My gel instructions say it's ready to eat in 10 minutes, but that more nutrients are released if you wait a few hours. I like the gel a bit less firm, so I add a little extra water before the final shake, then refrigerate. A gel serving size is 3 tablespoons, suggested 3x/day, or as an option, you can replace one serving with 1T dry seeds (taken with water). When used to absorb excess stomach acid, Angela Stokes says to add more water 10 minutes later, because it will absorb from your tissues if there isn't enough water. I’ll add her chia "Cheat Sheet" link below.
I usually spoon out the gel and eat with a spoon. I have put chia gel in smoothies, and with cocoa as a tapioca-like dessert, and tried 1T dry (with water, per Angela's instructions). I prefer plain gel, cold, as a snack or an hour before eating. It is different than flax, with chia I start getting satiety signals by mid-meal. And I've noticed when I take chia in the morning (when I'm rarely hungry) that each time I drink more water, I feel full.
It’s hard to be confident about chia “facts” online. Chia absorbs 9 times its weight (some say 'volume') … 12 times… 30 times. One brand of chia, Salba, has nutrient comparisons for its headline claim that chia has 8 times the omega3 of salmon. They use 100 g. from all foods. But plant source omega3 has to be converted, and by most estimates, you can expect only 10-15% will get converted. Besides, not many people eat <4 oz. salmon, or 13T. chia. A local researcher providing input to the FDA (when they made their recommendation about safe limits for animal source omega3 ) said omega3 content in 5 oz. salmon (he argues 3 oz. is not a typical serving size.) varies from 2 grams (farmed) to 18 grams (wild Sockeye). Salba's nutritional info shows 3.6 g. omega 3 in 2T chia, twice what everyone else calls a serving size.
I could not find chia locally, got it on Amazon, which rotates sellers for free shipping, but sellers sometimes offer free shipping even when they aren’t the featured shipper. My seller was therawfoodworld.com (Angela Stokes and Matt Monarch are well known in raw food circles). Amazon had just raised the price, it was $15 for 2 lb., which at 3 servings a day, is supposed to last 2 months. It's more expensive than flax, which I get locally for $3.38, a 21 day supply at 3T/day. Therawfoodworld is one of the few sellers who offers certified organic, but since chia isn’t bothered by pests and doesn’t require fertilizer, I’m satisfied with the cheaper “chemical free” chia.
I think a chia serving (1 T. dry, or 3 T. as gel) is 37 calories. But nutritional info online is quite variable online.
Angela Stokes chia link follows:http://www.rawreform.com/content/view/345/127/