Friday, April 17, 2015

Raw Nut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Excuse my mediocre photo here, but some foods are more comforting than a picture can explain. PBJ has been a staple in my life. Being vegetarian since the age of 8, I was sometimes put in situations where adults didn't know what to feed me, but peanut butter and jelly was always a safe bet. Except with my current diet there are a few problems.

Firstly, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes. And as different nut butters go this is your worst choice. Peanuts contain aflatoxins (naturally occuring fungal toxins) and peanut lectin, which are better avoided since other options exist, such as sunflower seed butter, hemp seed butter, hazelnut butter, walnut butter, or cashew butter. You can find raw versions of all of these or make them yourself if you want to save a bit of money.

Moving on to the jelly. Most store bought jellies contain preservatives, refined sugar, and/or corn syrup. Pectin is also made from corn, so usually GMO. If you aren't raw I recommend making your own jams and jellies. It isn't all that hard and that way you can control exactly what you put in that cute little jar.

And finally, the bread. I don't think I need to go into the gluten debate, as there are a million other websites dedicated to why many people avoid gluten. Even if you don't feel impacted by the gluten argument, the truth of the matter is that wheat, corn, and soy are the top 3 genetically modified crops in the country. So it can be very difficult, especially with a processed food like bread, to avoid GMOs.

The good news is I have a delicious little recipe I whipped up to cure the comfort food cravings of your childhood, while maintaining all the health awareness of a mature adult. Feel free to modify with the fruit of your choice for the jelly, although I recommend strawberry or raspberry as it goes well with the seed consistency. Another option would be to grind the chia seeds first for a smoother texture, which might make for a great blueberry or grape jelly.


4 bananas
1 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup of sprouted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon maca powder (optional)
dash pink Himalayan salt
1/4 cup water

Strawberry Jam

1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon sweetener (coconut nectar, honey, maple syrup, or agave)
1 teaspoon water

Nut Butter

1/2 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter (I used sunflower seed butter)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil* (definitely optional, but adds a bit more of a decadent factor)

For the bread, start by grinding the flax seeds in a spice grinder. Then transfer to a food processor and combine the bananas, pumpkin seeds, maca, salt, and water. Blend until evenly smooth. Scoop the mixture onto a dehydrator screen and dehydrate for 10 to 12 hours at 110 degrees. If you are able to flip at the halfway mark it would be preferable, but I did not. Remove bread carefully, as not to tear, and cut into slices.

For the jam, combine all ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until even. As you allow the mixture to sit (at least 5 minutes) the chia seeds will make the jam more gelatinous.

Cover bread in coconut oil (if using), nut butter, and jam mixture. Slap your slices together and enjoy!

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