The Paleo Panda | always hungry - Part 3 The Paleo Panda – Page 3 – always hungry

Coeur d’Alene Engagement Weekend

Blog, Love. | September 10, 2015 | By

When I was told we were planning a trip out to Coeur d’Alene for Labor Day, I had no idea what a weekend it would be!  I had always heard about the beauty of the lake and was excited to experience the magic.  Located approximately 30 miles east of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene is named after a tribe of Native Americans who live along the rivers and lakes of the region.  There are actually more than 55 lakes in the region, with Lake Coeur d’Alene being the most magnificent!

We flew into Spokane and met our friends Doug and Shadi to make the scenic drive to the lake, stopping at the delicious local Toby’s BBQ stand on the way of course.  An easy hour drive later, we were at the beautiful home of the Whites and Matalon at Black Rock.  Eager to check out our surroundings, we settled in to our amazing room, complete with deck and Keurig machine then headed down to the lake.  I did find it slightly odd that no one else wanted to join…and that we brought one of the $100 bottles of Williams Selyem pinot that we brought the hosts along with us…but was more excited to be heading to the water. 

Coeur d'Alene Lake

Coeur d’Alene Lake

There were all sorts of paddleboards and kayaks down by the water and we decided to take the canoe out for a spin.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and the lake was gorgeous and perfectly still for our ride.  By then we had discovered that if either of us moved two inches, the canoe would most likely completely capsize.  After a few paddles around the lovely lake, I discovered that I could pass my empty wine glass over on an oar and be returned a full glass of pinot with no spillage!  I was still reveling in my ingenuity that I hardly noticed a black box being pulled out of the pocket of a Patagonia rain jacket.  At this point I think I slightly blacked out a little bit and was presented with the sweetest proposal (and most breathtaking ring) in history.  It was so perfect just being in the sun, on the water…and with my fiancé!

Wine, please!

Wine, please!

Ring, please?!

Ring, please?!

So happy!!

So happy!!

As we paddled back towards the dock, we heard cheering and the popping of champagne.  Unbeknownst to me, our friends had been watching us from the Black Rock clubhouse.  We celebrated with some amazing champagne and of course more Williams Selyem – and a celebratory dip in the freezing cold lake.  On our way back to the house to get ready for our special dinner, we even saw a couple of deer only a few feet away from us.  They were definitely celebrating with us!

Engaged!

Engaged!

If you ever find yourself in Coeur d’Alene, you must stop and dine at Satay Bistro (ask for Kelleen as your waitress).  They have an amazing private wine room to dine in and their homemade bread drizzled in olive oil and garlic is to die for.  Their pasta is made completely from scratch and all soups, marinades and sauces are made fresh daily by the culinary team…truly “farm to menu”!

Satay Bistro
2501 N 4th St
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
$$

Dining in the wine room at Satay

Dining in the wine room at Satay

We took a day to head to Schweitzer Mountain and take the chairlift to the top of the mountain to do some hiking!  The largest resort in Idaho and Washington with 2,900 acres of amazing terrain in the rugged Selkirk Mountains, Schweitzer overlooks the beautiful Lake Pend Oreille.  The hike was a long way down but the views were worth it.  We even caught a rainbow!  It just so happened to be Fall Fest on the mountain with 60+ microbrews and live music, including a killer all-girl ACDC cover band.  If you have the time, stop in the charming and eclectic town of Sandpoint on your way out…a perfect to reward your hiking efforts with a drink + view of the lake!

View from the top of Schweitzer Mountain

View from the top of Schweitzer Mountain

Could not resist this while taking a pic of the rainbow!

Could not resist this while taking a pic of the rainbow!

Relaxing in Sandpoint

Relaxing in Sandpoint

A beautiful end to an amazing weekend…thank you so much to Jason, Jess, Justin, Sarah, Doug and Shadi and especially Kevin for making it one to remember forever!  Over the moon!

Senorita Panda’s Spiced Rubbed Fiesta Chicken

Chicken, Recipes | September 2, 2015 | By

Trying to eat healthy but the thought of more grilled chicken breasts makes you want to eat dirt?  I think we can all grow tired of the same plain (but lean) boring chicken.  I spiced it up last night with this spiced rubbed fiesta chicken that really brings the heat with flavor and texture.  The zesty avocado salsa adds the perfect dimension of coolness and deliciousness.  I’ve also discovered the PERFECT way to bake a tender chicken breast.  The trick is to bake it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes covered with foil so the inside cooks perfectly then remove the foil for the last 10 minutes so the top gets golden without drying it out!

Senorita Panda’s Spiced Rubbed Fiesta Chicken
Serves 2
Zesty hot chicken with savory cool avocado salsa.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 boneless skinless breasts
  2. 1 tsp chili powder
  3. 1 tsp paprika
  4. 1 tsp cumin
  5. 1 tsp garlic powder
  6. ½ tsp thyme
  7. ½ tsp olive oil
  8. Salt and black pepper to taste
For the fiesta salsa
  1. 1 avocado, cubed
  2. 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  3. ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  4. 1 tsp olive oil
  5. ½ tsp cumin
  6. 1 garlic clove, minced
  7. Juice of 1 lime wedge
  8. Salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder and thyme.
  3. Coat the chicken breasts with olive oil, seasoning mixture, salt and black pepper.
  4. Place the chicken breasts in a glass baking pan, cover and seal with a layer of foil then bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is baking, prepare the fiesta salsa by combining the tomatoes, cilantro, olive oil, cumin, garlic, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Toss in the avocado and lime juice.
  7. Once the chicken has slightly cooled, slice and top with fiesta salsa!
The Paleo Panda https://thepaleopanda.com/

Panda Gone Country!

Dierks Bentley at Sleep Train

Blog, Live. | August 22, 2015 | By

This past weekend I got to see one of my all-time favorite artists perform at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.  Dierks Bentley rocked the house with his best show ever (hands down)…and I have seen a lot of shows.  I don’t understand how not every person in this world is a country fan.  I think it’s because country historically has had a negative honky tonk stigma and people don’t give it a chance.  They’re scared they might actually like it…and to their delight they probably will!  I’d much rather listen to songs with actual stories, heart and depth instead of incomprehensible lyrics about mischief and b*tches but that’s just me. 

The crew tailgating at Sleep Train

The crew tailgating at Sleep Train

The show opened with the classic Dierks Bentley flag, show-stopping pyrotechnics and a strapping Dierks perched on the podium with the beginning tones of “Sideways” playing in the background.  Indeed, “worked all week, it’s time to play, gonna get a little bit…sideways” and sideways we were!  One of the many highlights was his performance of “I Hold On”, one of my favorite songs about how he holds on to his roots and what all is important in his life: “Baby, looking at you right now, there ain’t never been no doubt, without you I’d be nothing, so if you ever worry about me walking out, let me tell you something.  I hold on.”  Something people unfortunately no longer do these days!  He killed his current single “Say You Do” and brought out his opener Kip Moore for his first encore song “What Was I Thinking”.  Classic!  Needless to say, he brought down the house with his final hit “Drunk on a Plane”.

Kevin's first country concert...worked all week it's time to play, gonna get a little bit sideways!

Kevin’s first country concert…worked all week it’s time to play, gonna get a little bit sideways!

We continued basking in the glow of the show with a little dance party fiesta with the bands afterwards.  “Hangin’ memories on the high line poles. Free and easy down the road I go!”

All time performance!

All time performance!

In honor of the evolution of the curl afro, here’s a walk down memory lane…starting as early as 2008!  Nationwide.   Youngins!

Through the years, hairstyles and ooutfits!

Through the years, hairstyles and ooutfits!

Paleo Pork Chops with Mango Avocado Salsa

Pork, Recipes | August 12, 2015 | By

Pork is one of the leanest proteins you can have.  Cooking it in the pan with a little olive oil  gives it a flavorful golden crust while keeping it tender and healthy at the same time.  The mango avocado salsa to top these golden pork chops is sweet and slightly spicy, you’ll want a spoonful with every bite!  You can make this salsa to enhance virtually any dish – paleo or non-paleo!  Mouthwatering deliciousness!

Paleo Pork Chops with Mango Avocado Salsa
Serves 4
Golden pork that's slightly sweet and spicy!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs lean pork chops
  2. 2 tbsp paprika
  3. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp dried thyme
  5. ½ tsp cumin
  6. ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. ½ tsp black pepper
  9. 1 tbsp olive oil
For the mango avocado salsa
  1. 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  2. ½ avocado, peeled and cubed
  3. ½ cup red onion, chopped
  4. ½ cup plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  5. ¼ cup lime juice
  6. 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  7. 1 tbsp olive oil
  8. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  9. 1 tsp ground cumin
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pat pork chops dry and place face up on a dry plate.
  2. Mix together the paprika, garlic powder, thyme, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Rub and coat both sides of the pork chop with mixture.
  4. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat.
  5. Cook pork chops (three at a time) for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side.
  6. Flip and cook the pork chops on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes until the pork chops are golden brown and no pink juices remain.
  7. Make the mango salsa by combining the mango, red onion, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and cumin in a small bowl, gently tossing in the avocado at the end.
  8. Top the slightly cooled pork chops with the mango avocado salsa and serve!
The Paleo Panda https://thepaleopanda.com/

Burlington/Stowe, Vermont

We forged the trek cross country to Vermont this past weekend for a wedding and while I knew it would be pretty this time of year, I wasn’t fully aware of the beauty I was in store for!  We took a red eye flight from LAX to JFK…then hopped on a 1+ hour flight to Burlington.  I had scoped out a highly ranked breakfast spot for us in the heart of town for when we landed – Penny Cluse Café – with supposedly amazing egg and chorizo tacos with black beans and avocado and it did not disappoint.  Their home fries and banana bread are also out of this world.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourselves subject to a 30 minute to 1 hour wait for a table but you’ll appreciate that time to wander the adorable and bustling cafes and shops of Burlington’s main square!

Penny Cluse Café (Burlington, Vermont)
169 Cherry Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 651-8834
$$

Egg and chorizo tacos at Penny Cluse Cafe

Egg and chorizo tacos at Penny Cluse Cafe

Charming Burlington town square

Charming Burlington town square

The cutest street lined with shops and restaurants

The cutest street lined with shops and restaurants

The Ben and Jerry's factory is SO CLOSE

The Ben and Jerry’s factory is SO CLOSE

With bellies full, we embarked on the scenic hour drive up to Stowe.  We arrived at our hotel and were in awe of the pristine and majestic beauty of the Stowe Mountain Lodge.  The quintessential New England resort, you could definitely feel the beauty of the mountains and the charm of the surrounding town and can only imagine how beautiful the resort would be covered in snow.  Located at the base of Mount Mansfield, the resort is the only ski-in/ski-out lodging in Stowe, boasts farm-to-table dining at their Solstice Restaurant and has a plethora of shopping options at The Shops at Stowe Mountain Lodge (including the Beanery coffee shop that just happens to have THE best breakfast sandwiches in town). Take the gondola up for skiing in the winter and for zip-lining and hiking in the summer!

Stowe Mountain Lodge (Stowe, Vermont)
5781 Mountain Rd, Stowe, Vermont 05672
(802) 253-3000
$$$$

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge

We settled into our king suite with a fireplace, kitchenette and bathrobes then decided to tackle a Smugglers’ Notch hike that we had read about that ends at the beautiful Sterling Pond.  We drove up to the Smugglers’ Notch Park visitor center and parked (well at least half of the car) at the base of the trail.  The hike is about 2 miles on a well-maintained yet vertical trail…look for the 2” x 6” blue blazes to mark the trail.  Make sure you reward your efforts with a refreshing dip in the pond!

The hike to Sterling Pond

The hike to Sterling Pond

We made it to Sterling Pond!

We made it to Sterling Pond!

If there’s one thing that’s a given in Vermont, it’s that they sure like their Heady Topper.  This American Double IPA is packed with hops and while it’s not the strongest or bitter double IPA, you’ll get a hint of orange, tropical fruit, pink grapefruit, pine and spice hops in every sip.  It is unfiltered and contains 8% ABV and because it’s sold only in limited production, it sells out within days or hours of being released.  You’ll most likely see a silver can of Heady Topper being dranken at every restaurant table in Vermont…we even saw someone drinking it at 8 am with breakfast!

The Alchemist Brewery
35 Crossroad Rd, Waterbury, Vermont 05676
(802) 244-7744

image

Wedding time!  The ceremony and reception were held at the bride’s beautiful family home up in the mountains of Stowe.  Escaping the forecasted thunderstorms, we had the perfect sunny weather for a beautiful romantic ceremony by the pond.  The wedding was flawless and we danced the night away to music by the groom and friends…and of course Heady Topper galore!

The beautiful ceremony site

The beautiful ceremony site

The groom and bride in her amazing Katie May Barcelona gown

The groom and bride in her amazing Katie May Barcelona gown

Cousin time!

Cousin time!

You cannot leave Stowe without buying some maple syrup…and eating at one of THE best places to get a salad or sandwich.  Ever.  Green Goddess Cafe makes the most amazing “create your own” colossal salads  served in huge wooden bowls with mouthwatering dressing (think maple balsalmic, jalapeno cilantro lime and their signature green goddess just to name a few).  Their double peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie isn’t too bad either!

Green Goddess Café (Stowe, Vermont)
618 S Main Street #2, Stowe, Vermont 05672
(802) 253-5255
$$

Insane salad at Green Goddess Cafe

Insane salad at Green Goddess Cafe

“This article is now featured on GPSmyCity. To download this article for offline reading or travel directions to the attractions highlighted in this article, go to Walking Tours in Stowe, Vermont on GPSmyCity

Bacon Wrapped Honey Dijon Chicken Breasts

Chicken, Pork, Recipes | July 23, 2015 | By

I am on a serious Dijon mustard kick.  It’s so low in calories but it ads so much zest to every bite…mix a little honey with it and you get that perfect sweet ‘n salty explosion for your taste buds.  I think everyone can agree that you can wrap anything in bacon and it will be delicious.  For that reason alone (and so many more), you’ll love this golden sweet tangy chicken wrapped in smoky thick bacon.  The flavor of the bacon seeps into the chicken as it cooks.  Amazing, right?

Bacon Wrapped Honey Dijon Chicken Breasts
Serves 2
Golden sweet tangy chicken wrapped in smoky thick bacon.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 chicken breasts
  2. 6 slices of thick cut bacon
  3. 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  4. 3 tbsp honey
  5. ¼ tsp salt
  6. ¼ tsp black pepper
  7. ¼ tsp garlic powder
  8. ¼ tsp paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
  3. Mix together Dijon mustard and honey in a small bowl.
  4. Coat each chicken breast with honey mustard mixture.
  5. Wrap slices of raw bacon around each chicken breast until entire breast is covered (approximately 3 slices for each breasts depending on size).
  6. Apply another layer of honey mustard mixture on top of bacon covered chicken breasts.
  7. Line an 8 x 13 baking pan with tinfoil and coat with olive oil spray to prevent chicken breasts from sticking.
  8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
The Paleo Panda https://thepaleopanda.com/

Dijon Almond Crusted Tilapia

Recipes, Seafood | July 21, 2015 | By

I wanted to make a healthy and delicious recipe last night but fish can sometimes taste too light and unsatisfying! Not to fear, this recipe has the perfect blend of saltiness and sweetness…all topped with a golden almond crunch. My favorite thing about cooking fish is that you can throw it in a baking dish, pop it in the oven and it’s cooked by the time you finish cleaning your prep dishes. You can use this recipe with pretty much any fish, I just prefer the mildness of tilapia. Enjoy!

Dijon Almond Crusted Tilapia
Serves 2
Sweet, savory and crunchy!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
For the tilapia
  1. 2 or 3 fillets of tilapia (approximately 1 pound)
  2. 1/3 cup raw almonds
  3. ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  4. 1 tbsp honey
  5. ½ tsp paprika
  6. ½ tsp garlic powder
  7. Salt and black pepper
  8. Olive oil
  9. Chopped cilantro to garnish
For the Dijon sauce
  1. 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  2. 1 tbsp honey
  3. 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  4. ¼ tsp dried thyme
  5. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and slightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Mix in paprika and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard with honey and mix.
  5. Rinse and pat the tilapia fillets dry.
  6. Sprinkle each side with garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
  7. Coat the bottom side of each fillet with mustard mixture.
  8. Sprinkle almond mix on top of mustard and press into the fish with fingers.
  9. Place each fillet into the baking dish with the coated side down.
  10. Repeat mustard coating and almond topping on the remaining top side of the fillet.
  11. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  12. Combine and mix the Dijon mustard, honey, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and dried thyme together in a small bowl to make the Dijon sauce and set aside.
  13. Top with Dijon sauce & fresh cilantro and serve
The Paleo Panda https://thepaleopanda.com/

Fourth of July Birthday in Hermosa Beach

Fourth of July crew

Blog, Live. | July 14, 2015 | By

I’ve finally recovered from the Fourth of July and therefore by association…my birthday!  We packed up the dog and headed up to my old stomping grounds of Hermosa Beach to spend the day with friends, fireworks and fireball!

A few other highlights from the day (besides my paleo caramel apple pecan bars and Rachael’s tequila infused watermelon skewers)…

Fourth of July crew

Fourth of July crew

Don't be fooled by the sky...love these girls!

Don’t be fooled by the sky…love these girls!

Thanks @danaworkman for the Hello Panda!  Hello panda!

Thanks @danaworkman for the Hello Panda! Hello panda!

About to be patriotic at American Junkie

About to be patriotic at American Junkie

Someone did not enjoy the fireworks show

Someone did not enjoy the fireworks show

Happy birthday America!

Happy birthday America!

Oh yeah, what did I do the next day on my actual birthday?  Giant turkey leg at the fair, of course!  Nom nom nom…

Paleo Caramel Apple Pecan Bars

Recipes | July 2, 2015 | By

Here’s an amazing recipe for you as you all head to your Fourth of July parties or are prepping some healthy yet delicious snacks to serve your guests at your own holiday party.  These paleo caramel apple pecan bars are sure to be a sticky sweet hit…no one will even know they’re paleo!

I wasn’t sure how the caramel would turn out since there’s NO processed sugar in the recipe (and that’s what caramel is typically made with) so imagine my ecstasy when a golden thick and sinfully delicious sauce started forming in my saucepan.  It looks, smells and tastes exactly like caramel!  I definitely did my happy dance!

I made these for a Fourth of July party I am heading to today…I’ll let you know how they turn out! Happy Fourth of July everyone!

God bless America for paleo caramel apple bars 🙂

Paleo Caramel Apple Pecan Bars
Serves 10
Deliciously sticky caramel apple bars with a pecan crunch.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
For the paleo caramel sauce
  1. 1 cup coconut milk
  2. 1 cup maple syrup (or 1/2 cup coconut sugar)
  3. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 2 tbsp water
  6. 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the paleo caramel apple pecan bars
  1. 1 cup chopped apples, peeled
  2. 2 cups pecans (additional 1/2 cup for topping with 1/2 cup walnuts)
  3. 1 3/4 cup almond meal
  4. ¼ cup coconut flour
  5. 1 egg
  6. ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  7. 2 tbsp honey
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 tsp baking soda
  10. 1 tsp baking powder
  11. ½ tsp salt
  12. ¼ tsp cinnamon
To make the paleo caramel sauce
  1. Mix the coconut milk, coconut oil, salt, water and vanilla together in a saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer for approximately 30 minutes, whisking occasionally in the beginning then with more frequency as it thickens until you are whisking constantly and the desired thickness is reached (until sauce slightly covers back of a spoon).
  3. Let caramel sauce cool.
To make the paleo caramel apple pecan bars
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place pecans in a food processor and blend.
  3. Combine processed pecans, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Add in egg and mix together.
  6. Fold in chopped apples and spoon batter into slightly greased 9 x 13 baking pan.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Combine 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts with 1 cup of caramel sauce and spread evenly over the bars.
  9. Broil for 2 minutes until topping is bubbling.
  10. Cool, cut and serve!
The Paleo Panda https://thepaleopanda.com/

Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia seeds, the superfood!

Health | July 1, 2015 | By

I love tapioca pudding…and anything with that delicious chewy texture for that matter.  Unfortunately tapioca isn’t too carb-friendly (or paleo).  Chia seeds, on the other hand, are among the healthiest foods on the planet and are jam packed with nutrients that are great for your body and brain!  In theory, chia seeds are supposed to control hunger while powering your diet with super-nutrients. 

A true superfood, an 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) serving of chia seeds contains approximately 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat (5 are Omega-3s) and 18% of the recommended dietary allowance of calcium.  They are “whole-grain”, non-GMO and naturally free of gluten. 

The best part about chia seeds is that you can throw a handful in a cup of almond or coconut milk, cover and refrigerate and by morning you have delicious chia pudding!  It doesn’t get any easier than that for a healthy yet delicious breakfast or snack. 

A few additional highlights on the benefits of chia seeds include:

  • Chia seeds are low calorie (approximately 137 calories in 1 ounce).
  • Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants that fight the production of free radicals which can contribute to aging and diseases such as cancer.
  • Chia seeds can help with weight loss due to their high fiber and protein content (when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle).
  • Chia seeds can cause major improvements in Type 2 Diabetes and lower blood pressure and a marker for inflammation.

Check out my super easy and delicious chia pudding here!

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