Flax seed. You’ve read about it here, you’ve seen it at the health food store, and you know it’s good for you. But what on earth do you do with it? A previous post of mine, Feeding Your Children Healthy Fats, mentioned flax as a good source. In the Comments, Elizabeth asked me for some fun ways to give your kids flax. While not all the following ideas are necessarily fun, they will all get the flax into your children (and you), without upsetting your family’s peace (“But I don’t liiiiike tiny seeds!”).
I remember reading somewhere that the ancient Greeks or Romans used to snack on flax seed as is. I’ve tried it, and they are good little buggers, tasting like walnuts. Some kids enjoy eating something like that. The seeds are unique and slippery, and I have to assume they’re fun to play with. But since flax is a pretty darned good source of fiber, don’t let your kids eat too much, especially in the beginning – or you’ll be lined up at the bathroom door. A teaspoon at most to begin with.
A friend of mine actually grinds up flax and puts them in some marvelous homemade cookies. You can certainly add flax to all sorts of recipes. I do remember her saying it took awhile to get the ratio of flax to flour correct, as the flax prevents the dough from sticking together. (I’ll have to see if I can beg the recipe from her for publication. You’d love them!)
Other options for flax are adding a teaspoon or so to that all-star green smoothie You can also sprinkle it on oatmeal or cold cereal, sneak it in spaghetti sauce, put it in muffins, and – phew! The list is endless! Just make sure to grind them first in a coffee grinder. They have a hull on there that needs to be broken. Otherwise the flax won’t digest and you’ll miss out on all the benefits!
Oh, and one last use for flax: Feed it to your dogs. My two mini doxies get ground flax seed in their food every day, and their coats really shine! Dogs should get about 1/2 a teaspoon of flax a day per 10 pounds of dog – build up to that level or you may be cleaning up more in your house than dog fur. But you’ll have a dog with fur that feels more like a cat; even better, fleas don’t like healthy fur and skin.
There’s something about flax that makes me all wordy as you can see. Omega 3′s, major brain food, keeps things regular. I’m sure I’ll think of 12 more uses for flax by the end of the day, but we’ll stop for now so I don’t get typer’s cramp.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m going off to dream about those cookies…