Category Archives: nuts

Health Nuts: Seeds And Nuts You Should Eat Every Day

Nuts and seeds are super healthy and most of us aren’t eating enough of them.  They are a great natural source of vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and fiber.  I’ve been eating a ton of nuts and seeds as part of my anti-cancer diet since 2004.
Depending on whose list you read, the number one healthiest nut is either the almond or the walnut, but I’m not going to rank them, as this is not really a competition.  The “healthiest nut” is the one with the nutrients your body needs most on a given day.  Of course no one knows which one that is.  So the best strategy is to eat a variety.

Here are the top healthiest nuts:

Almonds have as much calcium as milk, and contain magnesium, vitamin E, selenium and lots of fiber. They can lower cholesterol and help prevent cancer.
Walnuts are extremely good for your heart and brain, and contain ellagic acid a cancer-fighting antioxidant.
Pecans have tons of vitamins and minerals like Vitamins E and A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, B vitamins, and zinc.  And they help lower cholesterol.
Brazil Nuts are a good source of protein, copper, niacin, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E and selenium.
Cedar Nuts/Pine Nuts have Vitamins A, B, D, E, P and contain 70% of your body’s required amino acids.
Cashews are rich in minerals like copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and biotin.  They are actually a low-fat nut, and like olive oil, they have a high concentration of oleic acid, which is good for the ticker (your heart).  According to Dr. Andrew Saul, one big handful of cashews provides one to two thousand milligrams of tryptophan, which will work as well as prescription antidepressant Prozac.  
Note: Cashews are not recommended for cancer patients due to potential levels of fungus

Here are the top healthiest seeds:

Flax Seeds are definitely at the top of my list.  I take Barleans Cold Pressed Organic Flax Seed Oil every day because it is the best source of parent omega-3s and the phytochemical Lignan, a super anti-oxidant that helps fight cancer.  It also contains a lot of fiber and can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 
Sunflower seeds also help prevent heart disease and cancer with phytochemicals, folate, Vitamin E, selenium and copper.
Chia Seeds are incredibly healthy seeds rich in omega-3 oils, protein, anti-oxidants, calcium, and fiber. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!
Hemp Seeds are a certified superfood with cancer and heart disease prevention properties.  They are high in protein and fiber, with balanced omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Pumpkin Seeds are great for your immune system with lots of antioxidants (carotenoids), omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.
Sesame Seeds are a good source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, B1 and phosphorus.  They can lower blood pressure, and protect against liver damage. Sesame seeds have also been linked to prevention of many diseases like arthritis, asthma, migraine headaches, menopause, osteoporosis, and may even reduce PMS symptoms.  (I don’t know much about that last one)
Tahini is a ground sesame seed paste that’s popular ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes we eat, like hummus.
Finally Apricot seeds (aka Apricot kernels), Apple seeds, and other bitter fruit seeds contain Amygdalin aka Vitamin B17 which has incredibly powerful anti-cancer properties.  There are many cases of people who cured their cancer with Apricot kernels alone!  The pharmaceutical Laetrile which is a concentrated form of Amygdalin has been used in cancer clinics outside the US for over 50 years.  I dedicated an entire post to Apricot Kernels HERE.
Do Nut Eat This (worst pun ever, i’m sorry)
The one nut I don’t really eat anymore is the peanut, which is technically a bean.  Here’s why:
Peanuts can contain a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin, and they are notorious for being one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops.
We buy eat organic nut butters like Almond Butter and Sunflower Seed Butter instead of peanut butter.
Embrace Your Inner Hippie
I like to go to the bulk section of Whole Foods (where the big plastic bins of nuts are) and buy a couple pounds of Raw Organic seeds and nuts. I take them home and mix them all together in my Super Trail Mix. 
Looking for a super healthy snack?  This is it.
Eat them straight out of the bag, throw some in a bowl for the family, or toss them on a salad. Either way, a couple handfuls of my Super Trail Mix every day will rock your body with super nutrients.  So go ahead and embrace your inner hippie, throw on a pair of birkenstocks with socks, dowse yourself in patchouli, and load up on some trail mix.  We keep a bowl out for everyone to snack on at home and a tupperware container in the car to snack on when I’m out and about.
(photo: chrisbeatcancer)
Notice I said “Raw Organic“.  That’s super important.  I don’t buy the fried, salted, roasted, honey-glazed, candied, or any other “special flavor” nuts.  Frying and roasting nuts converts the fats into an unhealthy form, and most seasonings are made from artificial flavors, chemicals, and preservatives, contain MSG, and are high in sodium. 
If you want to maximize the nutrients you get from nuts, soak them in distilled water overnight.  This helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid both of which affect digestion and absorption of the nutrients in seeds and nuts.  It can also help reduce the amount of pesticides on them if they are not organically grown.
Simple Soaking Directions: Place 4 cups of nuts in a bowl with enough distilled water to cover the nuts completely.  Add a tablespoon of celtic sea salt.  This helps the neutralize enzyme inhibitors.  Different seeds and nuts have different soaking times, but the easiest rule of thumb to remember is to let them soak 7 hours (overnight).  You many or may not like the taste of soggy nuts, so you’ll need to dehydrate them in a dehydrator or oven for 12-24 hours.  If you do it in the oven, keep the temperature under 150 degrees and shift them around on the pan occasionally.  You don’t want to roast the nuts, just dry them out.  Every oven is different so it might take some experimentation to get the ideal drying time figured out.  And because this is essentially a 24 hour process it makes sense to do several big batches at a time.  Afterward compare the flavor of the soaked and dried nuts versus the non-soaked nuts.  You might be surprised to find they taste better, depending on the nut and your taste.
One exception: Cashews should soak 6 hours or less and need to dry out quickly at 200-250 degrees or they can get funky.
The Excalibur Dehydrator is the one that all the health gurus use and recommend.
Here’s a shopping list you can copy, paste, and print out:
Brazil Nuts
Cedar Nuts
Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds
Almond, Cashew or Sunflower Seed Butter 

The rest of the seeds I mentioned don’t work very well in trail mix because they are too small and all end up at the bottom.
One of my favorite snack bars is the NutivaHempseedBar.  It’s made with organic hemp, flax, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, and sweetened with honey.  It’s a super tasty way to get some super healthy seeds in your diet.
They also have a Flax & Raisin Bar, and our favorite: Flax, Hemp & Chocolate Bar.
Get yourself some here!

Snacks good for your hips…

This month we’ve been polishing up our clean routine, taking care of our bodies as well as our hearts and minds, and integrating sustainable practices into our daily lives. All this cleaning has made us…hungry of course! So it’s time to talk about some clean routine snacks that are good for your brain — as well as your hips.
Although snacking often gets a bad rap, used wisely it can be a useful tool for both energy balance and weight maintenance. Adding clean snacks to your routine can help keep your metabolism revved throughout the day, provide sustenance to get you through your workout (and re-fuel post workout), provide an opportunity get more fruits and veggies in your day — and keep you from over-indulging at the next meal.
Don’t think you’re a snacker? If you can go between lunch and dinner without being ravenous by 5 p.m. then perhaps that’s the case. But if dinner time rolls around and you’re cramming in any food you can get your hands on, then you might be in need of some smart snacking. Going longer than about 3 or 4 hours without a snack starts to slow down your metabolism and skew your blood sugars — not to mention increasing the likelihood of overconsumption during the next meal.
Here are some tips to help you make smart snacking a part of your clean routine:
Make sure the snack you choose is what you want in terms of salty, sweet, crunchy, or smooth — this will help make sure you feel satisfied.
The ideal snack should be around 200 calories. Remember: a snack is not a meal.
Plan your snacks in advance. This can save you time and can also save you from making poor choices…or having no choice at all!
Try to get some fiber and/or protein to help decrease cravings more than a high fat or high sugar snack would.
Carry healthy snacks with you at all times.
Snack strategically, not mindlessly!
Partiality aside, Vega makes some mean and clean snack options like Vega One, Vega Energizing Smoothie, Vibrancy Bars, and Vega Sport Protein or Endurance Bars — all of which are highly nutritious and can be taken on the go. Other clean snacking options:
Hummus with fresh veggies
1 ounce of raw nuts = (approximately) 16 almonds, 22 peanuts, 11 walnut halves, 25 pistachios, or 16 cashews
A serving of fruit like berries, melon, a small apple, orange, or banana. Try dipping in a raw nut butter for a protein boost
A small home-made smoothie
A cup of vegetable soup
Trail mix with an ounce of nuts and dried fruit
2 cups of air-popped popcorn with a dash of cayenne pepper
Handful of SaviSeeds or sunflower seeds

    12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat | How to Build Muscle, Gain Strength & Become a Better Athlete

    1) You’re Eating Too Many Carbs

    carbohydrates 300x238 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing FatThis should be pretty obvious to most people by now, but there are still the old die-hards out there who swear that everyone should be consuming two grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight every day while maintaining a low fat intake. Load up on whole grains and fruit while cutting down on healthy, essential sources of fat like grass fed beef they’ll tell you.
    Anyone experienced in physique transformation knows this is nonsense.Most people have a terrible tolerance for carbs, shitty insulin sensitivity and simply don’t do enough physically demanding work to warrant too many carbs. If you want to get lean cutting carbs is usually one of the first and most important steps you need to take. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any but you need to make smart choices and they need to be taken in at the right times and cycled properly.

    2) You’re Eating Carbs at the Wrong Time

    If you’re above 20% body-fat pretty much any time is the wrong time. In that case I would only recommend vegetables and possibly some post workout potatoes or a once per week refeed. When you get down to 15% you can increase the amount of carbs in the post workout meal or the weekly refeed. Everyone else should limit carb consumption to post workout and night time, as per The Renegade Diet rules. During the day you want to be alert and focused, which is one reason why you don’t want to load up on starchy carbs during this time. Save for them for the night time when you want to optimize serotonin production and rest, relax and repair.

    3) You’re Eating Too Much Fat

    Some people cut carbs and assume that they’re good to go and there’s nothing else to worry about. Unfortunately, the low/no carb diet isn’t as much fun as Dr. Atkins made it out to be. You can’t just eat pounds of bacon and mayonnaise with reckless abandon and think that you’ll magically end up ripped. Fat contains calories; nine per gram to be exact. At the end of the day total calories still matter, and if you’re eating more than you burn you’re never going to get ripped. Please don’t mistake this as my advocating a low fat diet. That’s just as bad, if not worse, than eating too much fat. A bare minimum of 20% of your calories should come from healthy fats like pastured egg yolks, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and coconut oil to ensure optimal health. Just be careful about going overboard with it and thinking that low carbs automatically leads to single digit body-fat. You still need to keep a handle on things like total calories.

    4)You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

    protein food 300x203 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing FatIn my experience it’s usually only females who are guilty of this but guys can make this mistake on occasion as well. The average female who can’t lose body-fat usually eats a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with an egg. One… single… egg.
    Then she’ll have a sandwich for lunch with four ounces of lean turkey. For dinner it will be a salad with low fat dressing and four ounces of chicken or fish. Although, in all honesty they may skip the protein all together and just have a salad for either lunch or dinner. Let’s assume she weighs 135 pounds. Most experts would agree that she would need to consume at least 100 grams of protein per day, if not a gram per pound, which would equal 135 grams. Each ounce of protein is around 4.5 grams of protein. So in this example she had 36 grams combined with lunch and dinner plus the six grams from the egg. So that’s a total of 42 grams, which falls just a wee bit shy of where she needs to be.
    Females often freak out when you tell them to eat more than six ounces of protein at a sitting but when you break down the numbers for them and reveal just how many calories they’re eating it should make more sense. If they had eight ounces of protein three times per day it would 108 grams of protein. That’s only 432 total calories. Add in the fat and it’s still not that much.
    People who eat a sufficient amount of protein usually end up having an easier time getting ripped than those who don’t. Make sure you’re getting enough.

    5) You’re Drinking Too Many Protein Shakes

    There are two problems associated with drinking shakes when you’re trying to get ripped. First of all, whey protein can raise insulin levels, as I have been telling people since the mid 90’s. If you’re trying to get lean you don’t want insulin to be flowing like the Nile all day. You want a nice insulin surge post workout but the rest of the day you want it under control. That’s why The Renegade Diet limits the intake of whey protein to very small amounts during most of the day and only allows a larger amount post workout or at night.
    The second problem with drinking too many shakes is that they are so easy to digest that you don’t really burn any calories when you eat them. When you chew down some salmon and broccoli your body works harder to digest that food and you burn more calories during the digestion process. When you drink something that is so easily digested, like a protein shake, your body does almost no work in the process.
    So, when getting ripped is your main goal, limit your shake intake and chew as many calories as you can.

    6) Your Liver is Over Stressed

    This is usually the last thing people think of when embarking on a fat loss diet but it can sometimes be the most important. Everything that goes into or on your body has to be processed by the liver. That means all food, alcohol, suntan lotion, environmental pollutants, etc. If you are constantly exposing yourself to this kind of stuff and overstressing the liver fat loss will be much more difficult to come by. Cut out booze, stop eating grain-fed, chemical laden meat and incorporate some regular periods of intermittent fasting to give the liver a break and you will find your rate of fat loss is noticeably faster.

    7) You’re Eating Nuts

    I love nuts. I mean, who doesn’t? Give me a bag of pistachios or cashews and I won’t look up till the whole thing’s gone. The problem is nuts have a ton of calories. When you’re dieting for fat loss the rules are usually the opposite of those followed by skinny hardgainers trying to gain size. Those guys want the most calorically dense foods possible. Fat loss dieters do not. You’re better off filling up on nutritionally dense foods that don’t pack a lot of calories, like green vegetables. If you’re dieting you need to limit your nut consumption to about ten almonds per serving. No too many people can eat ten almonds. Most people eat ten handfuls. If you are strictly tracking and calculating everything all day and you want to load up on nuts at certain times I suppose you could but I wouldn’t recommend it. Nuts can be very problematic for a lot of people, especially those with digestive or auto immune issues. As Paleo Solution author Robb Wolf has noted, nuts should be used the same way you use condiments- sparingly.
    I should also add, and this is strictly my opinion, meaning it has NOT been proven and posted on Pubmed… nut butters seem to be easier for most people to digest than actual whole nuts. Just something to consider.

    8) You’re Eating Fruit

    jolie berry 300x224 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing Fat“What?! You’re telling people not to eat fruit!? Everyone knows that it’s impossible to get fat from eating too much fruit!”
    Yeah, yeah I know, that’s why physique competitors eat so much fruit and why all fat loss experts who specialize in getting people shredded recommend such high quantities of it. In our hunter gatherer days fruit was nothing like what you see in the supermarket today. Berries were small, dark and bitter; not the huge sugar sacks most people consume these days. Don’t get me wrong, fruit is healthy and can be eaten by lean individuals in limited amounts but any type of excessive fructose (a sugar found in fruit) consumption will lead to fat gain. Fructose can only be processed by the liver and once liver glycogen stores are full the excess gets converted to triglycerides and stored as body-fat. If you want to get ripped cut fruit completely for a while or limit it to one to two small servings per day. Just be sure to really up the vegetable consumption so you can keep your vital nutrient uptake where it needs to be.

    9) You’re Not Training Heavy

    When you want to lose body-fat the first inclination is often to crank up the reps and cut the rest periods. I actually have no problem with fairly low rest periods. But not if you’re used to resting three minutes between sets and all of the sudden cut them down to thirty seconds because you decided it was time to get shredded you’ll be in trouble. That never works. All that happens is your weights start plummeting on every exercise and you get weaker and smaller. High reps have the same effect.
    When dieting, the primary role of strength training is to maintain muscle mass. That is the single most important thing. Don’t use it as your primary “fat burning” activity… UNLESS you are seriously overweight. If you need to lose more than fifty pounds or so that would probably be fine (although please don’t ever do any of the bullshit you see on those fat camp TV shows). Females can actually get something out of metcon workouts in the right situation as well. The caveat, however, is that that they need to be strong and actually have some muscle mass. If you take a weak female with no muscle and give her a silly metcon circuit she won’t usually get much out of it because she’s too weak to produce enough force. Females should get strong first before they attempt that type of training.
    If you’re a guy and are trying to lose 10-20 pounds of body-fat without losing all your muscle mass in the process you should use strength training as a way to maintain size and strength; nothing more, nothing less. So the same principles that helped you get big and strong apply when dieting. Keep the reps low and the resistance high.

    10) You’re Overdoing Cardio

    Traditional forms of cardio are largely useless for fat loss. But useless is even okay, it’s when it starts to be counterproductive that we have a real problem. Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems. If you want to do cardio that won’t actually hurt you and could do you some good, go for a long walk. No self respecting man should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine.
    dog sled chan 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing Fat

    Sled work builds muscle, burns fat and is irreplaceable

    11) You’re Not Running Sprints or Doing Sled Work

    Dieting is the most important thing for fat loss. After that you should be doing some form of strength training to maintain your muscle mass. When you have those to things dialed in you’ll want to add in some type of sprinting or sled work. There is nothing more effective for fat loss. See all wide receivers, defensive backs, sprinters, soccer players, etc. for proof. Two or three 20-40 minute sprint or sled sessions per week will be enough for most people.
    Don’t have a sled? 

    12) You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

    When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol goes up. Both things lead to less than optimal fat loss. You also miss out on the critically important Growth Hormone boost that comes each night during deep sleep. If you want to lose more fat you have to get more sleep. Most people will ignore this and some of you are probably reading this at 2am. Unfortunately this just might be the most important thing on the whole list. More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority.


    The 5 foods you should eat every day

    #1 Leafy greens
    Medical experts call them one of nature’s miracle foods. Leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale are high in nutrients like folate and vitamins A and C that can lower your risk of cancer. Just one cup of dark, leafy greens a day could also prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.

    #2 Nuts
    Many nutritionists recommend nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts because they’re high in natural fiber. Fiber slows your digestive process, keeping hunger and unhealthy mid-afternoon snacks at bay. Goodbye vending machine runs!

    #3 Onions
    Studies show that consuming onions on a regular basis may reduce symptoms of asthma and the risk of developing stomach cancer. Add them to soups and stir-fry, and just remember — the stronger the onion, the greater the health benefit.

    #4 Whole grains
    Refined grains, like white rice and pasta, have lost 90% of their nutritional value through the refining process. As if that weren’t reason enough to choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole oats, a recent study showed that a diet rich in whole grains actually flattens your belly by reducing fat storage in your lower abdominal region.

    #5 Yogurt
    Making yogurt part of your daily eating routine can improve your digestion — if you’re buying the right stuff. Check that the label lists “active cultures” to make sure you’re getting healthy probiotics, and pick a yogurt rich in vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis.

    Thanks for watching Real-Life Makeover! Tune in next week with more simple solutions to enrich your life.


    The Basics of a Diet Built for Size

    by Tim Henriques

    If you want to gain weight, and mainly muscle, be sure to eat a lot of the following foods: whole milk, whole eggs, potatoes, and nuts. Everybody already knows about lean meats, so I don’t think I need to slap you with a ribeye to refresh your memory.

    Drink whole milk… not skim or 1%. You need the fat for additional calories, and remember that fat helps create hormones, like Testosterone. Low fat diets (less than 20% of daily calories) promote lower Testosterone levels, and that’s not what anyone wants.

    The same is true for whole eggs. The yolk is where you find about half of the protein, all of the vitamins and minerals, and all of the fat. Some of the fat in the yolk, especially in free-range, high-quality eggs, is the healthy stuff. Keep in mind, most studies show that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t raise your blood cholesterol.

    Potatoes, along with sweet potatoes, are an easy, cheap, and damn tasty source of quality carbs. I know they have a high glycemic index (GI), but I don’t care. They always give me long-lasting energy in the gym, and when combined with other proteins and fats, their GI is lower. As for nuts, these little packages of nature’s goodness are very dense in calories and nutrients. I try to eat one can of nuts a week when I want to gain weight.

    If you stock up on all of those basic foods and watch the scale (it needs to be going up), you should be able to gain weight.


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