TIL something new about Cashews (and Paleo diets)
What botanical category do cashews fall into?
I eat cashews myself and use them for baking and to make milk. But today I was wondering about whether cashews are technically allowed on the Paleo diet. So I went searching…
Does it really matter what they are?
In some ways, no, not really. Weston A Price found, during his travels, that all grains, nuts, seeds and legumes were soaked, sprouted or fermented before being eaten by traditional cultures. So either way, you will get maximum nutrition and minimum toxins from soaking your cashews before using them.
But for Paleo diet, nuts and seeds are allowed, and legumes are not. For a raw diet, they would need to be raw. So let’s dig a little deeper.
Are cashews NUTS?
They are often referred to as cashew nuts. Most people think they are nuts. But although in a culinary sense, they are used as nuts, botanically they are not tree nuts.
Are cashews LEGUMES?
Many people who know a bit about nutrition think cashews are legumes.
That’s what I thought myself, which is why I suddenly started thinking some of my recipes might not be Paleo after all. But to my surprise, and relief, I found that no, they are not legumes either.
What are they then?
They are seeds. Specifically the seeds of the cashew apple.
So technically, they are suitable for a Paleo or GAPS diet, and it’s all good to go for making my Grain free, dairy free Pumpkin & Cashew Bread.
Are they raw?
Ah, there’s the rub. Even though some are labelled raw and some are labelled roasted, they have actually all been cooked. This is because the outer shell is toxic, and the entire thing needs to be roasted before the inner seed can be extracted safely.
Apparently there is one small producer in Indonesia who has developed a safe way to extract them without heating, but these are not available in most places.
So if you eat all raw, you may prefer not to include cashews.
Are there any other reasons not to eat cashews?
Like all of the seed foods (grains, legumes, nuts and seeds) they are calorie dense. So be careful with your serving size.
1 oz (28gms, about ¼ cupe thi) of cashews contain:
• Calories – 155
• Fat – 12g
• Carbs – 9g
• Protein – 5g
They are related botanically to poison ivy, mango and pistachios. Some people have bad reactions to them, so if you’re having issues, and eat cashews, consider excluding them for a while.
And remember that, due to the presence of phytic acid, they are better for you if soaked in salty water for one to six hours, then drained and rinsed. You can then use them in a recipe straight away, or dehydrate them till crispy for storage.
Thanks for reading. Back to my series on Dairy tomorrow.
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