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Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches: I’m going nuts and you should too

I’m going nuts! No, I’m not going crazy (well, some people might say that), but I am eating tons of nuts daily.

Nuts are an important part of a healthy diet whether you are vegan or not. They are a great source of plant based proteins and healthy fats. They’re also perfect to carry with you to work, school and when you are travelling. I eat nuts during long rides, since they’re usually the healthiest options in corner stores. My nuts of choice during trainings are usually almonds or peanuts (which are actually not nuts, but legumes, but who cares?). After many hours on the bike, I’m usually bonked and craving something salty and crunchy. That’s why nuts usually save me from my bonked and coma-like state and help me get back on my saddle for a few more hours. Since they are a great source of healthy fats and protein and have a low glycemic index, they give you more satiety than gels or energy bars. The saltiness and crunchiness is also something I really crave during a long ride. There are also a few companies that make nut butter individual packages that you can easily carry during long rides or hikes.

Nutritional benefits:

  • Nuts are packed with nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, phytosterol (the stuff that lowers your bad cholesterol!) and other bioactive molecules like polyphenols.
  • Researchers at Harvard have discovered that nuts consumption increases longevity. They have studied over 100 000 people for decades and discovered that those who ate nuts everyday lived longer. Furthermore, daily nuts consumers had fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.
  • Harvard researchers have also found that nut consumption was associated with slimmer waist, less weight gain and lower risk of obesity. So, even though nuts are packed with energy and fats, they’re not linked to an increase in weight — on the contrary.

What are some easy ways increase your nut consumption?

  • In the morning, try adding some almond butter on your toast or on slices of bananas or apples. You could also top your cereals or yogurt with a few nuts.
  • As a snack, bring an apple or some dates with a few almonds or other nuts.
  • For lunch, add some almonds or pistachios on your quinoa salad or eat an almond butter sandwich.
  • For dinner, add some nuts on your squash soups or your arugula and balsamic salad for some extra crunchiness. You could also cook some delicious almond butter pad thai tofu.
  • You can also replace the oil in your salad dressing by some tahini (sesame seed butter) and some lemon juice. It is more nutritious than oil because in addition to the healthy fat it’s also a source of protein. Tahini has a more liquid consistency compared to other nuts or seeds butter but you can add a bit of water to obtain the right consistency.