Flax (Linumusitatissimum) is a food and fiber crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world. Textiles made from flax are known in the Western countries as linen. Its oil is known as linseed oil. Flaxseed is rich in dietary fiber and omega-3 fats and it contains high-quality protein. Among the claims made for it are that it may reduce cancer risk, improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, help control blood sugar, and aid in weight control. The health benefits were observed with just 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of ground flax seeds per day. However, it’s recommended to keep serving sizes to less than 5 tablespoons (50 grams) of flax seeds per day. Ground flax seeds are easier to digest. Whole flax seeds can be stored longer than powder; grind them in a coffee grinder as needed. Store ground flax seeds in an airtight container. Add flaxseed to water and drink it as part of your daily fluid intake; use flaxseed oil as a dressing on salad; sprinkle ground flax seeds over your hot or cold breakfast cereal; add them into cookie, muffin, bread or other batters; mix them into smoothies.
The challenges of balancing a food plan are increased by trying to eat raw only, and some negative effects of all-raw have been reported. Eating a lot of raw fruits and vegetables is a good choice in any way of eating, but forbidding any and all cooked foods can be counterproductive.
Many fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are at their best when they are not cooked, and raw vegan practitioners report good results from their way of eating. However, some very nutritious foods will not be digested if they are not cooked, and some nutrients are actually enhanced by cooking.
This article from Plant Based News summarizes the pros and cons of raw vegan eating plans.
The chickpea or (Cicer arietinum) is an annual legume of the family Fabaceae. Its different types are variously known as gram or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, Egyptian pea, chana, and chole. Chickpeas are tasty when cooked and seasoned simply, but they can also be used in a variety of combinations and in substitutes for meat and cheese. They are the base of hummus and felafel. Chickpea seeds are high in protein.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It is high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables. Broccoli may be eaten raw, but recent research suggests that gentle steaming is best for maximum health benefits. Steaming also eliminates the risk of contaminaton. Broccoli is low in calories and high in fiber, protein and Vitamin C. It also contains numerous other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. In fact, it provides a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.
Broccoli is still one of the super plant foods when it comes to nutrition, but questions have been raised about a certain hybrid. Even though it is not genetically modified, Monsanto is involved in the project. This article from Planet Natural details the controversy, but it may be biased since they are selling an alternative product (heirloom seeds).
Some environmentally and politically conscientious people may boycott the product. Marion Nestle, a New York University nutrition professor and author of FoodPolitics says that it’s just part of Monsanto’s drive to control the seed and food industry. “Should one corporation have that level of control over things people depend on?” she asks. The article also states that Bjokman and Monsanto say they don’t intend to use genetic engineering techniques when it comes to broccoli. Monsanto has already engineered both GMO summer squash and sweet corn.
Personally, I will continue to buy and consume whatever broccoli looks freshest without researching exactly where it came from. If it’s labeled organic and reasonably priced, I will probably give it preference.
When I first came to Mexico, I learned to love agua de jamaica, a delicious beverage that was a little bit tart, usually sweetened and served cold. Many years later, I learned that agua dejamaica was made from dried hibiscus flowers and that after they are boiled and strained, the flowers can be used as a meat substitute in tacos and other dishes! Hibiscus is a good source of vitamins B1, C, and iron. It has many other health benefits and even medicinal uses.
Amaranth is a pseudocereal grown for its edible starchy seeds; it is not in the same botanical family as true cereals such as wheat and rice. Amaranth can be boiled and eaten as a cereal like oatmeal or added to granola and many other dishes. It must be cooked in order to be digested. Amaranth, which is gluten-free, is a good source of fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. It is considered a pseudocereal, cultivated for its edible, seed. The word “chia” is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily. It is rich in calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals. Chia seeds may be added to other foods as a topping or put into smoothies, breakfastcereals, tortillas, and bread. They also may be made into a gelatin-like substance or consumed raw. The gel from ground seeds may be used to replace the egg content in cakes and is a common substitute in vegan baking.
Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical produced by Curcuma longa plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, a member of the ginger family. There is some confusion in the two names because curcumin is a component of turmeric. Turmeric is better for some conditions, while curcumin alone is better for others. Turmeric, commonly used in Asian food, is the main spice in curry. Turmeric or curcumin is recommended for pain and inflammation, such as that associated with osteoarthritis. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, a liver disease, and itching. Some people use turmeric for heartburn, thinking and memory skills, inflammatory bowel disease, stress, and many other conditions, but there no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
WARNINGS: In small amounts, turmeric has few reported side effects, though there have been reports of nausea, dizziness or diarrhea. You should consult a health professional if you are taking therapeutic amounts of turmeric or curcumin.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomycescerevisiae sold in the form of flakes or yellow powder. Its strong flavor is often described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy. Nutritional Yeast can be used as a flavor enhancer in cheese substitutes, mashed or fried potatoes, scrambled tofu, and popcorn. Even in small amounts, nutritional yeast is a significant source of some B–complex vitamins. Some brands are fortified with additional B12. It has approximately 9 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons. It provides 9 amino acids that the human body cannot produce and 5% (unfortified) to 20% (fortified with B12) of recommended daily iron.
WARNINGS: In large amounts, the high fiber content may cause digestive discomfort, and high niacin content can cause facial flushing. Some brands may contain tyramine, which can trigger migraines in some individuals.