These homemade nut bars make a nutritious snack for toddlers and kids (as long as they don’t have nut allergies!). Indyanna and her little toddler friends are big fans of these.
Soaking and Dehydrating Nuts
Although nuts are part of a healthy, balanced Paleo diet. It is recommended to eat them sparingly. This is because nuts are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, that although needed are plentiful in our diets already. They are also high in phytic acid. According to Mark’s Daily Apple,
“When something that contains it (phytic acid) is eaten, phytic acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the gastrointestinal tract, unless it’s reduced or nullified by soaking, sprouting, and/or fermentation. Bound minerals generally cannot be absorbed in the intestine, and too many bound minerals can lead to mineral deficiencies.”
The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends soaking and then dehydrating nuts to reduce the phytic acid content and make them more digestible. I have found that for me personally, I digest nuts much better after I have soaked and dehydrated them. I invested in this very inexpensive dehydrator, just for this purpose. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I can use it to make dried mangoes and fruit leather! 😉
You don’t have to do this, especially if you are only eating nuts on occasion. But, if they are a big part of your diet, I do recommend taking these extra steps and seeing if it makes a difference in your digestion. Mommypotamus wrote a great how-to post about soaking and dehydrating nuts.
Why You Should Always Buy Organic Almonds
Since 2007, the USDA requires that growers sterilize almonds, even those labeled as “raw”. So, essentially raw almonds aren’t truly raw. This regulation was passed in response to two salmonella outbreaks linked to almonds.
This sterilization process is done by heating almonds with steam, irradiating them, roasting or blanching, or treating them with propylene oxide (PPO). PPO is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable human carcinogen. Unfortunately, this chemical is commonly used to pasteurize almonds. PPO is banned in the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Choose organic almonds to avoid this chemical. Although, they may not be truly raw, organic almonds will not be chemically treated.
To purchase truly raw almonds, they must be imported. The USDA is not requiring pasteurization for imported almonds. I have heard that sometimes you can find organic imported almonds from Italy at Whole Foods. You may also be able to find raw almonds at the farmer’s market. That is where we get them and I prefer them over the imported ones. Just ask the vendor if they pasteurize, sterilize or treat the almonds in any way.
1/2 cup organic almonds (find real raw almonds here)
1/2 cup organic walnuts
13 dates, pits removed and chopped (a little more than a cup)
3/4 cup shredded coconut (I use this kind)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (I use this kind)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Add the almonds and walnuts to a food processor and blend until you have a fine, flour texture. Next add the dates, shredded coconut, coconut oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. The coconut oil should be soft. If it is really hard melt it before adding. Blend until the ingredients are well combined. The mixture should be slightly sticky.
- Put the mixture in a square or rectangular glass dish. Use the back of a spoon to push on it and pack it in tight.
- Place it in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour.
- Slice it into squares or bars and serve or store for later. I store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh longer.
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