Adding nuts to your diet is a very good idea. Nuts and seeds of all varieties contain essential fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are wonderful on salads, super as a spread on sandwiches, and great as a quick snack on the run. Most of the nuts you’ll find in the grocery store are roasted, salted, or flavoured in some way, but we all know, just like fruits and vegetables, the best way to eat them is raw!
But, we can do even better than that.
Wonder why those seeds, (including almonds, sunflower, spelt, oats, pecans, sesame, wheat etc.) in your cupboard don’t turn into plants, or get moldy? Well, nature is amazing, and has given nuts and seeds a special enzyme that inhibits their growth until it has all the things it needs to grow (sunlight, water, soil etc.)
When we eat raw nuts, we also eat the enzyme inhibitors that prevent the seed from sprouting. This takes a real toll on our digestion, since they will prevent our own enzymes from breaking down the food in our digestive tracts, inhibiting absorption of precious vitamins and minerals. Simply by soaking nuts in a little water, the nuts release these harmful enzymes, and at the same time, their nutritional value skyrockets. Think back to my sprouting article: when we soak, we stimulate the process of germination, liberating the incredible life force inside! We are literally eating the beginnings of a plant, so consider of all the vital nutrients that must be unlocked, and all for us to consume. How bad could you possibly feel eating that?!
Traditional people always soaked or partially sprouted their seed and nuts before they were eaten. Aztec people still practice soaking pumpkin and squash seeds and drying them in the sun before eating whole or grinding them into a meal.
I usually put a handful of almonds in a bowl or jar and fill it with filtered water before going to bed at night. Then the next morning I can have them on my oats, or even better, blend them with some water to make almond milk! Delicious. I like to peel my almonds before eating them (see picture above). I just scrape one edge of the nut with the tip of my fingernail and the bran slides off. The almonds are soft, full of flavour and three times the nutrients! What a great way to start the day.
Softer nuts and seeds, like cashews, pumpkin seeds and walnuts can be soaked for even less time, about 4 hours. Just make sure to rinse all nuts very well after they’ve been soaking, since the water they were bathing in is filled with the enzyme inhibitors that you wanted to get rid of in the first place.
If you want large batches, simply spread all of your soaked nuts on a baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12-24 hours, until dry and crisp (or use a dehydrator – this is a better option, as the temperature stays around 115 and prevents enzyme destruction). Store for up to a few months in an airtight container (walnuts need to be stored in the fridge).
That’s it! Another simple step towards greater health…and I just couldn’t resist that title.