Couch Hangs + Blackberry Chia Pudding Parfaits

I have been on a big chia pudding kick lately. It's so simple to throw together and makes a large batch that can take you through a solid week's worth of breakfast. Maybe even make that two. 

Thanks to the fiber content in chia, these potent little seeds (when ingested properly), benefit a healthy digestive system and provide a boost of energy to help keep you sustained well into the lunch hour. By soaking them in liquid, they have the chance to plump and form a gelatin-like substance in the stomach that works as a prebiotic to support the growth of probiotics in the gut.

Many recent conversations are taking place about our microbiome and the importance of properly nourishing our gut to maintain optimal overall health. In fact, our gut contains up to 95% of our serotonin levels, so it is critical to understand how closely linked our sense of joy is to our gut health. In regards to hormone levels, our gut metabolizes estrogen, and if not in balance, it can throw off your entire hormonal, endocrine system. External toxins mimic estrogen and create estrogen triggers. Plant-based fiber helps the body rid of excess estrogen (like chia and flax seeds!). 

Speaking of hormones, I'd like to shift the conversation quickly to seed cycling. My friend Marisa recently introduced to the concept and I was instantly intrigued. Seed cycling is a gentle way to help your body balance your hormones naturally by adding different seeds into your diet at different phases of your menstrual cycle. Simply adding seeds like flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds to your diet at different times in your cycle can promote healthy hormones by encouraging your body to either produce or detoxify certain hormones. It is literally using foods to either promote estrogen detoxification, in the first half of your cycle, or to increase progesterone production in the second.

Potential positive side effects may include relief from the following hormonal symptoms:

  • Acne
  • PMS
  • Irregular Cycle
  • Infertility or sub-fertility
  • Too light or too heavy bleeding
  • Peri-menopause
  • Post-menopausal hormone symptoms like low libido or depression
  • PCOS
  • Irregular cycle

I started experimenting on my own, but plan to dive in fully at the beginning of my next cycle and give it a couple rounds to see if I notice any changes in my hormones. 

Anyhow, it inspired this delicious and indulgent recipe that made for pretty amazing company while Marisa and I held indoor couch hangs in an effort to escape the ongoing heatwave. Rich, creamy, filling and that beautiful purple hue! It came to me overnight and I woke up dreaming about it, so wanted to share in the goodness with the gal that introduced me to the concept in the first place. (Thank you, Marisa!)

Blackberry Chia Pudding Parfait

Serves 2

Bottom layer: Vanilla Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • Non-dairy milk, such as almond or macadamia nut
  • Chia seeds
  • Vanilla bean from 1 pod or alcohol-free vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Pour in the contents of 1 container of non-dairy milk into a very large bowl. (I've found that my newest favorite nut milk, Milkadamia's Macadamia Nut Milk, is suited well for this.)
  • Add in 1/2 cup of chia seeds to the bowl and stir.
  • Remove the vanilla bean seeds from a full pod (or use 1-2 tsp extract) and combine into the bowl. If using a pod, leave the pod in as well.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge overnight. 

Note: Check on it before bed to see how the chia seeds are plumping up and if it still looks very watery, add a few more tablespoons of chia seeds and stir. It all depends on your chia plump preferences!

For the Blackberry Smoothie base:

Ingredients:

Fresh blackberries

Raw cashews

Tahini (sesame seed butter)

Raw sunflower seeds

Maqui berry powder (skip this ingredient if you don't have any, otherwise look for it/request it at your local health food store or order it here)

Non-dairy milk of choice, such as almond or macadamia nut

Instructions:

  • Combine 1 cup non-dairy milk into a blender with: 2 handfuls blackberries, 2 handfuls raw cashews, 2 tbsp tahini, handful raw sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp macqui berry powder and blend on high.

For assembly:

  • Grab 2 small bowls or jars and in each, layer the bottom with chia pudding followed by a thick layer of blackberry smoothie.
  • Garnish the top with more fresh blackberries and any additional flavors that you'd like. Here, I've used flaked coconut butter (rich, healthy fats) and some dried lavender. 

Plop yourself on a couch and indulge, then maybe drag yourself to evening restorative yoga. It doesn't get too much better than that.

Be well and eat the chia, yah?

xx Allison