Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Isolated Incidences or Isolation Consequences? April 26, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:05 pm

Many of the bloggers I follow are posting “this is what I posted last year at this time” posts and it got me thinking. What did I post in April of 2020? Predictably, a lot! I remember our daughter being home for nearly three months and walking with her every day…sometimes more than once-a-day. I remember when the virus was called Corona virus and then seemingly overnight became COVID-19. I wrote about it all. We were ordered to stay home so I posted about my favorite candle and diffuser home scents. We were all socially distanced so I bloggingly asked “who do you really miss these days?” And I of course wrote the pandemic requisite “United We Band” blog and stressed we weren’t stuck at home, we were safe at home. Turns out we were somewhat stuck at home albeit safe and many of us still are although several states, including mine, have opened up…at least officially. Also turns out all those predicted and promised “few weeks” to “flatten the curve” lasted much longer than expected and we are now learning some of the results of the isolation and lockdowns. Some are good, some are not so good, and some are a bit surprising.




It should come as no surprise that many of us, me included, put on weight in 2020. But, it might be worse than expected.


A survey by the American Psychological Association reported that 61 percent of the adults surveyed reported an undesired weight change…some an undesired weight loss…since the start of the pandemic. In total, more than 40 percent said they gained weight and the average weight gain was 29 pounds.


According to the Trust for America’s Health State of Obesity 2020 report, 42.4 percent of U.S. adults are obese, marking the first time the rate has topped 40 percent. Sadly, childhood obesity is also growing, with nearly 20 percent of those aged 2 to 19 obese. If you add these numbers with the 30.7 percent of adults who are overweight and the nearly 10 percent severely obese, this means 73 percent of the population is either overweight, obese, or severely obese.


Thank you COVID, right? We’ve been homebound for both work and school, bored, unable to participate in many of our favorite physical activities, and food was right there for the taking…either convenient in the pantry or ‘fridge or delivered to our doorstep with a simple push of a button. And now we’re paying the price. I know I am.


It’s important we get a handle on our new love handles, as unhealthy weight increases cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and mental illness. Besides, who wants to buy all new clothes now that we’re finally getting out and getting out of our year-long altheisure wardrobe?! You probably have a closet full of clothes you haven’t worn in months. Get out and wear it and get outside people! Things are opening up and it’s time to get off the overeating treadmill and get on a real one!




And on that note, a funny thing happened on the way to us gaining weight last year: we seemed to crave breakfast cereal. Connection? I’m thinking yes. It may come across as and odd COVID creature of habit, but it does make sense.


We needed comfort during the stress-filled year and we longed for the good old “normal” days. What better way to serve a bit of nostalgia than to open a box of your favorite childhood cereal? For me that would be either Cocoa Krispies or Frosted Flakes and when I did opt for a bowl of cereal, I wasn’t alone.


Cereal sales jumped almost 10 percent in 2020 and even though that may not seem like a big increase, consider the fact that sales had dropped in both 2019 and 2018. Pretty sure Post and Kellogg’s loved learning that stocking up on non-perishable foods was just one of the many outcomes of not being able to shop for food as often as we were used to pre-pandemic lockdowns. Seemingly overnight shelf-stable foods were equally if not more appealing and considered “smart buys” than all those fresh perishable foods we’d been enjoying.


I have no idea where this trend stands today but I do know I still love those childhood staples.




It’s no secret that we saw lots of gray roots and growing out hair last year, but have you ever heard of telogen effluvium? Me either, but apparently many suffered from it and still are.


TE, as I’ll call it here, is temporary hair loss and excessive shedding due to a shock to one’s nervous system.  Yeah, pretty sure we were all living in total shock one year ago and extremely nervous so it’s not shocking that our bodies responded to it all in new and uncommon ways.


The not totally uncommon TE usually begins a few months after someone suffers a stressful or traumatic experience…think even something as joyous as giving birth as many a new mom experiences hair loss. With the pandemic, it’s all about stress and the increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.


Chronic stress is known to create some annoying and dangerous symptoms and survey after survey has found that increased rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts increased last year. We couldn’t go to work or out to eat. Many lost their jobs and many lost their beloveds. Kids weren’t allowed in schools and churches shut their doors. We couldn’t visit with friends and families and many places of exercise were closed. Any one of these would cause stress and anxiety. We had them all at once. It’s no wonder we lost our minds and lost our hair.


Keep in mind that hair loss is totally normal under normal circumstances. We all shed 50-100 strands of hair each day. But, if you’re losing more than usual and notice clumps falling out, see a specialist. TE is reversible since it’s a hormonal imbalance and not genetic like say alopecia, so any hair loss you’re experiencing is very well temporary. It is, however, a wake-up call that you need to monitor your stress level, improve your diet, socialize safely, and get out in the sun and do some exercise. Be patient though, hair-loss treatments take time, usually three-to-four months, so don’t expect overnight success.





Being forced to socially isolate and be apart from beloved social circles resulted in an abundance of loneliness (more of that in a bit) but that loneliness was somewhat alleviated by none other than man’s best friend.


Shelters, breeders, rescue groups, and pet stores all reported an increase in demand for four-legged people replacers. Pet adoption skyrocketed last year and we all know the health benefits of simply petting a dog much less owning one. And although dogs are my pet of choice, other living beings also proved beneficial, including everything from fish to plants. When real people aren’t available, we all still long to care for someone or something, need a reason for being and having a purpose, and if Fido or Flipper does that, then adopt and purchase away!




This one pertains mostly to kids; those kids who have been homebound and prevented from going to school and other places where they socialize. Lockdown policies were put in place to protect them but we’re slowly finding out they may adversely affect them down the road. Just ask their immune systems.


Immune systems of children aren’t designed to develop in isolation from the big bad world, which is full of bacteria, parasites, viruses, fungi, and other potentially harmful substances. But, interacting with these microbes is extremely important to build up immune systems. Important components in those immune systems that educate our bodies on how to fight illness and infection are still developing into adolescence, but lockdown and social distancing restrictions are also restricting needed exposure to microbes and thereby restricting fighting them. Yes, we need to prevent the spread of disease and practice proper hygiene, but we also need to allow our immune systems to interact with safe and essential microbes. Sadly, it might be our kids who suffer most from the elimination of this essential process for going on more than a year now.


Since the youngest among us don’t have fully developed immune systems, a year removed from maturing them is now predicted by some to show up sooner rather than later in autoimmune diseases such as asthma and common allergies. Even the air our kids have been breathing has been “masked up,” leading others to predict a future “pandemic youth” will show higher than average rates of allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases. Perhaps it’s time to open up the schools and let kids be kids again.




This one comes as no surprise: we’ve become a nation of aching bodies. Hmmmm…can’t imagine why. We’ve sat in front of screens for more than a year, all while seeing our physical activity decrease. Enter aching backs, stiff necks, and sore shoulders…and a demand for physical therapy.


Working on laptops while lounging on a sofa, spending day after day slumped over a computer screen, and sitting at stiff and hard kitchen chairs to do homework and spreadsheets have officially taken a toll on our bodies (many of which are also heavier as I wrote about above) and now that we’re peeking outside our homes, physical therapists are hearing cries for help.


In 2020 physical therapy demands dropped dramatically but today many PTs and OTs report practices are almost back to normal thanks in part to pandemic-related injuries.  Not only are there the aching backs, there are injuries resulting from trying a new exercise such as running or biking when gyms closed as well as COVID-19 recovery problems. Therapists are seeing both patients with new ailments as well as those whose previous injuries have flared back up.


Doing things we normally do in not normal places has whacked us out, figuratively and physically. We are a society in pain. We are more anxious and more nervous. We are stressed out. Our emotions and brains are stressed and so are our bodies. The answer? It’s a simple one: keep moving! Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.




In an odd twist of fate, as our bodies slowed down during the past 12 months, our minds have perhaps been busier than ever and raced. Maybe you’ve had trouble focusing or experience increased wandering of the mind. Perhaps your dreams have become more frequent and vivid or worse, you’re having more nightmares. Not to worry; it’s all related to lockdown brain fog.


Recent months of isolation and monotony have resulted in both mental downtime and a roaming mind. During “normal” times, we are usually mostly oblivious when our minds wander but when we lose control of practically everything – like we did last year – we notice everything and are more in tune with our minds, mindfulness, and wandering minds. It’s not a total bad thing though.


Our inner mental lives are important and it never hurts to pay attention to them. Mind wandering can help us make new connections and see familiar things in a whole new way and discover new things. It’s pretty safe to say we all gained new perspectives in 2020. Maybe we learned we actually prefer working from home. Maybe we didn’t miss all those “friends” we thought we would. Maybe we discovered new hobbies, books, playlists, or podcasts.


Sadly, those same minds have experienced more stress, anxiety, and worry, all of which are often linked to increased repetitive thoughts, zoning out, and rumination. We in turn are restless, are rest deprived, and own restless minds. Maybe you’re one of those who all of sudden doesn’t need an alarm clock or find yourself napping in the middle of the day when you never really had since you were forced to as a child. Restless minds both wander aimlessly and have spontaneous thoughts, the latter of which may help us plan better and make decisions more decisively. Spontaneous thoughts also help us process memories, both good and bad ones but when our minds wander our thoughts are often drawn to the future…a future we are all hoping is better and brighter.




I clearly remember hearing we were all going to have to wear masks but they were hard to come by. There was much debate as to whether home-made versions were really effective and talk of doctors not being able to access N95s was rampant. Now, a year later, most of us are still masked up and you can buy them everywhere.


Some are wearing masks sporting everything from sporting teams to cartoons, flowers to messages. Others are content with simple black versions or those blue “surgical” style ones.  Whatever ones are chosen, they’re said to prevent the sharing of the virus but they also mask personalities and prevent true connection.


Just yesterday in church something very random crossed my mind and I leaned over and asked my husband about it, which made him give me a “WTH, we’re in mass!” look, which got us both giggling. I quietly chuckled so hard that my eyes teared up and as I wiped the joyful tears away I thought to myself, “people may think I’m crying because they can’t see my smiling face under my mask.” That, made me sad.


Masks erase and hide some of our most expressive features. We’ve all had to adjust to a new normal where faces were concealed by masks but it has also forced us to look into each other’s eyes. And that’s a small good thing. They are, after all, windows to the soul.  Sometimes those eyes have looked fearful, sometimes happy, and sometimes sad. In the end, we just miss seeing anyone…really seeing them… and it’s time to open our eyes to getting out, going out, and being out.




During the past year we’ve all become familiar with many new words and phrases including WFH, contact tracing, herd immunity, flatten the curve, and social distancing. One you may not be as familiar with is “she-cession,” which is an emblematic term referring to the fact that under COVID-19 restrictions and job displacement, women left the workforce at nearly four times the rate of men. You know it’s serious and prevalent when a new word is coined.


There’s so much more to this topic than can be addressed in this small space, but just know that many women stepped away from their jobs or were laid off to manage homeschooling their children and take care of their families during truly unprecedented times. Maybe they just wanted to be home with their kids. Maybe their spouse’s income was more substantial and needed than theirs. Maybe they had no choice and were true victims of a pandemic.


Whatever the case, the wage gap is ebbing closer and closer to what it was 20 years ago and men are more likely to say working from home has positively impacted their careers. At the end of 2019, back when we had no idea what was looming, more than half of American jobs were held by women. We need to make sure that is the desired state at the end of this year.




And now the biggie…loneliness took hold of this country in a big way last year and we are only now beginning to see the repercussions.


In a word, social isolation has taken its toll on society. People are by nature social creatures and while restrictive measures were put in place to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, they also reduced the spread of what we all really need and crave: genuine person-to-person contact and communication. This lack – an undeniably long-term and unhealthy lack – of vital human interaction may be affecting us more deeply than we know or could ever imagine. FaceTime and Zoom calls were fun and novel at first, but quickly wore thin. No amount of them could replace a hug from grandma or a kiss from someone dear.


Yes, we all feel loneliness at various points in our lives but it’s usually short-lived and temporary. This collective bout of loneliness feels never-ending and sadly, when loneliness hits, it can be devastating.


  • Many aren’t sleeping well. Many are self-medicating. Others have taken to drinking more.


  • Anxiety and depression commonly characterize loneliness and their numbers skyrocketed last year. More than half of American adults said their mental health has suffered because of the pandemic. Prescriptions for antidepressants shot up 14 percent after the initial outbreak.


  • Suicides and drug overdoses have far surpassed the death rate for COVID-19 among high school students, an age that’s all about socializing.


  • In Japan, suicide claimed more lives in October than 10 months of COVID.


  • Those suffering from loneliness have a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, a weakened immune system (not good during a pandemic!), and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.



Before the pandemic, the elderly was cited among those hardest hit by loneliness and it’s this same age group that was slammed by the virus as well as the resulting isolation and loneliness. Images of nursing homes cut off from the world will likely forever haunt generations to come. People who fail to find meaningful connection for an extended period of time often give up. They stop trusting others and experience deep shame over their inability to connect. They are lonely but their fears and uncertainties prevent them from fixing it. They literally shut down.



Television is rarely a go-to recommendation for much, but during lockdowns it did prove helpful in the effort to ward off loneliness. Many turned to it to alleviate boredom and to have a voice of some kind permeating through their home, giving the illusion of company and companionship. TV has also provided a way for us to go somewhere and escape our inescapable isolation. We also turned to TV  to stay informed about the virus. We’ve learned however, that not all TV is a good prescription for loneliness. Most would agree that today’s news is probably the worst place to go for any sense of encouragement and can actually worsen loneliness with its incessant parade of negativity, division, violence, and fear. You’re better off sticking to old school comedies and movies and even a touch of silly reality TV than news reports about how horrible this country is.


We may never know the real long-term effects of our extended social distancing and isolation but we do know the resulting loneliness is hard on the mind and the body and that there is a real connection between isolation and pain. Most predict those affects will be far-reaching and very, very damaging.



So, as you go about your day today masked or unmasked, enjoy that bowl of cereal, pet your pet or water your plant, look people in the eyes, and reach out to those who need a friend. It’s now up to all of us to stay healthy and get healthy. We know the results of both of those are healthy and good.





Spread the News: Your Peanut Butter Choice Says Something About Your Personality April 18, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:02 pm

When I think of foods I avoid buying because when in stock and in house I have absolutely no self-control over eating them only in moderation, peanut butter ranks right up there. I love peanut butter. So much so, that I can and will eat it right out of the jar by the spoonful. Yes, I love me an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a peanut butter cookie, but by the spoon is just a yummy to me. I only like creamy peanut butter though and this choosy mother only chooeses Jif. I know what I like, but what I didn’t know is my choice says something about my personality and so does yours!




Creamy or Crunchy?

By pure coincidence, a survey was recently conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jif that examined the peanut butter preferences of 2,000 Americans and it found some interesting tidbits about peanut butter eaters…and it wasn’t that they’re nuts!


Respondents were evenly split by their crunchy vs. creamy preference and one-third of them described themselves as extremely passionate about their peanut butter preferences. So what did we discover?


Apparently those who choose crunchy may have a cheerier outlook on life, as 63 percent of crunchers described themselves as optimists, compared to 56 percent of those who prefer the creamy kind. Creamy fans also tend to be early birds (not this creamy fan!) and more introverted (yep, raising my hand) while crunchy eaters are extroverted night owls.



Amazingly, the power of peanut butter can be traced all the way back to childhood. When asked about theirs, respondents who like creamy peanut butter reported being teased more than their crunchy counterparts (47 percent vs. 28 percent) and some of that influence may stick around as 68 percent of creamy peanut butter fans said they’ve felt the pressure to fit in compared to just 50 percent of crunchy eaters. Kinda makes sense when you consider the introvert/extrovert numbers.


On a “I totally get that” scale, 63 percent of all respondents said they would pass on peanut butter all together if it’s not their chosen kind but on the “that’s ridiculous” scale, nearly half of them said it would be a deal-breaker to discover their date likes the opposite peanut butter version that they do. Seriously? First of all, if you’re talking peanut butter on a date, maybe it’s time to find a new date and secondly, just fall in love buy both kinds!


Lastly, both creamy and crunchy lovers also love animals and both prefer grape jelly on their PB&Js.



Spread It Around

In my unofficial peanut poll, I found that most people agree peanut butter in general is good stuff. But, many aren’t aware of the many surprising uses of peanut butter and its nutritional value. Let’s start with its interesting and fun uses.


  • My personal favorite is a hiccup eliminator. Yep, one spoonful of peanut butter will almost always get rid of those annoying hics. Give it a try next time. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s much more appetizing than sugar!


  • I’m guessing you’ve all heard the trick of concealing your pet’s medicine in a spoonful of peanut butter, which is also a trick you can implement with kids. It’s said you can also clean leather by rubbing a small amount of creamy butter on an item using a soft cloth and men can even shave with it should they run out of shaving cream…only the creamy version though!


  • If you’ve got a critter problem, look no further than a jar of peanut butter. Putting some at the end of a mousetrap will catch a rodent quicker than cheese and a mix of peanut butter, baking soda, and borax can be applied wherever you see ants. Just be sure to keep pets away from the baited area. Lastly and perhaps my favorite even though I hate bugs, this one is ingenious. When you finish a jar of peanut butter, remove the lid and place it on its side wherever you see any kind of bugs or spiders. The critters will crawl into the jar but will get stuck on any remaining peanut butter, making clean up a snap by simply placing the lid back on and tossing it away. Voila!


  • And speaking of bugs, all those that get stuck on your windshield can be a real booger to remove. Whether you have whole bugs or bug remains, rub some peanut butter on those spots, let it sit for 10 minutes, and hose it all off.


  • Being that peanut butter has lots of oil, it can also work as a great lubricant. Instead of using W-40 or other spray lubricants, apply a dab of peanut butter to squeaky door hinges, tools, and other items.


  • This same concept holds true for anything sticky like gum, glue, or price stickers. Rub a little in hair, carpet, or anything else gum is stuck in and wipe it away after letting it sit for a bit. And, instead of washing your glue-stained hands or supplies with soap and water, use peanut butter as its natural oils act as repellents and rinse it off. Now onto those pesky stickers that regardless of how carefully you try to remove them (are you listening frame makers?!), a sticky residue remains. But, not after you smear a small dollop of peanut butter on it and wipe away.


  • I have heard of applying peanut butter to scratched wood but had never heard of substituting peanut butter for butter while cooking, which is not only good in a pinch but will give your recipe a unique nutty taste. Has anyone tried this and if so, did it work well? If it’s a fish recipe you’re cooking only to be left with that foul fish smell in your house, try frying a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter to eliminate the pesky odor. Hmmmm…I guess it’s worth a try next time.


  • Two fun ideas that you can get the kids involved in is using peanut butter to make bird feeders and to seal the bottoms of ice cream cones. To make birdfeeders, simply roll any item like a pinecone or TP roll in peanut butter, attach a string, and hang. You can also spread peanut butter on a halved bagel, run a string through the middle hole, and hang outside. The birds will love both the peanut butter and the bagel!


  • To prevent ice cream cones from leaking out the bottom, scoop some peanut butter into the bottom before scooping the ice cream. It will not only prevent leaks and messes, it makes for a yummy treat at the bottom of the cone!





Those who discovered the makings of peanut butter would probably be shocked at its many interesting uses today but its history is equally interesting.


In the late 1800s, a number of people experimented with making a spread using peanuts, including John Harvey Kellogg, who invented Cornflakes, and famous botanist and inventor George Washington Carver. There is some evidence that the ancient Aztecs made peanut butter as early as the 14th century by simply smashing and mashing peanuts. The first person to patent peanut butter was Canadian Marcellus Gilmore Edson. The Montreal native originally concocted the product for people who had no teeth and received his patent in 1884.


A number of inventors are also credited with helping create the creamy spread we know and love today. The first peanut butter making machine was invented in 1904 and in 1922 chemist Joseph Rosenfeld invented the process by which smooth peanut butter is made. Thank you Mr. Rosenfeld!


Rosenfeld’s invention was later used in the making of Peter Pan peanut butter and in 1932 he began producing his own brand called Skippy.  Most peanut butter is made and consumed in the U.S. where good old Americans eat $800 million worth of the spread annually. Since it takes more than 500 peanuts to make one jar of peanut butter, that’s a lot of peanuts and a lot of peanut butter!



Today, whether you eat it straight out of the jar, in one of my favorite “Uncrustable” pre-made mini sandwiches, spread on a sandwich or apple slices, in curry sauces, or in the middle of Reese’s Cups, you could say peanut butter is almost as American as apple pie.



Health Nuts

And, contrary to what many believe, did you know peanut butter can also be good for you? Okay, so maybe not in a sugar and butter-ladened peanut butter cookie or white bread and sugar-saturated jelly sandwich, but in its raw, natural form, peanut butter packs quite the nutritional punch and can be an excellent source of nutrition as it contains protein, iron, and potassium along with other nutrients.


Made of roasted ground peanuts blended into a thick paste, peanut butter is not surprisingly protein rich. It is also a good source of Vitamins B6 and E, Niacin (B3), Manganese, and Magnesium as well as copper, which helps maintain bone health, immune function, and blood vessels. Some research also suggests that having copper in your diet may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease. Those antioxidants – Manganese, Vitamin E, and B vitamins – also prevent and repair cell damage in our bodies, reducing the risk of chronic disease like cancer.


Also rich in a fat known as oleic acid, peanut butter may improve heart health and reduce the risk of diabetes. Oleic acid has been shown to help maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, thereby possibly preventing heart and vascular disease. That same acid has also been shown to reduce the body’s insulin resistance, which can raise your blood sugar and lead to diabetes. Research shows peanut butter’s Omega-6 may also have this same effect.


Peanut butter is thought to be fatty and not what you want to include in a diet longing to get rid of body fat, but the fats in peanut butter are the so-called “healthy” ones – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – and foods high in them as well as proteins and fiber take longer for our bodies to digest, which helps keep us fuller for longer amounts of time, thereby reducing snacking and overeating. So, even though you blame peanut butter for a weight gain, it’s probably not the product but the amount you put in your mouth and how often.


As with anything though, it’s all about moderation as peanuts are high in calories and so is peanut butter.  A two tablespoon serving of regular peanut butter is generally thought to contain 207 calories, 9 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of sugar. So much for me dipping spoonful after spoonful and enjoying a little harmless snack!


On that same nutritional label, be sure to check for any added ingredients like sugar, vegetable oil, and trans fats and look for a version that doesn’t contain additives. If you’re really concerned, simply make your own peanut butter by blending roasted peanuts in a food processor.


There are possible health risks with peanut butter, not least of which are peanut allergies. It’s amazing how widespread they are today and I saw this troubling food phenomenon first-hand when I worked in a preschool for many years. At the start of my tenure, nary a student had a peanut allergy and if there were any, the number was minimal. By the time I hung up my teacher title, if you didn’t have a peanut allergy in your class you were considered fortunate. So many nut allergies. Peanuts. Tree nuts. Almonds. Air born. Ingested. Epi-Pens. Emergency medical forms. Separate allergy tables for lunch and snack. You name it. It was there. But why? Why wasn’t this the case when I was growing up or even when our daughter was growing up? Some blame chemicals and pesticides, but if one is allergic to whole, natural peanuts themselves, it’s got to be something else.


A new study by the Murdock Children’s Research Institute reports that introducing peanut products early in a child’s life prevented peanut allergy during randomized controlled trials. The research found changes to food allergy guidelines has led to a 16 percent decrease in peanut allergies among infants and also found a significant increase in parents introducing peanut into their babies’ diets since the guideline changes.  Is this a possible lightbulb moment?


During the 1990s, some guidelines recommended avoiding allergenic foods until ages 1-3 years but by 2008 advice started to shift slightly based on increasing evidence that delaying allergenic foods was associated with increased food allergy risks. International infant feeding guidelines changed in 2016 to recommend introduction of peanut and other allergenic foods before 12 months.  And the results are promising.


Peanut allergy prevalence between 2007-2011 was 3.1 percent, a number that dropped to 2.6 percent in 2018-2019, a 16 percent decrease. In addition, infants who didn’t consume any peanut products between 2018-2019 were 4.8 percent allergic while at the same time severe reactions to introducing peanuts early were uncommon.


Of course each child and each family is different and personal and professional health providers should always be consulted prior to any dietary changes.  Peanut allergies, whether arrived at early in life or later in life, can be fatal in some cases and care should always be taken.

Another word of caution regarding peanut butter is to always keep in mind that it is high in calories and while most of the fat in it is the “good” kind, peanuts also contain some saturated fat. They are also high in phosphorus, which can limit your body’s absorption of minerals like zinc and iron. If you are deficient in these minerals, a diet high in phosphorus may worsen your condition. Again, check with your doctor if you have any concerns.


You can go nuts when it comes to choosing peanut butter, but maybe for some of you it’s not actually peanut butter that is your best choice. Consider almond butter, as almonds have the highest concentration of nutrients per ounce and also contain those Omega-3’s that peanuts lack. Macadamia Nut Butter is also an option and although macadamians have more calories than peanuts, they have the highest amount of healthy fats of any nut. Another alternative is walnut butter, made from Omega-3 and Omega-6 rich walnuts, which have less fat and calories than peanuts. Lastly, how about a powdered peanut butter like PB2? I discovered the stuff a few years back and although it, once mixed with water, may not be the makings of a perfect PB&J, it is actually quite yummy with celery. Never say never!



I will say peanut butter is one of my favorite cookies and how cool is the traditional fork print on the tops of them? They are also, I might add, the one time I don’t mind using crunchy peanut butter as the nuts in it give the cookies extra depth and texture.


Whatever peanut butter you prefer, now you know there’s a whole lot more to it than crunchy or creamy. Spread the news!


Disclaimer: Test all items and people before using or ingesting peanut butter and contact a doctor before implementing a peanut-free or peanut-introduced diet.