Chef Wendell: The buzz about nut butters

At the gym, I met a kindly gentleman struggling with heart disease. As we got to know each other, he shared how much he loved eating peanut butter out of the jar at night while watching TV. I asked how much he ate. “Half a jar every night,” he said. Then he resumed his cardiovascular workout grieving about his heart disease, blissfully unaware the cause was at the end of his spoon, under his nose.

Is there life without peanut butter? How about a little rat hair or fly head with your peanut butter? Though it sounds disgusting, the FDA admits “natural contaminants” are indeed allowed and present in your food; an unpleasant truth.

If you’ve wisely ditched Jiffy, Skippy, or Peter Pan due to the hydrogenated oils and added sugar, good for you! The big brand names of peanut butter contain ‘added’ ingredients that the FDA warns cause heart disease and obesity. Peanut butter should be one ingredient: peanuts–preferably organic.

Many folks have a serious allergy to peanuts, so alternatives are more popular than ever. If you’re not allergic to tree nuts, you can choose from a number of heart-healthy nut butters.

Check your local grocery or health food store for nut and seed butters made from almond, cashew, hazelnut, sunflower and sesame seeds, and soybeans.

Oil on top? You’re adults, so don’t whine about the oil in the healthier peanut butter brands that requires stirring. Try storing the jar upside down before you open it, and you’ll send the oil to the bottom!

Nut butters contain protein, healthful fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which the American Cancer Society says may help prevent cancer and help improve cholesterol levels. Sorry, beer nuts do not count.

Try almond butter. You might discover you love it. Sandi and I get it from a health food store that has a machine that makes almond butter right in front of your eyes. Fresh!

One simple change can vastly improve your diet and quality of life. Sandi and I use Meijer brand organic peanut butter and it’s delicious.

  • The Journal of Nutrition says folks who eat nuts have higher intakes of folate, beta-carotene, vitamin K, lutein, zeaxanthin, phosphorus, copper, selenium, potassium and zinc.
  • Mono-unsaturated almond butter with its vitamin E helps protect cells from oxidative stress and reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Cashew butter contains calcium, magnesium, and copper
  • WARNING: Nutella-2 tbs. of Nutella (one serving) contains 22g of carbs, of which 21g are sugar. Obesity in a jar.
  • 2 tbsp. of Nutella contain 200 calories–equivalent to a candy bar.

What you can to do with organic almond and peanut butter:

  • Add to a smoothie
  • Stir into hot cereal to add protein and healthy fat
  • Stir almond butter into stews for a rich thickness
  • Puree with plain yogurt for a luscious dip for apple and pear slices
  • Substitute almond butter for tahini in hummus
  • Replace peanut butter with almond butter in cookies
  • Make almond sauce instead of peanut sauce for satays and skewered veggies
  • Spread almond butter on toast and top with bananas
  • Make an almond butter wrap filled with cucumber, red onion and sprouts
  • Simply replace peanut butter with almond butter in any recipe for a healthier, almond-licious treat

Savory Nutty, Raw Wraps

A modified redo from: www.realhealthyrecipes.com

Sauce:

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbs. Tamari
1 cup organic raw almond or peanut butter
1 cloves minced fresh garlic

The filling:

1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded
4 green onions, chopped
1 /2 cup organic corn
dash of sea salt
1/4 cup small-chopped almonds
2 tbs. sesame seeds

The wraps:

Avocado slices
Mango slices
Large butter lettuce leaves

  • Blend all of the sauce ingredients in a high speed blender
  • Place all of the filling ingredients into a large bowl, then pour the sauce over it, and mix until fully blended.
  • On each lettuce leaf place a scoop of filling, a slice of avocado and a slice of mango.
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