The next instalment in our healthy living blog series, written by (self-confessed ‘health nut’) Lana Love, owner of Ibiza’s favourite healthy cafe, Passion Cafe.
OK, I know what you’re thinking! But I hate to disappoint you… this is not that kind of story! Here at Passion, we offer a superfood breakfast bowl topped with activated nuts, so one of my favourite questions to be asked is when the boys confusingly query what this means! To which my answer is simply: before eating your nuts, you have to activate them first!
It is actually quite simple. Activating only means soaking them in water for hours before eating, as nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors. Soaking them makes them much more digestible, by removing those inhibitors that naturally keep them from spoiling.
It may sound nuts, but soaking nuts and seeds enhances the nutrients and minerals we absorb from them. (I always joke that soaking in a hot tub makes my dear mother more digestible too, as she can have her moments sometimes that can be hard on my digestion! Bless!)
Nuts and seeds are a fantastic resource of unsaturated fats and because they are a more traditional protein source, they actually reduce saturated fat and calories in the body for a well-balanced diet. They are full of vitamins, minerals, good fats, protein and fibre.
Eaten in moderation (and not like you are squirrel stocking up for winter), nuts and seeds are really healthy, best eaten unsalted and raw. A handful or two per day is more or less all you need to get the health benefits. At times, people eating a predominately raw food diet can overdo it on nuts, so if you are on that kind of diet or embarking on a raw food diet or detox, be sure to go easy on the nuts.
Keep your raw nuts in the fridge or freezer, especially macadamias. Have them in desserts, sprinkled over salads, in cereals, stir-fries or as a great healthy snack. I love adding grounded almonds or walnuts to my raw milk or soya milk-based smoothies. You get the creamiest, super satisfying liquid dessert that doesn’t clog up your arteries.
Another amazing thing to do with nuts is to make your own nut milk. I love my vanilla almond milk made from almonds soaked overnight, water and vanilla pods sweetened with dates. Yummy!
Many people aren’t tolerant to all nuts equally, so it’s a good idea to check if some don’t agree with you. I was rather disappointed recently when I found out that because of my blood type, I should avoid sesame, hazelnuts and cashews like I should avoid ex-boyfriends!
When soaking your nuts, only use as much as you think you are going to eat or as much as you need for a certain recipe. Once soaked, nuts and seeds don’t keep well and can go mouldy in just a few days. Almonds and sesame seeds need to be soaked the longest, ideally up to 12 hours, Cashews and sunflower seeds need only couple of hours and around four hours is enough for walnuts. The more dense the nut, longer it needs soaking.
A gluten and dairy intolerant customer came into Passion just the other day, in desperate need of a dessert, but said a fruit salad just wouldn’t do! So I blended some activated almonds with raw cacao, agave syrup, peanut butter and dash of water in my high-speed blender and ended up with yummiest nutty peanut chocolate cream. I chopped some banana on the top, sprinkled it with hemp seeds and voila! A super nutritious superfood dessert was created in an instant!
I have admit, one of my virtues is making food, desserts or drinks out of whatever I am left with or presented with! I might be the ideal person to be stuck with on a desert island! The beauty of raw, unprocessed, basic ingredients like nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables is that with creating dishes from those foods you cannot go wrong in the taste department and the nutrition you get out of those foods is an amazing story itself!
So, venga vamos! Get your nuts swimming!