September 30, 2011

Secret Weapon: Nuts

Yesterday, I treated myself to another almond milk hot chocolate from the Green Bean Cafe.  Incredible!  Next week, maybe I'll try their almond milk cold and plain, but I am greatly enjoying this chocolaty delight -- which they make unsweetened.    For hours afterward, I felt like a superhero, energized and -- no signs of GERD at all, not even the "food in throat" sensation.  Incredible.

Can the almonds take the credit?


In any case, a reader of this blog recently questioned my protein intake.  I agree, protein is something I never had trouble achieving as a vegetarian and mostly vegetarian (for a while, I was also eating fish).  Now that I am veering into a more vegan lifestyle, I guess I am questioning this myself -- AM I getting enough protein and nutrients in general?   (So, thank you for forcing me to assess this!)

I can't eat larger portions -- my stomach feels too full after a modest amount of food.  My doctor suggested slow stomach emptying could be an issue (at some point, I may have to subject myself to a motility study to see how quickly food passes through me -- that this involves ingesting radioactive eggs is both disturbing and a gag factor).  I need to find ways to slip concentrated forms of protein into my diet.


My secret weapon, then?  Nuts!   I've been increasing my intake of almond nut butter at work as one of my snacks, but I think it's time for a more organized approach to nuts.   The protein and other nutritious value of nuts makes them a godsend.  Just 1/4 C. of chopped walnuts brings 7 grams of protein!   I forget how nutritious nuts are.   I am going to incorporate nuts into meals.   (None of this has any bearing on my GERD, but isn't the body all connected?   If my body is enjoying a better amount of protein, that has to help the whole picture, right?)

Unfortunately, my favorite nut and one of my favorite flavors -- the pecan -- does not have as much nutritive value as walnuts or almonds.   A quarter cup of chopped pecans offers only 2.5 grams of protein, more calories -- but they also provide potassium, fiber, and iron.

Some ideas for my increased nut intake:
  • On cereal
  • In main dishes (smuggling nuts into casseroles, into pasta dishes -- which I already regularly do)
  • Roasting them; serve as snack or part of the main meal
  • More nuts as snacks -- though I can tire of "plain nuts by hand" quickly and wind up not eating them day after day -- roasting them will help me deal with this
  • Adding or increasing the amount of nuts in my baked goods 
  • Play with textures by chopping, grinding, crushing
  • Make my own nut-based snacks (homemade granola bars?!)
I like cooked nuts (roasted, baked, etc.) though I know "raw" is the best way to take advantage of nuts' good fats.  Always a trade-off! 


I greatly enjoyed this morning's breakfast - 2/3 C. Shredded Wheat cereal with 1/4 C. chopped walnuts, 1/4 C. raisins (maybe less) and 1 C. almond milk. 

At 7:45 AM - I feel ready for the day!

p.s. My other protein-packed ingredient I need to increase?  Eggs.  I'm okay with eating eggs as long as they come from a pastured source.  My current source is upstate New York, a farm with happy hens that are well cared for.   I have no problem with cholesterol and including an egg 4-5 times a week as a breakfast or lunch item might be a good new resolution.   


  1. I would love to know what the deal is with your body's reaction to almond milk I never get a power surge from it!

    That said, something nuts have that eggs don't is fiber. Good for digestion!

  2. I don't get this almond milk power from regular store-bought stuff, just my cafe's homemade crazy. So addicting!

    Haha, fiber is not something I'm lacking, what with my daily barrage of pure fiber cereals, beans, and whole grains. :)

  3. Nuts are so important and useful. Since going on SCD, they've become a staple for me. I even came up with a yummy and grain-free granola, using lots of my favorite nuts. It makes my morning so much better, with lots of fiber and protein, and plenty of energy.

  4. MCG, nuts are a wonder food! It's been a few weeks now that I've been regularly adding 1/4 C. ground walnuts to my cereal, and I easily feel energized until lunch. I have been forgetting to eat my mid-morning snack! (Maybe that's one reason I've lost a few pounds?) Thanks for the recipe -- I'm always thrilled to find new ways to combine yummy and nutritious ingredients!

  5. If you're trying to increase your protein on a vegan diet, don't forget to load up on leafy greens, which have more protein per calorie then animal products.