Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Kid On The Block

Not Jordon, Donnie, or little Joey. It's...

Salba! (I know, I've dated myself with the New Kids reference "Step by Step, ooh baby")

You're going to start hearing, reading, and seeing this new plant-based raw food nutrition powerhouse called Salba.

What is it? Salba is a seed related to the mint plant, a variety of chia (yes, that would be "ch-ch-ch-CHIA!" - you can now thank me for planting two annoying 80's jingles in your heads today!)

Don't let the chia reference turn you off. Salba seed is reported to have the richest and most stable source of omega 3's, containing more than flax seed.

Salba is also rich in other nutrients, here's the breakdown:

High in protein, containing ALL essential amino acids.
Rich in vitamin A, C, and folate.
Rich in calcium and iron.
High in antioxidants.
Excellent source of fibre.

Check out this Salba link for "gram to gram" food comparisons. Neat.

I have recently started using Salba, ground and packaged (similar to packaged flax meal). I picked it up at our local health food store, and have been adding a tablespoon or so to smoothies and sometimes in soy yogurt or cereal with rice milk. How does it taste???

Well, it has quite a neutral flavor actually (just mildly nutty). The texture is more noticeable than the taste. The ground seed is much like flax meal in that is absorbs liquid, 'plumps', and has that gelatinous quality. Unlike flax meal, it doesn't have that bitterness though. When I first tried it, I didn't stir/blend it in my smoothie enough, and so it was too lumpy. But, with a good whiz of my immersion blender, now it just thickens up the smoothie with just a little noticeable texture.

I won't be using Salba in my new recipes - just yet. Why?

First, I don't know how available it is for most people. As it becomes more common, like flax seed/meal, I'll start using it in some baked goods and other recipes. I think it would work wonders in vegan (and gluten-free) baking, helping to stabilize certain mixes and also giving that flax 'eggy' substitute, but without that flax bitterness. The second reason I'm not including it in my new cookbook is because it's quite pricey right now. The bag of ground Salba I bought was about $12-$13 Cdn. The bag of whole seed was about $24 Cdn. Yikes! I coughed up the dough to buy the ground Salba to try it out for you guys. Ok, for me too. It's hard to resist trying new vegan foods!

Oh, and there are some Salba snack products on the market, but checking the ingredients on at least one product I found egg whites. Ugh. Why would they do that?

If you are willing to spend a little to try out a vegan superfood, pick up some Salba... your body will thank you!

Don't forget to Click To Give! Go on, click!


jaxin said...

When you said "Step by Step ohh baby.." I put my head into my hands and said "Oh no, she didn't." And with that, I will be singing it the rest of the day.

Unfortunately it looks like Salba is not available in US stores yet. I'll have to buy online, but I'm definitely going to try it out.

Dayle said...

You had me at "Jordan".

scottishvegan said...

Ha ha! The NKOTB reference made me laugh and I am still singing Step By Step in my head...
I have never heard of Salba before, but will be looking out for it in the future. For Jaxin, you can find a list of US store where you can buy Salba here http://www.salbausa.com/find-salba.php but it looks like it’s not sold in many places in the US yet.

jaxin said...


Thank you! Unfortunately there isn't a location near, but I will be visiting Las Vegas in a few weeks and there are several locations there. One more reason the trip will be excellent! Vegan donuts AND health food shopping! Woo! :)

Twisted Cinderella said...

LOL, now I have that song stuck in my head!

I am definitely going to keep an eye out for Salba in local stores.

laura jesser said...

Cool... I'd love to try it sometime--sounds interesting! Not getting the NKOTB reference, though I was still watching Sesame Street when they were popular, so... yeah.

Dreena said...

Haha, Jaxin... oh yes I did! Sorry, but you know, I can't stop myself sometimes!! Good luck finding Salba - may just be a matter of months before you see it.

Dayle, I knew I would!! #1 fan back then, right?

Scottish vegan, thanks for the reference for buying in US.

Twisted cinderella, if I didn't get you with new kids, it would have been chia... hmmm, which is worse?!

Ohhhh, Laura... rubbing it in! Yep, definitely dated myself :)

Roxy said...

I don't know if many people are aware of this flax fact (it may or may not be true for this Salba product), but when heated, flax loses it's omega-3 power and this important fatty acid becomes essentially "dead". If you are relying on that flax-infused muffin in the morning for your omega-3's, you may want to opt for uncooked flax in a smoothie or something.Just a tip.

maybepigscanfly said...

Thanks Dreena, I love learning about new health foods, especially vegan ones. But yeah the NKOTB was more my older cousins, although I did watch step by step! I hope that it comes to the US stores and isn't too pricey. Maybe if you try some of the salba products you can do a mini-review on the blog.

- is it true about the hot flax loosing it's omegas? (even when stirred into hot oatmeal)

Amy said...

I have heard Dr. Weil mention chia seeds as having way more Omega-3's than flax. Is Salba just a registered trademark for chia seeds or something very similar that they have proprietarily developed? Thanks for the post and for the reminder that I was supposed to be looking for ch-ch-ch-chia seeds.

b36Kitchen said...

i didn't read the title to the comment but when i read the first sentence i made a grade school girl squeel and said NEW KIDS!!


Dreena said...

Hi Roxy, thanks for adding that note.

Teresa, yes, I do believe that the integrity of the omega 3's is greatly diminished if not lost through baking (at least above a certain temperature). Much like how you cannot cook or heat flax oil or it destroys those beneficial fatty acids. You will still benefit from the fibre and protein in the flax meal/seed, and probably some other nutrients, but as for omega 3's, it is best to get those in raw form, either through flax meal in smoothies, added to cereal, juices, soy yogurts, etc, or through flax oil. Again, I'm not sure at what exact temp the baking can destroy the omegas in flax meal/seed - I'll check into it and get back to you if I find out anything!

Amy, my understanding is that Salba is a relative of the chia seed - not 'exactly' the same plant, though chia apparently would still have nutritional benefits, but not quite as much as Salba, and they are relatives of a seed/plant rather than the same thing. Makes it not so 'funky' to know it's not the one and only ch-ch-ch-chia!! :)

Ha, funny Jenna... you had quite the crush on at least one new kid it sounds, hey?!! Sweet memories!

shari said...

I read the article about Salba and chia as well. Salba is a trademark name and thus so very expensive. I purchased the regular chia seed, much less pricey. I have only been using it for about 10 days and am feeling energized. I also read about the damage that can be caused to the omega 3's by heat. It is wonderful to add gel to already cooked foods.

Valerie said...

I love Salba, I use it daily!
And Love it!

The Avocado Salba Soup is an amazing recipe!! Check it out!


Valerie said...

Buy the way.. I tried Chia, but that did not do anything for me... with Salba i notice directly an effect!

Anonymous said...

I love salba, use it every day and my high blood pressure is gone!
Its also very tasty, i sprinkle it over soup and it makes it creamy.
On the Salba website you can ask for a free sample www.sourcesalba.com

Anonymous said...

Does somebody know if there is a difference between Salba and Chia?

Anonymous said...

I love salba. i use it every day and my skin and hair are looking amazing. I also used it as an egg substitute, works very well!
My mam is also using it because she has diabetes and its really helping her.
By the way you can get a free sample at www.sourcesalba.com

woowoo said...

oh man! i wish you would include some salba recipes! i have not figured out many good creative ways to get the full serving in per day...

Anonymous said...

Salba is not a different seed than the chia seed. They are one and the same. Salba just has a lot of money to hype up their white seed. The fact is the black chia seed has more antioxidants than the white and the white may or may not have more omega 3 depending on where it is grown, however that amount is so small that your body would not notice the difference. Save yourself a lot of money and just buy chia seeds. chia4life.com.au has a good price and they post it worldwide.

andreac said...

woowoo...Looks like Salba launched a new website a few weeks ago with some new recipes. Haven't tried 'em yet, but let me know if any of them are good. I'm celiac, so I'm hoping they'll start a gluten free recipes section some day...

Cannistraci said...

I took the advice of "Anonymous" above and placed an order from Chia4Life.com.au. I was impressed with the fast shipping turnaround and was pretty excited about the prospect of saving some money...

...that is, until I opened the package.

I am accustomed to Salba, which I first tried after my mom gave me a pretty enthusiastic testimonial. It's clean, pure and very light in color. The Chia4Life chia was very dark and EXTREMELY dirty - it actually appeared to have some foreign objects (like bits of twig and soil and whatnot). Needless to say, I am none too pleased and will not be putting it in my body. Salba gives me a noticable boost of energy almost immediately (natural energy...not like the energy drink caffeine spike). I feel better taking it because of what my body tells me...not what it says on the label.

I have heard the "Salba is the same as chia" argument, and from personal experience I think it's more of a case of the people selling chia are getting intimidated by a superior product and it seems like they are posting fake blogs/posts to denounce a very good product in Salba.

Anonymous said...

Yes salba is really just white Chia. The only thing is it is missing many of the key antioxidants found in black Chia.

As we know all the main antioxidants come from the pigment in plants. That is why blueberries are so good for us. If blueberries were white there would be little benefit in eating them.

If you look closely at the black Chia you will see that there are many different colors. Meaning there are a rainbow of antioxidants available that are missing from the white Chia.

The way I look at it, black Chia is in it's natural state. Before man started playing with it Chia had pigment. This is also the way the Aztec's used it.

Why would you want to remove the pigments that contain the major health properties? For the same reason that man needed to make bread white? And we know how healthy white bread is.

Three years ago I asked the owner of salba why they went with white chia. He told me that the European bakers did not like how black chia turned their bread dark so they chose to use a pigment free seed.

There will be official ORAC results posted on the internet soon that will reflect this difference.

Please remember pigment=antioxidant without exception. Red wine anyone?

Thank You,


Clay said...

Well I just ordered the free Salba sample(nice of them!) and look forward to testing it out. I'm just a little concerned that a company can patent a grain.
Will Salba sprout? If it does I'd be tempted to grow some...would that be "illegal"?

The whole thing seems strange, since Salba is quite expensive compared to other seeds and grains, and all this debate about chia being the same as Salba, save for it's lack of...uhm.."offical testing".
Am I better off just buying chia seed(I have no worries about sticks or whatever in my delivered goods..they're grown in dirt after all), or is Salba really something different? I think the company that sells Salba should test the colored chia seeds as well, that would certainly clarify things.

ALSO, if I pour flax oil on hot pasta(I just did so) will that heat hurt the flaxy goodness?

Anonymous said...

Another easy way to use salba is to add it to dips and salsa's, it will thicken them a bit of course and that makes them better. When I examine the Salba seeds I see grey seeds, white seeds and black seeds too (although not as many), so I think its just the selection of the flowers .

the guerilla project said...

I know this is kind of a repeat of what some others have said, but salba is in fact just white chia seeds. They even say on their website that salba is made from the Salvia Hispanica L. plant which is the chia plant. I have done extensive research on the issue and salba may be getting sued very soon for making blatant false claims in advertising. I have nothing against the people at salba because they have done a great marketing job, but some of their claims are simply not true. As for the person who posted about getting dirt seeds with sticks and debris in the bag, that can certainly happen. You have to get chia seeds that have been mechanically cleaned and are organically grown. I personally get mine from The Chia Seed because I've never had a problem with their product and they ship for free. The supplier of these particular seeds is actually one of the two men who did the original research and implementation of the growing of chia seeds in the early 90's that brought on this rebirth that is happening right now. Hopefully this comment was helpful to someone!

Clay said...

Thanks guerilla project, that link is mighty fine.
I've had a hard time finding chia seed in Toronto, and I haven't recieved my Salba sample either.
Can;t wait to try this stuff!

petew said...

I took chia for almost a year, and switched to Salba (I guess their marketing dollars had an effect...viva capitalism).

I can say with confidence that the results I experienced from Salba speak for themselves.

On another note, I think it's pretty obvious - and kind of ridiculous - how the majority of the posts in this blog are clearly Salba competitors...conveniently linking to their own websites.

GUY WHO OWNS CHIA4LIFE.COM: "I don't know about Salba, but the best chia IIII've ever seen was on...ahem...chia4life.com."

GUY WHO OWNS THECHIASEED.COM: "I don't know about Salba, but the best chia IIII've ever seen was on...ahem...thechiaseed.com."

Call me skeptical, but if the people selling chia have to stoop to shady back room tactics like posting fake blogs to sell their products, I question the integrity of the chia market altogether.

the guerilla project said...

in response to petew, i believe i am one of the bloggers that you accuse of owning a website and linking to it for business purposes. while i wish i owned a site that was successfully selling chia seeds on the internet, i can't claim that to be true...i just happen to have found a place where i get quality product and wanted to share that with others who seemed genuinely interested in hearing about what others had experienced and getting some good recommendations. and one last thing about salba, if you read my post a little closer, you would see that i stated i have nothing against salba. if slaba works great for you then by all means buy it and enjoy it. that still doesn't change the fact that salba is a brand name for salvia hispanica l. which is much more commonly known as chia...

petew said...

Sorry, guerilla project...I didn't mean to falsely acuse you. I guess things aren't always as they seem and I shouldn't be so quick to judge. I doubt I'm the only person who suspects that some of the above posts are a little slanted towards a hidden agenda.

As far as saying that Salba is chia, that's kind of like saying a Mercedes is the same as a Hyundai. A car is not just a car, and a seed is not just a seed.

If the people reading this blog are anything like me, they do a massive amount of research before they put anything in their body. With that being said, before I purchased Salba I did the requisite digging and called for info. Upon my request, they sent me a presentation that outlined the nutritional benefits and defined some of the differences between Salba and chia. Here's a little of what I learned...

Though appearance doesn't tell a nutritional story, there is a visual difference - which is the first visual clue that Salba is NOT chia.

To view chia seeds, click here.
To view Salba seeds, click here.

As far as the facts, Salba is a regstered variety (the only registered variety) of Salvia hispanica...Sahi Alba 911/912 (I gather that Sahi Alba = Salba). Salba is an heirloom crop, which means they have spent 14 years using "advanced selective breeding techniques (Non-GMO)" to achieve what they describe as "optimal nutrient density".


The growers of Salba make sure the seeds fully mature - which ensures that they reach their "nutritional apex".

Chia is a commodity item. This means chia growers are focused on turning volume...so they harvest early. Early harvests mean they make more money. Early harvests also mean far fewer nutrients, and far less consistency.

I experienced superior results from Salba after trying both chia and Salba - because Salba is dedicated to the integrity of the product.

Some say Salba is spending money on marketing. I say they are spending money educating people about why Salba can help improve their lives. It has made a huge difference to me and several people in my personal circle.

Salba is definitively NOT chia. I say this from research and more importantly, from personal experience.


SarahFitz said...

I take Salba for the same reasons I only eat range fed meats:

I like quality products that have standards and integrity. Salba has both.

Clay said...

Can only Salba(the company) legally grow the salba variety of chia seed?

I bought a bag of Salba, and it looks like it'll last a while for the $20.99 I spent on it. It's got a nutty taste and is kinda flaxy when chewed up by itself. I'm a fan!
I'm already pretty healthy so I doubt I'll feel any drastic changes in energy, but from what the nutritional info tells me I gather it's solid stuff.

I haven't been able to sprout these little seeds yet, still working on that.

Next I'll order some chia seed, compare the two and, if I like chia as much as salba, mix them together!

THAT way I'll get my corporate monopolizing and hippie self-righteousness in the same bag! Woot! Not to mention a more colorful heap of seedy goodness.

"Hidden agenda". Funny stuff. As if we were talking about 9/11 or something.

Anyway. I'll try to sprout the chia seed too. If I can't do that, I'm clearly inept...or both products are pasteurized. If they are....where can I find the non-pasteurized versions?

"Standards and integrity" Now THAT sounds like an ad. Guffaw!

Clay said...

So I recieved my free samples of Salba, three packets that equal about two tablespoons each(I estimate...they're still wrapped up all snug).

A most generous sample!

So I'm still curious about my questons in the post above. I'd like to eat living seeds(morbid, no?) and nuts(live, non-pasturized almonds are best tasting and best for you!) so I'm curious about salba being pasturized. Pasturization kills the seed, and that would explain why I can't sprout the pasty little fellows.

I guess I could ask Salba directly, and will!

Anonymous said...

Salba is the result of selective breeding, and the result of that is a lighter colored chia seed.

Salba would prefer it if people did not connect chia seed with their product, but the only real difference between the two is one is lighter in color and has a more polished, uniform packaging.

Salba is not a sinister, massive corporation. Would you prefer a well funded company to produce Mc-burgers, soda pop.. or a healthy grain that can improve your well being? They are a new breed of well funded food distributors..but have left possible customers skeptical due to their insistent claims that Salba is not, and much better than, chia seed. This is unfair to the average farmer/supplier of chia seed and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of conscious consumers.
It also looks as if it is a typical case of the corporate giant buying a name and replacing the original product with their brand(Kleenex, Band-aid, etc). Young consumers especially dislike this approach, yet they are the prime market for Salba's product.

Still, I'm convinced of Salba's future success and the quality of their product. Recognizing the ancient chia seed might help them reach out to the less complacent consumer.

the guerilla project said...

this will be the last comment i leave in regard to the salba / chia seed debate. i truly believe that salba puts out a quality product that people enjoy immensely. i also believe that they take a lot of time and effort to ensure that they produce seeds that are clean and not inferior. all of that set aside, salba is a brand name for chia seeds. read their website thoroughly and they can't even deny the fact that salba seeds are salvia hispanica l. seeds. salba is not a new strain of seeds nor have they even been hybridized to produce a stronger strain. they are simply white chia seeds. the company that puts out salba started selling white only because a company in europe wanted to use the seeds in baked goods and the white ones were more aesthetically appealing. i think it is great that salba is putting out a quality product that people enjoy. for those of you who don't care about getting a brand name though, i will plug the place where i get them one more time because i am still pleased with them and i have been buying from them for almost 2 years. they are called the chia seed and they too put out a clean quality chia seed product!

Anonymous said...

You should all google the patent number quoted by Salba. In reading the patent, there is NO reference to "Salba" - there is only reference to the medical claims of Chia Seed in general. (the story gets more interesting but too tedious for this quick post) - very interesting!

Matthew said...

Hi, I'd like to weigh in here on chia. I'm Chumash, native from Ventura, California and chia has been a part of my tribes diet for centuries. I, too, have done my research. Salba is what is called a neutracutical, part medicine part food. It is simply a way to market chia as something else, thus the price difference. They funded the research on Salba at the University of Toronto with Dr. Vladimir Vuskav. This research is paid for and there would be no motivation for Salba to fund research on Chia seeds because it would show up no difference. Gotta hand it to them though, no one else can pay for or claim such a study. You should look it up, it's impressive, but chia seeds will do the same thing for you and cost a fraction. I don't care where you buy them. Salba merely stuck with the white seed for the traditional reasons as mentioned by a writer above. The reasoning is racist, and their endeavor is rapacious. In all honesty, each crop has to be tested for nutritional content because results will vary due to many conditions. In order to get the most out of chia, you should stir 1/3 cup of chia seed into 2 cups of lukewarm water. After 24 hours, most of the nutritional content travels to the halo around the seed. The seed is getting ready to grow! This ratio creates a gelatinous substance that will keep in the fridge for two weeks or so. The value of omega 3's lies in it's ratio to omega 6's. Presently the diet of Americans is near a 20:1 ratio (Omega 6:Omega 3). We would function best with a 4 or 5:1 ratio. That's major. I think it's best that we use chia as a mere dietary diversifier. Use it in a myriad of ways. Of course, cooking it loses some of it's oils and nutrients, but this is part of diversity. I mix the hydrated chia seed with anything to cut what I'm taking in... salad dressing, mayo, yogurt, bbq sauce, tapioca etc. The traditional way is just drinking water with some seeds in it or allowing a chia seed gel dry into a cake. I also grind the seed into a meal and mix it with hot water to make atole. You can flavor this up either savory or sweet. Living in the northwest, I make Chia atole, or Chinatole, with milk or water, mix in mexican chocolate and chili's and a shot of expresso! MMM.

Clay said...

Hey hey! Thank you for the insight Matthew!

Michelle said...

I have to say I've been researching Salba and Matthew is dead on.....way to go!

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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Erin said...

Based on recommendations here I TRIED to buy chia from The Chia Seed.


Uggh. I need a new recommendation for clean reasonably-priced chia seeds!