24 Aug Is Nutrition Skin-Deep?
Is nutrition skin-deep?
In some ways, yes. The skin is a valuable part of the produce you eat since it often provides a substantial amount of fiber and nutrients not found in the flesh. If that weren’t enough, the peel offers plant chemicals we collectively call “phytochemicals” that have been shown to go beyond nourishment by acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. By removing the skin, you not only add to the burden of food waste but toss away essential components that can positively impact your health. With a few notable exceptions, like avocado and banana, most skins and rinds can be eaten when washed or prepared. Even watermelon rind is edible.
Trying to get people to eat watermelon rind can be a hard sell, but nectarines are a different story.
Nectarines sweet, tart flavor makes them an excellent choice for a pie. Besides being tasty, nectarines offer significant health benefits. Unlike their fuzzy cousin, the peach, nectarines have smooth, thin skin that is easy to eat. Eating that skin gives you the benefits of the fiber and phytonutrients that eating the whole fruit offers.
Enter my Raw Nectarine Pie.
Raw pie? You read it right. This pie has a nut-based crust and is filled with fresh nectarines. Keeping it raw means you don’t need to fire up the oven, and heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamins C and E are preserved. You’re probably aware that vitamin C is vital for immunity, but so is vitamin E. Many Americans don’t get enough of this fat-soluble vitamin in their diets. We require vitamin E for our immune system to ward off harmful pathogens, such as certain bacteria and viruses. Eating a diet rich in plant foods can ensure that you get enough vitamin E and other nutrients crucial to health. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts and seeds, avocado, and wheat germ oil. The recipe calls for pecans, but you can use a mix of nuts and seeds you prefer. Hazelnuts (filberts), almonds, and Brazil nuts are good choices if you want to bolster vitamin E.
You’ll notice the recipe calls for the skins on the nectarines, which, in addition to the nuts and dates in the crust, gives a boost to the fiber content and those lovely phytochemicals that reside in, and just under, the skin. Fiber is critical for gut health and has a role in sustainable weight loss. Each serving of this pie gives you 10 grams.
Does this mean I should eat a raw food diet?
Ideally, your diet will include a combination of raw and cooked foods. Research indicates that some nutrients are better digested and absorbed from foods that have been cooked. In contrast, others are damaged by heat or light, and it’s optimal to get them from fresh, uncooked foods. I recommend trying this recipe when nectarines are in season, ranging from July until as late as October.
Before they go out of season, here’s the recipe:
Kristin’s Raw Nectarine Pie
1 cup Pitted Dates (soaked for 1 hour and drained)
1 1/2 cups Pecans (or nuts of choice)
1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
8 Nectarines (unpeeled, thinly sliced)
2 tsps Cinnamon (or to taste)
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
Make your pie crust by combining pecans, coconut flakes, and soaked dates in a food processor. Combine well, press mixture down firmly and evenly into the bottom of a pie plate.
In a large mixing bowl, toss nectarine slices in cinnamon and maple syrup. Organize your nectarines on top of the crust, starting at the outside of the crust and working your way in and around.
Serve the pie cold or room temperature. Enjoy!
Different nuts to try in your crust include hazelnuts (filberts), Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, or a mix of nuts you have on-hand.
Add more flavor and nutritional value by adding more spices. Try ginger, nutmeg, or allspice.
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