Going through your morning news or heck maybe just your Facebook feed, you’ll at some point inevitably come across the latest “superfood” craze. At some point along the way, food has become fashionable, so much so that we eat it in droves, consume quinoa for two to three meals and now that grains appear to be the devil, we’re turning to almonds as our savior.
Almond milk, almond bread, almond muffins, almond cookies, almond biscuits…well, you get the point.
So my point to this blog post is that people, we’re going overboard and the almond craze needs to stop.
Woah Melissa, are you saying that after all your smoothie recipes, bread recipes, etc. that you’re now telling me to cut it out completely?
No, of course not. After all, I'm a consumer of almond milk as well, making my own and sometimes relying on the boxed stuff if I run out. What I am going to tell you is why you shouldn’t be having it as much as you are and why its important to shake things up in your world.
Almonds & Oxalate Acid
If you’re a Paleo lover or simply taking a grain-free diet out for a test drive, let me urge you to evaluate the amount of nuts you’re having. Just because you no longer have bread, doesn’t mean that you have to replace your previous excess consumption with another food. Whether it’s almonds or any other nut, realize that they’re high in oxalate acid, which is what plants produce so that they don’t get eaten. You see in a normal, healthy individual oxalate acid will have little effect, but if you suffer from any gastrointestinal issues or have a history of kidney stones, you’ll want to moderate the level of nuts you’re consuming, because get this: 1 cup of almonds is equivalent to 90 ALMONDS.
Solution: Rather than going crazy with nuts, mix things up with lower oxalate acid foods like coconut. So think about diluting some coconut milk for smoothies, using coconut flour for breads and muffins and even crepes. Here’s a delicious nut-free option to try:
Coconut Flour Crepes
1 egg 3 tbsp coconut milk (full fat)
1 heaping scoop of coconut flour
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
5 drops of stevia
Filling: 1 tbsp nut butter
Mixed fruit (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a Vitamix and pour a little bit on a nonstick frying pan and rotate the pan to evenly distribute the mixture. The edges should curl up and the crepe should bubble a bit. Flip after a couple of minutes and do the same for the other side.
Almonds & Arginine
If you’re someone who’s prone to getting cold sores, then you may want to consider using another nut, because almonds are high in arginine an amino acid that can promote cold sores. Now this isn’t to say its just almonds that are high in arginine, but also walnuts, Brazil nuts and peanuts are too.
Solution: Pecans. In fact, they’re about the least offensive nut and if you love your almond milk, but get an attack shortly after, then try making pecan milk which gives a naturally sweet mapley flavour.
Creamy Pecan Milk
1 cup pecans (soaked overnight)
5 cups water
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp lecithin granules
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash sea salt
Blend together in the morning in your Vitamix and strain with a nut milk bag. Seal in a mason jar and refrigerate. Enjoy!
Almonds & The Omega 6 Debate
There is no question that diets in North America are very heavy in omega 6. Think yin/yang here, because we need to have a proper balance of omega 6 to omega 3. Almonds for example (and most nuts) are high in omega 6 and too much of it can actually cause inflammation. So before you get frustrated and throw up your nuts in the air like confetti, remember not to over consume them. It’s all about moderation.
Solution: Moderate your consumption of nuts and increase your omega 3 content: walnuts, sardines, edamame, wild rice or simply take a fish oil daily. Now let’s face it, most of us are nut lovers, but just like anything what you love the most can hurt you the most – and that goes with just about anything in life. So in the meantime, if you are using nuts, eat them in moderation. Remember to soak them overnight to increase the digestive capability of them and store them in your fridge since they’re rich in volatile oils that can go off if stored improperly.