My doctor recently suggested I try to incorporate more Omega-3s into my diet. I'm a vegetarian (so, no fish or fish oil), and I'd prefer "real food" to supplements in a pill form. Does anyone have good recipes that include flaxseeds or flaxseed meal or oil? I'm especially interested in breakfast items (muffins, breads, bars, etc.).
I just grind a couple of TBS. in my spice grinder and stir it into my yogurt. Sort of like Grapenuts and yogurt. You certainly can mix it into muffin or pancake batter too. I think you will find grinding it makes it easier to eat and reduces some of the slime factor it tends to lend. You should not grind anymore than you are going to use at the moment. If you grind a whole bunch of it, it will lose some of the essential nutrients you are eating it to gain.
Make your own granola and include flaxseed as one ingredient. DH eats a mix of high-fiber grains with yogurt every day which includes flaxseed, wheat bran, rolled oats etc. It has no added sugar because he likes it plain but you could vary this with dried fruit and other add-ins.
I recently started eating flaxseeds and did some research on it. I frankly don't remember all the specific medical and nutritional terms, but in general:
To get the most beneficial value from flaxseeds, buy whole seeds and grind them in a coffee grinder, small batches at a time so it'll always be fresh (the oil goes rancid quickly). Keep it in the fridge. You should grind the seed because your body may not be able to digest the whole seed.
With the oil, you don't get the benefit of fiber and a type of antioxident that's in the seed, but if you do choose the oil, make sure it comes in a dark bottle (less light exposure), also it can go rancid quickly (keep oil in the fridge too). Flaxseed meal is a waste of money.
From what I've read, flaxseed/oil should be eaten raw, or you lose some of the benefits in cooking.
Also the suggested daily intake is 1 to 2 teaspoons a day.
I mix it in my yogurt. The granola suggestion sounds great. It should be good sprinkled on salads too.
I use it as an egg replacer in baked goods. You take one tablespoon of seeds and grind them with 1/4 c. of water, then let it sit a few minutes until it gels. That makes enough to replace one egg.
Otherwise, I've mixed ground seeds into pancakes, granola, falafel, veggie burgers - basically anything.
k, heres a bunch of flax info for you (i have long been a flaxfan):
dont bother with the flax oil at all becuase, like someone above mentioned, you don't get any fiber out of it and flax seeds are chock full of fiber.
i dont think you need buy whole flax seeds either tho - just buy pre-ground flax seeds from someone like bob's red mill (google them) or arrowhead mills or something. any whole foods or health store will def carry them. you can sprinkle this 'flour' over yogurt or into soups, etc. on salads sometimes it brings an almost-parmesan like quality, too. on anything.
in baking, its awesome. i just exchange about 1/4 of the flour (hopefully whole wheat, right?) with the ground flax with no problems. i do not, however, know what the heat of baking's effect on the nutritional benefits of flax is. be wary. better off going on yogurt, etc. for the health benefits i'd say.
also, if you are really trying to get more omega 3's, you really are better of eating a nice, cold water fish like salmon. the type of omega 3 in cold water fish is, for lack of a more lengthy, boring science conversation, much more readily bioavailable. in short, our bodies have to work the omega 3 from flax a whole lot more and, in the end, gets less actually from it, than from a fish.
yes, bob's product is the same as flaxseed meal. in this case, "meal" just means "ground up stuff." seriously. you could say "cornmeal" etc, yknow? well, slacker is right in that you can always just buy the whole seeds and grind them in a spare coffee grinder you have laying around. but, for me, i mean, i do NOT have spare things like coffee grinders around...my only coffee grinder is used for daily coffee beans and i dont much savor the idea of coffee-flavored flaxmeal, yknow? so, for me, its easier just to buy big ol' bags of the flaxmeal and store it in the fridge. i have NEVER had rancidity issues. ever. ive been eating it regularly for years. no probs. if you really think it'll go bad even in the fridge, keep it in the freezer (just seal it well, cuz you dont want any off flavors creeping in).
I think different sellers mean different things when they say flax meal. When I referred to the meal, I was thinking of the stuff at Trader Joe's, and there's something in it besides flax seeds. TJ's also carries ground flax seeds which they keep in the refrigerated section. Their meal is on the shelf with the bread.
If you want to buy pre-ground just make sure it's 100% flax seeds. But it's so much cheaper to grind it yourself. After the initial $20 or so investment in a grinder if you don't have one, the seeds are really cheap. Also, there are brown and golden flax seeds, my understanding is there's no difference in nutritional value.
thanks - but you've brought up another question for me. i don't eat meat or fish, so fishy sources of omega-3s are out. I've heard that the omega 3s in fish ultimately come from algae. i'm sure i could google this, but are there algae supplements that are more bioavailable, and if so, are they worth trying? for me, the beauty of flaxseed is that i can eat "real food" - no pills or bars - and it tastes relatively good.
It is true- you really can't get all the omega-3 you need from plant sources. Flax seed provides short-chain fatty acids(ALA), not the long-chain(EPA and DHA) that our bodies need. Fish are the best source, sockeye salmon in particular. Flax seed is good for you, but it is not complete.
Yes, fishingblues...I've read the same information. And wild samon leads the parade with O 3's..sardines are also good but wild salmon, fresh, frozen or canned, best source. Ground flax offers a ton of fiber and also lignans in addition to the plant O 3's so I try to eat that 4 times a week at least. Salmon/sardines 3-4 times a week also. Not a big fan of swallowing the ginormous fish oil capsules, that's just me.
Flax oil is extremely unstable under heat and/or light. Heating it can break it down into trans fats pretty easily. I would think that cooking w/ the whole seeds is safer than w/ the expressed oil, but not sure?
A really good book to read is Udo Erasmus - Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill.
Flax seed oil should never be heated. It actually makes it toxic. However, it is a good source of Omega-3s taken 1-2 teaspoons daily. As others have mentioned, it should be kept in the fridge in a dark bottle. I do not agree with others that say it is not as good to use because it doesn't have the fibre. I get fibre from a lot of other sources (including flax seeds in other items). I still think it's beneficial to get the daily dose of Omega-3s from the oil also. I just swallow just under big soupspoon full each day when I take my other vitamins.
I regularly m half ground flaxseed. I make them tasty with make muffins using half whole-wheat flour, lots of chocolate chips, and different sets of spices, my current favorite being Chinese five-spice.
Once, I calculated the nutritional value of these -- approximately 200+ calories per muffin and around 6 grams of fiber.
The recipe, roughly:
Mix in one bowl:
a little over one cup of ground flaxseed (I buy it ground)
a little over one cup of whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
salt & spices
mix in another bowl:
1.5 cups yogurt or sour cream or buttermilk
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
.5 cup brown sugar (or in combination with molasses)
1 tablespoon vanilla
lots of chocolate chips
After mixing the dry and wet ingredients well separately, combine them with minimal mixing and divide into a greased 12-muffin tin. Bake 375 for 25 minutes, and cool on racks. I then freeze each individually wrapped in plastic.
re: david kaplan
I realize this post was made awhile ago, but I just made these muffins today & am very pleased with them! My spices were thyme, nutmeg, & lemon peel - about a quarter teaspoon each. The most time consuming thing was grinding the flaxseed - I would definitely recommend buying the Bob's ground version rather than the actual seeds. Good recipe!
Since it's winter I've been eating a lot of oatmeal and I add about a tablespoon to my oatmeal before cooking. As others I also just add a few tbsp to baked goods, etc...in the summer I will add to smoothies. I keep a jar of ground seeds in the fridge for easy usage...
Oh yeah, I also needed a raw egg substitute for a no-bake bar I was making this weekend and one of the substitutes I found (and used) was to soak 1 tbsp flax powder in 3 tbsp water. Worked great.
You can make a sort of natural foods version of rice crispy treats with flax seed. You use a combination of nut butter and syrup in place of the melted marshmallow, and crispy brown rice cereal for the brand name cereal, then add in fresh ground flax seed before mixing. I'm not sure I still have the recipe, but you could probably google it up. They're surprisingly good, and kids will eat them if they aren't the sort who are turned off by brown food.
Another food to consider that's vegan and rich in Omega-3 fats is chia seed. I found it works very well in tomato sauce, salsas, etc. Also, it has the appearance and (kind of) the taste of poppy seeds, so think bagels and bread crusts. But be warned: I've tried it in cereal with milk, and the texture was awful because of the way chia turns gummy in water-based liquids (like tapioca). Maybe it would work in oatmeal.
Check out Wikipedia's page on Omega-3 fatty acid, where there are lists of all kinds of foods rich in this stuff, including plant sources.
i gave up wheat last year and make flax bread focaccia:
2 cups flaxmeal
1T baking powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
salt and dried thyme
>heat oven to 350
>prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper. this batter is VERY sticky, so don't skip this step
combine the dry ingredients well.
>stir in the wet ingredients
>spread batter on the parchment with a spatula
>let rest for 10 mins
>bake about 20 mins.
let cool, cut into slices and freeze. keeps and toasts very well.
you can add nuts, berries, seeds and splenda or a pinch of sugar to change this up.
This probably will never reach the OP, but I jsut started eating Flax, and I've ground some myself, and will also buy the pre-ground form Bob's Mills. Right now I am going through my home ground and keeping it in the freezer.
Here's my recipe:
Oatmeal, chocolate chip flax cookies
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/2 cup ground flax seeds, or fresh flax meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour (bleached will also work)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 oz milk chocolate chips
1 and 1/2 of 1.75 (approx) 54% dark chocolate bar(s), chopped (Trader Joe's has these)
1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
Cream butter & sugars until smooth. Add egg & blend, then add soda, salt and cinnamon. Add oats, flax & chocolates, then slowly incorporate flours. Add walnuts if desired.
Use a spoon to get wads of dough the size of a walnut, spaced about 2" apart.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Super delicious, and the flax just disappears!
O.K., let's be very clear here:
1. Do not eat whole flax seeds. They will pass through undigested/unabsorbed.
2. Flax seeds must be ground immediately before eating them. Benefits quickly deteriorate.
3. Do not cook the ground flax seeds (yes, this is flax/flaxseed meal).
Buy the seeds from a reputable/fresh source. Refrigerate them in a glass container. Grind them in a spice/coffee grinder each day and eat the resulting meal in yogurt or cold cereal.