A few months ago I picked up a pretty cool cook-book called the Low-Carb Gourmet. It was written by a Vancouver chef, and most of the recipes in it came about from some professional recipes used in some local Vancouver restaurants.
I haven’t had a pile of time to create many recipes from it yet, but one of the ones I have used a few times is a really great recipe for Flaxseed muffins. I can’t really say that I’d eaten a lot of flaxseed in my life prior to making these, so first thing I did was do a bit of research about Flax on Wikipedia:
Flax seeds come in two basic varieties, brown and yellow or golden, with most types having similar nutritional values and equal amounts of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called Linola or solin, which has a completely different oil profile and is very low in omega-3. Although brown flax can be consumed as readily as yellow, and has been for thousands of years, it is better known as an ingredient in paints, fiber and cattle feed. Flax seeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed or linseed oil; it is one of the oldest commercial oils and solvent-processed flax seed oil has been used for centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing.
One hundred grams of ground flax seed supplies about 450 kilo-calories, 41 grams of fat, 28 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.
Flax is interesting for a few reasons:
- almost all of the carbohydrate content of Flax is fiber
- Flax contains a very large amount of omega-3 fatty acids, something most people these days are extremely lacking in their diet.
I haven’t tried raw Flax seed yet (I’m told it’s actually tasty), but I’ve made the muffins from the book three times now (the third batch is in the oven as I write this). I’ve varied the recipe slightly each time, trying to improve it a bit each time. I’ll list the ingredients here, and note the changes I’ve made to the original recipe:
- 1 cup of flaxseed meal – you can grind it yourself from the seeds, but I just pay the 10 cents extra per 100g and get it pre-ground from the bulk bins
- 1/2 cup whey protein isolate – it actually took me a while to figure out what this is. Whey protein isolate is usually the #1 ingredient in protein powders. So basically just use some of that.
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt – if you use sea salt, 1/2 tsp is almost too much IMO, as sometimes it’s stronger than normal salt. I scaled this back to about 1/3 tsp. for this new batch
- 1 cup plain soy milk – I’m not a big fan of soy milk, so I’ve tried two variations on this. First, I did 1/2 cup of soy milk and 1/2 cup of half and half cream. That was better than the pure soy milk IMO. I’m currently trying a full cup of half and half, so we’ll see how that tastes in about 20 minutes.
- 2 large eggs – the best batch I made so far used eggs straight from the farm, but those are hard to get in the city
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. pure maple or vanilla extract – I tried banana extract as well, but that wasn’t as good
- 2 tbsp splenda
- Optional – I tried adding a bit of cocoa to this current batch to get a chocolately taste going. Jury’s out for 20 minutes or so
Cook at 350F for about 30 – 35 minutes. This recipe makes me about 8 muffins.
In terms of nutritional content, based on my changes (I calculated everything using FitDay), you’re looking at (per muffin): 220 calories, 7g of carbohydrate (but 5g of those are fiber, so only 2g are effective carbs), 19.4g of fat (14g of those are good fats such as omega-3 fatty acids), and 8.6g of protein. Obviously with only 2g of effective carbs per muffin they qualify as low-carb, if that’s your thing.