There are two ways to think about raw food nuts – it can mean how to use nuts in a raw food diet, or it could mean people who are crazy about raw food! We’ll be looking at the first interpretation in this article, but it will help if you’re a little ‘nuts’ about raw food too!
When you are switching to raw food nuts can be your best friend. The raw diet tends to be a low calorie diet and nuts, being higher in calories than many raw foods, can help us feel satisfied. In addition, they come packed with healthy fatty acids and they contain a lot of essential minerals that you may not find in other raw foods.
For example, Brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that should be found in the soil and therefore ought to occur naturally in most of the vegetable foods that we eat. However, some areas are much richer in selenium than others, and the amount in our soil has been greatly reduced by farming, so many people need supplements these days. One or two Brazil nuts a day can provide the selenium that the average body needs.
Most raw kitchens are well stocked with nuts. Buy large when you can to save money, but be sure they are truly raw if you want a 100% raw food diet. It is much easier to stick to a raw food diet if you have plenty of variety, as well as being better for your health. So consider stocking up on all of the types of raw food nuts that you can find raw.
Be aware that when nut packaging says ‘raw’, it may only mean ‘unroasted’. It does not necessarily mean that the nuts have never been heated above 115 degrees F. Here is some guidance on which nuts are really raw and which are not:
1. Raw food nuts and seeds that are usually raw in regular stores:
– Unroasted filberts/hazelnuts
– Most walnuts (check with the supplier whether steam is used for shelling)
– Unroasted almonds in their skins (except those from California – Californian almonds are pasteurized, even if still in the shell)
– Most unroasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax, sesame, pinoli/pine nut)
2. Nuts that you should buy in the shell, because they are boiled during commercial shelling:
– Brazil nuts
– Macadamia nuts
3. Nuts that are not raw in regular grocery stores but can be bought raw from some health food stores and/or specialist raw food suppliers:
– Cashews (can be poisonous if not shelled correctly)
– Nut butters
4. Nuts that you will probably never find raw unless you take them straight from the tree:
It’s easy to add nuts to your raw diet. Throw a handful of whole nuts into your salad, end a fruit meal with some nuts to make you feel more satisfied for longer, or grind them up to make pates and raw food nuts sauces.
Even if you think of yourself as a person who doesn’t like nuts, you will probably find that this changes when you switch to a raw diet. As long as you are not allergic, your tastes will change so that you are much more appreciative of whole raw foods including members of the nut family.
Don’t be scared of the calories in raw food nuts, even if you are trying to lose weight. If you are following a 100% raw diet you almost certainly will lose weight without being concerned about calories.
Of course, it would not be good for your health to eat a whole jar of raw almond butter every day – though you may be tempted! So if you find you have a tendency to sit down with the jar and a spoon, switch to whole nuts and chew them slowly.
If you are overweight, the best way to snack on nuts is to choose varieties that you have to shell by hand. You’ll eat less this way, you’ll be more in touch with your feelings of hunger or fullness, and you will be more likely to be choosing raw food nuts that your body really wants.