Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
-while on his hunt to learn about the Tarahumara tribe hidden in Mexico’s Copper Canyon
“Great… What is it?”
That sounded familiar… and then I remembered. The indomitable Lumholtz had once staggered into a Tarahumara home looking for food while he was in the middle of a grueling expedition. Looming ahead was a mountain he had to summit by nightfall. Lumholtz was exhausted and despairing; there was no way he had the strength left for the climb.
“I arrived late one afternoon at a cave where a woman was just making this drink,” Lumholtz later wrote. “I was very tired and at a loss how to climb the mountain-side to my camp, some two thousand feet above. But after having satisfied my hunger and thirst with some iskiate,” he went on, “I at once felt new strength, and, to my own astonishment, climbed the great height without much effort. After this I always found iskiate a friend in need, so strengthening and refreshing that I may almost claim it as a discovery.”
Home-brewed Red Bull!! Now this I had to try…
Months later, I’d learn that iskiate is otherwise known as chia fresco—“chilly chia.” It’s brewed up by dissolving chia seeds in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime. In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re superpacked with omega-3s, omega-6s, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants. If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn’t do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months on the chia diet, you could probably swim home. Chia was once so treasured, the Aztecs used to deliver it to their king in homage. Aztec runners used to chomp chia seeds as their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean. The Mexican state of Chiapas is actually named after the seed; it used to rank right up there with corn and beans as a cash crop. Despite its liquid-gold status, chia is ridiculously easy to grow; if you own a Chia Pet, in fact, you’re only a few steps away from your own batch of devil drink.
And a damn tasty devil drink at that… the iskiate went down like fruit punch with a nice limey tang. Maybe the excitement of the hunt had something to do with it, but within minutes, I felt fantastic. Even the low throbbing headache I’d had all morning from sleeping on a frosty dirt floor the night before had vanished. (p.43-44)