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Peanut butter blues

A naturopath recently told me I should eat nut butters.

I hate peanut butter. Even the smell of it makes me gag. One time my mother married someone who loved peanut butter. We had meat and potatoes for dinner every night, and he always had to have a stack of white bread and a jar of peanut butter on the dinner table.

Once he offered me a dollar to eat a spoonful of peanut butter. A dollar was a lot of money. You could buy a box of Smarties for a dime back then. I managed to get the spoonful of peanut butter into my mouth, but I threw up in the sink before I could swallow it. (He didn’t give me the dollar.)

In addition to hating peanut butter, I also hate peanuts and, until recently, all nuts. (I’m not sure I gave “all nuts” a chance, though. I probably tried a couple different kinds, hated them, and then lumped all nuts together.)

So I was not keen on adding nut butters to my diet. But I bought a jar of almond butter for $9, spread some on some whole-grain melba toast, and ate it. I didn’t like it, but at least I didn’t throw up. Maybe it’s an acquired taste. I’m trying to acquire it.

In related news, my doctor called me in recently because I have very high cholesterol and triglycerides.

My first reaction was to try to convince her that the high numbers really aren’t my fault – they’re side effects of the medications I’m on. While this is at least partly true, it’s not like she can somehow rule in my favour and spare me the consequences of my high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Since I have only this one risk factor for heart disease, she referred me to a nutritionist instead of prescribing cholesterol-lowering meds. She thinks I can do it with lifestyle changes. Apparently 80% of your cholesterol is manufactured by your liver, and 20% of it is controllable through lifestyle.

I kept a journal of everything I ingested for a week. The nutritionist said my breakfasts are perfect. She was also impressed by some of my dinners, including Jennifer’s Artichoke, Kale and White Bean Fettucine. (She was less impressed by the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, the two skipped meals, the Boston Cream donut, the cream in my four daily coffees, and the three Diet Cokes I had that week.)

My morning snackHere’s what she wants me to do for the next month till I see her again:

1. Get some exercise every day.

2. Bring my lunch to work on Mondays. (We’ll add more days later.)

3. Drink just two cups of coffee per day. (The problem isn’t the coffee, but the cream and sugar.)

4. Eat more veggies!

5. Add a morning snack and an afternoon snack.

6. Drink more water.

This reminds me of that book about blogging entitled Nobody Cares What You Had for Lunch. Even though I’m currently obsessed with healthy food choices, I will try not to blog about roughage.

38 comments to Peanut butter blues

  • A strong dislike to nuts and peanuts is a big indicator of an allergy. It is how we learned that my oldest daughter is allergic to nuts and peanuts…she had the exact same reaction as you, and sure enough when we had her tested she has a severe allergy. I would throw out that almond butter now.

    • Since getting the birds I’ve been sampling different nuts because they love nuts. I’ve discovered I actually like almonds and pistachios. I avoid peanuts completely, EXCEPT I like satay sauce, which has peanuts in it. I can eat satay sauce with no ill effects. So I figure I’m not allergic.

  • I just had my cholesterol checked, too! Mine is also high, as are the trigs. The latter can be lowered through exercise – when I was power walking, my trigs were much lower, so I guess I need to return to that – or some kind of – activity. 😉 I am overweight as well, with a lot of belly fat. I am supposed to modify my diet and get rechecked in 6 months. Fortunately, the next six months are summer months, when I am more active and eat more fresh fruits and veggies. Good luck to us both!

  • I am constantly amazed that people will accept the advice of any or all people who tag a label on their name. Be it a nutritionist,a doctor or a naturopath.
    What the hell is a naturopath anyway? It sounds like something you could go get some of that exercise on.
    The same people who doubt their doctors and big pharma decide a naturopath hass the right answer in spite of ther body telling them that it does not in fact want nut butter, That’s just nuts.
    I do not like avacado. I am not made ill by them I just don’t like them so guess what. I don’t eat avacado. I don’t deny they are wonderful things just not for me and I trust me to decide these things more so than anyone else.
    Trust your own body and your own likes and dislikes. THey might caue you to overindulge but they won’t take you into eating something that is good for someone else and perhaps not so good for you.

    • It’s just like seeing any expert, Dave. I expect a mechanic to know more about cars than I do and a doctor or a nutritionist or a naturopath to know more about healthy eating.

      While I agree with you to a point about trusting your own body and your own likes and dislikes, these things can lead you astray. People end up with diabetes and high cholesterol and heart disease and so on precisely because they eat according to their own likes and dislikes.

  • GC

    Well I’m happy you’re being a bit more open regarding eating peanuts because Kazoo and I were getting tired of huddling in the kitchen and sneaking peanuts when you weren’t looking… and I must say both of us are a bit disturbed by the top picture!

  • grace

    Zoom I suggest that your aversion might have something to do with someone your mother once married 😉

    I love peanuts but despise the odour of peanut butter. Epecially the odour of a peanut butter sandwich that somebody else has brought to bed as a snack . . .

    I think I need to follow your list. Especially the water. It is so hard to remember to drink water in the winter time and the foot cramps I had a yoga last night reminded me of my bad habits.

    • Grace, the peanut butter aversion pre-dated the marriage. 😉

      But that’s interesting about water and cramps. I get a wicked cramp in my left calf muscle every time I stretch my leg. I have to fight the urge to stretch as I’m waking up in the morning, which is hard because I’m not really awake yet and I’m already bossing myself around.

  • Mikatana

    How is Oboe?

    • Oboe’s great – thanks for asking! He’s well on his way to a full recovery. He’s gaining weight, flying more, eating well, chirping happily, and he’s finished all his medications. His energy levels are creeping back up, and his personality is back. He’s still not back to where he was before the incident, but I’m no longer worried about him. He’s a trooper!

  • Deb

    remember how Bob would spread peanut butter on his white bread and then drown it in his second helping of stew?

    I haven’t had my cholesterol checked since 1995…guess I am due.

  • Whew. I am relieved that my recipe passed the test! I’m actually thinking of starting a Soup Service to sell my homemade soups to willing eaters who are less-than-willing cooks. Maybe you could test some for me during your healthy eating kick!

  • lucy

    Does your peanut butter aversion apply to all forms of peanut butter, i.e. smoothy, crunchy, the regular kind with sugar and salted added, as well as the “natural” kind with the oil on top? I like peanuts and all nuts and all nut butters, but since I switched to the natural kind years ago (like Loblaws’ Just Peanuts), I find I can’t eat the regular stuff any more; it just tastes too weird and sweet and the texture is nasty.

    I don’t blame you for gagging from trying to eat peanut butter by the spoonful however, especially the regular sweetened kind. I’m not sure I could eat pb that way. I remember my sister saying she has an aversion (she calls it a phobia, haha) to peanut butter – it’s a texture thing for her because I’m sure she eats peanuts, she’s not allergic.

    If you really feel you should follow your naturopath’s advice, you could try making peanut soup or stew (it’s very easy to make, serve it with rice) instead of spreading it on bread.

    • I don’t think I really tested my aversion that extensively. As a little kid I probably tried one brand of peanut butter once, hated it, and avoided it from that point on, except for the time I was offered a dollar to eat a spoonful.It was probably Kraft and probably smooth. I hate the texture, the taste and the smell. And I have no desire to acquire a taste for peanut butter, just for almond butter. Or maybe macadamia butter, since it apparently has cholesterol-lowering properties.

  • lucy

    P.S. Glad to hear Oboe’s getting better. Has his attitude towards Duncan changed? Is he being more careful now that he knows Duncan really means business?

    • Ever since I learned my $1200 lesson, Oboe and Duncan haven’t had the opportunity to spend time together. Duncan goes to work with GC and Rosie every day. And in the evenings, Duncan hangs out in the basement while the birds are out of their houses. When they go back in, he comes back up!

  • Gillian

    I go along with the recommendations made by the nutritionist, hopefully an RD. And yes, almond butter is an acquired taste, but I surely have acquired it. I no longer eat any pb, but almond butter regularly. Check the butters at Bulk Barn. There’s a sesame & something mix that’s pretty tasty.
    For lunches, I’d love to provide a few more ideas to help you get going on that. Talking nutrition is one of my favourite things. And using those soups above is a great idea.

    • I bought a jar of tahini at the same time as the almond butter. It’s ground sesame seeds. I can make hummus with it. I’m definitely open to lunch ideas.

  • Nutella has hazelnuts in it, which means it must be good for you.

    I just wanted to mention that the phrase “My mother once married…” And it stuck out for me, in the way that I often plant in my writing subtle things that are easy to skim over but are totally out there when you think about them.

    – RG>

  • The worst was when dad got his deep fryer and everything that went in it was dipped in peanut butter and then breaded and fried. The only time my cholestrol has been high was when I was vegan, working out every day or two (only place I could shower was the Y – no shower in my studio) and walking about 8-10 km a day living in Toronto. I got sent to a nutritional class at St Mikes. There I was, all 100 lbs of 21 yr old me in a room full of OLD people who buttered their bacon. It was bizarre and the nutritionist’s only complaint was that I wasn’t eating enough. We never figured out why my readings were high. They went down when I started eating cheese and butter and eggs.

    • OMG, I’m glad I left home before he got his deep fryer.

      As for your cholesterol, that’s really interesting. In my research on cholesterol I did run across something about a connection between PCOS and high cholesterol.

  • Julia

    Peter has been reading what this guy has been writing about food:
    There is something about the kind of molecule and how it is processed by the body that is more important than just eating a balanced (or not) diet. And you are right, that the liver processes cholesterol so its proper functioning is very important.
    Even though Peter lost all that weight being vegan, he has decided to add fat back into his diet (in the form of cheese and eggs not meat, as we are still vegetarian for ethical reasons) because his cholesterol is also high. This links with what you wrote, Mudmama, that your cholesterol was high while you were vegan. It seems that happened to Peter too, over the last year.
    Weight control is one thing but balancing your molecules is something different.

    • Thanks so much for this Julia!!!! I’m off to read!

    • If I remember correctly, his cholesterol was high before he started eating vegan, right? Didn’t it go down at all when he went vegan?

      • Julia

        It was his blood sugar that he was more worried about, before he went vegan and that he could test himself and did. Cholesterol requires your blood to be drawn and tested by a lab. He is going to check that tomorrow, I think. It makes me wonder when mine was last tested too. I had all that blood work done during the whole chemo thing but I don’t think they were looking at cholesterol. But then, I ate cheese the whole time Peter was vegan. Anyway, it’s all good that he lost that weight and now he just has to maintain it and be healthy. So now I’m re-reading what I wrote above and I realize that in fact, I don’t know if his cholesterol is presently high. It was before he went vegan, I know which is why our doctor put him on statins. Then when he went off meds a year ago, having lost a lot of weight, his levels were normal. I forgot about that. So I could be full of hot air! I do know he has a requisition to do blood work again.

  • Here’s some happy news for you: peanuts are actually legumes, and should not be lumped in with other nuts when talking about eating for health. Peanuts are actually not what you should be eating anyway, nut-wise! That’s something they should have been aware of and told you about.