096: The Healthiest Nut on Earth? Pili Nuts with the Pili Hunter Himself, Jason Thomas

Pronounced “peel-y,” the pili nut is a rich, buttery tree nut that is wild harvested from deep within the Filipino rainforest. Its taste is unique, often described as a cross between a macadamia nut and a cashew nut, but with a stronger, more tender flavor. Served in an activated (i.e. sprouted) form, pili nuts contain a wide range of beneficial nutrients. Containing the highest fat and lowest carbohydrate content of any nut, in addition to being full of essential vitamins and minerals, pili nuts are a perfect addition to an active, sustainable lifestyle.

Pili nuts are sustainably harvested from the pili tree, or canarium ovatum, a massive, beautiful tree native to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. For centuries the pili nut has been a popular snack throughout Asia, typically served as a deep-fried, sugar-coated dessert. When Jason tried pili nuts for the first time while kite surfing in the Philippines, he fell in love with their rich flavor and was inspired to share them with the U.S.

While kitesurfing in the Philippines, Jason Thomas – outdoor endurance athlete and founder of Pili Hunters – tried the delicious pili nut for the first time. He was so blown away by the rainforest-grown pili nut’s rich, buttery flavor that he started sharing it with everyone he knew back home. Jason’s mission became apparent: to introduce U.S. consumers to the nutritious, delicious, and sustainable Filipino pili nut.

With 15 pounds of deep-fried pili nuts and a dream, Jason returned to the U.S. He spent the next few months driving from beach to beach in his swiftly aging pickup truck, surfing and passing out pili nut samples at west coast natural foods stores.

After quickly selling out of his pili nuts, Jason realized he was on to something. However, selling a deep-fried food just didn’t align with his philosophy of healthy living. Jason then returned to the Philippines to develop his own healthy pili nut recipe.

Jason forged a strong relationship with the locals, and they combined Jason’s love for the pili nut’s buttery flavor with his lifelong passion for nutrition. Shortly after, Jason started Pili Hunters, a company catering to outdoor endurance athletes, because the pili nut’s extremely high oil content makes them a great energy source for long distance events. In addition to powering outdoor endurance athletes, pili nuts have become a favorite healthy snack of individuals following the ketogenic diet (i.e., keto diet) because of the nut’s high fat to low carbohydrate ratio.

From selling his first batch of pili nuts out of the back of his pickup truck to now offering an entire pili nut product line both online and in select retailers, Jason’s spirit of adventure is front and center in everything Pili Hunters does. We hope you enjoy the pili nut as much as we do – and that you join Jason on his mission to share this delicious and nutritious nut with the world!

Follow Jasons story on Instagram @eatpilinuts

Follow on Facebook

Purchase some pili nuts using the code “ritzfit”!