It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Speaking of which, it’s pretty delicious on sliced bread. That’s right. I’m talking about peanut butter. In honor of National Peanut Butter Day, this post is obviously going to be focused on the nutty good stuff.
Contrary to what we all learned in elementary and/or middle school, George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter. Sure, his efforts were important for the rise of peanuts in the early 1900s and he did invent many uses for peanuts, especially therapeutic ones, but peanut butter…not his. Okay, he perhaps created a “version” of peanut butter, but 1) I don’t know what that means and 2) you shouldn’t be credited with inventing the computer when all you did was turn it into a laptop. Just sayin’. Some say the Kellogg brothers (yes, like Kellogg’s cereal) should get credit and maybe this is more accurate, but history tells us that there were peoples in South America and Central America who used the peanut (which originated in South America) who used peanuts as a paste. I guess one could argue this is an early version of peanut butter, right?
Regardless of the details, I’m very grateful for wherever it came from and whoever “invented” it, because there are a handful of things that equate to heaven on earth for me and peanut butter is certainly on that list. So, why do I love peanut butter so much? Well…it’s delicious.
That was easy.
The better question is: “Why do I choose to eat peanut butter relatively regularly?”
That answer can result in enough of a response for a blog post, hence this one. So let’s just get right to it.
Three Reasons Why I Eat Peanut Butter Often
As I said before, I find peanut butter incredibly delicious. I used to eat peanut butter as my school lunch pretty regularly as a kid. It was either hot lunch or cold lunch when I was in elementary school and cold lunch was only ever peanut butter and jelly for me. Even in high school, I’d say at least 80% of all of my high school lunches combined included a pb&j although I had graduated from white bread and grape jelly to wheat bread and strawberry preserves at this point. When Val and I were planning the move from New Jersey to Portland, the first thing I knew we needed to have in the cooler was bread and pb&j. It was a no-brainer, really.
So, if peanut butter didn’t taste good, I wouldn’t eat it so often. Simple as that.
You know it’s a true friendship when she makes you vegan chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.
That’s right. I eat it for the fat. Peanuts are rich in monounsaturated fats which are the good, healthy kind of fats. I buy peanut butter that is either raw, organic, or natural. If I see hydrogenated in the ingredient list then 1) I picked up the wrong peanut butter and 2) I’m not buying it. Hydrogenated is another name for trans fats and we call know we don’t want that kind of fat in our bodies. But the good fats…I’ll take them! Monounsaturated fats may lower risk of heart disease and can also be good for lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
Another reason I want the fat is because I utilize fat when I run. I don’t do this as efficiently as some ultrarunners who I know truly take a fat as fuel approach to their nutrition, but I know I’ve come a long way when it comes to metabolizing fat for energy. How do I know? As far as I know, I can complete at least 3 hours of running without taking in any carbohydrates. Most of that running takes place in the fat-burning zones, but it eventually speeds up and I can still feel good and maintain the pace without feeling depleted. So, yes. I want the fat because I use the fat.
A peanut is, like many, many plant-based foods, a nutritional powerhouse. Peanuts contain a great amount of protein (just 1 ounce has about 7 grams of protein!), fiber, and other essential micronutrients that we all need for normal body functioning. Nutrients like manganese, biotin (B7), copper, phosphorus, folate, vitamin E, and so many others in varying amounts are all found in peanuts and natural peanut butter, making peanuts a healthy food for sure. If the body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, pushing it to perform physical activity is kind of an exercise in futility. This can lead to many other undesirable issues if you’re exercising regularly, but not giving your body what it needs to maintain this lifestyle.
There you have it! So go and grab a jar of your finest peanut butter (Ingredients should have one word: peanuts), and celebrate National Peanut Butter Day the right way.