By Sari Huhtala
If you’re a peanut butter lover, who also happens to be an aspiring health buff, making your own super-powered seed butter makes good health sense, especially since the combination of animal proteins with aflatoxins – the fungus found in peanuts – creates a perfect breeding ground for cancer, studies show.
In 1980, Dr. Colin Campbell led the most comprehensive study of lifestyle, nutrition and disease ever undertaken in world history – over 880 million people in 2,400 countries. The focus? To find out what nutrition and lifestyle choices cause cancer. If you haven’t read the book The China Study, read it.
Campbell’s book cites a 1980s study in the Philippines that involved children under the age of 10. Researchers were trying to understand why some children were dying of liver cancer. They discovered most Philippine children consumed peanut butter as a major source of protein, but it was the children from the wealthiest families who ended up with cancer. From the research, they found the peanuts used in the peanut butter were often contaminated with the fungus-producing toxin aflatoxin, which is considered a carcinogen. Aflatoxin alone does not breed cancer, Campbell noted, but when consumed with a high animal protein diet, it did. After years of research, he discovered animal-based proteins, combined with aflatoxin, increased tumor development. Children in poorer parts of the country only ate plant-based foods, and thus were not susceptible to tumor development.
Making your own seed butter, using almond butter as a base, or even a small quantity of organic peanut butter, boosts your nutritional intake ten-fold, compared to just peanut butter.
You can combine different seeds to create a power-packed seed butter, simply using almond, cashew or hazelnut butter as a base. You can also use sunflower seed butter as a base. The quantity and variety of seeds added to create the seed butter can vary. Anything goes. Below are some ideas to get started.
To ½ cup of base butter add:
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
Place all ingredients in a small blender, like a Magic Bullet, and blend until creamy. Be sure to include the natural oils from your base butter, to increase the creaminess of the seed butter. Store covered in a mason jar. It is recommended to refrigerate nut and seed butters.
All of the seeds mentioned are nutritional powerhouses. Hemp, pumpkin and chia seeds are complete protein sources, containing all nine essential amino acids, the protein building blocks necessary to maintain good health. This combo provides a rich source of brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and other minerals, antioxidants and much more.
2 tbsp chia seeds has 4 grams protein (a complete protein), 11 grams fibre, is one of the richest sources of brain healthy omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and antioxidants.
2 tbsp hemp seeds has 11 grams protein, all nine essential amino acids, protein building blocks necessary to maintain good health, magnesium, iron, fibre and other nutrients.
2 tbsp of sesame seeds provides about 18 per cent of daily calcium needs, 15 per cent magnesium and 15 per cent of daily iron needs, among many other nutrients.
Pumpkin seeds are a complete protein and are high in magnesium, and other minerals.
Although peanut butter and almond butter aren’t good sources of tryptophan, methionine and cystine (three of the nine essential amino acids), by combining them with whole grains you create a complete protein.
Whole grains, on the other hand, aren’t a source of amino acid lysine, which is found in legumes like peanuts, beans and lentils, and in other nuts.
The National Academy of Medicine recommends a daily intake of seven grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. So, a 140-pound person would require about 50 grams of protein daily.
Sari Huhtala is the publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine. She is a mother of 3 adult children. She has spent over 20 years navigating a healthy path for her family, one health hack at a time, as a single mom feeding her kids healthy on a shoestring budget. She has over 25 years experience in journalism. She also has over 15 years experience as a certified fitness specialist and personal trainer, 10 years experience as a reiki practitioner; she studied Shamanism and is currently completing her yoga teacher training certification.