If you’re unaware of the virtues of chia seeds in your diet, get ready for a tasty introduction.
Santa Claran Mindy Park has launched Yummi Chia, a startup offering a healthful, all-organic pudding made of chia seeds, coconut milk, fresh fruit, flavorings and a no-cal monk fruit extract as sweetener.
“Yummi Chia is delicious and healthy for our body and soul,” said Park. “I want to help shift people to eating healthier.”
In case you’re scratching your head, chia seeds are the nutritious, edible seeds of a flowering, desert plant in the mint family. Their health benefits include gluten-free high fiber and protein content, plus omega-3 fatty acids and various vitamins and minerals.
The oval seeds—smaller than a sesame seed— are a mottled gray, black or white. When soaked in a liquid, they absorb many times their weight, giving them a gelatinous coating similar to tapioca. (Caution is advised to prevent choking if eating more than a sprinkling of dry chia seeds.)
On their own, chia seeds are bland. It’s what you combine them with that makes them tasty. Yummi Chia, in 5.5-ounce pudding portions, has four flavors: blueberry, strawberry, coconut with vanilla bean, and (of course!) chocolate—bitter, dark chocolate.
Park, a 2009 graduate of the Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell, believes that nutritious food is essential to good health and fighting viruses such as COVID—and that it can be delicious.
“It tastes great as long as you put the right ingredients together to make it delicious,” said Park. “And at the same time, it’s very healthy for you.”
Those who taste-tested Yummi Chia, were surprised that a sugar-free, chia pudding could taste so good.
“Sugar-free products have an aftertaste, but mine doesn’t,” said Park, lauding Yummi Chia pudding as perfect for busy, on-the-go people who don’t have a lot of time to prepare food.
“It’s a quick, grab-and-go snack you don’t have to feel guilty about eating,” said Park, who has pivoted from her MCourse bakery partnership with her twin, Megan Park, to focus on Yummi Chia.
Chia (the ancient Mayan word for “strength”) is an annual herb, growing to almost six feet. It is believed to originate in Central America and Mexico.
Chia seeds hit the U.S. market in the 1980s, arriving as novelty chia pets—a terracotta figurine covered in a sticky paste of chia seeds. When watered, the seeds sprout, giving the figurine the look of a fur-covered animal.
Pre-order Yummi Chia, which launched Nov. 1, at www.yummichia.com. Pick up orders on Sundays, 3 p.m.- 5 p.m., outside Yummi Chia’s Santa Clara commercial kitchen at 1614 Pomeroy Ave. Park intends on expanding to farmers’ markets and retail food markets.
“Health is wealth,” said Park, who came to the U.S. from Korea with her dad and mom, Bae and Nameson Park, when she was one and was raised in Salinas. “Nothing is more important than a person’s health.”