Nuts and Seeds are fibrous and should not be introduced for GAPS patients until digestive symptoms have shown some signs of improvement. The introduction diet provides a slow introduction to nuts by starting with nut butter followed by baking with nut flour and finally nuts for snacks themselves with encouragement to prepare them and chew them well. The sensitivity test is advised to be carried out first for those who suspect a true nut allergy, however there are many people who express their intolerance for nuts during the introduction diet who may need to determine themselves whether to wait until further healing takes place before introducing them.
Selecting organic nuts and seeds and preparing them by soaking and sometimes blanching them (skins removed) often makes all the difference for a GAPS patient to better tolerate them. Many GAPS patients have a toxic overload and cannot tolerate even the smallest amount of chemicals or pesticides in their system and this is why organic serves to be a better option.
In addition to crop chemicals, nuts and seeds contain their own toxic substances known as enzyme inhibitors and phytates (phytic acid). These toxins can play havoc in the digestive system, blocking nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, copper iron and especially zinc. Enzyme inhibitors in particular, are contained on the skins or surrounds of nuts and seeds and they are especially apparent in nuts with brown skins like almonds. Their purpose serves as a protective layer to naturally prevent animals and insects from consuming them so that they have the opportunity to germinate and sprout into a plant. Soaking nuts and seeds in warm salty water overnight will activate enzymes that neutralise enzyme inhibitors and also breakdown a large portion of phytic acid that allow the nutrients to be better absorbed in the digestive system. This soaking preparation process is often referred to as activating nuts and seeds or sprouting.
Nuts and seeds require different soaking times.Here is a guide on how long to soak them and how to activate them to make them become more bioavailable and easier to digest.
Approximately 4 cups of selected nuts or seeds to 3-4 cups filtered water
1.Almonds 12 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water
2.Brazil Nuts 2 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water
3.Cashews 2 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water
4.Chia Seeds 2 Hours No salt & filtered water
5.Flax Seeds 2 Hours No salt & filtered water
6.Hazel Nuts 8 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water
7.Macadamia Nuts 2 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water
8.Pecans 8 Hours 2 teaspoons salt & filtered water
9.Pine Nuts 2 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water
10.Pumpkin Seeds 6 Hours 2 tablespoons salt & filtered water
11.Sesame Seeds un-hulled 6 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water
12.Sunflower Seeds 4 Hours 2 tablespoons salt & filtered water
13.Walnuts 8 Hours 2 teaspoons salt & filtered water
14.Wild Peanuts 8 Hours 1 tablespoon salt & filtered water.
- Add filtered water to a jug or bowl and mix in salt as per measurement shown in the Soaking Chart. Be sure to allow for enough water to cover nuts with 3 inches above them because almonds will swell a little after soaking.
- Add almonds or other nut/seed preference to the water and cover with a tea towel or cheese cloth.
- Soak the nuts or seeds in the salt water brine for the allocated time specific to the time shown in the soaking chart below. Almonds should be soaked for 12 hours.
- Rinse the nuts under filtered water to remove salt residue and discard the salt water brine. If you wish to blanch your almonds, this process will need to be done now before they are dried.
- If you wish to fully sprout your seeds, continue the process again for the same amount of time or go the next step and dry your nut and seeds.
ALTERNATIVES: Another way to activate your nuts to make them more bio-available is to ferment them with whey whey. To use this method, place nuts and seeds in a bowl and cover with water and ad ½ cup whey. Soak for 24 hours (or the suggested time as indicated above) and dehydrate. Try not to ferment them over the required time or the flavour will change significantly.
- Drying nuts can be done in two ways. You may do this in the oven or in a food dehydrator. Simply place the nuts on a tray and place them in the oven or the dehydrator at 150˚F or 65˚C for 24 hours until they are crisp. You may find it more economical to use a dehydrator for this drying time and they are wonderful to make other GAPS goodies as well.
- Store in glass jars for 6 – 8 months on the shelf.