Sunday, November 04, 2007

Soak Your Nuts: Healthier Protein with Sprouted Seeds

I wrote this article a while back as an assignment for a whole foods supplier. Only they never paid me, or got back to me, or published it, and I think they never actually launched the web portal I was writing for. So I'm publishing it here for the benefit of you my dear readers, and because I don't want them to publish it any more after being so unprofessional. I have of course edited out all references to said company and their products for obvious reasons. I actually tried this with almonds they were really good, I liked the texture. so here you go


Soak Your Nuts: Healthier Protein with Sprouted Seeds

Most everyone knows that nuts are good for you. They are an excellent protein alternative for those who are trying to eat less meat and they are packed full of nutrients and heart healthy monounsaturated fats that our bodies need. One of nature’s power foods, certain varieties of raw nuts are high in vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc, to name just a few. Nuts are also packed with protein and extremely portable. They are a staple energy food that humans have relied on for thousands of years. So the next time you are looking to increase the nutrient content of your breakfast, snack food, salad, health drink or even dinner, raw nuts should be one of the first things you think of. But how can you know if you are getting all of the touted benefits of raw nuts from what you may find available on your grocery store shelves? Did you know that it’s possible to make this natural super food even better?

Sadly most of the “raw” nuts sold in North American stores are far from fresh, and far from raw. A standard practice in the shelling of Brazil nuts for example is to soak them in water for 1-2 days and then boil them for 5 minutes to soften the shell which makes machine or hand cracking easier. The heat from the boiling kills the nut and by the time it has reached grocery store shelves it is not only no longer alive and no longer raw, it can be full of rancid oils as well, which are toxic for your body.

Raw nuts are as much a living food as salad greens or sprouts. Nuts are seeds. The whole food goodness that makes them such a wonderful addition to your diet is because of their properties as viable seed. For a seed, or nut, to be viable it must, given the proper conditions, be able to sprout and grow into another plant. To find nuts that are fresh and alive, search for nuts that are advertised for sprouting, or purchase local varieties, the kind sold in small batches at farmer’s markets. That way you can ask how the nuts are processed. I once bought 3 pounds of organic in the shell walnuts for $5 at a stone soup festival in the park. Failing that, buy nuts in the shell, and shell them while you watch TV at night, or while you’re talking on the phone.

Sprouting is a mini miracle when it comes to boosting the health benefits of seeds, nuts and grain. When a seed is soaked and begins to sprout it wakes up, in a manner of speaking, and releases the nutrients that are locked inside. Dormant seeds have in them something called enzyme inhibitors, which stop enzyme reactions. This keeps them from going bad longer, or sprouting in unfavorable conditions, but it also makes them difficult to digest. Once a seed is sprouted the enzyme inhibitors are gone and the nutrients are readily available as well as the beneficial enzymes. Sprouted seeds also increase in protein while decreasing in carbohydrates as the seed uses the carbohydrate energy stored inside to grow. Soaking also breaks down the glutens and hard to digest proteins into smaller and easier to digest components. Sprouted nuts become even more delicious and good for you than raw nuts. Sprouted peanuts are especially addictive.

Sprouting is a very simple process and has such great health benefits that it is worth trying.

Here is a simple sprouting method that can be done with readily available items from your own kitchen.

Equipment: Begin with a glass jar and a clean tea towel or cheesecloth. It’s a good idea to sterilize these first in boiling water with a bit of food safe hydrogen peroxide, or grape fruit seed extract.

Step 1) Rinse and Soak Place nuts in the jar and fill it with water. Only use enough nuts to fill about 1/3 of the jar. Sprouts need room to grow. Rinse the nuts two or three times and drain with a colander. Once the nuts are rinsed fill the remainder of the jar with cool clean water. Tie the tea towel or cheesecloth over the top of the jar with an elastic band, or piece of string, or a canning jar ring. Keep the jar out of direct sunlight and allow the nuts to soak. Most nuts should soak for 4-12 hours before draining. Do not soak them for too long or they will rot instead of sprout

Step 2) Drain After 12 hours drain the water. You can prop the jar at an angle upside down to allow all of the water to drain completely. The towel or cheesecloth will hold your sprouts inside. Once the nuts have soaked they are already awake and free of enzyme inhibitors. You can eat them now, or you can allow them to sprout longer. You should taste your sprouts every time you rinse them so you know what way you like them.

Step 3) Rinse If you choose to let them sprout longer, rinse and drain every 8 hours or so. Unlike some types of seeds, sprouted nuts will not develop a long shoot. They swell rather than sprout and only produce a little bulge at one end rather than a root.

Sprouted nuts can be eaten all by themselves as a snack food, or they can be added to salads, stir fried, and included in many other recipes.


Specific information on sprouting nuts was gleaned from The Sprout People article Sprouting 101 (http://www.sproutpeople.com/grow/sprouting.html) and from Thomas E. Billings’ article Sprouting: A Brief Overview (http://www.living-foods.com/articles/sprouting.html)

Information on Brazil nut processing is from Thomas E. Billings’ excellent article entitled WHAT A RAW-FOODER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT NUTS (http://www.living-foods.com/articles/nuts.html)

4 comments:

Kristen's Raw said...

Such a thorough posting :) Great information. I'm a big fan of soaking nuts and seeds.

Cheers!
Kristen's Raw

Garry said...

Excellent article! Thanks for sharing it.

Elizabeth Jarrard said...

Great POST!!! a lot of great information! thank you!

Sonny said...

I think you've got it mixed up. The sprout will decrease in protein and increase in carbohydrate as it continues to grow. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I've been hearing.

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