April 03, 2012

Chia Seeds and Blood Donation

Today, I had the intention to go to a blood drive to donate my blood. I've only donated blood twice in my life, and I would like to do so more often. While I was falling asleep last night, however, I began to wonder if donating blood would have a negative impact on my marathon training.

So this morning, I asked my know-it-all friend (Google) if it was okay to donate, and discovered that it was a bad idea. I looked at numerous sources, and they all said the same thing: wait until you're done training. Apparently, it takes weeks to get back to "normal" after donating blood. A lot of runners said they felt awful when trying to run after donating.

So, needless to say, I decided not to chance it, and to forgo giving blood today.

Instead, I spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon lounging around in my pajamas on the couch. My body feels pretty sore from yesterday's run. Not horribly sore, but enough to where I really feel like I need this rest day.

I've gotten a few comments/e-mails lately about chia seeds. They were mentioned in the video I recommended: Hungry for Change. All the health benefits sound great, but a lot of people don't know what to do with them or how to use them.

I'm certainly no chia seed expert (I didn't even OWN a chia pet, can you believe it?) but I do eat chia seeds now and again. When you add chia seeds to a liquid and let them sit for about 10 minutes or so, they get kind of gelatinous, and they thicken the liquid--looking almost like a tapioca pudding. I like to use them to thicken oatmeal--particularly my cold oatmeal.

Cold oatmeal is nothing new--just search "overnight oats" on Google and you'll see that. But I'm not a plan-ahead kind of person. I never think ahead far enough to put my oats in the refrigerator the night before. Besides, I think they get a little too mushy that way. I like the cold, raw oats in a much simpler manner.

I make cold oats in the morning, just 10-15 minutes before I want to eat. I combine equal parts oats and milk (1/2 cup old fashioned oats + 1/2 cup milk) with a teaspoon or two of maple syrup to sweeten. I add 1 Tbsp. of chia seeds. Then I add whatever mix-ins I want--my very favorite is 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder for a chocolate oatmeal. Stir it up and then let it sit in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. Most of the liquid will be absorbed by the chia seeds and oats, and it'll be thickened to a perfect (in my opinion) consistency.

My favorite way to eat cold oats is in an almost-empty nut butter jar or a peanut butter bowl. The chocolate combo above in a peanut butter bowl is SO good:

1/2 c. oats, 1/2 c. milk, 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, 1 Tbsp. cocoa, 1 tsp. maple syrup
It tastes just like a no-bake cookie.

I've also had chia seeds in hot oatmeal, but I don't notice them at all. I will cook my oats on the stove with a Tbsp. of chia seeds (and whatever stuff I want in my oatmeal). You won't taste them at all. I like to save the chia seeds for cold oatmeal though.

For more of my oatmeal combinations, you can check out my post about oatmeal.

I discovered that Phoebe (our orange cat) loves Burt's Bees lip balm. Isn't that weird?! I swear that she knows the second I put it on, because she's all over me. She sniffs my lips and then tries to lick it off before I stop her:

It drives her crazy. And then last night, she went nuts over some tea I was drinking that had the same menthol-like smell. What a strange kitty!


  1. Molly LOVES mint, so if you're chewing gum or just brushed your teeth she won't leave you alone!

    I did feel like crap running the day after donating blood. I know it does take time to replenish that fluid and I definitely was dehydrated the next day or so. I donate ever 2 months now and earn points for gift cards!

  2. I need to try cold oatmeal... I can't stand the texture of cooked oatmeal. No matter how many times I try, I can't get past it. I don't know why I'm so determined to find a way to enjoy oatmeal, but I am. =)

  3. I just bought some chia seeds the other day and I'm planning to try cold oats tomorrow for breakfast :-)
    My cat does the same thing when I have something on that has the menthol smell. A few years ago I went through a bad acne phase and has a prescription cream from the dermatologist. As soon as I would use it and get in bed she would be all over me trying to lick my face and rub her face all over mine. It's hilarious

  4. That is so funny that you mention that about Phoebe; when my cat was alive (lived to 17!), she used to go CRAZY whenever anyone would put on Icy Hot or Bengay! It must be the menthol! Thanks for the memory!

  5. I bought some chia seeds a few months ago...need to try the cold oatmeal again!

    Your mom is in my age range, and I left her a msg on SP. Great that she is on there!


  6. That picture of Phoebe cracks me up! Our cat, Isabella, is funny about smells, too!

    I went over to your moms sparkpage and welcomed her! I hope she enjoys the site. I LOVE sparkpeople!

  7. I have to try the oatmeal that way! I make a yummy dessert with chia seeds. In my food processor I blend a couple of fresh strawberries, about a half cup of frozen blueberries, a bit of water and 1-2 Tbs of chia seeds. Sometimes I add a bit of stevia too - depends on how sweet the berries are. I pour it into a bowl and pop it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Because of the frozen blueberries it is semi-frozen and kind of like a sorbet. Very yummy!

  8. Can I just say I am soo sooo glad that you posted these topics today?!? I have been thinking about giving blood too but now I think I better not until winter where I wont be running as often. Last time I gave blood I ended up passing out and not feeling right for days so I think I might be sensitive to it. My thing is that I have O+ blood and know that I really need to get my ass over there and save some lives. So I'll still do it, but I will hold off until winter time I guess.
    Also, Can I just say I freakin completely forgot about chia seeds in cold oats? I ave two jars of PB and Almond butter that are actually ready for OIAJ..so now I have one last thing to worry about these next few days before school! Yayyyy! Love you girl, thanks for the reminders!

  9. Good for you for wanting to give blood Katie! I usually feel a bit 'off' for the rest of the day after giving blood. I usually do my workout before going and then drink lots of water, then afterwards I enjoy the free cookies and juice, go home and rest with my feet up.
    My blood type 0- is the 'universal donor' which can be used for anyone and is kept on hand for emergencies when there's no time to type and cross. I have a goal this year to donate every 56 days. Going again on Thursday!
    I use chia seeds for my overnight oats too. My favorite is oats and chia soaked in vanilla soy milk, then mixed with plain greek yogurt, pineapple chunks and a teaspoon of dried coconut. Sometimes I add a drizzle of coconut flavouring too. Pina Colada overnight oats- so good!

  10. The kitty pic is so cute! I can't remember if I've mentioned this, but she looks like my little Penny! Man, the most random parts of your blog are so fascinating and informative. I never would have known that you're not supposed to have blood drawn while you are training! I'm sure these details about your day to day life may seem mundane and unimportant, but I think I'm not the only one who can really learn from them! :D

  11. Lurker, turned 1st time commenter, here!! Love your blog!

    Happy 1st Anniversary on your wonderful, inspiring blog!

    I love chia seeds! Use them daily...in my oatmeal, in my smoothies, and I found a great recipe, which I've posted below.

    I've learned so much from you, Katie, thank you for all you've shared! Your positive, and down-to-earth attitude is so incredibly infectious and motivational!!

    A forever fan :) Lesley

    Chai Chia Pudding(Serves 6)

    1/4 cup chia seeds
    1 cup unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk
    5 pitted Medjool dates
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon cloves
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

    Combine all ingredients except chia seeds in a high-speed blender and whirl on high until smooth. Whisk liquid into chia seeds in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours, until thick or overnight. ENJOY!

  12. That is surprising to me!!!! I give blood every 8 weeks, and I never notice a difference in my training, maybe it's because I am used to it?!?!
    I think that I have mentioned this before, but I don't look to see if you commented usually....have you considered selling skirts on Etsy anymore?!?!? I would really like one, I could have my mom make it easily enough, but I would LOVE to support you and your surgery fund!!!!:-)

  13. Katie- do you have a female red tabby??? I used to have one too- they are rare! Mine was named Abby (the red tabby).

    AND- I gave blood a few weeks ago, and ran a 10k a week later- it was rough. It definitely took me a few weeks to get back to regular!

  14. I remember reading your post about peanutbutter O/N oats long ago. I tried it and was so thankful it did not drive me nuts with desire. But looking at them again here I wonder why I was not immediately in love with something so cookiebeguiling!

    Good idea not donating the blood... even though I bet yours is chock fulla good things!

  15. Cats are so funny! I had a cat when I was a kid that loved mint so much that she would actually get into my sister's purse and chew gum through the wrapper. We still laugh about it!

    I think you probably made a good choice on foregoing the blood donation. You don't want to pass out during one of your long runs!

  16. I've been thinking about buying chia for a while now. I use flax meal in my cold oats as a thickener, and didn't want to buy chia so it wouldn't die in my fridge, but I'm almost out of flax, so now's a good time. I also have a few dates left, so I may try that pudding recipe, LesT. =-)

    I know you like your cold oats in a pb container. Does your Wholefoods have the self serve peanut butter grinders? The stores near me do, but I know they all don't. My favorite is the honey roasted peanut butter - I have to grind a huge container for my husband and kids. But I sometimes treat myself to little container, and only grind about a sandwiches' worth, of the peanut butter with dark chocolate, (or even the honey roasted) just so I can have a little without a binge risk, and so I can have another container for my oats.

    Anyhow, cheers to your mum! And happy running!

    Oh, I've never followed podcasts, but two programs that I've been thinking about looking up are "Says you" and "Wait Wait, Don't tell me". 'Says you' is two panels of people who debate meanings of words; and "Wait Wait, Don't tell me" is about interesting current news. But both are funny programs that I enjoy on NPR, and I've been thinking about downloading the podcasts myself since I keep missing the shows. If I try to listen to music while exercising, I get too distracted trying to find a song that I'm in the mood for. I'm not going to lie, I miss CDs. My husband doesn't get it, but if I wasn't sure what I wanted, I could scan my cd case and see what jumped out at me. Things don't jump out at me the same way from my iPod. I'm pathetic, I know. But sometimes I miss my Walkman. lol Perhaps podcasts might be a better option for me.

  17. Chia is great. I like to put a tablespoon in G2 before a run. Because the seed absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, they are great for hydration before a long run.

  18. I think catnip is in the mint family, so your cat's behavior makes sense. So cute!

  19. this sound DELICIOUS. <3. i need to come by the blog and catch up on things more with you. :) miss reading about you, the boys, and jerry!

  20. My kitty LOVES anything minty or menthol. Tea, gum, Icy-Hot. He goes CRAZY for it. The other night he was so excited he was "huffing" the tea steam, and started rubbing his face against the mug so hard he spilled it EVERYWHERE. Cats are nuts!


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