I saw an advertisement on the NYC subway the other day that said “peanuts are a superfood!” and I had to smile. Peanuts have, for a long time, been such a staple of the American diet, especially during childhood – who doesn’t love a good PB and J sandwich? But on the Be Well Cleanse and many other elimination diets, peanuts are removed from the diet. Why?
Well, first and foremost, peanuts are one of the most common food allergens, and there’s evidence showing that the rate of peanut allergies in the US is rising. An allergic reaction to peanuts can show up as a skin problem (hives, eczema), intestinal issues, swelling in the body, difficulty swallowing or breathing, itchiness, and sometimes a more severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis that requires immediate medical treatment. Peanuts are removed during the Cleanse because even a mild sensitivity to peanuts can show up as an unwanted issue in the body.
Second, peanuts are susceptible to growing a mold called aflatoxin, which is a known carcinogen and can be toxic to the liver. Also, because peanuts are actually legumes, they have a softer shell and are more likely to absorb toxins and pesticides from the soil while they’re being grown.
Raw almonds and almond butter are my favorite alternatives to peanuts. Sunflower seed butter is also a delicious choice, and I always love a good tahini (sesame seed paste) too. If you do choose to eat peanuts and you know you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity to them, having a little bit of organic peanut butter shouldn’t be a huge deal, but when it comes to everyday use, almonds are a better choice.
What do you think? Have you experienced any peanut sensitivities?