|Picture courtesy of Pete Evans|
So, it’s a bit of a hot topic around the traps of late, who knew nut soaking could elicit such controversy! In case you missed it, chef and TV presenter Pete Evans was interviewed about his diet for a newspaper column, and the ongoing public response has been incredibly surprising to me. Have a look below at the actual article.
The resulting Twitter onslaught included over 4000 comments about activated almonds, and how ridiculous and expensive they are. This column is something that appears each week in the paper, with a different person interviewed each week. It is not Pete dictating what others should eat, it is simply him sharing what he likes to eat. I found myself in conversations about this during the week, with others saying “…sure, he can eat what he wants, but he doesn’t have to be such a bourgeois wanker about it.” I find this so interesting (and frustrating). Yes, activated nuts from the health food shop are more expensive, but activating them at home is extremely easy, and no more expensive than normal almonds. Score! If Pete chooses to eat food that is easier on his digestive system and higher in nutrient value than the conventional version, good on him. This is not to say that you have to go through this process to eat a nut. But if he chooses to – great!
Activated nuts are simply nuts that have been soaked and dehydrated. The soaking breaks down phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that can bind the the precious minerals (especially calcium, magnesium and zinc) found in nuts, making them less available for the body to digest. In nature, these enzymes are there inside the nut to prevent its growth until it has all the right conditions – water, sunlight, fresh air, etc. So essentially, by eating the nuts unsoaked, we are also eating these enzyme inhibitors and inhibiting our own process of digestion and absorption. Soaking causes the nuts start to germinate or sprout, releasing the enzyme inhibitors, and majorly increasing the nutritional value. The dehydrating gives them back their crunch!
This is something that traditional cultures did and still do, and those with less than fabulous digestive systems will benefit from this process in particular.
Nuts and seeds are an amazing source of unsaturated fat for our bodies, but it’s really important to buy the freshest nuts that you can. They are prone to rancidity, and if your nuts smell at all bitter, this is not a good sign. But them fresh, and store them in the fridge to minimise this problem.
So why not make up a batch of activated nuts today and see what all the fuss is about! Here’s what to do.
2 cups almonds (or nuts of your choice)
water to cover
1 tsp sea salt
Place the nuts, water and salt in a bowl and leave to soak overnight. If you are using cashews or macadamias, you will only need to soak them for about 4-6 hours.
Rinse off the nuts and spread out onto a baking tray and pop into the oven on the lowest possible temperature for 12-24 hours. Or leave them out in the sun old school style. Or obviously a dehydrator would be perfect if you have one. That’s it! It’s a long one, but a simple one!
Let your imagination run wild and add some crazy spices to your nuts before or after you put them in the oven. Here are some ideas:
- curry powder
- sea salt and dulse flakes
- chilli powder and lime juice
- the classic tamari
- I’m working on a cacao and coconut situation as we speak!
Let me know if you come up with some other fabulous ideas.
Much joy and deliciousness. x