The Dry Eye Zone

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Rebecca's journal: My first tentative new Omega 3 step...

I see no reason not to come right out and admit it.

When faced with it personally, I found the idea of consuming flaxseed oil completely revolting.

Never mind that I know plenty of perfectly reasonable people who do this regularly.

Never mind that I know it's better for you than the capsules.

Never mind even that I've been guiltily doling out hypocritical advice about it to others for years. "You know, you can take capsules, but it's better to get it in liquid form... You can mix it with a salad dressing, or blend it into a smoothie...." (Or so I've heard, snicker.) That's for other people. For heaven's sake, I'm married to a Greek; you can't expect me to insult our beloved extra virgin olive oils by putting that stuff on my salad. Smoothie? Sorry but I've never bothered to replace our blender since we moved.

Yes, I'm one of those ignorant, pitiful wimps that really have never dared to venture beyond capsules in their Omega 3 quests. There is something about that dreaded tablespoon of flaxseed oil that conjures up visions of cod liver oil or something. Not that I ever actually consumed any of that either, but I read about kids that had to.

The beginning of the end, though I didn't know it at the time, came when Debra Schaumberg of Harvard, who's been rather prominent in some dry eye reseasrch, passed by my booth at ASCRS (an ophthalmology conference where I was exhibiting for The Dry Eye Shop) last spring in San Diego. I asked what she recommends in terms of Omega 3s for dry eye. She said flatly, "Barleans liquid flaxseed oil. Period. You don't need anything else." and walked on.

Many months later when I found myself at Barleans farm in Ferndale, Washington, Bruce Barlean pretty much finished up the process of persuading me to at least give it a try. In fact, considering that to date I have purchased exclusively capsules from Barleans, and further considering that those capsules are more costly and less efficient (from a user standpoint) than the liquid form, I was quite amused to find that Bruce seems to feel the same way about his liquid oil compared to capsules approximately the same way I feel about my rice baggy compared to warm washcloths for MGD.

So, here is what my first tentative foray into the world of imbibing Barleans fresh pressed flaxseed oil looked like:

Among the loot I brought home from Barleans, I managed to snag a bottle of cinnamon flavored oil. I had no idea what I was going to do with it; I'm not even that fond of cinnamon per se. But it just sounded a little less daunting than the elite high lignan flaxseed oil.

Now, everyone has always said you should mix flaxseed oil with yoghurt. So I spooned plenty of my favorite yoghurt (Nancy's organic lowfat) into a bowl. It brought back memories of a certain period during my childhood when my mother felt it was her duty to attempt to feed liver to her eight children once a month. Among our many ruses (mind, we had no convenient dog, and the curtains were too far from the table) was heaping mashed potatoes on the plate, burying the liver and deciding we were just unbearably full when there was a small pile of mashed potatoes left. Unfortunately, oil isn't solid.

I steeled myself, grabbed the bottle, and squirted some oil on top of the yoghurt.

Gawd, what a color.

The charitable term would, I think, be saffron. It reminded me of what you see in the... never mind, when you're taking a B complex vitamin. I'm supposed to EAT this stuff? You can't be serious.

Sigh. I started stirring, and finally got it all mixed in to the point you couldn't see any of it. Dumped some berries on top. And started eating.

Oh my goodness. YUM. There's a slight cinnamony taste to my yoghurt and berries. You mean that's IT?

IT'S NOT SLIMY AND DISGUSTING?!

Heck, I can DO this. Handed it to my other half. He likes it! Hey Mikey! His recent cholesterol numbers alone are more than enough motivation to keep me faithfully serving this for breakfast, never mind the dry eyes and the dry eye shop product testing nonsense.

Thankfully, we are both people of routine and have absolutely no desire for breakfast variety. This is now our daily morning routine. My first 12 oz bottle is already getting low. I ordered some more, along with the rest of the liquid flaxseed oils, today, and I'm almost begrudging having to share it with the shop when it comes.

And guess what: Barleans have promised me some little sample bottles!! They are cute as a button and a great way to give it a whirl without buying one of those intimidating whole bottles. Look for the first set in the shop no later than the 25th. I'll have the cinnamon plus the lemonade, the standard flaxseed oil and the famous high lignan flaxseeed oil.

I shall report back when I have anything new to say about my growing acquaintance with flaxseed oil....
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