Nutrition

Which Nut/Seed Butter is the Healthiest? (for Vegan Diets)

There are a LOT of different types of nut & seed butters out there. Peanut, almond, cashew, hazelnut, walnut, sunflower seed, tahini… all with their unique uses.

I got a question on my Instagram asking:

Which nut butter is the healthiest?

First, although there’s no definitive answer to this because of how many factors are involved, I’m answering this based on a few nutrients that are particularly important for vegans (and vegetarians).

Vegan diets, for example, tend to naturally have quite a lot of B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, fiber, etc., so although articles aimed at omnivores might focus on “healthiest” in terms of those types of nutrients, I’ll be looking at nutrients that 1) are most likely to make a difference on a vegan diet, and 2) vary significantly between different nut butters:

  1. Zinc: One of the few nutrients that vegan diets typically provide substantially less of. It’s important for immune functioning, skin health & acne prevention, and digestion, to name just a few things.
  2. Iron: The other main nutrient that vegan diets often get less of. It’s especially important for women to get enough, to avoid anemia.
  3. Magnesium: 50% of the US population is actually magnesium deficient1. Having low magnesium can cause anxiety, poor sleep, muscle twitches, and more. 
  4. Calcium: Although not as pressing of an issue as the media and milk industry would have you believe, low calcium intakes have been linked to osteoporosis.
  5. Vitamin E: Especially important for your brain and nerves! Studies show that people who eat more vitamin E have less damaged white matter in their brain as they age2.

I also included omega 3, fiber, and protein in the table below in case you’re curious!

I’ve bolded the nut/seed butter that wins in each nutrient category, and below I’ll go over which I think are the overall winners.

All of these values assume that each butter is made JUST out of the nut/seed, without any added oils or anything. The amounts below are per 300 calories.

Nut/seed butterZinc (mg)Iron (mg)Calcium (mg)Magnesium (mg)Omega 3 (g)Vitamin E (mg)Protein (g)Fiber (g)
Cashew33.52015900.5102
Hazelnut1.22.2557807.274.5
Sunflower2.62.740167018114.5
Tahini2.34.5215480.208.54.7
Walnut1.51.345734.20.373
Almond1.61.7170136012105
Peanut1.40.8309102.512.54.3
Per 300 calories; values are from the Cronometer.com database

Based on being consistently high across multiple of these nutrients, the winners are…

Tahini and Sunflower Seed Butter

And the runner ups are cashew butter (also high in a lot of things) and walnut butter (for the omega 3).

For a breakdown of how each one stacks up versus the others:

  • Cashew butter: High in zinc, iron, magnesium, and protein
  • Hazelnut: High in vitamin E and fiber
  • Sunflower seed: Very high in vitamin E, high in zinc, iron, magnesium, protein, and fiber
  • Tahini: Very high in iron and calcium, high in zinc and fiber
  • Walnut: Very high in omega 3; in fact it’s the only one that has a substantial amount
  • Almond: High in calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, protein and fiber
  • Peanut: High in magnesium and protein

If you already know you’re missing a certain nutrient (like iron for example) based on blood tests or diet tracking, then the healthiest nut butter for you is the one that fills in that need the most! And of course, the best nut butter is the one you enjoy the most, since they’re ALL a healthy part of any diet.

Are there any other nut/seed butters you’re curious about?

Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: 10 Ways to Lose Weight WITHOUT Diets, Calorie Restriction, or Rules | Psychological Strategies

In my last video, I used scientific studies to explain why going on a diet or having a strict exercise routine usually backfires and causes binge eating + weight gain. In today’s follow-up video, I give 10 cognitive strategies to reach your weight loss and fitness goals in a way that works WITH your body and psychology, not against them.

Weight loss and fitness CAN be enjoyable and pretty effortless, rather than a chore you have to force yourself to do or a set of rules you have to stick to. You just need the right mindset and strategies.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Why Diets and Exercise Routines Don’t Work: Weight gain + Binge eating

Most weight loss and fitness bloggers/influencers–and the media–will tell you that THE way to lose weight is to stick to an eating and exercise plan.

But contrary to popular opinion, science suggests that diet and exercise routines not only aren’t very helpful for weight loss, but actually often cause weight gain and binge eating in the long term.

In today’s video, I use studies to show you WHY trying to have strict food and exercise rules so often backfires.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

  • Study links: Why negative feelings cause overeating/not exercising 1 2 3
  • Study links: Dieting causes binge eating: 4 5 6
  • Rest of the study links: 7 8 9
  • Patreon

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Recipes

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto (Oil-free + Instant Pot Friendly)

I’ve used the same 7-dish Thanksgiving menu for the last two years (because it has gone over SO WELL with vegans and omnivores alike), but this year I decided I wanted to come up with something new and unique to add.

Enter this healthy pumpkin risotto: it’s savory, it’s slightly sweet, it’s simple to make, it’s creamy. It’s a nice healthy contrast to some of the more oil-laden Thanksgiving classics, but still goes over well with more classic palates. And as a bonus, it’s easy to have it cooking in the background while you make the more complicated dishes, since it doesn’t need more than ~15 mins of really active prep time.

And as a bonus bonus, it’s Instant Pot friendly too. (That’ll help free up my limited supply of pots.)

If you want to make it completely whole-food-plant-based friendly, you can also try subbing brown rice in for the arborio. You will want to add more water and cook longer to achieve a risotto-y texture, though. You can also easily sub in other types of squash instead of pumpkin!

Serves 4 as a full meal; serves 8 as a side

Ingredients:

Blender:

  • 3 – 15oz cans pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 apples, quartered
  • 2 tsp yellow or white miso paste
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp dried sage
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

Saute:

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arborio rice*
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

  1. Put all the “Blender” section ingredients into a blender or food processer, and blend until pureed. Set aside until step 5-6.
  2. Add the chopped onions to a pot over medium heat–or your IP’s saute function–adding splashes of broth (from your 3.5c of broth) as needed to saute them until translucent.
  3. Add the rice, and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add the white wine, and saute another 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining broth, and push all the onion and rice grains down the sides of the pot so they are submerged.
  5. If using a pressure cooker: cook on low pressure for 6 mins, and release pressure immediately after. Add the blended pumpkin mixture, and turn on the saute setting. Saute, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  6. If using a pot on the stove: cover pot and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15 mins. Add the blended pumpkin mixture, then simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with more sage or fried sage leaves and cashew cream, if desired.

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Why the Raw Til 4 Diet Causes Weight Gain (aka High Carb Low Fat + Raw Vegan)

Scientific studies show that high carb low fat diets are generally really good for weight loss–but for some reason, the Raw til 4 diet, which was popular among vegans several years ago, caused a LOT of people to gain weight. In today’s video I go over studies to explain why the Raw til 4 diet so often causes weight gain.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Eating with a straw vs spoon changes how much you eat | Study on liquids vs solids and weight loss

Today I’m going over a study looking at how eating with a spoon versus a straw actually affects how much you eat–of the same food–in a meal! I also talk about how eating liquids vs solids cause overeating, and whether you should be concerned about liquid calories.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Smoothies vs Juice vs Whole Fruit for Weight Loss: Scientific Studies | WFPB diet

If you like to eat unprocessed foods (like I do!), then you might be wondering (like I did :P) whether blending/juicing “counts” as processing in how it affects your weight loss and satiety. In today’s video, I go over 2 studies looking at whether having whole fruit, smoothies, or juice is better for satiety and weight loss.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Recipes

Apple Pie Amaranth Porridge Recipe (Vegan)


Move over oats: there’s a new porridge grain in town.

I learned last year that my stomach can’t handle oats, and I never thought I’d find something I like as much for fall and winter breakfasts as oats. But I’ve kept experimenting, and discovered amaranth!

Amaranth has a delicious nutty taste, a really nice texture, and is so versatile. And, as a big bonus, it’s more nutritious than oats: calorie for calorie, compared to oats, amaranth has twice the iron, magnesium, and B vitamins–not to mention more protein and potassium.

This apple pie amaranth porridge holds up really well in the fridge, so I’ve started making 3 days’ worth of porridge at a time. It’s my current favorite Fall breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry amaranth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (optional)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (more to taste; you can also use maple syrup or dates)
  • 2 apples, diced
  • Topping ideas: pecans, walnuts, nut butter, non-dairy milk, dates, fresh apples

Directions

  1. Add the amaranth to a pot over high heat to toast it. Stir constantly. Once it starts popping (you’ll notice little white puffs), reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until about half of it has become a darker brown (or popped), then remove from heat. (If it starts smelling like popcorn, remove from heat right away!) It’s better to under-toast than to over-toast.
  2. Add 3 cups of water to the pot with the amaranth, bring it to a boil, then simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. I find I have to keep the stove at medium-low heat to keep it at a lightly bubbling simmer.
  3. Add the diced apples, spices, and sugar. Keep simmering, occasionally, until the apples are tender and amaranth has absorbed all the water, and/or it has your desired consistency. If the amaranth absorbs the water before the apples are tender, add non-dairy milk or more water as needed to finish cooking the apples.
  4. Serve, add your toppings, and enjoy!

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Which Exercise is Best For YOUR Diet + Weight Loss Goals?

Have you ever wondered which exercise is best for your specific situation and goals?

Today I have a video for you where I go over the best type of cardio (high vs low intensity) for you depending on your:

  1. Goals: Body recomposition, weight loss, maintenance, or gain
  2. Diet: Normal, high carb low fat, whole food plant based, or keto
  3. Current rate of weight loss

I also talk about how long you would have to walk to burn the same amount of calories and fat as running, and I show you how the calories burned from an exercise doesn’t tell the whole story.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Recipes

Vegan Healthy Chocolate Blender Muffins (Made with Nuts and Oats!)


I’m a big fan of muffins. And when I’m craving muffins, I also tend to be in a lazy mood. Something about weekend mornings…

But, I also strive to make my diet as high in whole, unprocessed foods as possible.

These muffins solve both of those problems. They’re oil-free and *almost* all whole foods (besides the sugar), are packed with nutrition from nuts & oats, flexible with the type of ingredients you use, and are super easy to make. Literally less than 15 minutes for prep & dishwashing time. You don’t even need a bowl–just a blender or food processor!

Makes one dozen muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats*
  • 3/4 cup nuts–I do half walnuts half cashews
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp vegan white sugar or brown sugar**
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 3/4 cups water
  • Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, chopped nuts

*If you have oat allergies, you can substitute rye flakes

**If you want to try substituting the sugar out for more syrup to make them more wfpb, I bet it would work great, just use less water!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add all ingredients (besides the optional add-ins) to a blender or food processor and blend until the oats are in tiny pieces–about the size of breadcrumbs. The batter will be very thin, like pancake batter.
  3. If using add-ins, stir them into the batter.
  4. Distribute batter evenly in a greased 12-cup muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, and enjoy!

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