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!