04/21/2012 11:29 am ET Updated Jun 20, 2012

Day 5: Put a Little Flax on it

Today's Lean will take just a moment or two and yield significant rewards. All I want you to do is add in two tablespoons of ground flaxseed somewhere in your day. Add them to any foods you like (as long as they end up in your mouth). Flax has a sweet, nutty flavor, so it goes down easily!

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You can sprinkle ground flax over your breakfast rice or oatmeal, add it to a smoothie, mix it into your salad, or stir it into a soup or veggie stew or casserole. There are as many uses for ground flax as your imagination will allow. And it is a huge boost to any weight loss plan.


It's bulk, baby! Fabulous fiber yet again. You'd have to look high and low to get a food that's this high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber just means that it absorbs water, expands and forms a gel-like substance, which takes up more room in your stomach and delays the time it takes for food to digest. To be more precise, the fiber slows down the passage of food across the valve that sends signals from the small intestines to the large intestines. Your body then receives appetite-suppressing signals that tell you you're full. See, your body is actually being reprogrammed! And because everything is slowed down, your blood sugar remains stable and you stay feeling full or sated for longer.

Insoluble fiber is more like what your parents called "roughage." It doesn't really break down, but it pushes things through the digestive system. One ounce of flaxseed provides 32 percent of your daily dose of fiber, so it's an excellent assurance that you'll eat fewer calories while feeling more energetic throughout the day. It's yet another way to crowd out the hunger beast! But that's not all that flax has to offer.

Flaxseeds are low in carbs, high in most of the B vitamins, and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of omega 6. Flax is also the most concentrated dietary source of lignans, which the good bacteria in our gut turn into the powerful cancer-fighting compounds that not only significantly lower breast cancer risk in the first place but may double the survival rates of breast cancer patients. The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project estimated that the quantity of lignans women average daily from their entire diet is about 6 milligrams. That's how many lignans are found in just a single teaspoon of flaxseeds. So adding even just a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds to your diet may double your entire intake for the day.

Flaxseeds have also been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure, control hot flashes in women, and work just as well as the leading drug for enlarged prostate symptoms in men -- but with only good side effects. Flax was often used to heal digestive troubles in the times of the Roman Empire, and Hippocrates (the father of medicine) apparently used it as one of his valued "medicines." Mahatma Gandhi famously said, "Wherever flaxseed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health."

You can buy flaxseeds already ground, and they can last for six weeks in the fridge in an airtight container. Or you can buy them whole and grind them yourself -- I always keep a bag of flaxseeds in my fridge, and I grind up about 6 tablespoons (three days' worth) at a time in a coffee grinder that I don't use for coffee (lest the taste cross over). If they aren't ground, the seeds will pass through your system whole, and you won't get all the nutritional benefits from them.

You can take your 2 tablespoons all at once, or split up your dose throughout the day, making each meal more fulfilling and guarding you against the munchies. Easy peasy, short and sweet!

What to Do Today:

- Eat a Hearty Breakfast

- Make Your Lunch Without Animal Products

- Eat a Super Food

- Trade Up the Milk and Butter

- Put a Little Flax On It

What You'll Need for Tomorrow:

6-8 ounces water or coconut water

Scoop of protein powder made from soy, rice, hemp, and/or pea

1 cup blueberries

5 frozen broccoli florets

Stevia or agave to taste (only if needed)

"Thanks for taking The 7-Day Lean Challenge with me! The Lean is a 30-day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss. It's designed to help you crowd out bad habits and replace them with new healthier ones. I'd love for you to join me for the whole 30-day plan. Please visit to preview more steps! The Lean is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound."

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