ALMONDS AND THEIR ADULTERATION
By Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© February 2011, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Almonds are a delicious source of protein, minerals, vitamins and high-quality unsaturated oil. Almonds are closely related to the peach, plum and apricot. Unlike these other fruits, however, the almond seed is eaten and the fruit discarded.
Almonds are an ancient food. They are mentioned in the bible and elsewhere, for example. Almonds were a staple food among the French and English since medieval times.
VARIETIES OF ALMONDS
Almonds come in two varieties. The sweet almond is eaten whole. A bitter variety is used for its oil to make various cosmetic products and others, as well. Almond oil is a favorite for cosmetics and massage oil. It has been used for centuries as an anti-wrinkle cream when mixed with onion, wax and rose water, for example.
ADULTERATION OF ALMONDS
Sadly, the US federal government has approved irradiation of almonds and then they are allowed to be labeled as “raw”. This is horrible and a gross deception, and must be stopped. Stores that sell these irradiated almonds include Costco (Kirkland brand) and Whole Foods Markets.
To make sure you are getting healthy almonds, please go to the following link:
HOW TO EAT ALMONDS
Because almonds are a fruit, that grows high in the air on a tree, they are very yin in terms of Chinese medicine. For this reason alone, they must be eaten sparingly on a nutritional balancing program.
Also, they are best eaten roasted, as this makes them much more yang in nature. It is true some nutrients are destroyed in the roasting process, and the oil is not as healthful. However, overall, the benefits of roasting seem to outweigh the disadvantages.
Also, as with all nuts and seeds, almonds are best eaten in the form of almond butter, rather than the whole nuts. The reason is that most people do not chew the nuts well enough, so the nutrition in them is not well absorbed. The nut butter should be as fresh as possible, preferably ground at the health food store, if possible. However, most commercial almond butter is fine, providing it is not eaten past its expiration date. Be sure to keep the butter or just almonds refrigerated to preserve freshness. Organic almond butter is best, but the regular almond butter is also okay if the price of the organic nut butter is too high.
Finally, beware of irradiated almonds in the United States. This serious problem is explained in detail below.
ALMOND MILK AND CHEESES
Almond milk and cheeses are sold as a substitutes for animal dairy products. This is a horrible lie. Almonds, while nutritious, do not contain nearly the amount of calcium and many other nutrients as are found in cow or goat milk, especially if the animal milk is raw – unpasteurized and not homogenized. The animal milks are far superior in nutrition and definitely best for a nutritional balancing program.
Also, almond milk and cheeses are much too yin to be eaten in any quantity. Often they also have sugar or other chemicals added to them, which just makes them worse foods. The only time I recommend almond milk is if one cannot tolerate any cow or goat milk, or one cannot obtain raw or Horizon organic milk or other dairy products.
Recipe for almond milk. If you must have almond milk, I suggest making your own, at home. Soak one half cup of almonds overnight in a glass of water. Soaking the almonds softens them and increases their digestibility.
In the morning, throw away the water. Rinse the almonds and then place them in a blender with 2-3 cups of water. Blend until smooth. You may drink the almond milk as is. Other options are to strain the milk through a fine strainer. Preferably, do not add any sweetening to the almond milk. It should be naturally sweet.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The recipe above does not produce a milk suitable for babies and young children. They must have formula, not just almond milk. The book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon contains two formula recipes that are acceptable if breast milk is not available or a baby will not tolerate it. Normally, animal milks are far superior to almond milk for babies and children.
MEDICINAL USE OF ALMONDS
Almonds have a soothing effect on the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. A tablespoon of crushed almonds can be added to 2 1/2 cups of cereal, or the crushed almonds can be added to 1 1/2 cups of warm goat milk and simmered, uncovered, for at least half an hour. Then strain or sip when lukewarm.
According to research by Dr. Gene Spiller in California, the monounsaturated oil in 3 1/2 ounces of almonds daily reduces cholesterol by 10-15%. Also, the Merck Index notes that bitter almonds have been used as a cancer remedy since 1845. There is good evidence that amygdalin or laetrile derived from bitter almonds has anti-cancer activity with very low toxicity.