Sunday, February 26, 2012

Exercising for Two!

Exercising for Two
is a must (photo source)
Exercise is a very crucial part of a healthy and active lifestyle. However, when it comes to exercising for two, the benefits are double! So, if you know someone who is pregnant, encourage them to exercise - they need all the support they can get!

Benefits of Exercising

  • Exercise is a mood booster. Because exercise increases the secretion of endorphins, brain chemicals that make one feel good; it is therefore very relaxing and calming to exercise. Studies have shown that exercise during pregnancy is correlated with a lower risk of anxiety as well as depression

  • Exercise during pregnancy may also play a role in decreasing the risk of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes in which blood sugar is not regulated properly and is experienced for the first time during pregnancy. It usually goes away when mothers give birth, but if not managed well by proper eating and exercise supervised by your doctor, it may have serious complications!

  • Exercise improves your blood and oxygen flow and thus provides better circulation between you and your baby. The blood is purified from carbon dioxide more properly, more oxygen reaches your baby, nutrients are better transported through the placenta and toxins are more excreted!

  • Exercise also provides you with energy! Because it improves blood circulation as well as strengthens both muscles and bones, it will decrease any heavy load or sluggishness you are feeling and will keep you energized and active all throughout your pregnancy.

  • Exercise helps regulate your blood pressure. This way, it can aid in decreasing the risk of preeclampsia – high blood pressure experienced with pregnancy. It is important to discuss everything with your doctor, of course.

  • With pregnancy, there is a lot going in your life! Exercise can thus help in relieving stress and anxiety at all times. It is the time you have for your own!

  • Studies have also correlated easier and smoother labor with how active your lifestyle is. Therefore, exercise may prepare you for labor, decrease the risk of preterm delivery and may assist in faster recovery from childbirth!

  • Exercise helps in toning up the peristalsis movement of you bowl thus decreasing the chances of constipation.

  • When you exercise, yes, you are definitely exercising for two! With an active lifestyle during pregnancy, this increases your baby’s chance to start his or her life with a healthy body that pumps with energy, with proper circulation and with a healthier body weight!



So what are some exercises that are pregnancy-friendly?
  • Swimming is by far the best exercise I recommend during pregnancy. Without putting pressure on your knees and swollen joints, swimming properly can help in keeping you active, decreasing joint and back pain as it will make you feel lighter while exercising!

  • Stretching is also a must during pregnancy. As smoothly as possible, try to stretch all your body from hips to thighs, ankles, waist, back, hips, calves and knees! These will help keep your motion flexible during pregnancy, help your edema, circulation and will help in decreasing any back pain.

  • You may also want to try some low impact aerobics that will increase your lung capacity and pump your blood properly. Just make sure to take it easy throughout your exercise.

  • Walking is also a very common exercise many pregnant mothers choose to go for in Lebanon. If you don’t usually walk, start smoothly 3 times per week and increase your speed and walking time a bit every week. Remember, no need to intensify your exercise regimen all at once! If you also jog or run, you can enjoy a bit of running but if you are new to this, talk with your doctor ahead of time.

  • Yoga is one more exercise that is gaining some popularity. Yoga can help you relax, breathe better and stretch more. However, it is very important not to go to extremes, check with your fitness trainer what moves are ok to perform and what to avoid and if any move doesn’t feel comfortable, avoid it!

  • Kegel exercises are as well a very important type of exercise all pregnant mothers can benefit from. The whole point behind them is to strengthen your muscles that hold up your uterus, bladder and bowls, thus helping you in labor and delivery. These exercises may also help in preventing hemorrhoids and support your muscles for baby growth. Fun part is that they can be done anywhere and at anytime! You just work on squeezing your pelvic muscles for five seconds then relaxing them, as if you are trying to stop urination or passing gas! Just repeat these exercises 10 times for 5 separate or consecutive times each day!

Walking is an easy exercise,
just make sure to hydrate well
(photo source)

Safety Tips

  • It is very important to keep in mind that you should take things easy! Exercise is supposed to be fun, so if you think 30 minutes is too much, try breaking them into 2 separate 15 minute-exercise. Try your best to find your favorite exercise; after all, you want to enjoy it!

  • Keep in mind never to overdo it! You don’t want to over burden your heart and lungs and therefore, if you are new to exercise, start off slowly and if you are used to exercising, listen to your body and don’t exercise to a point where you are heavily perspiring and out of breath!

  • The position you choose during exercising is as important. Don’t lie on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy because this might restrict blood flow. Shift to your left side if you feel uncomfortable. Moreover, don’t perform exercises that decrease your ling space such as bending forward with your head down or eve curl-ups!

  • Don’t use exercise to lose weight while pregnant. Gaining enough weight if very crucial for you and especially your baby’s health. This is why it is crucial to always monitor your weight and discuss any weight loss with your doctor.

  • Keep yourself properly hydrated at all times. Hydrate before exercise, during (a whole glass of water every 10 to 15 minutes is necessary to replenish any fluids lost) as well as after exercise – meaning: hydrate well at all times!
  • Do not exercise in very humid, high temperature or high altitude areas.

  • Don’t go nuts over extreme exercising and don’t overburden yourself. Some sports such as basketball, football and volleyball may increase your risk of bumping into others and outdoor bicycling, skiing and horseback riding for example can all increase your risk of falling!Make sure to wear non-slippery shoes and choose stationery machines such as fixed bicycles instead of bicycling outdoors – this will decrease any chance of you tripping or falling down.

  • It is preferable not to exercise if you are anemic, if you have a history of miscarriages, if you have heart, lung, joint or muscles problems, if you have diabetes or preeclampsia or if you are expecting twins. This is why it is always crucial to consult with your doctor at all times.

  • Last but not least, listen to your body! If you feel dizzy, out of breathe, nauseated or if you feel some muscle weakness, chest pain or contractions, stopping and discussing it with your doctor is definitely best!


The benefits of exercising during pregnancy outweigh being a couch potato mama-to-be! You will be benefiting your body, your mood, your health as well as your baby’s! So find what exercise you like best and squeeze it in to exercise for two!

*This post is dedicated to my childhood bestie, Rita, who will be giving us Zoya in 3 weeks to come!


Information source:
 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Multiple Sclerosis - Possible Medical Nutrition Therapy?


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease in which the body 'eats' up the myelin protective sheath that covers and protects the nerves. This leaves the body in numbness and may lead to paralysis, blindness, inability to speak, tremored and fatigue.

Multiple sclerosis is increasing in Lebanon, such that the first MS center was founded end of 2011 within the American University of Beirut's Medical Center.

The causes of this disease remain unknown but the risk factors can be general! Risks can increase if you're: white, with family history of MS, a female, between the age of 20 and 40, with an autoimmune disease such as diabetes type 1 and carrying viruses such as mononucleosis. 


A cohort study published year 2008, concluded that the characteristics of MS in Lebanon were of:
  • The peak age of onset of MS in 62.4% of patients developing their first symptoms between 20 and 39 years
  • The female/male ratio was 1.8/1.0
  • A positive family history for MS was present in 5% of patients
  • With the most frequent presenting symptoms were brainstem-cerebellar (46.2%) followed by sensory (42.5%), motor (33.9%) and visual (29.6%)

Medical Nutrition Therapy in MS 

Foods to Avoid
Crappy processed fatty salty unhealthy junk food
MUST be avoided,
whether you have MS or not!
  1. Foods high in salt and sugar
    It is important to watch your intake of salt and sugar containing foods. This is a general important recommendation but it is highly crucial especially when taking corticosteroid medications (such as solumedrol, cortancyl, solucortef, etc.).
    Decreasing amounts of salt and sugar depends on the dosage of the medication, of course and this should be done by consulting both your health care provider and your dietitian.
    If not watched out for, high salt intake can increase the risk of hypertension, injuring your blood vessels as well as adding more work on your heart, and it will increase water retention (edema) leading to unbalanced electrolyte levels in your body. High sugar intake on the other hand can increase blood sugar (glycemia) fluctuations, increase the risk of insulin resistance (aka diabetic-like-state) and increase fat deposition in the blood and body!
    Food high in sugar are
    cookies, granulated sugar, canned foods, soda, cornflakes (even the plain non-sugary ones), iced tea and the list goes on! So read your food label well and your sugar lingo! While foods high in salt include pickles, olives, table salt, processed foods especially canned meats, cold cuts and deli, canned foods.
  2. Caffeine containing foods and beverages as well as alcohol
    Caffeine and alcohol are stimulants which excite and irritate the nervous system, burden its nerve conduction, increase anxiety and increase sleepiness.
    It is best to watch out alcoholic beverages and foods that contain alcohol (such as some desserts, candies and cooked meals) and keep your intake of caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate and carbonated beverages) low.
  3. Foods with allergens
    Recent studies are showing an association between allergens and an increased risk in MS. Gluten from wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats as well as allergens from soy, milk, dairy products and butter are best watched out for.
  4. Saturated fats
    Foods from animal origins (red meat, chicken), milk and products, junk food (chips, chocolate, etc.) show an increased risk of MS development and worsening.
So what can are the foods recommended?
Dark green leafy vegetables
provide you with antioxidants!
  1. Diet rich in fibers
    Increasing your intake of fibers is highly important especially that most fibers you get are from plant origins! Fruits and vegetables provide you with ample amount of antioxidants, phytochemicals, compounds that science has not figured out yet - and lots of fibers! Of course increase your fruits and vegetables intake gradually and accompany them with enough fluids (water). Our cuisine can be very helpful in increasing a variety of green leafy vegetables such mloukhiye (mallow's jew), sele2 (chard), spinach, rocca, coriander, parsley and dark lettuce leaves. Always go for the darkest leaves, these contain the most chlorophyll!

    On the other hand, go for dark rainbow colors when choosing your fruits! Each color provides you with different types of antioxidants so have fruits and vary them too!

  2. Polyunsaturated fats especially omega-3 fatty acids
    Omega-3 is no joke when it comes to the health of your nervous system!
    Having regular amounts of fatty fish (such as salmon, halibut, marlin and sardines) as well as walnuts, sea weed and flax seeds are habits to be adopted.
  3. Unprocessed organic food
    It is important to decrease allergen and pesticide intake. Therefore eat whole and unprocessed foods because these still contain nutritious components such as fibers, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals that could be destroyed/extracted during processing. Processed 'plastic' and canned food, fruits and vegetable are best decreases and replaced with whole fresh foods!
  4. Keep a healthy weight and eat small frequent meals
    Keeping your weight within the healthiest range decrease any burden weight and inflammation exert on your nervous system. It is also important to have 6 small meals instead of 3 large ones to aid your intestines (and their nerves) in digestion. Avoiding fatty/sugary meals that require a longer process of digestion can also help.
According to the literature, no cure has been found for Multiple Sclerosis especially Medical Nutrition Therapy. However, new research conducted by Dr. Terry Wahls is suggesting that maybe, nutrition can cure (?) multiple sclerosis. Nothing is conclusive yet! More research is to be conducted and approved as a grade A evidence before any conclusion can be made. Below you can find Dr. Wahls's talk in TEDx about how fixing her diet cured her from MS. This sure got me intrigued to research the topic; however, literature still denies any treatment/cure for MS. This only proves that science is, as it has always been, fluid and ever changing. I will be waiting for further randomized controlled trials on this topic!


    video

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Chocolate Fondant

    Last week was Valentine's day and I wanted to bake something new for once. Now to be honest, I am a huge fan of molten chocolate cake (aka fondant au chocolat) and I am definite that this dessert contains ample amounts of calories, saturated fats, sugar, you name it!
    According to the Calories Lab, one molten chocolate with vanilla ice cream at Chili's restaurant is 1270 calories! That's approximately the entire caloric intake I can have per day! I have never actually ordered it, it's just too much of a burden to burn all this!
    Therefore, I decided to make my own - at least I would know what raw ingredients went into it. As a first attempt, I did not modify the butter, I wanted mine exactly the same but I wanted to control what went into it (kind of a cleaner home-made version).

    Now I had to look for a really good recipe, Lindt recipe it is!
    This recipe actually serves 8, but my ramekins are considered bigger than usual, so it served me 4.


    Molten Chocolate Ingredients
    • 260 grams of 70% dark chocolate (you can go for Lindt, Poulain, Hershey's, etc.) But make sure to get the extra dark one - even if you're not a fan of dark chocolate, it sure deserves it!
    • 70 grams of margarine or unsalted butter
    • 50 g of castor or powdered sugar
    • A pinch of salt
    • 3 eggs
    • 30 grams of plain flour

    Method of preparation:
    To be honest, I'm not a regular cook - so I really wanted a simple recipe. This Lindt recipe was it!
    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
    2. Slightly butter the ramekins to prevent fondant from sticking
     
    3. Use the bain marie (water bath) method to melt together the butter and the chocolate
    4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt thoroughly, until the yellow color looks pale
    Exactly how they'll look when done!
    5. Let someone help you on this one: fold in the chocolate & butter slowly into the pale yellow mixture - someone will be folding them together and the other will be mixing thoroughly
    6. Sift in the flour and gently fold in until all ingredients are combined
    7. Divide mixture into the ramekins and place in the preheated oven
    8. Cook for 7-9 minutes. The cake with start to pull away slightly from the edge and feel dry on top but remain molten in the center - yum!

    Serving this deliciousness!

    Allow the hot ramekins to to sit just for 30 seconds, place a plate on top of it and then turn out. I wasn't expecting that it will come perfect, but to my surprise, it did!

    I served the molten chocolate with London Dairy Lite vanilla ice cream which is 79 calories per serving. And it was delicious! I must admit, this is not the healthiest recipe for chocolate fondant! This recipe, that gave me 4 ramekins, yielded 600 calories per one molten chocolate! Now the recipe was intended to make 8 servings, according to the Lindt website, so sharing it was a must. I know, Joey doesn't share food, but my ramekins were huge giving 679 calories (fondant + ice cream) to it had to be shared to give you 340 calories. Always, always, moderation is the key.


    *Now after having half of this, make sure not have this often! Bon appetite!

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Paris in 5 Days!

    End of January, I finished my exams early and took a week off to go to Paris. Paris is beautiful. Paris is absolutely beautiful! Not only is it easy to move around, it has a seriously prestigious architecture, delicious gourmet and much more! So here are the top 8 things I loved about Paris.

    1- Paris by bus and metro
    Paris is very easy to move around, all you gotta do is get yourself this "Paris Metro Map". It is usually given for free at hotels; nevertheless, make sure to have one - it 'll make your life the easiest possible! Try to take metro numbers 2 and 6, they go above ground thus offering some spectacular scenes of the city such as the Eiffel Tour and La Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre. Better yet, to enjoy the city more, take the bus everywhere. This might get you in some traffic, but if you're not in a hurry, you'll enjoy it so the bus map will come in handy as well! I must admit though that maybe, maybeee, the fact that we don't have such transportation made me love metros more than one would typically do.

    2- Paris is a great walk
    Walking around is easy, all streets are flat and you'll get to enjoy the view, smell freshly baked bread and walk in the misty rain. It wasn't heavily raining there, so walking around seemed best!
    Paris has museums and churches every 5 walking-minutes, so it's a bit pointless to take metros or buses in the same region. Just get your map and circle all the things you want to see during that day. You will only find yourself walking from one spot to another, and you'll end up walking the whole day (so make sure to have very comfy walking shoes). For example, the church on the right directly faces le Pantheon, 5 minutes away from la Sorbonne, 10 minutes away from Musee de Cluny, 10 minutes away from Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, around 10 minutes away from les jardins de Luxembourg (in the opposite direction) which is 20 minutes away from Tour Montparnasse which is 5 minutes away from les cimetieres du Montparnasse! So you see, all in all, these should, and will, be covered by walking!
    Read more, and you'll see why it's good to walk around.

    3- Everyone enjoys a good read!
    I couldn't but take photos of people
    reading in the metro, so focused!
    Beirut Street Photographers would've been proud.
    Whether on the bus, on the street, in the rain or on the metro, most people are always reading books, magazines and newspapers! I loved that they're totally focused on their reading.
    What I loved more is the book markets! All along the Seine river, where you can find the Louvres museum, Musee d'Orsay, les bateaux mouches, and the Tuileries Garden taking you all the way to L'Hôtel national des Invalides, you can find book markets on on this street. Some even have the oldest books I have seen, and they smelled beautiful!

    4- The Architecture, ouf!

    Le petit palais and l'arc de triomphe!
    There's a lot to see in Paris, especially if you appreciate art and architecture!
    This city has a beautiful history depicted in the tiniest details of its churches, monuments, temples, buildings and towers!
    Taking les bateaux mouches in the Seine river
    will let you see Paris by night! It was extremely cold (hats, scarves and gloves are a must in January), but it was definitely worth it.
    5- Museums, museums, museums! 
    When I was researching Paris before leaving, I thought, well how many museums could one city have! Yea well think again. To have a glimpse, check this whole list of museums.
    Art museums interested me most... As well as the ChocoStory, the chocolate museum, but this one will have a post of its own!

    Musee du Louvres and the Seine River
    I adored how Renoir drew real people
    displayed in le Musee d'Orsay.
    But Claude Monet is by far, by faaar my favorite artist!
    I adore this Water Lilies, I even got a mini painting of it to keep!
    6- Operas!
    If you go to Paris, make sure not to miss their opera houses! I found 2: Opera National de Paris and Opera Bastille, where we went to see la Dame de Pique and yay was it beautiful! With live orchestra playing Tchaikovsky! I even booked my tickets before I got my visa and yes, it is not to be missed!

    7- Cafe Trottoires are everywhere!

    With the temperature during the day being between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius in January,
    finding coffee/tea shops and creperies everywhere makes life warmer and sweeter,
    one sip and a bite at a time!

    8- Eating there is a bliss, definitely not to miss!
    Thank God I was walking all day, because I sure needed to burn all the deliciousness I was eating! In Paris, I lived meal by meal, waiting for what I will eat next was really intriguing. Those French really know their food. From the enormous variety in breakfasts, to gazillion types of cheeses, to seafood and desserts, I couldn't finish most of my meals! And it wasn't just because I was full, it was more of gluttony. Weirdly enough, I couldn't find obese people in this city, it must be because of all the walking because the food sure makes you eat more! 

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
    This is the 'only' reason why I made sure to have my Frenchy breakfast!




    Heavenly Chocolate and Crepes!
    I couldn't resist their chocolate - Even the smell of chocolate stores was delightful!
    I had a thing for seafood there, weirdly not for cheese!
    I had moules frites, saumon grillee and scallops casserole and all were worth it!


    The trip was delightful, carefree, delicious, artistic, educative and beautiful to the eyes! What more can you wish for from on a holiday!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Rose Petals in my Dish!

    I've been experimenting with my salads lately, and since it's Valentine's now, why not add some rose petals to my dish! Yes, flower petals are edible but not the commercially grown ones. If you want to literally have some roses this valentine [how romantic of me], you gotta make sure these flowers are organically grown or grow them yourself because flowers you buy at the florist will be drowning in pesticides - and we both know you don't want that. And please, don't go adding polluted flowers you picked off the street to add to your meal, it doesn't - and couldn't - work that way. If you want flowers in your diet, invest in them.

    What are the benefits of rose petals?
    Rose petals contain 95 % water and therefore, they are very low in calories. However, they do contain some vitamin C and fibers. Flowers were used in Chinese remedies to help in treating digestive diseases, menstrual pain and injuries. Rumor says that rose petals can aid in decreasing fever, flu symptoms, asthma and infections; science, however, has seriously scarce proven information about the topic with few studies suggesting that rose petals have natural resistance to microbial attacks themselves.

    Keep in mind that not all flowers are edible, so it's better to consult someone about this matter - or probably a book about edible plants and flowers would be smart. Nevertheless, all organically grown roses can be eaten, no matter what color they are. I've heard some roses taste sour, some taste sweet like strawberries and the darker the flower, the stronger it tastes, but the red roses I just had taste like green grass, or more like some green leafy vegetables - not so bad at all. They look good - and romantic - and they boost up fibers in your dish. I'm not really sure about their vitamin C content though, but still, I like the touch of rose petals in my dish, especially on Valentine's!

    How can you add roses to your menu?
    • Always taste one petal of the rose before adding it to your meal. The first flower I tasted was bitter, so it had to go. The other rose was grassy, so in my dish it went!
    • Remove the petals gently and get rid of the white bitter core of the rose as well as any blemished petals. Then wash very delicately with cold water.
    • Rose petals can be used on top of salads or desserts. You can sprinkle whole petals on your dish, just like any topping, or on the side. Try not to chop them, petals bruise easily and will only look withered and black in your dish.
    • They can also be used in home preserves such as jellies, butters and syrups. So using rose petal jam (recipe here) or adding rose petals over fruit salad would be a romantic, low calorie dessert to have on Valentine's.
    • If you're preparing Valentine's dinner at home, you can also freeze rose petals in ice cubes and add them to any drink you're having. These look absolutely adorable!
    • You can also have some rose petal tea or iced rose petals tea. Some literature suggests that this tea has a mild diuretic effect and can help in soothing your digestive tract and aid urinary tract infections. I've never had one, but then again, I just started my experiments with roses.

    It's actually the first time I taste some roses, but Valentine's seem very convenient for this experiment. The rose petals looked beautiful, added a romantic touch to my salad and added some fibers to my meal! Happy Valentine's Day to all!

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Trying Some Flax Seeds!

    Flax seeds are gaining quite the reputation in Lebanon and more people are aware of these seeds, asking more about them and incorporating them in their diets! So why not try me some flax seeds!
    Flax seeds are seeds that come in either brown or yellow golden color. There is not much difference in nutritional content between the 2 but they are a great reputation in preventing and aiding heart diseases, cancers, diabetes and inflammation because of their content of omega-3 essential (alpha-linolenic acid - ALA) fatty acids which are the "good" heart-healthy types of fats. In fact, omega 3 can be found in fish, walnuts as well as flax seeds! So if you’re not much into eating fish, dig in some flax seeds to increase your omega-3 intake. Flax seeds are also rich in phytochemicals such as lignans, which have phytoestrogen and antioxidant potentials as well as fibers, vitamin B family, magnesium, copper and manganese!

    Some call flax seeds ‘the most powerful plant foods on the planet’ so what are the potential benefits of flax seeds?
    Even though more studies are needed, research is showing that flax seeds may have important roles in:
    Cancer Recent studies have suggested that flax seed may have a protective effect against cancer, especially breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. It is because of its content of antioxidants as and omega-3 that it may help in inhibiting tumor incidence and growth. Its content of lignans also helps by interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells.
    Cardiovascular Disease – Omega-3 and certain amino acids found in flax seed may help your heart and blood vessels by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, normalizing heartbeats, reducing the risk of hardening of blood vessels and reducing the deposition of plaques.
    Diabetes – Preliminary studies also suggests that daily intake of the lignans in flax seed may modestly improve blood sugar which might aid in preventing and controlling diabetes type 2.
    InflammationBecause flax seed may aid in decreasing and preventing inflammation, they may be helpful for all inflammatory diseases such as such as arthritis, asthma or even Parkinson’s.
    Digestive Health - 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds provides you with 8 % of your daily intake of fibers thus helping in constipation, irritable bowl syndrome, diverticulitis, inflammation of the lining of the stomach or lower intestines, etc. However, keep in mind that if you are new to high fiber diets, you have to increase your intake gradually and not all at once.
    Note that till now, research suggests that pregnant and lactating mothers avoid adding flax to their diets because there are still no reliable clinical evidence of its effect. Moreover, if you are taking any medication, it is important to consult with your doctor for any possible interactions with drugs.

    So how can we use flax seeds in our diet?
    Flaxseeds package
    It's better to consume the seeds rather than flax oil. The oil gets rancid really quickly, plus you don’t really get the benefits of the rich components the seeds offer– some of which still not discovered! However, the optimum dose to obtain health benefits is still not yet determined, so for now, 1 to 2 tablespoons per day is suggested.
    You can either buy whole flax seed (can also be labeled as linseed or بذر الكتان) or you can buy milled or ground flax seed called ‘flax meal’, but I actually prefer to buy whole ones. I found the Naturalia brand in the supermarket and the bag you see on the right contains 500 grams for 6750 LL (4.5 USD). I didn’t actually find the golden yellow type of flax seeds, Charcutier only had the brown ones, but hey, literature says they have the similar nutrition facts, so brown it is!
    The fact is that when flax seed is eaten whole, it is more likely to pass through your digestive tract undigested, which means your body doesn't get all its benefits. However, whole flax seed has a longer shelf life because the outside shell in whole flax seed appears to keep the fatty acids inside well protected. Therefore, I bought the seeds and when I’ll have some, I’ll just crush them before incorporating them in my meal.
    So to increase your intake of fibers, lignans and above all omega-3, a good idea would be to add ground flaxseed:
    • In your salads, yogurt, dressings, cereals, soups, shakes and smoothies. I just ground 1 tbsp of flaxseed to my fattoush and it blended it quite perfectly! Its taste is more neutral, I tried some alone but with the fattouch it gave a delicious texture.
    •  Hidden in dark moist dishes like in many Lebanese stews, sauces or gravies – the ground flaxseed will go unnoticed while boosting your omega-3! 
    • In baking, you can add flaxseed with your flour for cakes, breads, muffins, pancakes or even man2ouche's dough
    • As an egg substitute by mixing 1 tbsp of ground flax with 3 tbsp of water (or any other liquid) and mixing well till it’s gelatinous and homogeneous. This is a vegan trick in baking, but you don’t have to be vegan to sneak some flax in your baked goods and benefit from this substitution!
    Flaxseeds with my Fattouch
    Flaxseeds placed in
    a jar for storage
    The whole point is to add flax once in a while, or more often in your diet. It can be easily hidden in food, especially dark ones like I said. I even convinced mom to add them with the fasolia w rez (Beans and rice) she’s making in couple of days! Mom doesn’t like fish and rarely has walnuts, so adding these flaxseeds is a smart investment. 1 ground tablespoon has 37 calories.
    Moreover, make sure to keep your whole flaxseed in a dark, cool place until you grind it. But as long as it is dry and of good quality, whole flaxseed can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. You can also keep ground flax in a plastic sealable bag in your freezer to keep it from going rancid.
    Flaxseed is nutritionally rich but it’s not a magic bullet, actually no single food is – it’s the combination of a whole dietary habits and lifestyle that affects your health. However, throwing in flaxseed in your diet can be a smart and healthy habit to adapt once in a while!