Always grind your chia!

Published 10.20.2019: Just a short note today about chia seeds. Long story short: ALWAYS grind your chia seeds if you want to absorb the goodness within them. Otherwise, they just pass through you.

Brief Osteo update

I've written before about my osteoporosis, but not recently. Short and sweet update, I am still off all drugs, and my bone density is basically stable. The number shift a bit each time it gets measured, but I am essentially exactly where I was when I was first diagnosed.

The specialists I now see wants me to go back on the drugs, but I brought up the cholesterol issue I had when on the drugs. However, because they didn't have the data in my file (because those were tests done as part of an insurance company's "wellness" program, not as a matter of course for me at that age), they were unconvinced. However, because my condition is basically stable and I don't have any pain, they allowed me to decline the drugs— for now.

Actually, they did admit that in fact, the drug I had been on does use the "cholesterol pathway," it's just that the side effect that I reported is not known— or more precisely isn't recognized as a side effect because the cholesterol that was skyrocketing was the "good" type. But you can have too much "good" cholesterol, and my total cholesterol number was rising too. (It's rising again even with out the drugs, but that's a different issue.)

Onto the chia…

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I've mentioned my issue with dairy here perviously, so I'm not going to rehash it here. My effort to replace the calcium I'd been getting from dairy has not gone as well as I'd hoped, especially since I now work outside the house. And I think my effort to still eat some dairy (cheese) hurt the absorption of everything I'd been eating. The doctors didn't seem convinced by my comment on that, but it is definitely true that I seem to be absorbing more from my food— if only because the transit from mouth to toilet is so much longer. Which is probably way more info than anyone required, so let's move on.

Beans, greens, seeds, and nuts— in that order— is how I told the doctors I would get the calcium I needed. Plus I said I would pop a supplement if I couldn't do it. Interestingly, the doctor then told me to always eat food with the supplement or it wouldn't be absorbed. That's if you're eating chalk (calcium carbonate) as a supplement, which I think is the type that I had.

I'm still anti-supplement, so I have upped my calcium content game by altering my list order a bit and increasing the amount of chia that I eat. Most of the sites that discuss chia say that grinding them is not necessary for the absorption of calcium and other substances, but this is wrong. The video doesn't mention calcium, but I can't think of a reason that it wouldn't apply to that.

Most people use chia to make a slurry, and that's exactly how I ingest them. Even with slurry though, the effect is greater if you grind the seeds. If you want a thick chia pudding, just grind the seeds and add the liquid. My current liquid of choice is fortified soy milk, which contains 325 mg of calcium per 8 oz glass. So with that and three tablespoons of ground chia, I get 500 mg of calcium most mornings. I still eat a lot of beans and greens too, though more greens than beans because they are the better source of calcium.

I do eat nuts, but not a lot. I like nuts and have no problem digesting them, but they are calorie dense. Yes, I still accept the reality of the energy balance. Now that I'm absorbing my food better I put on a few more pounds and have had to wake myself to the amount I've been consuming. I still don't exercise as much as I should. Given my current schedule, that isn't likely to change any time soon. So for the foreseeable future, input part of the energy balance that I can control (what goes into my pie hole) is much more important than the expenditure term (my exercise and even my NEAT term).

Long term (are there any of you?) readers will know that I put a LOT of stock in the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (aka NEAT) term of the energy balance. My whole "Stand up fitness" plan was based on NEAT, after all. But what I've found at the shop is that I wind up sitting much more than I expected, and that there is no easy way to change this.

Very long winded way to say, "Grind your chia, people!" But here we are. Thank you for reading!

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