We all know nuts and seeds are great in baked goods and chocolate, but they can do a lot more than you might imagine.
Ice cream, cheese, milk, soup, crackers, smoothies, and pie crust—did you ever imagine you could make so many amazing, scrumptious things with these wee nuts and seeds? It’s remarkable how many things you can do with these nutrient packed foods. You may never miss eating ice cream after tasting a truly raw ice cream.
Raw nuts and seeds are quite versatile and used in a variety of ways among the raw and living foods devotees. The favorite nuts and seeds among the super-duper raw food chefs are the following:
- Brazil nuts
- Hazelnuts (a.k.a. filberts)
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
The best way to eat or use raw nuts and seeds in recipes is by soaking and sprouting them. You might be asking, “Why should I soak and sprout nuts and seeds? They taste fine just the way they are.” Yes, this is true, however, soaking raw nuts and seeds releases enzyme inhibitors, the compound that keeps seeds in a dormant state. During the soaking step, enzyme inhibitors are lifted off, and during the sprouting process, macronutrients such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates are broken down into their simplest form, meaning better digestion and assimilation of nutrients. The nutrient value of the food, as a result, multiplies.
Some nuts and seeds need longer soaking and sprouting times than others. Also keep in mind that only some seeds will sprout, and nuts are more difficult to sprout or will not sprout at all. Regardless, although nuts will not sprout, you will still gain lots of nutritional benefits from soaking them.
How to Prepare Your Nuts and Seeds
Soaking nuts and seeds can be quick and simple. In the evening or before you go to bed, choose a variety of nuts or seeds you would like to have for the week. Place them in separate bowls or mason jars, cover them with filtered water, and leave them to sit overnight on the counter. When you get up in the morning, drain the water and rinse the nuts and seeds with fresh water. Make sure to rinse them well to remove enzyme inhibitors. Store them back in the refrigerator so they can be kept fresh. Alternatively, if you have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate them and store them in mason jars to keep longer.
Nutrition and How to Eat Them
Nuts and seeds can be stirred into porridge, sprinkled onto cereals and salads, or eaten as a snack. Raw nut butters are great for spreads and dips. Including raw nuts and seeds daily into your diet provides you with a good source of protein, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and omega 3 and 6 (which lowers your cholesterol). Raw nuts and seeds also contain fibre. A complete protein recommended is flax seed. Just remember to grind your flax seeds to get the most out of the nutrients before tossing them over your cereals and salads.
Also highly recommended are chia seeds. Chia seeds have become very popular for their numerous health benefits. If you have not already tried chia seeds, you might want to, as you may be deliciously surprised.
It is important to include nuts and seeds in your daily diet, especially those rich in omega 3s such as flax, chia, hemp, and walnuts. These are particularly helpful to improve brain function and memory, prevent diabetes, decrease heart disease risk, and protect us from cancers.
If you can restrain yourself from overeating raw nuts and seeds, they can definitely be part of a healthy diet. Aim to consume two to four tablespoons of raw nuts and seeds daily depending on your daily activity. This will help you pack in the nutrients instead of the calories.
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