Nuts, Seeds Provide Tasty, Nutritious Snack Food

Nuts are seeds with hard outer shells. So a nut always contains a seed, but a seed isn't necessarily a nut.  One of the great pastimes in Damascus is the consumption of all kinds of seeds and nuts. Specialty stores roast various seeds and nuts during the day, and, like the smell of popcorn here in America, it's hard to pass up a seed store in Damascus.  Any style of nuts is available from such stores-spicy, Indian style (with curry), old fashioned ( with salt) and blood pressure (without salt), and even American style (with barbecue sauce).My sister favors eating sunflower seeds with shells as a weight-loss regime, it takes an hour to seed, then to spit out the shell, of just one cup of sunflower seeds.  She's full by the time she's finished but hasn't taken in too many calories.  My sister, a doctor, insists on these kind of seeds for her patients who are eager to lose weight.  She thinks seeds, although high in fat, are a wonderful replacement for deep-fried potato chips at parties and other gatherings.The kind of fat in seeds and nuts is polyunsaturated and some monounsaturated, which is good fat.  Seeds and nuts have o cholesterol an are high in protein, fiber and iron.  They are the best source of vitamin E and phosphorous, minerals and repair damaged skin.Aside from the pure joy of munching seeds and nuts, the foods can be added to any kind of salad, benefiting its taste as well as texture.  Adding nuts to pilaf and bread improves the taste and nutrition value immensely.  Nuts and sees are especially good ingredients in vegetarian and vegan diets.Next time you feel like snacking, instead of  reaching for something deep-fried, choose some kind of nuts or seeds.Here is a recipe I hope you will enjoy:Wild Rice Pilafserves 41      cup basmati  brown rice1      cup wild rice5      tablespoons olive oilZest of one lemon2      cloves garlic, mashed4      scallions, chopped1      carrot, diced1/2  cup slivered almonds, toasted1/2  cup toasted sunflower seeds1       tablespoons grated fresh gingersalt to taste-In a bowl mix 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1 clove of garlic and the lemon zest.-Boil the wild rice and the brown rice separately until soft but not mushy.  Drain and mix together, and then toss in the garlic dressing.-Heat the remaining olive oil in pot.  Add the rest of the garlic, scallions and carrots.  Stir and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes.-Add the rice and the seasoning.  Stir and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.-Remove from  the heat.  Stir in the almonds and sunflowers seeds.  Adjust the seasoning, mix well and serve.