Friday, September 16, 2011

Flaxseed Meal for Runners

So, I've altered my daily breakfast slightly. As I mentioned before, I was using Shakeology for my breakfast. Shakeology is a combination of multivitamin, meal replacement and protein drink all in one (if interested, you can read more about it here). I prefer the chocolate one, and what I've been doing is adding a banana to it, as well as 2 tablespoons of PB2 (which I still love as much since I tried it that very first day!). Because the flaxseed has a slight nutty taste, I don't even notice it as the PB2 more than covers up any unusual flavor (honestly, I doubt it would matter to me anyways, but for those that don't like unusual tastes, this may be an issue). I blend it with water, then add crushed ice via our margaritaville maker for a nice breakfast frappe. This would basically result in two 16 ounce glasses to drink for the morning, so you can tell I'm getting a ton of water in there as least 28 ounces, I estimate! Its so easy to drink that I have no problem gulping down two glasses of this in 15 minutes (the only amount of time we can dedicate to breakfast during the week in our crazy household!).

So, what have I changed up? I've added two tablespoons of flaxseed meal. Bob's Red Mill is my go-to brand for this product. They are easy to find, and they also offer an organic version for just a few cents more. I personally don't like the full flax seeds as they are just too hard for me, but the meal is pre-crushed so it blends quite nicely into the shake (but it still retains all the parts of the seed). I could have simply used Flax Oil, but it spoils faster than the meal, and I prefer the extra fiber that the meal offers.

Note: Both flaxseed oil and meal must be refrigerated. Even better is keeping it in the freezer if you can find a sealed container for it that doesn't let anything in! I love the Lock-n-Lock brand for these, as no freezer smells get in our out of these containers. Lock-n-Lock comes in so many sizes that I keep all of my oatmeals/grains/flours/baking goods in these and then they are in the freezer in my garage so they last extra long.

So, why flax seed? It contains an abundance of essential fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, lignin, protein and zinc. Some nutritionists now think that its the 2nd most vital supplement after a multivitamin, as it helps every major system in your body (cardiovascular, immune, circulatory, reproductive nervous...even your joints!)

Flax seed has been shown to be specifically beneficial to:

  • lower breast/colon cancer risks, due to its high lignan content (Flax is 100 times richer in lignan than most other grains)

  • The Omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol and triglycerides

  • Reduces risk of high blood pressure, water retention, inflammation (inflammation....the runner's worst recurring issue)

  • Shortens recovery time for post-exercise muscles (runners remedy)

  • Increases energy and stamina (runners remedy)

  • Speeds healing of sprains/bruises (who knew you could do something to get rid of bruises!)

  • Helps fight obesity by increasing metabolism (sure there are 60 calories per 2 tablespoon serving, but lets keep our eye on the big picture here)

Now, if you are adverse to having this in shakes, the oil is great to add in your salad dressings...not even noticeable. Others prefer to use the meal in pancake batter, or in baked breads, or even in their outmeal. Some people prefer the whole seeds on top of their salad as well. In other words, its very versatile!

So, for $4 for a one pound bag (which will last a very long time), it sure looks worthwhile! And for those that limit their grains, this is a great supplement because you get everything you need from grains without the bad things!

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