Instead of throwing out the pulp you are left with after you make nut milk, save it to make this delicious Vegan and Paleo Chocolate Nut Pulp Bites!
Recently, I ended up making a large amount of cashew and almond milk as part of recipe testing I was doing. The process, which I’m sure most of you are familiar with, involves blending together nuts with water, then filtering the whole thing through a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. What you are left with is creamy and delicious nut milk to use however you please, but you are also left with a ton of nut pulp that’s been filtered out through the process.
I used to throw out this nut pulp, or I’ve heard of others putting it in smoothies to add a dose of healthy fat and protein. However, I’m not much of a smoothie drinker (I prefer to chew my food), but really hate the idea of throwing anything out especially when it comes to nuts because they are NOT cheap. So in order save the pulp and put it to good (and SUPER YUMMY) use, I ended up making these Vegan and Paleo Chocolate Nut Pulp Bites.
These delicious and chocolate-y balls are so easy to make. All the work you do is in blending everything together and shaping them into round bites with your hands. But the result is so chewy and decadent that you’ll think you are eating a fancy dessert.
I’ve been enjoying one of these when I’m craving something sweet after my meals, or in the afternoons when I feel like snacking occasionally. I love that these are just sweetened with dates, making it a relatively healthy treat. Next time you aren’t sure what to do with leftover nut pulp, don’t throw it out! Make these tasty Vegan and Paleo Chocolate Nut Pulp Bites instead and you’ll thank me after when you get to taste one of these delicious babies.
Optional, for coating: cacao powder, shredded coconut, or more nut pulp
Combine all ingredients, except the coating, in a food processor or blender and pulse until doughy.
Use a spatula to mix everything together.
Use your hands to shape the dough into 1-1 1/2 inch balls.
To add coating, roll each ball in the coating of your choice.
Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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You can’t. There’s no such thing as “healthy grains.” STOP EATING THEM RIGHT NOW.
Just kidding. When I used to be strict Paleo, that’s what I believed. This isn’t completely true. I think one of the main reasons some people get turned off by the Paleo diet is its restriction on grains. However, there are ways to include them in our diet that are healthful and helpful.
What’s wrong with grains?
One of the reasons grains have gotten such a bad rap in the Paleo community is because most people cannot properly digest grains, as well as beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes. They all contain something called the phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of beneficial minerals in the body. Phytic acid is contained in the outer coating of grains, and no matter how healthy and mineral-rich your favorite beans are, you aren’t digesting its nutrients and benefits, and ingesting them can do you more harm than good.
In addition, most consumption of grains in the modern world are not in their whole, unrefined forms. Refined grains in bread, pasta, cereal, and chips are manmade concoctions and actually strip our bodies of our bodybuilding nutrients. This happens because these products are processed and are considered “empty carbs” without any nutritional value, and as we consume them, our bodies try to maintain its vitamin, mineral, and enzyme levels by pulling them from our own reserves. This leads to major deficiencies and digestion problems. It’s no wonder that we are getting sicker and sicker as a society when we still see grains on the bottom of the food pyramid and most of us are eating them in their highly refined states.
To make matters worse, regularly eating refined grains and high intake of carbohydrates spike up our blood sugar causing a surge in our insulin level, which attempts regulate the high glucose intake. With the sudden spike in insulin, our blood sugar dips again as our cells absorbs the glucose from the blood very quickly. The constant blood sugar roller coaster and depletion of nutrients that our modern diet puts us through contributes significantly to the spike in the rate of obesity, diabetes, allergies, and autoimmune diseases we see today.
So… what grains can I eat?
People say to me that we have been eating bread for about 10,000 years so it couldn’t be bad for us. You even see it in the Bible. But guess what? Consumption of grains has never been as high as today in our history, and our ancestors ate grains in their whole, complex forms that were properly prepared.
What does “properly prepared” mean? Traditional diets consisted of grains that were soaked, sprouted, and/or fermented. This process greatly increases the ability for us digest and absorb their nutrients by activating the phytase enzyme, which reduces the level of phytic acid. If you do not want to give up your grains, I recommend you purchase sprouted grains and flours at Whole Foods or natural grocery stores. You can even soak and sprout them at home. I do this with any kinds of raw nuts or grains I purchase and it makes a huge difference in my digestion.
If you are super lazy like me sometimes, jasmine or white rice is an exception to the rule. Jasmine and white rice have been milled and the outer layer has been stripped, so there is a very low amount of phytic acid that exists and they are easy on the digestion. Contrary to popular belief, while brown rice contains more nutrients, they are not readily available to the body because they contain a high level of phytic acid which negates their benefits once ingested. However, to include more variety in your grain intake and gain all the benefits, here’s how you can soak and sprouts grains, as well as beans, nuts, and seeds.
How to soak and sprout grains, beans, nuts, and seeds
1. Always use organic and raw grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
2. In a glass jar, soak in water with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. The amount of water should be about double the content you are soaking. The length of time varies, and you may need to change the water every 12 hours for longer soaking times. See the helpful guide above from http://wakeup-world.com/.
2. If only soaking, drain and cook as normally would. Soaking will shorten the cooking time for grains and beans. If you are soaking nuts or seeds, you can dehydrate them for 12 hours after, or keep them in the refrigerator and eat them slightly moist.
3. To sprout, drain and rinse. Place back in the jar and cover the jar with a cloth secured with a rubber band. In a dark area, place the jar on its side propped at an angle so the lid side is lower than the bottom of the jar. Place a bowl where the lid is so it can catch the water.
4. Rinse and drain every 12 hours while repeating step 3 for 1-5 days (refer again to the guide above for the length of time). When they are sprouted you’ll see small tails emerging at the end.
5. You can cook them immediately, store them in the refrigerator if you are using them in the next few days, or dehydrate them to make them last even longer. After dehydrating them, you can make sprouted flour by grinding them in the blender or food processor.
While it may seem like a lengthy process, it’s a necessary one if you want to gain the health benefits from these complex carbohydrates, and it ensures that you are digesting them properly. I also think that this keeps our intake in check. Refined grains are so easy access, which allows us to ingest them in way more quantity than we should. The traditional process of soaking and sprouting grains allows us to value these nutrients more, while helping us consume a more balanced ratio of this macronutrient.