As we go through winter, we spend more time indoors. Furnaces run and dry air surrounds you. This alone can give you drying symptoms like dry eyes, dry throat, dry skin, etc. These can be caused by environmental factors, but they may also be signs of deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids.
Other symptoms include:
dry skin, dry hair
chicken skin (bumps on the skin)
fatigue and sleeping problems
Increasing good fats into your diet will help alleviate these systems. There are lots of sources of omega 3 fatty acids and today we are going to look at plant based sources.
Flax seeds and flax seed oil are readily available. The most economical way is to buy whole seeds. To use, grind your flax seeds in a mill or coffee grinder. Flax seed meal is easier to digest than the whole seed, so make sure to get the full Omega 3 benefit by grinding.
1 cup flax seeds
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup water
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
3 tbsp za’ atar ( see note)
1 tbsp date syrup (optional)
Preheat oven to 200F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
In a large bowl, soak flax and chia seeds in water for 15-20 minutes
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
Spread the mixture evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake at 200F for an hour and a half. Flip it over and bake for another hour and a half. Turn the heat off and let it cool inside the oven.
Once cooled, brake it into “free form”, uneven pieces (makes approximately 35)*
For even size crackers, score the dough with a knife before baking.
Other herbs and spices to use:
Rosemary and thyme
Chili lime seasoning (adjust salt amount if seasoning contains salt)
Dry garlic, dry onions, black pepper
You've probably seen chia pudding, chia jam, chia egg, etc. Here is a little something different.
5 plum tomatoes, cored
½ medium white onion
2 serrano chiles
½ cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 3 tablespoons if using fresh beans, plus more
4 pounds fresh shell beans (such as cranberry or butter), shelled, or three 15-ounce cans beans (such as black, cannellini, and/or kidney), rinsed
½ pound snap beans (such as Romano, wax, or green beans), thinly sliced on a diagonal
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Purée tomatoes, onion, chiles, cilantro, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor until almost completely smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve solids for another use (like soffritto). Cover pico de gallo broth and chill until ready to use.
If using fresh beans, bring beans, 3 Tbsp. salt, and 6 cups water to a boil in a medium pot over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, 15–45 minutes (fresher beans will cook faster; drier beans will take longer). Taste and season with salt as needed; let beans cool in cooking liquid, about 2 hours.
Drain beans and place in a large bowl. Add snap beans, oil, chia seeds, if using, pico de gallo broth, and remaining 2 Tbsp. lime juice; toss to combine. Let sit 1 hour to allow flavors to meld (chia seeds will bloom and thicken dressing slightly). Taste and season with salt as needed just before serving.
Do Ahead: Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Walnuts are your best source nut source for Omega 3s. Along with their anti-inflammatory properties, walnuts are good for your heart, gut, and may help you lower your blood pressure.
3/4 cup walnuts (halves)
9 dates, soaked for 1h
a dash vanilla
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 Tbsp ground flax
2 Brazil nuts
nut meal to coat
Using a hand blender (or food processor) blend dates until smooth. Then add walnuts and process until smooth again.
Add vanilla, ground flax and cacao and process until you achieve thick smooth consistency like a mousse. Chop Brazil nuts into bigger chunks and add to the mixture.
Take approx. 2/3 Tbsp of the mixture and roll into balls with your hands. For this you need to wet your hands, because the mixture is sticky. Coat with nut-meal (any kind, I used hazelnut meal only). Refrigerate for 1-2h to firm and then enjoy!
Brussels Sprouts are a surprising source of Omega 3's. They are a powerhouse veggie high in nutrients.
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
Kung Pao sauce
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ to 2 teaspoons sriracha, to taste
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
⅓ cup roasted peanuts (either salted or unsalted)
⅓ cup chopped green onion (both green and white parts), about 3 green onions
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional)
To prepare the Brussels sprouts: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the nubby ends and any discolored leaves off the Brussels sprouts, then cut the sprouts in half lengthwise.
Transfer the sprouts to a large, rimmed baking sheet (I covered mine in parchment paper first for easy cleanup), then toss them with about 2 tablespoons olive/avocado oil, until they are coated with a light, even layer of oil. Arrange the sprouts in an even layer, flat sides down, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until they are tender and deeply caramelized on the edges.
Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce: In your smallest saucepan, add the coconut aminos, honey or maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ½ teaspoon sriracha and garlic. Whisk until combined, then taste and add more sriracha if you’d like (mine was just right with 1 ½ teaspoons sriracha, but I love spicy food).
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. It’s done when, if you take it off heat long enough for it to stop bubbling and carefully tilt the pan back and forth, the sauce will slide down the pan rather than slosh.
Transfer the roasted sprouts to a medium serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the sprouts and toss to coat. Add the peanuts, green onion and optional cilantro and toss again. Serve immediately, with red pepper flakes sprinkled on top if you’d like a little extra heat (and color).
Hemp seeds are technically nuts that are sometimes referred to as hemp hearts. They are over 30% fat, which can help skin & digestive problems.
1 cup cooked red lentils, drained well
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used red quinoa, but any variety should work)
3 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp ground flax seed
2 -3 tbsp hulled/shelled hemp seeds*
1 tbsp oat flour (or coconut flour)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast**
1 tsp oregano, or to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1/2 – 3/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs
Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs in a food processor and pulse about 6 -8 times, until combined. Don’t over mix. Add the breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the bean mixture and use your hand to mold into a ball. You can’t really roll them in your hand; gently shape them. Then, coat the bean balls in the crumbs by gently pressing, rolling them into the crumbs.
Pan Fry Method: Add about 1 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat until a crumb tossed in the oil sizzles immediately on contact. Add the bean balls and cook, turning over every 30 seconds until golden and heated through.
Baked: Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Spritz lightly with cooking oil, if desired (I like this avocado oil spray, which doesn’t use chemical propellants)
Notes and Substitutions:
* Shelled hemp seeds are also known as hemp hearts. You can leave the hemp seeds out, or substitute with ground almonds, sunflower seeds, or whole chia seeds.
**The nutritional yeast is for additional flavor, if you don’t have it feel free to leave it out. I think it adds another subtle layer of savory flavor.
Add a few pinches of red pepper flakes for a spicy meatball!
Omega 3's will help many parts of your body. They especially help me with managing RA and Sjogren's Syndrome symptoms of dry eye, dry mouth, and ease inflammation of tear ducts and cartilage and joints. With the dry climate in Colorado you too may be experiencing drying issues or joint issues. These plant based options along with the fatty fishes not only help auto-immune disorders, their benefits help the entire body. Pick your favorites today and reap the benefits.
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!