Hearty Chia Seed Pudding

Happy weekend everyone! 🙂

It’s a beautiful day in Toronto. The sun is shining, the sky is deliciously clear and the wave of summer vibes is here to stay! One of the best things about summer is feeling good about waking up in the mornings. Warm and sunny mornings allow you to start your day right, wouldn’t you agree?

And what’s the best thing you can do for yourself in the morning? Eating a healthy and scrumptious breakfast. It’s easy to grab a bowl of sugary cereal or oatmeal with some full fat milk but in my opinion, there are optimal and more nutritional meals you can have instead. If you want to start your summer day off right, you should eat right. Plain and simple. So after I have my glass of water and warm lemon water to wake my insides up from a good night’s rest, I opt for a chia seed pudding with hearty add-ons.

The recipe I’m about to share with you is vegan and free of yucky ingredients that we definitely don’t want in our breakfast. It’s also low in sugar, wheat and gluten free, high in anti-oxidants, rich in protein,  contains healthy fats and filling!

As you probably know, chia seeds are considered to be one of the many amazing super foods that Mother Nature has to offer to us. Despite their size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. It’s easy to use and consume – sprinkle them in salads, bake with them, add them to smoothies and juices and my favourite way: puddin-nize ’em! (I made that word up btw!)

Here are some fast food facts about chia seeds and why they should be a staple part of your everyday diet…

  • Provides a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories! Excellent for someone trying to lose or maintain their weight. It’s unique way of gelling with liquid helps to keep you full for hours. It’s also an excellent low carb food as most of the grams is fiber!
  • Ideal food to help balance blood sugar. It’s great combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. Eating chia with a meal or as a meal will help you turn your food into a constant, ready energy and fuel your body rather than giving you the ups and down cravings that weigh you down.
  • Chia is the richest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids. By weight and gram per gram, chia has more omega than salmon!
  • Rich in anti oxidants (more than blueberries) and contains good quality protein!

So whether you want to lower your cholesterol or blood sugars, properly lose weight or have more nutritional foods in your everyday diet, chia seeds will help you do all of that. Did I mention they’re also gluten/wheat free and vegan? 😉

If you don’t like the taste of gelatinized chia seed (chia seeds with liquid), you can sneak them in your smoothies or juices for added nutrients. But seriously, you should try making a chia seed pudding! It’s perfect for a filling breakfast, mid day snack or even dessert!

Don’t underestimate tiny things!

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Here’s my yummy basic go-to recipe which can be easily customized to your liking:

1 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (homemade if you have!)

1/4 cup of organic chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract, flavouring or bean pod (alcohol free please!)

1 teaspoon of xylitol or some stevia (optional)

Add all of the ingredients in a glass jar or bowl. Give it a quick stir. If using a jar, cover with a lid and shake like crazy to mix it all up. If using a bowl, let sit in the fridge and stir occasionally. Refrigerate until it becomes very thick and pudding like. You can do this for a few hours or overnight. For me, 20 minutes does the trick; plus my stomach is impatient.

Top with super essentials: tons of organic blueberries (I like them frozen!), raspberries, raw almonds and half a teaspoon of organic cinnamon. If I want to satisfy my sweet tooth, adding unsweetened coconut flakes, carob/cacao powder or chips and coconut milk does the trick! Enjoy! x

Vegan “Buttermilk” Griddle Cakes – Allergy Friendly

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Pancake addict. 

I have a problem. I love pancakes too much. Ever since I learned to perfect them in South Africa, I’ve been making them every week.

Here’s one made with organic sprouted brown rice flour: http://notanothermodelblog.tumblr.com/post/82205960244/whathealthymodelseat-pancakes-that-are-gluten

Here’s one made with organic coconut flour: http://notanothermodelblog.tumblr.com/post/77197988896/whathealthymodelseat-mini-coconut-chia-seed

And the recipe I’m about to share with you is a mixture of both. Let them eat buttermilk griddle cakes!

1 cup of organic brown rice flour

1/3 cup of organic coconut flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or dairy free milk of choice)

2 teaspoons of coconut oil

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

2 flax eggs (2 teaspoons of flax seed meal + 6 teaspoons of warm water) chia meal works too!

Whisk the milk and apple cider vinegar to make your vegan buttermilk. Let stand. Add flax eggs to the mix with melted coconut oil. Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl making sure there are no clumps. Combine the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix it up! Pour pancakes into preheated skillet lightly greased with coconut oil and cook on medium heat. Use a spatula to flatten pancakes. Coconut flour is very delicate so make sure they’re small enough to flip. Flip pancakes when they start to bubble. Serve with fresh fruit and pure roasted almond butter (or any other nut butter – who am I to tell you what to do) and make sure to save some for me!!

Healthy Breakfast Protein Fudge Bar – LifeMatrix Style

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Is it possible to have chocolate for breakfast and have it be healthy? The answer is heck yeah! Nutella doesn’t count folks, sorry. (1 tablespoon of Nutella has 100 calories and 10 grams of sugar. Yikes! That’s a heavy sugar spike.)

So I made this raw chocolate fudge bar that’s gluten free, sugar free, egg free, dairy free, low carb and requires absolutely no baking. They’re great for on the go or if you want a little bit of chocolate indulgence with your cup of tea/coffee in the morning (or any time, really.) Did I mention that they are far healthier than any protein bar you’d buy at your local heath store?

The main protein ingredient in this recipe comes from one of my favourite protein powders I bought in South Africa. (I also wish I stocked up on this product!) Lifematrix Vegan Super Smoothie Essentials is a gluten free, vegan, unsweetened protein powder made with organic powdered sprouted brown rice, chia, pineapple fiber, raw cacao and inulin. It has a light smooth taste and it doesn’t have that whey powder taste that a lot of leading macho protein powders have. Packed with protein and pre-biotics, it was the perfect nutritional base for my chocolate fudge bar. Since the powder is only available in South Africa (sad face), any brown rice protein will do like my other favourites Life Time Fitness Vegan Max or Progressive Organic Brown Rice Protein.

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Brown rice protein is a convenient source of protein for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet and even for others that follow a strict healthy diet. Like other protein sources, brown rice protein can help with weight loss and management since it’s low in fat and generally low calorie. Recent research has also indicated that it can aid with muscle recovery and gain when consumed after a workout. It’s allergen-friendly and you can add it to almost anything: smoothies, cereal, juices and of course, this fudge bar!

It’s easy:

6 servings of brown rice protein (about 6 scoops)

6 tbsp of organic raw cacao (not cocoa!) powder (I like Navitas Natural Cacao)

6 tbsp of chia seeds

1/4 cup of erythritol sweetener (Can be found at any health store or even Bulk Barn!)

1/4 tsp of stevia extract powder (can omit if you don’t want it to sweet)

1 and 1/2 cups of unsweetened organic coconut milk (Almond milk will also work but your bars might be a little more on the creamier side)

6 tbsp of organic pure unsweetened almond butter, room temperature

1 tbsp of pure vanilla extract

6 tbsp of filtered water

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients together. Using a spoon, add in coconut milk, almond butter and vanilla. Add in water. Mixture might be crumbly, which is better! With your hands, form into a large ball of dough. The dough should eventually feel play-doh like. Press onto parchment paper dusted with cacao and form into a large square and then cut into desired small strips. Dust the top with more cacao. You can top it with unsweetened coconut shredding and/or almond flakes. Store covered in fridge. Grab a square at your tummy’s discretion.

*The texture of the bars are very soft, cookie dough like. If you add a little more liquid, it will be a little more creamy. They do firm up in the fridge but won’t harden and will soften up if left at room temperature.

Mini Coconut Chia Seed Pancakes – Low Carb, Gluten/Wheat Free, Vegan, Low/No Sugar Added, Grain Free, All Natural Ingredients 

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I love pancakes. And not the Aunt Jemima type pancakes – but this one! For those of you “glyceamics” who keep on low carb, low/no sugar, vegan, gluten/wheat free lifestyle like me, this is for you. (Or if you just want a healthier alternative to those Aunt Jemima pancakes too!)

I have already expressed my love and need for coconut flour and coconut oil so of course they main ingredient is coconut in this recipe.

Making the perfect pancake isn’t always the easiest, so be patient. They may not form exactly like a normal pancake, but trust me, they are still delicious. I generally top my stack with cinnamon and melted coconut oil. But if you really need the syrup taste, opt for coconut nectar. Or if you want some more coconut punch, try whipping up some cold coconut milk as a whipped cream topping.They also go great with a side of berries!

Check out why coconut flour and coconut flour pancakes are the best:

www.coconutflourpancakes.com

NOTE TO SELF: Do not eat right from out of the frying pan!! 😉

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of egg replacer (Like ground flax seeds or ground chia seeds) with 8 tablespoons of warm water

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of organic coconut flour, sifted

1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract (not flavouring!)

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 to 2 packets or teaspoons of stevia (or coconut palm sugar)

Cold pressed virgin organic coconut oil for frying and topping (melted)

1/8 teaspoon of salt ** I usually keep this out

Optional: 2 tablespoons of full fat unsweetened coconut milk

Optional: 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

Let egg replacer (either flax seeds or chia seeds) sit in the warm water for a bit until it looks gooey. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir thoroughly until well blended. You can allow the batter to sit for at least a few minutes too. Batter will be thick. Heat a greased nonstick skillet over medium high heat for a minute or two. Add coconut oil for frying. Make sure the pan is completely pre heated before cooking in order to have the ideal pancakes. Pour desired amount into the pan. I use about two tablespoons to make mini pancakes. Cook until golden, a few minutes on each side. Transfer to your plate and repeat with the rest of your batter. You’ll need to re-grease the pan with more coconut oil between each pancakes. And ENJOY!

If you want the non-vegan version, check out the ingredients below: 

2 egg whites

1/4 cup of organic coconut flour, sifted

1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract (not vanilla flavouring)

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1-2 packets of stevia or coconut palm sugar

2-3 teaspoons of chia seeds soaked in warm water for a few minutes

Cold pressed virgin organic coconut oil for frying and topping (melted)

Optional: 2 tablespoons of full fat unsweetened coconut milk

Optional: 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

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