Flaxseed– A beauty ingredient?

When I  was growing up  the popular health “silver bullet”  was wheat germ and my mom would sprinkle it over everything, ruining perfectly good lamb chops and salad.  In recent years, soy surged to the front as the all powerful ingredient.   Today its flaxseed and  I see it in recipes,  packaged bread and crackers and  recommendations to sprinkle it over everything.

What is flaxseed?

Flaxseed comes from a plant  that is used for both its stem and seeds.  Different parts of this widely available plant  have been used  to make soap, furniture polish and cloth . It also has  pretty blue flowers  and is grown for decoration. But what has made flaxseed a rock  star today is its world class nutritional payload.  Flaxseeds are super  high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid, all  three of which have been linked to fewer wrinkles.   It also delivers protein, minerals, a huge amount of vitamin B1 and a respectable amount of calcium. Nice.

Studies have shown that flaxseeds can lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar in diabetics and may benefit  people with breast and prostate cancers.  This is one impressive seed– but the big question is how does it  taste?  I was so happy to find that flaxseed meal  has a  very faint  flavor and its not gritty, not at all like the crunchy strong  flavors of wheat germ.   Then the question becomes  how  do I add it to my diet?

Popular  use suggestions include adding it to  yogurt, smoothies,  sprinkling it on salads or berries or adding it to peanut butter.  Personally I don’t like adding  crunch to these foods, but I’m now adding  flaxseeds to oatmeal, pancakes, waffles and with  crumb toppings for chicken and  sugar  free pies.   There are now a bounty of recipes using flaxseed meal and this one is my new favorite way of making chicken.  I adapted it from  Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Steinfeld.  This cook book  offers child-friendly recipes that sneak vegetables into popular foods like mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs and brownies.  Its also a good way to get more vegetables into me.

Mommy Mc Nuggets

Ingredients: 1/2 cup bread or panko crumbs, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal, 1/2 tablespoon Parmasan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 jar of baby sweet potato puree, 1 small egg, 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into two inch pieces, 1 tablespoon olice oil

Directions:  Combine breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmasan cheese, paprika, and onion powder in a bowl.  In another smaller  bowl mix sweet potatoes and   egg with a fork until smooth. Dip chicken in egg mixtures and then roll in seasoned crumbs. Heat olive oil in a 10-12 inch non-stick pan. When it is hot but not smoking, add the chicken nuggets, keeping them in a single layer. Cook until they are crisp and golden, about 3 minutes on each side.

One final note- Whole flaxseeds go right through you, taking all their nutrition with them.  To get the health benefits you need to break them down and  use them in the form of flaxseed meal.  This can spoil easily so  keep in the fridge after opening the package and try to use within six months.

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