Soaking The Troubles Away: Seeds & Nuts
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Nuts and seeds are a great addition to the dog's meals as they can provide a plethora of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, and more but there are a few things to know about them before just adding them into the bowl.
Each type of nut and seed is going to have a slightly different array of benefits but overall nuts and seeds provide...
Essential Fatty Acids: such as Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) which have not been found essential in dogs and cars but there is evidence that may suggest it aids in a healthy eater barrier. But ALA should not be depended on for the only source Omega-3s as dogs and cats must consume EPA & DHA as they do not convert ALA.
Essential Vitamins & Minerals: Nuts & seeds are a great source of nutrients such as vitamin E, selenium, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, folic acid, and more!
What Type Do I Feed?
There are so many nuts and seeds that it can be hard to know which ones are best to feed!
The most common nuts and seeds fed and benefits are:
⚠️ Toxic seeds & nuts that should be avoided are seeds and pits from fruits such as cherries, apples, avocado, pears, peaches, plums, etc as well as nuts such as macadamia nuts as they are known to cause toxicity.
Preparation Method #1: Soaking
Dogs & cats do not have the biological tools necessary to digest and absorb the nutrients from raw seeds and nuts as they are very high in phytic acid. Phytic acid is an antinutrient that inhibits the absorption of other nutrients when ingested. This just means that it's our job to take the proper steps to prep the plant matter for maximum absorption.
To process seeds & nuts for maximum bioavailability METHOD #1 follow these simple steps:
#1️⃣ Soak: Since nuts and seeds are high in phytic acid, soaking them for 24 hours reduces the phytic acid. Take your nuts and seeds and cover them with water. To the water add 1/4 tsp of sea salt to pink Himalayan salt to .5 quart of filtered water. Optional: add in a splash of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Cover with an airtight lid and let sit for 24 hours. #2️⃣Strain & Rinse: After soaking the nuts & seeds in the salty/acidic water, strain them then rinse them with filtered water once or twice. Discard the water used to soak the nuts and seeds in as it will be high in phytic acid. #3️⃣ Blend + Chop: Now you have a couple of options... you can either blend them in a blender to make a paste, hand chop them into smaller pieces, or dehydrate them in a dehydrator or your oven then grind to make a powder. #4️⃣ Store: I recommend storing the paste or powder in the freezer for maximum nutrient preservation. You can even put them in an ice cube or cute silicone molds for east servings! #5️⃣ Feed: Seeds & nuts are very high in calories so if your dog is an easy keeper, you may want to be wary of how much you feed. But as a general guideline... I usually feed a teaspoon per 15 pounds. I usually won't soak hemp, chia, and flax seeds as they have such a low amount of phytic acid that it's not really worth soaking them. Pro-tip~ you can prep a whole variety of seeds together for a diverse nutrient profile!
Preparation Method #2: Fermenting
Another amazing way to prepare nuts & seeds for consumption is fermentation! In my opinion, fermenting preps the seeds and nuts a lot more than just soaking as they are going to be pre-digested by beneficial bacteria. But it can be hard for some to acquire the whey needed for the fermentation process. If you make your own kefir at home you should have easy access to whey!
To process seeds & nuts for maximum bioavailability METHOD #2 follow these simple steps:
#1️⃣ Gather Supplies: Put 1 cup of nuts/seeds, 1 cup of water, and 5 tablespoons of whey into a glass jar. (Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained).
#2️⃣ Soak: Let soak for 24 hours.
#3️⃣ Strain & blend: Store in the refrigerator and make small batches as they tend to go bad quickly.
#4️⃣ Feed: Seeds & nuts are very high in calories so if your dog is an easy keeper, you may want to be wary of how much you feed. But as a general guideline... I usually feed a teaspoon per 15 pounds.
As always I hope you enjoyed and Always Keep Exploring!