Am I Nuts? (Don’t answer that!)
By Michelle Sala, Certified Integrative Health Coach
Do you find yourself eating a lot of nuts because they are considered a healthy snack or addition to recipes? Those who follow a Paleo, vegan or vegetarian diet tend to eat a lot of nuts because of their healthy fats and protein content. However, if nuts are a big part of your diet, you should be soaking your nuts. What, did I just say? Yep, you heard me. Nuts, seeds and grains contain enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid which protects the plant, but binds or chelates with key nutrients like zinc, manganese, phosphorous, iron and other minerals which isn’t great for humans.
I typically soak raw walnuts, almonds, and pecans in purified water with some salt. If I’m doing 1 cup of nuts then I cover the nuts with 2 cups or so of water. Soaking time varies depending on how hard the nuts are. Almonds need about 6-12 hours, while walnuts and pecans need 4-5 hours. Certain nuts like Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and pistachio nuts, do not need soaking.
After soaking my nuts I then use a food dehydrator which gives them a light, crispy crunch.
This is my adjustable temperature dehydrator. I use the 109° setting because the nuts are still considered raw and active. The live enzymes stay intact and make the nuts more nutritious. I believe this dehydrator cost around $30 on sale. You can get some really fancy ones that cost several hundred of dollars with rectangle trays which are great for making your own wraps and raw crackers, crusts, etc. For nuts, dried fruits and vegetables, fruit rollups, and simple things, an inexpensive dehydrator is all that you need.
It is not necessary to dehydrate soaked nuts if you are going to make nut milks right away or add to pestos. You can keep soaked nuts in the refrigerater for up to a week, but they will get moldy if you don’t use them fast enough. Dehydrated nuts will last for several weeks.
Soaked and dehydrated nuts are easier to digest and you’ll prefer the taste once you get accustomed to preparing them like this. Oh, and you should soak brown rice, steel cut oats, and other grains, as well, for several hours before you cook them for the same reasons. Don’t soak white rice; It will turn to mush.
Roasting nuts also eliminates some of the phytic acid, but the nuts are not longer consider raw and active.
For more detailed information, here is an excellent article by Wellness Mamma.