12 countries in 12 years

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query benefits of chia seeds. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query benefits of chia seeds. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Benefits of Chia Seeds, Native to South America

Chia seeds (Salvia Hispanica) are a healthy food supplement with an interesting texture. Although they don’t really have much of a flavor, Chia is related to the mint family of plants. We’ve only started eating Chia since moving to Ecuador because the seeds are easy to obtain as they are sold everywhere in Cuenca Ecuador.

Chia Seeds

Chia is a native grown food of South America and was once a staple food for the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. After the conquering of these civilizations they did away with farming of Chia to make room for other crops they deemed more important, not realizing the health benefits of the Chia plant. However, Chia remained a heavily farmed crop in the mountainous regions of Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala and Mexico. Chia also grows in Australia and in 2008 Australia was known as the largest Chia producer in the world.

Source: Wikipedia about Salvia Hispanica

Chia Seeds Nutritional Benefits

Chia seeds are loaded with protein and fiber and they pack a wallop of antioxidants in just a very small amount, even more than the super food, the blueberry!  According to sources they also have:

14 times more magnesium than broccoli
8 times more Omega-3 than salmon
5 times more calcium than milk
3 times more antioxidants than blueberries
3 times more iron than spinach
2 times more fiber than any other cereal
2 times more protein than any other seed
2 times more potassium than bananas

Source: EC Foods

5 Ways to Eat and Prepare Chia Seeds

1. Mix one tablespoon to ¼ cup water and wait ten minutes, then drink. Chia seeds are a bit like Psyllium because they swell up into a gelatin mass when mixed with liquid.  Yes, they have a lot of fiber content just like Psyllium and help push the contents of your bowels in the morning. I know you wanted to hear that...and yes, I'm laughing out loud. :-) 

chia seed supplement = 1 tablespoon

Note: Unlike Psyllium, its best to let the seeds gelatinize in a little liquid first before drinking. Apparently, one man was taken to the ER because he choked on a tablespoon of Chia seeds that swelled up and then became lodged in his esophagus. If you have issues with swallowing or have allergies we advise to not use Chia seeds in this way.

2.  Add a tablespoon to your favorite yogurt

3. Add a tablespoon to your breakfast cereal or rolled oats

4. Nutritional no bake squares. Frank makes awesome healthy cocoa bars using Chia seeds as one of the ingredients.  Both the texture and flavor are almost like an energy bar.  These nutritious little bars take care of your sweet tooth and pack a nutritional punch. By the way, they are not cooked, which makes them even healthier for you.

5. Bake with Chia. You can add it to baked goods and many people use Chia to make puddings; the texture is certainly there for making puddings.

As with any so called health food or “super food” good health relies on leading a health-conscience lifestyle in all areas of our life.  Adding Chia seeds to our diet is not going to save us from what ails us in our body. We recommend using Chia as a complement and supplement to an already healthy diet and there you will receive the benefits from it, just like with any food that is considered a “super food”.

Until we write again…

If you liked this article, we think you might like these too!

We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Maca Root “Super” Powder, Peruvian Ginseng

Maca Root grows in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Peruvians regard the root as a powerful super food and is known as the Peruvian Ginseng. While doing some research about this nutritious food supplement I came upon an interesting story about Maca. 

There’s a lot going on with the price structure of Maca since last year, July 2014.  Apparently Chinese are going into Peru in droves, walking into the farming fields where Maca grows and offering suitcases of cash 4 to 8 times more than the Peruvian market prices for Maca.  Do you want to know more about this? Click here: Maca Prices Soar

“Prices are going up almost every week due to the high demand from the Chinese.”  --- the Maca Team

The Maca powder and the whole root is probably quite expensive now in health food stores. I checked prices for the Maca seeds on eBay and they are really good priced over there. You just have to make sure the climate where you live is right for growing the plants.

A few years ago we heard about the benefits of maca root powder and bought some in one of the health food stores in Cuenca for a pretty decent price.

Toasted Maca Root Powder Bought in Cuenca Ecuador

Health Benefits of Maca Root Powder

Maca powder boosts energy levels considerably, which is great for those who workout, jog, walk and like to exercise and stay healthy. Many athletes take maca root as it increases stamina and performance on the field.

Maca root powder is said to boost the sexual function in both, men and women, balance out the hormones and increase fertility.  

it helps with menstrual issues and even menopause. It helps with cramping, mood swings, anxiety and hot flashes.

Maca is also good for those teenage acne troubles as well as aids in healing of wounds.

WARNING: If you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca.

Source:  Veg Kitchen - 7 Top Health Benefits of Maca

Major Vitamins and Minerals in Maca Root

Maca root powder is loaded with iron (another reason why it is good for menstruating women) and restores red blood cells, which helps with anemia and cardiovascular fitness.

Although Maca is full of vitamins and minerals, here are the main ones found in the root. Maca is very low in sodium and is a good source of Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Iron and Copper.

Source:  Nutrition Data - Maca

Side Effects of Using Maca

According to WebMd, Maca is generally safe for most people, however, pregnant or lactating women should not take Maca.

Source:  WebMd, Maca Powder 

If you have hormone sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Extracts from Maca might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use these extracts. – WebMd

According to http://www.Livestrong.com/ Maca Root Powder has high levels of natural occurring iodine. If you have goiter or enlarged thyroid glands, it is not recommended to take Maca.

How to Eat/Prepare Maca Root

Maca powder can be used as a daily supplement by adding a tablespoon or more to a cup of hot water, tea, smoothie, or other favorite beverage. When you are first starting out with taking Maca, we recommend to start out slowly, adding just a teaspoon to your drinks and foods. Work yourself up to taking one tablespoon daily. 

Try cooking with it or add it by teaspoons to cereals, soups, and even salads. Although cooking Maca will break down the nutrients and lessen the benefits considerably.  It can be added to many healthy foods without cooking or baking it, such as peanut butter no bakes, oatmeal no bakes, etc…

Note: Maca is sensitive to light, oxygen and humidity so it is best to keep in airtight container or zip lock baggies in your freezer.  

We've never made anything using Maca so we cannot recommend any recipes, but here is a site I found that has many great ways to use Maca in foods and drinks. 
Recipes for Using Maca from the Maca Team


Where to buy Maca Root

We’re in Cuenca, which is next door to Peru and we were able to buy Maca in one of the many health food stores (Naturistas) located in Cuenca Ecuador.  Call your nearest health food store and see if they carry it. If not, there are numerous places online where you can purchase Maca. We do not advertise or recommend any online sellers, however, try the link above with the recipes, they sell several different types of Maca that are grown in Peru. 

And Remember, as with any health food or “super food” good health relies on leading a health-conscience lifestyle in all areas of our life.  Adding Maca Root Powder to our diet is not going to heal us from what ails us in our body. We recommend using Maca as a complement and supplement to an already healthy diet and there you will receive the benefits from it, just like with any food that is considered a “super food”.

If you liked this article, we think you’ll also like these too!

We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Healthier Food Is Why We Lost Weight When We Moved to Cuenca Ecuador - UPDATED 2016

Update 2016: Losing weight is easy in Cuenca Ecuador. Hello Folks, it is amazing but the first couple of months of living in Cuenca we lost a bunch of weight without even trying. Both of us lost around 12 to 15 pounds right off the bat and our sons lost some weight as well, even though they really didn't need to. It's been almost 5 years later and we're keeping it off, we eat when we want and eat out once a week.

Note: Remember, everything in black text was written almost five years ago and all the new updates are in red text.  This article was first published in August 2011.

Let me first say that we weren't overly overweight before we moved here but we did carry unnecessary extra pounds that made us look puffy in the face and more rounded people. Tall people can hide the weight better too...snicker...

What did we do to lose weight? Absolutely nothing. We already ate a healthy diet. Our biggest downfall in the USA was eating out once a week. In Cuenca when we first moved here, we were eating out twice a week and sometimes three times a week and eating (very small) pastries from the bakeries almost every day and we still lost the weight

Living in the Andes mountains and eating fresh farm raised food has its advantages.We eat pretty healthy and so because of that we can eat at our favorite dessert cafe (Tutto Freddo's) once or twice a month.  

Update 2016 - We quit doing that so often; when we first moved here we were splurging like people do when they are on a vacation but after awhile and at our age, you have to almost give it up. In fact in the last 6 months only had a dessert cake once Tutto (last week) and no ice cream. We make homemade sweets at home which are much healthier using ingredients that have healthful properties. like raw honey, chia seeds, oats, peanut butter, cocoa, etc.   

We have to attribute our weight loss to two things that we're doing differently and here they are:

1. Cuenca and Organic (or fresher, cleaner) Foods

We're eating a lot more organic (or fresher, cleaner) food, even when we go out to eat the food is simple, tasty and wholesome, as you can see in our videos. 

We feel very grateful and blessed that we are living here in Cuenca, where you can buy a hormone free chicken for $8.00 and ten organic apples for $1, and 30 farm fresh eggs for $2.80. This is the biggest factor to weight loss, eating wholesome, clean food. I've written about this for years but was never truly able to live it. This was one of the reasons we moved to Ecuador.

Update Apples: Apples (apples from Chile) prices have gone up. Expect to pay $1.90 to $2.40 a kilo for out of season apples and $1.40 when they are in season, which is still a pretty good price. We're very picky about our apples and like the ones from Chile (Gala) that are crisp and juicy. (2014 prices). 

UPDATE EGGS: Prices have gone up in the 3-years we've lived here. We have noticed some fluctuation in the egg prices. When they are in season you can get 30 eggs for $3.30 as of 2014 prices. Out of season price for 30 eggs, after negotiation is $3.70. Right now, September 2014, eggs are not in season; hens do not lay as much this time of year so prices go up.  

Update 2016 -  Same prices with whole chickens and eggs. 

Eating fresh, clean food is especially important to us, and here's why. What they don't want you to know is the hormones they feed the animals cause weight gain in people.  There's a lot more to say about this but that will be later.

We can't speak for other countries, but I know the cost of organic food in the U.S is out of reach for many (most) people, while here it is available to everyone! We hope it stays that way!

Update 2016 - As always, we are still getting conflicting information about the cleanliness of the food in Ecuador. Some tout the beef is grass fed and others insist the meat (chicken and beef) is full of hormones and is not grass fed. So which is it?

Just like we believe in listening to our body and letting it tell us we're feeding it something wrong, we do that PLUS, we also believe in listening to our tastes buds. Grass fed and chemically fed meat tastes worlds apart.

If you have ever had venison (wild elk meat) that's what the beef tastes like here, very strong taste and very low in fat and that means the beef is grazing on grass not chemicals...and the chicken and eggs are the best we've ever eaten...we don't eat a lot of meat in our family so it is not too much of a concern for us but when we do eat meat we usually stick with the leaner meats such as chicken and fish and only occasionally beef. 

Latest update 2016:  The leanest ground beef price has tripled in line with u.s. prices, and they now put out a fattier ground beef for the lower, original Ecuadorian price.  We've mentioned this in a video.

On another note we never changed our diet when we moved here; we do walk more and the altitude does make your body burn more energy through exertion but the weight loss was quite dramatic and is why we also attribute the loss of weight to there being no or very little hormones in the meat in Ecuador. Until someone can show us some facts to back up that the meat is full of hormones and is NOT grass fed, we're sticking to our story. :-) ;-) F and A.

Facts are welcome and we'll post them at the bottom of this article. Perhaps an Ecuadorian who was born and raised in Ecuador would like to let us know about the cleanliness of the meat and produce in Cuenca Ecuador. We tend to believe what we see, and we do see a lot of cows just pasturing around town.  Perhaps its what we don't see that we don't know.

Some people say the produce at the mercados is organic and others no. But there are several places in Cuenca where you can still buy organic produce...so no worries there. See the links below for the organic markets located around Cuenca. Many food items are organic that you buy in the grocery stores too. 

Walking Every Day!

We're walking (almost) every day! We walk about 2 to 4 miles every time we go out. We try not to take the bus.  We love walking, seeing the sights and smelling the fresh air (hahahahaha), except for the exhaust from the buses.We try and stay off the really busy bus road but sometimes that's difficult to do.

Cuenca is a walking city!

We walk from one end of Cuenca to the other. When we get tired we know there is going to be a bus route anywhere in the city. There are no shortages of buses or taxis in Cuenca. The buses only charge $0.25 where ever you need to go, and taxis charge only around $1.50 to $3.00 anywhere in Cuenca. 

Until we write again, check out these other articles about organic foods and healthy eating in Cuenca Ecuador. 

We're an expat family of five, living frugal, healthy and happy in Ecuador. Come follow us as we experience living abroad. We'll take you down the nitty-gritty road so you can discover if Ecuador is for you or maybe not after all.