Sunday, February 26, 2012


What a great addition to a healthy diet....if you are not allergic to them.  I started getting allergic symptoms to walnuts in my 20's, and as the years went by, it seemed like I became allergic to a couple new foods each year until the list was a mile long.

A few years ago I was introduced to Sally Fallon's (now Morrell) and fantastic book, Nourishing Traditions, and my food life was deliciously changed forever.  Since then, I've spent many hours on this scholarly site.  I can't remember now where I learned this, but I was cautiously excited to know that maybe, possibly, hopefully, I didn't have a full-blown allergy to nuts but rather was sensitive to the phytates found in the outer coating of the seed.  I bought some raw almonds and put them in the fridge to attempt phytate neutralization through soaking and then dehydrating to make the nuts palatable again.

Those almonds are still in my second fridge.  I think they've been there 3 years.  I was too afraid to try it.

Recently, however, I learned that there is a safe way to test for allergies at home, through the Coca Pulse Test.  There are several ways to approach this and I won't outline them here.  Suffice it to say I recently tested myself with properly prepared (soaked and dried) raw almonds and pecans and found that I was not allergic to almonds but I am allergic to pecans.

I asked the hubster to pick up some raw nuts on his way home from work.  Trader Joe's carries a number of different raw nuts and seeds.  These should not be eaten in any quantities straight from the package as the phytates can cause irritation to the digestive tract and will also block absorption of important nutrients.  Fortunately, proper preparation is extremely simple.
First, add some good water (non-chorinated or filtered) to a 2 quart jar or a bowl.  Add a tablespoon or two of a good salt (Redmond, Celtic, Himalayan, etc) and mix it up a bit.  Add a pound of raw nuts or seeds, and top up with enough water to almost fill the jar.  The nuts/seeds will expand quite a bit.  Set the jar on the counter for at least 7 hours.  I leave them for 24 hours just to be safe.
Strain them in a colander and rinse well.  Spread them on a baking sheet and dry in a 150 F oven for 12-24 hours, stirring on occasion if you can.  I sprinkle mine with more salt while they are still wet, once they are on the trays to dry.  You can also use a dehydrator if you have one.
These were the freshest and most delicious sunflower seeds I have ever eaten! 
What a delight to be able to eat almonds again!
I got the mixed nuts for the hubby, and also so I could try some different nuts.  I'm really, really hoping I can tolerate the hazelnuts and the Brazil nuts, as these two are among my favorites.  My hopes are not high for walnuts, since that was my first big reaction and I ate them for a long time, not recognizing the early signs of allergy.  Chances are high that I have antibodies for them....especially since I did not tolerate the pecan, and I never liked pecans so rarely ate them, yet still have the allergy.  We do have black walnut trees and a very large butternut tree on our property, so I'll test those this would be beyond fantastic if I could use some of the bounty that only serves to increase the squirrel population here.

One of the best things about this new venture is the price.  These raw nuts and seeds are significantly cheaper...and of much higher quality.....than the seeds and nuts we've been buying at the discount grocery store.  Ya can't beat that! 

Next:  I need to get my hands on a whole coconut so I can test myself on that, too.

What is your favorite nut?


  1. I have your problem too, and the added problem of not having teeth to chew them. (Mine are in a jar, as they never fit properly from the get-go, and no $ for another set.) I cannot do peanuts, although they are not a nut, at all, even soaked.

    I soaked my very first tiny crop of filberts last fall, a whopping 15 nuts! Now I just need a really good grinder to make flours out of soaked almonds and filberts so I can at least have the taste. (The blanched almond flour I can buy doesn't cut enough of the phytates.)

  2. How about making some hazelnut butter? Yum!

    I tried roasting some of these nuts, and the verdict is: Almonds roasted on a cast iron pan over a low flame, with a bit of butter added near the end (so it doesn't burn) are amazing! As are mixed nuts, according to the hubster

    Sunflower seeds roasted the same way but in a bit of bacon grease (maybe 1/8 tsp for a cup of seeds is plenty, otherwise they will be greasy) were TO DIE FOR!!! So good!

  3. Wow, so interesting. Luckily, I am not allergic to nuts. I did just recently buy Sally Fallon's book and just started getting into it ... excited to check out the link to The Weston A Price Foundation as well, thanks!

  4. There is so much great info on that site. Fortunately, many people who love to type are eating this way and posting their recipes online....put "NT" or "Nourishing Traditions" in your search for a recipe and you'll see what I mean!