>> Sunday, January 18
Like most vegans, and for that matter, gluten-free folks too, I find that seeds and nuts are a huge part of my diet now (I am oh so joyous that I am not allergic to any! phew!). I really crave them, especially almonds, hazelnuts, and pumpkin seeds, all of which are very healthy and a good way for people with alternative diets to get healthy fats and essential nutrients. Plus they just taste so goood, and nothing enhances gluten-free anything like nut-meal or milk. Oh, *muah* "delicioso!"
In cooking, I rarely have a problem digesting nuts, especially when they are ground or made into milks. But lately, when I have gone over to my boyfriend's house, his roommate has a beautiful bowl of mixed nuts from her travels in Syria, and the temptation to eat a handful (every time I walk in the room) is too much to resist. Oh they're good alright. that's what I keep telling myself when i wake up at 5 in the morning with a lance in my abdomen! "Shhhhh, my dear digestive tract, you wouldn't believe the flavors tongue up here is experiencing!" But my lower organs are just not happy with whole, raw nuts, or even roasted whole nuts.
I started looking around for a solution and found one that sounds surprisingly simple. so far I have only tried it with pumpkin seeds, but the result was a seed that was plump, juicy, and even better than the average dried pumpkin seed. And I didn't have a twinge of cramping or any bloating after eating (ahem, possibly too) many. Woah...really? Truly. But don't take my word for it, try it yourself-and try any seed or nut.
The science here is simple. Usually when we eat seeds and nuts they are dormant, perceiving in their little seedy senses that it's winter or some insanely dry spell that's not suitable for growth. So none of the living nutrients we find in plants are released. However, if you soak the seeds in good clean water, you have cleverly tricked them into thinking it's spring-the first rains. They begin to germinate, though it's not visible from the outside at all. The wonder of it is, they taste somehow better, though they retain the same flavor and crunch, look the same, and have gotten rid of most of the digestion-inhibiting factors on their own, because they are now focused on growing-which makes them all the more nutritious too.
Activated Seeds and Nuts
- some raw, whole, organic nuts
- some fresh (spring, filtered, etc.) water, room temperature
- a clean jar/bowl
- Just put your nuts in some water and soak for:
cashews/walnuts/pecans: 2-4 hours
brazils/macadamias: 6-12 hours
For seeds, the soak times are usually less, 2 hours or so.
If you want them salted or flavored, drain off the water and add whatever flavor you want while they're still wet. dry them on a tray in the oven at the very lowest temperature (you should only make it hot enough to imitate sunlight, so you don't kill the nutrients you've just accessed) until dry to the touch. Enjoy!
There are many websites with helpful tables of detailed soak times. At the moment, I can only find this on in my history. 12-24 hours for most hard nuts seems fine. soft nuts like cashews and walnuts, about 4. For seeds, use your judgement and a little less time.
Vegan and Vegetarian Health guide: Nuts and Seeds