Going Nuts With Soaking and Enzymes!
Posted on February 20, 2015
Have I gone nuts?!!! Well, you might think so by looking at of my dried variety collection here. It’s time for Nut Soaking & The Power of Enzymes 101, folks.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, it is highly beneficial to soak your nuts, seeds, and grains for better digestion and nutrient absorption. Though you will want to use an acidic medium for soaking seeds and grains, such as a good-quality apple cider vinegar to eliminate some of the naturally occuring phytic acid, the nut prepartion is a bit different. According to the not-for-profit research group, the Weston A. Price Association, nuts do not contain as much phytic acid as seeds and grains. The danger of phytic acid is that it can block the absoption of minerals in your body by binding to them. You have probably heard that many/most Americans are mineral deficient and that our soil is definitely depleted in minerals, due to various modern agricultural practices. Hence, our plant foods grown in these depleted soil are also mineral deficient. As a natural result, our bodies are mineral deficient, if we do not take precautions and/or supplement with liquid minerals, or by adding a small amount of Himalayan salt or Redmond’s sea salt to your drinking water.
Although the content of phytic acid is not the major concern with nuts, they do contain high levels of enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors are substances that alter the catalytic action of the enzyme. If you know anything about enzymes, you will remember that they are vital to digestion, and they are present in all living foods and absent from those that are cooked or essentially devitalized. I would like the nuts that I consume to be alive and full of bio-available enzymes to help with the digestion of the protein that they contain. Digestive enzymes decline naturally as we age, especially if we are accustomed to eating a majority of foods that have been heated. Several organs or parts of the body secrete enzymes for a variety of purposes: the mouth, the stomach, the pancreas, and even the small intestine. Enzymes play many very important roles in the human body. The last thing that I want to do is to reduce the enzymatic activity by neglecting this simple procedure.
Digestive and Proteolytic Enzymes
If you find that you have problems with your digestive system, it could be wise to consider supplementing with some quality digestive enzymes (and this is not at all uncommon, especially as we age). Not to be confused with digestive enzymes that are taken with meals, proteolytic or systemic enzymes help to reverse inflammation and to do other important clean-up and healing working with the body, when taken away from meals. Here are some good reasons to take proteolytic/systemic enzymes.
Systemic Enzymes may help to:
- Control inflammation throughout the body, including your joints
- Repair and rebuild the cardiovascular system
- Optimize blood flow
- Prevent and dissolve blood clots
- Dissolve plaque in your arteries and dental plaque in your mouth
- Clean up your immune system
- Minimize the impact of allergies
- Improve the ability to exercise and speed up recovery times
Moving on to the nuts…. What you will need in order to soak a batch of nuts is some good sea salt to add to your water and the nuts of your choice, along with a glass container of an appropriate size. I typically use canning jars of various sizes. The salt helps to activate enzymes that do their job to de-activate the enzyme inhibitors. I hope that didn’t confuse you. According to the Weston A Price Association, this “method imitates the way the native peoples in Central America treated their nuts and seeds–by soaking them in seawater and then dehydrating them.”
In a previous post, I included the handy and attractive chart below that indicates the appropriate time for soaking specific nuts, seeds, and grains. Many of them require 8 hours or overnight, but the times may vary, so always check before soaking.
Following the soaking process, you will drain off the soak water and rinse the nuts thoroughly. You might want to salt and/or season the nuts, if you so desire. Now you are ready for the dehydration process. You can use a variety of commercial dehydrators, and many like the best-selling Excalibur Dehydrator, but there are other less-expensive options available, too. I am just inventive enough to have created my own dehydrator so that I could dry much larger quantities of foods at one time. I have gotten much use out of this special dehydrator, and I am thankful to have it available. Use whatever works for you and your purposes.
Once the nuts are dried, they can be stored for an extended period of time and enjoyed at your leisure. I like to put them into glass storage containers or bags and keep them in the freezer. You can look up storage times for your variety of nuts and methods of storage. It’s great to have a stash of these protein-rich, tasty treats around at all times. Once the work is done, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
One last comment that is very noteworthy about purchasing your nuts for consumption. Many nuts that are labeled “raw,” are they certainly not. As a matter of fact, a few years ago the USDA required a pasteurization process for almonds. Unfortunately, these “cooked” almonds are still allowed to be labeled as raw. Don’t be fooled, and definitely do your research before purchasing almonds, if having raw nuts is important to you. If you have intentions of sprouting any nuts or seeds, they must be fully intact (not de-hulled) and fully alive (raw). Instead of the “raw” label on nuts, look for the word “unpasteurized.” You can find some truly raw, unpasteurized nuts online.
Ok, just one more interesting fact. Did you know that cashews are NOT actually nuts at all? I didn’t. I heard them referred to endearingly as the “dingle-dangle” of a fruit. I thought, “Really?” So, I looked it up, and indeed this is true. And though you will often see the “raw” cashew label at the grocery store, they are never raw and are not sproutable. There is a roasting process that must take place in order to remove the toxic green outer coating of cashews, and this involves heat.
So, do your homework, eat responsibly, and enjoy your soaked and dried nuts! And, finally, don’t forget or neglect the importance of your enzymes. Keep them intact in your foods as much as possible, and consider supplementation if your digestive enzymes are depleted, whenever you eat cooked foods or very complex meals, or if you need any of the general healing qualities provided by the proteolytic/systemic enzymes mentioned above.
And above all else, smile, and enjoy your healthy food and your health-promoting lifestyle!