Friday, June 04, 2021

chia pudding

Finally got my chia seeds, which means I can now make my chia pudding:

Chia seeds are reminiscent of other foods that swell when you add water. Wikipedia says they swell to 12 times their original size, and the coating is a polysaccharide gel (learn more here). Someone got the idea of using chia seeds to make low-carb pudding, and except for the fact that you've got a mouthful of seeds in every bite, which can be kind of crunchy, it's not a bad idea: the seeds really do create a legitimately pudding-like texture (pudding in the American sense—sorry, UK readers, but you guys use the word "pudding" to describe foods from solid to liquid, to the point where the term is almost meaningless). So last night, I followed a keto recipe for a type of chocolate pudding, and it turned out OK.

The liquid you use for your keto pudding is ideally almond milk, but you could also use heavy cream (which is surprisingly keto), whole milk, soy milk, or some other milk substitute. Using heavy cream ensures that your dessert will be very high in calories, but it'll still be low in carbs. If you've built up a caloric deficit by taking a long walk, though, you can afford slightly higher calories; just keep the carb count low. That's what I'm looking for: a dessert I can eat in volume without having to worry about carbs. I like my macadamia nuts, but I have to restrict myself to only a handful (they're about 200 calories per handful). And I don't mind my morning SlimFast, but it's a bit sugary, so I can't fix myself a gigantic portion to guzzle. This pudding, then, will serve to ease certain dinnertime cravings as it has no added sugar (I use erythritol or monkfruit as my sweetener). The pudding-like texture of the soaked chia seeds ensures satiety, so all in all, that's another dietary problem solved. I'll eventually want to branch out to other desserts, but chocolate is a longtime favorite, so I'm good for the moment.

Now, the recipe I used called for almond butter as a way to fortify the pudding, and this was the original reason why I'd bought the butter. Having made a tiny portion of chia pudding, however, I have to say that the almond butter gets lost in the final product. I'm not sure it's necessary. Pure Dutch-process powdered cocoa has very few calories per teaspoon, and I'm wondering whether I can mix some cocoa in with the almond butter to make a sort of Nutella Lite that can then be added to pudding, but more likely, I'm going to leave the almond butter out entirely and enjoy it separately, maybe on some keto bread.

Among the liquids, I'll be using almond milk for the most part, with some added heavy cream. I won't go for pure heavy cream unless I'm really desperate for a heavy dessert. Soy milk, it turns out, is surprisingly carby, so while I have some soy milk in my fridge, I'll be using it sparingly. For the moment, though, I'm happy simply to have solved the problem of dessert. I just have to remember to make dessert in the morning for it to be ready in the evening: chia seeds need a few hours to soak and swell.

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