Healthy Habits

Building Resilience from the Inside Out

chia seeds in glass jar

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

From the Dietitian’s Desk
With Becca Rick, MS, RD

Resilience lives deep in the core of human beings, providing strength for continued growth like the solid core of California’s ancient Redwood trees. Resilience within a native community endures through a respectful relationship with the land, cherished cultural practices, and inherited food traditions passed down through generations.

The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians exemplifies a resilient community who have thrived in California’s mountains, plains, and river valleys for many years. They’ve flourished on foraged grains, nuts, greens, cactus, berries, and hunted game, fish, and shellfish. Today, the Rincon people use their land to practice tribal gaming, like bingo and gambling, to continue to thrive alongside modern society.

This recipe for Chia Pudding with Berries and Popped Amaranth is adapted from the flavors of the Ohlone tribe from the looming Redwoods near the San Francisco Bay area. Though different from the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, the Ohlone people have their own proven track record of resiliency and trace their roots back over 2,000 years. The recipe includes amaranth, a seed that is known as a gluten-free “grain.” Amaranth is an excellent protein source that contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also full of selenium, B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorous. It’s no wonder this ancient seed was called “food of immortality” by the Aztecs.

Additionally, this dish achieves a creamy, pudding-like texture from chia seeds. Like amaranth, chia seeds are a great source of protein and provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids for heart health. The recipe’s seeds and berries are full of fiber that feeds good bacteria in the gut. These bacteria serve health-promoting functions including communicating with the brain and supporting the immune system. Protein and healthful fat can nurture resilience from the inside by providing long-lasting energy and the building blocks to strengthen the body.

Going back to our country’s roots with this recipe, we can carry on as strong and resilient as the Rincon and Ohlone people and the giant Redwoods of California.

References:
https://rincon-nsn.gov/culture-history/history/#
https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/grain-month-calendar/amaranth-may-grain-month
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chia-seeds/

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