The Ten Week Challenge Syllabus

I walked people through a ten week challenge, using the following syllabus.

Week 1 - Sugar-free
Week 2 - Whole grains
Week 3 - Wild-caught fish and grass-fed meats
Week 4 - Raw dairy
Week 5 - The microwave
Week 6 - Fats and oils
Week 7 - Cultured and fermented foods
Week 8 - Local and organic produce
Week 9 - Processed foods
Week 10 - Implementing lifestyle changes

Visit my Recipe Index over at Going Green in a Pink World.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Week 2 Bonus: Nuts

Soaking Nuts
Whenever I tell someone that I soak my nuts, they either think I am 1. a squirrel, 2. nuts myself, or 3. inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on my husband. Thankfully, the answer is D. none of the above. Basically, I *try* (key word) to soak all of the nuts and seeds that I will consume. It takes some foresight, yes, but I believe it's well worth it.

Why should I bother to soak my nuts?
If your rarely eat nuts and seeds, then perhaps you shouldn't. But for the rest of us, I ask that you just consider what I have to say. Ancient people traditionally soaked seeds in a salt water solution, and then left them to dry out in the sun. They didn't have the FDA or Oprah or Bon Apetit to tell them what was best for their bodies or their taste buds. Somehow, they understood that nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors. This is a good thing for the little goobers, as it protects them until they have what they need for growing. Otherwise, they may sprout prematurely and die. However, it's a bad thing for us, as it puts a strain on the digestive track, and makes the nutrients less available. In order to neutralize the inhibitors, we can copy the practice of ancient peoples' saline solutions. (The salt activates other enzymes that neutralize the inhibitors.)

Benefits of Soaking Nuts and Seeds
+Gluten breaks down, making them easier to digest.
+Enzyme inhibitors are neutralized, eliminating toxins.
+Phytic acid, which interferes with the absorption of vitamins, is reduced.
+Beneficial enzymes are increased, encouraging growth of B vitamins.

The Simple Process
I mainly eat pecans, walnuts, and cashews, though I have tried pine nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts. Buying in bulk is key to this process. It can be a hard nut to swallow (pun intended) when you throw down a $20 for a bag of nuts, but if you have a handful a day, they last forever and you will only have to go through the whole process a few times a year. The picture above is of my sprouted almonds.

I put the seeds or nuts into a large bowl filled with filtered water and a tablespoon or so of sea salt. I let them rest for about 12-24 hours (depends on the density of the nut); then I drain through a colander, rinse, and fill the bowl back up with water and salt. Sometimes I drain again, but usually not. There's no exact science about when to rinse. I do a final rinse, and lay the seeds out on my drying racks. Before I had a dehydrator, I put them in a low temp oven (150 degrees), or else I only sprout a small amount daily, so that they won't go rancid (mostly just with almonds). Remember, sprouting the nuts means they're living - and living food decomposes quickly, so store in a refrigerator!

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