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the balanced bowl: morning edition

The Balanced Bowl Morning Edition: Creamy Vanilla Almond Chia Pudding

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I’m that person who goes to sleep at night dreaming of what I’m going to eat come morning, and jumps awake dashing to the kitchen to make breakfast. What we eat first thing sets the tone for the entire day ahead. Think about it – whether we’re starting a new diet or trying out a new routine, the new day is a fresh start and fresh slate – a chance to make good choices and chase those ideals, whether food related or other.

If food is a last minute thought, chances are, it’s not until you’re rushing out the door or getting to the office, when the hunger pangs start kicking in and you are reaching for another cup of coffee and whatever snack foods are lingering in the office kitchen or your desk drawer. This can create a snowball effect in other areas of life where health and quality of living are not priorities. Come on people! This is no way to live, our health always comes first!

We are are what we eat, what our bodies are able to digest, and assimilate. These good or poor food choices made day after day, week after week, and month after month, and so on, add up. Over time we build sustainable lifestyles that are second nature, and it all starts with breakfast. So fuel up on the good stuff and make a habit of it. There’s only one you, and it is needs to be fed right to function properly.

I like to think of breakfast like brain food, so this bowl was built focused around the most nutrient-dense and vibrant seasonal ingredients available. Breakfast should leave us feeling full and energized and sated till lunch, without feeling stuffed, bloated, or foggy. Loaded with plenty of seasonal and exotic superfoods, it spotlights these ingredients not only from a nutritional perspective, but creates an easy and delicious meal balanced with a variety of flavors and textures as well – all easily swapped in or out based on the season and your own personal preferences.

 

 

Why Chia?

Using chia as a base for this breakfast bowl is no happy coincidence. Chia seeds are a wealth of nutrition. Just one ounce provides 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, calcium, magnesium, manganese, other trace minerals, and potent antioxidants. They are also full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ALA. Chia seeds are extremely hydrophilic, due to their gelatinous outer coating that absorbs up to 12 times their weight in liquid, creating a gel-like quality and texture perfect for puddings, jams, and even smoothies. In addition their gelatinous quality helps us hydrate and feel full longer, while the high fiber content and gentle effect of the mucilaginous coating soothes inflammation in our intestines while also gently sweeping away toxins and maintaining regularity. Chia may help to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol and even normalize hormones, so eat up!

. . . . .

 

Morning Edition: Vanilla Almond Chia Pudding Bowl

Makes 2 servings

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 1/2 cups nut milk of choice

1-2 tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey (optional)

2-3 dates

1 banana or 1 avocado

1 small thumb of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

pinch of sea or Himalayan pink salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon scraped vanilla bean

Optional Add Ins:

1 serving of protein powder of choice or green powder

 

1/2 cup of coconut milk yogurt (optional - can be blended in or used as a topping)

Optional Toppings:

Approximately 1-2 tablespoons of each

Pepitas, hemp seeds, or flaxseeds, or other choice of nuts or seeds

goji berries or other dried fruits and superfruits

pears

seasonal citrus

seasonal berries

passion fruit

guava

kiwi

avocado

figs

banana

mint or fresh herbs

fresh sprouts

edible flowers

cacao nibs

bee pollen

a sprinkle of spirulina or green powder, turmeric or matcha powder

Assembly:

Chia pudding can be made in a couple different ways. The classic way involves washing and soaking the chia in a liquid, allowing the chia to gel for 30 minutes to a couple hours. The other, creates a smooth, thick pudding consistency that requires blending the chia while dry, and then adding the liquid component and blending again till creamy. Both ways are delicious, and in fact your body will absorb more of the chia nutrients when it is broken down. The choice is yours.

Wash and rinse chia seeds. Either blend all other ingredients together before adding chia seeds and allow to sit for at least an hour, or pulse or blend dry chia seeds to breakdown. Add all ingredients to a blender and allow to sit for about 30 minutes to 1 hour to gel.

Slice, chop and arrange seasonal toppings of choice. Enjoy!

Chia pudding can easily be prepared ahead of time or even the night before, so you can prep and go!

I am so excited to be collaborating with Out of the Box Collective - So Cal's premier farm to kitchen delivery service - offering artisanal groceries, produce boxes, and culinary inspiration, one box at a time. Head to their site to purchase Flora ex Machina's Breakfast Bowl Box and Pantry Box - which includes everything you need to make these recipes at home.

 

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