Almond butter, cashew nut butter, macadamia nut butter – all on the yes list for paleo eaters. Sadly though, it’s a no to peanut butter – BUT WHY? Why aren’t peanuts paleo?
Peanuts are NOT nuts. They are actually technically legumes, and legumes (which also includes lentils, beans, and soy) are on the no list. While legumes aren’t as bad as grains (which contain gluten and other nasties), peanuts should still be avoided for three main reasons:
- Peanuts contain harmful lectins and phytic acid. Lectins are specific proteins known to cause damage to the gut lining and the lectins in legumes are most commonly associated with inflammatory and digestive diseases in the body
- Peanuts are one of the more toxic legumes – which is clear with the increase in violent peanut allergies in recent times. One theory for this increase is that when peanuts grow, they can harbour a carcinogenic mould called aflatoxin. The longer they sit, the more the mould grows. It’s present in nearly all peanuts. This aflatoxin could be causing immune system reactions – aka allergies (and it’s worth noting that an allergy doesn’t haven’t to come in the form of anaphylactic shock. Some people develop only mild symptoms such as rashes, indigestion, diarrhoea, acidity, or just a foggy brain function)
- Most legumes are very carb dense compared to the amount of nutrition that they actually provide for your body. They are a source of gas and bloating for a lot of people
There are about 9-12 peanuts in a tablespoon of peanut butter, so a few tablespoons equals a fair few peanuts! While a peanut here and there isn’t going to kill you (unless you have allergies!) the downsides of peanuts far outweigh the benefits of eating them. However, as with other things on the paleo prescription (I’m looking at you corn and white potatoes) it all depends on what YOUR version of paleo looks like. No paleo police will show up at your front door if you want to have a spoonful of Pics Peanut Butter every now and then.
If you want to make the better paleo choice, opt for one of these options:
- Almond butter
- Cashew nut butter
- Macadamia nut butter
- Coconut butter
- Hazelnut butter
- Sunflower seed butter (often seen on US blogs as Sunbutter)
- Seven seed butter (we tried this one!)
Remember to check anything store bought for added sugars or preservative nasties. You could even try making a nut butter yourself!