Most nuts come from the seeds or dried fruits of trees and have an outer shell that protects them from rotting as they lie on the ground waiting to germinate. This shell also protects their healthy fats from spoiling. After being picked, most nuts are processed by drying, and they appear in the store as raw nuts. But unlike most raw foods, which are quite good for you, raw unsprouted nuts have several drawbacks.
The wisdom of Nature has implanted nuts with enzyme inhibitors so they can wait until conditions are right for growth before they germinate. These inhibitors act as preservative for the nut, making sure it can stay viable for a long time. As spring rain comes and the ground becomes soaked, the nut sits in the water and slowly begins to lose its inhibitor, allowing for germination to finally take place.
If nuts are picked, dried and placed on your grocer’s shelf in their raw state, this enzyme inhibitor is still intact. This is why nuts have a reputation as being difficult to digest. The inhibitor actually inhibits digestion when nuts are eaten without undergoing the process nature intended. Not only that, but unsoaked or unsprouted raw nuts actually neutralize the enzymes your body uses to control inflammation and aid in digestion. Eating unsoaked raw nuts is extremely hard on the digestive system and calls for the pancreas to produce huge amounts of digestive enzymes to counteract the inhibitor.
When such a large amount of pancreatic enzymes are needed to digest unsoaked nuts, those enzymes are not available to perform their regular maintenance of the body. A continuous diet of unsoaked raw nuts is so taxing to the pancreas that it can actually swell with distress. Since a happy pancreas keeps you happy, this is not something your want to have happen. This is why most nutritionists and raw foodists suggest eating only very small amounts of unsprouted nuts.
Roasting nuts will destroy the inhibitor, but there are definite disadvantages of roasting nuts. In addition to destroying many of their nutrients, roasting nuts usually involves added oil which is most likely in the form of a processed seed oil. When heated to a high temperature seed oils produce an abundance of free radicals. Dry roasting nuts is detrimental to their fatty acids and destroys their flavor to such an extent that seasoning containing MSG is often added to make up for their missing taste. Although roasting destroys the inhibitor, it also destroys the enzymes in the nut that the body needs to make it easily digestible. So eating dry roasted nuts also puts a strain on the pancreas.
Soaking nuts and seeds answers the problem of the inhibitor since sprouting them replicates the conditions nature would provide for removing it prior to germination. Sprouting is the process in which all the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and enzymes that have been lying dormant in nuts are released. Sprouting eliminates toxins in the nuts and solves the problem of the lack of taste in raw nuts, as the flavor of the nut is released along with the nutrients.
Sprouting and drying nuts is a time consuming process, but one with a big pay off. Sprouted nuts are so easily digested that they can be eaten in large amounts. They have greater nutritional value than unsoaked nuts, and are crunchy like roasted nuts.
Higher Power is another online retailer of sprouted nuts, seeds and trail mix. They also sell raw nuts for sprouting at home. All their products are organic, and their quality is quite high while their prices are down to earth. They offer a variety of nuts as well as trail mix made with sprouted nuts and seeds. While their products are not dressed for a ball, their trail mix wears delicious everyday clothing.
Their Fertile Crescent Blend is a good mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. It contains cashews, pumpkin seeds, flame raisins, pecans, apricots, peaches, apples, and figs. It is dressed in powdered allspice, cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne.
The Northwest Blend is heavy on the nuts and seeds with a nice addition of dried fruit. It contains walnuts,almonds, filberts, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, pears, and figs. It is dressed in powdered cinnamon.
The Tropical Blend is heavy on the fruit and could probably use a few more nuts. It contains bananas, raisins, mangoes, date pieces, pineapple, macadamia nuts, and coconut. It is dressed in raw cane sugar, and powdered ginger.
Order a bag of sprouted almonds, pecans or macadamia nuts to add to these mixes for a more nutty, less fruity fare. Higher Power offers a trio of their trail mixes at a slightly discounted price, so you can try them all. These trios would make great holiday gifts for everyone on your list. The company also sells raw granola made from sprouted grains.
Another company to try is Go Raw. They specialize in organic sprouted seeds. If you are a salty snack addict, this is the place for you. Their sprouted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are dressed with sea salt and have just the right crunch. A bag of either of these mixed with the trail mix from Higher Power is absolutely fabulous.