Friday, January 20, 2012

Health and Whimsy: Nuts everyday!

Hello ladies,

I snack on seasoned nuts or fruit and nut medleys almost every day. Protein rich, nuts help encourage strong nails, lustrous hair and a bright complexion. Nuts are a heart healthy food. Rich in unsaturated fats and Omega 3 fatty acids, consuming nuts is linked to lower cholesterol. Walnuts are the highest in Omega 3s. I enjoy adding a handful of walnuts to stir fries with mushrooms and root vegetables.

Another benefit of nuts is iron content, which is important for women. About a year ago, my iron levels dropped. I had less color in my cheeks and became exhausted easily. Along with adding more spinach to my diet, nuts became one of my favorite snacks. Nuts also contain dietary fiber.

I rarely return from a shopping trip from Trader Joe's without trying a new nut blend or purchasing a known favorite. Rosemary Pecans and Cranberries along with Thai Chile and Lime Cashews are often found in my cabinet. Sahale Snacks is another well loved brand. I enjoy their Glazed Almonds with cranberries, honey and sea salt, Valdosta Pecans with sweet cranberries, black pepper and orange zest, and Sing Buri Cashews with pineapple, peanuts, lemongrass and mild chili.

Sahale Snacks Sing Buri Cashews

Sahale Snacks Glazed Almonds

Sahale Snacks Valdosta Pecans

Trader Joe's Thai Lime & Chili Cashews

Trader Joe's Rosemary Pecans & Cranberries

As a vegetarian, the most common question I am asked is: How do you get enough protein?. Thankfully, this isn't as difficult as it would seem. My good friend, Cassandra Johnson, Boston area nutrition consultant and coach, suggests the following formula to calculate protein needs: Take your weight in pounds and divide the number by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. Then multiply that number by .8 to get protein grams. 

She also suggests spreading your protein intake throughout the day so your body can use it easily. This provides a steady supply of protein for your cells. In her practice she found that many people eat carbs and fat all day and forget about protein until dinner. A serving of nuts offers an easy fix for this common behavior. My favorite nut mixes contain up to five grams of protein. I often eat a serving of nuts before or after working out to maintain my energy levels.

For those concerned about the calorie content, a quarter cup serving size of nuts is easy to calculate. Simply hold out your hand. The amount of nuts that fits easily into your palm is the perfect amount. You can test this by using a measuring cup to start. I recommend pouring out a single serving size and walking away from the bag!

More progress this past week! I am down another pound, for 25 pounds lost since September 1st. Beginning the seventh week of P90X, I am experiencing noticeable increases in strength. I carried two heavy bags eight blocks from the grocery store and wasn't fatigued. With city living, being able to purchase more items in a single shopping trip helps with efficiency.

Do you ladies enjoy snacking on nuts? Do you have a favorite brand or medley? How was your week in health and fitness? Any news or successes to report?

You can read more about the products mentioned in this feature and discover other healthy snacks at and

Health and Whimsy is intended as a journal of my personal experience. Please consult your doctor before  making any changes to your health regimen. 

Happy painting, ladies!


  1. I really like nuts too! All kinds! But how is your cholesterol level? Mine is very high and people with the cholesterol levels like mine have to pay attention to nuts. I usually eat walnuts with porridge and linseed and I really enjoy it! Porridge and linseed are very good for cholesterol but the walnuts have to be moderate.

    1. My cholesterol levels are good thankfully. Here's a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic about foods to help cholesterol.

      Good news! Nuts are on the list. I'm careful about serving sizes as well, even though they are delicious! I should post about porridge too. So nice in the winter. :)

    2. Thanks you for the link! I'm happy you have nice cholesterol ;)

  2. I love nuts. These mixes sound delicious. It's very easy to overeat nuts. I also found the best way is to pour out your serving size. I love almonds & I want to mix in some spices. The lime & chili sounds really delicious. I lost 6lbs this past week. I cut down on my bread eating. I love baguettes. I was eating a big piece slathered with butter for breakfast every day. I haven't had it for 2 weeks & the scale has shown that. It's also tougher in the Winter for me to eat fruit. I love Summer fruits. My girlfriend bought me some Honey Crisp apples. They are so good & juicy. Glad your doing so well.

    1. Lucy, I knew you'd be back on track quickly. :) I love honeycrisp apples! Those and golden delicious are my favorites. Once I have the serving of nuts in my hand, I seal the bag. I've tried a couple types of lime and chile spiced nuts from Trader Joe's. The cashews are the mildest and the mixed nuts are the most firey. Good stuff! <3


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