The word “parfait”, which is defined as a layered cold dessert composed of fruit, syrup and whipped cream or ice cream, conjures up images of the Jello 1-2-3s that my mother used to so lovingly make for us in the early 1970’s. Her dessert was a variation of the classic Jello 1-2-3 dessert mix (circa 1966-1969). She would make a pot of Jello. While it was still liquid, she would pour 1/2 of it into glass parfait containers 1/3 of the way up. She would then chill down the rest of the jello in a separate bowl. After it set, she would stir-chop 1/2 of a bowl of real whipped cream into the jello and gently incorporate the two. She would then distribute that over the set parfaits and top with remaining whipped cream. Voila! A 3 layer jiggly-creamy layer sweet treat delight. In 1973, this was my FAVORITE dessert.
Fast forward to 40 years later. Last week, I embarked on a 6 day raw food cleanse. I lost almost six lbs, renewed my energy (which had been waning due to little sleep and lotsa family and celebration). By the fourth day, I noticed that I was crossing off most things on my “to-do” list way faster than any of my triathlon transitions (that really isn’t saying much), I felt rested and the wrinkles on my face were visibly smaller than they had been on Monday (yep, playing the vanity card here).
However, on Sunday and Monday, I indulged in birthday and post birthday food (corn chips, sushi, Pad Thai, vegan In-and-Out Burgers and some great desserts. And wine). Tuesday came and I felt like I had almost undone all of the good “work” from the previous week. I was foggy and basically felt fairly lethargic. I reverted back to my raw, vegan diet and I continued it into Thursday afternoon.
One thing that I truly enjoy, raw diet or not, is chia pudding. I know that something is trending toward mainstream healthy eating when I see it packaged in the prepared foods case at Whole Foods. On the nutritional powerhouse side of things, Chia seeds are a tremendous source of antioxidants, fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids (60% of their lipid profile); full of minerals (2 Tbsp has 18% of your DRI of Calcium, 24% Magnesium and 50% Manganese); they are can be digested whole (meaning that they do not have to be ground in order to reap nutritional benefits); and they can be used as a 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds:3 Tbsp Water ratio in place of an egg in vegan baking. This pudding will satisfy most people’s desire for something creamy and you can dress it up or down with fruit, granola and/or a drizzle of maple syrup.
Coconut Chia Pudding Parfait
- 3 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 1 Cup Nut Milk (I made a Cashew-Coconut milk that I have been using exclusively in All Things That Need Milk over the last 2 weeks. I said “Buh-bye” to my beloved steamed soy in my morning drink)
- Cinnamon, Berries, Buckwheat, Chopped Nuts, Raw Granola, Sliced Banana, Figs
- Date, Maple or Agave Syrup for extra sweetness
- Combine Chia Seeds and Milk in a bowl. Stir for 30 seconds then wait 5 minutes and stir again. Repeat this 2 more times. Let sit at least 20 minutes or overnight in refrigerator.
This past Sunday, I raced the bike leg for our team in the Solana Beach Triathlon. I guess all of my biking has started to pay off as I was 3:30 faster on an 8.8 mile leg than I was in 2010 (thank you Anna Gerber, crazy bike phenom that you are!). Now if I could only get my run back……I had assembled the proverbial Dream Team and had bookended my mediocre bike with world record holder swimmer Gracie Van Der Byl and high school running phenom Kelly Lawson so it’s not like I had to do too much on the bike to end up on top of the podium.
I love the sport of triathlon. As I get older, I seek recipes that are both pleasurable and full of nutritional benefits as I want to continue to race as long as I can. Is Chia pudding the 2010’s answer to Jello 1-2-3s? I hope for sake of healthy America, it is.