23 Apr 2007

Flax, The Seed of Ancients

Flax was cultivated in Babylon as far back as 3000BC. It was also popular with the Ancient Greeks and the Romans . Flax was first introduced to North America by the Canadian colonists in the 17th century.

Flax seeds also known as linseed, have a hard shell, which depending of the variety, can be from a golden to a reddish brown. Due to the hard shell most people prefer to eat ground flax seeds. They have a wonderful nutty favor.

The seed and oil is particularly important to Vegans and vegetarians due to being the richest plant source of omega_3 fatty acids. It lowers high blood pressure, reduces the formation of blood clots therefore reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Omega_3 is also an anti-inflammatory relieving conditions like arthritis, migraines, lupus, gout and asthma. Studies have shown it to reduce bone loss. To meet your daily requirement, all that is required is one tablespoon of flax oil or two tablespoons of ground flax seed.

Flax seed also contains lignans which have anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. It has far more lignans than other plant sources.

High in soluble fiber, it is excellent in relieving constipation and IBS problems. It also is a good source of omega_6 fatty acids, manganese, copper, magnesium and vitamin B6, plus many other minerals, vitamins and amino acids. It also contains a high quality protein.

Whole flax seeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark cupboard for over a year, but ground flax seed is preferably stored in an airtight container in the fridge to prevent it becoming rancid and should not be kept for more than 3 months. The oil must also be refrigerated and should not be kept for more than 6 weeks and must not be used used when cooking but only added afterwards.

Ground flax seeds or oil can be sprinkled on cereals, added to smoothies and even sprinkled on cooked veggies. You can also add ground flax seeds to bread and cake mixes.

Note: When first using flax seed start with small amounts, as some people find that when using it for the first few times, they experience a bloated feeling or suffer from mild flatulence.

For more info on flax oil and flax beauty recipes see my posting on my other blog Herbs 'n Oils .


Pecan Pie
Recipe from the Millennium Restaurant, San Francisco, Calif.

2-1/2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tblsps flax seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons arrowroot
1/3 cup soymilk
prebaked pie crust

To make the filling: Place the pecans in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the maple syrup, rice syrup, vanilla extract, ginger, and salt. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. In a spice grinder, grind the flaxseeds to a powder. Combine the arrowroot, soymilk, and flaxseed meal with the maple syrup mixture, pour into a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the liquid from the blender over the pecans. Mix well and pour into a prebaked pie shell. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes, or until the filling has firmed up. Let cool.

Flax Seed Morning Shake
From Golden Fitness Flaxseed
Recipe by Jeanne-Mance Côté from Montreal, Canada.

8 oz Lite Soya Milk
One banana
2 tbsps freshly ground flax seed
1 tbsp wheat germ
sweetner to taste (optional)

Mix together in blender or hand mixer

High Fiber, Lower Carb Maple Morning Muffins
From Goodbaker Vegan Gourmet Baking Mixes
This is a low-carb muffin recipe, that is also a healthy bran muffin recipe, that is also a cane sugar free muffin recipe, that is also a low fat muffin recipe, that is also a vegan muffin recipe, that is also a protein muffin recipe! These vegan muffins are surprisingly moist and fluffy, with a delicate texure. The ground flax seed in this muffin recipe acts as an excellent vegan egg replacer, and also provides healthy flax oils and fiber.

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup whole soy flour
1/3 cup oatmeal (rolled oats)
1/3 cup wheat bran
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vital wheat gluten OR 2 tbsps starch (cornstarch, tapioca starch, arrowroot)
1/2 cup raisins and/or walnuts and/or other dried fruit
Wet Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup (or an equivalent amount of your preferred dry sweetener plus 1/4 cup water)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 or 2 tbsps oil (optional)

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a whisk or spoon to combine thoroughly. Pour in the applesauce, maple syrup (or other sweetener and water), and optional oil. Mix gently, just enough to combine. Do not overmix. It’s OK to leave a few dry lumps. Spoon batter into a lined muffin tin, and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes, or until the tops turn golden.

Hints: We’ve tried to use ingredients that are readily available. But it’s also a very flexible recipe. So if you don’t have both the wheat bran and the oat bran, simply substitute with more of the one you do have. If you don’t have either, substitute with more oatmeal. Or if you are missing any of the first 5 ingredients, just substitute with more whole wheat pastry flour.

Happy Colon

2 tbsps ground flax seeds
2 tbsps bran (molasses or any bran you have on hand)
2 tbsps rolled oats
chopped fried figs, prunes and/or raisins

Soak overnight in cup of filtered water and serve with soy yogurt and maple syrup (optional).


24th April is World Day for Animals in Laboratories

Spare a thought for the millions of animals in laboratories being used in unnecessary experiments.

"I abhor vivisection. It should at least be
curbed. Better, it should be abolished.
I know of no achievement through
vivisection, no scientific discovery,
that could not have been obtained
without such barbarism and cruelty.
The whole thing is evil."

Dr. Charles Mayo, Founder of the Mayo Clinic



laura jesser said...

This is a good post. I've been thinking about flax lately and how I need to get more of it. The problem is, I only really like it in cooked things, and cooking it destroys the omega-3s! I put it in smoothies, but I don't drink smoothies often enough to rely on that. I've tried putting it in applesauce, but I didn't like it. Anyway, thanks for sharing this information--and the recipes give me a few new ideas to try.

Green Earth said...

Loved this post. Flaxseed is such a wonderful food and your recipes really allow it to be eaten in great ways. Always wish I was eating at your place.

Matt said...

What if you can't get get or use the seed? Is it just as good if you buy an oil or a capsule form? I found a company that sells both. Anything particular to look for?

Marion said...

I use flax like I use sesame seeds,sprinkled over everything. I love that there is so much goodness in it, and I believe the flax oil I take has lowered my blood pressure.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

I really like flax seeds, but don't think to eat it often enough. I enjoy it sprinkled on salads. Right now, I have Hodgson Mill flax seed in the fridge, and my goal is to get a coffee grinder and do my own.
Thank you for drawing attention to all the suffering of labatory animals - it's completely heart breaking.

Dori said...

I learned about the healthy benefits of flax several years ago and started using it regularly, in smoothies and sprinkled on top of oatmeal and salads. It has so many healthy benefits! The recipes you posted with it look like good ones to try.

I read somewhere that it has more than doublethe amount of Omega three's than fish oils .... happy news.

david santos said...

O dia 25 de Abril de 1974 foi o dia do derrube da ditadura fascista em Portugal, a chamada REVOLUÇÃO DOS CRAVOS, e a queda do (poder) dos inimigos do povo. 25 de Abril, sempre.

Day 25 of April of 1974 was the day of it knocks down of the dictatorship fascist in Portugal, the call REVOLUTION OF the flowers, and the fall of the power of the enemies of the people. 25 of April, forever!
يوم 25 نيسان 1974 كان يوم تقرع عليها من الديكتاتوريه الفاشيه في البرتغال والدعوة للثورة الزهور ، وسقوط سلطة أعداء الشعب. 25 نيسان ، الى الابد!

День 25 апреля 1974 года, в день он постучит в воздухе фашистской диктатуры в Португалии слово О РЕВОЛЮЦИИ цветы, и падение власти враги народа. 25 апреля, навсегда!
Le jour 25 d'avril de 1974 était le jour de lui frappe vers le bas du fasciste de dictature au Portugal, de la RÉVOLUTION d'appel des fleurs, et de la chute de la puissance des ennemis du peuple. 25 d'avril, pour toujours !
Tag 25 von April von 1974 war der Tag von ihm klopft unten vom Diktaturfaschisten in Portugal, von der Anruf REVOLUTION der Blumen und vom Fall der Energie der Feinde von den Leuten. 25 von April, für immer
25天41974年的一天,它拍下來的法西斯獨裁政權,葡萄牙 號召革命的鮮花,秋天的權力得到人民的敵人. 25日,永不停息

rhody said...

Flax seeds add some good nutrition, but I think chia seeds are even better.

They have higher Omega 3 and 6 levels than flax seeds and are also an excellent source of calcium and other minerals. They don't have to be ground like flax seeds. Plus, chia seeds don't go rancid like flax. (I have learned this is because chia seeds have much higher antioxidant levels than flax.)

I was surprised they don’t have any taste or flavor, so I’ve been adding them to just about everything. The only problem is that chia seeds aren’t stocked in many stores, so I’ve been buying mine online. I’ve seen recommended by several sites and have been buying from them.

KleoPatra said...

First of all, thank you for the message on behalf of the suffering of laboratory animals... what a horrific life for these creatures... the poem made me both sad and overwhelmed yet it also made me realize that these are not forgotten souls... i keep them in my prayers nightly. THANK YOU!

Flax is something i need to look into more, but haven't yet... i'll be more diligent now that i am better informed after reading this post. Another great one, Jackie.

I also love this comment you made about the muffins:

"This is a low-carb muffin recipe, that is also a healthy bran muffin recipe, that is also a cane sugar free muffin recipe, that is also a low fat muffin recipe, that is also a vegan muffin recipe, that is also a protein muffin recipe!"

I mean who could ask for anything more?! The muffin sounds like the answer to so many needs and wants, in the best possible ways. Plus it looks like it will be a tasty treat!

bazu said...

I love that quote by Mayo. I feel nothing but pain and heartache about the fate of so many animals in labs.

And I love the information on flax. It seems like such a superfood. 3 years ago, I had no idea what it was. Now, it's a daily part of my life.

Jackie said...

Wasn't my comment on the muffin recipe but was posted with the was so great I had to add it :)

Urban Vegan said...

Your post reminded me that it's time to grind my flax seeds. We put them in cereal, on salads and in smoothies.

Your "happy colon" recipe made me belly laugh.

Green Earth said...

Back again to check out your wonderful flax recipes.

scottishvegan said...

I didn’t know flax seeds were good for IBS…another great reason to eat them! Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

great! i need to eat more of it ! i love this post!

vanishingword said...

I wanted to add that Flax Seed oil is a contributer to producing milk in women having difficulties breastfeeding.

Naomi said...

Great post Jackie. I used Flaxseed oil for eczema I suffered after my dad died and it worked really well.