Flax: GF Newsletter April 08

Flax: Sprinkle you way to a healthier day!

Flax seeds have gotten a lot of good press lately because they contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and important for good health. But they’re particularly good for gluten free folks because they add much needed fiber to our diets, and also add a nutty flavor and moistness to gluten free baked goods.

Health benefits:
These little seeds are multipurpose wonders. We benefit from the fatty acids, the lignans they contain, and the fiber, too.

Flax seeds and flax oil are great sources of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which is an omega 3 fatty acid. Studies have linked ALA and its benefits for high blood pressure, heart disease, for bone health, etc. Studies have been very positive about flaxseed’s role in reducing cholesterol levels and even managing blood sugars in diabetics. Also, our bodies can convert ALA it into eicosapentoaenoic acid (EPA), which is the form of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

Flax seeds also contain lignans, and studies have suggested they may be protective in both breast and prostate cancers.

Don’t forget about the fiber! One of the most common complaints I hear is that when people go gluten free, they’re just not regular anymore. Flax seeds are also a great source of fiber, which helps with constipation.

How to use flax seeds and flax oil
You’ve got your pick of brown or golden flax seeds, which have the same nutritional value. Flax seeds are sold whole and ground. Whole seeds will most definitely keep you regular (maybe more than you want them to) but you’ll miss out on all of the fatty acids and lignins, so it’s much more beneficial eat them milled or ground. They can be purchased pre-ground, or you can do it yourself in a coffee or spice grinder. Once the flax seeds are ground, they must be kept refrigerated, frozen or used quickly, or they will go rancid.

You can add flax seeds to many baked goods. Many GF recipes include flax seeds for their nutty moistness. A flax seed goop (a technical term) can be made from boiling flax seeds and water and used as an egg replacer. Flax seeds work well sprinkled on salads, in smoothies, or on cereal.

Flax seed oil is great when you’re not using heat. So it’s perfect for making a salad dressing, or tossing veggies that are not going to be heated. But when it’s heated, not only are the helpful parts lost, harmful compounds are formed.

Everything in moderation

Some is good, so more is better, right? Like most foods, flax should be added into the diet in moderation. Like all fiber sources, it’s best to gradually increase the amount of flax seed. There is also some suggestions in animal studies that high doses of flax (more than 4 tablespoons a day) may be harmful, so if you are pregnant and eat a lot of flax, have a chat with your doctor.

So I bet you’re interesting in recipes using flax seeds, right? Well, many of the entries for the GF Healthy Recipe Contest include flax seed, such as the Applesauce Teff Cake , Pumpkin Spice Muffins, Fluffy Puffy Pancakes and many others. Speaking of the recipe contest…

Winners of the Healthy (or healthier) Recipe Contest!

Thanks so much to everyone who submitted and voted for recipes. Thanks also to the people who generously donated the prizes, and to my husband for his patience in teaching me how to post the recipes. We had 52 submissions, including a wide range of cooking and baking styles. The winners are (drumroll please!)

Baked goods: a big reusable tote bag of goodies from Bob’s Red Mill

WINNER: Chocolate Coconut Amaranth Bread(GF, DF, EF, SF) By Christel King

Dessert: 2 great new cookbooks (signed!) from Susan O’Brien: Gluten Free, Sugar Free Cooking and Gluten free Vegan Cookbook

WINNER: Chocolate Cake Brownie (GF, DF) By: Mireille Cote

Main meal: goodies from Heartland’s Finest

WINNER:Chicken With Garlic, Pasta and Chard (GF,DF, EF, SF) By:Karen Eidson

Kid friendly: $50 gift certificate from Allergy Grocer

WINNER:GFCFEFSF Whipped Cream(GF, DF, EF, SF) By Christel King

Allergy friendly: a big box of products from Enjoy Life and Perky’s

WINNER: Applesauce Teff Cake (GF, DF, EF, SF, nuts optional) By Robin Reed

I’m leaving the recipes up so that people can keep tasting, rating and commenting.

Upcoming classes:

GF and Healthy
Whole grains, fiber, healthy fats and more
Saturday, May 31st

We will be making summer rolls!

For more info or to register click here.

Springtime Special:

Get 10% off an initial nutrition session when you mention this deal!

I spy:

Gluten free Rice Chex? Could it be? Yes, General Mills has opted to change the formula from barley malt to other sweeteners. This is the first switch for a big corporation to accommodate our GF world and the thought is that if sales go up, others will follow suit. I’ve seen them at the Giant in Hayfield, it says GF right on the box! However, old ones may still be on the shelf, so double check the labels as always to be sure.

GF Passover foods: for a detailed description, check out last month’s newsletter. And I’ll see you next to the gluten, dairy and soy free chocolate chips…

Happy Spring,


Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are dealing with Celiac Disease, food allergies, picky eaters, children on the Autistic spectrum, chronic illness, or if you just want to feel and look better, Cheryl can help you achieve your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here or call 571-271-8742.