Peanut Butter!

I wandered into my oldest son’s kitchen: Skippy!? I read the ingredients: roasted peanuts, sugar, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (cottonseed, soybean and rapeseed), salt.

“Are you out of your mind, Son? This has trans fats in it. You’ll clog your arteries, cause heart attacks!”
“That’s better than how you destroyed my childhood [a little drama here] by making me eat peanut butter that separated and had to be stirred up in a bowl”, he justified.

So I thought about it...I tried making my kids eat organic peanut butter from the health food store but it was nasty; no salt for one. So, instead I had them eat Smuckers from the supermarket. Smuckers peanut butter contains: peanuts, salt; but a reasonable amount of salt that actually makes it taste good. Unfortunately it separates into oil and hard, dry peanut butter. To stir the two together, you have to dump it into a large bowl, stir for a long, hard time with a large spoon, then spoon and scrape it all back into the jar. It messy, gross, disgusting even.

The other day I read the label on my boyfriend’s peanut butter, Peanut Delight, which he gets at Aldi’s: 90% peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt, molasses. He told me that, no, he didn’t need to stir it; it didn’t separate. Looking online, Natural Jif has the same contents as Peanut Delight.

My opinion:

Now, this, of course, is all assuming you’re one of those people who doesn’t die from eating peanuts. I, personally, can’t eat them because they give me gas. Peanut butter is a fantastic “fast food”. While I encourage eating meat, I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat it at every meal. A peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread, gluten-free bread, (or for those of us who haven’t found a tolerable gluten-free bread - gluten-free crackers) or even on apple slices or celery contains around 10 mg of protein; To be exact 12 mg of protein per 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, but I like to round it to the nearest 10 to make it easy to check mentally during the day, “Am I getting (approximately) enough protein in a day?” Two sandwiches gives you twice as much protein! If you’re hungry enough for two sandwiches, go right ahead! Peanut butter is not “fattening”.

As to the sugar in the peanut butter: First of all, I’m delighted that it’s not HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Don’t let the propoganda out there defending HFCS fool you, it is NOT a food and causes terrible problems that sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc. don’t. It is an incredibly highly processed item, only cheap because of corn subsidies. It deactivates leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full, causing you to be perpetually hungry, leading to overeating.

Now, I don’t see the point of sugar in peanut butter because you’re going to eat it with jam or (my deceased husband’s favorite) honey. Another alternative is to go to a large health food store and grind peanuts in their machine. This is delicious but still could use a little salt, I think. If you prefer to buy it in a jar, stick to the ones that have palm oil like Peanut Delight and Natural Jif. Tropical oils (such as palm oil) have been discovered to be healthy and act like trans fats (crisco), which we know are NOT healthy, by keeping the peanut butter from separating. So, if you buy one with sugar in it, do yourself a favor and cut back on the jam or honey. These sweets are okay for most people because you’re eating them on a full stomach, with a protein, so it won’t make your pancreas go nuts. But if you forget there’s sugar in your peanut butter and use so much sweetener as to make your lunch into a giant Reece’s Cup dessert, you’ll activate your pancreas (negatively) causing hypoglycemia and weight gain. I’m suggesting that you be reasonable, use restraint. How to tell? Be very honest with yourself. “Am I using enough sweetener to keep the peanut butter from sticking to the roof of my mouth and the meal pleasant, or am I getting off on -Sugar Rush-?”

People love to have this meal with milk. Maybe yes, maybe no. That will be the subject of a different article.

(Just read this article to my son: He says he's changing brands to Natural Jif.)