Tuesday, March 2, 2010

16 days of Chia living

Christopher McDougall's book, "Born to Run", made a big impact on me when I read it last year. I'd tried adapting my running style based on what I'd read, focusing on landing on the front of my foot instead of striking off the heel. I also worked to increase the number of steps I would take per minute. Both of these actions relate to the running style of the Tarahumara natives who live in Mexico's Copper Canyon region. My transition to this running style got derailed by a bout of pneumonia that kept me from running for over three weeks. When I restarted I had strongly considered buying new shoes that would better enable that style of running. After my gait analysis I discovered that I naturally move off my heel quickly so, instead, I upgraded to the newest version of the shoe I was already using. The only thing that has stuck from the book is an interest in the seeds from the Chia plant. These seeds are mixed with ground corn and lime juice by the Tarahumara's to produce what they call Pinole. The natives claim Pinole provides enough energy to allow them to run distances of 50 miles or longer.

Ground Chia Seed

After reading about these seeds I decided to try them to see if Chia worked the same way on Long Island. Over each of the last sixteen days I have mixed 1.5 tsp. of Chia into drinks or food. In two cases my source of Chia came from energy bars that featured the ingredient, one from Greens Plus and the other from the raw aisle at Whole Foods. The Greens Plus bar was tasty: both chewy and crunchy (due to the whole seeds) as was the Whole Foods bar which was less tasty but much spicier. I looked at the ingredients and saw that it contained chili peppers. I normally like spicy, the hotter the better, but this didn't work as well as I'd hoped. I've discovered that mixing Chia with hot beverages such as sugar free hot chocolate or green tea leads to a disgusting collection of congealed lumpy matter at the bottom of the cup. Mixing with cold fruit juice or water is better and mixing with coconut water is the best because the taste combination is quite good.

With two-plus weeks of experience using Chia to draw on I really can't say that it's helped. My runs have been good throughout this period and I've successfully fought off a cold during this time. This morning I felt great throughout my 2.5 mile run. Was it the Chia? Probably not. I'm guessing it was good rest and two recent core workouts. Still, I plan to stay with the Chia routine for its other benefits like high levels of Omega 3-6-9. It couldn't hurt and it just might be helping.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that there's anything magic about chia seeds. But because of their fiber and omega-3s, they are a good addition to anyone's diet.

    For more information about chia seeds, and some recipe ideas, check out my website: www.chiativity.org


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