By Amy Crawford from The Holistic Ingredient.
Amy’s E BOOK is a must buy. It my household essential at the moment!
Anyone who follows a food related instagram feed, Facebook page or blog will undoubtedly by now have come across people mentioning their activated seeds or nuts. In fact it became a bit of a hot topic in Australia recently when Pete Evans admitted to being an ‘activator’ – this of course invited all sorts of commentary (negative and positive) from every camp. Now let me preface this post by saying that whilst I am an experienced activator of nuts and seeds my way is not necessarily the perfect way. I have simply formed my own habits based on lots of research and feedback from others. If you google this topic you will find conflicting commentary for example on how long (or whether in fact you would) soak a macadamia or a cashew.
No one will dispute the fact that nuts and seeds are a really valuable addition to our diet. There are however mixed opinions regarding how we should eat them. Many would say roasting nuts and seeds removes their nutritional value, others would prefer theirs raw. Increasingly though there is a lot of valuable information suggesting that activating is the best way to consume them. I know from experience (and particularly given I have a compromised digestive and immune system) that it is very important that I activate. If I sat down to a bowl of unactivated nut/seed granola I would suffer awful tummy pain. For me, there isn’t another option, it’s just what I do.
So what is activating? Activated nuts and seeds have been made bio-active by a very simple process of soaking in salted water for a pre-determined period of time, draining them and then dehydrating them at a very low temperature in the oven or dehydrator. Nuts and seeds contain what is called phytic acid which prevents them from sprouting prematurely and stores lots of important nutrients. According to research when we consume phytic acid it reduces our body’s ability to absorb these nutrients. They also contain enzyme inhibitors which force the body to work over time to produce the enzymes necessary for digestion. I understand that this process alone ages us because our bodies have to work so hard to digest (I’m activating!).
Soaking nuts and seeds begins the process of germination thus breaking down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This in turn make the nutrients a lot more readily available. There is also research to suggest that soaking your nuts and seeds for long periods of time actually increases their nutritional value.
Ready for the dehydrator.
Ok. So I am going to outline my soaking and dehydrating process with a few different nuts and seeds. As I said you will read varying opinions on soaking times so my word is not gospel! I do however hope that this summary helps you on you way. You will need salt, bowls, (ideally) filtered or spring water, an oven or a dehydrator. When soaking simply make sure that your nuts or seeds are covered by the water and leave them on a bench for the determined period of time. If using an oven it must be on the lowest temperature possible, ideally on the pilot light. If using a dehydrator I believe around 50 is good. You do not want to cook them, you simply want to dry them out. Its always best to do a heap at once because I appreciate this is a lengthy process. I fill my dehydrator to the brim. So look at dehydrating a good 2-4 cups of each food type.
Walnuts, Pecans, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Hazlenuts Soak: Salted water (1-2 teaspoons), overnight (or approximately 8 hours) Dehydrate: 12-24 hours or until noticeably dry and crunchy
Almonds Soak: Salted water, overnight Dehydrate: 12-24 hours. In my experience almonds take longer than the other nuts, for me around 15 hours. You really need to make sure they are very dry otherwise you will notice them going mouldy very quickly.
Cashews Soak: Salted water, 3-6 hours. Be careful with cashews – they can go slimy if left too long so keep an eye on them Dehydrate: 12-15 hours
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) Soak: Salted water, overnight Dehydrate: 12 -24 hours, typically i find 12 hours to be enough.
Sunflower seeds As with pumpkin seeds though typically I find they are well and truly ready within 12 hours.
Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time. My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.
With kindest regards Samantha
I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.
When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.
I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.
Hey Jessica! I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again
I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.
Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!
I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).
I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud
My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.
I want to empower you to make good choices, every day. I want you to enhance your understanding of health and nutrition. I'm committed to making sure you live the best life. Because you deserve it. Are you ready to start feeling great?
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