Although the idea of a claggy, post-run mouthful is enough to spark arachibutyrophobia in even the most die-hard peanut butter fans, there is some truth that this piquant paste is good for you. Peanut Butter actually dates back to the Aztec times when roasted peanuts were mashed into a paste, somewhat different from what we know of as PB today. In 1884 Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada patented peanut paste, the finished product from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces, and in 1895 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts, and marketed it as a healthy protein substitute for patients without teeth.
Peanuts are bursting with good fats and other nutrients including vitamin E, Niacin and Folate, and the shelves of Whole Foods are filling up with nut butters to accommodate this nutty craze. For me, the health stuff is just a bonus. Whilst I limit my PB-combo to nutella or cucumber, a new peanut butter boutique in LA offer a nut butter-centric menu including ‘ants on a log’ which, I have discovered is sticks of celery filled with peanut butter with raisins on top, right through to PB & bacon sandwiches.
"When it comes to the food choices runners can make, you can't do much better than peanut butter," says sports dietitian Nancy Clark, author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook. And with the same amount of protein gram-for-gram as steak, peanut butter is an easy food to consume after a workout. It helps provide a feeling of fullness for longer than if you’d eaten carbohydrates. Straight sugar or any simple sugar found in carbohydrates shoots your insulin levels high soon after you eat, but then drops halfway through your workout whereas peanut butter is full of fat, protein and fibre, giving you a slow, sustained release of energy. The fat it contains is the same healthy fats used in olive oil, making peanut butter good for your heart.
An unscientific poll found lots of love for adding a dollop of peanut butter to curries and chilli to add depth, and hardcore aficionados recommended the peanut butter and pickle marriage. My love for the brown goo goes as far as mixing it with some coconut milk for an instant satay-style goo for noodles and stir-fries. The options are endless, although I don’t think the idea of PB and jelly sandwiches will ever appeal to me.
features writer & lifestyle blogger and avid shoe wearer.