Okay, and kale. It is also high in vitamin K, as are kiwi fruit. Think blood clotting and bone health. Kiwi are high in vitamin C (very high) and potassium. Ginger and cardamom sooth the stomach. The antioxidant properties of green tea and ginger are well known. Lime juice, honey, and mint make anything more interesting.
To be fair, this may not compel you take off on a miles-long jaunt, but on a hot afternoon when you need a little something to get you through weeding that last bed, toss all this into a blender and give yourself a boost. —boulangere