Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

What Made Zel Go Rockin’ Nuts?

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 2, 2009

Students in my vegan cooking classes invariably keep asking me. “What’s so special about nuts that made you write a whole cookbook about them?“ Simply put, the answer lies in an unexpected discovery—a nutty discovery that turned me into a nut aficionado. Here’s what opened the nut door:

My husband and I publish a monthly vegetarian magazine online called Vegetarians in Paradise. Each of our features is introduced with unique hand drawings of funny little birds performing human activities.
In our On the Highest Perch feature we spotlight a particular food each month—it might be a nut or seed, vegetable, fruit, whole grain, or legume. For each of these foods, I would write an article that included the history, folklore, health benefits, growing habits, nutritional value, purchase and storage tips, and, then, end the article with a recipe. It’s a fun feature, and I have learned so much in my research.

What sparked my curiosity and made me practically jump out of my chair in amazement were the health benefits of nuts. As a long-time vegan, I know that all the plant foods have health benefits, but I learned nuts are extraordinary!

Each time I explored a different variety of nuts, I uncovered a barrage of information in health studies. I learned that nuts, eaten frequently in small amounts, can do wonders for lowering cholesterol—and not just one variety of nuts, but the whole bloomin’ category of tree nuts.

Well, it didn’t take a sledgehammer to start me developing recipes that were designed to take nuts out of the snack pack and put them on the everyday breakfast, lunch, and dinner table. Pretty soon I had enough original recipes to consider approaching a publisher.

About that same time, newspaper and magazine nut articles began appearing with regularity voicing the cholesterol-lowering benefits researchers learned from health studies.

I count my blessings. I was truly fortunate. Book Publishing Company accepted my cookbook, and The Nut Gourmet was born in May 2006! It seems, my publisher was also savvy to the flurry of nut articles and their beneficial effect on cholesterol.

Check out my YouTube 3-minute video to see some mouth-watering photos of many of the recipes found in The Nut Gourmet cookbook:

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