Walnuts aren’t typically my favorite nut, I usually go for decadent macadamia nuts or roasted pecans, but I wound up with a large bag of walnuts and after soaking them, dehydrating them, and turning them into nut butter with a bit of coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon, something magical happened. This walnut butter is incredibly creamy, with a wonderful toasted notes from dehydrating the nuts, and just a little sweetness from the cinnamon. I love eating it straight, but it also makes for amazing smoothies and is a versatile dip and spread.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In addition to being one of the more affordable nuts, Walnuts are also a great choice because they are one of the best plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. There are two essential fatty acids that the body needs to get from food, because it cannot make them: Omega-3 and Omega-6, and they should be consumed in an equal balance. However, in the standard American diet, we tend to eat a large amount of Omega-6 fatty acids, because they are present in all of the seed and vegetable oils that are used for cooking in most homes and restaurants. Omega-3 fatty acids are typically found in cold water fish, such as Salmon and Herring, grass-fed beef, egg yolks, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Why are Omega-3s so important? Consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids has been well-researched and is believed to prevent Coronary Heart Disease and slow it down in those who already have it, reduce Triglycerides, and reduce inflammation in the body overall. In the body, all fatty acids are converted to 3 types of prostaglandins, which mediate inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are ultimately converted into anti-inflammatory prostaglandin 3 in the body, and may be able to slow down the production of the inflammatory prostaglandin 2. All three of these prostaglandins are extremely important to the body’s function, but they must be kept in a proper balance.
Soaking Nuts and Seeds
Since going back to school and learning more about traditional food preparation methods, I have started soaking and dehydrating my nuts and seeds. I have found that not only are they tastier this way, but they also seem to be easier on my digestion.
Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, which help protect the plant and keep it from sprouting early, but when we eat nuts this phytic acid binds with minerals to form phytates, which prevent us from being able to properly absorb nutrients from our food and can cause digestive distress.
Typically, to soak my nuts I put two cups of nuts in a large bowl of water with about 1 tsp of sea salt and let them sit for 8-12 hours. I then rinse them, then put them in the dehydrator and start testing them to see if they are done after 12 hours. It takes more planning but is worth it!
Recipe: Cinnamon Walnut Butter
2 Cups of Raw Walnuts
1/2-1 Tbs of Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Pinch of Sea Salt
1 Tbs of Honey or Maple Syrup (Optional)
- Soak and dehydrate nuts following instructions above. If you want to skip this step, toast the walnuts in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes for good flavor
- Once the walnuts are cooled, put them in the food processor. Turn the food processor on high and let it run for at least 2-3 minutes.
- At this point, if you don’t have smooth nut butter, slowly begin to drizzle in melted coconut oil until you reach a smooth consistency
- Add sea salt, cinnamon, and honey or maple syrup to taste.
- Refrigerate and enjoy!