Archive for » April, 2016 «

Healthy Foods don’t have to Cost more

I agree. Healthy foods do not have to cost more. Much of the cost of foods is related to packaging – not just the wrapping itself, but the people needed to do this job. Therefore, to cut out this “packaging cost,” buy in bulk, preferably bulk organic foods, which ranges from all produce to nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruits; teas, herbs and spices. While organic-bulk may cost slightly more than non-organic bulk, organic bulk is still less expensive than non-organic packaged foods.

Let’s start with bulk or loose organic produce. The great thing about buying items in bulk is that you buy what you need, so that with a little thought involved, little is wasted. It won’t sit rotting in your fridge because you bought too much. There is also evidence that the nutritional content of organic foods is higher, because the product hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides; the soil hasn’t been contaminated with fungicides; and the seeds are virgin, not adulterated with genetically modified God knows what. So you know that what you are getting is a real product, grown from a real seed in honest soil. That fact alone will ultimately save you money if you make a practice of eating organically on a daily basis – you will feel better because chances are, your immune system is stronger.You are what you eat.

Years ago, while shopping in an organic food store in NYC, someone told me that if you could only afford to buy one or two organic items (in bulk), that I should choose the bright orange carrots and the brown rice. Carrots because of their high beta-carotene content and brown rice because it is a whole grain and mixing it with beans makes a complete protein, or so I was told. To this day, I still buy them. For less than a dollar, I can buy three or four good-sized carrots. Grate the carrots for a salad, eat them raw alone or with a little olive oil, or cook them in a stew or soup. Organic brown rice (I prefer the long-grain to the sweeter short-grain) is great with any kind of beans or lentils cooked with some garlic. A while back I was walking my dog and I met a woman from the other side of the state doing the same thing I was. She shared with me that her hybrid-wolf-puppy-dog refused to eat dog food. I told her to give that little wolf some brown rice and beans, because all canines love beans. She called me a week later to tell me that it worked and now cooks up a batch in advance, then freezes daily portions for her pooch. She never has to buy dog food. .

Flax seeds bought in bulk are great for your digestive tract and I buy mine toasted. Eat with with a piece of fruit. Lots of great roughage there. If you buy sesame seeds in bulk, try them with grilled tofu (tofu blocks are sometimes sold loose (i.e. in bulk) in water containers at many health food stores in the tofu section). Baste the tofu with some Braggs Amino Acids mixed with olive oil, garlic and a little paprika or red pepper flakes, also bought in bulk. Very tasty and nutritious.

Have you had a look recently at organic red-leaf lettuce? Gorgeous! Why pay more for packaging, just drop that beauty in a recycled plastic bag.

When I shop on a budget I think: Whole grains, seeds and/nuts; green veggies and a yellow fruit or vegetable.

The least expensive bulk items are the spices and the teas. Usually they are pretty much in the same section of the store. The teas sold are green (several kinds) and black tea – (also Chai tea which is a combination of Eastern spices). I prefer the heavenly green Earl Grey Tea that is full of antioxidants, as with all organic green teas. The great thing about buying bulk organic teas (whether green or black) is that the leaves are still pretty whole – that is, they haven’t been ground or pulverized and packaged into tea bags. At a friend’s house, I was offered some packaged green tea and while the packaging was really snazzy, the tea itself was flat, bland, or shall I say, dead. Instead, try the bulk organic green tea and add a thin slice of raw ginger to it first thing when you pour it. Let the tea steep about ten minutes in the nearly boiled water. Now pour it. You will feel wide awake, alert, focused, smart and energized. There is a world of difference between the packaged non-organic stuff and the real thing. I know, I drink the bulk organic green tea almost daily. It has less caffeine than coffee but the leaves have B-vitamins for energy.

About once a week I enjoy having some coffee. At a supermarket that sells foreign items, I buy cheap Cuban Expresso in a can, then mix it when I’m ready to use it, with organic chicory sold at a health food store. One teaspoon of each to a drip bag. Boil the water and let it drip into a pint-size jar. This is a strong and fairly inexpensive morning buzz allowing me to get more caffeine, that wonderful coffee aroma along with the nutritional benefits of the Chicory.

Buying spices or herbs in bulk is a great money saver, because spices bought in those little tin containers are expensive. Instead, buying in bulk allows you to buy many different kinds of spices – turmeric, delicious on your brown rice; fragrance your potatoes and meats with rosemary; top your beans with tarragon and cheese; marry the oregano with your tomato sauce; sprinkle some holy basil on your eggs; bake your wild salmon with some thyme and so on. For under five dollars, you’ll be able to buy small amounts of several different herbs in bulk and it would cost you about six or even times this much than if you bought these items packaged, especially in tins or plastic containers.

So next time you’re on a budget, walk into a health food store with ten, only ten dollars, head for the bulk section and see just how far your dollar stretches.

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Is it really Worth it to Buy Organic

Organic foods are nothing new on the food market. Since ancient times man has been consuming organic products. It is only in recent times that cheaper, less quality items, have become available. Saving money by purchasing these products often attracts even the healthiest fanatics. However, the benefits of quality in manufacturing is what makes purchasing organic products worthwhile.

The modern world has changed palate appreciation from the strong aromatic organic flavours into sugary, destructive, addictive substitutes. Organic foods have very little sugar, salt and fat additives to preserve the food, so you can be assured it is fresh. Making the change to organic is like pampering your body on the inside. The taste is better, your digestive ability is greater, the food is fresher and your body gains more nutrition from less consumption. Most cancer victims who survive have changed their lifestyle to organic and natural.

The cost of organics eventually balances itself out. Most organic items are not that expensive in comparison to high quality processed and preserved products. Often the organic variety requires less amounts of the product to do the same as a processed variety.

The creation of cheap substitute sweeteners and artificial flavor enhancers drastically reduced the price of processed foods. The extra pricing of organic ingredients simply encompasses the added cost of growing and manufacturing top quality natural ingredients. The trend in post war periods in purchasing was to sway to the cheaper product. This has ensured organic foodstuffs have kept their prices fairly low in competition. If you have ever baked an organic cake the end price is quite competitive with the price of the processed, mass produced product.

When you buy organic foods all the time, you will eat less because of the added nutritional value and lose weight. You are not consuming toxic, destructive ingredients that make you feel tired and slow, the body naturally rejects these additives. Ten packets of no name brand chips compared to one home cooked organic pasta; it does not even begin to compare nutritionally. Your body needs additional nutrition, not to crave artificial sweetness.

Ultimately the choice is up to you. There are many natural, non-organic alternatives. Organic is the next step in the natural, healthy alternative lifestyle. If you value your body and respect the risks farmers are taking to produce the higher cost organic products, it’s worth the few extra cents per product. If you can afford it, DO IT ! You will notice the difference.

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Organic vs Conventional Produce why Buying both is the way to a Healthy Body

Organic or nonorganic produce, which should I buy? This may be a question you have asked yourself. Most grocery stores are carrying both so the option is there in front of you, now. But what is necessary? Expense, nutrition, and tastes are all important factors in the decision-making. So what exactly is the best decision when it comes to organic vs. nonorganic also known as conventional produce. There are good reasons to implement both types into your diet.

Health is the first issue. Conventional produce normally is grown using chemical filled pesticides to keep the bugs from destroying the crop. The chemicals have been used for so many years so that even though you wash your vegetables, residue and bits of chemicals find their way into the produce. The best way to counter act this is to purchase conventional produce with a thick skin, such as bananas, oranges, cucumbers, or potatoes. You can peel the skins off these foods and eat a relatively safe vegetable or fruit. Organically grown foods are purposely grown avoiding any uses of harsh chemicals. This means that you are ingesting only vegetables and no harsh chemicals.

Organic vegetables and fruits are more expensive. Some like mushrooms, broccoli, onions, and oranges tend to be a dollar or more per pound. Carrots, celery, bananas, apples, and lettuce are just some examples of some that are normally ten to fifty cents per pound more, than conventional vegetables. Of course, these prices may vary depending on sales and the stores. If you go to a large chain like Whole Foods, because they buy in bulk, you may get a good deal on organic vegetables. It is rare to find organic prices below conventional produce prices. So why should you pay more?

The taste is a big reason. This writer realized the difference after eating organic food. It was like eating a vegetable for the first time. It is a subtle difference I will admit, but the subtly is worth it. Then if you eat an organic green pepper and then eat a conventional green pepper you really can taste a chemical taste. This happens with several different vegetables and fruits.

Nutrition boils down to this. Both conventional and organic foods are full of good nutrition. Some conventional vegetables are genetically engineered and have questions around whether or not they are less nutritious. This writer believes that overall the organic is probably more nutritious than conventional. Although, seeing how my grandparents have lived well over their eighties, eating conventional fruits and vegetables, it’s hard to say that organic is the only way to go.

If someone has the money to buy all organic food, it is probably wise to buy organic. This way the person has the luxury of taste and health. For those of us that live on a budget, it seems that a mixture of both organic and conventional is a healthy solution. Remember that the thick-skin foods can be purchased as conventional because the skins can been thrown out. This skin, for the mot part, protects the meat of the fruit or vegetable from the chemicals penetrating the food. Buying some organic foods is only a few cents per pound more over conventional, it is worth it for budgeters to pay that and get the luxury of good taste and health.

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Product Reviews Organics vs Nonorganics

Nonorganic foods contain pesticides, growth hormones, and manmade chemicals that, in my opinion, are the cause for many of the childhood epidemics in the world today. The first epidemic I would like to touch on is “Food Allergies”. There are so many more cases of childhood and adult food allergies now that we are using chemicals to produce the foods everyone needs to survive. The epidemics of chemical enhancement of or vital staples are causing more harm, but they cost less and are mass produced so who cares if they are doing harm… Right? WRONG! Just ask the parents of the millions of children who are affected by the chemicals and live with their harmful affects daily.

Yes, organic foods cost more and do not last as long as nonorganic foods. Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why we would allow a few dollars to get in the way of our health? If you were asked to pay a little more for a better physician that could diagnose and treat your child, instead of going to a quack that could possible injure your child, which would you choose? The cost to plant, harvest, and store our own organic food is cheaper than our grociery bill so why don’t we go back to the basics? A small summer garden does not take a lot of time, space or money and the fact that you’d know your food was organic, is priceless.

According to an article written by Donya Currie in 2008, advocacy groups are calling for a ban on food dyes because they can cause behavioral problems. Additives and food dyes are among many of the problem causing nonorganic food sources we feed our children today that have been linked to hyperactivity and ADHD. Yet, we continue to buy these nonorganic foods and feed them to our families. Whole food organics stores are not just a trend, they are a way of life for those of us that have children with food allergies, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and many other nonorganic food induced epidemics.

Organic foods are not just for people on health food kicks. Organic foods are for everyone. Imagine not spending as much on healthcare due to the fact you do not have as many medical issues, in turn your insurance rates go down, and not only are you healthier you just put money back in your pocket. To me it is a win, win situation.

I myself love the taste of a fresh vine ripened tomato. When buying nonorganic, mass produced, foods that contain preservatives we are not only losing nutrition, we are losing taste. In my opinion, fresh organic foods just taste better. The next time you visit the local market give organic a try. You just might want to plant your own summer garden this year too. Choose to change to organic foods, if not for yourself, do it for your children. Our children do not have the right to choose what we put in their bodies, so make the healthy choice for them.

Article cited: The Nation’s Health Article date: August 01, 2008 Author: Currie, Donya

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Organic Foods are Good for you

I began buying organic food for my daughter when she began eating baby food. I did not want her to have all of the harmful pesticides, hormones, and additives that are found in so many products. I have read articles about the possible link of many health issues to foods that are not organic. Here is what I have found.

First, meat is completely different. I have noticed that chickens that have not had antibiotics, growth hormones, and were fed a vegan diet are so much juicier, softer and tastier than regular supermarket chickens. The beef is a completely different taste. My daughter loves organic steak at 14 months old. It is more tender than what I used to buy. I read on the following website http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/hormoncancer.cfm that residual hormones in beef may lead to earlier menstruation in girls, which in turn may increase the risk of breast cancer. I do not want to potentially harm my daughter in any way. Butter and cheese are other items that we buy organic just to avoid the hormones. When my daughter starts to drink milk, we will definitely buy organic milk.

As for produce, I have purchased sweet potatoes both frozen and fresh. The frozen were horrible. The fresh were fine. I buy frozen peas, green beans, corn and a medley. They are delicious, much better than from a can. I have not been able to tell a major difference from regular frozen vegetables to the organic, but just knowing that there are no pesticides makes me feel better. I buy fresh, organic pears and oranges, but do not sense a major taste difference in the flesh part of the fruit, but the skin is better on the organic pears. I have not tried frozen berries yet. I have a bag in my freezer to try soon.

I have just recently purchased a bag of rice, macaroni and cheese by a famous label, and other pasta. I love the pasta. The whole-wheat pasta I ate recently was great. It was not as starchy as regular pasta. Again, conventional whole-wheat pasta does not taste much different. One important note is that the organic sauce does taste different. The organic of a famous label has a stronger more defined taste than the conventional sauce. I used the same traditional variety in both the organic and conventional and recommend the organic. As for my daughter, she loves organic waffles with organic butter and organic strawberry jam. That is all we have tried in the line of starches and carbohydrates.

In conclusion, organic meats are definitely worth the money you will spend on them. Believe me when I say that it is quite expensive. For example, I just purchased strip steak for my daughter. It was $27 a pound. Ouch on the budget, but knowing I will not put her in harms way is worth it. I am actually in the process of looking for a local farmer who feeds his animals a vegan diet, no hormones or antibiotics. The price will probably be better. Organic butter is much more than regular butter. I was shocked. I am thankful that we do not consume that much butter. The cheese also costs a bit more. The frozen vegetables are not much more than the conventional. The organic fruit is a shocker as well. It is almost twice the price of regular fruit. It also depends on your market. I have found that one local store is $1 more a pound for organic pears than a bigger store. That is a big difference. It pays to shop around. If you are a person concerned about what you eat, my advice is to buy organic meat, cheese, and fruit. Most pastas and vegetables, especially the potatoes, are fine to buy conventional. It is up to what your taste buds prefer, you deem to be healthy, and your budget.

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Comparing Natural Peanut Butter Brands

Exactly how does one choose “natural” peanut butter? Are trans fats and hydrogenated oils a health issue? Are you looking for less sugar, healthier choices, more flavor?

Peanut butter is a healthy and nutritious choice. It is is a good source of protein, vitamin E, niacin, phosphorus and magnesium.

Recent research has suggested a link between trans fats and increased LDL-cholesterol levels. Although the amount of trans fats even in regular peanut butter is negligible, the fat in peanut butter is about 80% unsaturated fat. This is the <i>good</i> fat that is reported to actually lower LDL-cholesterol. Adding fat or oils to peanut butter is simply unnecessary, there’s plenty of naturally occurring oils in peanut butter.

I can also do without the sugar. If I want something sweet with my peanut butter I’ll have jam or honey; even old fashioned maple syrup.

Smart Balance Omega Peanut Butter has added flax oil for those healthy Omega 3’s and a dab of molasses for flavor if you like your peanut butter sweet. Flax Seed Oil contains omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, lecithin, magnesium, fiber, protein, and zinc . This is all good stuff, so if a little flax oil marked your natural peanut butter nice and smooth with no need to stir, that’s a good thing; right? The Smart Balance web site also has printable coupons, which is a bonus in these rough economic times.

Skippy has recently added a “natural” to their peanut butter line. Another sweet butter, their version contains sugar and added palm oil. The addition of refined sugar to this product takes it firmly out of the “natural” claim, in my opinion. Skippy adds the palm oil so that their consumers can avoid that “untidy” chore of stirring the separated peanut butter. Health authorities have been stating that palm oil promotes heart disease since 1970. I’ll stir. I really don’t need the palm oil in my peanut butter.

Now let’s talk Smucker’s. We’re all familiar with their jams and jellies, but did you even know they make peanut butter? I didn’t. When I tried their “natural” I was pleased. Peanuts and salt. Perfect ingredients for a “natural” peanut butter in my book. In fact, it tasted just like my all time favorite brand, Laura Scudder’s. Imagine my surprise when I went to their web site only to discover that Smucker’s has been making the Laura Scudder’s and Adam’s brands of natural peanut butter for over 20 years. No wonder it tastes so good!

You simply can’t beat peanuts and salt as a “natural” peanut butter, and Smucker’s has the added advantage of being organic, as well. There is, of course, the “untidy” business of oil separation with these brands, but Smucker’s sells a handy manual mixer that screws right onto the lid of the jars, (or if you’re thrifty like me, you’ll turn the jar upside down for a couple of days, give it a stir with a knife and then put it in the refrigerator to stop the separation).

I would be remiss if I neglected to add my new favorite brand of natural peanut butter; Winco fresh grind. Again, peanuts and salt. It’s great. Push the button and your peanuts are ground right before your eyes. And no stirring, as the separation of oil from peanuts isn’t an issue with this method/brand since it doesn’t sit on the shelf long enough to separate before I use a pound or so.

So… just how “natural” do you want to get?

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Advice on Midnight Snacking

Midnight cravings. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with an intense need for something chewy or, more appealing, chocolaty? These kinds of cravings can send you straight to your fridge for a late night binge. The problem? For a number of reasons, you’d like to eat healthier. Also, you want something fast. After all, it’s midnight; who wants to turn into a restaurant chef just for a small snack? Fortunately, there are ways to satisfy those longings for last week’s birthday cake without ingesting those extra calories.
There are all different types of cravings: something cold, something warm, something sugary, something non-sugary, etc. Remember, you only need a little amount to really hit the spot, just enough to last you until morning. Let’s take a look.
If you want something cold, try a cold turkey sandwich, fruit if you prefer something sweet, or yogurt. If you’d like something warm, go for leftovers from a previous meal to save time on preparation, or heat up that turkey sandwich. Cheese and crackers can be a delicious way to satisfy your hunger, especially with some tomato sauce to turn them into mini pizzas.
Drinks to go along with it are almost always a must, so that the food between your teeth gets washed down, and they actually make you feel more full food-wise. There’s the standard warm milk or decaffeinated coffee, but also try something else like blueberry tea, French vanilla tea, or of course fruit juice.
There are many more choices than you think about what to eat in the middle of the night. Reaching for the TV dinners may be what looks like the easiest option, but certainly not the healthiest. Next time you wake up at 1:00 AM with the munchies, ask yourself: what could I eat without developing those extra pounds?

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Culinary Traditions from the Santa Fe Trail

The history of dining in Santa Fe begins with the famous Santa Fe Trail. Simple fare prepared from nonperishable foods was essential on this perilous journey. Corn mush could be flavored with dried chiles and supplemented occasionally with game and fish that the travelers harvested along the way. When at last the weary pioneers arrived at trail’s end, a celebratory steak would often be served, accompanied by beans, tortillas, and green chile.

When you visit Santa Fe you will find truly unique flavors. Three cultures, the Pueblo, the Spanish and English speaking peoples mingled here. The cuisine is a combination of the foodways of each of these groups. According to the Food Museum site, this exchange began when the Spanish Franciscans developed mission churches with gardens. The Spanish colonists and the Pueblo Indians began to share their traditional foods.

Daily food for both Spanish colonists and Pueblo Indians consisted of corn mush flavored with chile peppers. The diet was supplemented with beans, tortillas and squash. While the Spaniards ate wheat, which they brought from Europe, the Puebloans ate more corn meal. Turkey, chicken, beef, pork, milk, mutton and eggs supplemented the mainly vegetarian diet.

As wagon trains from the eastern United States arrived, they brought in a variety of foods to add to the mix. This included canned and dried foods. After New Mexico became a territory of the US, Americans planted orchards in and around the plaza.

The early twentieth century brought artists and intellectuals to settle in Santa Fe and patronize restaurants and cafes. Santa Fe became known as the “city different,” with a vibrant mix of three different cultures and freestyle expression. This is still reflected in the city’s eating establishments.

There’s  Upper Crust Pizza, a must on any pizza lover’s list. There’s Geronimo, the upscale fine restaurant on Canyon Road featuring “global French Asian” food and wine. Santa Fe offers food choices to fit every taste and budget. Mexican food at Maria’s, coupled with “the motherload of American Margaritas” (according to the Seattle Times) will top off a day spent on the plaza wandering from shop to bandstand. Don’t forget the chile; red, green or “Christmas.”

With its gold-flecked walls and outdoor patios, one with a small playground, the Cowgirl has become a Santa Fe tradition in its own right. Here you will find a glorious mix of American and Mexican cuisine with a definite Southwest flavor. Start with your favorite beer or wine, add cheese fries with green chile and a buffalo steak or butternut squash casserole. Top it all off with one of the unique desserts. You might try the “baked potato ice cream sundae.”

Stroll through the Saturday morning Farmers’ Market at the Railyard, and you will find other culinary treasures to sample. Fresh, organic vegetables abound, alongside grass-fed beef and buffalo, free-range chickens and eggs. Try a jar of green chile mustard or perhaps raspberry and chile jam. For the more frugal, take home some chicken wings and veggies for a wonderful fresh soup. If you get hungry at the market, try one of the hot burritos or fresh baked breads.

The delicious aroma of roasting chiles accompanies you as you walk around the Farmer’s Market, teasing your taste buds. A few of those chiles would make a great addition to your own culinary creations.

The mixture of foodways brought together on the Santa Fe Trail has created a unique and delicious tradition in the “city different.”

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Anise Culinary and Health uses and Storage Hint

Anise is a flowering plant that emits a black licorice, fennel-scented aroma that undoubtedly entices the palate.  

As an annual lacy-leaved, white flowering plant native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, anise grows about three feet tall.  Anise is very easy to grow from seed and prefers full sun and well-drained soil.  Drop the seed in your garden and cover lightly with soil at the onset of your warm season.  Space the plants about one-and-one-half feet apart., rows about one foot from another. Water the anise plant weekly for complete, healthy growth. After the head of the flower has dried, collect the anise seeds and dry them in a cool, dark area. Once stored in an airtight container, the anise seed will last several months. The seeds produced by the flowering anise plant can either be used whole, ground to a fine texture, or even used as pure anise oil or extract. 

The seed is what omits the tasty oil that is a key enhancement to multicultural cuisine, baked goods and liqueurs such as Anisette.  Anise is also a key element in black jelly beans and Italian pizzelle.

One can get anise oil by boiling the plant in water without letting the vapors evaporate.  The condensed vapors are what produces the oil.

Anise extract comes from taking the anise oil and mixing with other properties, such as alcohol and glycerol.  This form is not as pure as anise oil, but some continue to use this less expensive form in their cuisine.

Medicinally, anise has herbal properties that aid in easing or deterring certain conditions.  Anise seeds can be used as a breath freshener, or when steeped in hot water with or without a tea bag, flavored with lemon and sugar or honey can be used as a throat soother, indigestion reliever, gas reducer, or an easeful sleep aid.  Anise has also been known to relieve menstrual cramps, and the essential oil has been used as an insecticide to treat head lice and mites.  Anise can be used as an appetite stimulant, to treat asthma or bronchitis, baby colic, morning sickness, emphysema, colds, or pneumonia.  The leaves from anise can help relieve toothache when applied directly to the tooth.

The essential oil of anise can be used as an aromatic scent in a household diffuser to provide a therapeutic ambiance.

If fishing is your pastime, adding the oil to your fishing lure has been known to attract fish.

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Natural Peanut Butter

Product reviews: Natural peanut butters

Many of us grew up eating peanut butter. Its salty taste and strong aroma made a great midday meal or late-night snack. However, most of our peanut butter (to be referred to as traditional peanut butter in this article) contains much more than just peanuts. Ingredients often include additives and preservatives.

There was also the issue of trans fat, the latest fat to be discovered and arguably the most dangerous type. Trans fat were the result of hydrogenation, a process by which hydrogen molecules are bombarded against molecules of unsaturated fat in unnatural conditions. The resulting fat, trans-saturated fat, is added to traditional peanut butter to prevent separation. However, trans fat may or may not damage human DNA; more tests are needed.

The discovery of trans fat lead many to abandon foods with hydrogenated oils such as peanut butter in favor for their more natural versions. Traditional peanut butters usually contain refined sugars as well, which can be bad news to your arteries as simple sugars contribute to atherosclerosis.

As far as nutritional value, traditional and natural peanut butters have about the same fat (16 to 19 grams) and protein (7 to 9 grams) content. Both varieties also have B vitamins and vitamin E (the latter which may not be mentioned on the label).

Natural peanut butter, like the traditional type, is usually salted for taste like regular peanut butter, but unsalted versions are available. The basic ingredients are roasted peanuts and salt. The taste of natural peanut butter is often different from the common versions; the more intense flavor and scent may take some getting used to. Natural peanut butter also tends to separate and be more fluid. Rigorous mixing may be required upon opening a new container.

Smart Balance is one of the many brands that has capitalized on the departure from unhealthy fats. This brand focuses on the healthy fat, omega 3. In fact, Smart Balance Omega Peanut Butter is infused with enough flax seed oil to provide a whopping 1000 milligrams of omega 3s per serving! There is also a little molasses added as a sweetener, but no refined sugars. Smart Balance Omega Peanut Butter is more creamy and not fluid like many other natural peanut butters, but is still more prone to separation than traditional varieties. It is also more expensive than other natural peanut butter brands.

Despite the molasses and flax seed oil in the Smart Balance brand, it is the Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter that takes the cake. Voted by the American Culinary ChefsBest as being the most flavorful natural peanut butter, the Skippy brand is also a no-stir natural peanut butter. However, unlike most natural peanut butters, Skippy adds sugar and palm oil, two ingredients of questionable nutritional benefit.

Smucker’s is most famous for their jams and jellies, also sells natural peanut butter which is more like most other natural peanut butters than the Smart Balance or Skippy brands. It has the most basic ingredients, peanuts and salt. The Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter comes separated, with a layer of peanut oil about ” thick over solid ground peanut. Mixing for a few minutes temporarily homogenizes the peanut butter, but the result is somewhat fluid, making this brand and other like natural peanut butters kind of messy. However, mess is a price to pay for quality taste. Other brands of similar consistency to Smucker’s include Costco’s Kirkland Natural Peanut Butter and the Laura Scudder’s Old Fashioned Peanut Butter series.

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