To know me is to know that I love all things peanut. Raw peanuts, shelled peanuts, salted peanuts, roasted peanuts, beer nuts, and especially peanut butter (even the processed stuff!). So imagine my delight when I “HAD TO” reintroduce peanuts back into my diet to see if I have any sensitivities. I eliminated peanuts during my cleansing diet per my naturopath’s request, but I had actually stopped eating peanut butter even before that. There was a full jar in my cupboard that I refused to open not long after starting my bikini birthday programme.
So yesterday I finally dug the peanut butter bears, Smoothie and Crunchy (did you know they had names?), out of hibernation and we rekindled our love affair.
Instead of just diving into the jar with a spoon, I decided to actually try to use the peanut butter as an ingredient rather than a main dish. I came across this African inspired recipe from Michael Smith and thought “Peanut butter AND soup? This is too good to be true.” And it was.
Curried Butternut Squash Peanut Butter Soup
(Adapted From FoodNetwork.ca)
- 2 stalks of chopped celery
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 c. each butternut squash, sweet potato, and carrot, all peeled and chopped
- 1 cup peanut butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the celery and garlic in the olive oil until they soften and smell great. Add the curry powder, salt, and pepper and stir for a few minutes.
Add the squash and add water just to cover. Cook until the squash softens, about 30 minutes.
Add the peanut butter and puree until smooth. Taste and season with salt.
I topped the soup with some toasted peanuts and pepitas for some extra crunch. So good!
This morning when I got up I headed for the peanut butter jar once again and came up with a crazy (but DELICIOUS) concoction. Pear, protein, and peanut butter. I thought this was a really good alternative to oatmeal.
3 P’s Breakfast Bowl
(236 calories, approx 4 g fat, 27 g protein, 29 g carbs)
- 1 very ripe pear
- 1 scoop of your favourite Vanilla protein powder (I used Weider’s Soy Protein Isolate http://www.weider.ca/product/90ProteinSoy.htm)
- 1 teaspoon all natural peanut butter
Cut the pear into cubes (peel it first if you want a creamier consistency, but I like the taste and nutrients in the skin). Put into a bowl and microwave on high for 1:30.
The pear will soften and the juices will be released.
Add the protein and peanut butter and stir vigorously (or blend with a handmixer for a creamier consistency)
I have read that peanuts are high in pesticides and often contain aflatoxin, a potent carcinogenic mold, but I think the benefits of peanuts outweigh the risks.
Here’s what Dr. Weil has to say about aflatoxins:
The lowest amounts [of aflatoxins] were found in the big supermarket brands such as Peter Pan, Jif and Skippy. The highest levels were found in peanut butter ground fresh in health food stores.
The U.S. government tests crops for aflatoxin and doesn’t permit them to be used for human or animal food if they contain levels over 20 parts per billion. While we don’t know much about the dangers of long-term exposure to low levels of aflatoxin, my colleague Kathleen Johnson, a dietician here at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, points out that there hasn’t been an outbreak of liver cancer among U.S. kids, who as you know, consume enormous amounts of peanut butter.
If you love peanuts, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to eat them - and peanut butter - in moderation. While they’re really legumes, not true nuts, peanuts (and peanut butter) do contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. However, I still prefer almond butter and cashew butter, because they have a better fatty acid profile. And for snacking, I tend to choose raw, unsalted cashews, almonds or walnuts (an omega-3 source). If you do go for peanut butter, look for brands containing only peanuts or peanuts and salt (such as Laura Scudder’s and Adams). Avoid those with hydrogenated oils, sugar and other additives.
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