Many people ask if peanut butter is vegan. Peanuts aren’t actually nuts – they’re a legume, which most people aren’t aware of.
Yes! Peanuts are vegan.
All commercial peanut butter is made from roasted peanuts. You can make your own but I recommend only using organic peanuts. This is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes if you have a Vitamix machine.
Buy Organic Peanuts
Peanuts are beans that grow in a root system underground. Nearly all of the peanuts consumed in the U.S. are heavily toxic with pesticides. This is due to coming in direct contact with the pesticides in the soil, making them harmful to your health.
Real nuts like almonds and walnuts have strong, hard shells that protect them, but peanuts have soft and porous skin. When the environment surrounding the peanut becomes warm, humid and wet, a fungal growth occurs.
The fungus itself is not dangerous, but the poison it releases, known as “aflatoxin,” is. This cancer causing agent attacks the liver and is one of the more deadly food-borne toxins in existence.
Peanuts are easy for pests to attack and penetrate, making them one of the most heavily sprayed crops. For this very reason, it’s important to invest in organic peanuts. Surprisingly, the cost is still less than buying almonds, cashews, and other popular nuts.
There are many health benefits associated with peanuts:
- Strong cardio-protective benefits
- Can reduce risk of heart disease by 45 and 30 percent, respectively
- Can lower cholesterol
- Good source of fiber, vitamin E, potassium, folate, zinc and magnesium
- Contain resveratrol (the substance found in red wine), flavonoids, and antioxidants
- Contain the highest amount of vegetable protein of any “nut” — vegetarians and vegans take note!
The key is therefore to consume peanuts routinely, but in moderation and choose a source that does NOT pose the aflatoxin and pesticide risk.
Make Your Own Peanut Butter
I use a Vitamix for this as it has the ability to grind the peanuts very smooth. It is a little bit of work because you have to keep tamping the peanuts down into the blade. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes. The bad news is that is takes a lot of peanuts to produce peanut butter.
Once you have the desired consistency, add your salt (if used) and put it in a container in the refrigerator.
Finding the Right Prepared Peanut Butter
I don’t consume peanut butter all the time so I don’t keep it on-hand. This is an indulgence and I usually end up purchasing organic at my local store.
Make sure you read the label on your prepared peanut butter to make sure it’s certified organic. It’s also important that it only contains peanuts. I even purchase mine unsalted so I can add my Himalayan Salt. Read this post for additional information on Himalayan salt.
The brand I purchase locally comes in a plastic container (wish it didn’t!), so I like to transfer it to a glass container after adding and mixing in the salt.
Making sure it doesn’t have salt
Read the ingredients to make sure it’s certified organic
Adding Himalayan Salt
Storing it in a glass container
I don’t freeze my peanut butter – I just leave it in the refrigerator, so it’s safe to use these containers by Anchor. I prefer these locking containers when I store food in the freezer because they won’t leak even if you drop them.
Peanut Butter Alternative
Maybe you love the taste of peanut butter, but you don’t want to make your own and you don’t want to purchase a prepared brand. There are alternatives!
Powdered peanut butter is a good choice as it can be stored almost indefinitely. I have tried this – I still prefer real peanut butter – but it’s actually very good. And it’s calorie count is much lower than real peanut butter (45 calories vs. 200) and provides you with double the fiber.
So what do you think? Will you make your own peanut butter, buy prepared organic peanut butter, or give the powdered alternative a try?
P.S. I absolutely LOVE my Vitamix. I have used it every single day since I purchased it… best investment I ever made. I like to mix it up, so sometimes I buy peanut butter and then when I have the time I’ll make my own. Vitamix comes with a recipe book and includes step-by-step instructions for making peanut butter.
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