Peanut Butter - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!

I posted the ingredient lists of five different brands of peanut butter (all popular) on my Facebook page and asked which one you would choose? When I ask this question to my 28 Day Healthy Reboot or my Healthy PREboot participants, more times than not, I hear, "oh crap, I need to change my peanut butter!"

Here are the labels from Skippy and Jif, two popular, family brands.
These labels should scare you! Of course, they are not organic, which I feel is imperative with peanut butter, but they have ingredients that will make you sick.  Sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils such as rapeseed, soybean and cottonseed oils. These are inflammatory omega 6 oils that are genetically modified and often sprayed with pesticides that disrupt the microbiome.

Don't be fooled by organic either. You still need to read the ingredients. Check out 
Maranatha is a popular health food brand of peanut butter. Check out the ingredients. The company has added cane sugar. Ok, it is organic but is it necessary?  They also add organic palm oil - I do not have an issue with palm oil but the label does not say it was sustainably sourced. This is important if you are concerned about the environment. Do they need to add palm oil? It helps with consistency but is it necessary?

Here are two organic brands. One is from Trader Joe's so the price point is good too.  Notice the ingredients, peanuts or peanuts and salt. Either of these or any other organic brand with peanuts and salt are a good choice. 

To make choosing easier, if you see the label "spread" on the jar, put it back. Spread is code for we have added ingredients you do not want in your jar of peanut butter.
If I am being honest, I am not a big fan of peanut butter, even organic.  Peanuts are a legume, so they contain lectins, a protein that can act like a sugar and affect joints, the brain and digestion. I believe it is especially challenging to those who have compromised immune systems or are already affected by digestion issues, brain fog or joint pain. 

Peanuts are also prone to mold. Mold on peanuts contain aflatoxins which can be harmful to humans, even carcinogenic. Aflatoxins may also aggravate symptoms of people who suffers from mold exposure or have a compromised system. If you research peanut butters that contain mold, you will find most brands, even organic, have been shown to contain aflatoxins. Not all, but many. A shout out to Trader Joe's organic peanut butter which was found to have no aflatoxins.  (Other nuts may contain aflatoxins as well but they are more commonly associated with peanut butter.

Do I eat peanut butter? Once in a while. I eat a protein bar that makes a tasty peanut butter chocolate chip bar a few times a month. Other than that, very rarely.

Should you eat peanut butter? That is up to you! My point here is to inspire you to make the best choice possible. 


Are There Healthy Crackers? Warning longer post but there is a recipe at the end!

Crackers, a popular snack for various occasions, are often laden with undesirable ingredients that can undermine our health. Highlighting the unpleasant truth behind famous options like Wheat Thins and Ritz Crackers, the article sheds light on the hidden dangers such as partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings, and genetically modified ingredients. These components can negate the nutritional value of food, sparking a concern over what we are actually consuming.

The discussion shifts towards finding healthier alternatives, suggesting brands like HU crackers which prioritize health without compromising taste. These alternatives are presented as organic, non-GMO, and grain-free options that represent a smarter choice for health-conscious individuals. Emphasizing the value of investing in one's health, the article encourages readers to explore these better snack options despite their higher price point, suggesting a long-term benefit over short-term savings.

Additionally, the article advocates for making your own snacks as the ultimate solution to avoid harmful ingredients. Providing a simple yet delicious recipe for almond crackers, it illustrates how easy and rewarding it is to create your own snacks with just a few ingredients. This homemade approach not only ensures control over what goes into your food but also offers the flexibility to customize flavors according to personal preference, offering a practical and healthier reboot to snacking habits.

Veggie Burgers - Bad Things Can Hide In Pretty Packaging!

Veggie Burgers - Bad Things Can Hide In Pretty Packaging!

If you are looking to avoid inflammatory foods, take veggie burgers off your list...unless you are making them yourself! When it comes to the ingredients in veggie burgers, they are a buffet of inflammation! 

Look at the picture. This burger has two omega six oils, canola and sunflower, two types of corn starch, and sugar. It is also loaded with lectins. 

Here are the ingredients from another popular brand, Dr. Praeger's. This is the California Veggie burger: Carrots, Onions, String Beans, Oat Bran, Zucchini, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Peas, Soybeans, Broccoli, Corn, Soy Flour, Spinach, Red Bell Peppers, Arrowroot Powder, Garlic, Corn Starch, Corn Meal, Sea Salt, Spices. Contains: Soy

Once again, you will find an omega 6 oil, expeller pressed canola oil. Don't let the "expeller pressed" fool you! It is still inflammatory.  This burger is also more of a lectin bomb that the first one. Soybeans, soy flour, oat, string beans, zucchini, peas, peppers and corn.  Soy comes with a whole host of issues on top of being a high lectin. Yikes!  This burger claims it is non-GMO but not organic. Non-GMO is better, but the ingredients wipe out the reason to even look at this burger.

How about Amy's Organic California Veggie Burger?  It is no better except that it carries the organic label.  Here are the ingredients: organic mushrooms, organic bulgur wheat, organic onions, organic celery, organic carrots, organic oats, organic walnuts, organic wheat gluten, organic potatoes, sea salt, organic high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, organic garlic.

Wheat is a gluten and a lectin, oats are a lectin and of course, it has an omega 6 oil(s) in it. Don't let the organic high oleic name fool you here either. Safflower and sunflower oil, organic or not, are inflammatory to the body.

I could go on and on with brands of veggie burgers that are better off left on the shelf, but I will stop with these three.  If you are a veggie burger lover, learn how to make your own. They freeze well and you have complete control over what goes into them.

before I close out my rant on veggie burgers, some of you might be asking yourself what a lectin is and why it is so problematic.  Lectins are proteins found in many plants. It is one of the ways plants protect themselves from predators. Lectins are a sugar like molecule that attack the joints, brain, and/or the digestive system of people who eat them.  Ever have brain fog, bloated belly, or joint pain (think ankles, wrists, fingers and hips)? These are just a few of the ways lectins can hurt the body.

 My programs teach people about inflammatory foods like lectins, night shades, omega 6 oils, and sugar. Things like lectins and night shades affect a certain percentage of the population. I find the especially true of folks with autoimmune diseases. Omega 6 oils and sugars affect everyone.  If you would like to learn more about avoiding inflammatory foods, please reach out to me. I am always happy to help out!

What's in Your Beef Jerky? There are some great alternatives!

Beef Jerky, beef sticks and snack sausages are convenient and tasty...They can also be one of the worst choices you make! If you saw my post, these items can be loaded with sugar, soy, hydrolyzed corn, MSG, wheat, sucralose, and nitrates. The list goes on and on. I will post the "NOT approved by Susan" picture below.

If you are a beef jerky junky (or sticks/sausages), there are healthy options! You might pay a little more, but your health is worth it!  Here are just a few but you can find local brands that pride themselves on clean ingredients. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Paleo Valley is exceptional, online only but offer good sales. 
  • Chomps can be found at many retailers including Trader Joe’s and Costco. 
  • Epic bars and snacks are offered in many retailers in single bars or by the box. 
Other good options include Country Archer Provisions, Biltong, Perky Jerky and Chef's Cut.  Of course, check your local retailers and specialty stores. Many times, there are local brands that are clean and tasty!

I challenge you to read the label on Jack Links and Old Trapper - soy (often part of the teriyaki flavoring), corn, nitrates, sugar - in different forms can be found. Even Cattleman's, which the plain is not bad, had terrible ingredients in their flavored brands.

And Buc-ee's...forget it! Soy in every flavor except one. I think it is a turkey jerky and I do not remember it tasting all that good (Yes, I had to try it!). 
Want to know what's in your favorite brand or find a clean alternative?  go to

Let me know how your favorite rated!  If it is clean, send me the name! I love adding to my stash of clean foods!

Here is the label I mentioned. I found this in a gas station convenience store.

Coconut Milk you look before you buy?

I love teaching people how to read labels! I enjoy seeing how they feel empowered when they understand ingredients and how they affect the body. They feel more in control of their health!  

For most people, exposure to toxic ingredients is not about ONE thing. It is an accumulation of what you consume all exposure here, an exposure there. There is a chemical build up that happens all day long. Your everyday choices do count! 

Above is a great example. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in a can of coconut milk.  

The first can is by Goya - It is called coconut creme.  The ingredients should frighten you!  Polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier. It is linked to many side effects including allergies and sensitivities. The scariest it that undigested polysorbate 80 helps bacteria move up the intestines where it might not belong. This can lead diseases like Crohn's.   Propylene glycol is a preservative. It is also the same chemical composition as radiator fluid...just in a different strength. This has been linked to allergies, skin issues and digestive issues. It is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) but has never been tested for repeated exposure. Propylene glycol can be found in foods, beauty care, medications and cleaning products. Finally, guar gum and locust bean gum are thickeners. Gums have been known to upset the body's microbiome. If you can avoid them, you should.  It is hard with milk alternatives but is not impossible. 

Full Circle Market Coconut Milk - A better choice right off the bat! It is organic which is not necessary with coconut, but I would buy organic whenever I could.  It does have organic guar gum. As I mentioned above, these thickeners may negatively affect your microbiome. 

Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Milk - I love this brand! It has nothing but coconut and water.  The price point is great as well. It does come in an organic coconut cream with the same ingredients.  Worth stocking up if you are passing by a Trader Joe's.

I will not go into the canning process on this post...for those of you who are thinking, it is in a can!  I get it and will cover that another day!

What labels have you been reading?
#myhealthyreboot #healthyreboot #labelreading #cannedcoconut

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