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Nutty digestion (plus a paleo granola recipe!)

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2018-03-14

Let’s talk nuts.

Then we’ll get right to the good stuff…granola!

But we have to start with nuts.

That’s because this week’s granola recipe (the 3rd in our granola recipe round-up) is from our FxNA Nutritionist, Sandra Brougher. Sandra provided some purely delicious paleo perfection for us in a nutty concoction that fits all the paleo parameters.

When it comes to paleo, nuts can be a paramount part of the protocol.

And yet, nuts don’t work for all of us.

You may love them. (I do!)

You may hate them.

Your body may thrive with them. (That’s me!)

Or your gut may say no-way nuts.

Let’s break this down (in more ways than one)…

Nuts are an extremely nutrient-dense food.

They provide us with good fats, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. The key minerals that nuts contain include magnesium, zinc, selenium and copper—all of which are often deficient in our modern-day diets. And some of the fats they harbor, special fats called ‘sterols’, can help balance cholesterol levels and reduce cancer risk.

Nuts also have other health-promoting and disease-fighting properties that source from certain phytochemicals including flavonoids, luteolin, tocotrienols and others.
Plus, let’s face it, nuts are an easy and nutritious snack!

All that said, a food can be golden on paper and yet agitate our guts. That’s where bio-individuality comes into play, and where we are not what we eat, but what our bodies can do with what we eat! This is something we pay heed to in our Counseling Services, never assuming that there is a one-size-fits-all diet.

Nuts fall into this category for sure.

And here’s why…

There are a few chemical compounds in nuts that can make them a challenge on an already compromised digestive system. Those chemicals include lectins, phytic acid and tannins.

But I don’t want to take this opportunity to scare you away from the nut jar.

Not at all.

If you’re already good with nuts, proceed right to Sandra’s Paleo Chock-Full-O-Nuts Granola recipe. If you’re unsure how nuts sit with you and your gut, try giving them a soak. Soaking or sprouting your nuts makes them smoother on your stomach, and I’ve got all the how-to details for you below!
If you’ve got a favorite paleo granola or you want to try ours and share a picture of your grub, give us a holler over on the Functional Nutrition Alliance Facebook page with your recipe or photo. We’d love to keep the granola inspiration going!

Paleo Chock-Full-O-Nuts Granola

This recipe is inspired by Danielle Walker’s recipe in her much-loved cookbook
Against All Grain.


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

  • 10 chopped brazil nuts

  • 1/2 cup dried wild blueberries

  • 1/4 cup melted raw honey, coconut nectar or yacon syrup (or reduce amount if you prefer it less sweet)

  • 2 Tbspn melted coconut oil

  • 2 tspn vanilla extract


Place all nuts in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight or 8 hours. Discard water when done. (This step is optional but recommended!)

Place all nuts and coconut flakes in a food processor to chop or chop by hand. Be careful you don’t chop too fine or you will end up with powder instead of nuts. Add the dried blueberries to your bowl (after you’ve chopped the nuts).

In a separate bowl, blend honey, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour over chopped nuts and mix well until the nuts and fruit are well-coated.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out nut mixture. Bake in oven at 175 degrees for 12 hours, stirring mixture with a spoon every few hours. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator to ‘bake’ your granola if you prefer that to having the oven on all day.

Remove from the oven. The mixture will be somewhat moist and sticky. Transfer to a glass bowl or pan and allow to sit and dry. Store in a glass container.

Enjoy with coconut milk or on its own as a snack.

Why sprout your nuts?

Sprouting allows you to appreciate the maximum nutrient potential of the nuts and seeds you are eating. To put it simply, raw nuts and seeds contain both enzymes and enzyme inhibitors. Roasting nuts and seeds kills both the enzymes and the inhibitors. Thankfully, sprouting nuts and seeds kills the enzyme inhibitors and actually activates the enzymes that help us to digest these gems.

When you sprout, you get the most from every nut and seed you eat!
Note: Nuts sprout on the inside, so most of the time you won’t see a tail form in the sprouting methods discussed here.

Different nuts and seeds have different soaking/sprouting times. See below for a simple guide.
large seeds

These seeds should be removed from their shells before soaking. Soak for 4–8 hours, drain, and use immediately, or continue to rinse and drain for up to 3 days to develop a tail.

  • pumpkin seeds

  • sesame seeds

  • sunflower seeds

long-soak nuts

These nuts contain enzyme-inhibiting compounds in their skins that are eliminated or reduced during soaking. Soak for 6–12 hours and eat as-is, use in recipes (butters, milks, etc.), or dehydrate for crispy snacking nuts.

  • almonds

  • hazelnuts (filberts)

  • pistachios

medium-soak nuts

Soak for 2–6 hours and eat as-is, use in recipes (butters, milks, etc.), or dehydrate for crispy snacking nuts.

  • Brazil nuts

  • pecans

  • walnuts

short-soak nuts

Soak for 1–2 hours and eat as-is, use in recipes (butters, milks, etc.), or dehydrate for crispy snacking nuts.

  • cashews

  • macadamia nuts

  • pine nuts

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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