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I’m a Mamma Chia lover. Blackberry hibiscus is my favorite flavor, although there are several flavors I haven’t tried yet because Kroger’s only stocks a few flavors. I’d love to try the cherry lime. Mamma Chia, in case you don’t know, is a natural fruity drink made with real fruit juice and chia seeds. Chia seeds are loaded with health-giving omega 3 fats, which is a good excuse to drink this product.

The real reason I drink it, though, is just that it’s delicious, refreshing, and energizing because of the protein content of the seeds. Plus, how many drinks do you know that you can also chew? I remember reading about bubble tea several years ago and wondering why anyone would want a drink containing things you chew. Now I know. The chia seeds—normally hard little seeds—become chewy and gelatinous in liquid, so Mamma Chia has a texture similar to liquid tapioca pudding.

As much as I love the stuff, there are two things about Mamma Chia that could be better. The main one is the price—around .50 per modest-sized bottle. Ouch! If you want to drink one or more of these a day, you'll probably need a trust fund to support your habit. The other thing is that Mamma Chia is bottled, not fresh, so it’s not quite as nutritious as it could be.

Here’s the solution to both problems: make your own. It’s not hard to figure out what goes into homemade Mamma Chia: juice, chia seeds, and agave nectar or other sweetener (if needed). However, if you just put the seeds in the liquid and drink up, they’re still hard. If you let them sit in the liquid for several hours or overnight, they get chewy, but then you’ve lost a lot of the nutrients that are lost as the juice loses its freshness.

Check out Mama Natural’s web site showing you how to get around this problem. As you can see on her video, she soaks the seeds overnight in the refrigerator to make a chia seed gel which she mixes the next day with freshly made juice. I tried this with plain, freshly squeezed orange juice, and it was stellar. It needed no agave, because it was plenty sweet made with organic oranges. I recommend using high-quality chia seeds for this. I like the Barlean's chia seeds available at Nutra Foods Huber Heights. I bought a cheaper brand once and found lots of husks in with the seeds.

Admittedly, Mamma Chia's flavors are terrific. The blackberry hibiscus is wonderful, and would probably be hard to duplicate at home even if you happened to have a hibiscus plant, which I don't. Boil the petals? Not sure. However, most of the flavors are easier to copy, and you can put any fruits and safe-to-eat flower petal essence you like in your chia seed drink, so get as creative as you want. Feel free to also add a pinch of spice—cinnamon, lemon zest, or whatever sounds good to you. You might want to try combinations like:

Orange pomegranateCherry lime (one of their flavors)Mango cherryLemon gingerRaspberry papayaBlackberry pear...or whatever sounds good to you.

You may want to water down the juice a little. One thing that makes Mamma Chia such a pleasure to drink is that it’s actually light on juice. It has just enough flavor and sweetness to be alluring. You can just add a little bottled water, or you can try some Perrier and see if you like it; the Perrier gives it a drier, more champagne-like taste plus carbonation.

The fun in this is that you can use your own juice and mix it up fresh whenever you want it.It takes less than a minute to mix up the chia seed gel and pop it into the fridge to stay overnight. The next day, you can make your homemade chia drink as needed with freshly made juice.

If you're a Mamma Chia fan like me, this is a great way to keep your grocery bill under control and still enjoy the benefits of drinking chia seed fruit drinks. Salud!

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