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Go Nuts For The Holidays

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During the festive season, it can be a challenge to put together a meal that satisfies all the guests and their many different dietary choices. Adding nuts to the menu can solve a number of challenges.

During the festive season, it can be a challenge to put together a meal that satisfies all the guests and their many different dietary choices. Adding nuts to the menu can solve a number of challenges.

Nuts and seeds can add both protein and fat to a vegetable dish, giving it more nutritional value and complexity. These foods take a little longer to digest, thus allowing your vegetarian friends to feel full and satisfied after their meal. The oils in nuts are also predominantly unsaturated; by using them you can help reduce saturated fat consumption during the holiday season. For example, traditional p?s are usually made with high-fat animal products such as chicken livers. The Mushroom-Walnut P? featured this month offers only healthful ingredients, and is rich in essential fatty acids, minerals and B vitamins (good for stress at this time of year!).

The same approach can be used to make delicious and nutritious sweet cookies such as Christel’s Vanilla Filled Crescents and spiced cookies called Spekulatius. Natural nuts and oils, combined with whole grains and natural sweeteners such as honey, add valuable nutrients such as vitamin E and calcium to your body, instead of traditional sugar-filled treats that can deplete your body of nutrients and depress your immune system.

To reap the health benefits of nuts and seeds, they must be purchased and consumed fresh and raw. The oils in them can quickly become oxidized and rancid when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Rancid oils contribute to disease, so try to avoid them by using cold-pressed oils and fresh nuts. How can you tell if nuts are fresh? Taste them! You will soon be able to identify rancid nuts that have been over-processed and stored for too long on the supermarket shelf.

The essential fatty acids found in the nuts help make prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that can boost immunity, lower blood pressure and reduce pain. They can also help control fat cravings and produce healthy skin and hair. Keep in mind that almonds are particularly high in calcium, and that both walnuts and almonds help reduce cholesterol. Their high concentrations of antioxidant oleic acid also protect arteries from damage. Nuts generally are high in antioxidant vitamin E, shown to protect against chest pain and artery damage. And because Vitamin E helps regulate insulin and blood sugar levels (preventing steep rises), nuts make good foods for those with glucose intolerance and diabetes.

Go ahead and make nuts part of your holiday eating plan. Also remember, after party nights, consuming plenty of water and fresh fruits for breakfast as well as walking will help keep your immune system in shape for the best festive season ever.

Raw Waldorf Salad

Raw Almond Yogurt

Mushroom-Walnut Pat

Home-Roasted Nuts

The smell of baked goods fills the house and adds to the excitement of the holiday season. Honey and nuts are favourite ingredients for Christmas baking–and no wonder, they provide both nutrients and taste. Remember to also use whole grain flours to ensure these treats are as nutritious as possible.

Spekulatius (Spiced Cookies)

Add the Almonds

If you’re using cookie cutters, add extra nutrition by placing a blanched almond half in the centre of each cookie (see the box “Raw Almond Yogurt” for blanching instructions). Almonds are high in protein, B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus. They also contain possible cancer inhibiters called cyanogenic glucosides.

Vanilla Crescents With Nut Filling

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