Ever since it became obvious my body and cholesterol-lowering drugs weren't going to play nice together, I've been doing what I can to keep my LDL from climbing any higher. It's not that our diet was filled with fried foods and poor choices...far from it. I've been into skim milk, low-fat products and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for some time but with little to show for it. So I cut in what seemed to me to be the most obvious place: Meat. I didn't eliminate it entirely but most home-cooked meals for me are now meatless. And red meat is a once-every-month-or-two choice.
Don't feel sorry for me because I'm not suffering at all. I'll take a plate full of stir-fried vegetables over most meat offerings any day. Wayne hasn't suffered either; he gets his meat and I find my protein in another form. And you know what? It's working. At my check-up last month my HDL (the good stuff) was up and my LDL (the evil twin) was down. The numbers aren't ideal yet but they did get me a pat on the back from my doctor.
Still, I'm always on the lookout for other ways I can modify my diet to keep those numbers headed in the right direction. That was why we stopped at the natural food co-op on our trip for fish on Monday...to buy some chia seeds.
Yes, they're the same seeds you sprinkle on those little terra cotta "pets" in the hopes of growing something that resembles hair or fur. But if you think that's all they're good for, you're missing out. Chia seeds are the hot food trend of 2013 and for good reason. They're rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, high in fiber and antioxidants and a source of calcium, something I'm always working to add to my diet for bone density.
They're a little pricey but so easy to use. There's no grinding or worrying about them going rancid like flax seed and they don't really have much taste to them. I sprinkled some over my oatmeal this morning and other than an occasional crunch from the tiny seeds, you'd hardly know they were there.
And then I made chia seed pudding for dessert tonight. Simple recipe: 1 cup almond milk, 2 tbls chia seeds, honey or other sweetener to taste and some fresh berries. As the little seeds sit in the milk, they soften and swell up, thickening the pudding. It was tasty; not a "Wow!" but worth making again. There are recipes for frozen chia pudding pops here and a Mango Coconut version of the pudding here. I'm sure given the popularity of chia seeds that there are plenty of recipe options on the Internet; Google is your friend.
I'm hoping these little black seeds will be ninja warriors, fighting off that bad old cholesterol. I just have one concern: Do you think I'll start to grow green hair?