The English walnut has a rich, expansive history and the respect of modern science. Here's a veggie burger featuring the walnut from Chef Domnick Mason at the Raj Ayurvedic resort and spa in Fairfield Iowa. The Raj, for the last 25 years has provided a full range of authentic panchakarma treatments to clientele worldwide as well as meals for guests and the community that feature organic foods - much of it local.
This is the recipe for the famous Raj veggie-burger featuring the brain-nourishing, health-supporting walnut. Nuts are considered an important part of the vegetarian diet as they supply fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They contain beneficial phytochemicals. Some contain many different forms of plant sterols, which are believed to help moderate blood cholesterol. Some of the volatile oils in nuts contain antioxidants that help counter free radical damage. Tree nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans contain no cholesterol. Most of the calories in nuts come from fat, but mainly unsaturated fat, and fat performs some essential functions in the body.
According to Ayurveda, nuts of all kinds, in moderation, nut milks and nut butters, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds are excellent for pacifying Vata. Blanched and peeled almonds in moderation, and coconuts, are good for Pitta, as are sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Nuts increase Kapha, but sunflower and pumpkin seeds in moderation are acceptable in a Kapha diet. One walnut a day is good for growing children as it is considered to have "medhya" qualities-nourishing for the brain. Walnuts are considered natural stress-busters. Walnuts are astringent and are fine for people trying to balance Kapha to eat in moderation.
Make sure the nuts you buy are fresh and in season, because rancid oils from nuts can actually increase free radicals and are considered toxic. Nuts can be a little heavy to digest, so it is important to learn how to prepare them so that the body can use them effectively. If you are on a light diet to reduce ama, then it is best to avoid nuts. Eating a handful of nuts along with some raisins helps to digest the nuts and is a popular Ayurvedic snack-great for children after school or on a hiking trip or long car ride.
Nuts have been a food staple for thousands of years in different parts of the world. Nuts can be ground into flours, nut milks, nut butters, and pastes such as almond paste or the popular dessert marzipan. There are a variety of ways to cook with nuts in main dishes, snacks, or desserts. The nutritional oils from almond, cashew, and coconut also make beneficial massage oils, which your skin literally eats. The personal skin care line from Maharishi Ayurveda includes products that contain some of these precious oils as ingredients.
The English Walnuts, called in Latin, 'Juglans regia,' was brought into the United States by Spanish settlers in the 1800's coming to California. But the Spanish were part of a long line of people's and cultures who enjoyed this remarkable food: The ancient Babylonians, the Hebrews, the Greeks, the Persians and the Romans and now us. Enjoy !
Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Recipes © Domnick Mason 2010
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