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Is The Keto Diet Safe?

Although low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, maybe nothing new, the ketogenic diet takes the low-carb principle to whole new levels. Rather than simply asking that you reduce your carbohydrate intake, the ketogenic diet requires you to drastically cut your carbohydrates to somewhere usually between 50g and 20g a day! To put that into perspective, a single large banana can contain 31g of carbohydrates, and a cup of peas contains 21g, meaning that on the ketogenic diet, you’re not only cutting out bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes but other less obvious sources of carbohydrate sources too. 


In addition to requiring that you virtually eliminate carbs from your diet, you must also increase your fat intake to enter ketosis. The keto diet typically requires that 75% of your daily calories be obtained from fat sources, with 20% obtained from protein and the final 5% from carbs. Once in ketosis, your body can start to use fat as its primary energy source. 

Does The Keto Diet Work?

There’s no doubt about it - when followed correctly, the keto diet has been proven to successfully reverse obesity, reduce the medication dependence of type-2 diabetics, and improve metabolic health markers. It has even been used to help treat heart disease, slow down the development of neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, stop epileptic seizures, and to help treat certain types of cancer - but the question remains - is it safe? 

Is The Keto Diet Safe?

Generally speaking, most professionals agree that the keto diet is safe and beneficial when followed for short periods of time - typically between two to six months or up to two years when monitored by a doctor. But no one really knows what would happen if you followed the keto diet indefinitely. Some studies on animals have suggested that following a ketogenic diet for an extended period of time could have negative effects on the body, including insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. These adverse side effects are due to the high amount of fat required in the ketogenic diet, which could prove to be unhealthy if consumed in the long term. Although we have animal studies to suggest that the keto diet would not be suitable as a prolonged lifestyle choice, there have yet to be any long-term studies conducted on people. 

The Bottom Line 

At the end of the day, most people who try the keto diet are doing so to help them lose weight or to enable them to better control an illness or medical condition such as PCOS, diabetes, or epilepsy. Although it is agreed that eating a low carbohydrate diet and consuming a large quantity of fat may not be healthy in the longer term, the side effects of following the keto diet for a short period of time are far less dangerous than those associated with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes should the individual fail to take any action at all. 


As with all significant changes to your way of eating, if you are thinking of starting the keto diet, it is always good to speak to a doctor or licensed medical professional beforehand. 

June 07, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: diets

Is Walnut Milk A Thing?

You’ve probably heard of almond milk, macadamia milk, and possibly even hazelnut milk, but the latest nut milk that’s all the rage is walnut milk. But before you get into the ins and outs of walnut milk, check out this article.

What Is Walnut Milk?

As the name suggests, walnut milk is a dairy-free milk alternative made using walnuts. Although the idea of turning hard, dry walnuts into milk may seem strange, it’s actually a surprisingly easy process and produces a deliciously nutty, creamy, and nutritious drink. 

The Health Benefits Of Drinking Walnut Milk

When it comes to walnut milk, not all walnut drinks are created equal, and the health benefits you can expect to gain will depend on the quantity and quality of nuts used. While some walnut milk is barely more than a water emulsion, other brands use more nuts, and therefore more of the nuts' health benefits make it into the final drink. If you’re looking to boost your intake of healthy fats or are trying to consume more antioxidants, then eating walnuts in their whole form is your best bet. However, if you’re looking for a nutritious, dairy-free milk alternative, walnut milk is definitely worth trying. 

How To Make Walnut Milk

There are plenty of jokes about how to best milk a nut, but the truth is, nuts aren’t milked, and their journey to becoming nut milk usually starts in a blender. Here’s how to make your own walnut milk at home. Before you begin, check out these 5 tips on how to make sure you're getting fresh, high quality walnuts.

You Will Need: 

To make 4 cups of walnut milk.

2 cups of high quality shelled walnuts 

4 cups of water 

1 teaspoon of sea salt 

A nut milk bag

Optional: Maple syrup, sweetener, or agave for a sweetened version

Turning Walnuts Into Walnut Milk:

To get the most out of your walnuts, you will need to soak them overnight. Add your walnuts to a bowl and cover them with cold water, leaving them at room temperature to soak overnight.  

Once your walnuts have soaked, drain away their water and rinse them clean. 

Add your soaked walnuts, 4 cups of water, and sea salt to a blender. If you’re making sweetened milk, then add in your sweetener at this stage too. 

Blend everything together at high speed until finely ground and the water looks opaque. 

To create smooth milk, you now need to strain your walnut milk mixture using a nut milk bag or a fine cheesecloth. You may need to do this a couple of times. Give the pulp a massage to ensure that you capture as much liquid as possible. 

And that’s all there is to it. Bottle up your walnut milk and keep it in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. You will need to shake the bottle before you use it. 

How To Use Your Walnut Pulp

Whenever you make any kind of nut milk, you’re always going to be left with a pile of pulp. Nut pulp is still extremely nutritious and is packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats - so don’t throw it away! Here are some things to do with your leftover nut pulp. 

Add It To A Smoothie

Freeze your nut pulp into an ice-cube tray and add an ice cube whenever you want some extra fiber in one of your smoothies. If you drink many smoothies, you can keep your pulp fresh in the fridge for 1-2 days. 

Make It Into Muffins

If you’re making walnut milk, then a tray of coffee and walnut muffins are definitely on the cards. Simply add your walnut pulp to your muffin mixture, and away you go. If your walnut pulp is still quite wet, then you may need to adjust your ratio of wet to dry ingredients. 

Bake It Into Granola

Finally, spread your nut pulp evenly on a baking tray and bake until golden and crisp for an easy, nutty granola base. Throw in some oats, raisins, cinnamon, and seeds to create your own granola mix without wasting anything from your nut milk. 

June 04, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: walnuts

4 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks For Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is fairly common, occurring in 3-5% of all pregnancies. To put that into perspective, 1 in every 20 pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy, so if you are one of them, then you are not alone. 

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it simply means that you have high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) during your pregnancy. Gestational diabetes tends to develop in the later stages of pregnancy, typically between 24 and 28 weeks in the third trimester. In most women, gestational diabetes can be managed through diet and exercise during their pregnancy and will disappear on its own after the baby is born. 

What Should You Eat If You Have Gestational Diabetes?

If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, then your doctor will likely manage your condition by recommending a healthy diet and gentle exercise rather than using medication. This means trying to eat protein with every meal, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, limiting processed foods, and trying not to overeat. Snacking is also an important way to manage gestational diabetes as it can help to keep your blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day. 

Healthy Snacks For Gestational Diabetes 

Snacking is a great way to keep your blood sugar levels stable between your meals and can also help to prevent overeating at mealtimes. Some healthy snacks to consider include: 

  • Veggies and Hummus

Vegetables are a great snack on their own but become even better when paired with a protein-rich dip such as hummus. Hummus is a great dip for veggies because it contains chickpeas, which are high in fiber and protein. 

  • Berry Oatmeal 

Swap out sugary cereals for wholesome oatmeal made with rolled oats and cooked with berries for some natural sweetness. For extra protein, why not top your oats with a sprinkling of seeds? 


  • Veggie Chips

If you’re a fan of regular potato chips, then swap them out for healthier vegetable chips. Vegetables like sweet potato, carrot, and butternut squash are processed differently within the body and are better for diabetics than regular potatoes. 

  • Nuts

Lastly, for a plant-based protein-packed snack, grab a handful of your favorite nuts. Nuts are one of the most highly recommended snacks for diabetics because they do not spike your blood sugar levels and have even been found to reverse type-2 diabetes. Although all nuts are beneficial in their own way, it is best to avoid salted nuts where possible and to stick to plain raw or roasted varieties.

Can You Eat Fruit With Gestational Diabetes?

It’s a common misconception that you can no longer eat fruit if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The key to eating fruit without spiking your blood sugar levels is to moderate your portions and to stick to varieties with less sugar. Berries are a great choice because they are quite low in sugar and high in fiber, whereas grapes or bananas are higher in sugar and so should be eaten more sparingly. When it comes to dried fruit, once again, moderation is key, and it is important to remember that dried fruit contains the same amount of sugar as fresh fruit, just in a much smaller package. Some dried fruit is also dried with extra sugar for more sweetness, so try to stick to unsweetened varieties and weigh out your portions to prevent you from eating too much. 

June 04, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: pregnancy

Five Reasons Why Nuts And Seeds Are The Real Superfoods

There’s no doubt about it; superfoods exist but, in a world where marketing can so easily sway public opinion, it can be hard to know which superfoods really are super and which are simply an over-priced store cupboard ‘essential.’ 


If you haven’t guessed it already, here at Ayoub’s, we’re very passionate about nuts and seeds. Time and time again, we have seen these wonderful ingredients relegated to the end of superfood lists or even left off altogether when really they should be up there at the very top. 


We’ll admit it, humble nuts and seeds may not be as sexy or exciting as bright purple acai berries or chlorella powder that will turn any smoothie a vivid green color, but that doesn’t make them any less nutritious. 


Here are our five reasons why we think nuts and seeds are the real unsung superfoods! 

  • They’re A Great Source Of Plant-Based Protein

Increasingly, whether for health reasons, for the planet, or due to ethical concerns, more and more people are reducing their intake of animal products. Without meat, dairy, or eggs in your diet, it is essential to look for plant-based sources. There are dozens of fantastic plant-based protein sources, including, you guessed it - nuts and seeds! A single tiny 28g serving of almonds contains a massive 6g of protein, while the same serving of pumpkin seeds contains 5.8g.

  • They’re Packed With Antioxidants

When we think of antioxidants, we often jump straight to berries like blueberries, goji berries, or acai berries and forget that nuts and seeds are also exceptional sources of these cancer-fighting vitamins. Walnuts, in particular, are one of the richest sources of antioxidants there is, ranking second out of 1113 of the foods most commonly eaten in the United States

  • They’re Good For Your Gut

In recent years, a growing amount of research has uncovered the connection between a healthy gut and a healthy body, and the key to a healthy gut is a healthy gut microbiome. In order to grow a healthy gut microbiome, you need to be feeding your good gut bacteria by eating enough fiber. A one-ounce serving of chia seeds provides a massive 35% of your DV for fiber. A one-ounce serving of flaxseed provides 28% and a handful (one-ounce) serving of pumpkin seeds provided 19%! To put that into perspective, you’d need to eat four cups of chopped kale to consume the same amount of fiver as there is in 2tbsp of chia seeds! 

  • They’re Accessible

Because of the rise in superfoods like acai berries, blue-green algae, chlorella, and barley grass powder, many people now see superfoods as expensive, exotic, and largely hard to find when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the best superfoods like nuts, seeds, and vegetables like broccoli can be found in any grocery store and are extremely accessible making it easy for anyone to start eating a healthier diet. 

  • They’re Full Of Healthy Fats

Fats aren’t created equal - in fact, some fats like those found in nuts and seeds, are actively beneficial to the body. The key difference between the kind of fat in nuts and the kind of fat in a custard tart is that the fat in nuts and seeds is largely monounsaturated. Unlike saturated fats which clog up your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease, monounsaturated fats are actually beneficial for heart health, helping to remove fat from your arteries and lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels. 



So there you have it. As you can see, nuts and seeds have a lot going for them and have definitely earned their place on the superfood list!

June 03, 2021 by Gillian Brady

How To Celebrate Father's Day Safely During COVID-19

Father’s Day is a day for celebration. It is a time to get together with those you love most and give thanks to the father figures in your life. Ordinarily, visiting your dad, step-dad, father-in-law, or fatherly friend wouldn’t need any further thought, but due to COVID-19, many families worldwide are needing to re-think their Father’s Day plans. If you’re still in a national lockdown, have family members who are self-isolating, or cannot travel to visit family this year, then here are a few ways that you can celebrate Fathers Day. 

Go Virtual 

Although nothing beats visiting in person, meeting virtually on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or HouseParty are good alternatives. Sometimes a simple chat is all you need, but if you’re looking to inject a little more fun into your video conferencing session, then why not set up a Father’s Day family quiz with questions designed to evoke some of your and your family’s favorite memories about your dad. 

Make Your Card Rather Than Buying It

If you tend to send a greetings card for Father’s Day, then consider making it yourself this year rather than buying one from a store. During these extraordinary times, it’s often the little things that make the most significant difference, like making a card or gift yourself rather than buying one off the shelf. Home-made keepsakes have an additional layer of meaning and evoke the spirit of what Father’s Day is really about. 

Drop Off A Cake 

If restrictions in your area allow it, then another thoughtful way to show your appreciation to someone you love this Father’s Day is to drop them off a Father’s Day cake. Doorstop drop-offs are much safer than meeting indoors and will let you say a socially distanced ‘hello’ to a loved one without entering their personal space. If you’re looking for some Father’s Day cake ideas, then check out our post here. 

Plan An Outside Walk

Once again, if your local restrictions allow it, then you may be able to meet up with one or more of your family members for an outside walk. Choose a unique or picturesque location that is local to you, and remember to dress for the weather! To remain extra safe, you may want to consider wearing masks or walking a short distance apart from one another. 


Send A Gift That Will Give Him Something To Do

Finally, if you want to send your father a gift, then why not send him something that will help him break the boredom of staying at home. If your dad is fond of the kitchen, then why not send him some delicious ingredients and a recipe to create a cake or father’s day dinner? If he’s into art and crafts, then you could sign him up for a craft subscription box, allowing him to have a go at something new and to keep his hands busy! 


These are just a few of the things you could do in place of celebrating Father’s Day together this year. Whatever you choose to do, we’re sure your father will appreciate it.

June 03, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: lifestyle

The Ultimate Father's Day Gift Guide - 2021

Father’s Day is a chance to say thank you to your father or any of the other father figures in your life. Although gift-giving isn’t mandatory, many people still choose to express their gratitude by purchasing or making their loved-one a gift. If you’re struggling with what to buy, then take a look at some of the suggestions outlined below and see if they give you some inspiration. 

Self Care Items

Everyone deserves a bit of self-care once in a while, and your dad is no exception. Self-care items such as a grooming kit, a new bathrobe, a scent, or a new set of skincare products may be items that they wouldn’t think to buy themselves but will still be much appreciated. 

Handy Gadgets

Whether your father has embraced the 21st century or is still a little hesitant about technology, there’s always a gadget that could make his life easier. Some items to consider in this category include a set of wireless headphones, a portable charger, a penlight, a smart speaker, a Kindle, or smart sockets. 

Car Accessories 

Not all dads love cars, but those that do will always appreciate something for their vehicle. Seat covers, floor mats, and cleaning materials never go a miss for the off-road adventurer, while upmarket gadgets like a car diffuser, car coffee maker, or even a small car hoover make a thoughtful gift that few dads will already have. 

Food And Drink

If your dad’s a big foodie, then an artisanal hamper filled with high-quality snacks, sweets, and drinks will always go down a treat. Why not customize one to his tastes, making sure to add in a few new things to try too. 

Experiences 

For the dad who has everything or who doesn’t want a physical gift, then an experience day is the perfect present. Why not book him onto a wine-tasting course, or give him a voucher related to his favorite sport? To make the day extra special, you may want to book yourself one too so that you can spend the day making memories together. 

Something Sentimental 

You don’t always need to spend a ton of money to give your dad a fantastic Father’s Day gift. Sentimental DIY presents such as a handwritten letter, a poem, or a photo album containing pictures of you both are often some of the best gifts you can give, and they also happen to cost very little. 

Cook For Him 

Last but not least, another great way to say thank you to your dad is to cook him a meal or bake him a Father’s Day cake. Cooking a meal or baking for someone is a very personal gift and shows a lot of thought and care. If you aren’t great in the kitchen, then you could take your dad out for a meal, giving him the gift of a great evening and some quality time with yourself.

June 03, 2021 by Gillian Brady

Cashews- Everything You Need To Know

What Are Cashews?

Like many nuts, cashews have an identity crisis. While in most instances, they’re categorized as nuts, botanically speaking, they’re actually seeds. That’s right, like almonds and walnuts, cashews are drupes, which means they’re technically a seed and not a nut. Knowing that cashews are seeds, it starts to make a lot more sense that they grow on trees and alongside their fruit, known as a cashew apple. 

What Is A Cashew Apple? 

Many people are surprised to learn that cashews grow alongside a fruit known as a cashew apple, better known in Central America as marañón. Cashew apples are the accessory fruit of the cashew tree, meaning that they don’t grow from the ovary of the plant, but instead grow from the stem of the cashew. Cashew apples only begin developing in the final few weeks of the cashew growing season, just before the cashew nuts drop from the tree. Once ripe, the cashew apple and accompanying cashew nut drop to the ground together where, in the wild, they would be eaten and distributed by animals. 


It’s very uncommon to see cashew apples in the United States and Europe because they don’t travel very well. Instead, they’re often consumed locally, or in Goa, they’re pressed into a juice and fermented into alcohol known as Feni.  



Where Do Cashews Grow

Cashew nuts grow on the cashew tree, Anacardium occidentale. This tall, tropical plant is native to Northwestern Brazil but has subsequently been transported all over the world. There’s not a lot of information about how cashews spread from Brazil to India and Africa, but the story goes that in 1558 the native tribespeople of the Tupi Indians, showed Portuguese travelers their cashew trees and how they safely harvest cashew apples and cashew nuts. 


Intrigued by this new tree and its exotic fruit, these Portuguese travelers took cashew seeds with them on their journey, bringing cashew trees to Goa in around 1560 and then onto India soon after. By the second half of the 16th century, cashews had spread across Southeast Asia and other parts of Africa, where they quickly became a food staple and a valuable product for export abroad.

Top Cashew Producing Countries

Despite being the birthplace of cashews, Brazil is barely hanging on to its top-ten spot when it comes to the top cashew-producing countries of the world. In 2019, the Ivory Coast topped the list, with Brazil hanging out all the way down in tenth place. 

  1. Côte d'Ivoire
  2. India
  3. Burundi
  4. Vietnam 
  5. Philippines 
  6. Tanzania 
  7. Benin
  8. Mali 
  9. Guinea-Bissau 
  10. Brazil 

How Do Cashews Grow?

Once planted, it takes roughly three years for a cashew seed to grow into a tree that will start producing cashews, but most producers must wait a further 5-8 years before harvesting their first commercial cashew harvest. 


A healthy and happy cashew tree will produce fruit and cashews every year, which are usually ready to harvest between February and May, depending on the climate. Once matured, both the cashew nut and its cashew apple will naturally fall to the ground, where they can be ground-harvested by hand or by machine. 


From here, the cashews that we eat must first be separated from their shells and heat-treated to remove any trace of the toxin urushiol. 

Can You Grow Cashews At Home?

Cashew trees thrive in hot countries, which means that you may struggle to produce your own cashews at home unless you have a huge heated greenhouse or live in the tropics. If you want to give it a try, remember that cashew trees can grow to be 46 feet tall, so you may want to stick to a dwarf variety. If eight years waiting sounds like too much, then you can always get your cashew fix from us here at Ayoub’s. 




Are Raw Cashews Poisonous?

A little-known fact about cashew trees is that they come from the same plant family as poison ivy. This means that both cashew leaves and cashew shells contain toxic levels of urushiol, an oil that can cause a very itchy rash. Cashew nuts themselves do not contain this poison but are contaminated with it by their shells. The good news is, urushiol is broken down by heat which is why all cashews undergo steaming or roasting to remove their shells and make them safe to eat.

Does That Mean That Raw Cashews Aren’t Really Raw? 

Raw cashews that are sold in stores aren’t technically raw nuts because they have undergone some heat treatment, but they can still be labeled as raw if they haven’t been roasted or flavored. For strict raw vegans, this could eliminate cashews from their diet, but most raw vegans allow them. 

What Happens If You Eat Truly Raw Cashews?

Coming into contact with urushiol either by touching broken cashew leaves or the sap inside cashew shells won’t kill you, but it will give you a nasty rash. There haven’t been many studies on the effects of consuming unprocessed raw cashews, but studies in mice showed them to break out in an itchy rash. 


It’s also important to realize that people react differently to urushiol. While some people may not experience any side effects at all, others will get a rash, and some could experience a serious allergic reaction. If you were to eat a lot of raw unprocessed cashews, then this reaction could even be fatal. 



7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Eating Cashews 

If all this talk of urushiol and poisons has started to put you off cashews, then let us encourage you to think again! After steaming, cashews are 100% safe to eat and provide so many amazing health benefits. Here are just seven ways that cashews are good for you. 

  • Cashew Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight

While cashews may be high in fat and quite calorically dense, they’re still one of the best snacks for people who are trying to lose weight. A one-ounce serving of cashews contains 157 calories and 12g of fat, but most of their fat content is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Unlike saturated fat, which isn’t good for you, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat are actually beneficial. 


Monounsaturated fat, in particular, can actually help people to burn their fat stores by turning stored fat into free fatty acids that are easier for the body to use for fuel. Aside from being packed with healthy fats, cashews are also a good source of copper, which helps boost your metabolism, and they’re a great source of protein and fiber, which help keep you feeling full for longer. 

  • Cashews Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

If you have hypertension, then you should consider adding more cashews to your diet! Like many other nuts, cashews are full of healthy fats, which can help to lower levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in your blood and increase levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, lowering total cholesterol levels overall. Cashew nuts are also a great source of potassium and magnesium, which are proven to help relax blood vessels and counteract a high-sodium diet. 

  • Cashews Can Reduce Sugar Spikes In Diabetics

Raw cashews are an excellent snack for people with diabetes. They’re low in sugar and high in fiber, which means that they won’t spike your blood sugar. Like many other nuts, when consumed in moderation, cashews can be extremely beneficial for people who are pre-diabetic or who have type-2 diabetes. 

  • Cashew Nuts Can Help To Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease can be caused by many factors, two of which are high levels of bad cholesterol and narrowed blood vessels. The good news is, cashews can help to lower total cholesterol and increase vascularity. Despite being a calorific nut, cashews are packed with heart-healthy fats; therefore, when eaten in moderation, they can help to keep your heart healthy and prevent heart disease. 

  • Cashew Nuts Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Stroke 

Cashew nuts not only reduce a person's risk of heart disease but can lower their risk of stroke too. Magnesium found in cashews can help to lower blood pressure, helping to prevent hemorrhagic strokes in people with weakened blood vessels.  

  • Cashew Nuts Help To Repair Muscle Tissue 

If you like going to the gym, then you've probably heard of BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids). BCAA’s help muscle tissue to recover after strenuous activity, which is why they’re often supplemented by bodybuilders. Cashews may not contain as much total protein per serving as some other nuts, but they have one of the highest levels of BCAA’s, specifically valine. 

  • Cashews Help To Combat Negative Effects Of The Keto Diet

Lastly, cashews are a great nut to include on the keto diet. Although they may have a slightly higher carb content than some other nuts, their healthy fats, and micro-nutrient content outweigh their negatives. Particularly for people consuming a lot of saturated fat, nuts such as cashews can help to lower their cholesterol levels and keep their vascular systems healthy. 




Can Dogs Eat Cashews?

While cashews are considered extremely healthy for humans, they don’t tend to be fed to dogs. This isn’t because they’re poisonous but more so because they’re calorific. 

So Cashews Aren’t Toxic To Dogs?

That’s right, cashews, like almonds and peanuts, are safe for dogs to eat but just because they aren’t poisonous doesn’t mean you should feed them to your dog all the time. Here are some of the key reasons why you should be cautious about feeding cashews to your dog. 

  • Cashews Are Calorie Dense

Like all nuts, cashews are a nutrient powerhouse, but this also means that they are very calorie-dense. While humans should limit their portion of cashews to one ounce at a time, dogs should only be eating one or two nuts and fairly infrequently. This is because most dogs tend to require far fewer calories than humans and can quickly become overweight when fed high-calorie treats.

  • Cashews Are High In Fat

Almost all of the calories in cashews come from fat. Although cashews are filled with good kinds of fat, they’re still a fatty food and can upset your dog’s stomach. Feeding your dog a high-fat diet can also result in a condition known as pancreatitis that can be fatal. Feeding your dog a small amount of fat is usually fine, but it’s important to remember that they don’t need to eat as much as humans, and so their portion sizes should be smaller. 

  • Dogs Can Choke On Cashews

Cashews and all other nuts are a big choking hazard. Their size and shape make them a perfect obstruction, and so it is essential to chop them or grind them into nut butter before feeding them to your dog. If you are going to feed your dog whole cashews, then watch them carefully for any signs of choking. 

  • Cashews Can Be Contaminated

Finally, it’s important to remember that not all nuts are safe for dogs. Macadamias, in particular, are highly toxic, so you should never feed your dog cashews from a bag of mixed nuts. Chocolate is another ingredient to watch out for, and seasoned cashews can contain high levels of sodium. 

  • Can Dogs Be Allergic To Cashews?

Dogs can develop nut allergies just like humans can. If you’re feeding your dog nuts for the very first time, then only feed them a very small amount and watch them closely to see if they have a reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, head shaking, and face rubbing. If you suspect that your dog is having a reaction to nuts, then take them to the veterinarian and don’t feed them nuts again. 

  • How To Feed Cashews To Your Dog Safely

Dogs don’t need cashews in their diet, but if they scavenge a couple or are begging you to try one, then they’re not going to cause any harm. If you do want to feed cashews as a part of your dog's diet, then just remember that they are high in calories and high in fat, so they won’t need very many. To prevent inhalation or choking, you may want to chop your cashews or grind them into a nut butter - nut butter is a great filler for Kong toys and can also help to keep dogs occupied in the bath! 




How To Make Your Own Cashew Cream

For a non-dairy cream alternative that is as thick and creamy as the real deal, then look no further than cashew cream. In recent years, cashew cream has become fairly mainstream and is now used in a wide range of vegan and dairy-free recipes and can even be found in some whole food stores. One of the reasons why cashew cream has become so popular is because of the growing number of people following a plant-based or vegan diet, but you don’t need to be dairy-free to enjoy cashew cream. 


Cashew cream is also a healthier alternative to conventional dairy cream. Although cashews may be high in fat, they’re packed with the good kinds of fat that actually help to keep your heart healthy and can even lower your cholesterol levels. 


If you’re looking for a cream substitute, then here’s how to whip up a batch of cashew cream from the comfort of your own home. 

You will need: 

Method:

  1. The key to a smooth cashew cream is well-soaked cashews. If you haven’t done so already, then you need to soften your cashews by soaking them in water. If you don’t want to wait, then the quickest way to do this is by covering them with boiling water and allowing them to sit for as long as you can (ideally, at least 20 minutes). For a super-smooth cashew cream, try to soak your cashews overnight.
  2. Add your soaked cashews, half a cup of cold water, and ¼ teaspoon of salt to a high-speed blender and blend together until they are smooth.
  3. If your cashew cream is a little thick, then add in some more water.
  4. Scrape down the sides of your blender a couple of times to remove any lumps. 

And that’s it! Cashew cream really is quick and simple to make.

Flavoring Your Cashew Cream

Cashew cream doesn’t need to be flavored to taste amazing, but if you fancy a sweeter cream, then try adding in a couple of pitted Medjool dates or a dash of agave nectar with some vanilla extract. For chocolate cream, add in some cocoa powder and agave nectar. For a cream-cheese style sauce, add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and a dash of garlic powder. And for a spicy, savory cream, throw in a chopped chili or some chili powder and a dash or two of smoked paprika. You get the idea. 

How To Store Cashew Cream

If you aren’t going to use your cashew cream right away, then pour it into a jar or container with a lid and keep it refrigerated. Cashew cream can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. It’s not uncommon for cashew cream to split a little if left standing, so give it a good shake before using. If you like to plan ahead and want to make a big batch of cashew cream, then you can also freeze it for use at a later date. When freezing cashew cream, always cover it to avoid freezer burn and allow it to thaw before using. If your frozen cashew cream splits when melting, then add it back into your blender and give it a quick blend to bring it back together. 




How To Make Three Types of Cashew Cheese

With just a slight alteration, you can quickly turn cashew cream into many different types of cashew cheese. Although cashews don’t ferment like conventional dairy, they can be manipulated into cheese-flavored sauces, a cream-cheese substitute, and even a set, sliceable cheese! 

What Do You Need To Make Cashew Cheese?

Whether you’re making a solid cashew cheese or a creamy cashew cheese sauce, you need the same five essential ingredients. 


  • Raw cashews
  • Lemon juice
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Salt 
  • Water 

With these base ingredients and some extra flavorings, you can create dozens of different types of cashew cheese!

How To Make A Cashew Cheese Sauce

For a rich and creamy mac-n-cheese, look no further than a cashew cheese sauce. 

You Will Need: 

  • 4 cups of raw soaked cashews
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2-3 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder (or a clove of garlic)
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika 
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil 
  • 0.5-1 tbsp of sea salt

To Make Your Cashew Cheese Sauce

Making cashew cheese is as simple as throwing all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and processing them until they’re smooth. That’s all there is to it! 


Once added to your pasta, cashew cheese sauce tends to thicken a little. If you prefer a runnier sauce, then just add in some extra water. 


Everyone likes their mac-n-cheese slightly different. So feel free to spice your sauce up with extra garlic, pickle juice, or even the odd chili or two for some extra spice. 

How To Make Cashew Cream Cheese 

Whether you spread it on crackers, add it to your sandwich, or use it as a dip, you have to try cashew cream cheese. We’ve kept this recipe super-simple, but feel free to add in garlic, chives, or sundried tomatoes for extra depth of flavor!

You will need:

  • 1 cup of soaked raw cashew nuts 
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt 
  • Pinch of freshly ground back pepper 
  • To Make Your Cashew Cream Cheese
  • Like cashew cheese sauce, cashew cream cheese is also a one-step recipe. Just add all of your ingredients to a food processor and process them together. 

Although cashew cream cheese can be made in a blender, it does tend to work best in a food processor. If you only have a blender, then keep scraping the sides down.

How To Make A Sliceable Cashew Cheese

Sliceable cashew cheese is a little more complex to make than cashew cheese sauce or cashew cream cheese. Some set cashew cheeses are made by pressing cashews in a cheesecloth or a nut bag, but these are often crumbly and not easily sliceable. For a realistic, sliceable cheese, the best recipes that we’ve found use an ingredient known as agar agar. Agar agar is a vegan-friendly alternative to gelatine and helps to hold the cashew cheese together. 


We’re aware that there are quite a few ingredients in this recipe. If you don’t have all the spices to hand, then you can omit them, but your cheese could lack depth of flavor. 

What You Will Need:

1 cup of raw cashews (no need to soak them this time!)

⅓ cup of water 

The juice of one lemon 

  • 2tbsp of coconut oil 
  • ¼ cup of tahini (you could use almond butter)
  • ½ a carrot (peeled)
  • 2.5 tsp of salt 
  • ⅓ cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp of agar agar powder (+ an extra cup of water)
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1tbsp of dijon mustard
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of paprika

To Make Your Sliceable Cashew Cheese

    1. Start by finding yourself a cheese mold. This could be a bowl or a cake tin. 
    2. Grease your chosen mold well with non-stick spray or coconut oil to stop your cheese from sticking. 
    3. Next, add all of your ingredients to a blender or food processor, except for the agar agar powder and the extra cup of water. 
    4. Keep the agar agar and water to one side. 
    5. Blend the rest of your ingredients together at high speed until well combined and smooth. Don’t remove this mixture from the blender, as you will be re-blending it soon
    6. Meanwhile, add the agar agar powder and extra water to a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. 
    7. Once boiling, set a timer for one minute. 
    8. After one minute, remove the agar agar mixture from the heat and add it to your blender or food processor. 
    9. Give everything another quick blend together. *Warning* - Do not use a sealed blender! Ensure that your food processor or blender has room for the steam to escape; otherwise, it could explode.
    10. Work quickly before your cheese starts to set, and pour your mixture into your desired mold.
    11. Place your cheese in the fridge until it has set, and you can turn it out. 

This is just one recipe for a set cashew cheese, but there are plenty more online. If you don’t like the flavor of this cheese, then swap out the spices and try adding in some garlic and chives. Alternatively, you could keep your cheese plain and let the creamy cashews speak for themselves. 




How To Make A Cashew Cheesecake 

When it comes to vegan desserts, cashew cheesecake is a classic. While vegan-cream cheese substitutes undoubtedly taste better now than they used to, cashews still make the best cheesecakes! 


We love this recipe because it is packed with nutritious whole foods. If you don’t want to make a raw vegan base, then you could use vegan Oreos or any other vegan biscuit crushed together with some melted vegan butter instead. 

For A Chocolate Vegan Cheesecake You Will Need 

For the base

  • 1 cup of raw pecans or walnuts
  • 3-4 pitted Medjool dates 
  • 1 teaspoon of vegan vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup of cacao powder 
  • 2-3 teaspoons of water 
  • ½ teaspoon of salt 

For the filling:

  • 3 cups of raw soaked cashews 
  • ¾ cup of cacao powder
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of maple syrup 
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates (optional)
  • 3 teaspoons of vegan vanilla extract 
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt 

Method:

  1. Before you start making this cheesecake, you need to soak your cashews. It’s best to do this the night before, but if you’ve forgotten, then cover them with boiling water and allow them to sit for 20 minutes. 
  2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil. Using a springform pan will make it much easier to remove your cheesecake.
  3. Next, make your cheesecake crust by adding all of the base ingredients to a food processor and pulsing until they combine to form a dough-like texture. If the base looks too crumbly, then add a dash of more water. Your base should resemble crumbled cookies. 
  4. Add your base to the bottom of your springform pan and press it down firmly with the back of a spoon. 
  5. Transfer your base to the freezer while you make your filling. 
  6. For the cheesecake filling, add the soaked cashews (drained) to a high-speed blender with the rest of your filling ingredients. Blend on high power until smooth and thick. You can also do this in a food processor. 
  7. Pour your filling over your base, level it out, and place the tin back in the freezer. 
  8. Allow 4-5 hours for your cheesecake to fully freeze and set before serving. 
  9. When you’re ready to serve your cashew cream cheesecake, take it out of the freezer and gently release it from the springform pan. If you like, you could drizzle it with some melted chocolate or top with some dark chocolate sea salt cashews. 

Our top tips for the perfect vegan cheesecake:

  • This cheesecake recipe is set in the freezer. If your cheesecake is a little firm when you take it out, then allow it to thaw slightly before serving. This will give it a lighter, mousse-like texture.
  • If your cheesecake looks runny in the middle, then allow it to freeze for longer. 
  • If you don’t have cacao powder, then use cocoa powder instead. For a non-chocolate cheesecake, omit the cocoa altogether.
  • Always taste-test your filling before freezing it so that you can adjust the sweetness or flavor as necessary. For more sweetness, add in some more maple syrup or agave nectar. For more chocolate flavor, add in a little extra cocoa powder. For more vanilla, add more extract. You can also add frozen strawberries to your filing for a strawberry cheesecake! 
  • Use a springform pan for easy extraction. Without a springform pan, it could be difficult to get your cheesecake out of the tin. 


How To Make A Cashew Pesto 

Last but by no means least, we want to leave you with this recipe for a delicious cashew pesto. Pesto is the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes. Throw it in pasta for an effortless sauce, add it to protein for a herbaceous kick, or use it as a dip for crackers or crudites. 


While you may traditionally make pesto with pine nuts, we think this cashew variation works exceptionally well and gives the pesto some extra creaminess. Whatever kind of pesto you’re making, the key to a vibrant and delicious pesto is always to source high-quality ingredients. Where possible, try to use extra virgin olive oil, raw cashews, and organic herbs. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, then swap out the parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast. 

You will need:

  • 100g of raw cashews 
  • 50g of fresh basil
  • 50g of spinach 
  • 4 cloves of garlic 
  • 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 4 tbsp of parmesan cheese or a vegan alternative 
  • Pinch of sea salt 

Method:

  1. This pesto recipe can be made in a food processor or in a pestle and mortar. Here’s what you need to do. 
  2. If you have a food processor, then this pesto recipe can be whipped up in seconds. 
  3. Add the cashews, basil, spinach, and garlic to your food processor and pulse until chopped. 
  4. Slowly add the olive oil until your pesto reaches your desired consistency, and then mix in the parmesan cheese and sea salt. Try not to over-blend your pesto as it can become a little sloppy. 

If you don’t have a food processor, then hopefully, you have a pestle and mortar. Making pesto with a pestle and mortar requires a little more elbow grease but is still definitely worth it!


  1. Chop the basil, garlic, and spinach roughly by hand and then add them to the pestle and mortar with the sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. 
  2. Carefully grind the leaves and garlic into a paste before adding your cashews and crushing them until they reach your desired chunkiness. 
  3. Slowly drizzle in the remainder of the olive oil and mix in your parmesan cheese.

 

And finally, if you have neither a pestle and mortar or a food processor, then you can still make this recipe! 


  1. Grab yourself a chopping board and a knife, and start chopping all of your ingredients finely. 
  2. In a bowl, toss everything together and stir in your olive oil. Try to crush everything together with the back of a spoon to help the herbs release their oils. 

Creating Your Own Pesto Flavors

Pesto is very versatile. While we’ve stuck to a traditional basil-based recipe, you could take your pesto in a whole different direction if you please. Here are some variations to try. 


  1. Add in some coriander, mint, or parsley for a herbaceous basil alternative.
  2. Add a dash of lemon juice or orange juice for some fresh acidity. 
  3. Swap out the extra virgin olive oil for another cold-pressed oil such as almond oil, avocado oil, or hemp seed oil. 
  4. Add in a chopped chili or two for some spice. 
  5. Toss in some chopped olives or capers for a little saltiness and zing. 

How To Use Your Cashew Pesto

Cashew pesto can be used in exactly the same way as regular pesto. You can spread it on toast for a delicious healthy breakfast, toss it in with your pasta or salad as a dressing and even use it as a marinade for veggies or protein.

How To Store Cashew Pesto

We think that pesto tastes best when eaten fresh, but if you can’t use it all at once, then it will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you’re trying to use up a big bag of cashews or a fresh bunch of herbs, then try freezing your pesto in an ice cube tray and pop a cube out as and when you need it. 



So there we have it! Now you know everything there is to know about cashews. Do you like cashews? Don’t say no until you’ve tried our delicious hand-roasted cashew nuts! Or if you have a sweet tooth, then let our milk chocolate cashews tantalize your taste buds! 

June 03, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: cashews

Ketogenic Diet - Everything To Know About Eating Keto

The keto diet is becoming a trend among people looking to lose weight fast. Does it really work or is it just a fad? Check out this article for everything you need to know before starting this trendy diet.
May 27, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: diets

Bitter Almonds- What You Need To Know

All almonds fall into two categories - bitter almonds and sweet almonds. While sweet almonds are perfectly safe to consume raw, bitter almonds, on the other hand, are toxic and must be processed before they are safe. Before you read this quick introduction to bitter almonds, you may want to take a look at our piece on Everything You Need To Know About Almonds.

What Do Bitter Almonds Look Like?

Bitter almonds look very similar to sweet almonds. They have light brown skin and a white interior, and at first glance, you could mistake them for regular almonds. The two main differences between the appearance of sweet almonds and bitter almonds are that bitter almonds tend to be smaller, and they also tend to be slightly pointier.


If you’re now panicking about eating bitter almonds by accident, don’t fear - bitter almonds, as their name suggests, taste pretty dreadful raw, and so you’d struggle to consume more than one before realizing something wasn’t quite right. If you think that you’ve eaten raw bitter almonds by mistake, contact a health professional immediately. 

Why Are Raw Bitter Almonds Toxic?

Raw bitter almonds contain very high levels of a compound known as hydrocyanic acid - an organic version of the poison cyanide. Even just a handful of raw bitter almonds contains enough hydrocyanic acid to be fatal, which is why raw bitter almonds are prohibited in certain countries, including the United States. Before sale, most bitter almonds are pre-processed to remove their hydrogenic acid and make them safe to eat, but you should always check the package before consuming them just in case.

How Are Bitter Almonds Used? 

Despite their toxicity, bitter almonds are still grown and processed in vast quantities because they have a much stronger flavor and more pungent aroma than sweet almonds. After heating, they are often processed to release their essential oils, which can then be used to flavor almond liqueurs and create almond extracts. 


Some popular dishes that feature bitter almonds include marzipan and stollen. In addition to their culinary uses, bitter almonds are also processed and used in cosmetic products, hand soaps, and even candles!

Can You Snack On Processed Bitter Almonds?

While cooked and processed bitter almonds may be safe to eat, they still tend to taste pretty bitter. If you’re planning on snacking on almonds, then sweet almonds are a much more palatable option. If you’re trying to make your almond syrup or almond oil, on the other hand, then bitter almonds will produce a more robust flavor. 

May 18, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: almonds

Quick, Easy and Healthy Walnut Pesto

Pesto makes a delicious and versatile accompaniment to so many dishes. Throw it on pizza, use it as a dip, add it to pasta, or try it as a marinade for your chicken - the possibilities with pesto seem nearly endless. Traditionally, pesto is made using pine nuts, but virtually any other nut can be used as a tasty substitute. We particularly love the nutty flavor of walnut pesto, which is packed with healthy omega-3s and a huge hit of antioxidants. Here’s how to make it. 

How To Make Walnut Pesto

If you already have a recipe for traditional pine-nut pesto, then substituting walnuts for pine nuts gram for gram will work absolutely fine. If you aren’t working from a recipe, then here’s our version for you to try. 

You Will Need:

  • ½ a cup of walnuts
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 cup of fresh basil 
  • 1 lemon, juiced, and zested (use the zest as a garnish)
  • 1 cup of spinach 
  • ¼ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese 
  • Pinch of sea salt 

How To Make Your Pesto Using A Food Processor

The good news about making pesto is that all of your ingredients can be added to a  food processor. Simply add everything listed above to a food processor and blitz together in pulses until it reaches the texture you like. 

How To Make Pesto Without A Food Processor 

If you don’t have a food processor to hand, then don’t fear - you can still make this delicious pesto using a pestle and mortar. 

  1. Start by chopping your garlic into small pieces and then grinding these in the pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. 
  2. Once you have a smooth-ish garlic paste, add in your basil, spinach, and lemon juice and crush the leaves until they are homogeneous with the garlic. 
  3. Next, add in your walnuts, crushing them into small pieces, and toss in your grated parmesan cheese. 
  4. As you grind your ingredients together with the pestle and mortar, add in small drizzles of olive oil to keep everything moving. 
  5. Once your pesto reaches your desired consistency, give it a taste and adjust your seasoning with extra salt and lemon juice if needed. 

Tips For Making The Perfect Walnut Pesto

Use High-Quality English Walnuts 

For the best flavor and maximum nutritional value, always try to use high-quality English walnuts. Walnut pieces will work fine if you can’t find walnut halves. 

Use Fresh Basil Leaves

Nothing beats the flavor of fresh basil. While bags of freshly chopped basil will work fine, if you like this recipe, then it may be worth buying a basil plant. 

Omit The Cheese For A Vegan Alternative

If you’re dairy-free or vegan, then swap out the parmesan cheese in this recipe for a pinch of extra salt. Alternatively, try adding in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. 

Use High-Quality Olive Oil

While you can use any oil in this recipe, it undoubtedly tastes best when a high-quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil is used. High-quality olive oil is packed with heart-healthy fats and has a more distinct flavor than other oils such as vegetable oil. 

Eat It While It’s Fresh

Although this pesto will store well in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge, it tastes at its best when eaten fresh. After a few days, the basil and spinach may start to discolor. 


So there you have it - now you know how to make a quick, easy and healthy walnut pesto in under five minutes! Want more ideas for what to do with your walnuts or curious to know more about the nut itself? 

May 17, 2021 by Gillian Brady