Before watching the documentary, “Forks Over Knives”, I was a creamy peanut butter girl. Actually, anything that came in a jar, a can, or a frozen bag was right up my alley. I am a child of the 70’s and 80’s, so I was brought up eating any casserole that was made with cream of mushroom soup, Chef Boyardee, and Pop Tarts……life was good! Now, we actually know what that type of food can do to us, and it is a lot harder to serve it to your family, knowing the consequences.
That is not to say that I am a health freak, as anyone who has seen me can attest. I love food, I love to cook, and it shows. Yet, over the past year and a half, I have chosen to make some major changes in the foods that I bring home, and how I prepare them. I started with a few small things, gradually doing a little more reading, and then a few more changes. Eventually, I actually started liking some of the new foods, and even enjoyed trying new recipes. I will not lie and say it is all fantastic, that I crave this type of diet, or that it is not a pain in the butt sometimes! It is hard to eat ‘clean’, and it is very time consuming to eat ‘whole foods’. However, the payoff is great for the health of every member of the family.
An easy way to get started in making better food choices, is choosing natural peanut butter. They say that, “Choosy Mom’s Choose Jiff”, but don’t believe that, or any other brand of regular creamy peanut butter. Here is what you get with Jiff:
MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.
It’s the sugar and the Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils here that is the problem. As Americans with a sweet tooth, we eat enough sugar without adding it to other foods (and eating it without even knowing it). The hydrogenated oils are even worse. Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about these bad little boogers:
When it comes to fat, trans fat is considered by some doctors to be the worst type of fat. Unlike other fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. A high LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women.
You can read the rest of the article on this subject of trans fat from the Mayo Clinic here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trans-fat/CL00032
Now here is what you get with Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter:
Smucker’s® Creamy Natural Peanut Butter is 100% natural and made with two simple ingredients: fresh-roasted peanuts and a dash of salt.
Um, there are just two ingredients, both of which we can comfortably pronounce and even understand…..yay!
Now, if your are ready to take the plunge to cleaner eating, there are a few things that you need to understand about natural peanut butter:
1. The taste is different. It actually tastes like you just mooshed up a bunch of roasted peanuts…….and that’s a good thing. You can taste peanuts in every single bite, which is something we have to get used to, instead of the thick creamy sugary goo that we grew up with.
2. It is more expensive. I pay $10 at BJ’s (a wholesale club) for 2 jars. I think you can pick up a generic Walmart brand of the regular peanut butter for about $3.00. Yet, just like in all things in life, sometimes you really do get what you pay for.
3. It requires preparation. When you open up a jar of Skippy, you just spread that heart-clogging confection right onto your bread……easy-peasy. Not so much with natural. When you open this jar, you will be greeted with a quarter inch of oil, and that’s not very appetizing. Not to worry though, as this is the natural oil found in peanuts, and once you stir it, it will not resurface. Besides mixing it so that you do not get a mouthful of oil, you will also rip your bread to shreds trying to get it on there if you do not mix it really well. They make stirring devices for mixing natural peanut butter, but I have a technique that makes using natural peanut butter a breeze:
B. Using a pastry blender, throughoughly cut through mixture continually until completely smooth.
D. Clean original peanut butter jar, and use it for something else!
Keeping the peanut butter in a plastic container helps by having a larger mouth in which to obtain it on a knife. Also, if it needs a stir, it will be much easier to do with such a wide opening than in that narrow jar. Of course, we use so much peanut butter in my house, that it never sits long enough for the oil to separate again!
If you want to go a little further in the eating healthy area, try using Polaner All Fruit with fiber fruit spreads instead of consuming regular, sugar and funky ingredients laden jelly’s and jam’s. They taste great, and are well worth the added expense. Enjoy!