Here’s the scoop! I LOVE eating RAW nuts and seeds. They’re my salvation when I get a little hungry in between meals and they keep me going for hours. I’ve always read about the benefits of soaking and dehydrating nuts and seeds, but never really thought I had to do it. Until now . . .
Two thousand thirteen and the first half of 2014 have been particularly stressful for me. Not going into details but I thought the stress that I was handling so well – apparently I was not. I felt as if I was getting an ulcer. Something was not right. Due to stress, frustration and exhaustion I realized that I did not pay attention to my diet and I found myself eating more of the foods that cause inflammation in my gut and joints. I still ate mostly RAW, but I was also eating pasta and rice!!! I saw weight come back on and I was experiencing bloating, constant heartburn, reflux and I had absolutely NO energy. As the stress started to subside – I promised myself to get back to my RAW 80%/20% way of life. However, now I found that the nuts and seeds that I loved so much were giving me heartburn. I had so much acid in my stomach that even water gave me a heartburn. I researched my symptoms and found out is that I have something called Dyspepsia – acid in the gut. Don’t worry – all has been confirmed with an endoscopy!
How I was going to deal with this is up to me. I did not want to continually take acid reducing meds. What better way to get healthy to alleviate all foods that cause inflammation in me and to resume my 80%/20% way of life! However, this time I found that nuts and seeds were giving me a heartburn.
I remembered about soaking and dehydrating nuts and seeds and thought it was worth a try! I remembered that one of my favorite RAW Foods Blogger Amie-Sue Oldfather from Nouveau RAW uses soaked and dehydrated ingredients in all of her recipes and writes in depth about soaking and dehydrating (great tutorials). Amie-Sue is one of the best RAW Food Chefs around. Her site is AMAZING. Her step by step techniques are priceless! I remembered that she posted the actual “soaking” times for nuts and seeds and it is my “go-to” bible for me. She also explains in detail why one should soak nuts and seeds. Please go on Nouveau RAW for directions on soaking and the correct time to soak each nut or seed.
In a nutshell (no pun intended — okay — pun intended!!) RAW nuts and seeds have phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that encase the nuts and seeds and remain dormant until soaked in water. This way — they won’t start to germinate until they have the proper conditions including rain and sunshine. Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors can be very hard to digest for some people – apparently me being one of them. Notice in the photos above how the water turns cloudy and brown. That’s everything that the nuts and seeds are “shedding”. It is very important to completely rinse them off when you’re done soaking.
Below is Amie-Sue’s break-down on the benefits of soaking nuts and seeds.
1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
2. To remove or reduce tannins.
3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
6. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
7. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
8. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
9. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.
I dehydrate my nuts and seeds at 115°. I find that it can definitely take 24 hours or longer for me to get my desired result. Many people will dehydrate at a higher temperature. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate in your oven at the lowest temperature.
When they are done — they are crunchy, sweet and delicious! I put them into jars and store them in the fridge!
I make my own trail mix by combining different nuts and seeds. I also started dehydrating my own cherries and grapes (to make raisins . . . that will be another post) and make a truly healthy and delicious trail mix with no sulfur dioxide and other added chemicals!! I carry snack bags of trail mix with me wherever I go so I’m never caught off-guard when I get hungry. I also make huge bags of trail mix to have on hand when I travel for the same reason.
Soaking and dehydrating fruits, nuts and seeds can seem daunting. Once I got the hang of it I wanted to do more and more. I now have fresh herbs that I will be dehydrating as well. Remember — start small — make your mistakes — don’t rush dehydrating — be patient. But most important – the best thing to remember is . . .