7. Nuts And Seeds
In nutritive value, nuts are superior to any other food that we know. According to scientific investigations by Professor Myer E. Jaffa, of the University of California; Professor F.A. Cajori, of Yale University; Van Slyke, Osborne, Harris, and others, the proteins in nuts are superior to those of animal origin.
Nuts are clean, sterile and free from putrefactive bacteria and the waste products that abound in flesh foods (uric acid, urea, etc.). Nuts are free from trichinae, tapeworm and other parasites and infections due to specific organisms.
The planting of nut and fruit trees, wherever possible, would serve a triple purpose: 1. beauty, 2. shade, and 3. excellent food.
The importance of the thorough mastication of nuts cannot be overemphasized. The nut is a dense, concentrated, high protein food and its digestion is more complicated than the digestion of fruits and most vegetables. It is important that every particle be thoroughly masticated—the stomach has no teeth, and even small particles pass through the alimentary canal undigested, because of the inability of the digestive juices to penetrate hard substances. For those with dental problems, nut butters or ground nuts, made from fresh raw nuts, are a suitable substitute.
Nuts should be regularly included in the diet, approximately two to four ounces daily, or in greater or lesser amounts, according to individual needs. Lactating mothers, and people who have undergone prolonged periods of fasting, might need a greater amount (if not beyond their digestive capability) in the initial post-fast period. People on all-raw food diets with the greater nutritional potential of all raw food, might get along well on less. People who use legumes and grains as sources for some of their protein (or cheese) should use similar amounts of nuts. The nuts, of course, should not be used at the same meals as legumes, grains or cheese. The amount of nuts used is an individual matter, subject to some experimentation.
7.1 Purchasing Nuts and Seeds
It is best to buy nuts in the fall, when the new crops are available. The growers, wholesalers and retailers will be handling and storing the nuts until the next fall, in any event, and it is best to obtain your annual fresh supply and do your own storing.
We buy most of our nuts from Jaffe Brothers in October. If we must fill in later, we patronize the local health food store, which does an excellent job of maintaining refrigerated supplies of shelled nuts.
Some people buy a majority of their nuts in the shell, some prefer the convenience of shelled nuts. Unshelled nuts keep longer, but shelled nuts, if properly stored, usually stay reasonably fresh all year. It is difficult to judge the quality of nuts in the shell, and some nuts are difficult to shell.
It is often possible to contact growers of locally grown nuts and purchase those nuts in season directly from the growers. If you do this, you will probably need to dry or "cure" them. This is done by spreading them in an airy place for two or three weeks. Then they will require storing in a cool, dry place. The kernels should be removed from the shells and processed as soon as possible. This is done by putting the kernels into a large flat pan (preferably in a single layer) and into a 140 degree oven for four to five hours, until they feel perfectly dry. Then they can be stored in a covered container, in the refrigerator. These fresh nuts, well-processed, will stay in top condition until the next harvest, or even longer, with no apparent loss of flavor. Not everyone is willing to go to all this trouble, and, of course, there will be varieties of nuts you wish to use that are not grown locally. When you purchase unshelled nuts, presumably they have been put through some kind of drying or "curing" process.
If you buy nuts from your local health food store, you can usually get a discount for a quantity purchase of ten pounds or more of the same variety. Sometimes, if you are a regular customer, you can get the 10% discount, even when you buy, say, only five pounds at a time.
It is usually inadvisable to purchase your nuts in supermarkets, but there are some exceptions. The shells of most unshelled nuts sold in supermarkets have been bleached, treated with lye and gas to soften and loosen the kernels, and possibly colored and waxed. Some supermarkets do carry untreated nuts and seeds. Read the labels for some guidance, but I am not sure how reliable that is.
Shelled nuts in supermarkets are not refrigerated, and unless you purchase them when the shipments first arrive, are subject to more rapid deterioration than refrigerated shelled nuts.
Since nuts are not as perishable as produce, it is a good idea to buy the best, by mail, from Jaffe Brothers or some other reliable source. They have shelled or unshelled nuts available, some organically grown, and all much better quality than are available elsewhere.
Of course, all of your nuts should be raw and unsalted. So-called "roasted" nuts are actually "French-fried" and heavily salted. You should not use "dry-roasted" nuts either. Heated fats may be carcinogenic, and nuts are high in fat.
7.2 Selection of Certain Varieties of Nuts and Seeds
Pumpkin seeds and such nuts as macadamias, pignolias (pine nuts) and pistachios are excellent, but usually so expensive that it is much more practical to utilize sunflower seeds and such nuts as pecans, almonds, filberts, Brazils, walnuts, Indian nuts and cashews. You can use any nuts that are raw and unsalted.
If you particularly like any of the more expensive varieties, you could have some on hand for use in small quantities, as a treat, along with other less expensive nuts. It is a good idea to use as many varieties as possible (not all together!) from time to time, because the different varieties of nuts and seeds vary in their content of nutrients, particularly certain amino acids. For example, Brazil nuts and filberts (hazel nuts) contain greater amounts of the essential amino acid, methionine, than any other nuts, while the almond contains a greater amount of the essential amino acid, valine, than do other nuts.
The bitter almond contains considerable quantities of prussic acid and is not recommended. Other varieties of almonds are excellent food, but the brown skin still contains small quantities of prussic acid, so it is best to blanch them. Blanched almonds are sometimes available, but it is much better to do your own blanching. (Instructions in Lesson 26.)
The almond is one of the best of all nuts, and a rich source of protein. It is the only one of the true nuts that has a somewhat alkaline reaction in the body.
The cashew is not really a nut—being the pistil of the cashew apple, which has been heated to make it edible—but it is used and classified as a nut.
Peanuts, coconuts and chestnuts are in different categories than the nuts mentioned above.
Peanuts belong to the legume family. They are not as good food as true nuts, nor do they have as good a flavor in their raw state. Some people enjoy raw peanuts and use them, but they are subject to some of the same problems encountered with other legumes (difficulty in digesting, producing gas in the digestive tract). Some Hygienists use raw peanuts (and raw peanut butter, which, when used, "should be made fresh at home and used quickly, so it does not become rancid). Ordinary supermarket peanut butter should not be used. The peanuts are made indigestible by long periods of roasting and large amounts of salt are often added. Then the peanut butter is hydrogenated, so the oil will not separate and rise to the top. Those who do not enjoy the flavor of raw peanuts and raw peanut butter sometimes use peanut butter made to order from slightly roasted peanuts in the health food stores. This is much better than the heavily roasted, salted, hydrogenated variety, but is still not recommended for regular use.
Coconuts contain the only saturated fat in the plant kingdom. Coconut meat is best when it comes from the, fresh coconut. Dried coconut which has not been treated with chemicals is available from Jaffe, Walnut Acres or your health food store. Coconut meat is alkaline in metabolic reaction.
Fresh coconuts are available in supermarkets. Their peak season is October through December.
Coconuts should be heavy for their size and sound full of liquid when shaken. Examine the eyes (the three small circles at one end). If you detect wax over one or more eyes, or any evidence of tampering, the coconut has been opened, the coconut liquid drained and the coconut refilled with water. The extracted liquid is used in manufacturing certain pharmaceuticals.
Chestnuts are available in supermarkets In the fall and early winter. The chestnut is usually roasted before eating, though some varieties (those not bitter) can be eaten raw. The chestnut is alkaline in metabolic reaction. Instructions for preparation will be included in Lesson 26.
Peanuts, coconuts and chestnuts all contain starchy protein.
The principal edible seeds are sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and squash. We use mostly sunflower seeds, which are the best buy and are very high in nutritional value. A meal containing, sunflower seeds and dark, green lettuce plus tomatoes and other nonstarchy vegetables, is excellent. If you are really concerned about getting all the nutrients at one sitting, including all the essential amino acids, this is about as close as you can get. Of course, Hygienists know that it is not necessary to get all the nutrients at one meal, and most attempts to do this result in overeating and some atrocious food combinations.
Actually, no conventional meal supplies all the nutrients, not even the much-vaunted "complete and high quality protein." Much of the food served in conventional meals is cooked or otherwise processed, thus destroying all the enzymes, and damaging and altering all the other nutrients. The so-called complete protein of animal foods would only apply to the entire animal. Muscle meats (most commonly consumed) and organ meats are deficient both in protein and calcium. After separation and heating, the amino acids from enzyme-resistant linkages, and the biological value of the protein has dropped some 50%.
A well-planned Hygienic diet does provide all of the nutrients, and provides a very favorable sodium-potassium ratio and a favorable calcium-phosphorus ratio.
No food is complete in itself, but sunflower seeds come very close. These little kernels contain practically the whole spectrum of important nutritive elements, including quality protein. They also contain about every known vitamin except Vitamin C—and even develop this one when sprouted.
Moreover, sunflower seeds contain highly digestible polyunsaturated fatty acids. They contain Vitamin E, which prevents the rancidity of the oils contained in the seeds, and this is one of the few sun-following plants which contain Vitamin D. Sunflower seeds contain generous amounts of Vitamin A, B-complex factors, Vitamin K, and a bonanza of minerals and trace elements, including potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
The American Indians used sunflower seeds for food long before white men arrived. In Middle Eastern countries, they're included as a regular course at meals, much as we serve salads. In Russia, sunflower seeds are the national snack, as regular as popcorn and peanuts here. Russian czars are said to have fed their soldiers successfully on two pounds of the seeds daily in their rations.
Sesame seeds pose some problems. They are small and perhaps difficult to masticate, and therefore some people like to grind them and sprinkle them over the salad. Unhulled, or brown, sesame seeds are somewhat toxic and should not be used. The usual hulled, white sesame seeds are even worse, because bleaches and toxic solvents are used to remove the hulls;
Acceptable hulled sesame seeds, hulled mechanically, are now available. If you want to use sesame seeds occasionally, these are the ones to get.
Home > Lesson 24 - Selection And Storage Of Most Wholesome Foods, Part I
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