Health and Hope

Health And Hope

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> Packed lunches

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In changing from a traditional diet to one that is based totally on plant products, there is often concern about having sufficient protein. Other links have already shown that there is protein in many plants and in generous amounts too, so this need not be a concern, provided a wide range of fruits and vegetables and beans are eaten in the week along with whole grains.

But here we will consider nuts as they are often used for roasts and burgers. They are a valuable main course ingredient. The most commonly eaten nuts, like peanuts or cashew nuts have been processed in some way - roasted dry or in oil, or salted.

These are intended for snacking. The strong emphasis in Health and Hope has been to show that foods as near their natural state are best. These are found in the baking section of a supermarket or in a health food shop. There is usually a large selection. Broken nuts or pieces work out cheaper. In order to keep them fresh, put them in a freezer as soon as possible after purchase, then take out as needed. They defrost very quickly.

Nuts are a very rich, concentrated food and so should only be eaten in moderation - even if they do taste good! Up to 29% of their weight is protein, with B and E vitamins, calcium, iron, and other important minerals. Eaten whole, or mixed with dried fruits, they make a satisfying finish to breakfast. Nuts can be ground and used to enrich many dishes, including gravies, vegetable casseroles or hot pots, or added to dessert dishes for extra nutrition. Recipes which use only natural products are very adaptable, so the addition of a few nuts does not alter the result substantially. Peanuts and cashews are not strictly nuts, one being a legume, the other a fruit, but they can be used as nuts in recipes.

Research has shown that walnuts are very beneficial when used alongside a diet of plant products. It requires only a small fistful each day (the fingers closed over into a fist) for the cholesterol readings to drop They can be eaten at breakfast or stirred into waldorf salads, or eaten with fruity desserts. So few are needed that nuts are a valuable, but economical food.

At one vegetarian cafeteria, they offer small dishes of ground almonds to add to your dinner as a sprinkle. Indeed, the almond is the king of nuts and can be highly recommended. It has 3 times more calcium than walnuts, and 6 times more than cashews, as well as being high in iron. Almonds were mentioned back in Bible times and were given as gifts to rulers. Today California is one of the largest producers of sweet almonds. France also produces almonds commercially.

Although nuts are an excellent food, there is an ever increasing number of people who have nut allergies, so caution must be noted. Those people develop swellings very quickly after eating nuts and have to carry adrenalin to give themselves a speedy injection if the problem occurs, so this allergy is potentially serious.

Here is a list of nuts to choose from:
Brazil nuts
Add to this the seeds that are available:
Pine kernels
This is a goodly number of health-giving ingredients to bring variety to your meals, hot or cold, and each has its own nutrients, so although almonds are the King of the Nuts, others have good things to offer as well.

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