Posts Tagged ‘organic’

The Nut Butter Debate

nut butter I can about guarantee that most of you, if not all of you, have some sort of nut butter sitting on your shelf.  Nut butters are a great source of protein and a healthy snack option.  But not all nut butters are created equal.

Let’s dig deeper in to the most popular of the nut butters, peanut butter.  I grew up on Jif’s Creamy Peanut Butter.  Let’s just say, I’m glad I know now what I didn’t know then.

  • Ingredients:  MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.

That’s a lot of oil!  At least there’s a better choice of peanut butter out there these days.  In fact, this is my choice of readily available peanut butter; Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter.

  • Ingredients:  PEANUTS, CONTAINS 1% OR LESS OF SALT.

Now, you might wonder why I choose the natural over the organic option that Smucker’s has.  It’s all in the ingredients.  The organic option’s first ingredient is ROASTED ORGANIC PEANUTSTo roast the peanuts, unless it says dry roasted, they have to use oil.  It doesn’t say what type of oil they use.  Tricky, I know!!

There are great options available made from other nuts as well.  I love to splurge and get sunflower seed butter once in a while.  But I also like to keep it simple.   I figure, any nut butter is a high fat food.  If I’m going to splurge and eat it, I want to know exactly what I’m eating.

With all of the options out there these days, you really have to be cautious of what you’re buying.  Here’s an example of tricky marketing.  This is what some companies are trying to pass off as healthy these days.  Sorry, Nutella, I’m going to pick on you.

  • Ingredients:  SUGAR, PALM OIL, HAZELNUTS, COCOA, SKIM MILK, REDUCED MINERALS WHEY (MILK), LECITHIN AS EMULSIFIER (SOY), VANILLIN: AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

Hazelnut is the third ingredient!  And I guess they didn’t think hazelnuts were oily enough; they had to add palm oil.  Not to mention the worst phrase ever: artificial flavor.  No thank you.

Let’s also take a look at PB2.  I wish I could say I like this product but I have a few issues with it.

  • Ingredients:  ROASTED PEANUTS, SUGAR AND SALT.

There’s that word again, ROASTED.  Not to mention they had to throw sugar into the mix.

This is what it boils down to; if you want to splurge and eat a high fat treat such as nut butters, look at the ingredients list not the nutritional values and enjoy it in moderation!  Or, there are local stores in the area that have machines available to make your own nut butter.  Go for it!  Then you’ll really know what it’s made of!

Do You Know What You’re Eating?

plums There is something to be said about turning a blind eye and staying naïve to keep a positive attitude.   I have just one problem with that… I’m too inquisitive!

So I’m walking along the produce isles, taking in the beautiful array of colors in front of me.  But then my curiosity and slight OCD take over and I start thinking about how many other hands have touched the same apple and cucumber that I just picked up.  That’s where it all starts…

Here’s some thought provoking information about the produce you buy.

Did you know that most of the produce that you buy at a grocery store could have been harvested weeks and months if not almost a year ago?

It is a common practice for most produce to be harvested early and finished with a chemical spray called ethylene gaswhile in transit.  Yes, produce does emit ethylene naturally while ripening.  But, chemists have taken this natural gas and turned it into a liquid form to spray on early harvested produce.  It is in this form that it’s harmful to us.

Did you know that even some organic apples have a wax coating on them?

This is where it gets tricky.  Many would say that wax has no place being on food.  But consider that some produce naturally has a coating or “wax” on it to help protect it and keep it moist.  The most common types of wax are actually a derivative of animals, minerals or vegetables.  So now it becomes a matter of choice.

Or, how about the fact that produce is handled by many sets of hands that may or may not have been washed after their last trip to the bathroom.

Enough said.

Needless to say, by thinking that buying organic will solve all of the chemical and bacterial issues that consumers need to be aware of is just not going to cut it.  Best bet, by local and in season.  Then, when you get your produce home and begin to prepare it, follow these guidelines to prevent as much chemical and bacterial contamination as much as possible.

  • Soak produce in a 5:1 water to white vinegar ratio for about two minutes
  • For denser produce, scrub the outsides with your hands or a clean cloth
  • Drain and rinse for a good 30 seconds to a minute in clean, running water
  • Store in a clean container different than the one it came home in

Score 1 for the health coach!

Of all the things I thought I would never hear come out of my husband’s mouth, requesting organic ANYTHING probably tops the list.  But that’s exactly what he did!  Evidently, the produce he had been picking out just wasn’t cutting it.  Well let me think… of course I will!!  Score for the health coach!