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    Archive for the ‘chia seeds’ Category

    Quick & Healthy Recipes: 100% Whole Wheat Hemp & Chia Seed Banana Bread Muffins

    Here’s a random “fun fact” about me — whenever I come down with a cold (especially if it involves a wicked sore throat), I feel an intense need to bake.  Who knows why?  A desire to return to simpler times?  A little dose of self-love?  Or, maybe, it’s because if I ever get mopey about the fireball of glass shards in my throat, I can counter-balance that with “but I’ve got some killer baked goods on hand!”.

    Yesterday, the baking compulsion specifically involved banana bread.  Not just any banana bread.  Oh no. I wanted to make a delectable vegan, 100% whole wheat, hemp and chia seed banana bread.  Yes, even when sick, I like a challenge.

    As you can tell by this photograph (snapped minutes after the muffins were done), the challenge was met successfully.  Here’s the recipe!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Cooking with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

    HempSeedNutShelledHempSeed_MH10101.jpegAre the omega 3 oils in flax, hemp, and chia seeds destroyed when cooking?

    If so, at what temperatures can the omega 3 withstand?

    If we eat chips and crackers with these seeds are we not gaining the value of the omega 3?

    — Julie Stone
    (Location Unknown)

    Great question!  I have seen so much misinformation on this topic that I am chomping at the bit to set it all straight.

    As far as flaxseeds go, feel free to use either whole or ground flaxseeds (AKA flax meal) any which way you want.

    Multiple studies — in reputable publications like the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the British Journal of Nutrition, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — have concluded that the Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed are resistant to oxidation even when cooked for sixty minutes at 660 degrees Fahrenheit!

    In fact, the consensus is that there is no difference in Omega-3 fatty acid content between raw and cooked flaxseeds or flax meal.

    The most likely explanation is that the lignans (a particular variety of plant compounds) in flaxseed have a protective effect on the oil.

    Keep in mind, this does NOT apply to flax seed oil, which does not contain lignans, and is therefore is extremely susceptible to oxidation (even at temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit).  Flaxseed oil is best suited to salad dressings or raw dips.

    Hemp and chia seeds are slightly more delicate than flaxseeds.  It is recommended they be exposed to temperatures no higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    FYI — don’t be scared to use hemp or chia seeds in muffin recipes.

    Although heating instructions may specify the oven temperature to be set at 350 or 400 degree Fahrenheit, the internal temperature of a muffin right out of the oven is usually no higher than 250 ot 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Salba

    Do you know anything about Salba?

    It seems to be getting quite popular (I accidentally ordered a raspberry salba square at my local coffee shop the other day), and I’m not sure whether it’s a fad or not.

    Is it actually a whole food or is it processed?

    Where does it come from?

    Is it as good as the makers of it claim?

    — Meredith (Last name unknown)
    Via the blog

    The folks at Core Naturals sure are working hard to hype up Salba.

    No clue what I’m talking about? Let me break it down.

    According to manufacturer Core Naturals, the salba seed is pretty much the greatest food ever created.

    Dubbed by the company as “nature’s perfect whole food,” the press release pushes it as a one-stop shop for some of the highest quantities of fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

    Then there are statements such as this:

    “Because of Salba’s ability to absorb several times its weight in water, it may also help to curb hunger.”

    That’s wonderful, but that’s simply what all soluble fibers do – the same ones found in oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

    Core Naturals even make reference to one nutrition PhD at a Toronto-based university who, after conducting research, confirmed that Salba’s advertised properties truly exist.

    You know something is slightly off, though, when the bragging rights about the doctor go something like this: “[He works at] the same university where in 1921, Dr. Frederic Banting discovered insulin and won the Nobel Prize for Medicine.”

    Errrr…. okay?

    Besides, there is something very suspect about having only one professional analyze your food. If Core Naturals is so sure that what they have is — for all intents and purposes — manna, why not send it out to a variety of independent food laboratories to have their goldmine validated?

    Anyhow, Salba is just a white chia seed – with the exact same nutritional profile of all other chia seeds (which are usually black).

    So, yes, it is an unprocessed whole food, in the same way that fruits, vegetables, nuts, and a plethora of other seeds are.

    Don’t get me wrong. Chia seeds have a neat nutritional profile – they are a good source of fiber, phosphorus, manganese and Alpha Linolenic Acid – but by no means is Salba a powerfood, nor does it offer the same Omega-3 profile as 28 ounces of salmon (as Core Naturals advertises.)

    That is a very easy statement to debunk, by the way. Remember, salmon offers EPA and DHA, two Omega-3 fatty acids not present in seeds.

    This situation with Salba and Core Naturals would be paramount to a company patenting Granny Smith Apples, calling them something different and claiming they were nutritionally superior any other apples.

    Considering that Salba retails for anywhere from two to three times as much as standard chia seeds, I don’t really see a reason for purchasing it.

    File it under “F” for fad. No, make that “FF” for… flimsy fad.

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