Why I Love Peanut Butter

Al Kavadlo Peanut ButterEver since I can recall, I’ve always loved peanut butter.

As a kid, PB&J sandwiches were a staple of my diet, and though I don’t eat as much bread these days (or as much jelly), I’d never think of ending my love affair with the creamiest of all nut-butters.

Peanuts are Nut-ritious
I didn’t think much about nutrition growing up, other than holding onto the belief that anything labeled as “healthy” probably tasted bad and should therefore be avoided. Had I known peanut butter could be good for you, that might have been a turn-off. (Though at the time I only ate the candy peanut butter anyway.)

In time my perspective began to change and by my early twenties longevity suddenly mattered, so I decided to start eating healthy. Or at least I tried to start eating healthy. With so much misinformation out there, it’s really hard to even know what’s healthy and what isn’t. But one thing I quickly found out was that Skippy and Jif and all my other favorite brands of PB had been processed to the point where they were just straight-up junk food. The good stuff is the natural peanut butter – the kind with the oil floating on top. Stirring it together can even be a bonus workout – it’s win/win!

Which Butter is Better?
Switching to natural peanut butter in my early twenties was a life-altering moment for me. This was also around the time I first heard about “good fats” (ya know, the non-hydrogenated kind). Look at the nutrition label on your peanut butter – some brands try to market themselves as natural when they are not. Stay away from PB that contains any ingredients other than peanuts (and possibly salt).

Not only is natural PB a healthier option, but I also think it tastes better. I didn’t think that right away though of course. Like exercise, natty PB can be an acquired taste, but I was hooked by the time I finished my first jar!

The Butter Battle
Just when I thought I had this whole nut butter thing figured out, new information about PB started to come to light. In certain circles, peanut butter was becoming the bad guy. Now the experts were saying that almond butter or macadamia nut butter were better options. It turns out that peanuts aren’t even nuts! It’s true – contrary to what its name might lead you to believe, the peanut is technically not a nut – it’s a legume.

Legumes Me?
I’ve never been too much of a stickler for terminology myself, but people sure love to categorize things! While legumes and nuts have many similarities, what makes the peanut more pea than nut is that nuts grow on trees, while legumes grow in the ground. Nutritionally, legumes tend to contain a high amount of lectins, which have been linked to gastrointestinal distress and other health issues.

The Good, the Bad and the Nutty
The world of nutrition can be a tricky place, and there are pros and cons to all situations. In spite of their lectin content (and by the way – just about all foods contain varying degrees of lectins), I believe this is a situation of the good outweighing the bad. Peanuts are inexpensive compared to almonds and macadamias, plus they are full of nutrients. They’re also a great source of protein and – most importantly – they’re delicious!

Smoothie Operator
Peanut butter is a versatile food that can be enjoyed in many contexts. I love blending peanut butter into a post workout smoothie along with a banana, a cup of milk and a little honey. It’s a recipe some of us know as “The Peanut Butter Banana Jammer.”

Peanut Butter Banana Jammer
2 Tablespoons of Natural Peanut Butter
1 Banana
6 oz. Milk (or another beverage of your choosing)
3-4 Ice Cubes
1/2 Teaspoon of Honey (optional)

Watch the video below for more!

Related posts:
Diet and Exercise
Young Thai Coconuts
All or Muffin

47 thoughts on “Why I Love Peanut Butter

  • By Jimmy -

    Love it Al. I found natural PB about 6 months ago and haven’t looked back. PB does get the bad legume wrap, but I still love it (and eat it!) too.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Jimmy. This is a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now.

  • Pingback: Why I Love Peanut Butter | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  • By Stefan -

    I found PB quite recently. It’s not nearly as common here in Scandinavia as it is in the states. I remember when u was a kid my aunt used to bring us PB from the US.

    Like you I’ve found that there’s a lot of crap PB out there. I stick to an Eco friendly version containing only peanuts and salts. I usually just use it in my Al-inspired post-workout shakes :)

    Still waiting for macadamia- and almond butter to really show up here. I know there’s one brand of almond butter available SOMEWHERE but not in my town… And the price is just ridiculous.

    Hm… Maybe we should start and export/import business together? 😉

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Glad you finally got your hands on some PB, Stefan! I’m sure you’ll find some almond and macadamia nut butters eventually.

  • By Rick -

    The Trader Joe’s PB is the BEST! Try their raw almond butter for a change of pace.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      I like all nut butters – I eat raw almond butter on a regular basis, but it doesn’t mean I’m gonna give up my precious PB!

  • By Karen P. -

    I can’t even think about PB! It’s probably the #1 thing I miss since going Primal. But you’re right, it’s probably an okay sometime-treat.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Welcome to the dark side, Karen! Mwahhahahaha!

  • By Jim Arkus -

    Surely you know that those lectins are going to chew up your insides and cause your intestine to fall out of your ass, right? =P

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Ahh, good ‘ol fear – the oldest motivation tactic in the book!

  • By Perry Foster -

    Picture #3 is what I look like if you try to take my PB! First time I’ve seen a picture of you lookin’ mean Al! As usual just the good solid info that we have all come to expect from you. Keeo up the good work!!!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Glad you liked this one, Perry! As for the pic, you’d have to pry that jar from my cold, dead hands to get me to stop eating PB.

  • By peter -

    I stopped eating PB because of all of the crap in it (and it doesn’t fit the paleo lifestyle) and have started eating natural ABC (Almond, Brazil & Cashew). It is amazing with banana and coconut. Love the book AL.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      I’ve got nothing against the ABC’s, but you know what else is good with banana and coconut? Oh yeah – peanut butter! Glad you enjoyed the book!

      • By Jimmy -

        I love PB with a banana, especially after a workout. I like the whole primal/paleo eating and exercising, but the aversion to legumes is one place where I disagree with it. Pretty sure Grok would have eaten a peanut if he were hungry.

        • By Karen P. -

          Yeah, but Grok also would’ve eaten the croissant. That’s the problem, right? :)

          • By Al Kavadlo -

            It’s true – humans are just animals and animals will eat just about anything they can get their hands on (or paws in some cases).

          • By Todd Dosenberry -

            You got this right. If we are about to starve then we should eat those foods. But, I don’t think anyone on this blog is in starvation mode quite yet, right?!

            So, eat those foods that cause you problems. Some do fine with peanut butter. I prefer macadamias, cashews and pistachios.

            My neighbor didn’t find out about his peanut allergy until he was 60 years old… just sayin’

          • By Al Kavadlo -

            Hey Todd – Thanks for stopping by! I think you meant to avoid eating the foods that cause you problems, and I agree with that. Thankfully, my body doesn’t seem to have a negative reaction to PB.

  • By Ryanprice6 -

    I also love PB. I MOSTLY gave it up when I embraced the Primal Blueprint style of eating, but I still have some on rare occasions.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Remember, the Primal Blueprint is just a that – a blueprint – when you actually build your “house” you may need to improvise!

  • By Matt -

    great post Al. brings to mind the product Plumpy’nut–essentially peanut butter with a some extra nutrients added–which has been found to be pretty much the best antidote to malnutrition in the third world. Granted, we’re first worlders with very different diet issues than a child in sub-Saharan Africa, but nice to know that PB is literally saving lives!

    (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05Plumpy-t.html)

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks for sharing that link, Matt – it’s a very interesting article! Also nice to see PB getting some good press!

  • By liz -

    rock on. peanuts are the cat’s meow, and that’s the damn truth. i once, too, was afraid of the peanut, but decided to give in to this wrongly demonized “nut”. here is my latest and greatest grain-free peanut butter waffles recipe to reward you for recognizing how cooltastic these legumes are!
    http://eatthecookie.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/peanut-butter-banana-waffles/
    peace,
    liz

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Hey Liz – I’m not a big waffle guy, but that photo does look pretty appealing. Thanks for sharing!

  • By Patricia Horton-Gerschler -

    My guilty pleasure:
    http://ilovepeanutbutter.com/media/nutritional/17010005_nutr.gif

    Peanut Butter & Co’s stuff rocks, dude

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Haha – I am well aware of PB & Co! My personal favorite of theirs is the cinnamon raisin swirl. That stuff is straight up candy though – don’t try to convince yourself otherwise. :)

  • By Caveman Home Companion -

    I’m with you, legume or not, I love peanut butter!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Caveman! PB is the best!

  • By Kjnickell21 -

    Throw in some unsweetened cocoa (or raw cacao or carob powder if you want to be more healthy) and it turns your shake into a chocolate shake! yumm.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks for the suggestion – sounds tasty!

  • By Dean Gutberlet -

    As a kid I ate PB everyday on toast and in sandwiches, as a teen I consumed a 2 pound jar every two weeks! since going paleo/primal I haven’t really touched the stuff – mainly with no toast or sandwiches anymore – there are no more trains running the PB line!
    Besides almonds and macadamias are tastier 😉

    Robb Wolf has converted me to sweet potatos (sliced and pressure cooked) post work out, though peanut butter on those slices could be a go….hmmm

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Sweet potatoes are good, but just about everything can benefit from the addition of PB!

  • By Glibprojects -

    So how often do you eat this? Everyday, or just after hard workouts?

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      I eat some type of smoothie pretty much every day, though not always this exact recipe.  Sometimes I have one pre-workout, sometimes post-workout, occasionally both pre and post workout!

  • By Chuck -

    Instead of milk I used Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk….freakin tasty!!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Sounds like a nice variation!

  • By Rafael -

    So, peanuts are ok then? To eat them raw? Cheers man!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Peanuts are OK with me!  Cheers!

  • By patrizzi -

    Made the switch to natural PB last week. BEST decision on food I have EVER made!!! The taste is amazing!!! I have to give thanks to you Al, I’ve always seen it on the shelves and saw the oil on the top and thought “NO WAY!” so freakin good! Makes for the best shakes also. Blends better and again the taste is so much better.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Right on! Once you go “Nat” you never got back!

  • By Rob Kimble -

    Al, what are your thoughts on coconut oil for cooking with? I know that your diet is similar to paleo but less restrictive. I cook with olive oil now, but I know I need more fat in my diet, and I was thinking about adding coconut oil in the mix.

    Thanks!

    • By Andy Fossett -

      Coconut oil is great for cooking, because it maintains its integrity at relatively high heat. It’s a bit more expensive than olive in most areas, but it’s definitely something to try and see how you like.

      • By Rob Kimble -

        In your opinion,is it worth all the saturated fat? 1 tablespoon has12g of saturated fat, and that just plain out scares me.

        • By Andy Fossett -

          Yes, I’ll take saturated fat from coconut oil over oxidated PUFA from olive oil that’s been made rancid from high cooking temperatures any day. Since you mentioned cooking, that’s a big issue. Coconut oil simply does not go bad as quickly as most other cooking oils do when you heat it in a pan.

          • By Rob Kimble -

            Thanks for the info, Andy!

Comments are closed.