Monday, February 15, 2010

Flax Experiment #1

I had several photos to go along with today's post, but I can't seem to find the stupid gadget that I need for my stupid camera to transfer pictures. Oh how I miss my real camera...but that's another story. So anyway, sorry there are no photos to go along with the post. (Where the heck can it be? Grrrrrrr)

Today's the day I started my diet-yet again. I have a very specific date set as a goal and a big event to prepare for, my sisters wedding. This will help me a great deal, I think, having a deadline and a goal weight for that date. I know that a low carb diet is a proven way for me to lose weight (the only way that really works for me, actually) and so that is what I'm doing.

Over the last few weeks I have been doing some research about alternates to white flour. Natural choices are soy and almond flours. Just when I was about to go buy some to try them out (I've baked with almond flour before, actually) I stumbled upon flax meal. Clearly not a flour, this ground up substance was touted as being a great alternate while also adding in omega 3 fatty acids. It's said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and is very low in carbohydrates and saturated fat. Bingo! I knew I had my winner.

The biggest meal I struggle with on a low carb diet is breakfast. It's hard to eat on the go (which is something I always seem to do for breakfast) and oatmeal is not an option (another thing I eat while at work at my desk). So I started looking for flax muffin recipes. I saw a few that seemed worth trying and was ready to write the ingredients down when I came across a bread recipe using only flax meal. Reviews were mixed but if I could tolerate it and it was truly a good alternate I would be in heaven. It would mean being able to have sandwiches for lunch while getting essential omega 3 fatty acids in my diet and eating low carb. I had all of the ingredients for this bread, and so the adventure began.

This is where pictures would be good....

Flax seeds, as I mentioned are said to lower cholesterol (especially in women) and are great for the heart. It's really quite inexpensive, too. I bought my bag at whole foods and it was only about $3. It's very nutty in flavor and texture unless is ground fine. My bag was flax meal and so it remained rough. I think the next time I make something, I'll grind it down a little more so I have a smoother texture in my baked goods.

The recipe called for 5 eggs and only a little bit of oil. It required a chemical leavener (baking powder), salt, a little bit of artificial sweetener (to keep it low carb-I'm sure that real sugar would work too) and water. When I mixed all of the ingredients together, it was a little soupier than a dough would be, and naturally so; there is no flour (gluten) in this mixture. After letting the batter sit for about 2-3 minutes as required by the recipe, it did thicken up a bit and I poured it into my bread pan.

The most obvious difference in baking the bread is that there wasn't that yummy yeasty smell wafting through the house. The aroma was very nutty, but only when I opened the oven door to test for doneness. When it was finally finished, it smelled sort of like...chlorine. Very subtly though...this worried me but I let the loaf cool a little bit and the sliced off my very first taste of flax bread.

It's strange. The texture is not strong enough for sandwiches, that much I figured out right away. When I tried toasting it, all of the fat that was used in baking seemed to seep out and bubbled at the surface. It never really got crispy but it did firm up a little bit. This could be a good way to eat it for breakfast in the morning.

As for the flavor, it's not bad. It is sort of metallic though, sort of like an aftertaste. Because it's my first try eating this stuff, I'm not sure if that's supposed to happen or if that's normal. I'll be honest, this morning when I began eating it for breakfast, I had to stop and make an egg to put on top of it. I noticed that after the 2nd bite I was chewing for a long time without swallowing. And it's not because it's hard to's more that my body just didn't want it to go down. And really, it's not disgusting. The recipe could use a little less salt, but otherwise it's not horrible. But my brain just couldn't compute that this was bread and that I should swallow. Because money is very tight right now, I will eat this loaf as I did this morning, with an egg on it, but I won't make this recipe again.

I will try out the muffin recipe I found. Because I'd be adding in blueberries, I think that it'll be good. Plus, it's more acceptable for muffins to be bumpy in texture than bread. I feel like I have to find something that works with this. The health benefits are too great for me to just give up. And maybe it's just something I need to get used to, like eating tofu, though I still can't pallet a whole tofu based meal.

I know this was riveting stuff...if I ever find my camera card reader, I have another less healthy post to share.


Bond said...

Umm...Thanks for testing this out, as I will not be trying it...I have done the low-carb thing, but I am way to hungry all the time...

katherine. said...

wishing you strength in your goals.

the low carb thing would be very difficult for me.

Travis said...

Good luck. There is no way I could give up carbs. I could reduce them...maybe.