The Truth You’ve Never Been Told About Peanuts

Peanuts

Peanuts are a staple in the Standard American Diet (SAD) with peanut butter being the most common way Americans consume the tree nut each and everyday. What could possibly be wrong with something that is so widely consumed?

Simple. Aflatoxin. 

What is aflatoxin?

Aflatoxin is a potent cancer causing toxin produced from a mold found on maize, peanuts, and in peanut butter. This toxin is the most widely researched mycotoxin in the world. The fungi that produces aflatoxin as a by product of its metabolism thrives in warm and wet climates so the amount of contamination will vary based on climate. In addition to being a carcinogen, aflatoxin can also cause acute poisoning in humans.*

Although I’ve simplified and understated the effects that aflatoxin can have on humans, why would you continue to eat peanuts and peanut butter as well as feed it to your children knowing what you do know?

Our job as caring and loving parents is to look out for the well being of our children, both emotionally and physically. Are you looking out for your child’s physical well being if you continue to feed them peanut butter knowing the effects that the aflatoxin contained in that peanut butter could cause them cancer?

As you can see in this FDA document, there are strict inspection guidelines for testing aflatoxin in domestic and imported sources with a limit of 20 parts per billion (ppb). However, there is great discussion regarding the set limit of 20ppb. Is this a truly safe limit for aflatoxin contamination? Perhaps, as we’ve seen in other contamination cases researchers may discover later that 20ppb is far too high for safe hman consumption. There is just no way to know right now what the true safe limit is. Are you willing to put the safety and health of your family in the hands of researchers who will most likely change their mind about safe aflatoxin limits in our food supply at a later date?

Peanuts and peanut butter alternatives

Knowing what you do know about a cancer causing toxin in our peanut and peanut butter supply we need to find a safe alternative so our children can still enjoy their childhood staple of “PB&J”.

Thankfully there are a number of other safe nut butters available that we can pair with our favorite jelly to make lunchtime sandwiches.

Nut butters that work well on sandwiches or paired with fruit and vegetables (celery) include almond, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, and pecan butter. I want to encourage you to find which peanut butter alternative you and your family prefer. Keep in mind you may prefer almond butter on sandwiches but enjoy cashew butter more with celery or apples for example. Personally, my family and I enjoy almond butter with everything although I am experimenting and encouraging my family to try a variety of nut butters.

Unfortunately, nut butters can be very expensive. To save on our monthly food budget while still providing my family the healthiest food possible, I make our almond butter. You might enjoy our maple almond butter recipe.

Moral of this story is to stay educated and never assume that an old family favorite is healthy or safe. Stay informed and stay healthy.

Sources: EHSO & Dr. Mercola

Maple Almond Butter

Almond Butter

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.

Almond Butter_3

Maple Almond Butter

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  • 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.

Almond Butter_2