Sowing the Seeds of Goodness
One of my favourite foods on my vegan eating routine are seeds – I LOVE SEEDS – whether they be flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, they are a great addition to just about any meal.
They add flavour, crunch, and healthy nutritional benefits – for such small little guys, they pack a lot of power!
Flaxseeds you may also know as linseed. You can buy them as the seed or in powder form, but if you do get flaxseed as the seed, you will need to grind or crush them as their nutritional values are not released into your body in the seed form. (I use an old coffee grinder to do the job.) Always store flaxseed in the fridge in a non-transparent container.
Flaxseeds are very high in Omega 3s*, but also fibre, protein and antioxidants from phytochemicals called lignans. And 1 tablespoons/day will not be over-doing it.
I put flax in so many things: soups, stews, vegan “eggs”, smoothies, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, on top of fruit and veggies, added into my vegan yogurt just to name a few. Flaxseed doesn’t have an overpowering taste so it won’t impact the flavour of what you add it to, but it will definitely add to the bottom-line goodness of your food.
And here’s a tip: use 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed and 3 Tbsp of water to equal 1 egg in baking.
And if you thought flax was good for you, then step aside to make room for Chia seeds as they are even more of a nutritional powerhouse! You can basically say the same thing about chia seeds as you do for flaxseeds – high in Omega 3s*, fibre, protein, antioxidants, but also calcium and iron to boot. But you do not have to grind these little wonders, you can use them as is – but make sure to check your teeth after eating as they like to hide away there😁. One tablespoon/day as with flaxseed.
I toss some chia seeds in my smoothies, oatmeal, waffles, yogurt and you can also make a nice little chia seed pudding – here’s a basic recipe to try:
1-1/2 cups of dairy-free milk (my fav is oat)
½ cup chia seeds
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 TSP vanilla
Mix everything together, cover and refrigerate over night. You can add fruit, granola or even other types of seeds on top, or whatever your heart desires. Makes 4 - ½ cup servings.
As with flaxseed, you can also use chia seeds as a substitute for eggs in baking.
Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
Other seeds to keep in mind are pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
These glorious wonders are both a rich source of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals; rich in many antioxidants; great source of dietary fibre; high in magnesium and vitamin E.
As they are high in fibre and calories, it is best to keep a daily intake of no more than a quarter of a cup (30 grams). I usually blend the two to make up the ¼ cup rather than ¼ cup of each.
I use them in breads, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, on salads or as is.
Just a note that with sunflower seeds, it is best to stick to the recommended amount as the high level of phosphorus found in sunflower seeds can impact kidney function.
So, does anyone see a theme running through all these seeds? The point is that they all have great benefits to our health and should be included as a part of our daily eating where possible.
Just sayin’ is all! Lou
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* It is important to remember that the Omega-3’s in chia/flax seeds are mostly ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), which can be converted into EPA, but not DHA. It is best to supplement with a high-quality DHA supplement to ensure you’re getting enough.
DISCLAIMER: None of the information in this document is a substitute or replacement for information that should be obtained by your medical practitioner and/or registered nutritionist. Please contact these persons for answers to your health and nutritional questions.