“My mom always has her bag of nuts with her!”
My daughter, Kim, made that comment when my daughter-in-law asked her what she should prepare for my hubby and me when we were coming to visit since she knew we try to eat healthy, raw, and organic. Kim was saying: don’t worry about it. If my mom can’t find enough to eat, she’ll snack on her nut concoction.
I’ve always enjoyed a variety of nuts since I was a kid. I remember sitting with my mom shelling walnuts for hours from big bags we would fill from the walnut orchards that used to be so prevalent in Southern California. After their harvest, they let the public come through and glean walnuts. Great memories and great walnuts! My heart breaks as I watch so many of these walnut orchards destroyed to build new houses. I want to scream: “Don’t you know how good those walnuts are for you and how long it took for those trees to grow?” But I don’t think anyone would listen to me.
We always had walnuts. We baked with walnuts and loved just snacking on them. I can remember eating as many as I shelled!
Then as I grew older and was always watching my weight, I started hearing how high in calories nuts were and I treated them like a delicacy…only adding to banana nut bread or an occasional crumb topping or Waldorf salad (apples, celery, and walnuts). But then there was a trend to put nuts in salads and I was all over that. How had we missed all those years how delicious walnuts or pecans are in a salad with strawberries or pears or any array of fruit? Oh and that was something new too. Salads didn’t just need to be veggies and tomatoes—fresh fruit of all kinds is fabulous in a green salad and topped with nuts and raspberry salad dressing, a real treat.
Cancer Changed Everything
So over the years, I enjoyed nuts sparingly and guiltily. But all that changed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and began researching the best foods for fighting cancer. At the top of the list were nuts! Not just any kind of nuts though: organic and raw were the best because the high roasting temperatures used in roasting nuts can destroy many of the good nutrients and the pesticides sprayed on nonorganic nuts negate much of their nutritional value.
Nuts are little gifts from God, packed with powerful nutrients for not only fighting cancer, but heart disease, high cholesterol, endocrine and inflammatory problems…the list is endless. Yes, they have calories, but they are such a concentrated source of nutrition, that you don’t have to eat many to gain the benefits. Nuts are good calories. Calories you want to include in your diet while you eliminate wasted calories.
So I make my own “trail mix” with a variety of organic, raw, unsalted, and if possible, sprouted, nuts. I always start with almonds, cashews, and walnuts, and then I might add pistachios, shelled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, macadamias, Brazil nuts, or pecans. Sometimes I add dried unsulphured fruit, but usually, it’s just a mixture of nuts, which I take with me everywhere and keep on my desk in my office while I’m writing!
Remember that raw nuts are unprocessed so keep any extras in the refrigerator or freezer. I like to buy raw, organic nuts in bulk and then freeze them. Then I’ll defrost some and make a big batch of my “trail mix” combining a variety of nuts and portion into smaller bags that I keep in the refrigerator and take out one bag at a time to enjoy.
Yes, if you walked into my office today, you would see my bag of nuts . . . in fact I just had a handful while I was writing this. If you looked in my travel bag, yep there would be a bag of nuts. When hubby and I go to town for the day, you guessed it, I have my bag of nuts if I want a snack while we’re shopping or watching soccer games or hanging out with the family.
It doesn’t take many of these powerhouse gifts from God, so a handful or two will do you nicely and probably quench your appetite so you don’t eat so much at the next meal. Think how much better this is for you than a bag of chips or candy bar or even popcorn. Popcorn does not have the nutrients of nuts, but you can add nuts to your popcorn and that’s yummy too.
Check out These Websites
So I’ve researched a couple of websites that I think you will enjoy. The first one, Why You Should Go Nuts for Nuts is one I really like. On the first page, after you read the introduction, hit on “View All” and it will take you to pictures of different nuts. When you hit on the picture, you’ll get a summary of all the health benefits of that particular nut.
And here’s a great article about walnuts, 10 Surprising Facts About Walnuts.
Tips for Going Nuts
- If you find nuts hard to chew, try grinding them and adding to your recipes or chopping them.
- Add nuts to your salads, cereal, oatmeal, granola, cereal, vegetables, cookies, cobblers . . . the list is endless.
- If you can’t go raw nuts, Dr. Oz says in his book, You On a Diet, that it’s OK to cook them at 275 degrees for 9-12 minutes to roast without damaging the good oils and nutrients.
- If raw organic are too expensive, I would opt for at least raw because roasting at high temperatures damages most of the nutrients. You might wash them off and then do a light roasting, as I mentioned above.
- If you don’t like a particular nut, no problem. There are so many to choose from.
- Substitute almond milk for regular milk. Some people like to make their own almond milk and I just discovered how to make walnut milk. Yummy!
What are some ways you’ve found to use nuts?
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*Pictures are from the websites listed in the article.