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How to Take My Damned Flaxeed

j
Jim Leff Dec 9, 2004 07:06 PM

I hold in my hand a packet of FiPro Flax, specially milled cold-milled certificed organic flaxseed, from a very legitimate-sounding company called "Health from the Sun". Four tablespoons of FiProFLAX supplies almost as much oil as one tablespoon of flax oil, plus fiber, protein, and lignans. God, it's been ages since I replenished my lignans.

This was intended to be my first step toward a healthy tomorrow. However, the problem is I have no idea whatsoever of what to do with this stuff. And I'm afraid to open up this space age-looking vacuum pack, lest it turn into a ticking time bomb of freshness, threatening to decimate my substantial investment.

I'm posting here rather than on General Topics, 'cuz I don't want to discuss the benifits of flaxseed, which I've resolved to believe in blythe regardless of any sensical argument. I want to know what to do with the stuff.

Oh, bear in mind that I don't really cook. I do eat a lot of cereal. Can I put it in my cereal? That'd be one idea. Thanks.

ciao

ps--if I'm just supposed to, like, eat it with a spoon, that'd be cool. In fact, coolest. I'm just not sure. Does this taste like agony?

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  1. f
    farmersdaughter Dec 9, 2004 07:44 PM

    My understanding from various things I have read about flaxseed is that you must grind the little sesame-seed looking things in order to get the full benefit of the good-for-you stuff contained therein. I grind mine in my coffee grinder until they are nice and powdery (they get kind of fluffy) and put them in my morning yogurt/fruit/cereal concoction. Believe it or not, I also sprinkle them on top of a whole wheat bagel spread with peanut butter (the go nicely on top of the peanut butter!). You can put a couple spoonfuls into a smoothie, or add them to a muffin batter (in place of a little flour, if you like).

    The important thing is the shelf life on this stuff. Once ground, I understand that they lose their nutritional punch pretty quickly, even if kept in the freezer. So I keep the seeds in a plastic airtight container in the freezer, and just grind enough to last me a few days and keep that portion in a zip bag in the fridge.

    2 Replies
    1. re: farmersdaughter
      j
      JenaeR Dec 10, 2004 11:41 AM

      To me, it's just a chore, and I don't try to make it anything but. I grind it, mix a tablespoon into a glass of orange juice (could do milk), down it at once. It does NOT taste bad, it's just tedious.

      To confirm: gotta grind the seeds or it's useless; and while the seeds last plenty long, once ground it loses its whatever quickly, so freeze/ fridge and use up w/in a few days.

      1. re: JenaeR
        m
        marti Dec 10, 2004 12:57 PM

        Is there less benefit by taking the flaxseed oil capsule? Know of several who take it in this form for arthritis and also for vision benefit.

    2. m
      Marcia M. D'A. Dec 9, 2004 07:55 PM

      Yes,dear, you can put it in your cereal, and it really doesn't taste like much of anything.

      If you are concerned about keeping it fresh, you can keep it in the freezer. Some people(not I), grind a few tablespoons per day, in a coffee grinder reserved for the purpose, though that is probably too much like cooking for you.

      Do try not to obsess about it. That is worse for your health than anything. And don't obsess about obsessing, either.You do sound so desperate(but funny). It's really not bad. And putting it in yogurt is fine, too.

      1. s
        sbp Dec 9, 2004 09:32 PM

        I believe that, after taking "flaxseed oil", you should be able to hit 500 foot home runs. Did you get it from Sheffield or Bonds?

        1. r
          Runner Dec 9, 2004 11:15 PM

          I keep my ground flaxseed in the freezer because the high oil content makes it go rancid pretty quickly. And I usually eat it on my yogurt, or add a couple tablespoons (or more) to the batter when I'm making muffins or yeast bread. Flaxseed meal has sort of a nutty, mild flavor that goes well with whole grain breads, and in highly-spiced baked goods like gingerbread or carrot or pumpkin muffins, you can't even tell it's there. Not sure whether heat destroys its nutritious properties, though.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Runner
            j
            Jim Leff Dec 10, 2004 12:57 AM

            yup, heating destroys the nutrient. that I know.

            thanks, everyone, I'm reading along and taking notes.

            ciao

            1. re: Jim Leff
              j
              julesrules Dec 10, 2004 08:16 AM

              My dietician told me (just yesterday) that the compounds in question are heat- AND light-sensitive, so opaque packaging is a necessity once they are ground.

          2. p
            Phoebe Dec 9, 2004 11:41 PM

            Cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese, sprinkled on steamed veggies, in my salads - everywhere I can put it, basically :)

            1. c
              Caviar Dec 10, 2004 12:18 AM

              You should buy whole seeds and grind them fresh - I'm told that they deteriorate within hours of being ground. Any kind of blade coffee grinder will do, and it takes less than 10 seconds. Most days, I just mix a tablespoon or two into a glass of milk and drink the whole thing (if they settle swirl the glass like wine and they'll redistribute). They have a slightly nutty flavor - not bad at all.

              Other days, I mix them with cottage cheese and a little bit of jelly.

              1. e
                Emme Dec 10, 2004 02:15 AM

                My mother, I have no idea how she does it, sticks a spoon into that green bag, takes out a heaping spoonful, then eats it and smiles making mmmm noises. She loves the stuff straight... I don't feel the same.

                I know many people include them in muffins, use as granola on yogurt, can use the powder to coat french toast... dip in batter, then coat in flaxmeal and fry in pan...

                If you google flaxmeal recipes, you get a lot hits.

                1. a
                  Athena Dec 10, 2004 03:36 AM

                  Sprinkle 2T on the McCann's steel cut oatmeal you're going to make ;) - and be sure to put some dried fruit and walnuts in that oatmeal - you'll feel virtuous all day.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Athena
                    j
                    Jim Leff Dec 10, 2004 01:25 PM

                    I crave virtuousness.

                    hmm, but I just got this IM from a friend:

                    -----

                    you need to soak your flax seeds til they sprout (?) and then put them in a dehydrator to make crackers. otherwise the seeds will pass right through you, undigested.

                    -----

                    And, y'know, I'm just dehydrating stuff left and right around here, and don't know how I can work this into the sched.

                    1. re: Jim Leff
                      a
                      ab Dec 10, 2004 02:17 PM

                      As with many health foods, hard factual studies on the pros and cons of flax seed preparation are difficult to find. So you end up with generic knowledge of like items:

                      Tough hulled grain or seed, if not craked, may possibly pass through your system undigested. We're not herbivours. We don't have the stomach acid composition, or multiple stomachs, needed to break down many kinds of vegetation.

                      It is not necessary, however, to completely alter the composition. In fact, every significant process you initiate (soaking, heating) may change the the chemical composition of the original item.

                      The more simple the process, the more likely you will retain the original composition of the item.

                      Until I was certain adding heat or soaking would be beneficial (such as with soybeans), I would keep the seeds whole until you're ready to consume, then crack or grind them moderately before adding to cereal, peanut butter, smoothies, whatever.

                      Following generally accepted scientific methods, this should retain as much of the beneficial bits of the seed, whilst allowing your body to digest it, as possible.

                  2. k
                    kate Dec 10, 2004 04:32 AM

                    Hi, Jeff

                    I have a seed mix prescribed by my gynaecologist for general health, but even if your concern is not hormone-induced osteoporosis, I'm sure it will be great for your health! I eat a big spoonful on top of my morning cereal, and can't even taste it. Although, I have nibbled them to see what they taste like - the unshucked (brown) ones are nutty, almost like lentils, and the shucked (white) ones taste grassy, like raspberry seeds.

                    And if you don't like the taste, you can always suck on an aspirin afterwards....;)

                    1. j
                      JenniferG Dec 10, 2004 03:12 PM

                      I've always been told that you need to grind it to benefit from it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: JenniferG
                        j
                        Jim Leff Dec 10, 2004 11:02 PM

                        Yes, Rick James was right. God rest his funky soul.

                      2. e
                        ericf Dec 10, 2004 05:36 PM

                        I've also read that you should grind the seeds, or they will mostly pass through you without giving up the goods.

                        I am too lazy, so I purchase the pressed oil and store it in the fridge. I used to mix it up with things, especially yogurt, but now I just take it by the spoonful, preferably during or after a meal.

                        Lately I have been buying a brand that has a "drip free" spout that is very convenient.

                        Incidentally, even though I take the flax oil, I still supplement with fish oil capsules, since all the studies I have seen indicate that certain omega 3's especially EPA and DHA, are inefficiently formed from alpha linolenic, the major omega 3 in flaxseed oil. So I take DHA enriched fish oil capsules, which have the incidental advantage of limited fish burps and possible lower levels of mercury.

                        Link: http://www.barleans.com/

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: ericf
                          e
                          ericf Dec 10, 2004 05:50 PM

                          I just looked at your message again and notice that it's described as "cold milled," which generally means that it's already ground up and you can just eat it however. I concur with others to freeze it if you can, though. Although I have to say from experience that the oil is good for several months (<6) from opening. So maybe you don't really need to freeze it, just refridgerate.

                          1. re: ericf
                            j
                            Jim Leff Dec 10, 2004 11:00 PM

                            Wow. It's always more complicated than you think. So do I HAVE to do the fish oil? I mean, how bad will it be for me if I cause myself inefficiently formed from alpha linolenic?

                            Also, how exactly would "limited fish burps" be an "advantage"? Or are you saying that if I'm presently experienced fish burps (not the case, thanks very much) using this stuff will limit them?

                            And if I need to add fish oil, does that mean I ought to buy the whole program and get weekly colonics, carry around special drops to put on my tongue every time I start feeling high-strung, and eventually move to a special compound where no one's allowed to use scented products and we do lotsa self-affirmation?

                            Ah, health.

                            ciao

                            1. re: Jim Leff
                              e
                              ericf Dec 11, 2004 04:58 PM

                              Sorry for my sometimes disjointed style of posting. To clarify:

                              1) I believe that you will benefit healthwise from taking the flaxseed oil, since omega-3 fatty acids are "essential" in the human diet, and modern American diets are deficient in them.

                              2) The two omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) known to be important in brain function, do not exist in flaxseed oil (or as far as I know, in other common vegetable sources of omega-3s. Possible exception: algae-based sources or algae).

                              3) The formation of EPA from alpha-linolenic acid, the major omega-3 of flaxseed oil does not seem to be efficient in humans, and the formation of DHA from EPA even less so.

                              4) Fish oils are known to be a rich source of omega-3s, including DHA and EPA.

                              5) However, I worry about mercury buildup from either eating lots of fish or taking too many fish oil supplements (I haven't seen a lot of data on mercury content of fish oil supplements, so it's possible that these worries are misplaced. However, as a biochemist who hasn't looked specifically into this issue, I would tend to assume that the mercury is concentrated in the fats (methyl and ethyl mercury)).

                              6) Also, if you take the most common and cheapest sources of fish oil, you may be troubled by "fish burps" or "fish oil repeaters," if you know what I mean. Also, I didn't mean to imply that flaxseed oil will give you fish burps, if that's what it seemed like.

                              7) Some sources of fish oil have been partially purified. Sources of fish oil that have been enriched for EPA or DHA, as far as I know, have all been partially purified as a result of the enrichment process. This has the incidental effect of reducing the "fishiness" of the oil, and the probable effect of reducing any mercury contamination, though I can't be sure about the latter without seeing some data.

                              8) As far as the whole "healthy living" program, the only things I personally do are strenuous exercise 2-4 times a week, take flax oil, take some fish oil not necessarily every day, and take calcium supplements regularly, especially when I'm not eating much dairy. I drink too much, load up on mad fatty foods, guzzle diet soda and black coffee, and don't worry about taking vitamins. I hope never to have a colonic, and don't mind my food having a face. In fact, I've always felt that I should be comfortable with imagining the slaughter of the individual creature that I am consuming, as I am eating it. I'm cool with it, but then again, I am often considered, at best, "eccentric" by the squares.

                              I hope that this is more information than you wished to receive.

                              Cheers!

                              1. re: ericf
                                p
                                Pat Hammond Dec 11, 2004 05:35 PM

                                My whole family takes fish oil capsules, including a 3 and a 1 year old, with the blessing of their pediatrian. The best I've seen, and the purest is from an outfit called Nordic Naturals, no heavy metals or other impurities. They have several formulations, and I get the one that has borage oil too. No fishy burps, either! I just chew them up, following the lead of the 3 year old.

                                Link: http://www.nordicnaturals.com/

                                1. re: Pat Hammond
                                  e
                                  ericf Dec 11, 2004 05:45 PM

                                  I will endorse these too. If the taste of fish oil bugs you, the flavored ones are pretty good at mitigatiting it, though it's not like eating candy or anything. If I recall correctly, the only downside is that this brand is one of the more expensive per unit mass. Lately I've been buying stuff from Jarrow, though it's not flavored.

                                  1. re: ericf
                                    p
                                    Pat Hammond Dec 11, 2004 06:27 PM

                                    I order them at the link below now. It's the only brand I've used, but I bet this price is pretty competitive.

                                    Link: http://www.omega-dha-epa.com/productc...

                                2. re: ericf
                                  j
                                  Jim Leff Dec 16, 2004 09:02 PM

                                  Thanks for taking the time to explain, eric!

                                  If anyone wants to delve further into the nutritional/scientific side, please do so by starting a new thread on "Not About Food" so we can keep this board focused on cooking. If you do so, please feel free to post a "heads up" to this thread, so people know to make the jump over there.

                                  ciao

                            2. g
                              gina Dec 10, 2004 09:54 PM

                              In the book, "The Fat Flush Diet," there is a concoction called The Long Life Cocktail:

                              1 oz. pure cranberry juice (no sugar) to 7 oz. water, plus 2 tbsp. ground flax seed. Drink one first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.

                              It's part of a whole regiment which consists of extremely healthy eating, but I've eaten normally while drinking the LLC regularly, and felt great physically and psychologically. Also, the unsweetened cranberry becomes very thirst-quenching once you get used to it.

                              It's also good on oatmeal.

                              1. s
                                suzannapilaf Dec 11, 2004 12:42 PM

                                We take advantage of their emulsifying properties by using them in salad dressing. Grind 'em in your spice grinder and put them in a blender with your favorite vinaigrette ingredients but not the oil. Blend it all up and then drizzle in the oil and your dressing will stay nice and thick and you can keep it around for a week or so. Extra virgin olive oil is good for you too, especially the really fresh ones available at this time of the year. They are loaded with tocopherols (whatever those are!) and also all the good greens you will be eating with the dressing are good for you too...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: suzannapilaf
                                  l
                                  L Dec 13, 2004 11:37 PM

                                  Tocopherol is Vitamin E.

                                  My favorite way to get my omega-3s from flax oil is in a salad. This past summer I was addicted to greens tossed with flax oil and ume plum paste sprinkled with black sesame seeds. The nutty-sour-toasty tase combination of those three ingredients is quite amazing!

                                2. t
                                  twodales Dec 11, 2004 09:02 PM

                                  Have you tried Uncle Sam cereal? It's an old-fashioned cereal. Been around for donkey's years. Often found on the less-profitable top shelf in the grocery store. It's quite tasty and has a good bit of flax seed in it. I like Uncle Sam sprinkled over yogurt and fresh fruit. You could always add more flax seed to the cereal as well too.

                                  1. e
                                    emdb Dec 14, 2004 09:37 AM

                                    As alternatives--

                                    There's a flax hot cereal called Flax O Meal that they sell online-- LowCarbOutlet.com comes to mind, that has no artifcial sweeteners in it, although it does have whey powder for extra protein. It's a little gluey/gelatinous if you let it cool, but it's pre ground and you get your seed in bulk that way. It's not super delicious, but it's not bad, either.

                                    As a tastier alternative, King Arthur Flour sells a porridge called Pompanoosuc Porridge that has flax and other seeds and whole grains in it. It's very tasty _and_ virtuous as hell. You can flavor it like oatmeal.

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