Grind no more… with Omega Crunch! -Product review

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.18.18 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.08.46 PMThanks goes out to Confessions of a Dietitian for sending me product samples of Omega Crunch.

As an avid flax seed consumer, I’ve used whole flax in baking and cooking, but mostly for texture and visual flare, as grinding the seed is essential to release the beneficial nutrients for the body to absorb.

That is until now! Omega Crunch flax topping is shelled flax seeds, and that means there is no grinding necessary to absorb the beneficial omega 3s. This feature definitely makes incorporating flax seeds into everyday eating easier. I have never heard of shelled flax seeds before (only hemp), and Omega Crunch flax topping is the first shelled flax seed product I have tried.

I used my 4x (small, sniff sniff, could have used more ) samples in a variety of ways. I sprinkled the roasted garlic on fresh tomatoes and bocconcini cheese, which tasted amazing (not like fresh garlic would, but more like garlic powder…no breath mints needed).

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*Note: you can see the shell and the seed in the picture!

I incorporated the regular/plain flavour flax into some gluten free cheese crackers that I made for my baby (and she gobbled them up), and there was no significant flavor that stood out.

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image2I mixed in the roasted maple flax in with a serving of my homemade granola. The maple flax gave the granola a little more crunch with a subtle maple favour (not the same punch a tsp. of maple syrup would give, but the maple flavor did stand out). The last sample was the cinnamon flax. I was starting to realize (after reading some other reviews) that the product flavour seems to stand out much better as a “topper” rather than mixing it into foods (which I am use to doing). S0 I sprinkled the cinnamon flax on some homemade oatmeal cookies rather than mixing it in, and the cinnamon flavor was able to stand out (with a little extra crunch).

Overall the flavours tasted great and were true to their flavour. They were subtle to mild, and you were still able to taste the flax taste of the seed. Sometimes I find that flavour infused foods taste artificial, and lack the real ingredient taste, but that is not the case with the Omega Crunch flavours.

I would use the product again and definitely would recommend it to clients and friends. Unfortunately, Omega Crunch Flax Topping doesn’t seem to be available in my local stores in the Winnipeg area…yet. Hopefully one day soon. Would I order it online? …probably not, too much hassle.

My overall thoughts about the product from a healthy eating standpoint is that it is really just a novelty food product item…if you like to spend your money on novelty food items (like I do), then go for it because I do think consuming this product will contribute to good health. But if you can’t afford it, then plain ground flax seeds will do fine.

For weight management, adding 2 tsp of roasted garlic flax seeds to say, a salad, would add an extra 30 calories, 2.5 grams fat (only 0.2g saturated), 0g sodium. Not too significant. However, depending on how much you are “shaking” on your food, the calories could add up.

This product could also be a good flavour enhancer for someone on a salt/sugar restricted diet, and is looking for other options to add flavor to their foods.

I think the shaker bottles would make great gifts, or would be a great way to get someone to try flax seeds that may have an aversion to them.

Are there alternatives on the market?

I could not find any other “flavor infused” shelled flax seeds in a shaker bottle on the market, making this product unique. In Manitoba, I found a product called Organic Seeds, which is a variety of shelled seeds in a shaker bottle (hemp, chia, golden flax, brown flax and buckwheat) for a whopping $14.99 a bottle.

image3…Great idea…I’ll probably make my own now.

I also found online I found: Natunola- Health’s delight. http://www.healthsdelight.com/shaker.htm…but no flavours.

Overall Pro’s and Con’s:

Pros:

  • I love that you can use the shaker, and when it is empty purchase a refill bag.
  • No need to grinding flax seeds when they are shelled, the outer shell has been removed so you can absorb the health benefits (fibre and omega 3).
  • Heating can destroy the health benefits in the flax oil, but it looks like this company uses a low heat hand roasting process that doesn’t affect the quality of the oil. Their website states:
  • In fact the roasting extends the shelf life and can make the product safer with less moisture on the outside.  The texture and flavour is great when roasted. “
  • No refrigeration needed (yeah, I can keep this product in my spice drawer).
  • NO GMO
  • The biggest pro of them all…the flax seed is from “MANITOBA!” whoop whoop!

Cons:

  • Nutrition info. was not provided in our sample packet, so when I looked it up online I found it hard to view with their little magnifier.  I had to zoom in on the screen. Maybe it is easier to view on a mobile or ipad, and I am just old school on my laptop. Either way, I emailed the company to get nutrition info. and they sent it to me in label form, which was better to analyze. Not really a con :-)  Thank you Sarah and Brent.
  • Product appears to only be available online or limited stores. Not a big deal if you are computer savvy…but I don’t have it in me to shop for groceries online.  If you are, the good news is that there is a flat rate shipping of $9.00 on CDN orders, or free CDN shipping if you purchase $55.00 or more of product. Returns appear to be ‘100% Satisfaction Guarantee.  If you are not satisfied with our products we will offer you a full refund.”

To sum it up:

I really enjoyed looking into this product, and I am glad I have taken the time to learn about shelled flax and roasting flax seeds. I love learning about something new!

 

 

Posted in Gluten Free, Healthly Living, Heart healthy, High fibre, Product review | Leave a comment

Ranch Salad Dressing – The dressing that will make you want to have a salad everyday!

Low fat, low sodium ranch dressing

Low fat, low sodium ranch dressing

As promised to some of my clients this week…my final version of homemade ranch salad dressing!

This dressing is truly amazing in flavor, and doesn’t need fat or salt to taste great. It also gets better after 24-hours.

I love to add dressings, and sauces to my food, but they can be very high in calories, and not to mention sodium. I have been working on creating great salad dressings that won’t affect the waste line…and to help people get enthusiastic about eating salad and veggies. I’ve also been really challenged by Lisa Leake (100 Days of Real Food). She is doing a stealer job of avoiding processed foods, and her blog is always giving me great ideas to pass along to my clients.

The next time you pick up a bottle of ranch dressing at the store, take a look at the ingredient list. Whether it is low fat, reduced fat or full fat, the ingredient list is long…and most of the time there are binders, additives and preservatives that are not specifically harmful, but why consume them when you can have the natural version?

Hope you enjoy

Nutrition facts for Ranch Dressing

Nutrition facts for Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing (Print)

Makes 9 servings (4 tbps = 1 servings)…that’s a lot of dressing!

1 serving =50 calories

INGREDIENTS
1 clove GARLIC, RAW
1 cup MILK, 1%
1 tsp LEMON JUICE, canned or bottled
1/4 cup MAYONNAISE, LIGHT
3 tbsp SOUR CREAM, LIGHT
2 tbsp ONION FLAKES, DEHYDRATED
2 tbsp PARSLEY, DRIED
2 tbsp CHIVES, FREEZE DRIED
2 tsp PEPPER, BLACK, GROUND
1 tbsp FLAX SEED, GROUND

In a food processor or magic bullet, pulse the garlic until well chopped. Then add milk and lemon juice. Stir to combine and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes (The mixture will begin to curdle). Milk and lemon juice is the basic recipe for buttermilk. If you are one to have buttermilk in the fridge, then use 1 cup buttermilk, but for those who don’t use buttermilk on a regular basis, this is a good substitute.

Then add the remaining ingredients to the food processor or bullet. Pulse.

Note: Using dried spices give the salad dressing a milder taste than if you used fresh ingredients. If you want a stronger ranch flavour, use all fresh herbs and onion (not flakes).

If you like a thin salad dressing, you can stop here. Transfer your dressing to a mason jar and you are done. If you like a thick salad dressing, continue reading.

Thickener: Add 1 tbsp of ground flax seed. More is not better. Ground flax works by becoming a gel when it get wet. So it is a great flavourless thickener, but too much can be gross.

So add 1 tbsp of ground flax to your salad dressing, pulse for a quick 2-3 seconds and then wait about a minute, and your salad dressing will thicken up.

Enjoy!

My daughter perfecting her knife skills. Getting ready to dip her peppers in ranch dressing.

My daughter perfecting her knife skills. Getting ready to dip her peppers in ranch dressing.

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Manitoba Hemp Heart Product Review

hemp2013111813503776569_lrgThis is my first product review for Confessions of Dietitian, so I thought I would post my comments on my blog, along with my pics.

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Thank you for sending me the Hemp Hearts!

I used the sample product in my oatmeal to replace my usual serving of either walnuts or almonds. I really enjoyed the nutty taste, and I feel that hemp hearts make a good alternative to nuts. I liked the unique velvet texture of the hemp hearts I shall definitely use hemp hearts again.

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 My overall thoughts on hemp hearts as a healthy product are pretty good. My main concern is that 170 calories for 3 Tbsp. seems high, but compared to other trendy super foods like ground flax (150 calories/ 3 Tbsp.), and chia (210 calories/3 Tbsp.), it seems about the same. I really like that the product packs 10 grams of protein in 3 tbsp.

I am always cautious of my consumption of nutrient dense foods, and if not measured carefully, hemp hearts (just like other nuts and seeds), may add up in calories really fast if just dumped on top of a salad, or in my case, oatmeal. I would recommend using hemp hearts sparingly in that you measure out a serving (just like butter or any other oil/fat).

Personally I am not a big fan of some of the marketing the company sent out. It kind of seems like they are pushing the product as a life transforming food product. It seemed a little over the top for me.

I do plan on purchasing more hemp hearts, and using them in my baking. I plan to add them to my granola bars, multigrain bread, and crackers. I also will be sending them with my 3 year old to day care, as she ate the entire second sample bag and wanted more. That was surprising.

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I would rate this product 5 out of 5.

~ Susan

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83 Healthy Recipe Substitutions

914950b1bb50aa49a09d1219bec526b1Picture from www.thegreatist.com

Here is an amazing list of healthy substitutions you can use while cooking and baking found while pinning on  The greatist.com. I have to admit, some of the suggestions I haven’t even tried yet…like #1 “substitute black bean puree for flour”…I am going to have to try that one.

http://greatist.com/health/83-healthy-recipe-substitutions

I regularly swap out apple sauce for oil, use natural peanut butter for reduced-fat peanut butter, mashed bananas for fats and brown rice for white rice. The list is quite extensive, but most of the suggestions look suitable.

Hope you enjoy! Susan

 

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Salmon With Whole Grain Pilaf

salmon on whole grain pilafI love whole grains and I am always looking at new ways to incorporate them into the foods that I eat…and my family.

Sometimes straight up whole grains are sometimes really chewy, and may not be the same texture that your and your family are accustomed to with more processed grains.

Here is a recipe for using wheat berries (or hard wheat kernels) that kind of “sneaks” them in. I hardly ever cook single grains anymore. I am always mixing them in different combinations to add variety to our meals. This recipe incorporates wheat berries and brown rice. If you are trying to sneak them in, the trick is to match the type of brown rice to the size and shape of the wheat berry. I used short grain brown rice with wheat berries, which are approximately the same size.

Other trick that I have been adding to my grains is this dehydrated vegetable mix from the bulk barn. I love the added flavor and texture it brings to my dishes. Plus is it low in calories and doesn’t have added salt, sugar or fat, like most bouillon mixes contain.

Hope you enjoy!

 ~ Susan Watson, RD

Salmon With Whole Grain Pilaf

Makes approx. 4-5 servings (with plenty of rice left over for another meal).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1/2 dehydrated vegetable mix
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 frozen salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp of marinade or bbq sauce
  • 8 cups frozen vegetables

Directions:

1. Add rice, wheat berries, dehydrated vegetable mix, and garlic powder into a rice cooker and add water. It will cook for about 30-40 mins.

rice mixHere is the nutrition facts for 1/2 cup off cooked whole grain pilaf (only).

Whole grain pilaf

2. Put frozen vegetables into the slow cooker, turn on for 20-30 mins.

veggiesteamer3. Thaw frozen salmon fillets in bowl of warm water for 2 mins. (just enough time to release the packaging from the salmon.

frozen salmon24. Put salmon on some tinfoil, and drizzle 2 tbsp of your favourite marinade or BBQ sauce. I found this one at (OrganicVille Sesame teriyaki) costco that uses agave nectar as a sweetener. Its low in calories, but a tad high in sodium. You gotta chose your battles some days :-) You can also just sprinkle some lemon juice, dill and black pepper on the salmon too.

sauce pic5. Cook salmon on the BBQ or in the oven at 380 degrees for about 20 mins.

6. When all items are done cooking, plate 2 cups of vegetables with 1/2 cup rice pilaf and 4-5 oz of salmon.

THE BEST thing about this recipe is that you can put all the ingredients into the baby bullet and make some amazing baby food! My little one loved it :-)

sam eating salmon

 

 

Posted in Back to Basics, Grains, Healthly Living, Healthy Kids, High fibre, Low Sodium, Uncategorized, Weight management | Tagged | Leave a comment

3 Quick Snack Ideas For Kids

kids cooking class

Had a great time leading a mini kids cooking class yesterday! The blender was a real hit with the kids! Found some great recipes from Eat Right Ontario – Get Kids In The Kitchen Cooking Contest.

Here are the ones we made yesterday: (Print copy)

Kids Cooking Class Recipes

Almond Butter Spiced Apple
Preparation time: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 serving

Almond butter is another nut option butter that has a rich flavour and source of protein. Look for it where other nut butters are sold. It has a subtle sweetness that tastes great with a tart apple and the zip of cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

Ingredients

  • apple
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL)  almond butter or Wow butter
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL)  ground cinnamon
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

1. Cut apple in half and remove core.

2. Spread each half with almond butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Banana Yogurt Jam Wrap Up

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 wrap

This is quick to prepare and kids can have fun mixing the jam and yogurt and rolling up the wrap. Perfect to tuck into your lunch or enjoy after school.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) strawberry jam
  • 1 small whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 small banana

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and jam.

2. Spread evenly over tortilla and place banana along edge and roll up. Cut in half to serve.

Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

·       ½ cup frozen berries

·       1 cup milk

Directions:

1. Place ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth. Add more milk if you want a thinner consistency.

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Hidden forms of sugar

Today I did a “Clean Eating” presentation for Niverville MOPS. Sugar was a big topic of discussion, especially with the new WHO’s guidelines…just remember that the guidelines are for “added” sugar…don’t stress about sugar found in your whole fruit (2-3 servings *1/2 cup per day of fruit is healthy)!

See this article for more info.

danone_oikos_greek_yogurt.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo

By: Health Reporter, Published on Thu Mar 06 2014

Finding the amount of sugar hidden in your food not easy

 

 

 

Posted in Back to Basics, Diabetic, Healthly Living, Weight management | Tagged | Leave a comment