A smoothie packed with raw almond butter (and fruit and greens) was my go-to breakfast for years because I thought that I was properly fueling my body – ya know, getting in those ‘good’ fats and nutrients from fruits and veggies. There was one big problem…I dealt with stomach aches almost daily after consuming these smoothies. But I chalked it up to anxiety at the time. 

It wasn’t until long after I stopped drinking smoothies that I know the real culprit of the stomach aches.

DUN DUN DUN…NUTS. Specifically, the ALMOND BUTTER.

Now, I didn’t stop eating almond butter or nuts for that matter after I quit the smoothies until a few months ago. And yeah, each time I would eat a substantial amount of almond butter (like 2+ tablespoons), I would get a stomach ache. Still chalked it up to a side effect of anxiety.

And then I came across Dr. Raymond Peat’s work. Ray is a biologist who specializes in hormonal and metabolic health and his approach on nutrition and lifestyle is very different from all the mainstream media views and fads.  

When I first started looking at his research on dairy specifically, I was a little skpetical because what he was saying was so contrary to lots of what I’d learned before. But I leaned in to the triggering approach and applied some of the lifestyle recommendations to my life. And they worked. And they’re still working. Ray Peat challenges you to be a critical thinker when it comes to mainstream advice and in general to start thinking for yourself and not just to follow blindly what mainstream media and governments tell us to do. 

Back to the nuts. 

I read Ray Peat’s research on the negative effects of nuts and then I dove in deeper and explored other outlets and research. I was so.fucking.relieved to realize that my stomach aches were due to the nut intake. Not that I am glad about having had them, but I knew why and it wasn’t from anxiety. I haven’t had one since the last day I consumed a heavy dose of nuts. Side note: yeah, I’ve had some nuts here and there and ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or two recently. 😉 I just don’t go out of my way to eat them now.

Ok, if you’re like, ‘come on Lynn, just get to the damn point’ – here are 3 reasons to re-think your nut (and seed!) intake.

  1. Nuts and seeds contain high levels of the wrong fats

So many people believe nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, which in truth, they are anywhere from only 5% to 30% protein. {via}   The rest of the nuts and seeds calories come from fat.  Personally I have never been scared of eating fats. Have you ever heard the very true saying, “fats don’t make you fat”? However… I am against the anti-metabolic polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s).  Ray Peat also has a ton of information of PUFA’s that I highly recommend reading, which covers what they are, what they’re in, etc. PUFA’s are commonly found in soy, corn, legumes, AND nuts and seeds.  The PUFA’s in nuts and seeds are actually used as protection toward hungry animals and from the cold winter weather.  However, what is protective to the seed has been shown to be toxic to humans.

According to Dr. Ray Peat:

“Polyunsaturated oils defend the seeds from the animals that would eat them, the oils block the digestive enzymes in the animals’ stomachs. In addition, seeds and nuts are designed to germinate in early spring, so their energy stores must be accessible when the temperatures are cool, and they normally don’t have to remain viable through the hot summer months. Unsaturated oils are liquid when they are cold, and this is necessary for any organism that lives at low temperatures. These oils easily get rancid (spontaneously oxidizing) when they are warm and exposed to oxygen. When the oils are stored in our tissues, they are much warmer, and more directly exposed to oxygen, than they would be in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidize is very great. These oxidative processes can damage enzymes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy (cellular respiration).”

  1. Raw nuts contain phytoestrogens.

Phytoestrogens are molecules from plants that resemble the body’s natural estrogen, but do not quite match it. This means that they sit at estrogen receptor sites. Sometimes they increase estrogenic activity – depending on the type of estrogen receptor present in this kind of tissue, say, in this case, the skin – and sometimes they increase it, like in the ovaries.

In either case, eating a lot of nuts can negatively impact female hormone balance. It’s worth noting at this point that combining phytoestrogenicity (this is not a real word) with inflammation is a big problem for menstrual cramps. If you have trouble with cramping and regularly eat nuts, they may be to blame. {via}

  1. Nuts are Trypsin Inhibitors

Nuts and seeds contain trypsin inhibitors.  Trypsin inhibitors, like phytates, are anti-nutrients.  Their function is to protect the seeds of plants from insects by blocking enzyme function. Just another protective mechanism mother nature has given seeds and nuts. These trypsin inhibitors prevent protease enzymes from digesting protein in the human digestive tract.  Therefore, the little bit of protein you may think you are getting from your nuts and seeds may not even be digested. {via}

Ok, now for a medical disclaimer: I am just sharing my experiences and my research here and what works for me – this might not work for you, so please don’t take it as medical advice – instead educate yourself and figure out a lifestyle that supports your optimal health and happiness. I just wanted to share it since my life changed a lot to the better ever since I started to follow my gut (literally), intuition, and research. 

Xx, Lynn