Saturday, September 18, 2010

How the Heck do I Eat Flax?

If you read my previous blog post you are probably excited to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.  Flax  is one of the best vegetarian sources of the "good fats" and it is generally very cheap to buy.  The problem is, after you've got that 1 lb bag of organic flax home from the store, what next?

Yes, flax is a bit tricky to consistently consume.  The easiest way to do this is get a flax oil supplement in capsule form and take 2 grams, 2 times a day.   Omega-3 supplement oils will have measured amounts of EPA and DHA listed on the bottle - look for the maximum amount of these components from a good brand.  A fish oil supplement serves the same purpose as flax oil but is often a bit more expensive.

Although taking a capsule supplement is easier, I encourage people to buy whole flax seeds and get creative with it in your recipes.  Not only is whole flax an incredibly cheap way to get omega-3's, you also get the added bonus of both soluble and insoluble fiber in the shell of those tiny little seeds.

Here's a basic recipe to make basic flax "gel":
  • Buy whole or ground flax seeds.  Store the bag in the fridge to prevent spoilage.
  • If you buy whole flax seeds they will keep longer, but they will also need to be ground up before use.  A coffee grinder is great for this job.
  • Place ground flax in a small container with a lid (ideally glass) and add enough water to cover the seeds.
  • Let the mixture sit for at least 15 minutes.  After about 15 minutes, water and flax will form an amazing "gel" that can be used in a variety of ways.
  • You can add flax "gel" to salads or salad dressings, mix it with nut butters or just eat it alone.  Yes, you will have to get a bit creative here, but that is part of the fun!  It even tastes good alone (although a bit bland).
  • Refrigerate the flax gel in an airtight container.  The gel will stay fresh in the fridge for the next 2-3 days.

With all that being said, the most important thing is to enjoy eating new foods and preparing them in new ways.  Go forth and explore the abundance of food available for you to enjoy on this planet!

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