Vegan Protein Soure: Tree Nuts

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Who knew we were eating nuts wrong all this time? I mean, yes, they are good in a bowl and set out as snacks. But cashew cheese is one of the best discoveries in the food world since bread. Not only that, nut milks, particularly cashew milk, are incredible when made correctly. See it’s not just about the nut: it’s everything that the nut can become.

Before we go any further, a quick warning: brazil nuts are dangerous. You’ll see them sold in bulk sections of stores just like every other nut, but it’s only safe eat one or two per day! These nuts are incredibly high in selenium, which in high doses can cause something called selenosis (really bad – heart attack, kidney failure bad), or lead to cancer. High levels of selenium are linkedo boosted immunity, but brazil nuts are next level high dose (much too high). Particularly if you eat other high-selenium foods like tahini (ground sesame seeds), you may want to avoid brazil nuts completely. Otherwise, stick to only one or two nuts per day at the most. (Source: Healthline – 7 Proven Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts)

Something else to know about nuts, though this one is not dangerous, quite the opposite: although nuts are often touted as a great source of omega-3s, only walnuts actually contain high levels of omega-3s as you can see in the graphic below. So if it’s the precious inflammatory-fighting immune-boosting omega-3s you’re after – it’s the mighty walnut that you want. (Don’t worry, we have lots of walnut recipes that will be posted soon!! Keep checking back!)

Also, keep in mind that the peanut is actually a legume, so if that’s the nut you’re looking for, head on over to the legume section.

If there ever was a graphic that showed why we should eat a variety diet it’s this one; almonds knocking out almost 10% of our daily value for calcium, cashews with a significant serving of iron, walnuts bringing the omega-3s, and all those options for protein. Again, brazil nuts were left off this list since only 1 or 2 can be consumed per day, if that.

One thing to keep in mind about nuts is that they are very high in calories as you can see in the chart. For many vegans, that’s a good thing. Many plants don’t pack in a lot of calories, which may be one of the reasons that plant-based eaters tend to be significantly less overweight (lower BMI) than people who eat meat as animal meat is extremely high in calories. One trick for snacking on nuts without accidentally consuming half a day’s calories is to shell them yourself. The process of shelling each nut prevents you from mindlessly popping them while also keeping you busy snacking and even offering a slightly increased calorie expenditure (some of those nut shells can be real doozies).

As with our other protein guides, we will soon be adding each nut it’s own information page, including recipes for cooking – check back regularly!