I first came across Chia Seeds when I read Born to Run – the gospel of the barefoot running movement.
It was here that the amazing endurance exploits of the Tarahumara Indians were introduced to the world.
In a nutshell the Tarahumara’s ability to run and run was down to two things – running in sandals and eating Chia seeds.
Ever one to seek a solution by way of my stomach, I scoured the Internet in search of the miracle seed. I imagined turning my allotment over to Chia seed production and living a life dedicated to tending crops and running extremely long distances. In the end I couldn’t find any so tried Plan B and ordered myself a pair of vibram fivefingers.
Nowadays it seems that everyone is recognising Chia Seed as the next superfood.
I was contacted last week by Tim Taylor who recently set up Running Food to bring sachets of Chia Seed into the hands of the runner. He sent me a couple of sachets and I chose to try one out on the Thames Meander Half Marathon.
It’s never a good plan to try new things on race day and true to form this experiment was not all I’d hoped for.
I fancied a bit of Chia Charge but I’m afraid I had to settle for a disappointing performance slump – not that I can put the blame entirely with the seeds.
Chia seeds swell up in water and develop a gel like coating. This can help with certain properties such as appetite suppression but also gives rise to an unpleasant chewiness. I find it a little disconcerting to have to chew my water during a run. It’s rather like trying to swallow cold, runny, sago, but then no one said endurance running was easy.
The Chia Charge seeds had been flavoured with a sugar free raspberry powder which ensures that the drink is relatively low calorie (89 cals per 500ml) and all the nutrients are coming from the seed. I’m not really a big fan of raspberry drinks and would have opted to flavour my seed mix with orange if I’d had the choice, but each to their own. As Tim says on his website
We are all different, sometimes a new drink will work for you, you only find out by trying.
If you are at all interested in the powers of Chia Seeds why not give them a go. I can heartily recommend Running Food even if I’m not 100% converted yet.