Monday, September 1, 2014

Food for Best Weight Loss and Health: Chia Seeds

Food for Best Weight Loss and Health: Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds: A Study in Cultural Contrast
The Chia seed provides us with an interesting cultural contrast. To the average modern American, Chia is known as the "hair" that magically grows on terra cotta pottery made to resemble our cultural icons, like Shrek and Bart Simpson. Occasionally, the bar is raised to accommodate American Presidents.

In remarkable contrast to modern western culture, the Parahumara, an indigenous people of Mexico who are descended from the Aztecs, used Chia seed as a food that contributed to their survival, culture, and lifestyle in a mighty way.

Chia, to the Parahumara, translates as "strength". The men of the Parahumara are known as the Raramuri, which translates loosely as "those who walk well", or "runners on foot". Chia seed, which is portable, light, and can sustain runners with small amounts over long distances, has sustained the hunters, herders, runners, and warriors of this tribe for an unknown number of generations. What is known about the Parahumara is that they saw the Conquistadors coming in the 16th century and left their homeland. They settled instead in the Copper Canyon in the Sierra Madre Occidental. Many of them continue to live there and follow their traditional agricultural lifestyles of herding and harvesting.Their current population numbers are estimated to be between 50,000 and 70,000. This makes them one of the largest of the indigenous groups in Mexico, having avoided the slaughter of the Conquistadors.
Chia Seeds Kind of Food
The modern Raramuri are renowned among marathon runners for their amazing speed and stamina. They frustrate and amaze their competitors by beating them soundly at distance running in spite of the times they stop to take smoke breaks. The Raramuri have been known to run distances of up to 120 miles in two days... and do so for pleasure.

So how does Chia seed help to sustain them? What we know now is that the Chia seed is loaded with a gelatinous substance called mucilage, so it expands many times over in the stomach, lending a full feeling. It is a highly concentrated source of protein, fiber, and essential oils. These are known to benefit joints, muscles, and brain function. The seeds can be easily carried in a pouch and consumed by placing a small handful in the mouth. It digests slowly and maximizes carbohydrate digestion, as well. It was known as the food of warriors. Those looking for similar traits in a food that may also reduce hunger and maximize healthy nutrition may wish to look into trying this super-food as a part of natural weight control

Gwen was descended from a line of herbalists and midwives from Friesland, now a part of the Netherlands. She has been in dialog with herbalists from many different tribes and nationalities over the last 30 years and is an amateur ethnobotanist (the study of the relationship between plants and people of different cultures). In 2005, she achieved the designation of Master Herbalist after two years of academic study of Western European and North American herbalism.

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Food for Best Weight Loss and Health: Chia Seeds

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