By mid-June, summer seems to be in full swing. The weather is hot, plants are in full bloom, and the days are long and sunny.
I live in a beautiful little apartment in the heart of the city – I don’t drive a vehicle, so it’s within walking distance of almost everything. For the past three weeks now, the central air conditioning throughout the building has been broken, sending most of our neighbours into fits of stress and complaints. I don’t typically overuse our air conditioner, even when it is functional, so I’m treating this as a unique opportunity to figure out healthier, more environmentally-friendly ways of cooling our home and our bodies even on the hottest of days (this doesn’t include standing in front of the open refrigerator).
One of my solutions during the hottest days last week was to avoid cooking, which gave me a great opportunity to experiment with raw recipes. The following recipe is a take on a clever dessert trick I came across: soaking chia seeds to make a pudding. Like most seeds, chia seeds are stocked full of healthy fats, fibres, proteins, and antioxidants and are a great occasional addition to your diet.
Most recipes called for the sweetened types of grain or nut milk, but since I am avoiding sweeteners, I decided to change it up. My recipe calls for unsweetened almond milk and pure apple juice/cider as the sweet element. In addition, I topped the pudding with fresh and/or dried fruit, and toasted nuts.
In macrobiotics, fresh fruit is generally not eaten: it is best cooked down a bit with a tiny amount of salt. However, the summer is a good time to introduce some raw or lightly-cooked foods as a way of helping to keep the body cool. This uncooked, raw pudding definitely helps keep us cool when everything else around us is sweltering hot.
– 2/3 cup chia seeds
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk *
– 1 cup apple juice or cider **
– Fresh strawberries or other fruit, sliced
– Toasted almonds
Simply stir the chia seeds together with the almond milk and apple juice in a glass Mason jar or bowl, covered, and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, give the pudding a stir and top with strawberries, raisins, and almonds. Can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
This recipe makes about 4 servings.
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* When I use store-bought grain or nut milks, I always buy the unsweetened option. If the packaging does not say unsweetened, then it likely has refined sugar or pure cane sugar added to it. Some brands offer milks sweetened with organic brown rice syrup, which is definitely the better option, but from a macrobiotic standpoint, unsweetened is best.
** The right kind of apple juice can sometimes be difficult to find. Ideally, you want to look for the purest and most natural available: nothing but pressed apples and preferably unpasteurized. It is really difficult to find unpasteurized fruit juices inNorth America, but is possible at most organic markets or health stores. The Whole Foods near us stocks a Canadian apple cider that isn’t pasteurized and has been our choice for many months now. Why do you want unpasteurized? Pasteurization kills off the living enzymes within the juice. If you are purchasing a high-quality juice or cider from a reputable organic farmer, there is little danger in consuming the unpasteurized product.