In my journey towards health and cleaner eating the last thing I expected was to give up peanuts and peanut butter. There are no peanut or tree nut allergies in our family. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were staples in my own childhood as well as for my older children when they were little. So why give up peanuts? They have served us all so well over the years.
The answer is simple, mold that produces a cancer causing toxin known as aflatoxin. Aspergillus and A.parasiticus are 2 strains of mold that produce alfatoxin in warm humid climates and silos. Peanuts are not the only carrier of these molds, soy beans, corn, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and even milk have been shown to carry these mold strains. Peanuts are of particular concern for a few reasons; the first of which is the sheer amount of peanuts and peanut butter that Americans consume everyday. This raises the exposure levels to aflatoxin. Second is the nutritional value of peanuts. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is not favorable in peanuts. There are other nuts and legumes available with a better fatty acid profile which make a better choice when snacking or preparing nut butters. Lastly, we just do no know how much exposure to aflatoxin is safe. 20 parts per billion is the current “safe” level for food inspection purposes, but is this really enough and what does long term exposure at these levels cause if anything? You should also know that “fresh” ground peanut butter from health food stores contain a higher level of aflatoxin than the “junk” food type of peanut butters such as “Jif” and “Skippy”.
So long story short, this is why i switched my family from peanut butter to organic homemade almond butter. Not just any almond butter mind you, this is pure spreadable creamy maple almond butter goodness. With a family of 9, the sheer amount of almond butter that I make every week might cause the demise of my large capacity food processor. She is holding steady for now though, thankfully.
Once you make your own almond butter at home you will never go back! It is simple and not full of the preservatives, salt, and other junk that commercial brans pour into their nut butters.
Maple Almond Butter
2 cups raw organic almonds
1T organic hemp hearts
1T organic chia seeds
2T organic golden flax seeds
6T organic grade B maple syrup
1tsp organic cinnamon
2T organic light olive oil
- Heat oven to 275F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir well.
- Evenly spread almond mixture on parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 25-30min. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- Place cooled almond mixture in a food processor. Do not use your high powered blender for this, I’ve heard of too many motors burning out after trying to break down just one batch of nut butters.
- Process until nuts break down into a fine mixture with their own oils. You may have to stop your food processor a few times during this process to scrape down the sides and break up the nut mixture so it blends evenly.
- Add olive oil and cinnamon. Blend until smooth and creamy.