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Omega-3’s and Recipes April 2, 2012

HOLY SUNSHINE! You are back and I am so excited!

The sun is bright, the days are long, it’s springtime in Fairbanks! Woot!

How have you been?

I am happy to report that for the past few weeks, I have been having no coffee cravings! I’ve been having decaf here and there, but haven’t had any longings for the real stuff. Persistance pays!

The last time I blogged, I was eating a low-fat diet as I was finding fats to be hard to digest.

Let me tell you something about a low-fat diet…

It is not fun!

I hated it!

Here’s what I’ve found.

1) I can eat chia seeds and flax seeds and oil without any digestive issues. Not only that, but I feel spectacular after I eat them! More on this in a bit.

2)  I’ve been trying to get my carbs by eating less fruit and more grains to help me get a leaner belly, but you know what? I don’t think I really like eating grains on a day-to-day basis. When I am eating a lot of grains, I tend to feel heavy and foggy. I feel more energetic and mentally capable when I am eating fruits and some yams and sweet potatoes instead of grains. While I do limit my fruit intake, I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty about eating fruit. I know a number of people who eat little to no fruit and, generally speaking, they look fantastic and say they feel fantastic as well. That’s great; however, I am in a different body than these people and fruit makes me feel good so for now, I’m going to roll with it.

3) My skin looks terrible when I’m not eating fats! It didn’t matter how much oil I put ON my skin, it stayed perpetually dry. Dry, scaly, and gross! I prefer vibrant, fresh looking skin, thank you very much!

4) I cannot get full on a low-fat diet! I was eating so much food! Eeek! I’m not sure if my body kept telling me to eat in the hopes that I was going to give it some fats or if it is just the calorie difference between carbs and fat or both.

5) I don’t like eating raw greens such as kale and collard greens without some sort of fat having been massaged into them. The are way too chewy and rubbery!

My first question was, why are fatty foods like nuts bothering my stomach, while a fatty food like flax seed oil is not?

It has to do with the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acids. As it turns out, an imbalance of these fatty acids in ones diet, too much omega-6 to omega-3,  can lead to autoimmune and inflammatory diorders (digestion and skin disorders are among these), particularly if one is genetically prone to these conditions to begin with (Simopoulos, 2001). While it is known that omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, exert anti-inflammatory effects, how exactly they go about doing this is not well understood; however, for a bit of insight into this, if you have the technical knowledge or are feeling brave, you can check out this article by Oh et al.  The researchers aim to address part of how omega-3’s affect the body on a cellular level. I may have gone a little crazy whilst researching this, but if you have a bun in the oven, you might be interested in reading this study by Su et al. discussing the effects of omega-3 intake on depression during pregnancy.

Anyway, both chia and flax seeds have tons of omega-3’s with a low omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. The other fats I’ve been consuming, not so much.

click for source

So far now, I am loving chia pudding, flax seed crackers, and flax seed oil on my salads… and lots more including seaweeds and a dha supplement, which I have always taken at least a few times a week, but will now be taking regularly.

I have a few recipes to share with you today. One the I created when I was focusing on a low-fat diet and two that are high in omega-3’s. All of them contain a love of mine, raw cacao.

I used a lot of spirulina in this batch!

Low-fat, high-raw, ‘Chocolate Chip Ice Cream’

1 sliced, super-ripe, frozen banana

2 Tbsp oats

2 tsp cacao nibs

1/4 tsp lucuma

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 pinches spirulina

pinch maca (or more!)

This recipe is really easy to make, just pop everything in your food processor and process until it is ice cream-like in texture. Be careful not to over process the mix will become runny. If this happens, stick the ‘ice cream’ in the freezer for ten minutes or so to let it firm back up.

mmm! Warm and fresh plus glorious sunshine!

Nut-free, raw ‘Chocolate Chip Banana Bread’

5 super-ripe bananas

1 1/3 cup milled flax seed

3 Tbsp psyllium husks

4 Tbsp cacao nibs

Process bananas in food processor until they are mush. Add remaining ingredients and process until well mixed. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken into a sticky dough. Place mixture on Paraflexx sheet and spread to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Dehydrate at 135F for 1 hour. reduce heat to 115F and dehydrate for 6 hours. Flip bread onto mesh sheet and dehydrate for another 5-6 hours. If do not dehydrate at 135F for the first hour, it is completely fine, it just may take a bit longer for your bread to dehydrate. You can score this bread after it is done ‘cooking’.

Perfect with a glass of hemp mylk!

Fudgy Chocolate Chews

1 cup raisins

1.5 Tbsp hemp seeds

1.5 Tbsp chia seeds (whole or milled)

1/4 tsp spirulina

2-4 tsp cacao nibs, depending upon how rich you want your final product, more cacao= richer chew

1 tsp flax seed oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. This may take up to ten minutes as you want the seeds and nibs to release their oils. It reminded me a bit of making nut butter! You know that the mix is done processing, when all the ingredients have aggregated in to a smooth, giant lump.

You can now shape the mixture however you want. I placed the ball between two sheets of parchment paper and flattened it out to make little rectangular chews. Once chilled, this are similar in texture to tootsie rolls so it may be fun to roll the out and make a raw ‘Tootsie Roll’. Once mixture is formed, place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and then enjoy!

I have one last recipe for you. It’s not well thought out like many of my other recipes, but more of an ‘I just got home from the gym and want protein fast and don’t feel like a smoothie’ situation. I took some pre-boiled lentils- you could also use canned, but buying them dry and boiling or crock-potting them yourself is so much cheaper! I put the cooked lentils in a pot with 1 diced tomato and added some maple syrup,  chili powder, and salt and let it simmer. While the lentils were cooking, I ‘rawteed’ some veggies. I don’t know if this word is commonly used in the raw food community or not, but I was reflecting upon how massaging a little bit of oil into raw veggies gives them the texture of being sauteed, so, rawteed! I got a pretty good giggle out of it! Anyway, I rawteed ;) some brussel sprout leaves and kale with a bit of flax oil. I took the lentils off heat for a bit and then mixed them with the greens so that those were a bit warm as well. It was amazing! I highly recommend that you try it!

AND I have started culturing my own kombucha. It is wonderful! I hope to write a post on that later this week. :)

Until later, friends!


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10 Responses to “Omega-3’s and Recipes”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Great reflections on your food experimenting!!!
    I’ve found very similar thing about fat—fat makes me happy, and actually my leanest and clearest-headed!

    Thanks for sharing some things you’re eating too!

    • chenaraw Says:

      When I first began needing to restrict my diet years ago, I felt lost and alone. Reading about what other people were going through helped me immensely. I’m glad that people can gain something from me sharing my experiences. :) Thanks, Lisa!

  2. elamonster Says:

    Whohoo! I’m so happy you found out about omega 3 versus 6. I’m kinda obsessed with that and have written about it a lot.

    It’s periodically fashionable to demonize fruit, and for sure there are people who don’t do well on it. But it sounds like you’re doing a great job listening to your own body. I sometimes worry about eating a lot of fruit in AK because it all comes from so far away, but I did 80-10-10 for a few months last summer nonetheless (it was a bad idea, btw–didn’t work well for me that time, but I used to eat that way for years).

    Lately I’ve been eating very little fat–very little of anything, though, and haven’t noticed negative consequences to my skin, but in the past, my skin’s definitely improved with added fat too.

    I love “rawtee!” and the recipes look great too. Unfortunately, I can’t even look at bananas right now (guess I ate so many in my life I’m over quota for a while) but otherwise they sound great. I _adore_ raisins with chocolate!


    • chenaraw Says:

      Not eating much? I hope everything is okay! If you try the chew recipe, let me know! I don’t know that I would do well on 80-10-10 as I love protein rich foods like beans and lentils. When I have time, I’ll have to check out your blogs about omegas!

      • elamonster Says:

        Thanks, Nicole–80-10-10 is not for everyone at all, and I think it works for some people sometimes but not always. If you felt bad on low fat, it’s most likely not for you.

        I will definitely let you know if I try the chew recipe–if I have time, I’ll do it later this week! I think if you search my blog for omega-3, stuff will come up. I wrote a long article about it for 80% Raw mag a couple years ago–the magazine is no longer producing, but hopefully the link is still live…

  3. Wow. You are so in tune with your body. I guess that cleanse was worth it. Thanks for all your knowledge about fats. Very interesting. Hope you are well. I’d missed ya :-)

  4. It’s been a while since I last commented on this very same post. I just wanted to check in and say hi. Would love to read an update from you.

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