The Joys of Nut Butters

If you’ve been a kid, which we all have been, except for the Miyao Bros who were created in a lab specifically for jiu-jitsu, then we have fond memories of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You remember those delicious and easy sandwiches our parents whipped together in an instant and threw in a plastic baggie as they rushed to get us out the door. Well, it turns out that the sandwiches were not selected strictly because they tasted good and were easy, but for the nutrient packed star ingredient, peanut butter. We are no longer little kids, though, so should we still be eating peanut butter or does our sandwich spread need to grow up, too?  Let us find out by looking at our top performers in the nut butter bracket and see which to use and when. Let the battle begin!

Peanut Allergy:
Nut allergies, so hot right now. You will find a staggering amount of children these days have a peanut allergy. In some cases the peanut protein in the air will trigger the negative effects. Err on the safe side before going into the gym with your lunch; eat it in the car. Someone with the allergy may train at your gym.


Know our nuts
When we think of nut butters, our brains automatically think of peanut butter, which in fact, is wrong. Hell, peanuts aren’t even nuts. This is not an article of semantics though, so back to the point. Nut butters are nuts, seeds or legumes that have high natural fat contents that have been ground into a paste. On a basic level that is what we will get. Note the differences in flavor, use and nutritional content will come from which butter we use. They all have their own unique applications and flavors. Notably high in calories, most all nut butters are worth their weight in gold for they are packed with protein, healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals. But this is where the water gets murky at a glance. Just because it’s nut butter, that does not mean it will provide us with all of those nutrients. For instance, cashew butter has significantly less fat and zero omega-3, but offers calcium, copper and magnesium, which are essential in our diets. So, before any major showdown we need to know who our competitors are, let us meet the contenders for you to decide who the winner is!


Fun Fact:
Peanuts are not actually nuts, they are technically legumes which is the same family as soybeans, peas, lentils and beans. Someone pulled a Greenland/Iceland situation on us when naming Peanuts.

Almond Butter
The hip new rising star all the health nuts are raving about.

Strengths: Where to begin, peanut butter for grown ups. Almond butter is by far the hottest nut butter in the health food world and that is for a reason. Almond butter is packed with fiber, protein and less calories than peanut butter making it a powerhouse for our hearts and bones and for keeping our body fat low.

Weaknesses: Greatness comes with great cost literally because almond butter is expensive. Creamy lovers beware, almond butter tends to be on the grainy side because it is hard to remove the skin off the almonds before grinding and they never fully break down in the process. Also, most almond butters are not sweetened naturally so you will have to adjust to a more natural flavor than you would normally with peanut butter.

Best used for: Weight loss/weight management.

Cooking Tip: Think of any flavors that pair with almonds and it will work well with almond butter. Excellent in smoothies, root vegetables, or even the Gracie sandwich of almond butter, avocado, spinach, walnuts and kale chips on toast.


Food Hack:
Stir-free natural nut butters. When dealing with natural nut butters we will have a workout pre-snack by having to stir in the natural oils with the ground nut butter on the bottom. Instead, try storing the jar upside down when you are not using it for easy, natural mixing.



MacKenzie Arrington is an award-winning chef based in Buffalo, NY. Off the mats, he is the team chef for a professional sports team, runs a healthy meal prep company and is a culinary knifemaker. On the mats, he is a purple belt out of Lake Effect Martial Arts - Checkmat Buffalo. Connect with MacKenzie on Instagram.
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    18 April 2018 at 3:39 am
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