A lot of people are afraid to eat nuts and seeds because they are high in fat and calories and that is true but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Certainly eating too much of anything is a bad thing and nuts do lend themselves to eating alot in a short amount of time however in the proper doses they can really support and promote good health, keep your appetite in check and boost your metabolism. Eating a variety of nuts and seeds in controlled serving sizes is a good idea. Stay away from nuts that are heavily oiled, salted or candied. When I counsel my patients, here are the serving sizes I suggest: (which are the equivalent of 100 calories)
- walnuts and pecans: 7-8 halves
- almonds: 10 - 12 whole almonds
- peanuts: 18 nuts or 2 TBS
- pine nuts: 2 TBS
- pistachios, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds: 2 TBS
- coconut, unsweetened grated: 3 TBS
- nut butters: 1 TBS of above nuts
- cashews: 12 whole cashews
- brazil nuts: 4 whole nuts
- macadamia nuts: 5 or 6 nuts
- hazelnuts: 10 or 11 whole nuts
Nuts can be used in smoothies, as a snack, in casseroles, on salads, in raw fruit crusts, gravies, and in burgers. Nut butters are delicious and if you like peanut butter please make sure to buy certified organic as peanuts are one of the most heavily sprayed nuts. Before eating nuts I do usually soak and slow/ low bake them to make them easier to digest and to release the acidic enzyme prohibitors that are naturally protecting the nut. You can eat them raw or roasted however but if you have the extra time to soak and roast them you won't regret it and I guarantee that you will really love the crispy texture of them.
Here is the method I use to soak and roast nuts and seeds: (This method works for any of the above nuts and seeds).
Today I was preparing pecans. I took 2 # or 8 cups (knowing the holiday season is here and I will probably be baking with them)
Then I covered them in filtered water and added 2 tsp of sea salt.
I set them on a counter and let them sit there overnight. You can place a dishtowel over the bowl.
In the morning, I strained them through a colander and rinsed them off.
Then I spread them on two baking sheets. I use only stainless steel, I don't use aluminum or teflon coated pans as they impart toxic chemicals to the food while stainless steel pans do not.
I then placed the baking sheets in the oven at the lowest possible temp my oven goes and that happens to be 170˚ and I baked them all day long at least 8 hours but sometimes even 12 hours just as long as possible. You can also use a dehydrator for this job but I don't have one yet so I use my oven.
After all that time in the oven they came out so crispy and delicious. I let them cool off at least an hour before placing them in mason jars for storage on my pantry shelf. They last for weeks.
Have fun soaking, roasting, baking and eating. Please feel free to experiment with the different varieties of nuts and seeds and leave me a comment to share the ways you are using nuts and seeds.