Turns out the same seeds we stir into a muddy lather and spread over our Chia Pets might better serve us if we pretend they’re caviar and put them on our toast. Apparently Chia seeds are richer in omega fatty acids than flax seeds, are full of protein, and can even reduce our chances of diabetes. Who would have thought?
The Aztecs. Chia seeds were heavily consumed in their culture, particularly by their warriors when they were off on away-missions looking for new people to paint blue and behead. They’d eat the Chia seeds as an easy meal, a reliable source of nourishment. Little-known fact: Chia Pets were a big part of Aztec culture and were often given as gifts to loved ones and sometimes offered up to Xochipilli (the god of love, games, terracotta animal figurines, and maize). I’m practically serious.
The original Aztec Chia Pet was, in function and form, remarkably similar to the basic modern-day Chia “dog,” but with one exception: instead of filling it with water the Aztecs would use the blood from all the “Chia Heads” they harvested like pumpkins from the bases of their sacrificial temples. The Aztecs themselves had even come up with the “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!” jingle, although the original number of “Ch’s” remains a vexed issue. On any given weekend a regular ol’ family of middle-class, hard-workin’ Aztecs would sit around a recently seed-lathered Chia Pet and chant and chant until Xochipilli heard them and made the Chia Pet “magically” grow a full coat of Chia-grass in no more than two seconds, exactly as depicted in those commercials from the 80’s (although in those they cheated and used time-lapse photography).