November 23, 2013

Personality Type -- the Language We Use to Interact with the World

I've just started reading a book by Lenore Thomson called Personality Type: An Owner's Manual. She does an excellent job of explaining what personality types are. The following is from page 23 of 1998 hardback edition of the book.

"...our type does not define who we 'really are' any more than using a particular language defines the nature of the soul. It simply characterizes the way we've learned to participate in life -- to understand and be understood by the world around us.

"Nature equips us in most spheres with more potential than we can actually develop in a lifetime. We are born with a broad range of adaptive possibilities. For example, every infant -- from China to Mexico to New Guinea --  babbles in exactly the same way, using every sound that occurs in every language spoken on earth. It's only as we begin to imitate the sounds we hear around us that certain linguistic combinations become reinforced and others are set aside. If we attempt to learn another language later in life, we can usually recover some of that sacrificed potential. But we may find it difficult to lose the accent derived from our native language.

"So it is with the typological functions. Although we are born with the capacity for many different combinations, we adapt to our environment by developing only one or two -- usually the ones that come easiest to us, modified by opportunity and social expectation. The process is very much like becoming fluent in a language. When we've developed a particular was of interacting with the world, we tend to use other, less-developed functions with something like a behavioral accent."

November 17, 2013

What Is an Extravert?

First of all, before you correct me and tell me that it's spelled extrOvert, let me just say that it was Carl Jung who came up with the term and he spelled it extrAvert.

So, what is an extravert? Many people seem to think that an extravert is a person who is energized by being around other people - and that's totally true for one fourth of the types of extraverts in the world. But the other three fourths are energized by things that may or may not have anything to do with people.

I've met several people who are pretty clearly extraverts, but when we talk about what they are, they call themselves ambiverts or even introverts simply because they don't fit the popular (albiet incomplete) definition of extraverts as people who are energized by lots and lots of other people.

Introverts don't tend to like all being lumped into one category of shy or socially inept because, despite the fact that some introverts are that way, most are not. Likewise, extraverts shouldn't all be lumped into a people-loving group when some extraverts love accomplishment or excitement or possibilities even more.

So here's an extravert chart to help you better understand the extraverts in your life. And if you're an introvert but one of these descriptions seems to capture your personality a bit, that's because every introvert has an extraverted side (and every extravert has an introverted side). Your extraverted side isn't as strong as your introverted side, but given that extraverting means dealing with the outside world, and all of us have to deal with the outside world if we want to live, then most introverts have a fairly well developed extraverted side. This isn't quite as true of extraverts who aren't forced to live in their inner world in the same way introverts are forced to live in the outer world. But extraverts do have an introverted side that is usually subordinate to (that means it works for the betterment of) their extraverted side. So if you're an extravert and you want a better sense of what your introverted side is, check out my previous post on the various types of introverts.



November 15, 2013

What Is an Introvert?



Introvert memes seem to be pretty popular these days. For whatever reason (perhaps the empowering nature of the internet?), introverts are getting their message out there that they're OK. That, "just because I'm an introvert doesn't mean I'm broken."

And I'm down with that. Really, I am. What bugs me... wait, let me restate that, what drives me absolutely batty, is when one of those memes makes a statement that such and such is true of introverts when it's not. It's true of some introverts, specifically introverted thinkers or introverted sensors or what have you. But it's not true of all introverts, and in fact, if you treat me the way that meme says you should treat me because I'm an introvert, I'll punch you in the nose.

So I've made my own introverts meme. (OK, OK. So I've made one before. But I've made a new one. That's my point.) Because lumping all introverts into one box is what bugs me, my meme focuses on how not all introverts are the same. We come in four "flavors." What makes us all the same is that we all live mostly in our inner world. Once we're in there, though, we tend to focus on different things depending on what flavor of introversion suits us.




There are four kinds of introverts. And not only that, but every extravert has an introverted side. So if you're an extravert and you're reading this thinking, "that sounds just like me!" That doesn't mean that you're an introvert. It just means you're identifying your introverted side. 

If you ever talk with typology geeks, you'll see them using terms like Si, Fi, Ti, and Ni. That's just shorthand for Introverted Feeler or Introverted Thinker, etc. 

So how can you care for your introvert? Start by figuring out what kind of introvert it is that you're caring for. Then be sensitive to the preferences and peeves of that person's particular flavor of introversion. 

September 18, 2013

Banana Bread for a GAPS Diet


This recipe is from Internal Bliss: Recipes designed for those following the Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ diet, published by International Nutrition, Inc. The only change I made to the recipe was to put the batter into a muffin tin instead of a bread loaf pan. ... Oh yeah. And I didn't grind my own nut flour. ... and I used butter instead of ghee (even thou we have ghee, but it's kinda pricey, so I rolled with butter). But other than that, I didn't change much. :-}

Ingredients
3 cups Almond Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill blanched almond flour. The book encourages you to make your own. But I'm just wading into this process and taking some short cuts when I can.)
2 Ripe Bananas (The bananas should have some brown spots on the skin.)
1/3 cup Ghee (plus a little extra to grease loaf/muffin pan)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 Eggs

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325°F/170°C.
2. Blend all ingredients until smooth. (I used a food processor for the blending.)
3. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan.
4. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center and come out clean. (Or for 45 minutes if you are making muffins. But still check with a toothpick to be sure.)
5. Let the bread cool completely before removing it from the pan.



I think the next time I make this, I'm going to add raisins. It just needs something a little bit chewy in it. Chopped bits of apricot might work well also. My kids argued for chocolate chips, but I don't think that's very GAPS friendly. ;-)




If you want to try the GAPS diet and need some recipes to try, you can order this cookbook through Amazon.com. If you get the cookbook, I'd also recommend Dr. Natasha's book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia. I bought both books together at Amazon.

September 16, 2013

Yellow Birthday Cake (AKA Coconut Honeycomb Cake) - GFCF/Paleo

In our continued efforts to change to more of a gut-healing diet, I have recently forayed into the Paleo diet. Invented by a local Fort Collins professor, Loren Cordain, the diet is supposed to mimic the food selections of our ancestors going back thousands, or even tens of thousands, of years. So obviously anything processed or genetically modified is out. But Cordain also kicks grains to the curb (mostly, from what I can tell, because people generally eat grains in the form of highly processed foods).

My sister, Karen, and Nathan both had birthdays last week. When we got together to celebrate as a family, I wanted to have a cake that both of them could eat. (My sister has been on a modified diet for awhile now and Nathan started a Gluten Free / Casein Free diet in early July.) So I checked a book out from the library entitled, Paleo Desserts, by Jane Barthelemy. I settled on the Yellow Birthday Cake, p 31, but I made a few modifications.

Barthelemy relies pretty heavily on a sweetener called Just Like Sugar Table Top. (I believe that's as opposed to Just Like Sugar Baking.) She likes that it's a zero-calorie, zero-carb granulated sweetener that works just like regular sugar. Just Like Sugar is made out of chicory root fiber, also called inulin. But the more I researched inulin, the more I decided it wasn't what we were looking for in our diet. Although Barthelemy listed 6 points that she claims are in inulin's favor (high in fiber, zero calories/sugar/fat/carbs/protein/etc, doesn't promote tooth decay, prebiotic, controls blood sugar levels, gluten-free/dairy-free/etc), I found stories online of people who ended up with digestive problems due to inulin. Studies have also shown that though inulin does feed some good bacteria, it also feeds some bad bacteria and can promote leaky gut syndrome. That's all I needed to hear and I decided to try something else. I explored xylitol and stevia and finally settled on using honey and some stevia in the cake/icing/jam.

I'm going to reproduce Barthelemy's original recipe here first. Then I'm going to follow that with a description of the changes I made. Because the cake is made using a lot of coconut and, in my version, it also included honey, and because it had a honeycomb look and texture once it was cooked, I've named my version the Coconut Honeycomb Cake.

Coconut Icing 
(called 5-Minute Whipped Créme Topping in the book)

Ingredients
2 cups Unsweetened coconut milk, as thick as possible (See my comments on this at the end.)
3 tablespoons Coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Just Like Sugar Table Top sweetener (not Baking)
2 1/4 tablespoons Agar flakes
3/4 cup Unsweetened coconut milk, to cook the agar

Directions
1. Have ready all the ingredients at room temperature.
2. Blend the thick coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla, and sweetener in any style blender until smooth.
3. In a shallow nonstick pan over medium heat, stir the agar into the additional coconut milk. Cook and stir gently for 2 to 3 minutes until bubbling and gummy, and the flakes begin to dissolve. Add the agar mixture to the blender immediately and blend well until it is completely liquefied and any lumps are removed.
4. Pour into a bowl and chill for 2 to 3 hours, or until thick. Then keep it out at room temperature if you're using it today. If you're making it ahead of time, this will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, but allow 4 hours to soften at room temperature before using.

Raspberry "Jam"

Ingredients
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 to 3/4 cup Just Like Sugar Table Top sweetener. (She says she doesn't recommend any other sweetener for this recipe, but I found that honey and stevia worked just fine.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon agar flakes
3 tablespoons filtered water, to cook agar

Directions
1. Press the raspberries to drain all the excess liquid. Especially if the raspberries are frozen, it is important to drain out as much liquid as possible.
2. Place the raspberries, sweetener, vanilla, and lemon juice in any style blender. Liquify completely.
3. If you choose to strain out the raspberry seeds, pour the mixture into a medium-gauge strainer over a mixing bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula, tapping the strainer until all pulp passes through. Pour the strained raspberries back into the blender. Sweeten to taste.
4. In a small pan over medium heat, stir the agar into the water. Cook and stir gently for 2 to 3 minutes until it is bubbly and gummy and the flakes being to dissolve. Add the agar mixture to the blender immediately and blend well to remove any lumps.
5. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and chill for 1 hour to thicken. Spread it on cakes, cookies... all right -- it tastes great on everything!

Yellow Birthday Cake (AKA Coconut Honeycomb Cake)

Ingredients
5-Minute Whipped Creme Topping (see above)
Raspberry "Jam" (see above
1 1/4 cups Just Like Sugar Table Top sweetener
1 1/4 cups medium-shredded unsweetened coconut flakes (not coconut flour)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon unprocessed salt
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup thick unsweetened coconut milk, or 1/4 cup thin unsweetened coconut or raspberries, for garnish

Directions
1. Prepare the whipped creme chill.
2. Prepare the raspberry jam and chill.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut parchment paper into circles to line either two 8-inch round cake pans or two 8 by 11-inch tart pans.
4. In a dry food processor fitted with the "S" blade, grind the sweetener to a very fine powder.
5. Add the shredded coconut to the sweetener in the food processor. Spin it for a minute to become a very fine powder. Open the lid, stir the bottom, replace the lid, and grind again until the powder is uniformly fine.
6. To the ingredients in the food processor, add the arrowroot, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutritional yeast (if using). Mix well, pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
7. Place in teh empty food processor the egg yolks, vanilla, almond extract, and coconut milk. Mix well and then let the mixture sit while you beat the egg whites.
8. With an electric mixer in a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Gradually increase the mixer speed until soft peaks form. Do not beat until dry.
9. Pour the wet ingredients from the food processor into the dry mixture. Stir the batter briefly and thoroughly.
10. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter in three parts.
11. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and spread it out flat. Bake for 23 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Don't peek or the cake may fall. Check on it after 20 minutes, as the cake can easily dry out. Let cool for about 30 minutes in the pan on a rack.
12. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Tuck a few strips of parchment paper under the edges to keep the plate clean while you frost it. Spread it generously with half of the whipped creme, and then cover it with all of the raspberry jam. Place the second cake layer on top. Spread with the remaining whipped creme and leave the sides unfrosted so the jam is visible. Garnish with sprnkles of shredded coconut and/or a few raspberries, if you desire. Serve and enjoy.

Meg's Modifications

Whipped Creme Topping

For the whipped creme, instead of Just Like Sugar I used about 1/4 - 1/3 cup honey. The overall consistency of the topping was fine, even though I changed out a granulated ingredient for a wet and sticky one. However, because the recipe called for the coconut milk to be thick, I had put the can into the fridge before using it. Then no matter how much I whipped the creme, I ended up with lumps. ... *cough* But as I reread the directions right now, I realize that I used a mixer, not a blender. Perhaps I wouldn't have had a lumpy topping if I'd blended. Then again, next time I do this, I'm not going to fridge the coconut milk first. It doesn't need to be solid until AFTER the ingredients have been mixed. It can fridgitate all it wants after that point.

... I could swear that at some point I added creamed coconut. But as I look back at the recipe I don't see it there. And yet I remember seeing that it required 200grams and that's exactly the amount in a box of creamed coconut. So now I don't know what happened. But my topping had cremed coconut in it in addition to coconut milk.


Raspberry Jam

Honestly, raspberries? Straining out seeds? Next time I'm going with strawberry jam. Raspberries are too much of a pain in the keister. Despite the directions stating that no other sweetener would work, a 1/3 cup honey and a teaspoon of stevia worked out just fine.


Coconut Honeycomb Cake

I don't really like the texture of coconut flakes. So when I food processed the coconut flakes and they didn't turn entirely into the powder I had hoped for, I was kind of disappointed. And when the cake still had a bit of coconut flake texture, I decided that next time, despite Barthelemy's note to the contrary, I'm going to try making this with coconut flour.

I also replaced the Just Like Sugar here with honey and a bit of stevia. Unfortunately, by this time I was so tired of cooking and cutting parchment and separating eggs that I forgot to make a note of how much honey and stevia I used. I know I used a lot less than she calls for in terms of Just Like Sugar. I'll have to pay more attention to this the next time I make the cake.

The finished product tasted a bit like a thick sponge of crepe dough with coconut frosting. It was very light and springy. I hope to make it again soon, with some of the noted modifications, and see if I can make something I like even better. I also hope to buy two cake pans before then. Much to my surprise I discovered that I had only one usable cake pan, and it was already in use, so I made this cake using a tart pan and a pie pan, both of different sizes, which gave my cake a squashed appearance. :-P

August 1, 2013

What is this leaky gut thing that you've mentioned, Meg? Sounds gross.

I've been learning a lot about digestion and leaky gut syndrome lately. I still only have a vague sense of it all, but I thought that writing it all out might help me to synthesize what I've learned, and it might help others understand what I'm talking about when I mention the term "leaky gut."

I think it helps first to review how a healthy gut should behave. The goal of the gut is to take our food, process it to separate out nutrients from toxins and other unhealthful little bits, and then to send the good stuff to the rest of our body for use and to send the bad stuff off to waste processing. It's important to note that not all of this sorting happens in the stomach. Our intestines provide a long conveyer belt through which nutrient processing continues.

Enzymes are important workhorses that spend their little lives sorting out parts. Different enzymes are perfectly shaped to deal with different sorts of starches and proteins and probably a bunch of other stuff as well.  Some enzymes (like pepsin) prefer the highly acidic environment of the stomach to do their work. Other enzymes (like trypsin) prefer a slightly alkaline environment. So if the ph value of any part of your digestive track is off balance, nutrients won't be processed as well as they should be.

Once things are processed into their important and unimportant parts, the body then needs to send the sorted items to the right places. The digestive lining (again, not just in the tummy but all the way along the intestines) have the job of letting the important stuff through and keeping not only the unimportant but also the dangerous stuff out. Think of the stomach lining like a tough guy bouncer type. Better yet, think of it like a whole slew of bouncer guys all standing shoulder to shoulder for wall to wall digestive defenses. Nutrients are allowed through so they can enter the blood stream and feed the body. Everything else (the unusable bits as well as things like the e-coli bacteria that came riding in with your undercooked hamburger or the food coloring from that cool-aid you drank) are shuffled off to buffalo (which means they're flushed out of your system). You can apparently get a decent sense of how your insides are doing based on your poop. If you're going, at a minimum, once a day, and your potty visits tend to be quick and easy, then your insides might be pretty healthy.  If that's not the case, then that's one indicator that something's wrong.


\So that's how it's all supposed to work. But there are lots of things that can go wrong along the way. (Remember, I'm still learning about all this so I might not be 100% accurate in my descriptions, but I think I'm getting the gist of what can go wrong.) For some folks who are predisposed genetically to celiac disease, there's a disconnect between the enzymes that they're carrying in their gut and the shape of the gluten proteins entering the gut. (There's an interesting series of posts from people who are gluten intolerant who claim to not be able to consume even a teeny bit of gluten in America, but when they visit Europe they're able to eat pasta and bread without any problems. One difference could be the amount of gluten in American wheat products vs. European. But another possibility is that Europeans grow a different version of wheat which contains a form of gluten that's easier to process than the gluten found in American grain. I didn't see any scientific answers on this one, but the number of folks claiming to have experienced the difference leads me to believe that it's not necessarily gluten that's the problem but a specific variant or mutation of gluten that's causing the problems.) Proteins can fold. I'm a bit foggy on all this, but it sounds like some gluten proteins are folding their little selves in such a way that celiac's enzymes simply can't process them. So instead of having nutrients separated from unusables, these tummies are left with those original proteins, unchanged. In other words, the initial processing system breaks down, leaving proteins in the system that aren't supposed to be there. These proteins can eventually cause lesions in the digestive lining. It's almost like the unbroken down proteins act as little irritants that eventually scrape away the health of the lining. Imagine putting broken glass in the washing machine when you're cleaning your clothes. You'd end up with shredded clothing. I think that's what's going on in the tummy of the person with celiac disease. And even if you don't get to the point where there are lesions, all that scrubby activity can still lead to inflammation and tummy pain.

Even those that aren't genetically prone towards celiac disease can still have problems with nutrient processing. If something happens and you lose a lot of your enzymes, or they become unhealthy (perhaps due to a yeast infection or a problem with your ph balance), then an otherwise healthy gut can become broken and have similar problems to a person with celiac disease.



And that's just the beginning of the problem. Things aren't going well inside the digestive tract, but now the walls of the digestive tract start to get worn down and sick and stuff that's not supposed to get through starts slipping through. All those bouncers standing shoulder to shoulder are getting doubled over with pain and while they're down, proteins and other stuff start slipping into the blood stream. They don't belong there, and the body knows it. It sends in the army, the auto-immune system, to start taking out the bad guys and protecting itself. This leads to more inflammation as well as all sorts of other reactions (like a runny nose, itching all over your body or localized to certain areas, arterial deposits, and possibly even bigger problems like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and some other big time stuff.). Some of those proteins on the loose can even make it up to the brain where they cause problems such as autism symptoms, AHDH symptoms, mood swings, and depression.

And to make matters worse, not only is the stomach lining allowing stuff through that it shouldn't, but it's also not letting through all the stuff that it should. So you might recognize that something is wrong with your digestive tract and start taking vitamins, eating special foods, etc, but if that lining isn't fixed, it won't make one iota of difference. You have to heal the gut before it'll work properly enough to get the good stuff to where it's supposed to go to heal the rest of your body.

All of this is referred to as a leaky gut. Stuff is getting through your digestive lining that's not supposed to be allowed through. I think the term is gross and when I first heard it didn't sound at all to me like what it means. I think "broken gut" or "confused gut" or something like that might fit better with what's going on. But the term that's been coined is leaky gut, so that's what we have to roll with.

If you have a leaky gut, what do you do? The first step is to try to remove some of the foods that aren't being processed properly. This might mean changing your diet to remove gluten, casein, perhaps even eggs, nuts and other common allergens. This will help the gut to have a break from being bombarded with bad guys. Then you have to do things that will help it to heal. You can take colostrum (Yes, the same stuff that new mom's produce for their babies for several days after birth. That's the stuff that coats the baby's digestive tract and helps to protect it from just such problems as these.) either by pill or as a powder mixed in drinks. I've just recently read that glutamine can be helpful as well. And chicken soup, believe it or not, is supposed to work wonders. (When you make the soup, boil the chicken bones for a couple of hours because that's where the helpful stuff is and you need to boil it out into the broth.)

Probiotics (good bacteria) can also help. One way to get probiotics is through pills, but you can also eat yogurt (not the sugary stuff but something with acidopholus and the like). Fermented foods (sauerkraut or kim chi, for example) are full of healthful bacteria. Kefir and kombucha are fermented products and full of good guys. And green leafy veggies are important. Not only do they have nutrients that many people are lacking, but there's fiber in there that apparently count as prebiotics (I just heard about them for the first time today) because they feed other healthy organisms in the gut. I should quickly point out that one instigator of an unhealthy gut is often antibiotics. The antibiotics aren't targeted so they affect all the healthy bacteria in the tummy as well as the bad guys. If the good guys get wiped out often enough they may never get back to full strength without some serious, concerted help on your part.

And what we're learning at our house is that it also takes time. You can't change your diet one day and the next day expect to see immediate change. There are stories of that happening, but there are also stories of it taking a month or more to see good come from the dietary changes. In our household we're hoping that once digestive tracts are happy and healthy, we'll be able to add gluten and casein back into our diets. (According to the doc, casein is a possibility but gluten isn't. We'll see. I've heard from more than one person that once you're off gluten entirely, even just a little bit can end up making you really sick.) In the meantime I'm learning all kinds of stuff about how the gut works, and I'm discovering lots of great recipes that are helping me to get more fruits, veggies and nuts into our family's diet.

If you'd like to learn more, here's a really helpful video that our doctor recommended.



The first and third images used in this article from SCDLifestyle.com (I also recommend the article that the images came from. You can click on the link to get to it.) and the second photo is from JustonHealth.com.

July 30, 2013

It's Chia Pudding, Pet!

Remember chia pets? Chia seeds are sprouted on terra cotta animals and other shapes (Duck Dynasty's Willie is shown to the right) to form "hair" or "fur." They first came out in the 1970s and were more than likely the result of someone dropping a whole lotta acid.

Well apparently chia seeds, all on their own, are the newest craze. They're considered a super food (meaning they're nutrient dense). They're packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and contain lots of protein, fiber and antioxidents. To find out more about how awesome these little seeds are, check out this Super Seeds page.

Back in the beginning of July, we decided to put our son on a gluten free, casein free (GFCF) diet. He's had a runny nose ever since he got really sick two years ago and we're wondering if his stomach lining has never healed properly and he has a leaky gut. (I'll write more on leaky guts some day. It's really quite interesting and isn't really what you probably thought of when you first read the term.) I bought several cookbooks on Amazon, and checked out even more from the library, and I've been a cookbook reading queen for the past several weeks. I'd say the most important change we've made has nothing to do with removing gluten and casein from our diets. It seems like adding in more healthful foods (like lots and lots of veggies) has been the greatest boon. (And we were a pretty darn healthy family before. We grind our own whole grains, buy all organic produce, don't eat a lot of processed foods, etc. But as much as I knew veggies were important, they take time. Chopping time, mostly. And sometimes I just don't have the energy to chop. But that's where the blender comes in handy. More on that in another post also.)

Most of the books I've been looking through focus on an autism or ADHD diet (which is primarily gluten and casein free). Removing these two proteins from the diets of autistic kids has been found to make huge changes in how they interact with the world around them. It's like these kids have been imprisoned in a painful world and when they react people think they're just acting out, not that they're nutritionally screwed up inside. ... but more on that in another post. The key that I was talking about was veggies. And the cookbooks that focus most on veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds tend to be the vegan and raw cookbooks, which I've found the most fascinating in terms of recipes. The GFCF cook books are full of muffins and breads and pancakes and all sorts of crap I've been making all my life. Now I just need to make the same recipe with gluten free flours. But the raw and vegan cookbooks are full of things I've never seen or tried before. Suddenly a whole new world of cooking (or not) possibilities have opened up before me.

This chia pudding recipe is one of those delightful new recipes I've tried and found to be utterly delicious. Now that statement comes with a caveat. Between myself and my three children, one of my girls and I like the pudding. My son and other daughter ate a few bites and that was enough for them. So this clearly isn't a dish for everyone. But if you love tapioca pudding, then it's quite possible that you'll love this as well. And danged if this isn't literally the easiest pudding recipe I have ever come across in my life. So without further ado....



This recipe is from Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet & Lifestyle Revolution at Home (which is the same book I pulled the zucchini hummus recipe from that I posted about recently). I checked this book out from the library, but I think I'm going to have to go buy myself a copy. There are sooo many recipes in here I want to try.

Ingredients
1/3 cup (50 g) chia seeds
2 cups (475 ml) nut milk (There's instructions to make your own nut milk given in the book. But I just used Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze almond milk.)
2 tablespoons (40 g) agave nectar or honey, or a pinch of stevia
dash of cinnamon for garnish (optional)

Directions
Throw the seeds, sweetener, and nut milk into a container. (I used a glass jar with a lid.) Stir/shake the mixture and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Now stir/shake it again and throw it into the refrigerator. Leave it there for 4 hours at a minimum. Garnish with cinnamon when you eat it. It'll keep for 3 days in the fridge (if it's not all gobbled up before then).

That's it. I threw everything into a jar, gave it a shake, went and did something else, came back and shook it again, threw it in the fridge and had chia pudding the next morning. Viola!

The texture is creamy and a tad bit slimy (like tapioca can be). You have to chew the seeds. I guess you could just swallow them, but I'll take a mouthful and spend several minutes chewing. I figure that gets me to eat less in the long run because I spent so much time chewing I have less time to keep stuffing my face. And I like the flavor as it's chewed.

Apparently these little seeds soak the water up like crazy, so it's hydrating to eat them once they've been soaked in liquid for 4 hours. But according to Judita Wignall, the author of the cookbook, you don't want to eat them straight or they'll actually suck the water out of you. (OK, she just said "dehydrate" but that sounds boring. It's when the water is sucked from your cells that you become a desiccated mummy and show up in a good scifi flick, right? So if you don't want to be a mummy in a horror/scifi episode of Fringe or something, soak the seeds before you eat them, K?)