Monday, September 26, 2011

Thriving with flax seed oil

Having to take medications for high cholesterol has become quite the norm. From the age of 20, doctors warned me of dangerously high cholesterol. And yes, it’s all bad and not good cholesterol.

At 30, my physician recommended Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. In this trailblazing treatise based on years of critically acclaimed research, we learn that diet, exercise and mental health consistently result in a rapid reversal of plaque build-up in the coronary arteries that surround the heart. So with less plaque, there is less likelihood of a heart attack by 40.

At nearly 50, now, I live a healthy, physically active life – one free of expensive cholesterol-reducing drugs. Two other books worth skimming are T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study and Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

So what is it about flax seed oil that is so beneficial? It is high in oils containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are low in saturated fats and high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These oils (1) reduce the cholesterol carried in the blood and (2) increase the good to bad cholesterol ratio.

Good flax seed oil is best obtained in the refrigerated sections of health food stores. A few spoons of the bitter oil can be added to things like spaghetti sauce, Texas chili or even curried veggies with no negative change in flavor. Put the oil in hot foods, but never cook with it.

Because flax seed oil is bitter, it is more difficult to use as salad oil. A tasty compromise is to use sweet balsamic vinegar with spices to offset the bitter aftertaste. On top of a quickly prepared chopped salad, this dressing provides a rich flavor and adds years to our good health. Enjoy!

hanz on thriving

Chopped salad

1/4 cored green cabbage

1/8 cored red cabbage

Chop cabbage strips at a right angle.

2 medium carrots

1-2 sweet apples

Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon

Chop cabbage into roughly 1/4 inch squares. Set chopped cabbage aside for mixing. Use a coarse cheese grater to grate carrots and add to chopped cabbage. Core, but do not peel apple(s) and chop up into fine pieces. Add to the chopped salad and toss with lemon juice to keep the cut apple from turning brown.

There are many other ingredients that may be added to taste: radish, jicama, tomatoes, avocado, celery, green onion, red pepper, etc.

Balsamic and flax seed oil dressing

1/4 cup flax seed oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

Add the Seasoning to the vinegar. Shake and add the flax seed oil. Refrigerate dressing for at least one hour before serving.