Since I have gotten my juicer I have started making my own nut milks. Of course you don’t need a fancy juicer to make your own nut milks but you at least need a fancy blender. I drink a Vega One shake pretty much every morning and I always mix it with almond milk. Packaged almond milk, while it is convenient contains added ingredients that you just don’t need such as thickener and stabilizers. Not to mention it is pasteurized so all the beneficial enzymes are gone. By making my own milks I can ensure that my milk is still raw which is awesome. But this post isn’t about making your own nut milks, or why the ingredients in store bought milks aren’t good for you thats for another day. This post is about
soaking your nuts…
I’m sure by now everyone knows that raw nuts are the best for you, they contain live enzymes that are great for your body and are a great source of minerals, protein, and healthy fats. But what isn’t so great for us is something that nature set up for these nuts survival. Raw nuts contain enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.
So why don’t we want to eat these? Phylates in nuts (as well as grains!) can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract and make it impossible for them to be absorbed which can lead to mineral deficiencies as well as bone loss and can also wreak havoc on our digestive system. Enzyme inhibitors keep the enzymes in the nuts basically inactive until germination (which we are mimicking by soaking). Tannins also inhibit digestion by binding to the proteins and interfere with the absorption. Goitrogens interfere with iron intake and can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and can result in an enlarged thyroid. Sure all these facts make raw nuts sound scary but we can get rid of all these issues just by soaking them.
Soaking nuts also increases the amounts of vitamins, especially the B vitamins that are so important especially to vegetarians. It makes the digestion easier, prevents mineral deficiencies and helps neutralize toxins in the colon. Even better soaking nuts like walnuts can take away some of the bitterness and I think it makes them taste sweeter.
But you are probably wondering, do you just eat them wet? Sure, you can… but other people like to dry them in a dehydrator or in the oven at the below 150 degrees. I have to admit I don’t really snack on nuts much so I don’t dry them I just use them soaked making either nut butter or nut milks. I also don’t want to own another appliance, the space in my kitchen is so limited and all these appliances are getting crazy and I don’t trust my oven to stay low enough, but in the summer months you can leave them in the sun with a cloth over them to dry, though it will take longer.
I typically soak my nuts overnight, its just easier for me to put them in the jars before i go to bed and then when I get home from work I take them out. But here is a great chart that tells you how long you should soak nuts, grains, seeds, and beans! So give it a shot, give your body a chance to absorb all those great nutrients and see how much better you feel!