Posted by Andrea Nakayama
There are so many things I love about the work I do.
I love helping clients and course participants to better understand their unique bodies and how to support themselves.
I love the people I meet daily, sitting with them in their place of curiosity and discovery.
I love talking about food and health and why physiology matters with clients and other practitioners alike. It’s fascinating!
Watching an ‘aha’ emerge in someone’s eyes, voice, or even in their writing on the screen of my computer as they put the pieces of the puzzle together between their body and their food, their history and their health, is a true blessing.
Another thing I love is that, after working with thousands of people—both in my private practice and online courses over the years—I’ve been able to draw some clinical “evidence”.
The evidence is derived from seeing a pattern arise over and over again in a good number of people.
There are two such bits of “evidence” that got me thinking this week, both relative to nuts. One is related to the question: “If I’m supposed to eat smaller meals more often to support my blood sugar (and therefore my adrenals), what’s a good snack?”
And while my answer is often nut-related for those that can consume nuts (seeds might take the place otherwise and if those are permissible), which leads people to feel fueled and sustained throughout their day, with less blood sugar dips and decreased cravings, the second related question is often: “How do I know when I’m eating too many nuts?”
Down below My Sweet Melba recipe, which is one of my favorite snacks of late, is the reason why I choose nuts and nut-based snacks to support blood sugar.
In the upcoming Winter Cleanse that begins on February 26th (stay tuned for details!) we’ll be exploring why supporting your blood sugar is key to addressing your adrenal health, whether that be “adrenal fatigue”, chronic stress or the feeling of being “tapped” all the time.
Yet right now I’d like to tell you my answer to the often received question: “How do I know when I’m eating too many nuts?”
Are you ready?
The answer is simple.
My answer is this: Likely when you ask that question!
Now if you can eat them, nuts provide a powerhouse of nutrients, not to be skipped. Bring them in! Then listen-in and find the place for nuts in your day and your life and the subtle place where you’ve had your fair share. Perhaps your fair share is in the form of a nut based Melba.
my sweet melba
There’s a couple of things that you should know about me in the kitchen and at the kitchen table…
First, I like it simple. I don’t have a lot of time. So even if the ingredients in my recipes are “fancy” or unusual, my favorite tools in the kitchen are my blenders(s) and food processor(s). Yes. I have several.
Second, I like toast. I like crackers. I like chips. But I don’t eat any of the standard fair of those foods, so I’m always looking to recreate what I most crave. I like to eat my greens with a wrap or a toast, and these Sweet Melbas have not only fulfilled my snack attacks, but also provided a great accompaniment to my stack of warming winter greens.
Note: Baking time depends on your desired consistency. I like to leave these in the oven for up to six hours, flipping in the middle, so that they are hard, crispy toasts, like a Melba toast. You may prefer them softer. And the truth is that they’re good, right from the processor too! Find what works for you and enjoy!
- 1-1/4 cups raw or sprouted and dehydrated pecans (see note below)
- 3/4 cups coconut flour (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup coconut syrup
- sea salt for sprinkling
- waxed paper
- parchment paper
In a food processor, process the nuts to create a fine flour. Use the ‘pulse’ option. Be sure not to over-process where the nuts become a paste (or butter).
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and continue to pulse until a ball of “dough” forms within the processor.
Remove the “dough” from the processor, placing it onto the waxed paper. Mold the “dough” into a log and roll tightly within the waxed paper. Make sure the log is tight and compact. Place the log in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to its lowest setting, 200F or below. (Alternately, you can use your dehydrator if you have one.)
Remove your Melba log from the freezer. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into thin slices. Place these rounds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle the tops with sea salt, and place in the preheated oven.
As noted above, baking time depends on your desired consistency. I like to leave them in there for up to six hours, flipping in the middle, so that they are hard, crispy toasts, like a Melba toast. Find the consistency that works for you!
Note on ingredients: I’ve successfully used cashews in place of pecans and garbanzo flour in place of coconut flour. If you can’t eat nuts, see if some sunflower or pumpkin seeds work here.
I guess the third thing I forgot to tell you about myself in the kitchen is that I’m an adaptable and forgiving cook. I invite you to be too! These can be altered in any way you choose–use different spices, make them chocolatey with cacao nibs (eliminating the garlic, of course), and just have fun playing with the options. Make these YOUR Sweet Melbas!
As you likely already know, I’m a fan of nuts. That doesn’t mean that I am not acutely aware of the problems that many people have with nuts. They are a highly allergic food and some people are sensitive to specific nuts, but not others.
But troubles with nuts are not just relegated to the immune system. There are individuals who have digestive troubles with nuts too—gas, bloating and even indigestion. For those people it may be a matter of how they eat nuts, not the complete elimination of nuts.
There are all different ways to eat nuts. We can eat them raw, sprouted, blended, “buttered” and roasted. Raw nuts contain both enzymes and enzyme inhibitors. Roasting nuts kills both. But sprouting nuts kills those inhibitors while activating the enzymatic activity we want. That enzymatic activity is what helps get the nutrients from the nuts where we want them to go…to the cells for energy!
For some people, sprouting nuts, which involves soaking them and then, possibly dehydrating them to re-institute their crunch, is the only way the goodness of the nuts can be received without digestive distress.
but just what is that nutty goodness?
Nuts are a good source of protein as well as several key nutrients including essential fatty acids, magnesium and fiber.
In fact, there is evidence showing that the consumption of a variety of nuts can help to lower cholesterol levels and deter cardiovascular disease. (Remember not to be scared of your good fats!)
When we look at the health benefits of nuts, consider raw or sprouted nuts, as discussed above, not roasted nuts and salted nuts, especially those that have added oils. Nuts are highly reactive and their good fats can become bad under high heat.
Store your nuts in tightly sealed glass containers in a cool dark place to preserve their true nutty goodness.
Speaking of goodness…
it’s that time of year!
The Winter Cleanse is just around the corner. Get ready to focus on restoring your adrenals and kidneys and nourishing your body in the ways it craves this time of year. We begin on February 26th (check your inbox next Monday for details on how to enroll).
EXPERIENCE A FREE TRAINING SERIES WITH ANDREA NAKAYAMA TO HELP YOU
Begin practicing functionally today!
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