The never-ending battle: trying to find healthy snacks to fill in those gaps between meals. I’ve always liked a snack, especially late afternoon, but since having a baby it’s almost a necessity! Not only does the constant running around and never sitting down mean that I need more energy, but breastfeeding also leaves me needing more calories. But I don’t want unhealthy calories, (I also want to lose the last of this dreaded baby weight!) I want to eat things that my body will appreciate, foods that give me the right sort of energy. If I am eating fatty foods, they should be the right sort of fats, which is where nuts, avocados and coconut oil come in.
This leads me to my next point: the importance of fats in our diet: the recent ‘fat-free’ craze may be causing more issues to our health than we realise. Please stay away from the diets and plans that tell you to stay away from fat, buy fat-free ‘foods’ and that fat is the devil. Of course, an excess of fat is dangerous and will make you put on weight, but anything in excess is not good. Just like animals and plants, we need fat for growth and our babies need it even more. What babies need mostly is fat, protein, vegetables (for other vitamins such as calcium), in that order, and anything else isn’t as essential.
Our bodies cannot make fat, it needs to come from our diet and we rely on it for energy and we can get this through essential fatty acids. Unlike carbohydrates, fat is stored as a ‘reserve’ type of energy. If you eat too much, it will appear as ‘fat’ but in the right amounts your body will thrive from it.
Fats give us myelin, a fatty material which wraps around our nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages. Our brains contain large amounts of essential fats and when we don’t get enough fats through our diets it can cause brain problems. We have seen a huge increase in early-onset dementia in the last ten years and in my humble opinion, part of this is down to our obsession with fat-free diets. People aren’t getting enough fat so their brains aren’t getting what they need and are therefore not developing properly; this lack of fat makes room for brain malfunctions such as dementia and other issues.
I used to think that certain illnesses could certainly be prevented but things like dementia were totally out of our control. WRONG. Diet and lifestyle can basically determine the rest of your life. Then we’ve got the need for omega-3 and omega-6 fats and these control insulin levels so again, even diabetes can be controlled and prevented.
So throw out the ‘fat-free’ and ‘low fat’ foods and, as I always advocate, buy only real, whole, natural foods that are not man-made. Of course it’s easier to buy a whole bunch of fat free, processed foods so that you can lose weight but how much will that benefit us in the long run?
Great foods you can eat to increase your healthy fat intake are avocados, coconut oil and nuts and great foods to increase your omega-3 intake are flaxseeds, walnuts, oily fish and tofu.
I hope this helps explain the need for fats… now onto the recipe…
1.5 cups raw organic almonds, soaked overnight
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tbsp tamari
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and place some baking paper on a baking tray.
Once the almonds have soaked, drain them and pat them dry with a bit of kitchen roll then pop them on the oven tray.
Dollop the coconut oil on top. It will be solid (unless it’s a particularly hot day) so just put it in the oven like this for a minute or 2 until it melts. Once it’s melted, take the tray out and mix it over the almonds then add the tamari and mix it all around.
Leave in the oven for 20 minutes. They should be hard but not burnt. Check on them after 10 minutes.
Keep in an airtight container or ziplock bag (once cooled) for up to 2 weeks.
Love & health,