Nutrition Nook – Going Nuts For Nuts (and a Nut Recipe) 

Janet Thompson

By Janet Thompson 

“My mom always has her bag of nuts with her!” 

My daughter, Kim, made the above comment when my daughter-in-law asked what she should prepare for hubby and me when we were coming to visit since she knew we try to eat healthy, raw, and organic. Kim was saying: Don’t worry about it. If my mom can’t find enough to eat, she’ll snack on her nut concoction. 

I’ve always enjoyed a variety of nuts since I was a kid. I remember sitting with my mom shelling walnuts for hours from big grocery bags we would fill up from the walnut orchards that used to be so prevalent in Southern California. After the harvest, they let the public come through and glean walnuts. Great memories and great walnuts! My heart breaks as I watch so many of these walnut orchards destroyed to build new houses. I want to scream, “Don’t you know how good those walnuts are for you and how long it took for those trees to grow?” But I don’t think anyone would listen to me. 

We always had walnuts in the house. We baked with walnuts and loved just snacking on them. I can remember eating as many as I shelled! 

Then as I grew older and was always watching my weight, I started hearing how high in calories nuts were and I treated them like a delicacy…only adding to banana nut bread or an occasional crumb topping or Waldorf salad (apples and walnuts). But with time, there was a trend to put nuts in salads and I was all over that. How had we missed all those years tasting how delicious walnuts or pecans are in a salad with strawberries or pears or any array of fruit? Oh and that was something new too. Salads didn’t just need to be veggies and tomatoes – fresh fruits of all kinds are fabulous in a green salad topped with nuts and raspberry salad dressing. A real treat. 

 

Cancer Changed Everything 

So over the years, I enjoyed nuts sparingly and guiltily. All that changed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and began researching the best foods for fighting cancer. At the top of the list were nuts! Not just any kind of nuts though: organic and raw were the best because the high temperatures used in roasting nuts can destroy many of the good nutrients and the pesticides sprayed on nonorganic nuts negated much of their nutritional value. 

Nuts are little gifts from God, packed with powerful nutrients for not only fighting cancer, but also heart disease, high cholesterol, endocrine and inflammatory problems…the list is endless. Yes, they have calories, but they are such a concentrated source of nutrition, that you don’t have to eat many to gain the benefits. Nuts are good calories. Calories you want to include in your diet while you eliminate wasted calories. 

I make my own “trail mix” with a variety of organic, raw, unsalted nuts, and if possible, sprouted. I always start with cashews, walnuts, and pecans, and then I might add pistachios, shelled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, macadamias, Brazil nuts, or hazelnuts. Sometimes I add dried unsulphured fruit, but usually, it’s just a mixture of nuts, which I take with me everywhere and keep on my desk in my office while I’m writing. 

Remember that raw nuts are unprocessed so keep any extras in the refrigerator or freezer. I like to buy raw, organic nuts in bulk and freeze them. Then I’ll make a big batch of my “trail mix” combining a variety of nuts and portion into smaller bags that I keep in the refrigerator and take out one bag at a time to enjoy. 

Yes, if you walked into my office today, you would see my bag of nuts…in fact I just had a handful while I was writing this article. If you looked in my travel bag, yep there would be a bag of nuts. When hubby and I go to town for the day, you guessed it, I have my bag of nuts if I want a snack while we’re shopping or watching kids’ soccer games or hanging out with the family. 

It doesn’t take many of these powerhouse gifts from God, so a handful or two will do you nicely and probably quench your appetite so you don’t eat so much at the next meal. Think how much better this is for you than a bag of chips or a candy bar or even popcorn. Popcorn doesn’t have the nutrients of nuts, but you can add nuts to your popcorn and that’s yummy too. 

Check Out These Websites 

I’ve researched a couple of websites I think you will enjoy. The first one, Why You Should Go Nuts for Nuts (https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition/0406/why-you-should-go-nuts-for-nuts) is one I really like. You’ll see pictures of various nuts with a summary of health benefits and a nutritional breakdown of each featured nut. 

Here’s a great article about walnuts: 10 Surprising Facts About Walnuts (10 Facts About Walnuts – Facts.net). 

Tips for Going Nuts 

If you find nuts hard to chew, try grinding or chopping them and adding to your recipes. 

Add nuts to your salads, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, granola, cereal, vegetables…the possibilities are limitless. 

If you can’t go raw nuts, Dr. Oz says in his book, You: On a Diet, that it’s okay to cook them at 275 degrees for 9-12 minutes to roast without damaging the good oils and nutrients. 

If raw organic is too expensive, I would opt for at least raw because roasting damages most of the nutrients. You might wash them off and then do a light roasting. 

If you don’t like a particular nut, no problem. There are so many others to choose from. 

Some people like to make their own almond milk (wellnessmama.com/recipes/homemade-almond-milk). Yummy! 

 

Here’s an easy, healthy nut recipe you can modify to include whatever nuts you prefer or have on hand. 

Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters 

1 cup macadamia nuts 

1 cup pecan or walnut halves 

½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) 

½ cup pistachios 

1 cup dark chocolate chips (or substitute sugar-free chocolate chips) 

1½ Tbsp. coconut oil 

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling 

 

Directions 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix nuts in a bowl. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together in the microwave on reheat or low just until melted. Stir periodically, being careful not to overcook or burn. Pour the melted mixture over the nuts and stir to combine. Portion about 2 Tablespoons each into mounds on the cookie sheet, pressing the mixture together with your fingers. Makes 15 or more if you portion them smaller. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour. Store clusters in the freezer or refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before eating. These are delicious! 

 

Janet Thompson, award-winning Christian speaker, freelance author, and author of 20 books, is also the founder, director, and God’s servant of Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and About His Work Ministries. Her passion and focus is mentoring the next generation. Her tag line is, “Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.” She has a BS in Food Administration, MBA, and Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. Check out her books and sign up for her free weekly online blog and monthly newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com. Join her on www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker, LinkedIn, Pinterest, X, and Instagram. 

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