Every protagonist in the history of the universe has a special something that helps them weasel their way to the top of the totem pole.  Think about it;  Robin Hood had his tights, Superman had hair gel, Harry Potter had his scar and The Dude had white-russians on the reg.  Without a special something to keep you ahead of the pack, you will be damned to a life of mediocrity.

“Hey Zachsquatch, does that mean you have something special to help you on the AT?”

YEP!!! YOU KNOW IT!!! CHIA SEEDS!!!

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If you’ve ever been backpacking, you have a deep understanding of what it feels like to have an inanimate object attached to your back.  When a heavy backpack is attached to your back, it is like a leech that can never be removed.  Like our friend, the leech, your backpack will suck the life out of you if your not careful.

When a novice backpacker ventures out into the backcountry, they usually realize that carrying less weight is a good thing.  They can carry less weight by ditching the camp chair, the dutch oven and the hatchet, but unfortunately there isn’t much a backpacker can do to make their food weigh less.  Since food weighs a bunch, backpackers do their best to carry foods that will deliver the largest amount of nutritional value for the least amount of weight.  Thats why when I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail, I’ll always have chia seeds in my food bag.

Chia, otherwise known as Salvia Hispanica, is a member of the mint family and has been used as a food source by the Aztecs for thousands of years.  The seed itself is an oval that is only about 1mm long but it packs a punch.  Chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium and protein.  Three tablespoons of chia seeds contains about 160 calories and give you a sustainable boost of energy.

See that little guy? Thats a chia seed!!!

See that little guy? Thats a chia seed!!!

One of my favorite things about the chia seeds is how easy it is to prepare them. There is no cooking required and they don’t really taste like anything at all.  You can literally put a teaspoon or two in a cup of water and let it soak for a few minutes and it turns into a gel that you can drink.  If you aren’t into drinking the gel, you can put them in anything you eat (like your morning oatmeal, a scoop of peanut butter or your mid-day tuna packet) to add extra nutritional value.

Well . . . thats about the extent of what I know about chia seeds.  I’m not a dietician or anything and I sure as hell don’t know much about the human body.  All I really know is that when I eat chia seeds they give me a boost of energy that I can really feel.  If you’re in tune with your body, you’ll feel their effects too.  Then again, maybe it’s the placebo effect… I don’t know for sure…..but I’mpretty sure its not the placebo effect.  Try it out for yourself and you be the judge.

You can visit the following websites to learn a little bit more about the nutritional benefits and the history of chia seeds if you don’t (and you shouldn’t) want to take my word for it:

http://www.survivalsuperfoods.com/index_home.html

http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/lindsey-duncan-nd-cn/chia-ancient-super-secret

http://blog.outdoorherbivore.com/camp-tips/backpacking-superfoods-chia-seed/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/business/chia-seeds-gain-popularity-for-nutritional-benefits.html

Shalom,

The Zachsquatch

You are what you eat...I'm a chia seed.

You are what you eat…I’m a chia seed.

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