Do you remember when flax seed was suddenly the new and hip seed to eat? Flax seems like old news to most of us now, and it’s a kitchen staple among many health conscious foodies.
But for me, this seed has been nothing but a giant pain in the flax.
It seems well known that it’s important to eat ground flax seed. Their little hulls are so hard, if you eat them whole they’ll pass right through your body undigested and you miss out on their rich supply of essential fatty acids, Omega-3 in particular.
I used to buy and eat ground flax seed all the time. But then I learned that packaged flax meal is supposedly what’s left after the seeds have been stripped of their oils. Other sources say that when the seeds are ground, the oil is exposed and then highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Either way, some say that you risk missing out on all that Omega-3 with packaged ground flax meal.
It starts to feel more confusing and complicated when the packaging of most ground flax seeds claim to be “high in omega-3”. But in Eating Well for Optimal Health, Dr. Andrew Weil says that eating pre-packaged ground flax meal defeats the purpose of eating flax in the first place. He suggests buying whole flax seeds and grinding them yourself.
So call me crazy, but I decided to trust the nutrition experts instead of the flax meal marketing execs on this one. While I wouldn’t say it’s “pointless” to eat packaged flax meal – it’s still a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber either way – personally, I want to be sure I’m getting those Omega-3’s found in the flax oil.
Many people recommend grinding your flax seeds in a coffee grinder. Sounds easy enough – but I don’t have a coffee grinder. I grind my coffee at the store and am in no mood to drop $20 just to grind stupid flax seeds. I tried using the food processor but it took For-EVER. As in, start it up and go take a nap – it’s going to be a while.
Well forget it. Who can sleep with the food processor running anyway. I’d rather just be annoyed with flax seed and give up on it all together. Screw you Flax Seed! I’ll get my omega-3’s someplace else.
Real mature, eh?
In short, I haven’t had flax in my kitchen for a while now. But then while re-reading Thrive in preparation for last minute marathon training, I was reminded why flax is so good for us. It really is one of the best sources of omega-3 in a plant based diet. It’s high in potassium, is a complete protein, has all the essential amino acids. Flax seed can help the body more efficiently burn fat as fuel – something that is especially important for endurance athletes.
So with both Brendan Brazier and Andrew Weil ganging up on me, I was convinced to reconcile with flax seed. We made up and I bit the bullet and finally bought a coffee grinder.
At laaaaast – my looooove has come along. My flax free days… are over.
This took less than 10 SECONDS people! I’m impressed! And only a little creeped out by the giant brown flax eye staring back at me.
But I’m going to overlook the creepy brown eye. Flax and I just made up after all.
Flax oil is delicate and oxidizes quickly, so it’s really important to protect it from both light and heat once it’s ground. Dr. Weil recommends storing your ground flax seed in an opaque, airtight container and keeping it in the fridge. Brendan agrees with this advice and also adds that when stored properly, ground flax will keep for 3 months.
Well if Andrew and Brendan say it’s true, then I believe it.
Welcome back to breakfast, Flax.
Sprinkled this morning over my current favorite cookie dough oats made with frozen banana, 1/3 c of oats and 2 Tbsp of hemp seeds and a spoonful of almond butter.
And welcome to the small appliance family, Coffee Grinder –
I’m glad I finally sucked it up and got you here.