Since today is National Nut Day, we’re bringing to you this great write-up by long-time Rancho Vignola customer, and retired naturopathic doctor, Dr. Brenda Gill. She’s outlined ten health-related reasons to incorporate more nuts into your diet, and a very tasty gluten-free Savoury or Sweet Nut & Seed Loaf recipe at the end!
As I was sitting at the top of Old Glory Mountain last week, not only was I enjoying the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains, but my lunch of nuts and dried fruit. It’s quite a steep hike to the top, so the lighter and compact my pack is the better. I find this combination perfect for hiking, running, road-riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, skate skiing or downhill skiing whenever I’m out over lunch time for a few hours. There are many reasons why nuts can be a part of an excellent lunch substitute or any meal. A previous article discussed the benefits of lowering LDLs, cholesterol and minimizing heart disease, so I won’t focus on those aspects. Here are some other reasons to feel clever buying and eating nuts:
- They are a compact source of protein and mostly unsaturated fats, so a good source of fuel for high-energy sports.
- Nuts are the part of the tree that feeds future generations, so are a concentrated source of not only protein and essential fatty acids, but many vitamins and minerals as well.
- They can be cooked into grains and vegetable dishes to add the other essential amino acids to make a complete protein. This is especially important for vegetarians.
- Ground nuts make a flavourful and nutritious flour for baking, with significantly more protein in comparison to regular flour.
- Nut butters are a much better substitute than butter, since they are more flavourful, have unsaturated fats, higher vitamins, minerals and protein.
- Nut milks are nutritious and wholesome drinks.
- Nuts are among the highest in nutrient content of the vegetable foods. These include balanced amino acids (the “meat” of the plant world), vitamins A and E, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, manganese and other trace minerals.
- Nuts help stabilize blood sugar because of their high protein content that releases slowly due to the fat content.
- They are a great addition to baking and snacks to help balance the protein-carbohydrate content.
- Raw almonds are the best all-round nut because their protein concentration is about 20% and fat content is the least (about 60%). They also have 2% to 4% amygdalin (laetrile), which is considered to be cancer-preventative. Organic is best to save our bees from all the chemicals used on commercial trees.
Savoury or Sweet Nut & Seed Loaf (gluten-free)
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup flax seeds
- 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2/3 cup almonds (whole)
- 2/3 cup pecans/almonds/cashews/hazelnuts or walnuts
- 2/3 cup coconut
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
(For the sweet loaf: 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cloves or allspice.)
(For the savoury loaf: 2 tsp curry.)
(For the herb loaf: 2 tsp of “les herbes de Provence” or a combination of thyme, rosemary, dill, basil, oregano and parsley.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs and add salt and olive oil to form a bit of an emulsion. Add the seeds and nuts, except for the chia seeds, and mix well. Add chia seeds last, as they absorb the liquid, and mix them in. The result is quite runny. Add herbs or spices if you would like a savoury or sweet loaf.
Liberally oil two loaf pans with olive oil. THIS IS IMPORTANT OR THEY HAVE A TENDENCY TO STICK.
~ Brenda Gill
RV note: Or you can also bake the loaves in a silicone bread pan or line your pan with parchment paper with enough hanging over the edges to easily lift the loaf out when done.
Place in two oiled 9”x 4” loaf baking pans and bake for 35 minutes OR until the centre is baked. The bread is quite firm when done. Slice thinly and toast or spread almond or seed butter on the slices (for the sweet bread) or hummus on the savoury loaf, and enjoy!
RV note: We loved this recipe with our Pecan Paté! It’s also delicious with other savoury spreads and a variety of cheeses.