By Amy Crawford
Recently someone commented that they wished they had time to make the breakfasts that I share on social media and my blog. That suprised me because I am a huge supporter of keeping things simple - quick and easy meals thrown together with little fuss. I'm on a mission to prove that whole foods can be easily incorporated into your life and that throwing out all the boxes of food stuffs in your pantry won't rid you of precious hours. Having said that, I don't have children to dress, feed and ferry to school. Maybe I need to walk a mile in a busy mum's footsteps to truly understand a busy morning schedule.
Nevertheless, back to the point of this post. This recipe is dedicated to all those busy, time-poor people in need of healthy breakfast inspiration to kick start their day. There won't be a time-poor excuse heard - it seriously takes as long as you need to boil a kettle, pour a little water into the bowl and stir. Got that?! No excuses!
What is flaxseed?
Flaxseed is a seed from the flax plant. It is eaten whole, ground to meal or used to create flaxseed oil. Flaxseeds are very high in omega-3 fatty acids which are considered essential to the human body. Omega-3 can also be found in fish (in particular salmon, tuna and sardines), some plants and nut oils. Flaxseeds/omega-3's play a key role in brain function and normal growth and development. They are said to aid in the reduction of inflammation and chronic disease and appear to be very important for cognitive function. Flaxseeds, whether ground or whole, have a very high fibre content so if you are introducing them into your diet, do so gradually to prevent unnecessary cramping, bloating or a laxative effect. Flaxseeds are a great way to get your quota of omega-3's if like me, you don't eat a lot of fish (which for me is because of their mercury content)
How do you prepare flaxseed?
Absolutely the best way to eat flaxseed is as meal, so you need to grind it first. They have such a hard little shell that unless you have all the time in the world to truly chew your food (which I am gathering, many do not) your body won't digest the seeds and they'll sail right on 'through'! Prior to my (beloved) Thermomix days, I took myself off to buy a cheap coffee grinder (I think it was about AU$35) - in a thermomix it takes all of 10 seconds. I grind enough flaxseed to last me a few weeks, because they are an unsaturated fat they go rancid quickly. Once ground, store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can purchase ground flax meal in the supermarket or health food store but it's cheaper and easy to do yourself - chances are it will be fresher too. You can soak your ground flaxseed for 10 minutes to an hour prior to eating. It will further soften the seed and consistency and be easier on your digestion.
So, how to eat them?
They are a versatile little seed, much like chia really. You can sprinkle them on your cereal, in your smoothie, use them in baking in replacement of eggs, throw them through casseroles, anywhere you like! You can also make your own LSA (linseed, sunflower, almond meal - linseed is otherwise known as flaxseed). When I was a toast girl I used to love ground flax sprinkled liberally over raw honey on toast (and often with banana). Beautiful! You can also make a porridge, and here's how:
The inspiration for this recipe comes from a recipe book by Rose Elliot: The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet Cookbook. I purchased this book during my recovery as a means of finding high protein, meat-free alternatives in my diet. As per Rose's recipe, I include a scoop of 100% whey protein powder in this dish to increase it's protein count (my body flags quickly without quality protein at breakfast). I am very wary of protein powders because of the sheer number of additives and flavourings - I recommend being very careful to choose one that is as close to nature as possible.
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 scoop 100% whey protein powder (or protein powder of choice)
1 good teaspoon coconut oil or organic butter
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Boiling water, added slowly, I would use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup
Sweetener to taste
Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add your oil/butter. Very slowly pour in the boiling water, stirring as you do, you really won't need much. Keep pouring and stirring until you reach your desired consistency - it'll take about 20 seconds! Sprinkle with chopped nuts, berries, anything that tickles your fancy. Voila. The 1 minute breakfast is ready!