I’ve been wanting to try out some raw recipes all summer, particularly cakes and desserts, but I just haven’t had the time with holidays and moving house. However, I did have a play around with a bulk of cashew nuts that I bought and discovered two amazing recipes for some quick and healthy snacks that have very few but nourishing ingredients!
Before I divulge the details on these discoveries, I also wanted to add in a short guide to consuming nuts. There has been talk recently about how one of the biggest mistakes that ‘healthy eaters’ make today is actually eating too many nuts, particularly those following a vegan or Paleo diet. As I’ve been playing around with what you can do with nuts I began to wonder how much is too much? And why are too many nuts bad for you?
As someone who never ate nuts until two years ago, it was just typical that I was now faced with the problem of potentially eating too many! Nuts can be hard to digest and have high levels of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). They also contain Phytic acids (phytate). This toxin is one of the reasons why the Paleo diet avoids eating too many grains, because phytic acid prevents iron absorption (as well as suggesting that we have not evolved properly to digest grains). However nuts can actually contain just as high or even higher amounts of phytates than wheat bread. A little ironic, when you see gluten-free and Paleo diets opting for nuts instead.
So what is phytic acid?
Phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorus found in many plants, especially in the bran or hull of grains and in nuts and seeds. Although herbivores like cows and sheep can digest phytic acid, humans can’t. This is bad news because phytic acid binds to minerals (especially iron and zinc) in food and prevents us from absorbing them. Studies suggest that we absorb approximately 20 percent more zinc and 60 percent more magnesium from our food when phytic acid is absent. However, It’s important to note that phytic acid does not leach minerals that are already stored in the body; it only inhibits the absorption of minerals from food in which phytic acid is present.
Phytic acid interferes with the enzymes we need to digest our food, including pepsin, which is needed for the breakdown of proteins in the stomach, and amylase, which is required for the breakdown of starch. Phytic acid also inhibits the enzyme trypsin, which is needed for protein digestion in the small intestine.
I have sourced my information here, where you can also find out the amounts different nuts, seeds and grains contain as well as understand more about possible (but lengthy) ways to reduce phytic acid content.
So back to nut recipes! Without worrying too much, here are my delicious recipes below. If you eat these as a snack at say 10am, with a normal metabolism they should be digested by lunch time. This means that what you eat afterwards will not be affected by the phytic acid. Therefore it’s not just important to consider the quantity or their preparation, but what you eat them with.
1 cup cashew nut flour (milled to flour in the nutribullet)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raspberries
1/3 cup gluten free oats (optional)
1 tsp maca powder / baobab powder (optional)
1 tsp raw cacao powder (optional)
I also tried grating lemon zest and 1 tsp of ginger powder instead of raspberries for a less sweet and subtle flavour. Both are delicious!
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl
Melt the coconut oil and pour over mixture to bind together
Add the maple syrup and stir into sticky mixture
Break off chunks and roll into balls
Place on greaseproof paper
Place in the freezer for 3 hours
Remove from freezer, leave to soften for a few minutes and serve.
These do not suit being out of the freezer for long periods of time, so are not a good option for lunch boxes.
Do leave comments below and let me know of any successful flavour variations!
Cashew Brownie Bites:
1 tbs raw cacao
1 tbs maple syrup
Blend and roll into balls. Place in the refrigerator to keep firm.
So delicious and addictive!!