Since starting my Anti-Candida Diet a year ago, almonds have become a close friend of mine. They have gotten me through many-a-snack-attack, not to mention all the grain free pancakes, cookies, biscuits, granola, and biscotti. I have come to rely heavily on my new friend.
And then it happened. Our friendship was suddenly on shaky ground. We almost broke it off, really.
Yes, you read that right. It was all due to gas. (No. I didn’t eat too much broccoli.)
Propylene Oxide to be exact.
What is Propylene Oxide (PPO)?
Oh, no big deal really, it’s just used as a fuel additive in racing cars. Don’t worry though, the US National Hot Rod Association has since banned it for safety reasons. It’s also used to make plastics and thermobaric weapons (you know, ones that explode). It seems it is also on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s list of possible carcinogens. Hmm.
And it’s used to pasteurize almonds. That’s right. They spray your nuts with the stuff.
“Oh, but Kathleen, I only buy raw almonds.”
<BUZZ> Sorry, you lose.
How About Calling a Spade, a Spade?
You see here’s the deal. Per the FDA, all almonds must be pasteurized. That’s right, even the almonds that say they’re raw, aren’t. I don’t understand how you can sell something that you say is raw, but isn’t. The Almond Board of California says that pasteurizing your almonds does not change the nutritive value. That’s how they can still claim it is raw. Hmm.
When I first heard about this 2007 mandate passed down through the USDA, I didn’t believe it either. That is until I started making some phone calls. Winco, New Seasons and Fred Meyers all have ‘raw’ almonds in their bulk section, but they are all pasteurized. Still skeptical? Go grab your phone.
When you call you want to ask,
“Which method was used to pasteurize your almonds, steamed or PPO?”
You want to ask if they were steamed because some companies choose this method instead of spraying PPO. And the reality is, I would much rather have a steamed almond than a carcinogenic one. I don’t know. Seems better to me.
Who Sells What?
PPO Almonds: Winco and
Steamed Almonds: New Season’s and Trader Joe’s
UPDATE: My friend Dani talked to Fred Meyer’s and discovered the bulk organic almonds are indeed steamed NOT sprayed with PPO.
If you buy organic almonds, they must be steamed. But you know, I would check anyway. And just so you know, when you call, don’t be surprised if the Manager on the other line is confused. If they don’t have answers for you, ask for the supplier’s name. Sometimes the supplier has the info right on their website; other times you have to call.
My good friend Dawna discovered an almond farmer (who just happens to be her brother’s best friend ) in California who was willing to sell us some of his raw almonds. Okay, some seems like a small number. Try close to 200 lbs.
And these are truly raw.
If you are set on having unadulterated almonds, this seems to be your only alternative. Find a farmer. I think we cleaned out our farmer, but if you know someone in California, it might be worth asking them if they know an Almond Farmer. I’m sure glad my friend did. We not only scored our own bulk section of almonds, but we paid just a measly $1.50 a pound.
I want to thank my friend Adrienne over at Whole New Mom for enlightening me about this almond scandal. I sure appreciate being informed about what I am eating. Thanks, Adrienne.
You all should bop on over and read her excellent article on this subject. If are dying to know why the FDA would agree to such ridiculousness, she explains how it all happened. When you’re there, stick around and look at some of her awesome recipes. She’s the one who taught me how to make my own coconut and almond milk, oh and those so delicious sugar free chocolate chips.
If you feel a bit outraged that you are not allowed to know through labeling how your raw almonds were treated or that you no longer have a choice to buy almonds truly raw, you can do something. Email the Almond Board of California and tell them about it. Hey, if enough of us complain, maybe they will consider changing their ways. I told them I’ll only be buying mine directly from the farmer from now on.
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