Introduction: As Healing Seeker affirms her declaration that it is safe to be slender, read her exploration of the health benefits of having a daily dose of 4 tablespoons of flax seed mixed with 4 ounces of yogurt. In addition, it pleases her taste buds.
29 October 2010
I find there is great power in the affirmation that it is truly safe to be slender. Those words really resonate with me more than any other weight-loss affirmations I have ever heard.
As I reach toward my goal of losing sixty pounds prior to getting reconstruction surgery in the late fall of 2011, I am striving to make life style changes that I can happily and easily adopt into my life rather than trying a few short-term measures that could put me on that yo-yo diet cycle. In case you are wondering, I am in remission from breast cancer after having chemo and a double mastectomy. In other words, there are no more cancer cells in my body. I wish to keep it that way. So for the first time in my life, I am extra motivated to make these changes to help benefit the second half of my life. I am 52.
My other very strong motivation is my strong desire to not have fake boobs attached to fat. They make you wait one year after completing cancer treatments before they authorize you to get reconstruction surgery. They want to make certain that the cancer does not return that could be hidden under those fake boobs. So I want my body size to be the size it is going to be from now on before I have the fake boobs attached.
Meeting with a Nutritionist soon
I will be meeting with my nutritionist as soon as I complete my last preventative radiation treatment. As of this morning, I have six more sessions to go. Both my oncologist and my radiation oncologist did not want me losing too much weight during my treatments. Without really trying, I have lost 20 to 22 pounds since being diagnosed with breast cancer on the 7th of January of 2010 depending on which doctor’s scale I use. Chemo reduced my appetite considerably. I generally only eat 2 meals a day. During chemo, I didn’t even manage that. So I still have the goal of losing an additional 60 pounds.
Flax Seed mixed with Activia Yogurt
Given that, I have implemented one life style change that is working really well for me. Almost daily, for a late evening snack, I am mixing four tablespoons of flax seed with Activia Yogurt or some generic version of Activia Yogurt. This was the recommendation of a store clerk at a Greeneville, TN store called “Health Barn.” She stated that I would have to take 10 or 12 flax seed oil capsules to get the nutritional benefit that I could get in four tablespoons of flax seed. She eats it plain. When I balked at that idea, she suggested I mix it in with yogurt or cottage cheese or applesauce. A friend of mine was told to mix it in with water by one of her doctors. She found that mixture to be disgusting to her eyes and her taste buds. I would have to agree. To me, the very thought of that combination sounds bad. Mixing it in with yogurt sounded the most do-able to me. I have actually found it to be quite yummy. I started out with mixed berry yogurt. I found it to taste similar to a mixed berry cobbler with ice cream. I tried strawberry Activia yogurt last night and found that to be delicious as well. I take small nibbles of this mixture and can make it last several minutes that way.
The woman at the Health Barn and one of her frequent customers felt like it could really help you lose weight as there is such a high fiber content in it. It is also supposed to help keep you more regular.
Flax Seed Brand
I use Barlean’s Forti-Flax. It is 100% Organic. I bought it at the Health Barn from their refrigerator section. They told me to keep it refrigerated. It is a 16 ounce container and I don’t recall it be overly expensive.
The front label states: “Pure & Natural Source of Omega-3, Lignans, Fiber, Amino Acids, Trace Vitamins and Minerals.” The ingredients are “Freshly cold-milled 100% organic, pesticide and herbicide free, select flax seeds.”
The container indicates that a serving size is 2 tablespoons at 80 calories. I am, of course, using 4 tablespoons instead. Since I am not a calorie-counter, that does not scare me that I am getting 160 calories at a time given the health benefits of what I am eating.
One of the things that I want to find out from my appointment with the nutritionist is how to really understand food labels. In any case, here are the gritty details:
Total Fat – 5 g (8%)
Saturated Fat – 0 g (0%)
Polyunsaturated Fat – 3.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat – 1 g
Cholesterol – 0 g (0%)
Sodium – 6 g (1%)
Total Carbohydrates – 4 g (1%)
Dietary Fiber – 3 g (12%)
Insoluble Fiber – 2 g
Soluble Fiber – 1 g
Vitamin C – 75 mcg (0%)
Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin) 70 mcg (5%)
Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) 34 mcg (4%)
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine Hcl) 90 mcg (7%)
Niacin 480 mcg (2%)
Pantothenic Acid 85 mcg (1%)
Folic Acid (4%)
Alpha-Tocopherol 8 mcg (Daily value not established)
Delta -Tocopherol 6 mcg (Daily value not established)
Gamma- Tocopherol 4 mcg (Daily value not established)
Calcium 30 mg (3%)
Copper 150 mcg (7%)
Iron 750 mcg (4%)
Magnesium 60 mg (15%)
Manganese 440 mcg (22%)
Phosphorus 93 mg (9%)
Potassium 120 mg (3%)
Zinc 750 mcg (5%)
Please note that a mcg is a microgram. This means it is “one millionth (1/1,000,000) gram.” So when they say trace vitamins, that truly is not very much.
Soluble Fiber vs. Insoluble Fiber
Seeing that Flax Seed had 2 grams of Insoluble Fiber and 1 gram of Soluble Fiber, I had no idea what that meant. I checked on-line to understand the meaning of soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber. Healthcastle Nutrition Inc. had this to say:
“Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact.”
They also list a bunch of benefits and functions of both conditions that sound ideal. Click HEALTHCASTLE NUTRITION or the link above to read the specifics.
Three strong benefits that they mentioned I will list here for the benefit of people in my cancer support group and all you out there who would like to keep from getting cancer:
1) Helps prevent colon cancer
2) Lowers total cholesterol which can lower the risk of getting heart disease
3) Regulates blood sugar for people with diabetes
Barlean’s Forti-Flax has 3 grams of dietary fiber. I also didn’t really know how to interpret that. Beside the 3 grams, the label also states 12% of my daily value of fiber, whatever that means. That is something else I want the nutritionist to help me understand.
Another source on the web that I trust is WebMD. They indicate that the American Dietetic Association indicates that women 50 and younger need 25 grams of fiber daily; whereas, women 51 and older need 21 grams of fiber. On the other hand, men 50 and younger need 38 grams of fiber daily; whereas, men 51 and older need 30 grams of fiber.
They also state the following: “Soluble fiber — found in beans, fruits, and more — aids in satiety (helping you feel full). Insoluble fiber — found in wheat bran, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and other foods — helps keep your digestive system regular.”
You can read the rest of their article by clicking WEBMD or clicking the link below:
So this is how I will interpret what I am learning. Hopefully, the nutritionist can help me clarify this point. If I take 4 tablespoons of Barlean’s Forti-Flax daily, then I should be getting 6 grams out of the 30 grams recommended for a woman 51 and older. I also will be getting 24% of the daily value of fiber.
What about Activia Yogurt?
Okay, following this winding trail, since I am combining the 4 tablespoons of flax seed with a 4 ounce container of Activia Yogurt, what happens to my dietary fiber intake then?
It does not show on the label. Here are the ingredients for Activia, according to this website: http://tinyurl.com/27oages
Calories from fat – 0 (0%)
Total Fat – 0 g (0%)
Saturated Fat – 0 g (0%)
Trans Fat – 0 g
Sodium – 80 mg (3%)
Potassium – 200 mg (6%)
Total Carbohydrates – 13 g (4%)
Dietary Fiber – 3 g (12%)
Sugars – 8 g
Protein – 5 g (10%)
Vitamin A – 0%
Vitamin C – 0%
Calcium – 15%
Iron – 0%
As I was looking for the ingredients, I did read one listing (see below) that stated that Activia had an overly high level of sugar in it. I would interpret this to mean that it might make it less than ideal for diabetics. I am not a diabetic; however, I have friends who are. That has made me more conscious about that fact.
DietSpotlight states the following: “Activia is touted as a digestion healing yogurt ideal for female intestinal issues, but evidence simply does not back this up. There are also reported side effects not listed on Activia’s website. Nevertheless, it does contain some nutrients which may supplement a healthy diet, but consumers should be aware of the heavy sugar content and some unnatural ingredients added to their yogurt.” You can read their article below to see their listing of advantages and disadvantages to Activia Yogurt. One disadvantage that I will list is: “Not ideal for diabetics contains excessive sugar.”
But sticking to my topic the best I can, it appears that it also has 3 grams of fiber and it fulfills 12% of your daily does of fiber. So combine this with the 4 tablespoons of flax seed, I would be getting 9 grams of my daily dose of 30 grams recommended for a woman 51 and older. I also will be getting 36% of my daily value of fiber.
All in all, this snack is sounding more and more ideal as a permanent lifestyle change. I may check out other yogurts along the way to see if they have one with less sugar.
Flax Seed Benefits
What benefits have I noticed? I would have to say that I find that I don’t suffer much from constipation any more. That has been a big problem in the past. I haven’t lost much weight using it; however, I haven’t gained any weight either. Since I am eating more lately than I have in the past several months, that is a good thing.
I checked on-line to see what other nutritional benefits there are in flax seed. You may wish to read: Flax Seed Benefits – Flax Seed Nutrition written by All4NaturalHealth.com. They list all kinds of interesting benefits that make this snack sound like I am doing my body a major favor by making this a daily part of my diet.
I am thrilled to know that I have found a snack that is not only really good for my health, but it also benefits my taste buds as well. I find this snack to be quite yummy!
I know that there is a theory that late night snacks are NOT conducive to weight loss. It might make a better breakfast or mid-day snack instead. Given that my husband and I stay up until 1:00 to 2:00 or so in the
morning watching the network shows we like on our VCR (we are both writers and spend most of the day and evening writing) and we are both prone to eat during that 11:00 pm onward time period, this would be a healthier choice for me than cookies. So I believe, for me, it will work best to leave it as my late-evening delicious and healthy snack option.
Well, if you actually stuck with me during that entire exploration, congratulations. I think best by writing. I needed to research this for myself to make certain I really was giving my body the best that I could give. As a result, I feel more confident than ever about at least one of my food choices. More articles will follow exploring other life style choices as well.
Many blessings to you all,
Healing Seeker aka Debbie