(originally posted by Andrea Nakayama)
When it comes to a Paleo diet, nuts can be a paramount part of the protocol.
They provide us with good fats, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. The key minerals that nuts contain include magnesium, zinc, selenium and copper — all of which are often deficient in our modern-day diets. And some of the fats they harbor, special fats called ‘sterols’, can help balance cholesterol levels and reduce cancer risk. Nuts also have other health-promoting and disease-fighting properties that source from certain phytochemicals including flavonoids, luteolin, tocotrienols and others.
All that said, a food can be golden on paper and yet agitate our guts. That’s where bio-individuality comes into play, and where we are not what we eat, but what our bodies can do with what we eat! This is something I address in my Nutrition Services, never assuming that there is a one-size-fits-all diet because there are a few chemical compounds in nuts that can make them a challenge on an already compromised digestive system. With that said, here is a recipe that is inspired by Danielle Walker’s recipe in her much-loved cookbook Against All Grains.
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped cashews
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 10 chopped brazil nuts
- 1/2 cup dried wild blueberries, cranberries, etc…
- 1/4 cup melted raw honey, coconut nectar or yacon syrup (or reduce amount if you prefer it less sweet)
- 2 TBSP melted coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Place all nuts in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight or 8 hours. Discard water when done. (This step is optional but recommended!)
2. Place all nuts and coconut flakes in a food processor to chop or chop by hand. Be careful you don’t chop to fine or you will end up with powder instead of nuts. Add the dried blueberries to your bowl (after you’ve chopped the nuts).
3. In a separate bowl, blend honey, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour over chopped nuts and mix well until the nuts and fruit are well-coated.
4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out nut mixture. Bake in oven at 175 degrees for 12 hours, stirring mixture with a spoon every few hours. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator to ‘bake’ your granola if you prefer that to having the oven on all day.
5. Remove from the oven. The mixture will be somewhat moist and sticky. Transfer to a glass bowl or pan and allow to sit and dry. Store in a glass container.
6. Enjoy with coconut milk or on its own as a snack.
SPROUTING NUTS- WHY DO IT?
Sprouting allows you to appreciate the maximum nutrient potential of the nuts and seeds you are eating. To put it simply, raw nuts and seeds contain both enzymes and enzyme inhibitors. Roasting nuts and seeds kills both the enzymes and the inhibitors. Thankfully, sprouting nuts and seeds kills the enzyme inhibitors and actually activates the enzymes that help us to digest these gems.
When you sprout, you get the most from every nut and seed you eat!
Note: Nuts sprout on the inside, so most of the time you won’t see a tail form in the sprouting methods discussed here. Different nuts and seeds have different soaking/sprouting times. See below for a simple guide.
Large Seeds . These seeds should be removed from their shells before soaking. Soak for 4–8 hours, drain, and use immediately, or continue to rinse and drain for up to 3 days to develop a tail.
Long-Soakers. These nuts contain enzyme-inhibiting compounds in their skins that are eliminated or reduced during soaking. Soak for 6–12 hours and eat as-is, use in recipes (butters, milks, etc.), or dehydrate for crispy snacking nuts.
Medium-Soakers. Soak for 2–6 hours and eat as-is, use in recipes (butters, milks, etc.), or dehydrate for crispy snacking nuts.
Short-Soakers. Soak for 1–2 hours and eat as-is, use in recipes (butters, milks, etc.), or dehydrate for crispy snacking nuts.