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Why I’m tempted to eat my overalls

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The best part of my healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle is that it seamlessly allows me to discuss nutrition and sustainability.

Case in point: FLAX.

Flax seeds are nutritional powerhouses and, as I’ve now learned, are the plants used to make my favorite summer fabric: linen!

When I decided to become a dietitian and slowly began adopting a low waste lifestyle, I never thought that I would end up passionately writing about clothes! Initially, I loved that my desire to reduce waste led me to naturally make the healthiest food choices. It gently guided me towards a diet rich in unpackaged, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. It didn’t take long for me to find the most nutrient dense foods without packaging and to feel comfortable shopping in the bulk section of supermarkets.

It was during my oncology nutrition rotation of my dietetic internship that I fell in love with flax seeds. I had been using ground flaxseed meal in my baking for a while, but hadn’t researched its health benefits.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FLAXSEED

Flaxseeds are small, tan/brown seeds from the flax plant, an annual herb. They are a great source of dietary fiber and plant-based protein. They are the richest sources of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that may help support heart and digestive health and decrease cholesterol levels.

Flaxseeds contain the powerful antioxidants lignans. Several studies in women found that higher dietary lignan intake was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer. And, preliminary research also supports that consuming dietary lignans is associated with less aggressive tumor characteristics in women diagnosed with breast cancer. Here is the full nutritional breakdown of flaxseeds.

Flaxseed Nutrition: 1 ounce (3 tbsp) serving of flaxseeds contains:

  • Omega-3(ALA): 6,338mg
  • Fiber:8g
  • Protein:6g
  • Vitamin B1:31% RDA
  • Manganese:35% RDA
  • Magnesium:30% RDA
  • Phosphorus:19% RDA
  • Selenium:10% RDA
  • They also contain vitamin B6, Iron, potassium, copper and zinc.

For the body to access the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds, we must consume ground flaxseeds. We can’t break down whole flaxseeds. Many products taut the health benefits of flaxseeds, but if you see whole flaxseeds in those products, you will not reap those health benefits!

To avoid any packaging, I buy flaxseeds whole in the bulk section of my local Whole Foods. When ready to use them, I grind the seeds using a coffee grinder or blender and store the extra flaxseed meal in the refrigerator.

I regularly incorporate flaxseeds into my diet by sprinkling them on almost anything- cereal (like my Seedy Cereal), toast with nut butter, smoothies, and even into pasta sauces. Combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water to make an egg replacer.

Recommended Intake: A moderate intake of ground flaxseeds (2-3 tablespoons per day) is safe.

MY OVERALLS ARE MADE OF FLAX

Over time, my overarching goal of reducing waste spread to all aspects of my life- not just food. I now consciously consume and look to reduce waste when I purchase cleaning supplies, beauty products, clothing, etc.

That being said, I’m always looking for the most sustainable brands. And, while searching for new outfits to wear on my summer trip to Scotland, I was drawn to Brora.

Brora is one of my favorite clothing companies. I was initially attracted to this luxury Scottish brand because it produces sustainable (and unbelievably soft) cashmere in Scotland. I frequent the store in the Edinburgh airport every time Rob and I travel to Scotland and discovered that the New York store is near my best friend’s apartment (meant to be)! A quick glance at the gorgeous store window in June and I discovered that Brora is much more than cashmere!

I fell in love with the linen dungarees and linen shirt dress in Brora’s summer collection.

After contacting Brora to learn more about its sustainable practices, I learned about the I LOVE LINEN campaign and about the sustainability of linen. Did you know that linen is made from flax seeds? I certainly did not! These little gems can do more than support our health! I put together a list of why I love linen.

Why I love linen and you should too!

  • Flax is a naturally friendly fiber and Europe is responsible for 80% of the global production of it.
    • The growing of flax in Europe captures 250,000 tons of CO2, a powerful greenhouse gas.
  • Growing flax requires less water than cotton. European flax* requires only rainwater to grow, which means it doesn’t require irrigation!
    • 1 linen shirt bought = 13 1.5L bottles of water saved
  • We can use all parts of the plant, so there is ZERO WASTE – plus it’s non-GMO.
    • Part of the plant is used to make fabrics, and we can eat the seeds!
  • Linen typically requires fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides than cotton.
  • Linen is more durable and lasts longer than other materials
  • Linen is lightweight, breathable and super comfortable.

So, now you can see why I am tempted to eat my overalls! I’ve been living in my Brora outfits this summer and love that I’m learning about how amazing companies are committed to sustainable practices while also delivering on style.

*Linen from other countries is not as sustainable as European linen because flax grown in other climates require irrigation systems and pesticides.