Loving the BITE: Homemade Peanut Butter for Nutrition and the Ride

30
Aug
2012

What’s better than peanut butter?  Homemade peanut butter.  Or, for the adventurous, homemade chocolate peanut butter.  If you’ve never tasted freshly ground peanut butter, or almond butter, or cashew butter, or walnut butter for that matter, you’ve simply gotta try it.  It’s easy to make and it works well for long rides and everyday nutrition.  Not to mention, it’s just in time for back-to-school.   And, while I generally always choose whole foods over manipulated or processed ones, I’ll introduce you to a peanut butter product that may help you increase your protein intake without loads of calories – just in case you’re into that stuff.

Recipe of the Week:  Freshy Fresh Peanut Butter

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, or any mixture of them (pick your preference: raw, dry roasted, salted, nnsalted)
  • 1-2 Tbsp almond oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil or avocado oil
  • ¼-½ Cup ground flaxseeds (optional)
  • Salt, to taste (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place the nuts and flaxseeds (optional) in a food processor and beginning processing. It may take some time. And beware, it’s loud.
  2. Scrape the sides, if needed. If it seems to dry, add oil (small amounts as needed).
  3. Keep processing until desired consistency. If you like crunchy nut butters, add more nuts to the processed, smooth butter and process as needed.
  4. If using unsalted nuts, add salt to taste, if desired.  Mix well.
  5.  Place nut butter in clean mason jars or containers and store in the refrigerator.

Comments:

I know, I know, peanuts are more of a legume than a nut, and they are so commonplace they get little respect compared to the mighty almond and walnut.  But I like ‘em.  And, while they are actually in the family of foods related to peas, chickpeas, and lentils, they work, logistically like nuts as a snack and in nut butters.  They provide a good source of protein and don’t break the bank.  Additionally, they give us:

  • Monounsaturated Fats – the hallmark heart-healthy fat of the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant that promote healthy neurological functions and decreased plague build-ups by cholesterols in blood
  • Folate – a B-vitamin that promotes heart health by reducing homocysteine levels and decreasing risk of stroke
  • Manganese – a mineral and antioxidant that helps the body utilize other nutrients, keeps bones strong and healthy, maintain normal blood sugars, promotes healthy thyroid function and maintain nerve health
  • Protein – about 8 grams per ¼ cup peanuts, or 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • Fiber – over 50% of the carbohydrates in peanuts (6 grams in ¼ cup)
  • Resveratrol – the acclaimed heart-protective antioxidant found in red grapes and red wines
  • P-Coumaric acid – an antioxidant, which actually increases with roasting, that may decrease the incidence of cancers including stomach cancer

But, are they a good choice on the bike?

On rides 3 hours or longer, I believe peanut butter can be a great choice.  It will provide protein, some long-lasting energy, and a stomach filler that can decrease nausea without causing stomach cramps.  Since the nuts are mechanically broken down, digestion is eased which decreases risk of stomach issues and increases the availability of nutrients during the ride.  But, as a high fat food, it’s not a super-fast energy source and is therefore not really a good choice for shorter rides.  It can be added to a pre-ride smoothie consumed 1-2 hours before the ride, or in a recovery smoothie effectively.

Bonus Product Review: Peanut Flours and PB2: 

For anyone out there trying to up protein intake or keep calories in check, there are defatted peanut butter products out there.  If you know me, you know that I usually always recommend whole foods, and not the more processed products that are low-fat (I generally don’t believe a “low-fat” diet is the way to go for weight loss or health).  However, I also have many clients looking for easy ways to add more protein to their diets, to have some variety, and to keep overall intake and calories in check.  Some of these clients are trying to do so on a vegetarian/vegan diet.  Who ya gonna call? Peanut flours and PB2.

These defatted, nut powders contain ~50 calories per 2 Tbsp (rather than 200 calories in peanut butter), 6-8 grams of protein (compared to 8 grams in peanut butter), and are low fat since the fat has been pressed out.  They can be reconstituted with water for a peanut butter-like spread, or added directly into smoothies or oatmeal.  They can be used with different flours for grain-free cooking.  Or, they work as thickeners in sauces.  For many people, they are a versatile, packable, high-protein option.  Have you tried ‘em?  If so, what do you think?

Bonus recipe: Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter

One of my food obsessions is Dark Chocolate Dreams by Peanut Butter and Company.  I often use it as a training food with a banana or honey 30-60 minutes out, or as part of a recovery when mixed with coconut oil after a ride.  It’s smooth, it’s chocolatey, and unlike Nutella (sorry Nutella), it is nutritious.  If you’d like, you can ask me about Nutella sometime.  For now, here’s a recipe for making your own Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter: Mix 1.5 cups smooth homemade peanut butter, 4 Tbsp organic cocoa, 6 Tbsp cocoa butter OR organic coconut oil (melted), 1/4 cup organic honey OR agave, and 1 tsp real vanilla in a food processor.  Process until smooth.  Refrigerate in an airtight container.

We’re officially at peanut-butter-information overload.  If you’re like me, you’ll have no problem finding a place in your diet and in your household for each peanut butter option.  To increase the variety of nutrients you consume, I recommend mixing up your nut butters with different options and combinations.  But, be sure to keep peanuts in the rotation.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body. 

Enjoy Your Ride

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  • Dex Tooke

    Cool. Good info. I’m doing a double century tomorrow. I think I will have some P&B along the way! Thanks for the info

    • http://twitter.com/fuelright Kelli Jennings

      Hi Dex, Sounds great! I recommend a food like peanut butter every 2-3 hours or so, with plenty of accessible fluids and carbs every hour. I’ve used both peanut butter 1/2 sandwiches and the individual packet of Justin’s peanut butter. If you use the sandwich, just make sure to not overdo your portion, keep it to 1/2 sandwich, so you don’t overload your gut (= slow legs and risk of cramping). Hope it goes well! Enjoy the ride!

  • http://twitter.com/trikitten Jenny Leiser

    I know you “can” do anything but “can” you mix nuts? Like 1/2 peanuts and 1/2 walnuts? Or like a bag of mixed nuts? Do you think this would taste ok? I passed a container of mixed nuts the other day and the thought crossed my mind to just throw them all in a food processor. It seems like you have to commit to peanut, cashew, or almond butter and I simply have commitment issues. I am wondering if there is a reason they are never mixed?

    • http://twitter.com/fuelright Kelli Jennings

      Hi Jenny, It works fine to mix them – I do it all the time whether on purpose or because it’s what I have in the pantry. Not sure why it’s not done commercially. The walnuts have a more bitter taste than the rest of them, so check out the Loving The Bite done on walnuts several months back…it has a great recipe for walnut butter. Also, I should mention that sunflower seeds work well to add to the rotation or mix, or for anyone who cannot tolerate nuts (this was done in a sunflower seed Loving the Bite previously as well). Hope you enjoy!

  • http://twitter.com/BikeInjury Chicago Bike Injury

    I had never heard of PB2 before, but it looks to be something that I’d like. Thanks for mentioning it.

    • http://twitter.com/fuelright Kelli Jennings

      Hello – you are very welcome. Both the PB2 and peanut flour work great! Let us know what you think…

  • http://twitter.com/fuelright Kelli Jennings

    Hi Evan, Thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s definitly a high fat food and calorie-packed, so you do have to be deliberate with your portion. Actually, I think of the fat-free high-sugar jelly as more of an issue for Daily Nutrition. The PB2 might be a good alternative for you, if you are trying to keep calories in check….many clients love it and it packs a lot of protein in a small amount of calories. Have a great day!

  • Evan

    I’ve always liked peanut butter but generally stay away from it as I think of it as a high fat food. I’m going to process all this information you have included and add it back into my diet at the right times. Thank You.

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Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

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