For the past three years, the first item on my new years resolutions was “lose weight”; clearly it didn’t work because it remained unmovable much like the numbers on my dress tags. This year, however, I decided my new year’s resolution would begin with something even my skinnier self would have abhorred; to be able to run…okay walk…the 2016 Dubai Marathon (without dying).
Who would want to walk that distance carrying an extra twenty kilos? After a thorough medical check up and the confirmation of a doctor, that was the amount of weight I had to shed to be at an ideal BMI that would allow me to walk beyond five steps, without feeling like I was climbing Mount Everest.
Now that I knew the destination, I needed the tools to get me there. Much like a car, if I want it to take me from point A to point B it needed the right kind and amount of fuel, my body is the same. And while there is an entire world (and multi-billion dollar industry) built on dieting, the very fact that they still exist is indicative that none of the “miracle diets” have ever worked for reasons ranging from hard science to the lack of human will before a tub of mint chocolate ice cream. However, as a trained economist, I believe in the power of “needs”. Needs are at the root of “demand” and it is our natural instinct to seek the fulfillment of that need.
Our bodies were designed to consume food to fulfill the need for energy and the fact that an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction comes from a hot plate of lasagna is an added bonus. With all the processing and refining of the foods of our modern diet, we are still unable to get the nutrients that are the building blocks of our bodies. So even if our up-sized portions don’t give us what we need, can you imagine what severely restricted diets do to us?
Here’s a hint: when the afternoon hits and you feel like you were hit by a bus and your children start to look like Twix bars, you know your body needs its fix. Only our diets make us think the “fix” is in sugar or the faux-sugary chemicals in “healthy diet” foods.
Now before the hopelessness of what I just described makes you dial 1 to place a new order at McDonalds get this; the secret is a tiny seed from the faraway lands of the Aztecs called Chia. Never heard of it? Neither did I until I found myself passing through the organic health store trying to get to the frozen yoghurt shop.
Chia is a super seed cultivated as early as 2500 BC by the Aztecs who called it the “running food” for sustaining its warriors for days on end with just a handful. This is unsurprising; just 70 calories of the seed contains five grams of fiber and out performs the world’s healthiest super foods as it contains 8 times more Atlantic Salmon, 6 times more calcium than milk, 3 times more iron than spinach, 2 times more fiber than bran flakes, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli, and 4 times more selenium than flax! How does all this science talk translate into real life?
According to Dr. Bob Arnot’s research in The Aztec Diet Chia Power: The Superfood that Gets you Skinny and Keeps you Healthy, Chia has the ability to expand into 7 times its volume in water. This combined with all the fiber means it helps keep you fuller for longer but because of its superior ability to deliver essential elements with every spoonful your body’s needs will be satisfied and your energy levels sustained.
What will this do for your sugar cravings? Research shows that after only three days of adding Chia to a diet sugar levels can be normalized to such a point that by Sunday there would be no trace of the molten chocolate cake you had over the weekend. For Chia to take its full effect it needs to be milled as the seed in its natural form passes through the body undigested. While it is flavorless, the best way to incorporate it into your diet is in smoothies or salads. Is it a little more expensive? Well, it is relative to a cheeseburger but not in the long run!
This week I decided to eliminate refined carbs, so bye-bye bagel (you will be missed) and hello banana-almond milk Chia breakfast smoothie. By the time I had my second smoothie, I felt a noticeable reduction in my sugar cravings and 3 am hunger pangs.
Join me next week as I share with you my Chia experience and how I combined it with yet another Aztec miracle food quinoa as I take my very first steps on a treadmill!