Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Linked to Cancer? Come on!!!!

Philomena eating the leftovers after homemade nut butter day.
A few months back, much to my dismay, we began a household boycott of peanut butter. My husband came to me and said that peanuts were off the menu because they are directly linked to cancer. I understood what he was saying but I was mad at him. He didn't have to feed the kids every day and worry about making sure they get enough healthy foods to keep them going. I did. He didn't have to worry about finding a solution for Blaise who has a tree-nut allergy. I did. At least that's how I felt. And of all things to tell Blaise he couldn't eat anymore, peanuts and peanut butter were his favorite! They were also an important healthy fat in our diet since Blaise is allergic to all tree-nuts, except almonds, which the rest of us eat. We were advised to have him avoid almonds since he could "develop" an almond allergy, but since we have him on probiotics now, we've introduced the almonds into his diet and he has no problems eating them, but he's not a big fan. 

Back to peanuts. After I threw my arms up in anger over the frustration that NOTHING seems safe anymore, he went and did more research so he could learn more. He came back to me the next day and said that there was a solution:

Homemade peanut and almond butters.
Organic valencia peanuts.  

Here's why. Traditional peanuts, which are actually legumes, are grown in the ground with soft shells. They are usually grown in regions where the soil gets very moist and a fungal growth occurs on the outside of the porous shells. The fungus isn't the problem, it's the poison it releases, aflatoxin, that is carcinogenic and attacks the liver. Plus, due to weather conditions and pests, peanuts are one of the most highly sprayed plants.  

Organic valencia peanuts are grown in warmer climates, primarily New Mexico, and therefore fungus does not grow on the outside. Plus, no sprays are used since they are organic. There are so many health benefits to having organic peanuts and peanut butter that we did not want to miss out on them, but now within a certain form of moderation - no more 16 jars a month! Our new problem was finding a brand of organic peanut butter made with valencia peanuts. We found one in our market - Arrowhead Mills. But... they also were made in a factory with cashews and specifically say they made contain cashew pieces, which is what Blaise is highly allergic to.   

Peanut butter was off the market again, but almond butter became the norm in our home, except for Blaise. He would eat it when I added it to recipes like the Fruit & Nut Desert Balls and Fruit & Nut Bars, but never alone with his apple. The happy ending to our story is that Earth Fare just started carrying organic valencia peanuts which we are now able to blend in our Vitamix and make homemade peanut butter again! It doesn't seem like much, and they may stop carrying them, but it makes me happy to know that for now he can get at least one serving of his peanut butter again without the carcinogenic releasing fungus because it was seriously his favorite part of eating apples.

To read my blog on how to keep your organic peanut butters creamy, click here.

Apples and nut butter flowers for snack.