Why I am activating my nuts!

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Natural Health | 46 comments


It’s time. I had to start doing it. I had to start activating my nuts.

Funny thing about keeping a food diary (thanks Nourished) is you can soon start pinpointing what foods are making you feel good and what foods are giving you a pain in the belly! My body also gave me the loud and clear via kinesiology muscle testing that activated nuts are good for me.

So, nuts………..prepare to be activated!

Okay so what is activating?

Activating is the process of unlocking the life force of nuts, seeds and grains. Activating releases their toxic substances and nutritional inhibitors. This is not a new concept, most ancient civilizations soaked nuts, seeds and grains!

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, says “according to Dr. Edward Howell, enzyme specialist, our ancestors ate most grains in partially germinated form (sprouted). Grains standing in stacks in open fields frequently began to sprout before they were brought into storage. Our modern farming techniques prevent grains from germinating as often the goal is a longer shelf life.”

Okay, so how do you activate your nuts?

Easy! Just soak your nuts in salt water. Allow about a teaspoon of salt per cup of filtered water and make sure there is enough water to cover the nuts.

Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or yoghurt are added to grains and seeds rather than salt. This brilliant graphic from Wake Up World explains how long each nuts, grains and seeds need to soak for. You don’t have to make it too complicated though, just overnight in some filtered water is cool.


After soaking, rinse well and you can now eat them or use them in recipes wet. However, they will only keep in the fridge for a few days. To extend their shelf-life,  you can dry them out using a dehydrator or the oven. I find the dehydrator much easier – you can chuck them in and (almost) forget about them. How long will depend on your dehydrator, so check the manual, but around 12 hours should be okay. Just make sure to test them to make sure they are very dry.

If you want to use the oven, spread them out on a baking tray and whack into the oven on the lowest temperature – about 60 degrees celsius. It will take about 12 hours or overnight. You have to stir them occasionally. After cooling them down, they can be stored in an air-tight container.

Hot Tip: Make sure your nuts are very dry and crisp because they will go mouldy otherwise!


Why would you activate your nuts?

Like I mentioned, eating a lot of raw nuts can give some people a tummy ache!

Here is what my favourite nutritionist, Cyndi O’Meara has to say:

“Our digestive tracts find it hard to extract the minerals from uncooked grains, nuts and seeds. Cooking or soaking the grains, nuts and seeds releases the toxic substances and nutritional inhibitors including; phytates, tannins, and goitrogens, which bind the minerals and make these nutrients easier for the body to extract and utilise for maximum digestibility. One particular problem with grains, nuts and seeds is that they also contain enzyme inhibitors which can block the action of trypsin and other protein digesting enzymes. This can produce serious gastric distress, with reduced protein digestion causing chronic deficiencies in Amino Acid uptake. Therefore soaking nuts, grains and seeds increases the amount of minerals, vitamins (especially B Vitamins) and protein readily available for absorption. Remember it’s not what you eat; it’s what you digest and absorb.”


Can you buy activated nuts?

Yes, you sure can. Check out some activated nuts at Organics on a Budget. Unfortunately, because of the activating process, the price shoots up to about $40-$50 a kilo. I can get organic almonds for around $15 a kilo through our co-op. We go through a lot of nuts in our house, so doing it myself is a more economical option for us.

What do you do with activated nuts?

Well, you eat them! Just use them as you would normal almonds. Make them into almond meal, use in recipes or just snack on. You can sprinkle on some seasonings during the drying process like pink salt and apple cider vinegar or spices for a yummy treat.

Do I really have to activate my nuts?

Well, I tried to get away with it, thinking I didn’t have time to be faffing about soaking and dehydrating! Unfortunately after a year and a half of eating more nuts than I ever have before, my body is telling me I need to. If you don’t eat a lot of nuts, it’s probably not a big deal. However, if you are eating a lot of nuts, seeds and grains, it might be worth checking in with your body and see how it feels when you eat them un-activated versus activated. Remember bio-individuality and always be led by what your body says.

Do you activate your nuts? Tell me about it.



 Only one of the best books I have ever read!

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  Click here to buy.


UPDATE: This dehydrator in the photos did not last long before the plastic started cracking. I am now saving up for an Excalibur (above) from The Raw Food Store!

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  1. 10-14-2013

    I always activate my nuts , have done for a few years now! Just today I had 3 trays of pecans drying in the oven. Can’t wait to make Naughty Naturopath Mum’s Vegan Maple Biscuits with them!
    Brenda recently posted…Strawberry Yoghurt MuffinsMy Profile

    • 10-14-2013

      Pecans are my favourite nut !!! :)

  2. 10-14-2013

    What a timely blog! I had a large bag of almonds and I activated them Sat night. I wasn’t aware if the drying process however. I left them out all day and night and then Sunday made some honey roasted almonds with them. Unfortunately they didn’t turn out all toasty roasted. They were soft! So I made almond milk with some of them instead and as they already had honey on them I didn’t need to add dates or other sweetener. The rest I put into my toasted muesli and toasted them again. However I guess I’ll have to keep my eye I the muesli to see if thy start to go mouldy! Think I need to get myself a dehydrator

    • 10-14-2013

      Ahhh so yes, you just needed to go a bit longer with the drying out :) Pop your muesli on a tray and turn it into a granola !

  3. 10-14-2013

    Thanks for yet another wonderful post!
    I usually store my inactivated nuts and seeds in the fridge so they don’t go rancid. Once activated and dehydrated are they able to be stored in airtight jars in the cupboard, rather than the fridge?

    • 10-14-2013

      I think you should still store in fridge as they still have high fat levels :) Not 100% sure though.

  4. 10-14-2013

    Thanks Sonia, I’m currently sprouting some sunflower seeds and wasn’t sure what a good amount of time was to sprout them – now I know :) another day or so should do it!
    Iwa Brown recently posted…Savoury Corn, Cheese & Bacon Mini MuffinsMy Profile

    • 10-14-2013

      It’s a brilliant graphic – need to get it in a print out!

  5. 10-14-2013

    Great post NNAM!! We’ve been soaking our seeds and nuts for a little while and have just started soaking and sprouting our grains again too. It’s definitely worth the effort for a much happier tummy. Just avoid sprouting sorghum… I nearly fed my family some sprouted sorghum a couple of months and thank goodness my husband asked what it was and informed me that sprouted sorghum is highly toxic due to the high cyanide levels…..eek

    • 10-14-2013

      Holy Moly! that was a close call! I am looking forward to seeing what my tummy thinks :)

  6. 10-14-2013

    Truth time – I’ve been ignoring the whole activated nut thing, even though I know it’s better for me, because I just thought it was another food hype thing that would fade away. But your post rang so many bells for me… and I can’t ignore it anymore! Thank you for such such clear information Sonia – I’m off to activate! x

    • 10-14-2013

      I had the ostrich thing going on for a while but my tummy had other ideas!! It really doesn’t take that long to set up – just getting organized!

  7. 10-14-2013

    I am also an activator. I rely on nuts a bit being gf but to many certainly give me a belly ache…activating helps x
    Kristin recently posted…Simple Chicken and Butternut Pumpkin Stew with QuinoaMy Profile

    • 10-14-2013

      I will be interested to see how my tummy feels after switching to activated on a regular basis!

  8. 10-14-2013

    I store my activated nuts in the freezer – keeps them fresh and crunchy, and you can eat them straight from the freezer – no need to thaw them.

    • 10-14-2013

      great tip Andy – now I need a bigger freezer!

  9. 10-15-2013

    I’ve been having great success activating my nuts and drying them in the oven – now you have me pining for a dehydrator as well!
    Kirri White recently posted…Permission to LoveMy Profile

    • 10-15-2013

      so much easier than oven!! and you can do fancy dried fruit and roll ups for the kids too :)

  10. 10-15-2013

    Much to my husbands disgust I have bowls of nuts and seeds being activated and sprouted all over the kitchen bench. Oh and I ordered a copy of nourishing tradtions on the weekend. I can’t wait until my exam is done so I can sit down and read it
    Sunshine Mands recently posted…Routines, Charts and ListsMy Profile

    • 10-15-2013

      brilliant :)

  11. 10-15-2013

    Thanks Sonia. I had been having trouble with raw almonds in particular. I’ve now got a bowl soaking and they can go in the oven before I go to bed tonight. I’ve got Nourishing Traditions on my wishlist and I’m pretty sure a family member noticed and has it in mind for me for Christmas 😉
    Caz recently posted…Fancy Some Lemons for Christmas?My Profile

    • 10-15-2013

      Yay! it’s an awesome book! hope you feel better on activated almonds xxx

  12. 10-15-2013

    It’s like you read my mind. I had been meaning to investigate what activating nuts meant and what was involved and here it is all spelt out. Thankyou!
    Vicki @ Knocked Up & Abroad recently posted…Me. Here. Now. In A List.My Profile

  13. 10-15-2013

    I am a sometimes activator but my digestion has taken a turn for the quirky lately so I thought I should start again and now here is your post! So here I go! great infographic too:)

  14. 10-16-2013

    I activate a lot of my nuts but they have to be used up within 2 weeks (stored in the fridge) or frozen (keeps them a lot longer). sometimes I don’t have time to activate and then I use blanched almonds (without the skins) as they are a lot lower in phytic acid as they have no skins so make a great quick replacement when time is the issue.

  15. 10-21-2013

    Hi I have activated nuts before with great results but can I check re the sprouting part.. Do you just sit the drained whatever-it-is on a bench or something at room temp for the required time? TIA

    • 10-24-2013

      I am sorry Carmen, I have only sprouted seeds and you normally put them in a jar with a wet cloth?

      • 10-24-2013

        I thought so thanks!

  16. 10-21-2013

    I have been doing this for well over a decade as part of fitness diet as it’s much easier to digest, I usually eat them with fruit.

    After soaking you should rinse almond several times before drying to remove the residue. I always dry them, as said, lowest heat in the oven but you can toast them to for a stronger flavour, just be careful not to burn them or they are ruined – the trick is to turn the heat up s.l.o.w.l.y and always use baking paper. They will store for a long time in the cupboard in a sealed container when dried or toasted.

    Crush them in your hand over breakfast cereal or for the ultimate “OMG this is better than chocolate and guilt free” put them inside dates – you won’t believe how good it tastes.

    • 10-24-2013

      I couldn’t believe how good they taste too – so much nicer!!

  17. 10-21-2013

    Quick question…
    I’ve been making/eating a lot of home made granola lately. By toasting/baking it for 20ish minutes making the nuts healthier or is it better to soak them and dehydrate them then follow the recipe?
    I noticed I was starting to get bloated in the evening on the days I ate the granola for breakfast and wondered if I should be activating the nuts/seeds first. Do you recommend any dehydrators on the lower end of the price scale?

    • 10-24-2013

      Yes, I would try activating them and see if it feels better for you. Toasting doesn’t really improve the health benefits. I know Ezi Dry is not a bad dehydrator.. they are about $200?

  18. 10-22-2013

    great post thanks! I definitely need to start doing this as i get awful bloating. I wasn’t sure if that was more to do with eating dried fruits and nuts combined and their different digestion rates but it will be interesting to see how much difference simply activating makes.

    • 10-24-2013

      yea, worth a shot ! I think in my case it was a cumulative effect? not sure if that is possible, but it has been a year of eating a lot more nuts, nut milk, nut bread and nut cheese that I noticed the bloating and pains.

  19. 10-26-2013

    I’ve been confused about how to soak and dehydrate nuts, so I’ve been avoiding too!
    Do you know if you can use the soaked nuts in recipes straight away without dehydrating them? I’ve also heard that if you store them in the freezer straight away after soaking they don’t need dehydrating. Do you know if that’s right?
    Which brand of dehydrator do you have Sonia?

    • 10-26-2013

      Hi Jennifer, I have a cheapy dehydrator and wouldn’t recommend it! You can use the nuts straight away if it is a wet recipe but if you are trying to make almond meal or something, I don’t think it’s going to work. Again, same with the storing in freezer. :)

  20. 11-11-2013

    Regarding soaked nuts, grains, seeds: I have untoasted muesli for breakfast each day and to this I add various bits and pieces to keep the mix interesting. eg, flax seeds, goji berries, sunflower seeds, a bit of polenta etc. I always pour some hot water over the muesli, then about 20 minutes later, add soya milk and a some fresh fruit. Is this sufficient soaking time (or liquid) to activate the first three items listed? Thanks in advance for any input.

    • 11-11-2013

      HI Lorraine – this sounds okay to me but I would only be worried if you were using nuts as the phytic acid will be released into your muesli – I have had this happen before and it makes it taste very bitter. It’s better to soak nuts separate and then add them. Does that make sense?

      • 11-12-2013

        Thanks for your reply. No, I haven’t detected any bitterness when eating the mixture. However, since reading about soaking nuts first, then drying them will do this in future. I do sometimes use almond meal or hazelnut meal for variety but not in every muesli combination, and not in huge amounts. Have also tried (occasionally) cranberries. Was wondering about the processing of these, as they are imported into Australia and have been sweetened and treated with some kind of oil. Fresh, locally grown fruit is always hight on my list, but I’m looking for various ways to keep the breakfeast interesting and flavoursome, hence trying different “add ins”.

  21. 2-5-2014

    Haha…This is hilarious. I think i’m the only male here. Women are just so much more adept at these kind of things. Soaking nuts for me is such a monumental & complex leap. Wish me luck!

    • 2-5-2014

      Hey Andrew! We do have a few lurkers of the male variety! Good luck with the soaking! There are a few more guys getting on the scene – Have you met The Whole Food Dude?

  22. 9-17-2014

    Hi, I have been soaking my nuts now for while. Just have two questions.

    1) Do you put warm filtered water in for the soak.
    2) I dehydrate and put in the fridge. I eat within two months. How long are they good for in the fridge if dehydrated.

    Grateful for any comments

    • 9-17-2014

      I just use room temperature filtered water. Once dehydrated, they will last for months and months! Hope this helps :)

  23. 7-31-2015

    Is it better to immediately roast them after soaking or dehydrate them first and then roast ? I only have a microwave oven with convection setting. When dehydrated my Almond nuts in my convection oven at 40 degC (it’s the only lowest setting available) for 17 hours (some people say Almonds should be dehydrate up to 24 hours) and notice my almonds look like it has shrunk although it felt feel like it is still moist. I split open in half and notice water in the almonds. Prior to 17 hours, at 15 hours, I assume the almonds are still not yet dry because I feel like it is still moist and the middle of the almonds are still very white in colour, (I read somewhere if you split the almonds in half after dehydrating, to know that it was successfully dehydrated, the almonds shouldn’t be very white in color) and so I continue another additional 2 hours. That’s when at 17 hours I notice some of the almonds shrunk although still feel like it is moist. I wonder where I go wrong. Am I suppose to dehydrate till it is 24 hours ? Will that not shrunk the almonds further ? So, will it be a better idea to immediately roast and skip dehydrating ?

    • 7-31-2015

      Hi Niki! Popping in the oven straight away on a low heat is what I do. It’s not really roasting as the temps don’t get up too high. I have found that 12 hours or so is enough, but depends on your oven. The dehydrating step can be done in the oven, so I would leave it out.


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