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I love nuts, they are one of the best snacks – quick and satisfying as well as full of nutritional benefits since they are absolutely packed with protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals. They are the perfect snack food, one that will keep you going and quell that craving for something crunchy and salty. Now that is what I call a good snack!

I always like to have a variety of raw nuts in my pantry – my favorites are almonds and cashews. After they have been soaked, you can dehydrate them in the oven (or if you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator!) and mix them with your favorite salts and spices to make your own version of spiced nuts. You can also leave some of them as is (storing them in the refrigerator), to put into smoothies. I like to soak enough for both options. To learn more about the benefits of soaking nuts (as well as legumes and grains), check out this link

Spiced nuts are great for munching on straight out of your hand, serving as a snack for guests, sprinkling on your salads, etc.

Not only does soaking nuts increase their health benefits, but the texture and taste is even better. It could also be less allergenic, based on recent events in my own life. This is not confirmed, but only what I experienced.  I was the recent guinea pig. I have always had an aversion to walnuts, for some reason. But Roberto grew up eating walnuts (they are part of the traditional Sardinian diet) and so we decided to try some. I soaked them, as I know that soaking nuts increases their nutritional profile, by allowing you to be able to utilize more of the vitamins and minerals, since soaking breaks down the enzyme inhibitors. I mixed these soaked walnuts with some soaked almonds. Then I drained and towel dried them, and mixed both nuts with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and dried rosemary (basically the spices that were left in the bag from my favorite Trader Joe’s spiced Macona Almonds – waste not, want not…). I spread them out on a tray and cooked them in a 200 F oven for about 15 minutes – shaking the tray every 5-10 minutes.

spiced-nuts

I really wanted to learn to love walnuts, so I was eating a handful of these mixed (walnut and almond) nuts everyday – either as a snack, or on salads. By the fourth day I wasn’t feeling right. I felt like I had no strength in my hands, and I was more tired than usual. On that day, I decided to pick the walnuts out, and just eat a handful of those, in another attempt to try to like them. Within minutes I started to sneeze, then, my mouth, tongue and lips were starting to itch, and soon my eyes started to get a bit puffy. I was having an allergic reaction! If it hadn’t been for the soaking, I am guessing that the reaction likely would have been much worse! So my taking the extra time to soak my nuts, grains and legumes really paid off and probably saved me a trip to the ER! :)

But really, taking a little extra time (and you really don’t have to do anything – they are doing all the work!) to soak your nuts before eating them makes them much more beneficial, easier to digest and the perfect texture to go in smoothies. If you bake them in the oven, with spices, then you have a whole other great use for them! This is a great way to treat your nuts, and your body!

Disclaimer:  I am not a dietitian or health care professional. My posts reflect my own personal experience. You should always consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet and exercise routine.