Caveman Cuisine: Coco-Chia

Mysterious and unknown outside of the canyon-lands of Mexico, the ultra-marathoning Tarahumara tribe of were catapulted out of obscurity when Christopher McDougall wrote his best-selling book, "Born to Run". Since then, the ways of the Tarahumara, from their "huarache" running sandals to their dietary staple pinole, (a kind of corn gruel), have been adopted by Western athletes hoping to boost their health and performance.

Another Tarahumara tradition that has found popularity is the use of chia seeds.  Yup, the same "chia" as in the infamous Chia Pets and Chia Heads is also the main ingredient in chia fresca (also known as "Iskiate") a traditional beverage of the Tarahumara.  It is made by combining chia seeds, water, and lemon or lime juice and is touted for it's dehydration-fighting effects.  

While I personally prefer to drink plain water as my preferred source of hydration, I have recently been experimenting with adding the occasional glass of chia fresca and have found it to be quite refreshing.  Of course, I wasn't satisfied with the recipes I found online, and decided to do a little experimenting to see if I could improve upon the original.

The result is Coco-Chia, and it is a great way to stay hydrated during hot days and tough workouts.


1 tbsp organic chia seeds (you can purchase cheaply here)
1/2 can (8oz) coconut water
Slice of lemon or lime
Pinch sea salt
1 cup filtered water


Chia seeds are small and tend to get everywhere except where you want them to be, so I used a paper funnel to direct a generous spoon-full of chia seeds into an empty glass bottle (I used a clean GT's Kombucha bottle).  Then, I squeezed in some lime juice, added the coconut water, sea salt, and finally topped the bottle off with filtered water.

After screwing on the lid and giving the bottle a good shake, I put it in the fridge and allowed it to sit over night.

When your Coco-chia is ready, you will see that the chia seeds are suspended in the liquid in a sort of gel. 

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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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  1. chia seeds... sometimes they go down fine. sometimes i feel like they tear up my gut something awful!

  2. I personally feel great when I eat them, but as with all nuts and seeds, there is the potential for some individuals to be sensitive. As Mark Sisson says, "Your mileage may vary"!

  3. My husband is allergic to chia.

  4. The gel they form when wet is supposed to be good for you. I really want to experiment with this and see how my body likes it. Thank you!