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Tropical Fruit Chia Pudding With Toasted Coconut + Brazil Nuts

tropical fruit chia pudding // gratitude and greens // #raw #vegan #plantbased #recipe #chiapudding

Today, I woke up. I woke up filled with an enthusiasm for life, a feeling that, in the past few years, has not come easily to me.

I am alive. I am happy. I am healthy. I am whole. I am loved. I am blessed. I am grateful.

There was a time in my life when days seemed endless and I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was an emotional roller coaster, stuck in a riptide of negativity and anxiety. My periods didn’t come. They would disappear for months on end, occasionally resurfacing for two weeks at a time. My weight fluctuated almost as much as my moods did, and I just didn’t feel good.

tropical fruit chia pudding // gratitude and greens // #raw #vegan #plantbased #recipe #chiapudding

tropical fruit chia pudding // gratitude and greens // #raw #vegan #plantbased #recipe #chiapudding

It started when I was sixteen, when I experienced the toxic combination of first love and puberty’s crazy hormones. My girlfriends were all delving into the mysterious world of boys and dating, and, not wanting to be left behind, I begged my mother to take me to the doctor for birth control. I told her it was because I wanted to regulate my periods and because I heard the wonders it did for your skin. She gave me the benefit of the doubt, and we went to the doctor, where I got a three-month prescription.

Shortly after I started taking birth control, I noticed changes in my body. I gained fifteen pounds and was almost always bloated. I cried often and over small things, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but my mood swings were so bad that all the girls at school thought I just had awful PMS all the time. I eventually stopped taking birth control when my then-boyfriend and I broke up, and for half a year, I was happier than ever. I was social, gave no fucks, and had the time of my life.tropical fruit chia pudding // gratitude and greens // #raw #vegan #plantbased #recipe #chiapudding

When Lewis and I started dating, I decided to go on birth control again. I tried the pill for a few months, before ditching it for the implant. Almost immediately after I began taking birth control, my emotional stability began to go downhill, and a year into the implant, my periods went back to being completely unpredictable. It wasn’t until Lewis confronted me that I did some serious thinking. He, too, had noticed the mood swings, the debilitating stress and anxiety, and the increasing number of days when I just felt like I couldn’t get out of bed, all of which he felt had began after I started taking birth control.

When I returned to Toronto, I visited the centre for birth control at the Women’s College Hospital to have the expired implant removed from my arm. During my visit, I spoke with a doctor about different methods of birth control. He was patient and took the time to explain the pros and cons of each of them. I was hesitant, but he gave me a pack of pills to take home in case I changed my mind. After heavy deliberation, I decided that the benefits of birth control did not outweigh the terrible side effects I experienced from it.

tropical fruit chia pudding // gratitude and greens // #raw #vegan #plantbased #recipe #chiapudding

Our bodies are so fine-tuned; any shift in its natural hormonal balance could have adverse effects on both physical and emotional wellbeing. Our bodies are designed to reproduce and bring life into the world, and for me, it just didn’t feel right to suppress my body’s natural inclination through synthetic hormones.* I fully recognize the benefits of birth control and respect the decision of those who use it, and I firmly believe that it should be available to those who want it. It just isn’t for me. Birth control had drastic effects on my health and changed who I was as a person, two things I am not prepared to sacrifice.

Since going off birth control, my cycle has returned to its fully functioning self and I’ve never been more grateful to have regular periods in my life. I am happier and healthier than ever before, and I am so, so thankful for it.

*I am not saying that all women should have children, nor am I saying that all women should want to. 

Now… onto the chia pudding!

tropical fruit chia pudding // gratitude and greens // #raw #vegan #plantbased #recipe #chiapudding

For the past few months, I’ve been working on re-photographing and improving recipes that I shared on this blog when it first started, this chia pudding being one of them. This tropical fruit chia pudding is a revamped version of the mango chia pudding I posted a year ago (now removed because of the terrible photos…), and was inspired by my recent visit to Starving Artist, a waffle joint here in Toronto. While I was there, I split a pineapple banana crunch waffle with my cousin. I have a soft spot for all things crunchy, and this waffle was no exception. I couldn’t resist the sweet fruit and the crunchy peanuts, and I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do the next time I made chia pudding.

The best thing about chia pudding? You make it the night before, pop it in the fridge, and you can just grab and go the next morning. If you aren’t a chia-pudding-for-breakfast kind of person, you can have it as an afternoon snack, or even better, as a pre-bedtime dessert.

PSSSST. Another great chia pudding recipe you should check out is the vanilla coconut chia pudding with passionfruit on Well and Full. I think Sarah and I must share brainwaves because our chia pudding recipes are similar by pure coincidence. Great minds think alike, right?! She recently started her blog and you should all pay her a visit. I made her mocha chip banana ice cream last week and it was the bomb diggity!

tropical fruit chia pudding // gratitude and greens // #raw #vegan #plantbased #recipe #chiapudding

TROPICAL FRUIT CHIA PUDDING WITH TOASTED COCONUT + BRAZIL NUTS
Yields 2 servings.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup cashew milk or nut milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped mangoes
  • 1 cup chopped pineapples
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped Brazil nuts
  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk the chia seeds, nut milk, and coconut milk in a jar or container. Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Stir, cover, and let the chia seeds overnight.
  2. When the chia pudding is ready the next day, toast the nuts over low heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan and repeat with the coconut flakes.
  3. Remove the chia pudding from the fridge and layer with the fruit and nuts in a jar, or serve in a bowl.

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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21 Comments

  1. Gina
    July 20, 2015

    First of all, this chia pudding recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

    Now on to birth control- I’m so sorry that you’ve had such a stressful/harsh experience with it :( Personally I was on the pill for about a year and a half from the end of high school through the first year of college and didn’t get any adverse side effects. It greatly helped to regulate my periods, which before the pill left me in agonizing pain. I would just lay on the floor cradling my stomach and crying all day from cramps that often left me feeling like I was being personally punished for some wrongdoing in a past life. None of my friends had periods like mine and it left me very self-conscious- I tried to downplay it as much as possible because I didnt want to come across like a drama queen, but they truly were nightmarish.

    Reply
    • Gina
      July 20, 2015

      ^ continuing from my comment above…
      Before I was on the pill my periods also did this lovely thing where it would show up for a few days full force, then stop and I would think “thank god it’s over!” then at some random time the next day it would come back for another day or two. Worst. surprise. ever…
      For a time the pill gave me regulated, almost completely pain-free periods, yay! The one bad thing I noticed however was that once I started taking the pill I would faint at the beginning of each period. It was freakish how synched up it was- almost without fail every month I would faint, and then upon waking up realized “oh hey, I’m bleeding now.” I have never heard of this happening to anyone, and after about a year of this I learned I have a rare genetic blood disease coupled with unusually low blood pressure, and turns out being on the pill put me at a huge risk of developing blood clots. Needless to say I went off it immediately and for the next two years didn’t take any form of birth control, but during that “off” time I constantly stressed about my periods. It was stressful not knowing when exactly they would strike, how bad they would be this time around, and I also just felt unprotected in general without it which caused me a lot of anxiety at the time. I got an IUD about a year ago which after talking to a blood specialist and an ob/gyn is the safest/best option for me given my unique circumstances. I LOVE my IUD. It’s good for 4 more years, I don’t have to worry about taking a pill at the same time every day (something I always secretly resented while on the pill) and I don’t get periods anymore, so no more pain/mess/cramps. And for me personally the best part is I have my peace of mind back.

      So that’s my birth control journey! I’m so happy that you opened this topic up for discussion because like you said, not only does it concern our emotional and physical well-being, but also our sexual/reproductive health. It’s so important for us women to know all of our available options, as well as what works best for each of us individually, yet since this is such a personal topic sometimes it’s hard to know if what you’re experiencing is “normal” or not if you don’t have anything else to compare it to. So thank you for sharing your experience with us and reminding us how important it is to pay attention to what your body might be trying to tell you! I’m glad you are finally feeling happier and healthier with your cycle :)

      Reply
      • genevieve y
        July 22, 2015

        I’m so glad the IUD worked for you! It’s also great that you found out about the blood disease- it’s not great that you have it, but it’s good to know so now you can be prepared for it when it comes to other health issues. My periods also do that thing where they disappear for a day and then come back, but at this point I’m just grateful that they are regular. Phew!

        Reply
  2. Sarah | Well and Full
    July 20, 2015

    Girl!! This looks even more amazing than you described it to be. But what I was really blown away with in this post was the candor and geniune honesty with which you spoke about your hormonal health. Honestly, I was thrilled to see this as a topic of conversation!! I feel like as women, we’ve been socially conditioned to think about our periods/birth control as a “gross” or unnatural thing. Which really speaks to who’s historically held the power in society – men talk about farting and sweating with reckless abandon, but as soon as a woman mentions her period they turn into a five year old when faced with a spider and scream, “EWWW GROSS!!!” But honestly, F those types of men. If they’re going to get freaked out by a biological process that has been around since the beginning of time – and LITERALLY is the foundation of life on this plant – then they can go to h3ll!! Ahemm. Please excuse my feminist rant! But seriously, you go girl. I’ve actually been experiencing some issues with my birth control, and reading about this is inspiring me to go talk to my doctor. I honestly didn’t even think of the reaction I was having to my BC until reading this!! So thank you :)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      July 22, 2015

      Sarah, I love your feminist rant! What you said about who has historically held power in society is so true. I am a proud feminist and I think having open conversations about these topics are important. I did the Vagina Monologues last year and it was one of the best experiences in my life. Talking to people about that is interesting, too, because often they are uncomfortable with the “V word”. If you are having issues with your birth control, definitely see a doctor! I felt a lot better after talking to a health professional who was able to clarify and answer all my questions.

      Reply
  3. Farrah
    July 20, 2015

    Yayyy for chia pudding + tropical fruits! (Two of my favorite things ever!) I happened to find 3 mangoes at the store for 99 cents on Saturday, so I was all sorts of thrilled. :]! If I can figure out where the hecks I put my chia seeds (moving sucks), I shoul dbe able to make this! <3

    Reply
  4. Rachel @athletic Avocado
    July 20, 2015

    this looks like a great way to eat chia seeds! I have so many of them and i would love to use them in this fruit pudding :)

    Reply
  5. Jan
    July 20, 2015

    Your chia pudding looks incredible… Your photos are beautiful.
    Having read about your experiences with birth control, and then reading the comments, it seems you are really helping people : )

    Reply
  6. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    July 20, 2015

    I’m so glad you know truly what is right for you! That’s the key to life! Finding those things <3
    I've still never made chia pudding…probably never will…but if I do…I know where to look for inspiration ;)

    Reply
  7. Sus @ roughmeasures.com
    July 20, 2015

    First of all – These puds look hella-divine! Your photos are rocking and literally always have me wanting to grab my screen and try and lick it…. is that weird?!

    Secondly – what a brilliantly honest post. Thanks for sharing! I came off the pill last year after 10 solid years on it. My moods were ok at first but over time they grew worse and worse and came to a blow last summer when something was going to have to change otherwise I was going to suffer some sort of emotional explosion! I have been off all hormonal contraception (just using good old fashion condoms thank you Durex) for a year now, and honestly have never felt better. It was like someone turned the colour on the world, where I had seen black and white everything was now rainbows!
    What works for one doesn’t work for someone else.

    Congrats on finding a happy, settled place! xx

    Reply
  8. Ana Fernandez
    July 20, 2015

    Om nom nom! chia pudding and tropical fruit and coconut!! Girl you have drooling over the keyboard! glad I have all of this at home so I can just whip it up for tomorrows breakfast!

    Reply
  9. Lisa | The Viet Vegan
    July 20, 2015

    Your shots look fantastic! I feel like you took everything I’ve experienced and felt with birth control and put it into words. I never had an implant, but I was on birth control to regulate my awful 2 week long periods since I was 16. I didn’t feel great about it and I felt…not right and moody up until I transitioned to vegan and I stopped taking them. Ever since, my body has self-regulated (I keep track in Google Calendar XD) and I have never felt better. I feel so much more in tune with my body and I can tell when I’m reacting emotionally to something rather than just my regular, non-hormonal self.

    I think it’s great that you’ve assessed what’s right for you and your body. Some people don’t take the time to be self-aware of how things affect their mood, their health, and more. Good for you for figuring out what’s best for you and I wish you as little cramping and less painful weeks of the red dragon XD.

    Reply
  10. Zofia
    July 21, 2015

    I often struggle to find the suitable ingredients to add to chia seeds and end up with a boring mix of chia and natural yoghurt. These tropical fruits and Brazil nuts will definitely add a new and fresh taste to my breakfast!
    As for Sarah’s blog, I must agree she’s doing an amazing job. I would have never guessed she’s only been doing it for 3 months as her recipes and photos look so professional!

    Reply
  11. Megan
    July 21, 2015

    First of all your photos are incredible.. I’m blown away. Not only does the recipe look delicious, ut the pictures have convinced me to try! Plus chia puddings used to be my obsession and now I have no idea why I stopped making them! This looks like the perfect recipe to get me back into making chia puddings :)

    Reply
  12. Anne|Craving Something Healthy
    July 21, 2015

    These photos are so beautiful! I’m so glad you’re feeling better. It’s so important to listen to your body.

    Reply
  13. Jessie Snyder | Faring Well
    July 21, 2015

    So glad you are feeling better, girl. That experience sounds so awful! Me and birth control don’t get along either. I haven’t taken it (or any medication) for years and feel amazing. Its all about listening to our bodies! Plus, these photos look gorgeous. Well done lady <3

    Reply
  14. Kelly // The Pretty Bee: Cooking & Creating
    July 23, 2015

    This is a gorgeous chia pudding. I love all the flavors here! I’m glad you’re feeling better…birth control can really mess with you. My 2 year experience with it was an absolute nightmare. I was a crazy lady. :( Glad you are back to normal! :)

    Reply
  15. Natalia
    July 23, 2015

    Firts of all, love this different but so honest post! I forgot when was the last time I have read something similar..and deep! Love your gratitude which can be so well read through your words and which is something I would like to see/read more on blogosphere!
    Your chia pudding looks gorgeous, stunning pics, Gen!

    Reply
  16. dixya | food, pleasure, and health
    July 24, 2015

    I have never been on birth controls purely because of all the terrible stories i have heard..im so glad you have figured out whats right for your health and well-being. periods are not the best things to happen but in the grand scheme of things, i feel thankful that it happens although i do have horrible mood swings and PMS right around that time of the month. im glad both me and my boyfriend have recognized that its really not me and my body/crazy hormones..

    …and the chia pudding is something i eat every week or so and always need more inspiration. thank you for sharing this with beautiful photos and also introducing another lovely blogger.

    Reply
  17. Rohan Singh
    February 19, 2016

    Chia seeds with the benefit of hunger controlling effect and Brazil nuts with selenium richness. Amazing combination, cashew milk & coconut will do the rest for adding the flavour to overall recipe. This is going to be delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Anjali
      October 10, 2016

      Te selenium content of Brazil nuts acts like an antioxidant. Coconut milk gives a nice subtle flavor to the pudding. The fruits in the recipe are also very healthy nad yummy. It’s such a nice and tasty recipe. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply

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