A Dietitian's Love Letter To Cashews
Today is your day, National Cashew Day, and I couldn’t be happier to be here celebrating it with you. I know we have known each other for a while, but I don’t think I’ve ever expressed how I truly feel about you.
It all started as a casual thing; an afternoon snack, or something to offer to friends when they came over. I remember packing you into little containers, and bringing you with me to school. You were there for me in-between nutrition classes and endless nights at the library. Sometimes I didn’t have you right there with me, but I knew I could always find you at the nearest convenience store on campus. Sometimes, I would get very lucky and would find you at the vending machine by the gym after my workouts. You gave me the sustained energy I needed for final exams and the nourishment I needed after a long night class, and you truly never let me down. Our college years were fun and I truly enjoyed the times we spent together. When I graduated, I wasn’t sure if we would stay in touch or go our different ways.
I started my career in nutrition and found out you were also a great friend of fellow dietitians who became my colleagues. We all had great stories to share about how you’ve helped us through the tough times, especially those in-between meals when we were feeling a little hangry. Little did I know we would meet again. I still remember like it was yesterday; I learned about the great benefits of plant-based diets, and your name kept showing up. The more I looked into healthy meal ideas, the more I saw you. From plant-based quesos to vegan mac n' cheese recipes, there you were. The most versatile of all nuts, the one able to provide the creamiest results, the one essential to my pantry... it has always been you.
Besides helping me create delicious plant-based recipes, you also play a very important role in keeping me healthy. And for that, I am extremely grateful. As an antioxidant, you have the ability to fight free radicals and lower oxidative stress in my body, protecting me from disease. By being an excellent source of minerals such as copper (65% of daily needs per 1-ounce serving) and iron (10% of daily needs), you help my body transport oxygen to my cells, keep my blood vessels strong, and produce energy for daily activities. What’s more, by delivering 20% of my daily magnesium needs, you help my muscles relax, so I can get great nights of sleep. Your source magnesium, as well as phosphorus, work together to keep my bones strong, which is especially important as I approach my 30s, when I will start to lose bone density (it’s all downhill from here…)
Besides that, you manage to deliver a myriad of other nutrients such as zinc and selenium, which support my immune system; B vitamins, which help my body convert food into energy; as well as manganese and vitamin K, which help with blood clotting when I cut my finger chopping onions. Like that’s not enough, one-ounce of you gives me 5 grams of plant-based protein, along with dietary fiber, providing me with satiety and a healthy gut.
But you truly shine when it comes to your healthy fats. I knew you were a kind-hearted nut when I read about you in several studies where you were able to lower people’s cholesterol levels. Plus, all of those heart-protective monounsaturated fats truly make you a special nut by lowering inflammation and lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease.
When I finally realized all of your amazing qualities, you were already famous. I was there to watch you grow and shine in the spotlight of the nut world. Everyone wanted you; nut butters, energy bites, chocolate-covered nuts, trail mixes, plant-based cream cheese, dairy-free ice creams, nut-based coffee creamers, and so on. I knew you had made it to the top when you became a one-ingredient nut base for homemade nut milks. It was truly a JOI to see you become a superstar. I couldn’t be more proud of you, my friend. You worked so hard to build your name and reputation, and now the world is able to benefit from all the health-promoting properties you have to offer.
Over the years, you have grown to become an essential part of my daily life, and I hope we can continue to foster this great relationship that makes me a healthier and happier person.
Thank you for giving me the creamiest nut milk to enjoy with my coffee every morning and for being the most delicious afternoon snack. You are truly the best and I adore you for it.
Originally from Brazil, Carolina moved to Florida to complete her Master of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics. She recently relocated to New York City to pursue her career as a registered dietitian in the health food industry. She is a Nutrition Consultant for JOI and one of our biggest fans! Carolina believes in the power of a whole-food, plant-based diet combined with physical activity for optimal health. Her favorite foods are dark chocolate and broccoli (preferably not together), and her favorite JOI recipe is the Golden Milk!