I stood at the fridge door, bottle in hand, taking a swig from one of my latest concoctions. “Mom, what are you drinking?” my son asked with a hint of trepidation in his voice. “Frog eggs” I replied and took another drink. “Uh, mom, why are you drinking frog eggs?” Acting as if drinking frog eggs was how most people started their day I replied, “They’re good. You should try ’em.”
My kids are used to me eating what they think are weird things, at weird times. Sauerkraut and soup for breakfast, is nothing compared to what many people eat for breakfast around the world, but to them, if it ain’t an egg or a pancake it’s weird.
“No, seriously mom, what it is? “Frog eggs. I eat chicken eggs, why wouldn’t I eat frog eggs? They’re good. You should try ’em.” Since my kids get major kudos for trying new things, he thought it over for a minute, made sure that I didn’t keel over dead or vomit into the nearby trash, and then took a sip.” “It tastes like lime. The frog eggs don’t have much flavor. Not bad” he declared. “But where did you get frog eggs?” To which I pulled out a bag and showed him Chia Seeds.
Getting a devilish grin on his face, he said “Let’s see if we can get Ava to try it.” We both know that my daughter is the pickiest eater on the planet, or at least in the house, and we were sure she’d never try “frog eggs” but there’s nothing like a little conspiratorial plan against ones sister for fun.
“Avaaaaa, you’ve got to see what mom’s drinking” he yelled. My seven year old, going on 13 sidled into the kitchen. Eying my bottle suspiciously she said, “Oh boy, what’s mom eating now?” My son, “You’ve got to try this frog egg juice, I did.” The teenage boredom dissapated and the 7 year old enthusiasm took hold. “I’m not eating frog eggs, that’s gross!” “Why not?” I responded. “You eat eggs from chickens all of the time.” She considered this for a moment, and not to be outdone by her brother, took a very small sip. “Hmmm, tastes like lime. But I don’t like the frog eggs. They’re slimy.” We let her in on the secret, giving her high praise for trying something so gross sounding as frog eggs.
I can see it all now. My kids will be the ones gulping down the bat brains on the reality TV show of their generation, commenting to their teammates “This is nothing. You should see what my mom ate for breakfast every day!”
Why was I drinking lime juice with chia seeds floating in it?
I got the idea from the book Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. In it he describes one of the last indigenous tribes that have managed to stay out of main stream society, living in the cliffs of the impenetrable Copper Canyons of Mexico. The Tarahumara, as they are known, “may be the healthiest and most serene people on earth, and the greatest runners of all time. When it comes to ultra distances, nothing can beat a Tarahumara runner- not a racehorse, not a cheetah, not an Olympic marathoner.”
McDougall, a runner himself, set out to find out what made the Tarahumara special. What gave them the ability to have such amazing stamina and health, while he was addicted to cortisone shots, with doctors orders to take up cycling?
It was on this trek that he found one of the secrets that he was after: Iskiate.
“Try this,” a Tarahumara woman once told an exhausted explorer who’d collapsed at the base of a mountain. She handed him a gourd filled with a murky liquid. He swallowed a few gulps, and was amazed to feel new energy pulsing in his veins. He got to his feet and scaled the peak like an overcaffeinated Sherpa. The Tarahumara, the explorer would later report, also guarded the recipe to a special energy food that leaves them trim, powerful, and unstoppable: a few mouthfuls packed enough nutritional punch to let them run all day without rest.
Months into his journey, McDougall himself was given some iskiate by the Tarahumara. Like my kids, he was suspicious of this gooey liquid with black specks in it that he comically described as looking “exactly like a kid had scooped the scum out of his aquarium to see if he could trick me into tasting it.” His friend assuring him it was tastier than it looked, talked him into trying this strengthening and refreshing beverage, dubbing it the equivalent to “Home-brewed Red Bull.”
Come to find out, this wasn’t river water that had fermented frog eggs in it, it was in fact known as Chia Fresca, or “chilly chia” in other parts of Mexico.
It’s brewed up by dissolving chia seeds in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime. In terms of nutritional content a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re superpacked with omega 3’s, omega-6’s, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants. If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn’t do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease.
The benefits of chia seeds has long been touted in other parts of the world, particularly in Mexico where it grows like a weed. The Aztecs considered it of liquid gold status, reserving the finest for kings and warriors. Today, it’s popularity continues to spread.
How I Made Izkiate
I could have run down to my local health food store and picked up a bottle of Mama Chia, but I had a bag of Chia Seeds in my fridge, and I prefer to sweeten things myself, so I got out my bag of limes, squeezed one into a glass bottle, added a tablespoon full of chia seeds, a bit of organic sugar, and filled up the bottle with water. Shaking it, I left it on the counter for about an hour, letting the chia seeds absorb some of the liquid, and then put it in the fridge to get cold and continue absorbing liquid. I shook it every time I opened the fridge as the chia seeds tended to float to the bottom. The beverage did look a little suspect, however upon tasting, I was pleasantly surprised. The chia seeds didn’t require chewing, and although the beverage (aka iskiate) was a bit thicker than just plain water or juice, it went down without seeming like I was swallowing frog eggs.
I made it over and over again, and found that I could add probiotic benefits to it by using my homemade water kefir that I had sweetened with juice, 1 lime squeezed, and no sugar. It was also good with honey (liquify before adding), juice, and as much lime as you enjoy.
This is an excellent recovery beverage and is perfect for high school athletes, and endurance athletes who need an extra boost during, or in between activity. Ditch the sports drinks that are full of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fake sweeteners, colors, additives, and chemicals, and try this tasty alternative.
Grow Your Own!
As an added bonus you can grow your own chia. You know that chia pet your great Aunt Opal gave you years ago that’s still sitting in the back of your closet? Pull it out and you’ll have your own chia seeds in no time!
If nothing else, this is a great beverage to serve at your Halloween party. Nothing says Happy Halloween like frog egg juice!