(NaturalNews) This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni's Renegade Health Inner Circle, which can be found at http://www.RenegadeHealth.com. In this excerpt, Ani Phyo shares on soaking nuts, getting more protein with less fat and how to make your own raw chips.
Renegade Health Inner Circle with Ani Phyo. Ani Phyo is a raw food chef extraordinaire and the author of Ani's Raw Food Kitchen and Ani's Raw Food Desserts.
Kevin: Great. Let's see, there are a lot of questions about nuts. A lot of questions about how important you think it is to soak them. So we will start with that one.
Ani: I think it is really important to soak the nuts. In an ideal world nuts should always be soaked. Sometimes when I am traveling, like on Saturday I was at the Farmer's Market and somebody asked me about that. The nuts weren't soaked because I had gotten there a couple hours before the presentation and then we were shopping and then I had to use it right then. The kitchen is outside in the fair building so there's really no place to soak it prior. But in an ideal world they should be soaked.
I'm sure everyone knows this. Nuts have the enzyme inhibitor. Mother Nature has put an enzyme inhibitor on the nuts so that when a bird eats it, the bird can eat it and then fly away. And when it leaves the bird then it hits moist soil and the moisture from the soil breaks the enzyme inhibitor, similar to soaking it. It starts sprouting and germinating to create a new plant.
So once we soak the nuts it gets rid of the enzyme inhibitor. We want to rinse the nuts really well and not use that soak water. But it also makes the nuts easier to digest. It actually converts it more from carbohydrate to more protein. It's sort of this woo-woo thing for the west coast but what we're doing is we're eating the nut in that moment when it is about to sprout or germinate a whole new life form. So we're sort of capturing that energy and eating that energy. It's definitely way better, without question, to be soaking and sprouting everything.
For myself, it can get sort of overwhelming, I think, the whole chart. There's charts on soaking. Nuts that are higher in fat, like a walnut, should just be soaked like four to six hours. I just sort of bypass all that. When I'm at home what I'll do is just soak everything the night before that I'm going to use the next day. I'll soak it with double the amount of filtered water in a bowl and leave it overnight.
In the morning I'll rinse it really well. Then I'll have nuts all day to use. That's how I do it. What I'll do too is lay it out on a sheet tray so it'll air-dry or put it in the fridge so that air can circulate around the nuts and it'll dry in the fridge as well. Ideally you want to use it the next day. If I have extra I haven't used, I will make sure to dry it fully, dehydrate it, just dry it fully, and then it will store. I will just store it. It will keep much longer that way, once you take out all the moisture.
Kevin: A lot of people say that a lot of raw gourmet recipes have a lot of nuts. What, one, do you think about that? And two, what are some alternatives that people can use to replace nuts? Particularly if they have allergies and it's something they don't want to be near at all.
Ani: Yeah, exactly. Even personally, myself, I have decreased nuts a lot. What I recommend is you use pulp. What I'll use sometimes is like a carrot pulp instead of a nut. It depends on what dish you are making. If we are making like a pate or something like that, I would definitely substitute it with a seed. Sunflower seed is much lighter. It does not have as much fat as a walnut or brazil nut. So I will substitute in also something like a pulp.
Or if I'm making a dessert, I'm binding together with a sticky fruit, like a date or a raisin, a dry ingredient, which is my flour, which might be like almond meal. That might be the flour. If you have carrot pulp you can also mix that in instead, either cut the nuts or instead of the nuts. Then sometimes what I'll even do is dehydrate the carrot pulp, if I really want it to be really dry. You just need something dry to work with the sticky dates or raisins in the forming of the cake or the cookie.
Kevin: The reason you cut back, was it because you felt it or you just intuitively said, this is enough, too much for me?
Ani: I think that my body, over the years, has changed. I think that what works for us changes over time. For me right now, I've actually mixed up my fitness regimen. I've more than doubled my weight, when I'm lifting weight. I'm trying to restrict my caloric intake a little bit. I'm sort of experimenting on my body. So that's why I've decreased the nuts.
I'm also finding that it is easier on my digestion when I am not eating as many nuts. That is just the way it is for me.
Kevin: What do you expect from the results of the experiment?
Ani: I have actually found that for myself, and again, every body is unique, but for many years I did so much fasting and cleansing and detoxing, that over those years I discovered suddenly that I had lost a lot of my muscle mass. I think what was happening was I was losing muscle mass. I think it was going off my midsection first and then when I was putting on it would go onto my extremities first. I noticed that I had more body fat in my midsection than I used to. So I spent the last couple years, actually, really lifting weights more. Then just recently in the last couple months mixing up my routine and doing more of turbulence sort of. Really pushing it, doing 12 reps warm-up and then upping it 10 or 15 pounds and doing 10, and then upping another 10 or 15 and doing 8, upping another 10 or 15 and trying to do 6. Sometimes I can only do three or four. But I am going to exhaustion. I am actually noticing that I'm getting more muscle mass again.
I wanted to do that because the more muscle mass we have it actually raises our metabolism. As a woman I think it's very important, probably for everyone, to be doing weight training anyway, to strengthen our bones to prevent osteoporosis. It's good to have weight-bearing exercise happening. So that was why I wanted to do that. I was feeling like my metabolism had slowed down with all the fasting and detoxing and all of that. And also with my muscle mass I felt like my metabolism had slowed down a lot.
Kevin: Are you eating a lot of protein? You said hemp protein. Are you eating protein or are you eating a lot of fruit? How are you bringing calories in?
Ani: Sure.. I love fruit, so I do eat a lot of fruit. Ultimately I still do love sugar, so I am eating a lot of fruit. I usually eat the fruit in the beginning of the day. I do my smoothie in the beginning of the day with like a banana and then the hemp protein. Then I'll do a lot of greens. So I am doing like spirulina, chlorella... I am finding that those superfood greens are actually where a lot of the protein is also coming in from.
Chlorophyll, anything that's green, chlorophyll ounce for ounce or gram for gram, has more protein than any animal product on the planet. So through our greens we get a lot of protein. Then sometimes into my smoothie I'll put spinach or kale or something like that and blend it in as well. I'm really upping my greens. Then I'm doing the hemp protein and the blue-green algae and wheatgrass. I think that's where my proteins are coming from.
Kevin: Dianne asks, "My biggest addiction is chips and salsa. It's the only cooked food I eat. I love crunchy, salty snacks. What could I prepare that is raw to replace it?"
Ani: Wow, that is so easy! Just make raw chips. Salsa is raw anyway. Raw chips are so easy to make. It's just flax chips. On the simplest form, if we just take flax or flax meal, either way depending on what texture we want, and just add some water to it. I would probably say almost one to one water. It makes like a dough. Then spread it out on teflex sheets. If people wanted to spread it out and put a fly screen over it and then put it out in the sun when it's really hot and dry, it will dry. We want to make it pretty thin.
Sometimes I will put buckwheat in there. That's another thing I started using instead of the nuts, is buckwheat. Buckwheat has a very dry, crispy texture to it. So I might use half flax, half buckwheat. Even chia seeds have a really great texture as well. So chia seeds, ground down, would be a really great thing. Then just make your own chips. You can flavor it however you want.
You can even make chips out of corn. You could do beautiful, fresh corn with two-thirds corn and one-third or a half flax or chia. Just experiment with that. Put some water and make a dough and spread that out on your teflex sheets and make chips. Those are real corn chips. You can spice them and put herbs in to your liking. They're so good. You can make your own and make guacamole, nachos.
Kevin: Sounds good. I'm getting hungry. [Laughs]
For more from this excerpt of the Renegade Roundtable as well as access a full archive of information by health experts on abundance, optimum health, and longevity, please visit http://www.RenegadeRoundtable.com.