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Please keep in mind that I am not a registered dietitian or doctor. My posts are based on my own research and personal experience, and this blog is not intended to be used as medical or nutritional advice. Information and statements regarding health claims on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should always consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet and exercise routine. You are ultimately responsible for your own health!
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Are Peanuts Healthy?

If you had asked me this question ten years ago, I would said, “Of course, peanuts are good for you!” Growing up, my dad usually had some sort of fitness magazine or diet book by his chair, and all of them recommended peanut butter as a healthy addition to meals. In fact, peanut butter is still considered one of the 12 “power foods” in the popular Abs Diet book (one of my dad’s favorites!), thanks to its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

As you can imagine, we had lots of peanut butter in our house.

peanut-butter-healthy

You can also probably imagine my disappointment when I heard that peanut butter may not be so good for you, after all.

While peanuts are a decent source of plant-based protein, they are also highly susceptible to mold that produces aflatoxin– a carcinogen that has been associated with liver cancer (1), stunted growth in children (2), and mental retardation (3). On a positive note, research has shown that the aflatoxins may be reduced by as much as 89% when the peanuts are processed into peanut butter (4).

Another issue with peanuts is that they are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which have been associated with an increased risk of inflammation and cardiovascular disease (5). Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce this inflammation and risk of chronic disease, but Western diets tend to contain far too many Omega-6 fatty acids already (6), making peanut butter a poor choice for balancing out this ratio.

To add insult to injury, peanuts also contain lectins, which may promote cancer growth (7), and conventionally grown peanuts are highly exposed to pesticides– so buying organic is a must in this case. Peanut butter also tends to be a highly addictive food for many people, which can be a sign of intolerance, so if you find yourself unable to stop at a reasonable serving of peanut butter, you may want to try eliminating it for a period of time to see if it’s affecting you more than you realize.

healthy-peanut-butter-bars

So, knowing what I do now, why do I still make treats that include peanut butter?

There are a couple of reasons:

  1. Using all-natural peanut butter, without additives, is still a step in the right direction for people who are transitioning away from a mainstream diet. My Peanut Butter Cookies and No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars, are definitely a step up from many processed treats! Progress, not perfection.
  2. My family still loves the taste of peanut butter. While I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy to consume on a daily basis, I try not to be militant when it comes to food, so peanut butter still has a place in our home–however occasional it may be.

The studies aren’t all bad when it comes to peanuts and peanut butter, either. One human study showed that adding peanut butter to the diet actually reduced triglycerides in the blood (8), and a Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who regularly ate peanut butter had a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (9).

Of course, if you’d prefer to steer clear of peanut butter all together, there are plenty of alternatives available. I’m partial to almond butter in most cases, but sunflower butter is a great nut-free option, too!

Reader Feedback: How do you feel about peanut butter? Does it still have a place in your home?

Mushroom & Spinach Quinoa “Risotto”

quinoa-risotto

I don’t know about you, but ever since watching shows like Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen, I’ve been intimidated to try my hand at making risotto. It sounds pretty labor intensive and time consuming.

Hence, why I prefer to

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Chickpea & Avocado “Egg” Salad (Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free)

vegan-egg-salad

Meet my new favorite lunch. It tastes ridiculously similar to traditional egg salad, but there’s nothing traditional about it.

A surprising combination of chickpeas and creamy avocado give this dish its egg-salad-like texture. I wish I could take the

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What I Ate Wednesday

breakfast-peach-eggs

You may have noticed that I’ve posted a bunch of dessert recipes lately, but I think I’ve reached a point of sweet stuff burn-out. (I’m sure it will just be temporary… my sweet tooth is never gone for long.)

While

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Grain-Free Puppy Chow (Vegan)

Paleo-Puppy-Chow

I apologize in advance for sharing this recipe, because it’s seriously addictive.

Which means it must be pretty darn close to the original!

I don’t know about you, but whenever my family had a bowl of Puppy Chow (also

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Fresh Basil Lemonade

Basil-Lemonade

Summertime is the perfect time for a glass of this refreshing homemade lemonade.

There’s something about the combination of lemon and fresh basil that makes this naturally sweetened drink irresistible to me. Which is surprising, because without the basil

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What I Ate Wednesday

green-juice-homemade-baby-food

Rather than showcasing another regular day of meals, I thought it might be fun to show you guys a peek at our weekend eats.

The weekends used to be a time when we dined out a lot, but that just

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The Healthiest Cookies EVER (Paleo, Vegan)

healthy-cookie-recipe

A bold statement, but these cookies deserve it.

They are made with 100% whole food ingredients– no flour, no added oil, and no added sugar. And believe it or not, they still taste great!

I actually made these cookies

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My Favorite 2-Ingredient Lotion

all-natural-lotion-recipe

Up until recently, I wasn’t interested in creating my own bath and body products. I like to keep things really simple, and over the past couple of years I’ve only used regular coconut or olive oil for all of my

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What I Ate Wednesday

blueberry-smoothie

These posts should really be called “What I Ate Tuesday,” but I prefer the alliteration that Wednesday brings to the title. Here’s a peek at what I ate yesterday, while working from home and caring for that cute little guy

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