I've been trying to eat more flax lately as part of a protocol my nutritionist put me on. Yes, even a nutritionist needs a nutritionist. And even this nutritionist does not like flax seeds. I don't.
I think they taste and smell kind of fishy, so for me sprinkling them on salads and such just isn't the most delicious option. Yes, I will add them to my smoothie and have also been known to grind some up with some goji berries and sprinkle them on some delicious French toast or pancakes, but mostly, I'm not a fan. And I'm also not eating French toast and pancakes every day. (Wipes tear away.)
Why bother eating flaxseeds if I don't love them? Isn't there something other than flaxseeds that will do the trick?
Flaxseeds contain a specific phytonutrient called enterolignans that assists in the detoxification of certain estrogens. It regulates an enzyme in the liver known as CYP1A1, which is responsible for converting estrone into its metabolite and ultimately enabling it to be eliminated.
Based on genetic testing, my results showed that I wasn't effectively converting these specific estrogens into their metabolites. This seemed to be the cause of my elevated levels of estrogen.
Hormones, which are really messengers in the body, go through four important steps:
If our body doesn't support all four of these stages, we develop imbalances that can lead to underactive or overactive processes in the body, and result in levels that can be too high or too low for optimal health. Though I don't have any obvious symptoms, anything is everything when you're striving for optimal health. When it comes to estrogen, elevated levels are associated with loads of imbalances in the body including irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), polycystic breasts and elevated risk of uterine and breast cancer.
The way conventional medicine deals with symptoms of elevated estrogen (and most other imbalances) is usually with a wait and see approach. You may find a cyst in your breast that comes and goes with your menstrual cycle, or increased cramping during your cycle. You're often sent for an ultrasound and if anything is found that appears benign, you'll be asked to come back in six months or a year to see if anything has changed. Why not take action at the first sign or symptom?
What I am aiming to do, and hopefully continue to inspire you to do, is skip all of those steps.
When levels aren't optimal in my annual blood work and functional nutrition testing, I go straight to work in rebalancing. This is the ultimate prevention approach and it matters.
What's super cool about supplementing with foods that have therapeutic properties is they don't just have one awesome quality to them, but a whole collection of healthful benefits.
Benefits of Flaxseeds
- High in omega-3 essential fats: Vital for a healthy nervous system, skin, joint mobility and keeping inflammation at bay.
- Rich in fiber: Keeps the digestive system moving along and eliminating efficiently.
- Mucilagenous: The slippery element when soaked is super nutritive to the cells that line the digestive tract.
- Lignans reduce cancer risk: The lignans found in flaxseeds can be converted by intestinal bacteria into enterolactone and enterodiol, which naturally balance hormones - this may be the reason flaxseeds reduce the risk of breast cancer.
That brings me to today and wanting to get more flaxseeds into my diet. And this is where these flax crackers come in.
In this video, an edit of a Periscope I did a few weeks ago, I talk a little more about the estrogen factor and also demonstrate how I made these grain-free flax crackers.
I actually did two versions - one as outlined below and one with a whole load of vegetables including zucchini, kale, carrots and some fresh herbs. They both came out tasting exactly the same so I have included only one recipe below with a little info box of options and tips.
Grain-Free Flax Crackers: Options + Tips
- Mix and match and try using other vegetables and herbs alongside the flaxseeds.
- Add in sea vegetables for that dose of iodine for your thyroid.
- Add other seeds, like sunflower or sesame, to grind into the mix.
- Remember when dehydrating the flavour will concentrate as it dries, so be mindful of strongly flavoured ingredients or adding too much salt.
- Aim to dehydrate at 115 degrees to maintain the integrity of the fats in the flax.
- Ensure, as with all dehydrated food, you enjoy with lots of water.
Yield: 30-40 crackers
- 1 cup flax seeds, soaked 2 hrs (or overnight) in 2-3 cups of water
- ½ red onion
- 1 avocado
- ½ bunch cilantro
- 1 tomato
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Strain flax seeds through a mesh sieve (some liquid will remain as flaxseeds will be thick and goopy - that's totally okay)
- Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
- Spread out evenly over 3 or four dehydrator sheets - you can keep it thicker for more of a bread texture and thin for a crispy chip.
- Dry for 3 hours at 115, then peel off non-stick sheet and flip over.
- Dry for another 3-5 hours until dry and crispy.
- Store in an airtight container.
I have never tried this in the oven. If you do, on the oven's lowest setting, please post a comment and let me know how it works,