When most people hear chia, their thoughts usually immediately turn to chia pets. Those clay figures that you grow chia on to make it look like green hair. I’m pretty sure that just about everyone has seen or had a chia pet at some point. However, there is actually a very interesting use for chia seeds as it relates to fitness and endurance sports. If you’ve read Born to Run, then you’ve already heard of it. You can use chia in a drink called “chia fresca.”
Chia fresca, or as the Tarahumara call it, “iskiate”, is a drink made of water, juice (traditionally lime), and chia seeds. If you’ve ever made a chia pet, you know that chia seeds, when put in water, develop a type of gel around the seed. This definitely still happens in the drink, but it doesn’t feel as weird as it sounds to drink it.
A couple days ago, I bought about a half pound of black chia seeds from Whole Foods. For my training runs the past couple days I decided to try them out. Now, I haven’t done a long run with chia fresca yet, though I want to do a long run on Tuesday using chia fresca instead of water. My impressions of this drink have been very favorable though. For one thing, I love the taste, it’s such a great change of pace from most sports drinks. It’s tart because of the juice, not sweet like most other sports drinks. It seems to do a great job of hydration and nutrition. While I am planning on still using gel on my long run, the chia fresca should help as well.
I can now officially cross off the first item from my 101 goals in 1001 days… #41. I’m sure this won’t be the last time you hear about chia fresca from me. But here’s my current recipe.
1 tbsp chia seeds per 6-7 oz water
1 tbsp each of lemon and lime juice per 10 oz water
Stir, let sit (about 10-15 min), and stir before drinking.
The chia tends to settle at the top and bottom so it’s a good idea to stir (or shake in a bottle) before drinking. I also am using bottled, organic juice rather than having to juice my own lemons and limes.