Monday, November 5, 2012

Gingered Toasted Pecans

There are numerous reasons why toasted nuts keep us happy. A mid day snack, trail mix, granola ingredient, salad topper, garnish on hummus or a grain salad, folded into homemade ice cream, sprinkled on oatmeal in the morning. And when fall comes to us in all its glory, why not give nuts the star billing they deserve? After all, the squirrels are doing it!

I made these on a whim for a raw kale salad. I have somewhat ditched traditional salad greens for kale and arugula these days.  I don't know if I have told any of you that I officially gave up wheat, so I am making my vegetable intake more hearty with fewer grains in my diet. Kale is very satiating for me and packs a nutritional punch. My identical twin was diagnosed with Celiac induced Hashimotos Disease a year or so ago. Because we are twins, and she tested positive for the celiac gene, I have a 75% chance of having the gene too. I may not have expressed the gene as she has however, and as I told her, I don't do disease and divorce in the same year. So, I will remain oblivious to that big ball of fun until I am ready to examine it further. She talks about her journey on her blog Heal Hashimotos. Autoimmune Disease is the next big thing we are looking at in the country as women in my opinion. It is a very misdiagnosed area of disease, and many many doctors are not able to treat autoimmune disease except to sometimes prescribe medicine to slow its progression which in turn may deplete the immune system more. Women who have one autoimmune disease are very likely to get more their lifetime. Think for just a moment how many people you know that have an autoimmune disease. Is it more people than you know that have breast cancer or heart disease? Yet modern medicine cannot explain autoimmune disease triggers mostly, and the immune system still remains a mystery to scientists. But, you can in many cases halt or heal autoimmune disease regardless what a doctor may say when you look at improving your whole body function through nutrition and food. Terry Wahls is an example of healing MS, and she is a MD! You can watch her TEDx talk here.  My sister is another example of someone who took their health back by not taking 'no' for an answer. She had to cycle through many practitioners to find a combination of healers that fit her goals, and she fell short a few times even in San Francisco where some of the best alternative doctors practice. She went grain, dairy, sugar and fruit free for 9 months. She healed her gut through diet, supplements and belief changes that worked on the root of the illness (for her it was self directed anger). A lot of this was facilitated by a practitioner who uses Noetic Field Energy Medicine. I have found NFEM to be a very progressive and form of somatic therapy. She also found a NAET practitioner in San Francisco who helped desensitize her body from the foods causing systemic inflammation.

So, I have been gluten free and I feel better. Any person who has an autoimmune disease, I recommend to go off gluten. I also take supplements targeted for glutathione production and inflammation reduction. I got a constitutional homeopathic remedy for increasing my vital energy. I regularly meditate. I switched to algae DHA instead of fish DHA after the earthquake in Japan. All of these things together is medicine. Not the narrow view we currently have offered to us. We can widen our view of medicine for ourselves by knowing we always have options and choices even if it appears we do not.

Gingered Toasted Pecans
makes 2 cups

2 cups pecans
2 Tbls maple syrup
generous pinch salt
2 heaping teaspoons fresh grated ginger

I use a microplane zester for grating my ginger. It makes is almost like paste. I did not peel the skins off of the ginger, although you can if you would like. A trick: use the back of a spoon to peel ginger skin off instead of a peeler; works great!
In a bowl, mix pecans, maple syrup, salt and ginger. On a silpat, parchment paper or very seasoned (so therefore non-stick mostly) cookie sheet, spread pecan mixture evenly.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes stirring once. Cook for 5 more minutes then remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.


Hot Wax Great Southern said...

I was quite suprised a couple of years ago when I found out that psoriasis was classified as an autoimmune disease and I too am looking at diet to help with it.

Jessica said...

Yes, diet for psoriasis is key. Also making sure you are taking enough DHA fatty acid too.

Anonymous said...

Those pecans look amazing! I’m adding them to the list of things I will make when my braces come off.

This is such an informative and important post – thank you. I agree one hundred percent with your statements about autoimmune disease. It is so easy to ignore. Between my husband and I, we have three “classified” autoimmune diseases. Through diet and lifestyle we’ve found an equilibrium and have started unraveling years of self-inflicted damage. For me, the big trigger is wheat. For my husband, they are wheat, peppers and tomatoes. We already follow a plant based/whole foods/minimally processed diet, so who knows what other things may adversely affect us. (Dairy was a trigger for both of us, too, and has been since our youths.)

We cut gluten out of our diets (I have a wheat allergy) for about 10 months before switching to just a wheat-free diet. I’m a firm believer that an over-accumulation of any one thing in one’s body – wheat/spelt/corn/millet/etc – will disrupt it’s balance. I’m thankful for my extended hiatus from most grains, because it made variety in my diet second nature.

Looking forward to reading about your wheat-free journey over the next few months!


Jessica said...

Monika; completely agree. I wonder what do you dr's think about the nutrition conclusion you came to? Does what you eat prevent you from taking medicine or allow you to take less?

Anonymous said...

My husband’s doctors are skeptical, but cautiously supportive. Making nutritional changes has definitely allowed my husband to decrease his medication, and his goal is to be medication-free someday. He has a very very strong connection to comfort food, though, and having been raised in a traditional Italian family that owned a restaurant/bakery, well . . . all of his trigger foods are staples in the diet he grew up with. It’s his journey, not mine – I keep those things out of our kitchen, but the difficult task of not eating those things outside of our home is up to him. He’ll get there, if for no other reason than we have a very concerned and bossy 5 ¾ year old making him answer for himself every time he eats a trigger food!

My doctor was skeptical at first, but is now extremely supportive. In addition to my autoimmune issues, I have familial hypertriglyceridemia (which may actually be autoimmune related in and of itself, but that’s a huge tangent . . .). I was able to lower my total cholesterol from over 300 to BELOW 150, all by modifying my diet and increased meditation, and not a single statin drug. My doctor is *still* blown away that I’ve kept it that low. In fact, once my wheat allergy was diagnosed and I had to modify my diet again, my doctor told me that his child was unable to eat gluten and asked me for sound nutritional advice on the subject.


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