Flax

by Susan on May 9, 2011

I often get comments from people who don’t want to make a certain raw food recipe because it has flax in it. If you are allergic, that is completely understandable. But for many, it is a taste that they object to. I am here to say that there is a way around that. But you need to be very specific with the flax you pick, how you store, prepare it and use it.

Flax is a great source of nutrients. Loaded with omega 3′s, lignans, alpha linolenic acid and fiber, flax is beneficial in fighting cancer, diabetes, and inflammation. Flax helps lower cholesterol and considering it is the highest plant source of ALA’s (alpha-linolenic acid, the plant form of omega 3) it even helps fight depression!

There are a few things that you need to be aware of when you use flax. First of all, it is unstable. You want to buy the freshest flax possible, keep it refrigerated and only grind it right before using. While whole flax can give a great texture, you get the biggest benefit from ground flax as it makes all the nutrients available.

Questioning the taste of flax? I hear it all the time, “Is there something I can use instead of flax? I don’t like the taste.” Well, here is my suggestion. Try fresh, just ground golden flax. It hardly has any taste at all, especially when you combine it with other ingredients. I think most people have trouble with the taste of flax when they are using brown flax (stronger) or flax that has gone rancid.

Flax is great in flat breads, and other recipes where ingredients need to have a “binder” to keep them together. A great egg substitute, you can use one tablespoon of ground flax combined with 3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg. This works in normal recipes as well as raw food recipes.

Looking for some flax seed recipes on the Rawmazing site? Click here: Flax Seed Recipes

 

 

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna May 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I love golden flax. Completely agree that there isn’t much flavor!

diana May 10, 2011 at 12:12 am

Psyllium seed husks also work as a binder in doughs for those looking for a replacement of flaxseed.

Some of its benefits:
Ayurveda science of medicine recommends its use for colon cleansing as well as for better blood circulation.
Psyllium seed husks are indigestible in human beings and are often used as a source of dietary fiber. They are used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and diarrhea.
Some recent research is also showing them to be promising in lowering cholesterol and controlling diabetes.

Other uses include gluten-free baking, where ground psyllium seed husks bind moisture and help make the bread less crumbly.

Susan May 10, 2011 at 6:40 am

Unfortunately, the only nutrient in psyllium is a very small amount of calcium (less than 3% of the RDA) and a very tiny amount (less that 1% of the RDA) of iron. The point here was that flax is highly nutritious. And that if you have had a bad experience and don’t like the flavor, you should try fresh, golden flax, ground just before you use it.

Ronn May 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

I’ve been using a store-bought organic *sprouted* ground flax that works very well for me. It’s available in health food stores, but I’ve found a couple of different brands of it on Amazon at much better prices (do a search for sprouted ground flax).

The interesting thing about the sprouted ground flax product is, it says on the label “Product stability by using the plant’s natural antioxidants derived by the sprouting process results in a product that DOES NOT REQUIRE REFRIGERATION or special packaging even after opening as long as it is kept sealed. The product has a 2 year shelf life.”

It also lists the multiple benefits the sprouting provides, such as decreased enzyme inhibitors to increase bio-availability of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and fiber, increased vitamins, minerals & amino acids by sprouting, etc.

One reviewer at Amazon says it tastes better than regular brown flax meal (slightly sweet). I don’t notice its taste in the recipes I’ve used it in, so it might be suitable option for people to try.

Stacy L May 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

That’s interesting Ronn. I might research that myself. I’ve been using chia as a substitute for anything listing flax as an ingredient for years now. Flax is very upsetting to my stomach.

S

diana May 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm

That might have been quite an irrelevant intrusion with the psyllium husk versus flax meal from the very standpoint of nutritional profile. The argument for psyllium was only it acts as a binder and not lacking altogether some health maintaining qualities.
However, dear Susan, will use this opportunity to congratulate you on a truly marvelous site and your genuinely artistic approach to cuisine. I’ve been following it /you for over a year. And find it deeply inspirational. Plus the educational touch is also praisable.
Good luck and many thanks for your dedication!

Robert May 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Thank you for that info on flax . . . very helpful.

Susan May 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm

My whole point with writing this piece is to get people to think it terms of the nutrient value of all of the ingredients they use. Chia seeds make an excellent binder, also and are full of nutrients. I think we need to start thinking in terms of value vs function. Flax and chia also have the same benefits as psyllium along with a much superior nutritional profile.

I am glad you are enjoying the site.

Cassandra Potier Watkins May 12, 2011 at 3:59 am

I keep a bag of golden flax seed in the freezer from which I only take what I need. I fact, I keep all my nuts and seds in the freezer, and they never become rancid!

janet May 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

Great tips. I actually don’t mind the pre-ground flax, but I am now itching to try to grind my own golden flax seeds. :)

Suboxone Doctors May 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I used to mix flaxseeds with my protein shake because they have a lot of health benefits

Kristen May 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

If you don’t like flax try chia seeds, they are just as nutritious and have a very mild to no flavor, and wow do they have super geling capacity!

Laura July 30, 2011 at 6:26 am

the reason why I don’t eat flax is ignans. Lignans are a controversial subject because can interfere with the absorption of estrogen. They can be good or bad. Since they lower the estrogen in your body: if you have too much estrogen in your body, then they are beneficial but if you don’t have enough, they become counterproductive. So I consider flax be “good for some” but not for everyone.

Laura July 30, 2011 at 6:28 am

Of course if you happen to have more info on this (not very popular) subject please let me know, as flax would be a very versatile in the kitchen. Thanks anyway!

angelbelli March 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thank you for posting this… i find it quite interesting as i’m new to raw.
i finally got a dehydrator and lately i’ve noticed that i’m using more flax seeds as i find them in a lot of the recipes. i understand the nutritional benefits of the little seeds, and i like their flavor… what i don’t enjoy is the gooey consistency. As i’m chewing the flax cracker or banana flax pancake, its just to slimy for taste.
i dont’ think there’s anyway to get around that as its the character of the little seed to bind things together.
i think i will try chia seeds as someone suggested – but if anyone has any other recommendations please let me know.

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