Sunbutter is a dear friend. I met her about 8 months ago, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. She comes in a little jar and is the world’s best replacement for peanut butter. I eat her on apples, celery sticks, and–don’t tell–by the spoonful.
Sunbutter is made from roasted sunflower seeds and is small-batch tested for any traces of peanuts. It’s safe for people with tree nut allergies too, which is why I originally tried sunflower seed butter. I discovered a year ago that I was allergic to peanuts and almonds. As I’m sure you know, almond butter is one of the most common (and pricey!) peanut butter substitutes. It didn’t work for me, of course, and I wasn’t about to go for the soy nut butter (I don’t think soy is a health food, but that’s for another post). I settled for cashew butter, which is very nice and delicious, but not at all like peanut butter.
Then I discovered Sunbutter, and all my dreams came true. At least, the crunchy peanut butter-centric ones did. I can’t explain it, but Sunbutter is just so much more like peanut butter than any of the other nut and seed butters I’ve tried. If I could have bread, I’d happily eat it as a PBJ sandwich. If you have a child with a peanut allergy who objects to other peanut butter replacements, I would highly recommend this product. (Check out this link for the results from a taste test on children.)
Sunbutter comes in Creamy, Natural, Honey Crunch, Natural Crunch, and Organic varieties. I do not recommend Creamy and Honey Crunch because of the preservatives and straight-up refined sugar used. Organic is the cleanest version, consisting only of organic roasted sunflower seeds. That said, I always buy Natural Crunch. Yes, it contains dehydrated cane juice and “natural” tocopherols (Vitamin E), but for 2 tablespoons of heaven, I’m only consuming 3 grams of sugar. It’s nutritional profile isn’t perfect, but it makes a wonderful treat for me. And this variety, Natural Crunch, tastes the most like peanut butter to me.
Are you thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because you aren’t allergic to peanuts? Stop for a minute and consider that peanuts may not be as good for you as some would lead you to believe. I’m not referring to the fat content. Not at all. I’m not afraid of fat. I’m much more concerned that peanuts are a goitrogen. That is, they can inhibit thyroid function. They’re also highly acid-forming in the body and, according to my naturopath, usually contaminated by parasites and fungus. These facts would make me think twice about high peanut consumption even if I wasn’t allergic to the darn things. I wouldn’t completely eliminate them from my diet, but I would make them an occasional treat and try to find an everyday replacement for peanut butter–particularly for my children.
When it comes to nuts and seeds, the very best way to consume them is always going to be raw and soaked or sprouted. But sometimes we need little luxuries, and, for me, Sunbutter fits the ticket. It’s quite healthy, satisfies my need for something creamy, and makes a great high-energy snack with apples or celery. One more reason I like it is its affordability. While more expensive than peanut butter, it’s far less pricey than almond or cashew butter. I have found, however, that different stores sell Sunbutter for wildly different prices. I have seen it as cheap as $3.50 (for the regular Creamy) and as expensive at $8.00 for a 16 oz. jar. Please do shop around. $5 seems to be the most common reasonable price. Whole Foods carries it for this price, Super Target is sometimes cheaper, and Central Market and Kroger are the most expensive. If you live on the west coast, check out Azure Standard. They carry Sunbutter at a significant discount.
To read more about Sunbutter on the official website, go here.