One of my favorite things to do is watch the birds. My favorite is the hummingbird, with the blue jays coming in a close second. It’s just fascinating how fast those little hummingbirds can flap their wings. I love that I can hear them coming. Then there’s the silly jays. They crack me up because when I fill up the bird feeders in front of my house, they fling out the little seeds just so they can reach the sunflower seeds. You’d think I’d learn and buy a big bag of sunflower seeds for them! 🌻
As I was eating my breakfast this morning, which included seeded bread I came to a realization, that’s why I decided to share about the importance of seeds in our diets.
There are plenty of seeds out there; hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds to name a few of my favorite. All three of those have plenty of benefits, that’s part of why I include them in my diet. Today my focus is going to be on flaxseeds.
There is a regular (brownish) flaxseed, I just decided to get the golden one because it looks pretty when I bake with it. Such fancy little seeds! They are sort of like little golden nuggets, if you consider the amount of health packed into them. Omega-3s, protein, tryptophan and fiber, to name a few. As a vegan and a fitnut, I consider my omegas and protein to be very important ingredients because I’m not getting those from animals. We all know that fiber is good for bowel health, so I won’t talk about that. The ingredient that is most fascinating to me is the tryptophan because it’s something I’ve recently learned about.
Depression is something I deal with seasonally and I got to go through a depression/anxiety recovery program earlier this year. I never realized how much our mental health is tied up with the foods we eat! Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps us make serotonin, which helps stabilize our moods. Tryptophan is in a number of different foods but these tiny seeds have one of the biggest bangs for your buck!
How Do You Prepare Them?
Back to the birds, they have tiny little beaks that break seeds down so they can eat them. If you’ve ever had a pet bird you know that they eat the inside and leave the shell, much like us with sunflower seeds at a baseball game or everywhere if you’re my oldest son!
Our bodies are not built to digest flaxseed left whole, just like corn, 🙈 they come out whole. That means all the awesome nutrition is wasted. (That was my realization this morning, most of the seeds on the seeded bread are wasted!) We of course don’t have beaks so we need to opt for the next best thing, blenders! Or, you can buy the seeds already ground up. I opt for whole because they are cheaper. I also buy mine in the bulk section and store them in my freezer until I’m ready to grind them up. They stay fresh that way, just like nuts. After I grind them up I’ll keep them in an air tight jar in the fridge for easy access. I use them in my diet every day, the family too.
All Ground Up, Now What?
There are quite a few ways to utilize the seeds. Throw them into a smoothie, toss it into a salad, sprinkle it on cereal. My FAVORITE way to use flaxseed is as an egg replacement in baked goods. Yes, eggs have omega-3s and protein BUT they also have cholesterol and no fiber, so I call the flax-egg winning!
- 1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
- 3 Tbsp water
Mix and set aside to get “slimy” for a few minutes before using in your favorite baking recipe.
Now get out there and flax it up!