The Seeds of Change

There is nothing constant in the universe. All ebb and flow, and every shape that’s born, bears in its womb the seeds of change.

— Ovid, Metamorphoses

Andy is back in Andy’s Corner today – after a month of being front and center with his blogs. Yes, it’s a change – and his blog is about change. Changes in what we may eat. My blog is more about seeds. But first it’s about holiday conversations.

Norman Rockwell Freedom from Want; illustration for the Saturday Evening Post, March 6, 1943

It was the night before Christmas and all through the house….families were talking about Santa’s imminent arrival or all of those colorful presents under the tree or the Babe in the Manger or the rare roast beef served for the holiday dinner. Or maybe your family was preparing for the last day of Hanukkah and the final lighting of the menorah and talking about the chocolate babka that Bubbe made for breakfast or the brisket you had for dinner. Meanwhile, our relatively-a-religious multi-generational family was talking about the turkey gumbo we’d just enjoyed (made from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey bones), and we were talking about…Metamucil.

The 24,484 ratings on Amazon give it almost 5 stars

Eater.com published an article about this “delicate” subject that Metamucil addresses back in April. The author, JJ Goode, writes:

While we all fawn and fuss over dinner, we ignore the elephant dung in the room. Because whether it’s hand-harvested scallops with sea-buckthorn jam or a Popeyes chicken sandwich, what’s on our plate will soon be ground by the teeth, transported via peristalsis through the esophagus, macerated in stomach acid, metamorphosed by its journey through two dozen feet of intestinal tubing, and then deposited into the toilet. Food is sublime in part because of its transience, each plate of it the edible equivalent of a sand mandala, destined to disappear, once there and then gone. Funny, then, that we so rarely talk about where it goes.

A little research into Metamucil made me laugh more than some of the multitudinous holiday puns that I heard! (I have two family members – here’s lookin’ at you, Andy and Hannah – who are obsessed with puns.) The video below is an actual ad from Metamucil, featuring Mary and Leon, who have been married for over 50 years and have been taking Metamucil every day together for years. It’s a must watch! An unintentionally-hysterical way to start off 2023.

If this ad leaves you craving more “Meta” stories, check out this Metamucil site.

Because, if you follow my blog, you know that my brain jumps from topic to topic in often inexplicable ways (or as our daughter, Sara, likes to say…”it’s all so random!”), you may be wondering why I entitled the blog the “Seeds of Change” (an expression which dates back to Ovid). The answer is simple. I have the perfect alternative to Metamucil. And it’s a seed. And it may change the way you…well, we don’t want to delve too far into that “unmentionable” subject 🙂

Ta-Da! The seed I recommend is this: FLAX. And for Christmas I gave packages of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Flaxseed to every family member I thought might “need” it. They were all thrilled.

As a former professional gardener, I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew nothing about growing flax, including what the plants look like, whether they’re annuals or perennials, how to harvest them, where they grow, or the multiple ways that flax is used. For answers to all of that, here’s a helpful article from Iowa State U.

Most flax, an annual, is grown in Northern Europe and Russia, though North Dakota and Minnesota produce it too. Linen comes from the stems of flax; linseed oil for wood comes from flax, as does flax seed oil, which has numerous health benefits. And, of course, flax seeds come from flax. The plants are 3-4 feet tall.

The health benefits of flax are still being researched, but here’s what the U.S. NIH has to say: Flaxseed is emerging as an important functional food ingredient because of its rich contents of α-linolenic acid (ALA, omega-3 fatty acid), lignans, and fiber. Flaxseed oil, fibers and flax lignans have potential health benefits such as in reduction of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune and neurological disorders. Flax protein helps in the prevention and treatment of heart disease and in supporting the immune system.

Give flax seeds a try – for their fiber, if nothing else. If you need refreshing on why fiber is important for “you know what,” read this from the Mayo Clinic. Just remember a few important things when using flax seeds:

  • Grind the seeds before using them; whole flax seeds just “pass on through” without helping
  • A couple of tablespoons is a serving, and don’t start out with that many because your body needs to adjust gradually.
  • Refrigerate your ground seeds and use them up within a few weeks (we don’t recommend buying already ground seeds because they will not keep for very long and will need refrigeration)
  • While scattering them on cereal or on a salad – or baking them in rolls or muffins may be fine, it’s unlikely you’ll get enough that way
  • Try 2 T ground flax seeds stirred into your morning oatmeal
  • OR stir the ground seeds into a serving of unsweetened applesauce. Yum.
  • A smoothie is also an easy way to incorporate ground flax seeds into your diet.

While a Jugo Verde may be our idea of the best possible smoothie (probably because of fond memories of sipping them on the beach at Ixtapa, Mexico), the green color – and spinach – doesn’t appeal to everyone. So here are two nice alternative smoothies. Try them; you’ll like them. And, with the addition of ground flax seeds, so will your gut! AND you don’t have to buy Metamucil.

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

  • Servings: about 2 6-oz servings
  • Print

  • 1 5″ piece of banana
  • 1 c fresh pineapple chunks (I buy the ones already cut up and packaged in the fresh fruit dept of the grocery store)
  • 1/3 c whole yogurt
  • 1/4 c – 1/2 c milk (amount depends on the consistency you want)
  • 2 T ground flax seeds (you can double this, if you’re making 2 servings)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c ice cubes
  • pomegranate seeds (optional: sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of seeds on the top of each glass before serving. Not only are they beautiful but your gut will benefit still more!)

Put all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.
Blueberry Apple Smoothie

Blueberry Apple Smoothie

  • Servings: 2-3 6-oz servings
  • Print

Note: this is enough for 2-3 servings, so add enough flax seed so that each serving contains about 2 T; use the apple variety you like – but be sure they’re organic, since you’re using the peel. And if you’re not serving the smoothie right away, add a little lemon juice to the mixture, or the apple will make the smoothie turn brown-ish.

  • 1 ORGANIC Honeycrisp (or your favorite variety) apple, unpeeled but core removed, cut into small chunks
  • 1 c frozen organic blueberries (not defrosted)
  • 1 c – 1 1/2 c milk (or substitute oat milk) (amount depends on the consistency you want)
  • 1 T maple syrup (or honey)
  • 4-6 T ground flax seeds, depending upon the number of servings you want
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1/2 c ice cubes

Put all of the ingredients except the ice into the blender and process until smooth. Then add the ice and process again until smooth.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

3 Comments

  1. Robert Briggs Carleton says:

    Metamucil! My last encounter with the product was several years ago. I was on a 4-day road trip as a zoo docent (Rio Grande BioPark Zoo) with several animals (amphibian, reptile, bird, mammal… a couple of each). We had two hedgehogs along (and a wonderful porcupine and others). My docent partner noticed the hedgehog didn’t seem quite right when we reached our destination. Examination of the feces showed some blood! Oh! My! Calls back to the zoo resulted in a consult with a veterinarian who prescribed quiet rest and Metamucil! I went to several stores looking for a “small” container of Metamucil (how much can a hedgehog eat?). I discovered that only huge sizes were available. We isolated the hedgehog; no school outings, no maid service, and our critter pulled through. When we returned to Albuquerque we learned that the hedgehog’s litter mate had the same symptoms and succumbed. Ours lasted another two months.

    Like

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