Basket of Walnuts


Nuts: Fats that are Good for You

I once read about a wacky diet on the internet. I can't remember what it was called-nothing anyone's ever heard of-but the gist of it was eating only fruits and nuts. No red meat, chicken, fish or shellfish, pasta, or even a tiny bit of junk food.

Fruits include some vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, in addition to traditional fruits such as banana, papayas, and strawberries. The idea was to eat fruits but combine them with a healthy fat. An example would be a banana with a handful of Brazil nuts or an avocado drizzled with olive oil.

Despite it's wackiness, the principal behind it isn't bad. Nuts in fact are very good for you, and at this time of the year, from Thanksgiving to New Year's nuts--walnuts, chestnuts, almonds, cashews, filberts, hazlenuts, and Brazil to name a few-- are everywhere.

Nuts contain no cholesterol because they are not animal products, protein, fiber, calcium and other minerals, and anti-oxidants, which combat cellular degeneration. Most nuts contain trace amounts of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), which the body converts to the all-important Omega-3 fatty acid.

Walnuts are the Queen of the Nuts in this department. Just a handful will give your body what it needs. I might add that peanuts, despite the "nut" in the name, are actually part of the root system and not a fruit. Nonetheless, they are good for you as well.

By the way, I tried the diet and lost about 8 pounds over the course of two months. Admittidly, that is was probably due more to portion control, not eating red meat, and walking 5 to 6 miles a day (never underestimate the importance of exercise) than eating a fruit-based diet-but you never know.

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Recommended books:
Norfolk Punch

Pumpkin Chic: Decorating with Pumpkins & Gourds

The Williamsburg Cookbook

From Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie

Root Cellars: Storing Fruits & Vegetables