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Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday 8/30

Natural

I like peanut butter, simply put.  I also like to try different kinds of peanut butter.  I try different brands to see which ones are smoother than others and which ones put just the right amount of “crunch” into their crunchy varieties.  One might say I’m a peanut butter connoisseur.  However, I prefer the term “market maven”.  (I know what you’re thinking.  First of all, what the heck is a market maven?  Second, what the heck is the difference?) 

I wouldn’t say connoisseur because it implies an in-depth knowledge on the origin and production of peanut butter.  A market maven is one who knows more about the market’s offerings and their subtle differences.  Both should be able to taste-test the difference.  (In either case, you could call it an obsession, but who wants to admit being obsessed about anything?  Not me.)

Anyway, I was shopping the other day and I needed peanut butter.  I picked up one of my favorites: Jif Natural.  It occurred to me that I’ve never really wondered this: If this peanut butter is natural, then what is the other stuff?  Unnatural?  Behold, exhibits A and B:



Exhibit A is natural and exhibit B is . . . well . . . not.  What’s so unnatural about it?  It’s chock full of fully-hydrogenated oil (trans fat) and mono and diglycerides.  Mmmmm.  Sounds good!  (Don’t get me wrong, I’d still eat it if it were my only choice.)  So what’s wrong with trans fat?  Well, without boring you with the details of the hydrogenation process, let’s just say it’s bad for your cholesterol.  (Besides, does it really sound like something you’d want to eat?)

The good news is: the natural version of most brands tastes just as good as the original.  So why doesn’t Jif just replace all of the originals with naturals?  There’s a very good reason, but that’s a discussion for another day.  (Think “New Coke”.  Google it if you have to.) 

My advice, for all you peanut butter lovers: go with the natural.  It costs about the same, it tastes about the same, and you can find all of its ingredients in nature.  Your body will thank you by staying alive longer in the end.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Cole, it's Robyn (from Starbucks). I would say I have a (healthy) obsession with peanut butter. Do you remember this about me? I agree with you about choosing the natural version of JIF, though I would probably go with Peter Pan, if they offer a natural alternative (you're probably familiar with the long-time JIF/Peter Pan rivalry). I prefer an organic peanut butter made by Arrowhead Mills. It's yummy!!

Recently, I discovered an all-natural peanut butter made by The Peanut Butter Co. Have you heard of them? I think they're based out of New York. Their peanut butter is AMAZING. They have a variety of flavors, such as White Chocolate Wonderful and Dark Chocolate Dream, as well as peanut butter mixed with maple syrup, honey and other interesting ingredients. And of course they have regular, all-natural peanut butter. Here are the ingredients in White Chocolate Wonderful: peanuts, evaporated cane juice, vanilla, cocoa butter, palm fruit oil (not the best for you), lecithin (from sunflowers) and salt. Not bad, eh?!

Anyway, if you're interested in giving one of these a try, you can find them at Kroger, Sprouts, and Super Wal-Mart. I don't know for sure but they're also probably carried at most of the other major food stores. Let me know what you think!

Cole Garrett said...

As a matter of fact, I specifically remembered that about you, when I was writing this. Funny you mention it.

I have indeed tried all of the available Peanut Butter Co flavors. I must say, the white chocolate one is absolutely delicious!!! I refrain from buying it, though, for two reasons. #1: It's difficult not to dive into it, spoon-first, during a midnight munchies attack. And #2: It's a little too sweet to go with just about any jelly.

Thanks for the Arrowhead Mills suggestion. I will check it out soon, even if that means venturing to another grocery store.

Side note: I like peanut butter and apples, too, but with a different peanut butter. The Smucker's natural/organic is my favorite. The ingredients list: Peanuts, Salt. Of course, you have to keep it in the fridge. :)

Anonymous said...

That's funny that you remember my preoccupation with peanut butter. I'm glad that I left that impression on you. :-) I hope that it will be in my obituary, that's how much peanut butter means to me! :-D

I also eat peanut butter with apples sometimes. YUM! I even tried making a peanut butter latte with my Arrowhead Mills peanut butter. It didn't work out so well. :-l I bought a peanut butter-flavored syrup at World Market and it tasted a little better in a latte. But as passionate as I am about peanut butter and as much as I love espresso, ne'er the twain shall meet (again). Hee hee.

I've tried Smucker's and I remember liking it. I don't usually like anything added to peanut butter. But I will make an exception for the White Chocolate Wonderful! :-) Do you remember that I used to eat peanut butter and cookie dough every night? Well, now my daily indulgence is one spoonful of White Chocolate Wonderful and one spoonful of Dark Chocolate Dreams. I agree with you about it being too sweet to eat with jelly.

I get the Arrowhead Mills at a flagship Kroger. I've found it at Whole Foods, too. I don't eat a lot at one time so it lasts me a while (well, "a while" for me is relative when it comes to peanut butter).

Btw, I have replied to some of your other blogs as "anonymous". I will try to be better about identifying myself when I respond. I enjoy reading your daily commentaries! :-)

-Robyn

Alyson said...

I don't think I've ever gone out of my way to straight-up eat peanut butter, and never realized that until now. Hmmm, guess I'll have to get on that.

Sam said...

I will definitely pick the natural kind next time I'm at the grocery store :)

blondie said...

The whole time I was reading this I was thinking, "I wonder if Robyn reads this. If not, she should." But I see that she beat me to it (that's what I get for being behind). I can't talk about peanut butter without thinking of Robyn.

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