A lot of people ask me about peanut butter, and with good reason. Because peanut butter contains saturated fat, it’s perceived as an “unhealthy” food. Well, lets talk about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
In reality, I use about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter if I’m making my child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but lets look at what is considered one serving, and that is 2 tbsp. In terms of ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat, that serving has about the same amount as a serving of olive oil (about 80% unsaturated). Additionally, peanut butter contains twice as much potassium as sodium, as well as other vitamins, minerals, and fiber from the nuts. That is quite favorable news for us, because we consume quite a bit of peanut butter on a daily basis. Peanut butter on apples, peanut butter on bananas, peanut butter on celery with a raisin on top…you get the picture.
Lets get a little more specific now. In order to do so, you’ll need to get out that jar of peanut butter in your cabinet and take a look at the ingredient label. Most of the “popular” and “well known” brands such as Skippy and Jif unfortunately contain an ingredient that is the game changer.
GAME CHANGER: partially hydrogenated oil.
Whether you see palm oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, whatever oil you see in that ingredient list, they’re all the same in terms of the hydrogenation process. If you want to read more about the dangers of hydrogenation, pick up a copy of my book (it’s in Chapter 5). For today’s topic of peanut butter, however, what you need to know is this: choose a natural peanut butter that has only two ingredients…peanuts and salt. That’s it. If you’ve never actually made your own peanut butter, just wait until you taste a peanut butter that has only those two ingredients. It actually tastes like it’s supposed to taste! Peanut butter that does not contain a hydrogenated oil is so delicious you’ll wonder how you ever ate one of those more widely known brands. If you are super adventurous, you can make a nut butter in a high speed blender like a vitamix and really enjoy your natural peanut butter. But for the rest of us, you really can find jars of natural peanut butter on your grocery store shelf, you just need to know what you’re looking for!
If I can’t make my own, I personally use Smuckers Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. I like the taste of it, and the only two ingredients are, you guessed it, peanuts and salt.
Here is what you need to know about natural peanut butter. When you find it on your grocer’s shelf, you will notice it has oil at the top. That is the way it’s supposed to be. That oil is the natural peanut oil, and because it is NOT hydrogenated, it rises to the top. When you open the jar, you’ll need to scrape out the entire jar with a spatula (the bottom part is sticky and dry because all the oil rose to the top). Scrape it into a large bowl and then whisk the oil back into the mixture. Then pour the entire mix back into the jar. Do not discard that natural oil, because otherwise your peanut butter will be too dry. It will stay mixed for a long time, longer than it will take you to eat the entire jar of peanut butter…I’m talking weeks, possibly months. Think about that for a moment.
So the peanut butter that you “used to buy” you know, the name brands like Skippy or Jif that contain the hydrogenated oil, the purpose of the deadly, I mean, hydrogenated oil is to prolong the shelf life and make it spreadable. Good one, huh? So the manufacturers want that peanut butter to sit on the shelf for up to 2 years in our grocery store and still look and spread like it did the day they made it. Nice. Ew.
Did I mention that partial hydrogenation process is what ups the saturated fat content tenfold?
Did I mention that is what increases harmful cholesterol, artery-clogging atherosclerosis.
This junk food, that isn’t really food at all, in fact, anything containing hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil isn’t food at all promotes behavioral disorders in children, hyperactivity, auto-immune flair ups, the list goes on. We’re consumed with health information from a variety of sources. These days everyone thinks they’re a nutritionist.
Lets get back to basics. Have a look at the nutrition label, and educate yourself about how to read that label. (Label reading is also covered in my book.) So, the jar of natural peanut butter may cost 50 cents or $1.00 more than the other jar with the hydrogenated oils in it. So, how much does your co-pay cost for a visit to a specialist? $15, $20, or more? Then the medication and follow-up?
When you change your perspective on the way you look at healthcare, from reactive to preventative, you’ll have a whole new outlook. Start small. Start with your peanut butter. I highly recommend making the switch to a natural peanut butter. Your body will thank you.