Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

NutNuts are misunderstood. Because of their high calorie and fat count, they’re oftentimes shunned when, in fact, they are little nutritional powerhouses brimming with deliciousness. No, it’s not a good idea to eat a pound of salted cashews in one sitting, but, in moderation, these puppies provide healthy fat, vitamins and minerals, making tummies everywhere happy. Not to mention that while eating nuts, you always have an army of immature jokes just waiting to be made.

We already know I’m a peanut butter fan, but I recently added almond and cashew products to my nut repertoire. Turns out all kinds of nuts are being used to create milk, cheese and butter for those who have gluten or milk allergies, or for those who are avoiding animal products or are obsessed with eating nuts in new ways. I’m no vegetarian and I have no food allergies, but I love trying new foods, so on a nut adventure I went.

My first new nut experience was with almond milk. I tried the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze vanilla and chocolate milk and, with about 100 calories a cup, it was pretty darn tasty. Both beverages were mildly sweet and had a nice almond-y flavor, as one might expect. I drank it plain as dessert and added it to my cereal and oatmeal in the mornings, and I really enjoyed it. Not to mention that it was high in calcium, vitamin D and vitamin E … delicious.

While trying a vegan restaurant recently, I opened my nut horizons to include cashew cheese. I’d heard of this cashew cheese company before, but I’d never actually tried it. I sampled a curried variety that tasted like a yummy hummus and my husband and I gobbled it up like we hadn’t eaten in days, even though it looked more like grainy mustard than anything resembling cheese. (I urge you to get over the look though—it’s tasty enough to ignore.) Heck, even Emeril is diggin’ the nuts these days. (That’s one of those jokes I told you about.) Here’s a recipe for homemade cashew butter that I haven’t tried, but it’s only a matter of time. I love cashews after all.

And, if you’re not ready to get too nutty, go for the basics. These 100-cal packs even make sure that you don’t overdo it with your portions. But feel freeto tell us your opinion on nuts below. Do you go all out with them and buy milk, butter and cheeses? Do you stick with nuts in their true form? Or do you forgo the nuttiness altogether? —Jenn

Want more to nosh on? Check out my experience with Tofu Shirataki Noodles or Erin’s fast-food salad guide.

Top photo grabbed from http://www.flickr.com/photos/steffenz/2079743107/.

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  1. Erica says:

    I haven’t tried the almond milk- it scares me a bit…just how do they make milk out of almonds? If you think its yummy though….I may have to give it a try.

    I usually eat nuts alone, in salads, in pasta, or bake them into my granola!

  2. choosinglosing says:

    Nuts rock. I have 1 ounce of Planter’s Heart Healthy South Beach Diet Mix every day as a midmorning snack. They keep me satisfied and give me the little power boost I need!

    I measure mine out with a food scale and bag them in snack baggies right when I purchase them. That way there is less chance of me overdoing it.

  3. tfh says:

    Erica– almond milk is just almonds pureed with water and then strained. I make my own (and also my own cashew milk).

    I eat tons of nuts. I’m not really about moderation with the nuts. Almond and sunflower butter (my fave!) on muffins, Trader Joe’s omega-3 and raw nut packs as snacks, pine nuts in my salads, pb out of the jar…yum! Now I’ve gotta try some of that cashew cheese!

  4. Sagan says:

    Cashew cheese, neat!

    I like nuts, but generally only by themselves. In cakes, cookies, stir fries, milk, salads etc, I pick them out. But by themselves I LOVE nuts.

  5. Kim says:

    That’s too funny, when I was out at the grocery store yesterday I debtaed long and hard about buying that Almond milk! They had them on sale at 3 for $5 which I thought was too good to pass up.. but I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not (I don’t like milk) I think I might go back before the week ends and pick some up thoughm thanks!

  6. MizFit says:

    I was so excited about the almond milk.

    presented it to toddler.
    she spit it out.
    I havent tried yet.

    she will eat and drink ANYTHING.


  7. Andrew R - Go Healthy Go Fit says:

    I use this very same product in my protein shakes… it tastes great! Also, Almond milk is a very good substitute for soy milk, especially for guys Thanks for the post!

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

  8. Merry says:

    FBG said: Nuts are misunderstood.

    Frankly, I’ve never felt the urge to try to understand my food 😉

    Nuts taste nasty to me, always have. Thanks for posting about the almond milk — I’d like to get that healthy nut goodness without having to munch the nutty nastiness.

    yoprinsc – how to get the attention of the artist formerly misunderstood as Prince

  9. Anonymous says:

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    Hi, I’m working with a reporter doing a story on holiday weight gain. We’re looking for someone whose generally health but may have put on a few extra pounds recently (5-15 lbs). If you’re willing to have a conversation about some extra pounds you’ve gained, please send me an email.

  10. Every Gym's Nightmare says:

    anything almod- Im all over it.

    Kelly Turner

  11. Juliet says:

    I *love* almond milk!!! Drink it every day. 🙂

  12. Bonnie | free biorhythm says:

    Nice post! 🙂

    I used to avoid nuts & peanut butter due to fear of getting fat, but in recent months I've increased my fat & protein intake and have actually been losing weight (probably because I'm eating less overall due to better feelings of satiety).

    It is actually very easy to make your own almond milk, just put a handful of almonds (whole is fine, or blanched for a whiter milk) in a seed grinder and grind as fine as possible, then put the ground almonds in a blender with a cup or two of water (depending on how creamy you want the milk) and blend. You can be fancy and seive it but I don't bother.

    You can make nut milks in the same manner with other nuts and seeds too, cashew milk particularly nice.

    I sometimes make a hot "chocolate" drink by whizzing up ground almonds, hot water & a teaspoon of carob powder, coffee can be added too as a bonus 🙂

    As a general rule with eating nuts, I generally just eat an amount that I'd be able to logically shell myself (i.e. a handful rather than a whole bag!).

  13. Oh She Glows says:

    Almond breeze is the BEST!!! I have it in original with cereal every morning. Original is only 40 cals per CUP so I used lots 🙂 Its so good.

  14. Not Jillian Michaels says:

    I keep hearing how amazing almond milk is 🙂 I really need to try it.

    I always keep a bag of nuts on me at all times to snack on. Yes they are so under rated!

    Good fat burns fat!!!!

  15. Lila says:

    I drink Almond milk a lot. But the very best nut milk I’ve ever tried was Hazelnut milk. Oh my goodness. It was heaven.


  16. Piper says:

    I put Almond Breeze in my cereal every morning and also add it in my oatmeal. I do not like the taste of regular milk at all, so I think Almond Breeze is the BEST alternative! I have tried Silk, Lactaid, and Rice milk but for someone who is lactose sensitive, I believe that Almond Breeze is the best choice BY FAR. Definitely Definitely recommend it!!!!

  17. Angie says:

    I use plain unsweetened almond breeze in cereal and smoothies. The chocolate one is a nice treat and great in a banana peanut butter smoothie. Haven’t tried cashew butter yet, but plan to. I also love walnuts and pistachios. I’ve found that I eat a lot less of them when I shell them myself.

  18. Janis says:

    I LOVE almond milk! And I am a picky eater! It is a little thicker than milk and that may make picky eaters squimish, so start if off with a bowel of “plain” cereal, like Fiber One, that you usually put sugar in to sweeten it.
    And I could eat cashews all day, every day. I probably eat too much, but I figure it’s better than noshing on the same amount of something less healthy.